Winter Months Of Grocery Shopping Savings Survival Guide

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winter months of grocery shopping savings survival guide

Keep Your Grocery Savings Coming In All Winter Long

Grocery shopping during the summer is far easier than during the winter months when temperatures reach below zero.

However, just because the seasons change that doesn’t mean your grocery budget needs to as well.

I know that some of you who despise winter grocery shopping might let your guard down hunting for savings because you just want to get it over with.

Trust me, I’ve been there but simply can’t afford to spend more than what our grocery budget allows.

These days there are many options when it comes to grocery shopping but they come with a price. 

You can have groceries delivered to your house or you can drive to the grocery store and someone will deliver an online order to your car. 

I don’t know about you but the first day of winter for me is when I see any white stuff falling from the sky.

The last thing we enjoy doing is grocery shopping during the winter months in Canada however we live here and must endure the change in season like the rest of the population.

It’s not so bad though as long as you are prepared to freeze your butt off but for those of you who are new to Canada like I once was battling the elements can be tough.

I was NOT used to the amount of snow that we get in Canada so I had to learn fast how to be prepared for situations such as a trip to the grocery store or even to work and back.

There were times I’d go after school on the city bus to the grocery store to pick up a few staples and I wasn’t ready for the slush, broken bags, and having nowhere to sit.

No matter where you go during the winter months it’s important to have a plan B in mind before you head out just in case things go wrong.

No one wants to be stranded out in the cold especially if you have kids along for your grocery shopping trip and even worse if you’re walking.

After we became parents it was apparent that we needed to plan our grocery shopping adventures wisely because we have to as parents.

If you can leave the kids with parents, friends, or relatives that might help but not all parents have this option nor want to bother people for chores such as grocery shopping.

Keep in mind if you have seniors in your area or those with disabilities that could use some help or a ride to the grocery store they may appreciate that.

I know my mother-in-law has some great neighbours who always check in on her to see if she needs anything or takes her along for the ride.

An email from a fan last week prompted me to consider this post about grocery shopping during the winter months because she is now a single mom living in an apartment building without a vehicle.

Grocery Shopping During The Winter Months

Dear Mr. CBB,

I’ve gone from living in a beautiful home with my ex-husband to living in an apartment with our 5-year-old son and no vehicle.

I depended on my husband to drive us everywhere and now we are on our own.

The grocery store is about a 20-minute walk up the street and to be honest, the winter months scare me because I’m not sure how I will fare with a child in tow.

Do you or your readers have any tips to help me grocery shop and save month this winter without having transportation?

P.S I have a double stroller that I bought so I could pack groceries into one side.


Heather K.

Toronto, Ontario

Bring Heavy Shopping Bags

Hands up if you’ve ever had a plastic grocery bag break on you and products rolling around the ground.

Yes, I have, a few times in fact.

These days almost every grocery store is charging for plastic or paper shopping bags so unless you want to pay for them, bring some.

The main reason for this trip though is that plastic bags in the winter are horrible especially if you are walking.

Try not to picture yourself on the ground in the wet, cold snow picking up your groceries strewn all over the place because a plastic bag broke.

You will want to find some nice fabric shopping bags that are easy to carry and strong enough to handle heavy items especially if you have to walk, take the bus, taxi, Uber, train, subway, or bike with groceries for long distances.

A quick trip to any second-hand shop and you can find loads of shopping bags for cheap or check the cash registers at most grocery stores as they will sell them for a dollar or two each.

That can get pricey however remember they are meant to last so you won’t be buying them each time you grocery shop.

Stockpile While The Price Is Right

If you don’t drive and do have a ride once in a while stock up on what you need especially if it is on sale.

You can still shop the loss leaders and get ahead of yourself even if you have to cut back on other items such as snacks that you can do without.

Related: Stocking up for Winter

Honestly, I would suggest doing this all year because if you start early and you have space it’s easy to build a pantry or stockpile that can last you through the winter months.

Plan Your Meals 

I’ve always talked about meal planning and stocking your pantry on the blog but during the winter months if you can plan your meals further ahead than one week that’s even better.

During the winter months when you may struggle to get out for groceries having that plan B in place (a second or third-week meal plan) is essential.

We even go as far as freezing milk, bread, and butter which are staples in our house so we know that we’ve got them in the freezer over the winter months.

You can even prepare summer fruits and vegetables for freezing, canning, or dehydration so you have a full stock of products to choose from in the event a winter storm keeps you home and the pantry is slim.

Another great tip that we were given is to bulk cook or bake and freeze meals so they are ready to go in situations such as a winter storm where you can’t get out of the house or don’t feel like going grocery shopping for a day or two.

Watch the weather forecast

It’s important to make sure before you leave home during the winter months even if it’s a quick trip to the grocery store to make sure you have all the storm essentials.

The weather during the winter months can change rapidly so just because it seems like it’s nice out it can turn nasty quite fast.

Related: Winter Vehicle Maintenance Tips

This means you are prepared for a winter storm while you are grocery shopping so you don’t come out and find your car buried in snow but now snow brush to help remove the white fluff.

Keep a bottle of lock-de-icer handy in your jacket or purse because you never know when it will come in handy.

Plus, ensure all of your vehicle fluids are topped up. There’s nothing worse than salt on your vehicle windows and nothing to wash it off with.

Making sure you have winter tires is a number one priority as well a full tank of gas helps in situations where you may be stuck on the roads for long periods of time due to traffic or accidents.

The last thing you want is no heat in your vehicle. If you walk or take the bus during the winter months make sure that you wear proper attire otherwise you will struggle as it can be tough to venture through the snow on side-walks that might not be shovelled.

Order online for pickup or delivery

If you really can’t make it out of the house over the winter months to get groceries, limited for time, or dealing with kids who aren’t thrilled with grocery shopping utilize other means.

Although most of the grocery stores that offer home delivery or click-and-collect type grocery shopping might cost you a few bucks these services are mainly offered at the most expensive grocery stores in Canada you can still save.

However, if you are close to a Wal-Mart they have an online shop and grocery pick-up service which is convenient for anyone, especially during the winter months.

It goes something like this at Wal-Mart Canada.

FREE* Pickup

Shop on your own schedule and put time back in your day with FREE Pickup.

We’ll bring your order right to your car when you pick it up at your local Wal-Mart.

Let us know when you’re on your way with one tap.

Check in before you get to the store using the Wal-Mart app and we’ll have your order ready when you arrive.

Easily browse from a vast assortment of fresh, local and natural food.

Shop where, when and how you want with 24-hour shopping and everyday low prices.

Enjoy in store Pickup. It’s quick and convenient. Just spend a minimum of $50 (before taxes & applicable fees). (Note this may change based on the time this blog post was written)

Will you Ad Match grocery items?

Yes, we will! We are happy to match any grocery competitor in your area that has an online flyer. You can request an ad match via our online form. * Update 2021 Walmart no long participates in ad matching)

I hope this helps you out a bit with your question and grocery shopping this winter goes a bit easier than you expect. Don’t stress about it, prepare and you’re doing a great job researching your options.

Discussion: What other tips do you have for Heather who needs help with grocery shopping during the winter months?

For even more tips on grocery savings start reading my Ultimate Grocery Shopping Savings Guide for Canada.

November 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


  • 2 x corned beef sale $1.99 $3.98
  • 2 x Stevia Sweetener  $4.54 each – 50% $4.54
  • NN Sour Cream $2.49
  • 2 x large eggs $2.27 $4.54
  • Nu Pasta Fettuccine $3.99
  • Nu Pasta Angel Hair $3.99
  • 1lb Radishes $2.49
  • PC beet slaw $3.89-50% $1.95
  • PC mushrooms $2.49-50% $1.40
  • PC green beans $3.99-50% $2.00
  • Yellow onions $1.79
  • Bananas $1.57
  • 1 orange $0.85
  • 1 lemon $0.69
  • Green onions $1.29
  • Ginger root $1.10
  • Romaine Lettuce $2.69
  • PC Chicken breasts $9.53-50% $4.78

Total out-of-pocket $46.13

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: $12.72
  • Total in-store discounts to date: $331.01
  • Total spent this week: $46.13
  • Total spent so far this month: $199.70
  • Total over/Under spend this shop: $under
  • Total left to spend for the month: $94.20
  • 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)

We didn’t need much since we made our mad dash to Costco last week. A quick run to Zehrs for a few grocery staples will get us through until 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 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!

Where can I find Canadian Coupons?

Grocery Game Challenge 2018 FAQ’s

Update: The Grocery Game has now ended 2021 but check back in 2022.

  • 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. 
  • 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 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 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 are want 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 some money.

Welcome to The Grocery Game Challenge 2018.


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One Comment

  1. When I was car free, I found a back pack worked better that shopping bags. I found I could carry more groceries and it was easier on my back. It also forced me to stick to my budget because if it didn’t fit in the bag, it couldn’t come home with me. I did, however, shop more frequently, usually making a pit stop for fresh groceries on my way home. I was lucky that I lived in Calgary at the time and there were several grocery stores right off the train I took to get home. About once a month or so, I would order groceries online to be delivered to my house. That’s when I would order big bags of potatoes, rice, flour, and sugar. No one wants to sluff a 10 pound bag of potatoes home on the bus in a blizzard!
    Hope that helps.

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