ANOTHER YEAR OF GROCERY SHOPPING FOR OUR FAMILY OF 3
Wow, I can’t believe how fast 2018 flew by and we’re already into January 2019 with another grocery budget upon us.
Seven years ago when the Canadian Budget Binder blog began so did The Grocery Game Challenge (GGC). You can easily read back in the archives just to see how much it has evolved since the first shops.
Up for the challenge
I’ve chatted to so many wonderful fans who wanted to get their grocery budget sorted so they joined the GGC. This helped to keep themselves accountable just like it does for our family.
Sadly like most challenges not everyone makes it to the end of the road. We have however seen a few of our GGC challengers make it through 12 months which was monumental for us.
One for the win
We often said if we could help one person that would be enough for us as it is about our journey. I’ll be honest and say it was a challenge for me to keep people motivated to continue posting their shops each month.
I can’t obviously control what happens in their home so the burden is put on them. I can only take my level of encouragement so far when a fan has their own financial priorities.
I have the power of written voice and personal experiences to encourage others to track their grocery expenses.
Today is a bittersweet day for me to write this blog post.
After much consideration, I’ve decided to put the GGC to rest due to lack of participation.
I have to take a few moments here to talk about Mary.
Mary is such a kind lady whom I met when CBB began and she has been my backbone for the GGC.
When times got tough, she was there to pick me up. She always had something to add to my posts or responses to fan questions that I didn’t quite know.
I’ve never met someone as dedicated to their finances as we are in terms of documenting and challenges like Mary. She would always make me laugh when she told me that I’d need a pot of tea to read her GGC post.
I always knew it was going to be a good shop when she told me that. Plus, without fail most times when the GGC was posted Mary was right there to post her shop with-in minutes.
She was always prepared.
GGC 2018 Results
Even though she was the only person to complete the GGC for a full 12 months in 2018 she quietly declined a financial gift I offered her. This made me tear up. I didn’t expect someone to turn down money and realized more than I bargained for. I realized that not everything people do is for money and money is not always the motivator to do better or achieve goals.
Over the years I’ve tried various ways to encourage people to post their shops using prizes as the end goal. Not even that was enough. Grocery shopping is one of the hardest parts of a budget to moderate. It’s so easy to buy more than you need even with a grocery list in hand and get caught up in the game.
What I found even more remarkable about Mary is how she has been able to keep her grocery budget consistent. This takes hard work, dedication, and planning which she is persistent. She also has a wonderful husband who is on board with their financial health which makes it a team effort.
I’m sure once or twice I’ve said she’s a master planner over the past 7 years.
In honor of Mary, I plan to go grocery shopping with the money and donate to our local food bank.
Thank-You Mary for being such a big part of the GGC, you are a winner in my books and most certainly a foodie at heart. My kind of virtual online friend for life unless of course Mrs. CBB and I plan to take a trip out your way. We’d love to meet up.
Top 8 Grocery Game Challenge Posts for 2018
On that note, If you are reading the GGC for the first time…WOAH, you have lots more to read my friend. I have over 300 GGC posts in my Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide to keep you busy for a few weeks.
- How Much Should My Grocery Budget Be?
- Top 10 Best Grocery Stores In Canada
- The Scanning Code Of Practice
- How To Return Food To The Grocery Store Successfully
- Monthly Grocery Tracking (Free Printable included)
- Common Spice You Should Stock In Your Pantry (Free Printable checklist included)
- What Keto Products To Stock Your Pantry With
- Ontario Harvest Calendar
Our Grocery Expenses 2018 In Review
Mrs. CBB and I have increased our grocery budget since 2012 because we noticed that we were spending too much, struggled to meet our goals and we had a baby boy in the process.
Now he’s getting older and goes to school which means more money is needed to stretch our grocery budget which is fine for us since we have the money in our budget to play with.
In 2019 we will see a $50 increase to our already $300 a month grocery budget for 3 which isn’t much but it most certainly will offer us a bit more room for variety and added Keto health foods.
This should be an interesting grocery budget year in Canada as vegetables are slated to go up in price and meat to go down.
Below you will find our grocery expenses for 2018 where we were working with a $300 monthly budget and a $25 stockpile budget for things that we found on sale.
As you will see a few of the months we struggled but picked up the slack the following month. This is why we decided to increase our 2019 grocery budget because once we find we are on the brink of struggling we know it’s not enough.
Both Mrs. CBB and I questioned when is the grocery budget not going to increase for our family and the truth is we don’t know. The only thing we can do is stick to the budget we have set, save as much as we can, and reflect on our expenses.
It’s easy to get caught up in adding more money to any budget category especially if you have the extra money as we do but we don’t want to get stuck in that game.
There comes a time where you have to adjust what you buy, how much you buy, and what you can do without. We started with a very low grocery budget for two and haven’t moved it much since 2012 so I think we are in a good position for now for a family of 3.
I think 2019 will most certainly be a challenging year for us at the grocery store but we will have to see come December. We will be tracking our grocery expenses still in our monthly budget. That hasn’t changed once a bit so I will have the figures from our grocery shops to report and review on.
- 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 $309.74
- December $290.26
Total Spent for 2018 $3368.96
Grocery Budget 2018 $3600
We came in $231.04 under budget for 2018 however we still plan to increase our 2019 budget and include the stockpile budget. In 2018 we almost always used the stockpile budget to full capacity.
There were months where we didn’t use it all and others where we spent over on our stockpile budget. Either way, it came in handy to buy those deals that were unexpected so we could stock up.
Travelling and food expenses
Also, this year has seen us travel lots due to the death of my father-in-law and illness of my mother-in-law which meant we ate out more than we wanted to even though we did pack snacks and food to bring along.
Since his passing, my MIL no longer cooks at home but eats microwave meals. She also does not allow anyone to cook because this is what happens when dementia takes over your life.
This has forced us to eat out more when we visit which is fine with us as we’d rather make her happy while she is still with us.
You can be sure to read a blog post about this horrible disease in 2019 and how it has affected our family financially and emotionally.
So, that’s our year.
How was your grocery shopping year in 2018? Don’t know? Perhaps 2019 is a great way to start tracking where your money is going.
December 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!
- Should You Included Toiletries In Your Grocery Budget? GGC #1 Dec
- How we grew our Shoppers Optimum Points to 4 million – GGC #2 Dec
- Top 10 Grocery Store Deals After The Christmas Holidays– GGC #3 Dec
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: $300.00
- Total Grocery Budget with any carry-overs $290.26
- 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: 3,700,000
- Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP) to date $0
Coupon Apps (add any other apps you use to save money)
- Zweet -$0
- Checkout51– $1.50
Note: All totals below already have tax factored into them.
- Total to spend this month: $300.00-$9.74 overage Nov $290.26
- Stockpile budget 2018: $25.00/month
- Stockpile budget used this month: $25
- Christmas Reserve Fund : $35/month $455 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: $377.55
- Total spent this week: $
- Total spent so far this month: $211.08
- Total over/Under spend this shop: $0
- Total left to spend for the month: $79.18 plus Christmas reserve for the year and stockpile budget
- 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 $309.74 + December $290.26
Weekly Overview (your final thoughts)
Our last shop of the year was at Costco which involved using up our Christmas reserve fund. We rolled in the remainder grocery money for December into that shop to zero out the month.
We did the same for our stockpile budget for December to ramp up food for the holidays. I will still post grocery shopping posts on CBB just not as a regularly scheduled post. So, check back often and make sure to comment so I know you are out there.
Happy Grocery Shopping.
Free Money Saving Tools
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
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!
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 by completing surveys and checking out products before they hit the shelves!
Grocery Budget FAQ’s
- 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?:
- 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
- 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 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.
- 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 want to learn everything I know about grocery shopping in Canada check out my Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide!