Objectives

Results August 2018 : Mission Reduce our Grocery Spending

Our mission to Reduce our Grocery Spending is off to a great start! In only 2 weeks we reduced our 2018 grocery average from $256/week to $248/week and it should keep going down if we keep up this spending rate. That’s already over $400 less on a yearly basis so it’s definitely worth the extra hour it takes me to plan out our shopping for the week.

Specifically for the first two weeks of grocery shopping our weekly average is $115.48, which is amazing even considering all the items we already had in our freezer because those two weeks of purchases still allowed us to stock up on some meat (chicken breasts & beef tenderloin).

I’ll consolidate our detailed updates by month (with the most recent week on the top of the post) and I will keep track of our overall progress on the page Results : Grocery.

Note: PM = Price Match & PC = PC Optimum Points

Week beginning on August 27

Visits to grocery stores : 2

One trip at Maxi for our weekly shop and one at Provigo specifically to pick up a whole beef tenderloin.

PC Optimum Points balance before purchases: 19,465.

Weekly grocery spending before this week: $251

Total Cost PC Earned PC Redeemed Total Paid New Weekly Average
$132.62 17,600 0 $132.62 $248.31

Much lower than our $256 average for 2018 and we got a whole beef tenderloin included in the $132 total cost! I know, I know, not super frugal but it’s still one of the most frugal way to get some good steaks, especially considering that I got 200 PC for every $1 spent on beef. We cut it into portions needed for one family dinner and we freeze them to use once every couple of weeks so it will last a few months.  We also use whatever little pieces are left over to make a nice stew. So yummy!

Here is the list of every item I purchased:

Shopping Cart

In the column ”Price per item with discount”, I’ve reduced the price according to all rebates obtained including PC points. (Example : the Beef tenderloin which was actually paid at $9.88/lb allowed me to earn 14,800 PC point therefore I’ve reduced the price as such: ($72.14 – $14.80) / 7.3Lb = $7.85 per pound).

 

Item Quantity Total price Price per item with discount Discount (% or other)
Taco Shells 1 x 12 $2.00 0.16/taco
Taco seasoning 1 $1.17 1.17
Baked Beans 2 x 398ml $2.00 1
BBQ Chicken spice 203g $3.48 3.48
Balsamic Dressing 4 x 475ml $9.92 2.48
Sour Cream 500ml $2.89 2.49 PM Provigo + 400 PC
Milk 4L $6.65 6.65
Ristorante Pizza 2 $5.94 2.97 PM Super C
Iceberg Lettuce 1 $0.88 0.88 PM Super C
Onions 3Lb $1.98 0.66/Lb
Bananas 6 $1.30 0.67/Lb
Grapes 2.5Lb $2.42 0.98/Lb
Celery 1 $0.98 0.98
Cauliflower 2 $2.96 1.48
Tomatoes (Roma) 5 $1.06 0.69/Lb PM Adonis
Sweet Potatoes 3.27kg $7.13 0.99/Lb PM Super C
Apples 0.94kg (6) $1.86 0.89/Lb 30%
Burger Buns 12 $2.00 0.15 200 PC
Hot-Dogs 10 $1.99 0.2
Whole Beef Tenderloin 3.312kg $72.14 7.85/Lb 14,800 PC
Hot-Dog Buns 12 $1.89 0.14 200 PC

*We also got 2000 PC this week for buying fresh produce which is not included in the prices per item with discount.

Good finds:
  • Whole beef tenderloin at $9.88/Lb at Provigo (I have a 200PC offer for every $1 purchase of beef so my price is down to 7.85/Lb)
  • Roma Tomatoes at $0.69/Lb at Adonis
  • Grapes at $0.99/Lb at Super C
  • Sweet Potatoes at $0.99/Lb at Super C
PC Optimum Points Disappearance:

A glitch in the system apparently caused 20,000PC points to disappear from my account between my purchase at Maxi and my purchase at Provigo on the same day. Also noticed 400 PC points missing for certain items.

I submitted a missing point inquiry on the app and PC Optimum quickly resolved the issue. Good thing I am tracking everything as I am sure I would not have noticed this before! Another reason why it’s important to review your grocery invoices.

Overview:

For our meals this week, we are using a lot of the meat we already have in our freezer : chicken breast for pesto pasta with some fresh basil from our garden, merguez sausages, ground beef for tacos and burgers. While these are not counted in the $132 total for this week, it’s pretty impressive that without the whole beef tenderloin, which we are stocking up, we only spent $60.

We bought more junk food type of items than usual this week since we got hot dogs for a gathering of Mr. Mod’s sport team as well as some frozen pizza for a Friday pizza night with the kids. We still had 0$ in taxes though so I guess we are doing pretty good on the “Spend less than 3% in taxes” point outlined in Économisez 5000$ par an sur votre épicerie by Se Payer en Premier (Save 5000$ per year on your groceries).

On the waste side of things, I’m disappointed to report that we did lose to our compost, half of a tomato and one green pepper from last week’s shopping. On the bright side, I’ve noticed that I am more conscious about properly storing produce to keep them as fresh as possible since starting the mission to Reduce our Grocery Spending. Last week I took the time to research the best way to store strawberries and this week was grapes, so it’s nice to see a conscious effort to limit waste.

Week beginning on August 20

Visits to grocery stores : 3
One last minute trip to pick up hamburger buns at Metro, the other at Maxi for our weekly shop and the last one at Metro specifically to pick up meat for a dinner party.

PC Optimum Points balance before purchases: 64,325.
Weekly grocery spending before this week: $256

Total Cost PC Earned PC Redeemed Total Paid New Weekly Average
$158.34 11,000 60,000 $98.34 $252

This is quite lower than our average up until now for 2018. What I find pretty impressive is that this total includes the cost of a roast beef dinner party with several guests, as well as various items that will be used over the next couple of weeks therefore next week’s grocery bill should be much lower.

Here is the list of every item I purchased:

Shopping CartIn the column ”Price per item with discount”, I’ve reduced the price according to all rebates obtained including PC points. (Example : the Activia Yogurt which was actually paid at $2.44 per jar allowed me to earn 600 PC point therefore I’ve reduced the price as such: (2.44$ x 13 jars ) – $0.60 earned in PC / 13 jars = $1.98 per 650 g jar)

Item Quantity Total price Price per item with discount Discount (% or other)
Burger Buns 1 dozen $5 0.42
Celebration Cookies 4 x 240g $7.92 1.98
Cheerios 1.5 kg $6.77 4.51/kg
Activia Yogurt 13 x 650g $31.72 1.98 600 PC
Cheese Cheddar 3 x 1Lb $11.31 3.37/Lb PM Super C + 1200 PC
Eggs 4 x 12 $7.52 1.88
Butter 2 x 1Lb $6.98 2.89/Lb 1200 PC
Milk 2L $3.79 3.79
Strawberries 2 x 1Lb $3.82 1.61/Lb 600 PC
Potatoes 10Lbs $4.98 0.40/Lb 1000 PC
Green Peppers 2 $1.22 0.83/Lb PM Super C + 200 PC
Bananas 6 $1.568 0.58/Lb
Broccoli 4 $3.72 0.93
Cucumber 10 $3.7 0.37
Lettuce (Romaine) 2 $1.1 0.55
Chicken Breast with bone 1.442Kg $4.43 1.39/Lb 30%
Chichen Breast with bone 1.379Kg $4.24 1.39/Lb
Ground Beef 1.515Kg $8.59 2.57/Lb
Bread 1 $3.80 3.40 400 PC
Ham 200g $2.50 10.50/kg 400 PC
Curds 400g $5.98 14.95/kg
Cross Rib Roast 3.105Kg $26.55 3.87/Lb
Good finds: 

Although I am a bit of a rookie in tracking our grocery spending, I think I was able to identify the following good priced items: 

  • Skinless chicken breast at $1.39/Lb thanks to the 30% ‘’eat today discount’’ at Maxi.
  • Cucumbers at $0.37/each at Maxi.
  • Strawberries at $1.61/Lb ($1.91/Lb without the PC points earned) at Maxi.
  • Cheddar Cheese at $3.37/Lb ($3.77/Lb without the PC points earned) at Super C.
Overview:

This was our first week following our new plan to reduce our grocery spending and we are off to a great start with a total of $98.34 paid. Even if we add in the $60 paid with our PC points, our total bill was $158.34 which is much better than our old weekly average of $256. 

It took me about 1 hour to plan out our menu and our grocery list, really good considering that most of this was spent searching in our freezer and pantry to know what we still had. The grocery shop at Maxi was a bit more time consuming than usual but only by about 15 to 30 more minutes. 

We still have a lot in our freezer (2 full chicken, 3 packs of merguez sausages, 2 frozen home made spagetti sauces + 1 home made meat load and a few other things). According to my menu, I did not plan on buying that much meat, only the ground beef, but the price of the chicken breast seemed really good therefore I went for it and they are now sitting in our freezer for a future week.

Dinner PartyWe also had not planned on receiving that many guests over the weekend but a nice opportunity to see good people and eat good food presented itself so we offered to host a nice dinner. We were happy to pick up the cross rib roasts which was also on sale so not too bad even on a last minute plan.  Even though this increased our weekly bill, I have no doubt that if we had chosen to go to a restaurant instead, our overall spending for the night to feed only our little family would have been easily 3 times the price paid for this big delicious meal that fed several people. 

Overall quite a good start and I am excited to see how we do over the next weeks and months as we still have a way to go to keep improving in this area. Just from this first week, I have no idea how we had been spending an average of $256 per week on grocery.

Other useful resource found this week:

As planned I’m staying on the lookout for good resources to help keep me motivated in reducing our grocery bill. This week I found the Canadian Budget Binder’s Grocery Game Challenge, a food budget challenge that has been ongoing since 2012 on one of the top Canadian personal finance blog. People share their own budgets and weekly purchases right in the comments of every Grocery Game Challenge posts where Mr. CBB updates with his own purchases to meet his $300 monthly grocery budget goal.

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