Objectives

Results September 2018 : Mission Reduce our Grocery Spending

Our mission to Reduce our Grocery Spending was launched on August 20. In 6 weeks we’ve reduced our 2018 grocery average from $256/week to $243/week. That’s already over $676 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 six weeks of grocery shopping our weekly average is $166 to feed our family of 4. It just had a big increase (was 127$ after five weeks) as we did our first Costco visit since the start of the challenge.

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 September 24 2018:

Visits to grocery stores : 2

Finally did my first dreaded trip to Costco since starting this mission & one quick trip to Provigo to get some eggs, fruits and snacks for the kids.

PC Optimum Points balance before purchases: 19,484.

Weekly grocery spending before this week: $239

 

Total Cost PC Earned PC Redeemed Total Paid New Weekly Average
$363.04 0 0 $363.04 $242.53

This week was pretty high however I was expecting it to cost about this much. I did lots of planning for the Costco trip by also trying to locate some prices online and knew pretty closely that we would be hitting a 330$ total, however I was okay with the items selected as they were part of a short list of “want to buy at Costco”.

Read on in our overview below the list of items purchased to find out what our fancy tummies like to get from Costco.

Shopping CartHere is the list of every item I purchased:

In the column ”Price per item with discount”, I’ve reduced the price according to all rebates obtained including PC points.

Item Quantity Total price Price per item with discount Discount (% or other)
Toilet Paper 30x425sx2p $16.99 0.57/r or 0.0013/s
Tissues 12x160sx3p $16.99 1.42/b or 0.0089/s
Garbage Bags 200 $18.99 0.09
Compost Paper Bags 30 $12.99 0.43
Dishwasher Soap 115 $12.49 0.11
Annie’s mac & cheese 12 x 170g $18.99 1.58
Salsa 2 x 1.21L $8.99 3.71/L
Ziplock Large Freezer 3 x 40 $12.99 0.11
Balsamic vinegar 1L (chek) $14.99
Oregano 190g $4.99 26.26/kg
Dove body wash 3 x 170ml $15.99 31.35/L
Kirkland Steak Strips 340g $13.99 41.15/kg
Crackers 1.37kg $7.99 5.83/kg
Pizza singles 12 or OU 1.24kg $12.99 1.08/pizza or 10.48/kg
Olivia frozen Salmon 6 or OU 1.08kg $29.99 5/portion or 12.58/lb
Applesauce 6 x 650ml $6.49 1.66/L
Italiano Spice Blend 510g $8.99 17.63/kg
Kirkland Shelled Pistachio 680g $18.99 27.93/kg
Tamari Almonds 950g $13.99 21.52/kg
Honey 3kg $16.99 5.66/kg
Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce 4 x 880ml $11.99 3.41/L
Kirkland coffee 2 x 1,36kg $25.98 9.55/kg
Almond milk 5.6L $8.99 1.61/L
Taxes various products $21.03 6%
Pudding 8 x 99g c $2.00 0.25/c
Eggs 12 $1.99 0.17
Bananas 1.460kg $1.27 0.39/lb 50%
Croissants 6 $3.99 0.67
Overview:

Let’s be honest, we like really fancy snacks: tamari almonds, shelled pistachios and some fancy jerky steak strips. Also, the Salmon we chose at Costco is super expensive at 12.58$/lb (compared to the 6.26$/lb I stocked up on a few weeks ago), however since the kids eat it really well, and we like it too, we decided that the occasional trip to Costco (about every 3 months) is fine to splurge on one bag with 6 portions.

In the end, what we want is an optimized level of spending that still allows us space to get some fancy schmancy types of food that we love. As long as these higher totals are not frequent, the overall average should continue to be much lower than what it was before starting this mission. My usual Costco trips before this were rarely under 500$ so this is a big improvement.

While I reviewed our invoice, I noticed that it would have been actually cheaper to buy tissues at the grocery store as I had done a few weeks ago when there was a good price (around 0.50$ / box of 100 tissues). I always assumed that Costco prices for these types of items were better but their price amounts to around 0.89$/box of 100 tissues.

Now that I’ve added some Costco prices to my price book, I’m better equipped to compare if some deals in the local grocery store flyers are worth it for stocking up items like tissues and toilet paper. I really don’t like the idea of not knowing the prices before going to Costco, especially considering that it is a 20 minute drive from where we live, therefore I find it reassuring to have a good idea of the regular prices for those items.

I was nervous about this specific week of our mission both because I knew it would increase our average and because I never really enjoyed shopping at that store. However, taking some time to plan out what I wanted to buy, which included removing some items from our list as I found them just too expensive, while really thinking about the items that were worth the higher costs to us made the whole shopping experience better. I came to the store prepared and had a good idea what my cost would be when I would leave the store.

Week beginning on September 17 2018:

Visits to grocery stores : 4

One quick trip at Maxi for missing items, one to NoFrills when we passed through Ontario on a trip away from home, another for our regular weekly shop at Maxi, followed by a quick trip to Provigo to pick up stewing beef on special.

PC Optimum Points balance before purchases: 60,482.

Weekly grocery spending before this week: $243

Total Cost PC Earned PC Redeemed Total Paid New Weekly Average
$187.07 14,100 70,000 $117.07 $239.36

This was a great grocery week, we actually filled up our freezer with delicious homemade soups, pork tenderloin and some nice fall stew. We did however run out of some of the things we normally buy at Costco (coffee, italiano spice blend & brown compost bags) so I will probably attempt my first light Costco shop this week since these were way more expensive at the grocery store.

I’ll keep it short and skip the best deals & overview this week as we are super busy, but our overall list of items should give you a good idea.

Shopping CartHere is the list of every item I purchased:

In the column ”Price per item with discount”, I’ve reduced the price according to all rebates obtained including PC points.

Item Quantity Total price Price per item with discount Discount (% or other)
Coffee 875g $11.98 13.69/kg
Compost Paper Bags 10 $5.49 0.50/bag 0.50$ coupon
Beans 3 x 398ml $2.91 0.97
Mayo 890ml $2.87 3.22/L
Activia Yogurt 8 x 800g $26.64 2.79/kg 8800PC
Carrots 5Lb $2.97 0.6/lb 30%
Basa Fillets 0.755Kg $7.56 4.54/lb 30%
Salsa 650ml $3.28 5.04/L
Celebration Cookies 4 x 240g $7.92 1.98
Italiano Spice Blend 123g $5.98 48.61/kg
Celestial Tea 40 $4.00 0.10/tea.
Milk 4L $6.86 6.86
Butter 2L $5.98 2.99/L PM Loblaws
Fries 2kg $3.34 1.27/kg 800PC
Potatoes 10lbs $4.98 0.50/lb
Lettuce (Romaine) 4 $2.00 0.5
Peppers 2.5lbs $2.00 0.80/lb
Avocado 10 $6.98 0.7
Yellow Onions 3lbs $0.99 0.33/lbs PM Provigo
Bananas 6 $0.83 0.47/lbs 30%
Limes 4 $1.00 0.25
Cantaloupe 1 $2.00 2
Broccoli 4 $4.00 1
Cucumber 5 $2.90 0.54 200PC
Cauliflower 2 $2.00 0.9 200PC PM Provigo
Leeks 5 $4.98 1
Tomatoes (vine) 1.165kg $2.54 0.99/lb PM Loblaws
Stewing Beef 0.919kg $6.06 2.99/lb PM Provigo
Pork tenderloin 5.87 lbs $17.56 2.39/lb 3500PC PM IGA
Croissants 6 $2.00 0.33
Turkey Deli Meat 0.175 $5.98
Curds 400g $5.97 13.43/kg 600PC
Stewing Beef 1.12kg $7.38 2.99/lb
Stewing Beef 1.036kg $6.83 2.99/lb

Week beginning on September 10 2018:

Visits to grocery stores : 2

One quick trip at Provigo on Wednesday because I wanted some items for which prices would be higher on Thursday (whole chickens & ground beef), and a second trip for our weekly shop at Maxi.

PC Optimum Points balance before purchases: 15,595.

Weekly grocery spending before this week: $244

Total Cost PC Earned PC Redeemed Total Paid New Weekly Average
$180.06 10,000 0 $180.06 $242.66

A bit more expensive this week, however we filled up our freezer by buying 4 whole chickens and lots of ground beef to prepare a huge spaghetti sauce and some burgers.

Shopping CartHere is the list of every item I purchased:

In the column ”Price per item with discount”, I’ve reduced the price according to all rebates obtained including PC points.

Item Quantity Total price Price per item with discount Discount (% or other)
Dijon Mustard 500ml $3.99 7.98/L
Ground Beef 1.326kg $7.57 2.36/lb
Ground Beef 1.318kg $7.53 2.36/lb
Ground Beef 1.336kg $7.63 2.36/lb 2000PC
Whole Chicken 2 whole chicken / 2 Poulets complets $12.00 2.04/lb 1200PC
Whole Chicken 2 whole chicken / 2 Poulets complets $12.00 2.04/lb 1200PC
Bread 2 x 675g $4.99 2.95/kg 1000PC
Pudding 4 x 99g c $1.25 0.31$/c
Pudding 4 x 99g c $1.25 0.31$/c
Balsamic Vinegar 500ml $3.48 6.96/L
Parmesan 250g $6.49 25.96/kg PM Pharmaprix
Sour Cream 500ml $1.99 1.99 PM Adonis
Cheddar 2 Lbs $9.98 4.39/lb PM Pharmaprix + 1200 PC
Milk 4L $6.86 6.86
Singles Slices 48 (900g) $4.99 5.54/kg PM Super C
Smiley Fries 2kg $4.94 2.47/kg PM Walmart
Hash Browns 1.2kg $2.98 2.48/kg
Ristorante Pizza 3 $8.94 2.98
Apples 8Lb $5.98 0.74/lb
Oranges 3Lb $2.98 0.99/lb
Romain Lettuce 3 $1.48 0.49 PM Giant Tigre
Bananas 3 $0.52 0.47/lb 30%
Nectarines 2 $0.78 1.38/lb 30%
Peaches 2 $1.54 1.38/lb 30%
Broccoli 4 $5.00 1.25 PM Adonis
Cucumber 3 $1.44 0.48
Green Peppers 2 $1.11 0.88/lb 100PC
Celery 1 $0.98 0.98
Eggplant 1 $2.41 1.69/lb PM Super C
Tomatoes (Roma) 1.48kg $1.02 0.28/lb PM Adonis + 100PC
Sweet Potatoes 1.565kg $3.38 0.80/lb 600PC
Mangoes 2 $1.39 0.7 30%
Grapes 1.195kg $2.58 0.98/lb
Red Pepper 2 $0.42 0.99/lb PM Super C
Butternut Squash 1 $4.08 0.98/lb
Spaghetti Squash 2 $6.51 0.98/lb
Bacon 3 x 375g $7.96 3.48/lb 1100PC
Croissants 6 $3.00 0.5 300PC
Rye Bread 675g $3.69 5.49/kg 300PC
Ham 500g $8.97 16.14/kg 900PC
Good finds:
  • Roma Tomatoes at 0.69$/lb at Adonis (with my 100PC the price was down to 0.22$/lb! I kind of regret not having bought more.)
  • 8Lbs bag of Paula Red apples at $5.95 (0.74$/lb) at Maxi.
  • Peppers at 0.99$/Lb at Super C.
  • Iceberg Lettuce at 1.48$ for 3 at Giant Tigre.
  • Singles Slices at $4.99 for 900g at Walmart.
Overview:

This week we are taking a few days off from work to spend some time with the family, therefore we bought a bit more fruits and snack type of items to meet the kiddoes snack needs. We also filled up our freezer with three whole chickens, burgers and homemade spaghetti sauce which increased the bill compared to the last three weeks.

By accounting for the PC points earned on the meat, the beef was $2.36/lb and the chicken was $2.04/lb. Not bad but I think prices might go even lower occasionally which would be a better time to stock up on those items. However I preferred stocking up now as with a few days off from work, it was much better timing to get cooking and freeze some meals for the weeks to come.

When I was reviewing our invoices, I noticed that 3200 PC points were missing so I sent a points inquire. The points were quickly added back but that would have been already 23,600 points missing from my account in the first 4 weeks of this mission had I not been looking so closely at our invoices. Even if you are not doing a super detailed tracking like we are in order to track our progress on this mission, I suggest you still scan your invoices quickly and compare with your PC Offers to make sure you are getting all the points you should earn on your purchase.

Week beginning September 3

Visits to grocery stores : 2

One quick trip at Maxi on Wednesday because I wanted some items for which prices would be higher on Thursday (yogourt & grapes), and a second trip for our weekly shop at Maxi.

PC Optimum Points balance before purchases: 41,577.

Weekly grocery spending before this week: $248

Total Cost PC Earned PC Redeemed Total Paid New Weekly Average
$147.52 8,600 40,000 $107.52 $244.40

Much lower than our $256 average for 2018 and we got three huge salmon filets to add to our freezer.

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.

Item Quantity Total price Price per item with discount Discount (% or other)
Chips Lays 1x240g $2.48 2.48
Chips Ruffles 1x220g $2.48 2.48
Tissues 12 x 100 tissues $5.96 0.50/box
Activia Yogurt 14 x 650g $27.86 1.6 PM Loblaws + 5400 PC
Fries 2kg $3.34 1.27$/kg 800 PC
Avocado 6 $3.98 0.66
Green Peppers 1 $0.64 0.99/lb
Zucchini 6 $6.46 1.50/lb
Grapes 1.9Lbs $1.87 0.98/lb
Salmon Filet 5.7Lbs $36.15 6.26/lb 30%
Chips Tostitos 2x275g $5.76 2.08 1600 PC
Eggs 6×12 $10.88 1.81 PM Super C
Milk 4L $6.86 1.71/L
Ristorante Pizza 2 $5.94 2.97 PM Metro
Cucumber 7 $3.36 0.45 200 PC
Iceberg Lettuce 1 $0.99 0.99
Bananas 6 $1.40 0.67/lb
Red Pepper 4 $1.85 0.99/lb
Rye Bread 480g $3.49 6/kg 600 PC
Bread 675g $2.22 3.29/kg
Ham 175g $5.00 28.6/kg
Hummus 482g $6.00 5.66/lb
Good finds:
  • Eggs at 3 x 5.44$ at Super C.
  • Peppers at 0.99$/Lb at Provigo or Metro.
  • Iceberg Lettuce at 0.99$ at Super C.
  • Salmon filets had a 30% eat tonight sticker which brought the price down to 6.26$/lb so I decided to stock up.
Overview:

SoupIt was a busy week as we had some renovations to get done (for which we bought some frozen pizza and chips to feed friends that helped us – not healthy but much cheaper than take-out). Then I came down with a cold this week, so did both little Modest Millionaires and I really appreciated having planned out all our meals in advance. I was even able to prepare a good homemade soup with the items we had on hand. Another win for putting time into conscious grocery planning and shopping!

For our meals this week, we are again using a lot of the meat we already have in our freezer : whole chicken for some roasted chicken and a stir fry (while also using the bones to make a nice homemade soup), leftover from our beef tenderloin for a stew, frozen homemade spaghetti sauce.

I hadn’t planned on buying the salmon but decided to go for it when I saw the 30% discount thinking the price seemed pretty good from comparing the prices in these last few weeks. I’m going to need to stock back up in other meat item but we should be sticking to cheaper meats for the next few weeks.

Planning took me a lot less time than the weeks before, about 30 minutes in total to prepare my grocery list and weekly menu. However, I rushed a bit while at the store and accidentally got the wrong brand of bread and ham which would have given me more PC points to offset the costs.  Not a huge difference but I’ll make sure to write the brand directly in my list on Keep when planning my grocery list for any such items.

Other food costs in August:

As I reviewed our expenses for August, I was pleased to see that we only spent  $110 for the entire month in our other food categories, which are anytime we buy a lunch at work and any restaurant & fast food spending. This brings our monthly average down from $293/month to $270/month.

I’m hoping that this keeps going down. Planning all our meals ahead helped avoid any last minute take out orders, while realizing how little it costs to make good food at home really motivated us to stick to our meal plans and avoid dining out.

Frog cocktail

When I did go out to a restaurant with friends, I was a little more conscious about how much I was spending and skipped having a second drink at 7$. It’s not about completely cutting out those experiences, it’s more in finding the right balance where we still enjoy those outings without spending too much on them.

 

2 thoughts on “Results September 2018 : Mission Reduce our Grocery Spending

  1. Annie’s mac and cheese and eggs are almost always on our Costco list as well. Though I recently found out that our local brick and mortar farmers market type store sells local eggs for $5/dozen. They’re a bit out of the way, but that’s the way I’m going to go whenever we’re close by. That or give in to my son’s request to get our own chickens…

    1. Our little ones could honestly live on Annie’s mac and cheese if we let them eat that every day lol! I like the aged cheddar one, it’s like a pimped up KD. Miam, fresh eggs are the best, I can see the temptation in giving in to that request, except the cleaning up after them part is not so tempting :P.

Leave a Comment