grocery game monthly challenge

5 Pointers To Find The Best Price On Food At The Grocery Store : The GGC 2018 # 4 Sept 24-30

Pointers To Find The Best Price On Food At The Grocery Store

AREN’T YOU EMBARRASSED WITH ALL THOSE REDUCED PRICE STICKERS IN YOUR SHOPPING CART?

 

While we were grocery shopping the other day a young lady in line behind us gasped when she saw all the 50% off stickers on the items we were buying. It almost looked like everything we had picked up was half-off and honestly it pretty much was because we are shoppers with an eye for finding the best price on food at the grocery store.

What Mrs. CBB and I both found interesting was when she said that she hardly noticed any 50% off stickers and that she would be too embarrassed to buy products that were reduced. This is the difference between a saver and someone who cares more about what everyone else thinks.

“Aren’t you embarrassed?”, she asked us as we stood there shaking our heads, NOPE not one bit.

Our money is VERY important to us and what anyone else thinks doesn’t make a difference, besides I don’t know you and I don’t want to know you.You’re just a customer in line who I am being pleasant to until I motor out of here and of course I’m learning from her but she doesn’t know that I am a finance blogger.

Any time I’ve ever blogged about grocery shopping and finding the best price I’ve touched on putting on those frugal glasses or radar as some of you might understand. The hard part for some people to understand is that just because you shop the sales or even find deals in store that people see in your shopping cart doesn’t make pin-point you as the “poor shopper” and even if it did, who the hell cares? Not us.

 

Know your grocery store inside out

 

Most grocery shoppers look for the best price according to the weekly flyers which means they stroll into the store, list in hand and away they go. The mindset is to get what is on the list according to what is on sale because that is the best price they will find for the food they will need. Right? Wrong, not always is the weekly flyer your number one source to snagging the best price, your eyes and ears are.

Someone once asked me how on earth we managed to accumulate nearly $3500 worth of PC Optimum Points and the answer was simple, we watch what buy and when we buy it. Saving money when grocery shopping is can be somewhat of a game because it takes more than just walking into a grocery store and following a list it takes precision eyes and knack for knowing who to talk to.

For some shoppers they have one grocery store that they frequent and that is the only store they will go to when buying groceries. That’s still perfectly fine if you want to focus your efforts on saving money finding the best price at the store that suits you or your families needs. Not everyone is interested in going store to store or price-matching but even then if you find a favourite store that does price match you’re in business.

We tend to stick to the same grocery store week after week only because they are close to our house or where we need to go for the week. Our top grocery store picks in Canada are Zehrs, Costco, Food Basics and No Frills. No Frills is the only one out of the 4 that we could price-match at if needed. On the rare occasion we may pop into Wal-Mart but that doesn’t happen too often for us.

First of all if you are someone who orders groceries online and picks them up at the grocery store you likely have no interest in any of this because you already know what price you are paying. The downfall with this option is that you don’t get to find the best price comparing other product prices like those who walk in and grocery shop.

 

Finding the best price to balance meal planning

 

For those of you who create a grocery list and are headed to your favourite grocery store finding the best price outside of the grocery flyer is easy to do as long as you know what you are looking for. Keep in mind that your weekly flyer may have the best price for a product but you may find an even cheaper one when you shop around the store and compare. The flyer price isn’t always the best price. Keep that in mind when you are shopping.

So there are a few places to looking and get the best price foods and in some cases you may have to ask for help from a store associate. Most often you can find staff on the floor in every department or a simple walk to customer service or the self-checkout area is where you can find some help.

The idea around finding the best price products that meat your quality standards and needs is to help offset other expensive items in your shopping cart. For example if beef or chicken is pricey this week try to find ways to save money on produce or dairy or perhaps if you’re luck find a deal on already sale priced beef or chicken.

Mary brings up a good point about waiting for a sale, stocking up and utilizing a whole chicken for various reasons such as broth and portioned meals. If the protein you want is not on sale then go for legumes, beans and other sources that you can find in bulk and for less. You can save far more money doing it this way and like Mary who shops the grocery store loss leaders you can take that one step further which I explain below.

I eat what’s on sale…the cheapest way to have chicken is wait for whole chickens to go on sale at $1.99/lb and cook up 4 of them. Strip the carcass into meal sized portions for the freezer and use the bones to make a homemade chicken broth. So just because I like chicken doesn’t mean I’ll buy it until I can get it at $1.99/lb. You could always butcher the chicken into 12 pieces and freeze in ziploc bags until needed.- Mary Campbell

These tips below will help the grocery shopper stretch their grocery budget to allow for a variety of healthy foods so that they can enjoy what they want without passing it up.

Let’s run through the ways we find the best price while we grocery shop and explain to you the process we follow to help keep our $300 grocery budget on target for the month.

 

Date codes mean savings

 

Not everything on your grocery list will be on sale which means finding the best price might mean you look for other cracks in the process. Date codes are a great way to get a price lowered on a produce especially if it only has a few days left or even if it is the day of expiry. Almost all products that come with an expiry date last longer than the date printed for various reasons.

You have to shop the sales and stock up when prices are low. We preserve what we can by freezing, dehydrating and canning- Cynthia Sunshine Biggs

In most cases it’s just a best before which means if you consume it before that date it’s best but it doesn’t mean it will be rotten the day after. Like CBB reader Cynthia states if you find a deal you can almost always find ways to store it for longer so you can enjoy it later.

Almost always we are able to freeze anything we buy with a date code that has been reduced in price so that makes it even more of a bargain for us. If you find a product that is on the cusp of expiry take it to the department associate to ask if they would reduce the price for you. Almost always, they will.

 

Timing is everything

 

There have been times when Mrs. CBB and I go grocery shopping and the amount of in-store deals and reduced price stickers blows our minds. We picked the right time to come we would say to each other but as excited as we may get it’s important to remember our grocery budget. Sometimes we fail miserably at this because the deals are so good but we work hard to catch up and keep the budget on target for the month and again for the year.

The best thing you can do is if targeting prices is to learn, watch and talk to staff at the grocery store so you know when they come out to reduce prices. You will find the best price most often later in the evening or early in the morning if you are looking for reduced items in just about every grocery store. Our Zehrs for example will come out around 8-8:30pm each evening with stickers or early in the morning as the shop opens.

Aside from reduced stickers you might find that before a holiday you’ll find special deals because they want to get rid of food before the store closes or after a holiday. Christmas for example is a great time to load up on deals before and after the holiday.

Most grocery stores stock shelves at night which means they might find out that they have an extra order of a product that the must get rid of because they don’t have the space to store it. If this item is a refrigerated or frozen item you may find an extra special best price just to get it out of the store. If the store calls the manufacturer who sent the extra product they might tell them to flog it off cheap at their expense just to recoup cost and not waste it all.

The best time to go grocery shopping?

The early morning shopper and the night shopper might find the best deals in our opinions but always keep your eyes open any time of the day.

 

End of Bunker

 

Don’t miss out on savings especially in the end of bunker shelving and in the corners of the freezer where most grocery store stash reduced product or best price items in the weekly flyer. Always look even if it is a quick scan of the products to see what you will find. You might be shocked to find an item you just put in your cart for even less.

There have been many times we’ve picked up an item on sale only to find the same item reduced in another area of the store. Of course we will take the reduced price item as it would be the best price and a savings for our grocery budget.

Another place to look is inside the deli counter for packages of reduced deli meats if you are someone who likes to get fresh sliced meats and cheeses. Before asking for something to be sliced have a look to see if there are any specials lurking in the windows of the deli counter.

 

Reduced Price Food Labels

 

We always shop with a list which means already know what we want and the best price for it according to the flyer for the week. What you want to do is keep in mind that what you find on sale might not be the best price. Have a look around and see if there is a reduced price sticker on the same products for the best deal.

For example if mushrooms are on sale for $2.99 and you see some of the packs with 50% off stickers grab those instead. You can get twice as many or you can get what you came for and save half the money you planned on spending.

I don’t pay regular price for meat ever. On sale or not at all…..hubby fusses but he is slowly learning.Christine Weadick

 

Price Check

 

First off, know where the price check machines are located in your favourite grocery stores and if your store doesn’t have one then source customer service or floor staff for help. Most stores have a checker these days which makes it easier for staff to get on with what they are doing and not wasting the day doing price checks for customers.

Just because the sign says a product is a certain price doesn’t mean it actually is. We have found products that were reduced with a sign and found out that they were even cheaper when we cashed out. Sometimes the best price is even better. Just this week we bought some Gay Lea Roasted Red Pepper cream cheese regular $2.99 on sale for 50% off only to find out it scanned at $0.50.

Our grocery list had cream cheese on it so we thought roasted red pepper would do. We could have picked up 4 containers for the sale price of one had we scanned it. That was our mistake and one we learned from for the next time we shop.

Eating a complete healthy diet (ah, we all cheat) and on budget takes precision planning and an eye for the best price even if that means having to wait or supplement with another product.

Discussion:  What other ways do you save money above the grocery flyers, coupons, price-matching? Am I missing any secrets? Share them below.

 

September 2018 Grocery Game Challenge

 

Join the 2018 Grocery Game Challenge (GGC) but before you do you must read The Grocery Game Challenge Rules and Print the 2018 Schedule which includes new prizes!

 

2018 Grocery Shop Results

 

Yearly grocery budget for two + 1 Toddler 2018: $3600 or $300/month (The above total does not include the stockpile budget of $300/year or $25/month.

Points Overview (add any other sections you need to show us your savings or that you would like to track on your own)

  • Total Grocery Budget for this Month: $300
  • Total Grocery Budget with any carry-overs $300-$42.74=$257.26
  • Total Gift Cards used to date: $0
  • Total Rewards Points redeemed this week: $0
  • Total Rewards Points used to date: $0
  • PC Optimum Points to Spend: 3,500,000
  • Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP) to date $0

Coupon Apps (add any other apps you use to save money)

 

Our Grocery Shop This Week

 

Zehrs

  • 6 x PC Not from Concentrate Apple Juice $7.98
  • 3lbs Onions $0.99
  • Mascarpone Cheese $8.99-50% $4.50
  • 2 x large eggs $2.27 $4.54
  • Bananas $2.22
  • 2 x broccoli $0.98 $1.98
  • 2 x light rye bread $4.49-50% $4.50
  • Ziggys jumbo stuffed premium olives $6.99-50% $3.50
  • 2 x PC Blue Sliced Turkey Deli Meat $4.99-50% $4.99
  • 2 x PC Pack Chicken $4.99-50% $4.99
  • 4 x butter $2.99 $11.96
  • Gay Lea Roasted Red Pepper Cream Cheese $2.99 -50% but came up $0.50

Total Out-of-Pocket $43.57

PC Optimum Earned 4400 points or $4.40 🙂

Shoppers Drugmart

  • $17.08 4 x 4L Milk 2% plus $4700 PC Optimum plus points

Total Out-of-Pocket $17.08 to Stockpile budget

Note: All totals below already have tax factored into them.

  • Total to spend this month : $300.00-$42.74=$257.26 (includes over-spend from August)
  • Stockpile budget 2018 : $25.00/month
  • Stockpile budget used this month: $17.08
  • Christmas Reserve Fund : $35/month $280 Saved
  • Total coupons used this week: $0
  • Total coupons used to date: $1
  • Total in-store discounts this week: $24.98
  • Total in-store discounts to date: $202.42
  • Total spent this week: $43.57
  • Total spent so far this month: $212.12
  • Total over/Under spend this shop: $1/57 under
  • Total left to spend for the month: $1.57
  • Total Spent To Date 2018: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan $323.04+Feb $169.42+March $228.70 + April $337.84+ May $275.79 + June $271.88 +July $257.76 +August $342.74 + September $255.69+ October $+ November $ + December $

Weekly Overview (your final thoughts)

What a great week for deals especially on items we were already going to buy. This week I wanted to make some chicken soup since we are all feeling under the weather so the reduced price chicken will come in handy. I also found broccoli and onions on sale which will be perfect for another pot of broccoli and cheese of sorts soup.

The cream cheese was a great deal with the mascarpone which we weren’t sure if we wanted to buy it because of the price but ended up finding it half-price solved that problem. This week we hope to make some pumpkin cheesecake with the mascarpone. Overall a great shopping month that we actually came in under budget.

See you in October!!

MR.CBB

 

Free Money Saving Tools 2018

 

Click, Save and Print. It’s that easy!

This is the budget that brought us to debt freedom back in 2013 and now I’m offering to all of you for FREE. We still use this budget every month as it helps us to see our overall financial picture.

You can download the FREE Canadian Budget Binder Budget Spreadsheet in Excel It’s FREE! We use it to budget and in large part a reason we could pay our mortgage off in 5 years, check it out!

Free Money Saving Downloads are awesome lists created to get us on track working towards reaching our budgeting goals and now we are sharing them with you.

Get organized with a FREE freezer inventory, meal plan, shopping list, price comparison list and much more all for FREE.

CLICK HERE to download all the free lists and even our family budget spreadsheet. So many free resources at your fingertips.

 

Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide 2018

 

Everything you want to know about grocery shopping in Canada is packed into this amazing FREE grocery shopping guide that has taken 6 years to create.

The time is NOW to get started saving money on groceries so please enjoy the  many money-saving posts in the The Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide.

 

2018 Coupons and Coupon Apps

 

Here are some great places you can find Canadian Coupons! These are your latest Checkout 51 offers which you can use to help save money.

Related: Find all the latest coupon apps in Canada right here>>  Are coupon apps taking over the paper coupons

Sign up for the Nielsen Canada Home Scan Program and you can earn rewards points fast to redeem for awesome products or gift cards. I did this in the UK and loved it!! You can also sign up for PineCone Canada and  $3 completing surveys and checking out products before they hit the shelves!

Walmart Grocery is seriously the best! Order fresh groceries and more online, and Walmart will load your car for you… free! How easy is that? Here’s $10 to try it. You can thank me later 🙂 Order your online groceries from Walmart Canada and enjoy this $10 from Me To You for first time shoppers!

Where can I find Canadian Coupons 2018?

Plus check out these other hidden portals online to get more coupons!!

If any of the links below don’t open properly please report them to my email address or use comment form.

 

Grocery Game Challenge 2018 FAQ’s

 

  • Grocery Game Challenge RULES: Read the rules first and if you have any questions email me or comment on this post with your question and someone will answer you as soon as possible. The rules have been updated to reflect changes for the 2018 challenge year.
  • Do I have to be Canadian to post my Grocery Shop?: No, you don’t have to be Canadian to post your shops. We have fans who post their grocery shop who live all over the world.
  • What is prize payout?- I’ve changed the prize to yearly so I’ll be tracking everyone’s shop and draw accordingly for larger prize payouts.
  • When does the Grocery Game close each month? Ideally you would want to have all your shops in by the end of the month for review in order to make improvements for the next.
  • Does your Grocery Budget include health and beauty and laundry products?: No, our Grocery Budget does not include such items as shampoo, conditioner, laundry soap, fabric softener, dish soap etc. As of 2014 we no longer included such items in our grocery budget so we could see our actual food numbers at the end of the year in order to plan accordingly.
  • Do you stockpile food? We don’t mind stockpiling items that won’t be affected by expiry dates or have long expiry dates but not so much food any longer as we found we weren’t eating it fast enough. Stockpiling is still great and just one way to help cut your budget to save money if you do find items that you can buy in bulk at a sale price.
  • Canadian Coupons: Where can I find Canadian Coupons?: Here are your latest Checkout 51 offers that you can use to help you save money in the Grocery Game Challenge. There are many great Canadian Couponing websites online that share weekly coupon match-ups so you can plan your grocery list.
  • Best Coupon Apps: Coupons are slowly fading with mobile coupon apps being the big rave these days. Just recently the popular coupon site Save.ca that mailed coupons to households has gotten involved with the addition of a new mobile Save.ca app joining forces with the many other coupon apps available. If you find an app that I don’t talk about please let me know as they are always being added and I’d like to review them.
  • What is the Best Flyer App- We use Flipp on our Iphone so if you wan to have all your flyers in one spot download Flipp from the Apple Store or get it on Google Play.
  • What is an FPC?: An FPC is a free product coupon which means you can get a free product as described on the coupon. Some of these coupons have an expiry date and others no expiry date so be sure to check.
  • What is GGC?– The Grocery Game Challenge of course!
  • How Do I Know what stores accept coupons?:  If you are not sure it’s always best to call the store and ask.
  • How Do I Grocery Shop?: I can tell you about grocery shopping and what we do in terms of shopping to save money and how it works for us. There are no wrong or right answers, just smart choices.

If you’ve just joined The Grocery Game Challenge 2018 get ready to look at your grocery budget by learning;

  • Where you are spending money
  • How much money you are spending
  • How much money you are saving every month

If you want to learn everything I know about grocery shopping in Canada check out my Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide!  You’ve made a wise decision to take control of your grocery budget now show me your shops and let’s get saving!

Welcome to The Grocery Game Challenge 2018!

-Mr.CBB

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Comments

  1. In this day and age, i cannot believe someone would even ask of you were embarrassed about finding so many deals! I’m the type of person to say “see this shirt?” “Got it for $3” lol. My husband no longer goes grocery shopping with me because i take so long comparing sale prices and calculating whether the 3 for $5 is cheaper than buying 3 of another brand or the cost per grams. Stores like to make you think you’re getting a deal but iften you are getting less in the package. My favorite thing to watch for is pork loins on sale. I usually buy 3 of them. Then cut them up into chops and roasts. I do the same with beef roasts.

  2. Question – what is Christmas Reserve Fund? Do you have a link to an article about this?

    Thanks!

    • Hi Julie,
      Great question. The Christmas reserve fund was started this year as we found that we spent more on groceries at Christmas. We decided to track it monthly as a projected expense as we knew we would need the money come December above our regular grocery expenses. There is no dedicated post to the Christmas reserve fund however I did write a post about our projected expenses that explains how we save for them and why. Mary who also posts her grocery game posts was who inspired me to save for the Christmas Reserve. If you have a look at her posts in the comments of the GGC posts you will see her reserve funds that she saves for. Perhaps Mary might have more to add and some tips for you. Let me see if she reads this comment or I will contact her directly.

    • Mary Campbell says:

      Julie,

      My Christmas Reserve fund covers the extras that come up between American Thanksgiving and New Years…for our family that’s baking supplies, candies, chocolates, nuts, a turkey, a ham, any specialty party trays that we may order, drinks such as sparkling apple juice and what not. This assumes we’ll actually be home to use the funds though. Some years we are vacationing at that time of year and using our vacation budget instead. When that happens, we just keep saving for the following Christmas and can have an even grander holiday season at home the following holiday season. My Christmas Reserve is not all cash though…it’s a combination of cash set aside, Air Miles that can be redeemed, More Rewards that can be redeemed and PC Optimum Points for the balance.

  3. Mary Campbell says:

    SEPT – Week #4 of 4- Sept 24-30, 2018

    2018 GROCERY BUDGET / STOCKPILE BUDGET AND US RESERVE:

    •Total Grocery Budgeted For Year: $190.00 x 12 = $2,280.00 for 2 adults

    ============================================================================================

    REMARKS FOR THE MONTH:

    I have a canoe in the garage, but I am beginning to think it may be time to build an ark what with all this rain!

    REMARKS FOR THE WEEK:

    Well, it’s a small shopping week for us to close out the month but I still managed to go almost $5 over budget! It’s ok, I will straighten it up next month.

    ============================================================================================

    OUR “CANADIAN” SHOPPING:

    Meridian Farm Market – Maple Ridge

    2 large cauliflower @ $1.98 ea = $3.96
    1 x 3lbs Gala Apples – FREE

    • Total Grocery OOP: $3.96

    —————————————————————–

    Walmart – Maple Ridge

    1 Great Value Ham 1.7 Kg $10

    • Total Grocery OOP: $10.00

    —————————————————————–

    Safeway – Maple Ridge

    12 Barilla Gluten Free Spaghetti @ $1.99 ea = $23.88

    • Total Re-Stocking Reserve: $23.88

    ============================================================================================

    OUR “US RESERVE” SHOPPING:

    OUR NEXT USA SHOP WILL BE IN OCTOBER

    ============================================================================================

    2018 Y-T-D GROCERY SAVINGS:

    •Total Loyalty Card Price Reductions This Year: $264.06

    •Total Coupons/Rain Checks Used This Year: $0.00

    •Total Price Match Savings Used This Year: $0.00

    •Total More Points Earned This Year: 11,079 Points

    •Total Air Miles Earned This Year: 398 Air Miles

    •Total PC Optimum Points Earned This Year: 13,500 Points

    ============================================================================================

    • SUMMARY OF FUNDS Y-T-D:

    $ 1,710.00 Grocery Budget JAN-SEPT

    $238.26 NET RESERVE TRANSFERS

    ($ 1,952.57) Actual CASH SPENT

    ($ 4.31) AVAILABLE Y-T-D GGC SPENDING NOT INCL RESERVES

    • RESERVES Y-T-D:

    $ 85.54 Freezer Re-Stocking Fund

    $ 282.59 Holiday Season Fund + $280 PC Optimum Points ($230 Mary + $50 Larry) + $10 Dream Air Miles
    = $572.59

    $ 680.69 Summer Season Fund

    $ 262.42 US Shopping Reserve

    $ 147.92 GGC Savings Reserve

    $ 0.00 Points Redeemed Reserve

    OUR CURRENT TOTAL UNUSED RESERVES ARE $1,459.16. This means the 1,761.30 that we carried forward from 2017 PLUS AN ADDITIONAL $1,278.86 that we have added in 2018, LESS $1,581.00 that we have drawn out for use in 2018.

    NOTE: Although I appear to be overspending with my reserves lately, the reserves will be replenished with my October-November-December grocery budgets when we switch to using the funds in our vacation budget.

    ============================================================================================

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