Cutting out the middle-man is one of the best ways to yield grocery savings however we don’t all have access to farmers markets year-round or the green thumb to grow a vegetable garden.
One of the biggest culprits of increasing your food budget is buying the wrong food products and not shopping and cooking seasonally.
Many of you might not even know you are doing this but you are and I’m going to show you how to save money instead of paying someone else to do the work for you.
Sticking to the perimeter of the grocery store will offer you the best savings because you will find whole foods.
We rarely go down the aisles and since it has been years since we’ve followed this practice it almost seems like too much work to do so.
Maybe that’s not the right words, how about against the law, naughty, a big mistake. It’s just a big no-no unless we aim for a specific item on our list like yeast for example which I will talk about in a moment.
Trust me when I say that there are grocery savings to be had but if you aren’t taking advantage of what is offered to you then you’re the customers that manufacturers market to.
They want people like you to buy their products at full-price or for added costs because of the convenience they provide to you.
You are the reason the grocery savings are available to the frugal shoppers, so thank-you.
Investigate the products you buy
I couldn’t possibly argue with each and every grocery shopper about why they don’t need to buy the smallest box of Cheerios for far more than a jumbo box would cost.
The price is always in the numbers so I could be right or wrong based on current sales price.
Nope, it’s not my job to tell you that you are wasting money however I will write about it in my blog and the rest is up to you. It’s your money after all.
Grocery savings are available and not only have I proved it over the years some of my readers who have participated in the grocery game challenge have taken advantage of them as well.
This has helped them keep the same grocery budget year after year without having to worry about cost of living increases in the food budget.
It’s more about THINK before you SHOP which includes what products will give me the best bang for your buck.
I’m not talking about using coupons, sales flyers, price-matching, grocery app savings, rewards points either.
I’m talking straight up grocery savings because you are buying one product over an other at regular price. Ideally, this is a way to get used to reading labels and comparing prices.
If an item is on sale and comparable products are not then perhaps you might already know what the winning product will be.
BUT, not always.
The reason I am tackling grocery savings from this perspective is because you won’t always have coupons for every product, you won’t get rewards points for every product and you most certainly won’t find what you want reduced when you want it.
In other words the odds are stacked against consumers who are looking to be frugal using the popular tactics that are plain to see as mentioned above because your options are limited.
What if it’s not on sale?
It’s important to remember that just because you’ve become a pro at chopping your grocery budget by using the above you must ask yourself what you would do if something wasn’t on sale. Sure, you could walk away and not buy it.
Fair enough, however what if you really needed it? You’re hoping to make a recipe you’ve been preparing for and ran out of yeast but it’s not on sale and pricey.
Your options are the bottle of yeast for $4.99 or three tiny packets for $2.79. Which do you pick?
Ideally, you’d do the math. Most grocery shelf labels will even tell you what you are paying per x amount. Not everyone does and this is the easiest way to compare so you get the best grocery savings.
Most likely you will get the best bang for you buck buying the jar of yeast but you might convince yourself that you won’t possibly use it before the expiry date. Don’t worry, you can freeze it.
We’ve been doing it for years and it works perfectly fine.
Manufacturers need to make money and if they didn’t put a best before date people would hang on to everything using these tricks and no one would keep throwing stuff out and re-buying it again.
Catch my drift?
What will be your grocery savings?
Stop and ask yourself now what other products do you buy that you could investigate further as to whether you’d get better grocery savings if you went bigger.
Not only that consider what other products you could enjoy instead of the pricier version that would satisfy you just as well.
Take cereal for example, it’s expensive to buy the healthy stuff with little to no added sugar especially when it’s not on sale.
A jumbo or family size box of cereal can cost around $5.99-$7.99 or more and for those of you with kids who eat cereal any chance they can get, it won’t last long.
However, if you replace your cereal with a big bag of delicious oats for half the cost you could make that last far longer. Not because no one will eat it, haha but because it’s filling and will go further than a box of cereal.
The idea is to think about what foods you do like and what you can do to stretch your grocery savings. No one says you MUST eat oatmeal if you don’t care for it as much and get rid of your cereal.
What you will want to do is mix it up a bit if oatmeal isn’t your favourite breakfast rather than eating expensive cereal every single day. Teach yourself the beauty of variety in your meals for the best grocery savings.
If you can rid of the costly food product and opt for the best savings product you’re even further ahead.
Oh, and just because cereal goes on sale often doesn’t mean that it will always be the best option over buying a big bag of oats.
Do the math.
You need to understand how many bowls/servings (no one actually sticks to cereal servings) one bag of cereal will give you and how many bowls of oatmeal you will get from a bag.
Sounds like the worst thing in the world to have to do BUT if savings are what you want then math is what you need to do.
P.s Those little packs of instant oatmeal are a HUGE money-maker for the manufacturer, Just saying.
Let’s take a look at a few other grocery savings we’ve picked up over the years that you might want to consider for your next shopping trip.
Meats vs. Deli Sliced Meats (fresh or pre-packaged)
Deli meats are delicious because they are freshly sliced, conveniently packaged and perfect for lunch making. All of these perks are costing consumers big bucks. You’re paying someone to do the work for you when you can do it yourself.
Most often if you ask the deli-clerk to slice something for you they may do so or they will charge you but it will almost always be cheaper.
Some people have invested in buying a home slicer for around $100 where they buy whole cuts of meat such as pre-cooked ham or turkey then slice it at home.
You can also make your own roast beef, corned beef and pastrami buying it on sale, roasting and then slicing it for lunches. You can freeze sliced meats as well.
The next time you reach for that pre-sliced salami have a look at the full salami next to it and do the math. You may just find it’s far less to buy a whole salami than it is to buy it sliced. Smart shopping starts with being alert to pricing!!
Frozen Fruits and Vegetables vs. Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
A good point to make is that for those sweet vegetables like peas or corn once you pick them you must eat them right away.
The sugars turn to starch quickly so they lose their sweetness the longer you wait.
Frozen fruits and vegetables are often flash frozen right away which is why they may taste better and cost less.
The other option is to buy in bulk at the end of the season and take it home to process it yourself for the freezer or canning.
You can buy bushels of fruits and vegetables near the end of the growing season in most grocery stores for a super price. Process them yourself for yearly savings.
This summer we picked strawberries and processed them and now they are in our freezer to use once the prices increase at the grocery store.
The same goes for blueberries, apples, pears and other fruits that you can grow yourself or pick at the market or farm for cheap.
Cheese Bricks vs. Shredded Cheese
Walk away from the shred!
A huge money-making business is the cheese business because for many consumers pretty bags of shredded cheese call out their name. Not only is it convenient but it’s cost you lots of money.
I recently investigated these pre-shredded cheeses only to find that you get approximately 320 grams of cheese vs. 450-500 g if you had bought a bar of the same brand. Shred it at home as needed and it will taste fresher and the grocery savings are a win for you.
We buy big bricks of cheese from Costco which is cheaper (we’ve done the math) and shred it at home.
Now, for those of you who freak out when you see mold on cheese, don’t. It’s meant to mold and most cheeses especially hard cheese have mold casings around them.
Just cut it off and go on your way eating it. You can also freeze cheese for later use but I would shred it first.
The next time you go to the grocery store compare yogurt tubs vs. yogurt cups of the same product and do the math.
Sure, you could make it at home but for most consumers that’s not going to happen.
What you can do to save money is buy that tub of yogurt which most likely will ring up cheaper than the cups and pour it into a little container for work or school lunches.
Easy, done and still convenient. We use mini Tupperware containers for our son and pack a spoon for him.
Bagged vs. No Bag
The exception to this rule might be at a place like Costco where almost everything is bagged however you will find that many prices are still cheaper. Again, do the math.
There are so many products that are in the produce section that will come bagged such as apples, radishes etc.
Most often just steps away will be their naked, un-bagged relatives that will offer you better grocery savings. Keep your eyes peeled for all products just not what you first see or what’s on sale.
I know it’s easy to fall into the bagged lettuce trap but don’t do it. We’ve been telling ourselves this for years and always revert back to buying a head of romaine or iceberg for FAR LESS.
It takes minutes to wash and dry lettuce and you’ll find the grocery savings to be huge.
You will save lots of money buy bagging your own produce unless of course it is supposed to come in a bag like your 5lbs of potatoes but avoid those aluminum foil wrapped potatoes (do it yourself).
Check oz. for oz. prices and read the labels so you know what you’re paying for.
Walk away from the chopped vegetables as you will pay more for someone or a machine to take seconds to chop your vegetables.
Unless of course you must buy them chopped for health related reasons you can do the work yourself which takes minutes and a huge grocery savings.
Don’t believe me?
Read the price labels next time you shop.
I bet you’ll find the exact same mushrooms whole and sliced, same weight where the sliced mushrooms will cost you more.
Sneaky, but that’s the money-maker for the grocery store.
Expiry Date Demons
You don’t have to buy in bulk to get the best grocery savings especially if you don’t think you can eat your way through a product before it expires.
However, keep in mind that just because a product has an expiry date doesn’t necessarily mean it must be eaten by then or it’s no longer edible.
An expiry date is more of a best before type of date but even then manufacturers most often have a window of opportunity for consumers to eat something up before it really does go off.
For example, we have bought 50% off products from Zehrs for over 10 years now and even though the best before date is a day away or even the day of the product still lasted us up to a week or so later.
We conducted an experiment once because we wanted to see just how accurate that date was. In our opinion it’s more of a caution light rather than a red light.
So, before you head out on your planned shopping trip consider each product on your list and decide whether you can make changes to help increase your grocery savings.
Even if you switch up a few products the savings are worth it to your overall yearly grocery budget.
Discussion: What other products are shoppers buying that aren’t helping their grocery savings?
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 October – Food Odours And Low-Cost Ways To Rid Of Them
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: 3,600,000
- Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP) to date $0
Coupon Apps (add any other apps you use to save money)
- Zweet -$0
- Checkout51– $1.50
Our Grocery Shop This Week
- Asiago Cheese Brick $20
- 6 x 35% Cream $4.15 each $24.90
- 6 x 10% cream $1.95 each $11.70
- Mushrooms whole $3.97
- Bag of large Avocados $7.99
- Peanuts $8.99
- 2x salted Natrel Butter $3.99 each $7.98
- Mozzarella brick Salerno $21.99
- Almond Flour $16.99
- Hellman’s Mayo $5.99
- Unico stuffed green Olives $5.99
Total out-of-pocket $136.49
Shoppers Drug Mart
- 4 x Milk 4L $17.08
Total Out-of-Pocket $17.08
Note: All totals below already have tax factored into them.
- Total to spend this month : $300.00-$6.10 overage Oct $293.90
- Stockpile budget 2018 : $25.00/month
- Stockpile budget used this month: $0
- Christmas Reserve Fund : $35/month $340 Saved
- Total coupons used this week: $0
- Total coupons used to date: $1
- Total in-store discounts this week: $0
- Total in-store discounts to date: $318.29
- Total spent this week: $153.57
- Total spent so far this month: $153.57
- Total over/Under spend this shop: $
- Total left to spend for the month: $140.33
- 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 $306.10+ November $ + December $
Weekly Overview (your final thoughts)
This was our Costco month for groceries so it’s going to be tight but manageable from what our freezer inventory is telling us. We completed an inventory just before Halloween and found that we have WAY too much to eat up so our goal for the remainder of the year is to eat the freezer. (not literally, ha)
What we do buy at Costco is remarkably cheaper than if we were to buy it at the grocery store. Items such as the Olives, Asiago cheese, mozzarella cheese and whipping cream are far more expensive at Costco than Zehrs where we typically shop or even Food Basics.
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.
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
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 Wal-Mart Canada and enjoy this $10 from Me To You for first time shoppers!
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.
- Clorox Coupons Sign up to print coupons in the Clorox family
- Kraft Canada Sign up and receive recipes and coupons by email
- MySavings.com Printable Smart Source Coupons
- Walmart Canada Printable Coupons
- Proctor and Gamble PandG Sign up for printable coupons
- Hidden Coupon Portals
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!
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