Freebies We Get From Our Favourite Canadian Grocery Store : The GGC 2018 #1 October 1-7

FREEBIES at our favourite Canadian grocery store



We took the opportunity this week to explore what freebies we could find at Zehrs one of our favourite grocery stores so we could better understand what we may have been taking for granted or overlooking.

Have you ever said, “Oh, I didn’t know you could get that for free?” and then smile. It happens to us all the time and most consumers who find value in freebies that relate to them feel the same way. Everyone has to eat which means making a trip to the grocery store so finding out you can get freebies where you shop is one of the best smiles of our day.

Not everyone wants the frills that comes with a mid-priced grocery store because they have zero to no interest in freebies but for those of you who do the perks are out there. Some of the best grocery stores in Canada offer stellar prices but without anything more for the customer where others have higher prices, yet competitive with red carpet appeal.

What this means is that you are less-likely to find all of the freebies we mention below at a grocery store that cuts costs by eliminating or limiting the overall comfortable customer experience. You basically, get in and get out which was great when we didn’t have our son but now that we are parents who are aging we tend to like these small perks especially when there are freebies included.


Where you grocery shop matters


While we were grocery shopping the other day it just so happened to be a weekend night and the grocery store wasn’t so busy which was a bonus for us. We decided to get the shopping done and over with since it was Saturday and we were already out and about instead of having to make another trip out on Sunday.

We are fortunate since our son loves the grocery shopping experience and we tend to make it educational and spend time with him in the store teaching him about products and where to find certain things he likes. It has come to benefit us over the past 4 years and now he knows what he wants especially the free snacks that come along with what we call a field trip for him.

As he sat in the comfy lounge watching a cartoon on her smart phone via the free wi-fi gobbling down his free organic banana in the grocery store Mrs. CBB and I looked at each other and said, this is the grocery shopping life.

Not all grocery stores offer this experience and although you may find products to be a bit more expensive you don’t have to buy them all. We are what you call dual-grocery store shoppers which means we typically shop at two grocery stores each week.

Perhaps it’s a bit of a field trip for mom and dad too but our little guy loves it and so we bring him along with us. The grocery stores we typically go to are Zehrs, Food Basics and on occasion Costco and No Frills (price match).

You might notice from our weekly grocery shops that we are creatures of habit and tend to buy the same foods over and over again unless we find a 50% off sticker. This is when we might tend to explore products we typically wouldn’t buy at full or sale price since we don’t know what they taste like.

We always buy our milk from Shoppers Drug Mart when they offer 20x the points for the PC Optimum program since you get a free bag of milk back in points. Bonus… we love freebies!

The key to staying on budget is following a grocery budget and setting boundaries where you grocery shop including when to say enough is enough. Going overboard buying stuff not on your list comes with consequences we know very well but have managed to overcome by being frugal.

Not everyone can do this or wants to do this so take caution with this habit although great savings are to be had it can backfire on you.


Freebies we’ve found at our local Zehrs Marketplace Grocery Superstore


  • Free Grocery Packing- With a toddler in tow it’s always nice to have freebies such as a grocery bagging service at our local Zehrs stores although I jump in and help when I can since I don’t like to get in the way.
  • Free Scanning Code of Practice– This program is optional and not all grocery stores will offer this which means if they mess up the customer benefits but long-term the store does too because we help them find flaws in their training and computer systems.
  • Free Snacks for Kids- Sure, you can bring snacks to the grocery store but I find our son looks forward to his freebies of fresh fruit and a free cookie from the in-store bakery.
  • Free Samples- Out of all the grocery stores in Canada there are few that offer freebies of food or drink samples and it just so happens that our Zehrs does offer them throughout the deli and produce section *occasional which we like. Not everyone knows what certain foods taste like so a small sample will help the buying or denying process of a product. If we grocery shop on the weekend we are more likely to run into sample counters in various parts of the grocery store. My favourite is the free wine samples from the wine and beer shop!!
  • Free Coupons– You might laugh at this but lots of companies are using online coupon apps now to market product savings which means the customer has to spend time and money on ink and paper to print coupons. Having the free coupon stand at Loblaws stores is wonderful and I hope they keep it.
  • Free Parking- Our grocery store offer free parking and most do but there are some around that do not which means extra money coming from your pocket. This might make grocery pickup seem a bit more approachable if the grocery store offers free pick-up spots.
  • Free Lounge and TV Area- If you are fortunate to have a Loblaws store that offers cooking classes and has a full hot food and prepared meals counter you might be happy to find a free lounge, dining and television centre.  Believe it or not when we were new parents we used this area to feed our son, relax with him when he wasn’t up for shopping. It’s a wonderful idea for everyone.
  • Free Dining Area– If you want to stop in for lunch because you work in the area or you want to grocery shop and eat lunch on your lunch break our store offers a hot counter, pre-made food and a dining area.
  • Free Rewards Points- I love getting rewards points for credit card purchases but what we love even more is getting PC Optimum rewards points on top of those purchases for groceries and other items at Loblaws and Shoppers Drug Mart stores. With over 3 million points ($3500) waiting for us to spend I’d say we have done well for ourselves the last few years. Free groceries are awesome.
  • Free Wi-Fi- This is a BIG YES from Mrs. CBB because she always has her smart phone with her and without a data plan she has no access to the internet. Offering free wi-fi is a bonus for shoppers who want to do a bit of online consulting throughout their grocery experience.
  • Free Online Health and Wellness Resources and Tools- Not every online grocery website you go has resources and tools to help the customer from nutrition to meal planning to weight-loss tips. These services are valuable to shoppers who want to learn more about their health from the store they trust when purchasing food and other products for their home.
  • Free Sage Health Magazine- Natural Living For You And Your Family filled with health articles and tips which Mrs. CBB loves since she is big into nutrition and healthy eating. Freebies such as this are often over-looked but keep an eye out of magazine racks in the front entrance or throughout departments in your store.
  • Free Online Recipes with Ingredient List you can add to your shopping cart for pickup which is convenient for those people who want to simplify their grocery shopping and meal planning experience.
  • Free Month of PC Express Pickup for New Online Grocery Shoppers– If you are new to online grocery shopping you can score a free month of pick-up which means you can do other things in your vehicle while someone else does the packing!
  • Free Shopping Carts– I loathe having to find money to put inside a shopping cart to do my groceries. As simple of a task it may seem when you are busy or have kids in tow and forget to pack that spare quarter to score a shopping cart it can become a pain in the butt.

A bit of a bummer because this Field Trip Factory program is ending at the finish of 2018 but Zehrs currently offers a Nutrition for Kids program.

If you want your kids to learn about grocery shopping and nutrition and their teacher is interested in a class trip now is the time to book a slot. This is a FREE service for teachers who have children in JK- Grade 12 from 5 to 30 students. Visit for more info.

An expert registered dietitian leads students through the aisles of your community Loblaw banner store where they learn the importance of a balanced meal, how different nutrients benefit their bodies and discover that not all cereals are the same.

This interactive learning experience engages students and teaches them to make informed healthy food choices using the Guiding Stars® nutrition labeling system, Canada’s Food Guide and grade-appropriate, hands-on activities.

Creating healthy lifestyle behaviours

Learning how to make informed eating decisions

Understanding the Guiding Stars shelf labeling system

Recognizing the nutritional value of foods based on Canada’s Food Guide

Learning how to identify and prepare healthy meals and snacks (older grades)

Play-based Learning: Learning in Real-Life Contexts

Developing Numeracy

Developing Social Skills

Understanding Health and Nutrition Concepts and Developing Health Literacy

Making Connections for Healthier Living and Daily Physical Activity

In order to know what your grocery store offers for free you have to investigate, talk to people and learn about the store you trust to help feed your family.

If you aren’t sure about programs offered by your store ask customer service or your cashier for information. Sometimes just getting to know the staff offers perks on its own because they know how much of a valued customer you are.

Related: How to ask your cashier to apply SCOP to your order.

Discussion: What FREE STUFF can you get at your local grocery store? Leave comments below for other readers looking for more info.



October 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!

Last Shop from September5 Pointers To Find The Best Prices At The Grocery Store


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
  • 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



  • Greek Yogurt Vanilla Bean large $5.99-50% $3.00
  • Large Eggs 2 dozen $1.99 each $3.98
  • Bananas $1.69
  • 4 Bosc Pears $3.78
  • 3 pack cucumbers $2.99
  • 2 bags of 5 avocados for $5
  • PC Jerk Pork Chops $3
  • 3 x Schneiders Bacon sale $3.88  $11.64
  • Tomatoes on the vine $1.97
  • Celery Stalk $1.99
  • 2 x Black Diamond Old Cheese bars $3.99 each $7.98
  • 2 x half and half cream $1.99 each $3.98
  • 4 x Nielsen Whipping Cream $1.99 each $7.96
  • Coke Zero Case $3.99

Total Out-of-Pocket $62.95

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
  • Stockpile budget 2018 : $25.00/month
  • Stockpile budget used this month: $17.08
  • Christmas Reserve Fund : $35/month $305 Saved
  • Total coupons used this week: $0
  • Total coupons used to date: $1
  • Total in-store discounts this week: $3.00
  • Total in-store discounts to date: $202.42
  • Total spent this week: $62.95
  • Total spent so far this month: $62.95
  • Total over/Under spend this shop: $0
  • Total left to spend for the month: $237.05
  • 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)

We didn’t have a huge shop this week but we managed to chime in on some of the deals at Zehrs because we did a weekend shop. The bacon sale was a Saturday and Sunday only sale so we stocked up on a few packs.

The pork chops have two per pack which is perfect for Mrs. CBB and I for dinner and for $3 that was a bargain for us and no prep-work needed.

It was also nice to get the eggs, celery and cucumbers on sale this week since we were out.  I find this time of year for celery is a must for soups as are onions which we bought last week for 0.99 at Zehrs for 3lbs.

See you next week!



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 that mailed coupons to households has gotten involved with the addition of a new mobile 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!


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  1. OCT – Week #1 of 5- Oct 1-7, 2018


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



    Before we start our OCT shopping off, I am going to make my “reserve” transfers for the months of OCT, NOV and DEC:


    $ 570.00 for the 3 months ($190 x 3)
    ( $ 4.31) Overage from SEPT
    ($ 465.00) trf to re-stocking – normally $15.00
    ($ 15.00) trf to holiday reserve–normally 15.00
    ($ 15.00) trf to summer reserve–normally 15.00
    ($ 45.00) trf to US Reserve –normally $45.00

    CANADIAN Grocery Balance $25.69

    This month is mostly about shopping the pantry and using up any perishables we have on hand.

    There will be NO SHOPPING in either November or December since hubby is “on vacation” and we’ll be flitting here and there enjoying meals out with friends and family using our budgeted vacation funds.

    We have more than enough supplies on hand to have a different soup every night of the week those nights that we are at home for supper though…it pays to be well stocked on carrots, onions and celery for my soups. I have a cupboard full of dried pulses and grains and can whip up a soup in our crockpot while we are out having fun!

    This week we’ll tap the Summer Reserve & Re-Stocking Reserve for a few supplies to help bridge the gap between now and 2019 when our grocery shopping resumes. After this shop though, for the balance of October, it will be strictly shopping as NEEDED…for example redeem some MORE points for a jug of milk if we need it or to pick up another dozen eggs if we have to..

    I draw your attention to our Reserves…this year we have once again saved more money than we withdrew from our Reserves meaning that our budget will hold steady at $190 per month when we resume regular shopping in 2019. That’ll be the seventh straight year with no budget increase for our groceries… woo hoo! I am giving myself a BIG pat on the back for another successful year of meal planning, shopping the sales as needed and limiting my wants and dealing only with our needs.

    The GGC has helped keep me on the straight and narrow too…just because I want it does not mean I will actually buy it when I have to come clean on my splurges in the next post. It’s also amazing how fast you can go over budget unless you are marking it all down and keeping track of how much you have spent so far in the month.


    I’m looking forward to the Canadian Thanksgiving 4-day weekend with my sweetie – just loaded with fun activities plus we’re going to hit our “vacation funds” to splurge on all sorts of dining out! I’m planning all kinds of seafood in my weekend but hubby will no doubt want a burger and nachos for his treats.

    I have decided that this year, Thanksgiving means skipping the dishes! Ha ha ha! 🙂



    RCSS – Pitt Meadows – Mary’s card

    1 Ginger $1.02
    2 bunches radishes $1.56
    8 Granny Smith Apples $6.36
    4 Red Delicious Apples $4.73
    1 x 3 lb Mandarins $5.97
    1 bunch Bananas $1.01

    6 Old Mill English Muffins @ $1 ea = $6.00
    2 Old Mill Dinner Rolls @ $1.50 ea = $3.00
    1 dozen eggs $2.92
    1 Velveeta Double Pack Cheese Slices $7.34
    1 x 2.6 kg Minute Rice $7.78
    1 Arrowroot Cookies $10.99
    1 Club Size Nature Valley Granola Bars Sweet & Salty $11.98

    4 Old Mill Pies (2 Blueberry, 1 Apple, 1 Pumpkin) @ $2.47 ea = $9.88 << Thanksgiving treats for hubby!

    • Summer Reserve: $20.65
    • Total Re-Stocking Reserve: $38.03
    • Total Grocery OOP: $9.88

    ** Earned 1200 Optimum Points on this shop for Mary **
    ** USED $0.00 in Rain Check Coupons **
    ** SAVED $0.00 Loyalty Savings on this shop **


    No Frills – Larry’s Card – Pitt Meadows

    2 bunches Celery @ $1.27 ea= $2.54
    1 WW Casa Mendosa Tortillas $2.50
    1 x 16 oz PC White Mushrooms $3.27

    • Total Grocery OOP: $8.31

    ** Earned 600 Optimum Points on this shop for Larry **
    ** USED $0.00 in Rain Check Coupons **
    ** SAVED $0.00 Loyalty Savings on this shop **


    Thrifty Foods – Maple Ridge –

    1 x 3lb Carrots $1.99
    1 x 3lb Yellow Onions $1.95

    • Total Grocery OOP: $3.91

    ** Earned 0 Air Miles on this shop **
    ** USED $0.00 in Rain Check Coupons **
    ** SAVED $2.07 Loyalty Savings on this shop **






    •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: 15,300 Points



    $ 2,280.00 Grocery Budget JAN-DEC


    ($ 2,033.35) Actual CASH SPENT



    $ 512.51 Freezer Re-Stocking Fund
    $ 297.59 Holiday Season Fund + $280 PC Optimum Points ($230 Mary + $50 Larry) + $10 Dream Air Miles
    = $587.59
    $ 675.04 Summer Season Fund
    $ 307.42 US Shopping Reserve
    $ 147.92 GGC Savings Reserve
    $ 0.00 Points Redeemed Reserve

    OUR CURRENT TOTAL UNUSED RESERVES ARE $1,940.48. This means the 1,761.30 that we carried forward from 2017 PLUS AN ADDITIONAL $1,818.86 that we have added in 2018, LESS $1,639.68 that we have drawn out for use in 2018.


    1. Hi Mary,
      That was a nice stock up on vegetables for soup and something I mentioned in our comments this week as well. You picked up the celery cheaper than we did at $1.99 which I think is fabulous. Do you freeze celery at all? I’ve never done anything like that. I like making soups in the winter as well so if we find it cheap we stock it. I’m still working on that one squash we have left that we bought by accident, lol. I think soup is in order this weekend especially since it hasn’t stopped raining for days here.
      Why are the apples so pricey this time of year? I find they are super cheap in Ontario but we have masses of apple orchards everywhere. We picked up a dozen for $6 picked from the tree. I found the pears to be pricey here as we paid near $1 for each pear but our son likes them and so do I. We won’t be having a Thanksgiving celebration this year with my father-in-law gone so it’s regular dinner we are giving thanks for instead. I’m not sure what that will be yet. Overall, the GGC has been great for us both and any other fans who have successfully completed the year in the past (not many can say that though…. yay for us! 2012-2018. I will likely do a closing post on the GGC for the year. Anyways no tears, just a happy month of October ahead and lots of grocery savings, right? Tell Larry I’m jealous of his pies. I haven’t had a pie in ages and perhaps, I should buy one or two. I saw a recipe for a coconut cream pie cheesecake I was thinking about making, gluten-free of course. Have a great week to you both Mary x Mr.CBB 🙂

      1. I don’t freeze celery or peppers but but they can be dehydrated for use in soups over the winter when the price soars. When you consider that most of my soups are vegetarian though – a bunch of celery even in the dead of winter is affordable. 🙂

        I could have bought cheaper apples, Gala were on sale, but hubby only eats Red Delicious. Considering 4 apples are enough for his lunches for a month…he might as well eat what he likes. I’m obviously the Granny Smith gal and in fact just finished a diced granny smith and celery salad for my lunch.

        Hubby didn’t waste any time cutting into one of those blueberry pies. I don’t treat him to pie often but at that price…who could turn them down. 🙂

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