Sherman, doing some boondocking near Quartzsite, Arizona. Photo taken January 31, 2015.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Cabri Regional Park, Saskatchewan, Canada.

Where are they going next? We're here at the park until late September!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

How to save money grocery shopping!

We are having a bit of sticker price shock here in Saskatchewan. It's only May 10th, and we have already spent over $600 on groceries this month. Partly because we didn't have the motorhome with us and so we arrived to totally empty cupboards and a totally empty refrigerator.

So there was some stocking up to be done.

Last year, we averaged $550 per month for the five months we are here. Eating gluten free has something to do with it being a bit higher, but not much. I mean, we still eat meat, fish, chicken, fruits and veggies the same as anybody else. It's only the gluten free bread products that are slightly more expensive. Ruth does almost all of our own baking so that keeps prices down on things like cookies.

And, we don't buy any prepared foods. That also keeps the costs down.

We check all the fliers every week, and we have a route planned out through town that stops at all of the grocery stores. We belong to all of the points memberships where available at each store. One of them had a special on this past week where you get 10,000 points if you spend $50 or more. That 10,000 points is worth $10 on a future purchase. We've done that the past two weeks, so $20 worth of savings right there.

Boy, cauliflower sure is expensive again. We saw small heads of it for $6 each. Yikes. We ended up finding it for $3.98 at another store. Still expensive, but you have to eat! We also check the discount rack in all the fruit and veggie aisles. Sometimes we manage to get good deals on stuff that looks like it might go bad in the next day or two, and it' usually at half price.

We also use Checkout 51, the phone app that sends you new discounts every week. If you buy the products, you claim the discount by taking a photo of your receipt and when you reach $20 they will send you a cheque. We claimed $3 last week.

And when something is on sale, we buy lots of it. We're fortunate to have the use of a big freezer here so we load up on things when the price is right.

We like good quality sandwich meat, and it's expensive here in Canada. I don't know why, but there is a lot better selection and prices in the U.S.. This time, we bought a huge smoked ham and used the slicer here at the park to slice it up and freeze it. Sometimes, decent quality meat comes on sale for under $2.00 per 100 grams. Doing it this way cost us $0.68 per 100 grams!

We hardly ever buy red meat other than hamburger meat. We buy either lean or extra lean and only when it's on sale. Then, we buy the family packs, separate it into smaller portions, and freeze it. We will buy steaks and roasts only when it's on sale for under $6.00 a pound, and that doesn't happen very often!

We eat a lot of chicken and pork, again buying family packs and usually when it's on sale. Chicken breast only when it's $8.80 per kilo ($3.99 per pound) or less. And usually we'll buy a big pork loin and cut it into pork chops and smaller pieces for skewers.

Groceries are expensive in Canada, but you can still eat well without breaking the bank. Despite this month being abnormally high, we still hope to come in below the $600 per month mark on average for our five months here.

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20 comments:

  1. I often can buy reduced steaks far cheaper than ground beef. Some of our stores have started selling packs of ground beef mixed with ground pork to make it cheaper/more affordable. I use checkout 51 but rarely can claim as mostly non-food items or ready made items. I received $20 back all of last year that way. PC points is a good program though.

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    1. We are keeping our eyes open for any beef sales and then we will buy enough to last the rest of the summer, hopefully! We saw a lot of ground beef mixed with pork when we were in Europe. Beef is very expensive over there.

      We don't use Checkout51 much either for the same reasons but sometimes we find something that we need like the other day, GF pasta, LF milk and Tostitos tortilla chips. :-)

      This is our first year with the PC points, not sure why we hadn't done it sooner!

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  2. That is the way I shop as well, because I go to the grocery store a few times a week and very early in the morning I can usually pock up real good deal, check the fliers as well and stock up. The pork loin is a favourite as well for chops and roasts. Here we get a PC ouse card and we collect points and shop the post special as well, with 20,000 points we get $20.0o worth of grocery free and have cashed in $260.00 in dress groceries the last 2 years. Lots of great ways to save money on groceries and eat well like you said.

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    1. Being so far away from the stores, we will only do our grocery shop once a week, otherwise we would just waste the savings by using the gas up instead.

      Yep, we already have $20 on our PC points card and that is only after 2 shopping trips! That will help with our food budget for sure.

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  3. I also got a cauliflower for $3.98 in Metro. Noticed it was $6.00 in Loblaws.

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    1. It was $6 at the Real Canadian Warehouse Club as well, which is run by Loblaws. Later in the season, this is where we normally buy it though because they almost always have it reduced by 50% but they haven't had any yet this year, at least since we have been back.

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  4. I go grocery shopping once a month (retirement payday). The grocery store I stop at offers senior discount of 10% on first Wednesday of the month plus any coupons I might have. I watch for grocery ads and this month Safeway had buy one, get one free on pork loin and ribs so I buy and divide and freeze. I also shop at Costco for dry goods and laundry items...last me sometimes three to six months depending on whether I have guest or not. My bill for the month is usually around $200 with coupons, discounts, bulk buying savings. I eat very good which includes a rib eye steak at least once a month, organic milk & eggs last forever. I buy frozen fruits to add to oatmeal, ice cream, baked goods. My once a month shopping is paying off so far.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. We wouldn't have enough room in our fridge if we were to go to the grocery store only once a month!

      Safeway had chicken on sale and it was buy one, get one free but the price of it was way more then double what the price should have been! We got it at another store for less per pound!

      We have also started looking online for some grocery products because it is sometimes even cheaper that way and we have gauged what we think we will use over the summer so that we buy enough product to last and to make our order big enough that there isn't any shipping fee.

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  5. Ouch that is a lot for so early in the month :-( Great idea about slicing up your own deli meat.

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    1. Yep, it is going to be a big bill for groceries this month but then it should level out throughout the summer. It will be interesting to see how we do overall at the end of the season!

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  6. Now I know why Canadians retire to Mexico or least part of the year. We found nothing affordable about Canada. Cauliflower today (Tuesday dia del mercado) is $1 a head (super sized) eggs are still under $1 a dozen. Don't understand how the system works there. We saw many people who were making under $12 an hour. How do you even pay the rent or fuel for your car? Yikes. Beautiful country though and the Canadians are some of the nicest people we have ever met.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. We really miss the Mexican grocery prices, especially at the markets for all the fresh fruits and veggies! :-(

      I think many people that make $12/hr aren't the sole breadwinner in the family but like in Mexico and any other country, there are always ones that struggle to get by.

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  7. My fisherman wants to know what kind of fish the guy in the header might catch???

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    1. Tell Barry that it is mostly Jack (Northern Pike) but there is also Walleye (Pickerel) and maybe a little of something else.

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  8. Ruth, what is your limit for bringing beef into Canada when returning from Mexico through the US? By the way, hamburger composed of beef and pork make the best meatballs-um, um, good!

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    1. Things change at the border all the time with what can be brought from Canada or Mexico into the United States and they can be quite different but every time we have crossed from Mexico back into the United States any kind of meat seems to be a no-no!

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  9. I like using the Flipp app to find the best deals on certain things. Just two weeks again I saved $60.00 on wine making kits. WE purchased online from Costco and shipped to our door. The same kits at Save On on sale would have been more expensive. We shop at the Superstore and have saved a lot. We used to only shop at Save On but we started comparing prices we were so shocked at the difference. No Frills is good too.

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    1. Our daughter uses the Flipp app all the time but it doesn't work well here because we have different stores and they don't seem to be on the app. She had tried it last year but maybe it works better this year, we will have to have a look at it again.

      No Costco here and personally we don't like having to pay for a membership in order to shop. We have found that you really have to know your prices to know if you are really getting a deal. And, you have to buy enough throughout the year in order to have the savings make up for the cost of the membership which just won't work for us but we know that it does for many others, like yourself.

      We don't have Save On or No Frills here either.

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  10. I use an app called IBotta. It works on the same principle, but they don't automatically send payments. You can build up your points to whatever you want and then request payment. One form of payment you can choose is an Amazon gift card. Very handy.

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    1. We will have to have a look at IBotta as well then. With Checkout51, you can request them to not pay it out until you want them to as long as it is over $20. So, for us we wouldn't request the cheque until the end of the summer providing we are over the $20 threshold.

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