Author Topic: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?  (Read 5771 times)

red_pill

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Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« on: May 07, 2018, 09:47:08 PM »
So, since finding MMM a few months ago, I've managed to cut our utilities bills in half, shed over $6000 in annual spending without significantly impacting our lifestyle, and make some other improvements.   However, the biggest expense we have is our grocery bill.  With our household division of labour, my wife does all the cooking and shopping in our house.  We are a family of 4 - two adults, an older teen, and one tween.  My wife can't eat gluten, eggs, or dairy.  We eat very clean, and apparently I eat "a lot".  She shops at Superstore and Natures Fare (kinda like a Whole Foods place), and sometimes will bulk buy stuff at Costco.  We can zip across the US border sometimes, but it's a 45 min drive, there are limits to what we can bring back, and the 30% exchange rate makes doing so less desirable than it used to be when the exchange rate was at par. Organic is a big thing to her.

Right now our grocery bill is around $400 per week.  Yes, per week.  As in around $20,000 per year.  We almost never go out to eat - work lunches are brought from home.  We do not waste a lot of food, either. 

My wife claims that with her dietary restrictions, it would be impossible to cut it down and that people who have cheap grocery bills can only do so because they eat crappy processed junk food. 

My question is this - is it possible in a HCOL west coast Canadian city to go below $100 per person per week given her dietary restrictions?

Before I dig into this, I'm looking for a bit of affirmation that not only is it possible, but that the ROI of my time will be worth it.

Fellow Canucks - am I barking up the wrong tree?  Or is this a project worth engaging in?  If it is, do you have any tips on how we can accomplish this?

Love my wife, she's awesome, so I'm not trying to disparage her, but I do see the potential to live more optimally for both of our benefit.

Thank you!


SunnyDays

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2018, 10:31:54 PM »
Hmmm, seems high to me.  For just myself, I spend about 200.00 CD per month, but I'm a fairly light eater. Are your kids in the stage where they have "hollow legs?"  That can make a difference, but still!  Maybe do some research into what foods actually benefit from being organic.  Not all do, I read that bananas are basically the same, but something like strawberries can be very high in pesticides.  Try to buy fruit and veggies that are in season (in B.C. this should be easier than other places), look into farmer's markets, getting food delivered directly from growers (forget what this is called) or growing your own.  Look for kosher meats instead of organic, as they are organic, I believe.  See if you can buy meat directly from the people who raise them, maybe Hutterites.  Talk to butcher shop people for resources.  Maybe accompany your wife on a shopping trip and see if she really considers her purchases or buys out of habit or in a hurry to just get it done.  Do you shop sales and then menu plan based on this or decide what you want to eat first and then buy the ingredients?  I've not heard of Nature's Farm, but you're comparing it to Whole Foods, then it's probably expensive.

elliha

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2018, 11:59:52 PM »
Gluten free can be expensive but neither egg free or dairy free should be that much more than a regular diet. Eggs are usually just cut out of the diet and replacement products for dairy can be made at home if you want to cut down spending. I would do the math though, making your own is not always cheaper but I think this could be one where it is.

If she is into healthy eating, does she buy "superfoods", exotic fruit or things out of season? If so this is an area you can do some real savings in. Buying things in season and using cheaper vegetables as a base can do a lot to your bills but still offer just as healthy food. If she is the type to want all organic all the time she should be very careful when buying the less common products, often stores add more to those since people buy them seldom enough to not remember the prize and perhaps not know what the non-organic costs. If it is not something that spoils she might be able to order these things online for much less. Also, do you eat a lot of nuts and seeds? They can be very expensive too especially organic so that is a product to watch out for. In general, if you are going to go all organic you will need to be very prize conscious for every product you need and going to specialized shops can be "dangerous" because you can find so many good products there that it is easy to overspend.

MrsTuxedocat

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2018, 12:09:05 AM »
I think that it is absolutely doable to have a lower grocery bill. Mr. Tuxedocat and I spend about $500 per month on groceries. It used to be less, but I am pregnant and crave fresh fruit all the time! We also eat limited dairy - just free range eggs on occasion.

Perhaps consider only buying the "dirty dozen" organic fruits and veggies? We buy organic as long as there isn't a huge price discrepancy between non organic. Incorporate more veggies,and especially root vegetables into your diet. They are the cheapest. We also eat a lot of dried beans too.


snacky

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2018, 12:11:15 AM »
I feed three people plus frequent guests for $10/ day. One kid is gluten free. One is fussy. I can't do lots of carbs. We live in the middle of Canada.
It's totally possible. We eat the produce that is cheapest, which tends to be seasonal. Instead of fancy GF products we just eat a lot of Mexican or Indian - ish food - corn tortillas, rice, potatoes, asian rice noodles. Everything is made from scratch.
A pot of chili costs only a few dollars. Canned tomatoes, dried beans, frozen corn, and spices.
Thai curry is tofu, veg, coconut milk, stock, curry paste, and rice.
Wild rice soup is wild and regular rice, stock, root veg, garlic and spices, dried beans.
And so on.

If she does all the cooking and shopping and she doesn't see a way to do it for less, you can't do it for less. She is working hard enough to cover this domain without your adding to the responsibilities. Instead, you take over a night or two a week. Put your ingredients on the list, cook everything, and see a decrease in your grocery bills. Everyone wins!

red_pill

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2018, 12:26:29 AM »

If she is into healthy eating, does she buy "superfoods", exotic fruit or things out of season? If so this is an area you can do some real savings in. Buying things in season and using cheaper vegetables as a base can do a lot to your bills but still offer just as healthy food. If she is the type to want all organic all the time she should be very careful when buying the less common products, often stores add more to those since people buy them seldom enough to not remember the prize and perhaps not know what the non-organic costs. If it is not something that spoils she might be able to order these things online for much less. Also, do you eat a lot of nuts and seeds? They can be very expensive too especially organic so that is a product to watch out for. In general, if you are going to go all organic you will need to be very prize conscious for every product you need and going to specialized shops can be "dangerous" because you can find so many good products there that it is easy to overspend.

I have seen bags of grapes show up in December for like $18. Itís insane. Now that we are into summer months that should subside but we will have to break that habit over the next few months.  She says that she only buys organic produce when the price is similar, and if itís not she goes with the regular variety.   We eat nuts but not many seeds. Will monitor that.  Thanks.

red_pill

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2018, 12:28:34 AM »
I think that it is absolutely doable to have a lower grocery bill. Mr. Tuxedocat and I spend about $500 per month on groceries. It used to be less, but I am pregnant and crave fresh fruit all the time! We also eat limited dairy - just free range eggs on occasion.

Perhaps consider only buying the "dirty dozen" organic fruits and veggies? We buy organic as long as there isn't a huge price discrepancy between non organic. Incorporate more veggies,and especially root vegetables into your diet. They are the cheapest. We also eat a lot of dried beans too.

Hmmm, beans. We donít eat a lot of beans. Maybe we should find some good recipes.  Like a slow cooker chilli or something.  Thanks !

Hirondelle

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #7 on: May 08, 2018, 12:44:27 AM »
I'm not too familiar with Canadian food prices but $100/week sounds high to me. Gluten/dairy/egg free doesn't need to be more expensive (actually dairy free would save me a bunch of fancy cheese!).

Some general advice that works kinda worldwide:
- For staples/carbs foods, rice and potatoes are totally gluten free and fairly healthy. There will be potato haters who believe otherwise, but potatoes are very nutritious and have a high satiety index. Plus they're dirt cheap! And they last long!
- Beans. Lots of beans. Beans are nutritious, high in protein and have a good satiety index. Very healthy. Very cheap.
- Veggies: Carrots, onions and cucumbers have been cheap everywhere I've seen them. So are canned tomatoes.
- Cut down the fancy meat. Or just all the meat. I don't know how much meat you eat, but for many it's one of the bigger items. Same for fish. Wonder where to get your proteins from if you also can't eat eggs or dairy? Beans! Tofu! Check out vegan recipes for ideas. You don't have to cut out all meat/fish ofcourse, but reducing consumption can save you lots.
- Be selective about what to buy organic. Not every organic product makes sense. Sometimes prices are 2x as high without any benefits. Also check out local farms to see if there's stuff you can buy directly.

For some general recipe advice/inspiration, check out this thread: https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/share-your-badassity/have-a-sub-$200month-grocery-budget/?topicseen

red_pill

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #8 on: May 08, 2018, 12:46:50 AM »
I feed three people plus frequent guests for $10/ day. One kid is gluten free. One is fussy. I can't do lots of carbs. We live in the middle of Canada.
It's totally possible. We eat the produce that is cheapest, which tends to be seasonal. Instead of fancy GF products we just eat a lot of Mexican or Indian - ish food - corn tortillas, rice, potatoes, asian rice noodles. Everything is made from scratch.
A pot of chili costs only a few dollars. Canned tomatoes, dried beans, frozen corn, and spices.
Thai curry is tofu, veg, coconut milk, stock, curry paste, and rice.
Wild rice soup is wild and regular rice, stock, root veg, garlic and spices, dried beans.
And so on.

If she does all the cooking and shopping and she doesn't see a way to do it for less, you can't do it for less. She is working hard enough to cover this domain without your adding to the responsibilities. Instead, you take over a night or two a week. Put your ingredients on the list, cook everything, and see a decrease in your grocery bills. Everyone wins!

Like $10 / day per person?  Or $10 / day for all three people? No. Couldnít be.  That would be amazing. We are at around $50/day for four people.  Lots of room for improvement

LIGHTBULB MOMENT ->I realized that we really donít have an established baseline - my $50 a day is a gross estimate but I canít say where that $50 is being spent.  Just like when I attacked my electricity bill I first had to understand where it was going before I could identify the waste.  It seems the same here - maybe a few small changes would have a disproportionate impact. Or at the very least gain some early momentum.   But as of now, beyond me looking at the receipts when she comes home from the store and whining about the expensive whatever she bought that day - I really donít know the consumption trends.

Looks like I got a few weeks of data collection ahead of me!

Hirondelle

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #9 on: May 08, 2018, 01:00:29 AM »

Looks like I got a few weeks of data collection ahead of me!

That sounds like a perfect start! First figure out where the money gets spend, then see where you can reduce it with the least possible pain.

Malkynn

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #10 on: May 08, 2018, 05:09:36 AM »
DH and I spend about $160-250 on groceries per month for the two of us, plus $100/mo on Vega One meal replacement shakes for breakfast, which is pricey, but worth it to us. If we ate a normal breakfast like oatmeal, we could easily keep our groceries under $250/mo for the two of us.

We eat extremely well, gourmet level food and although weíre not gluten-free, we eat virtually no gluten because we donít generally eat refined carbs or use any premade sauces for cooking, aside from some hot sauces and soy sauce, both of which can be found gluten free quite easily.

We used to spend $800-1000/mo for the two of us, so I completely understand your spending level at the moment, but it is ABSOLUTELY possible to cut it at least in half with very little effort, it just has to be a priority.

I would personally recommend gathering a collection of low cost gluten free vegan recipes and then adding small portions of meat if desired. It will be a lot easier to find low cost gluten-free vegan recipes than gluten free/egg free/dairy free recipes.
Budget Bytes is amazing for inexpensive recipes that really rely on spices as a key source of flavour, which is great for gluten free cooking. Sauces are a big gluten cultprit, but theyíre expensive, so Budget Bytes tends to avoid them.

Definitely look into rice and beans as the bulk part of many of your meals, rice and beans are practically free and are so versatile they can be used for almost any style of cooking.

With just a tiny bit of effort, you should be able to cut your food bill in half. With a moderate effort and a bit f time, you could easily third or quarter it.

Lews Therin

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #11 on: May 08, 2018, 06:49:54 AM »
I can absolutely confirm that it is possible. I'm single and I run under 100$ per month. (Though with very little fancy, and stocking up with meat hits 1 - 1.50/Lb)

You can easily cut that number down by huge amounts by figuring out what normal prices are, and aiming for the things that are on sale in order to decide what you will be making that week.

snacky

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #12 on: May 08, 2018, 06:51:50 AM »
$10/day for 3 people has been my average for a couple of years. It includes dog food, toiletries, etc. Basically anything that can be bought at Superstore. I play the PC points for free groceries whenever I can, so that helps.
I anticipate that going up to $12 or so when my kids hit the mid teen years.
At Xmas and Easter turkeys go on sale for very cheap. I put a bunch in the freezer, then roast them once a month or so. The meat gets bagged and frozen and the carcass makes stock. The most recent turkey cost $8 at Easter and fed us for 4 days.
I cannot fathom what I would buy to hit a daily spend of $50. Can you share your shopping receipts?

PoutineLover

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #13 on: May 08, 2018, 06:56:44 AM »
That's insane. I spend about 50 bucks a week on groceries, although I don't have any dietary restrictions. I don't really buy many processed foods, I mostly eat fruits and veggies, meat, grains, eggs, dairy. Organic is a marketing term, organic veggies still have pesticides, just 'organic' ones. If you wash your veggies you're fine. I buy what's on sale and what's in season. I don't shop at expensive stores, I've found my neighborhood grocer beats the chain prices. I'd say track the bills and eliminate, reduce or replace the most expensive recurring items. You don't have to eat junk to spend less on food.

Villanelle

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #14 on: May 08, 2018, 07:03:23 AM »
Not Canadian so I can't say what exactly is realistic, but I'd come up with a list of meals that cost under $2 (or some price that is realistic but definitely pushes you) per serving, and commit to eating those at least three times a week. 

And yes, seasonal fruits and veggies will most definitely help. Try to get your wife to commit to that, or to commit to some price limit for produce (no more than $x per serving). 

bluebelle

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #15 on: May 08, 2018, 07:13:59 AM »
I'm in Toronto, and hubby is huge eater, and I seem to eat a fair amount (seems small compared to him).....our grocery bill is averaging around $180 a week, which is very high, but that includes anything bought at the grocery store, I'm not willing to keep all receipts to break it out at the end of the month, if it was bought at a grocery store, it's grocery, so it includes alot of our small household items as well (shampoo, laundry soap, things I pick up for my elderly mother, the occaisional bottle of wine or beer).  My guess is that 'grocery' is probably $150/week.  We don't eat organic and we eat alot of eggs (omega 3).  Most of our food is from scatch and includes all 3 meals 7 days a week.  We eat alot of meat and a fair amount of that is from a trusted butcher (we can both tell the difference between grocery store meat and from the butcher, same for the fish monger).
Cooking (especially from scratch) and shopping are huge time sucks.  Hubby and I like to cook, it's our time to chat without too much distraction, but it still consumes alot of time.
Does your wife do any price matching when she shops at Super Centre?  I've made that into a game using the app Flipp.  Are you part of the PC Optimum program (not as good as PC Plus but still, free money).
As others have said - take over cooking responsibilites a few nights a week.  If time is an issue, do some batch cooking on the weekend.  Chili is better when it's a day or two older, after the flavours meld.
I am in awe of those folks who eat for a $3 a day.  It just doesn't work for us.  It wouldn't be a happy home.   

Freedomin5

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #16 on: May 08, 2018, 07:21:44 AM »
When we lived in Vancouver, we (two adults) fed ourselves for around $100 per week. Shopped at the farmers markets during the summer months, as well as Superstore. Ate very little meat and cheese and nuts. Lots of in-season fresh fruits and veggies.

It was mainly a few high-cost items that took up the bulk of our budget (peanut butter, flax seed). If we had chosen to cut those things out we probably could have gotten down to $50/week.

OtherJen

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #17 on: May 08, 2018, 07:44:05 AM »
Iím in the US and donít have kids so my opinion will only go so far, but that seems really high.

I have celiac disease (which is no joke, gluten free is essential), and my husband and I spend about $600 per month total on our food, household supplies, toiletries, and pet supplies. Even if we assume that two kids would double that, $1200/month would still be less than your household is spending.

Iím not sure why gluten-free means spending THAT much more. I almost never buy the processed stuff because quite frankly, most of it is gross. Most of our food is made from scratch and while we do eat dairy and eggs, the bulk of our shopping is for fresh produce (all naturally gluten-, dairy-, egg-free; you can look up the Dirty Dozen list for things that are better if purchased organic), meat (we buy organic chicken and ground beef at Costco), dried beans/peas/lentils (cheap everywhere), nuts, and grains like rice, and oats (GF-certified oats are more expensive, but still cheaper than boxed cereals). We buy spices online in bulk from companies that only sell herbs/spices (I tend to avoid public bulk bins in stores that also sell bulk flour) and big bags of things like masa harina and almond flour. I do use circulars and compare grocers because as much as I love Aldi, sometimes the local independent store has better loss-leader deals.

Without knowing where the money is going, itís hard to speculate. I think youíre right about needing to collect data.

jambongris

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #18 on: May 08, 2018, 08:17:15 AM »
I don’t know how much prices differ between Ottawa and HCOL west coast cities but it definitely seems doable. We feed a family of four on about $110/week and we buy little to no processed foods; the bulk of our groceries consists of produce, dairy and meat.

I should also note that this doesn’t include eating out, alcohol, toiletries or anything else that you can buy at the grocery store that isn’t food.

We try to buy what ever is on sale and meal plan around that. Since price matching at the superstore is pretty painless I can browse through all the local flyers for deals then do all my purchases together at one store using those prices.

I have a price book to know if it’s a really good sale in which case we’ll stock up. Tracking your grocery expenses in more detail is definitely the first step. This way you can see how it’s being spent and you can also develop a better understanding of what good prices look like. Cooking in bulk and freezing prepared food also saves us time and money.

Lews Therin

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #19 on: May 08, 2018, 08:38:27 AM »
Hey Jambongris, can I get a copy of your price book? :D

I've started one since last august, but I could always use more data points.

Novik

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #20 on: May 08, 2018, 08:44:54 AM »
Agree with prior posters... 20k on groceries is absolutely beatable! Price-matching is key, as is focusing on cheaper recipes and snacks to build a meal plan out of.

My partner and I run ~350$/month (trending down for 400$/month) including plenty of fancy meals and treats (recent fave: homemade pita chips and hummus!). That number does not directly include toiletries/paper products but we pay for those almost entirely with PC points earned on grocery spend.

If you're spending 20k on groceries a year, please tell me you have credit cards with good grocery rewards (ie. PC World elite for superstore, or scotia momentum for 4% cashback on groceries) and/or are churning credit cards using that money to hit minimum spends!!

Your post shows you have made good initial progress but I promise there's lots farther to go! Maybe consider a full on case study in a couple more months after you've cut down the obvious fluff?

meghan88

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #21 on: May 08, 2018, 08:48:11 AM »
Canadian here (SW Ontario).  If I were in your shoes, I'd start doing some serious research on prices.  It is AMAZING how prices vary from store to store.  Make a list of the types of things you buy, then go to the nearest store of any of the chains to list and compare prices.  Once you've got that down and organized, then consider joining the loyalty programs at the stores you're likely to shop at.  Some other tips:

- Keep an open mind as to where to shop - we buy our Oikos yogurt from Shoppers Drug Mart because it's usually on sale for 3.99 or less, and is over $5 elsewhere.  Some PC products are cheaper at Shoppers than at any Loblaws grocery stores.  A local organics grocer has some produce for way less than the chain supermarkets.
- Clip coupons and search for online coupons for the more expensive items.
- Check all the flyers every week to look for sales for things that you can stock up on when prices are right.
- As others have said above, research the "dirty dozen" and "clean 15" lists to see which fruits and veg to buy/not buy organic.  We never buy organic avocados, onions or bananas.

Don't assume that your wife is doing any of these things right now.  Hopefully you can both take a fresh look at this and collaborate to game the system as much as you can.  You will save $, though it does take a bit of effort to get the hang of it.

Trying2bFrugal

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #22 on: May 08, 2018, 09:18:42 AM »
I never knew how much we spend on the groceries.

We buy milk, chicken, eggs organic. We eat goat and no red meat,  luckily they are still vegetarians.

Most fruits goes regular except apples, berries, cherries, and others where you would eat skin.

We cook and 0 processed food in our home. Except for one box of honey bunches we buy (lasts 3 months due to not eating it).

Our snacks are nuts, dried fruits or home made snacks.

My friend is gluten free, we cook him some rice variety or other stuff.

Most of vegetables - anything we consume direct like spinach (costco) should be organic.
But cauliflower is not, we use vinegar soaking to reduce toxic intake. Mostly we buy the ones on sale and seasonal.

If we like strawberries,  we buy organic(costco) frozen ones for our smoothies. Banana again costco. Avocado organic.

 Limes, oranges, watermelon, melons, mangos - regular.

One thing for sure, you need to SHOP around shops for scoring less price tag. There is no one stop shop (costco is costlier in some, Kroger is costly in some so do Alsi).

red_pill

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #23 on: May 08, 2018, 09:25:26 AM »
Okay, so I reviewed Mint and the $20K per year has been the reality for the last six months.  I know it was higher before that but my wife has brought it down about 20% since we first started talking about this stuff.   Still, it is clear from the feedback that 20% was the low hanging fruit. Not even, it was the fruit that had already fallen off the tree. We should be able to realize another 20-30% without much pain.

A few things jump out at me as areas to explore / current weaknesses:

-I downloaded Flipp and for the first time in my life read a flyer. I know, I know.  Clearly, it pays to shop around. There are a half dozen grocery stores in my immediate vicinity and we only go to two of them.  But different stores seem to have different loss leaders, resulting in a significant savings potential.

-Nor do we leverage price matching. Well, my wife doesn't. I actually did this for the first time a few weeks ago at London Drugs - they matched off my Walmart App and I saved like $10 off their ridiculous prices on something.  So easy! Obviously, this is a must-do item.

-We do not us PC points. I don't even know how they work.  Normally I eschew loyalty programs and find it annoying that I'm always being asked for my phone number.  I'm convinced that, for the most part, loyalty cards encourage overspending by creating "loss aversion" where you spend X in order to avoid losing the bonus of Y, even though you weren't planning on spending X in the first place.  Plus, it keeps things simple. I love simple and think there is value in simple. But, maybe groceries are different as long as you know the baseline data of what is or isn't a good deal.

-I've never churned a credit card, and we do not have a credit card that offers 4% cashback on groceries.  I use a RBC Cashback Mastercard that gives us 2% for groceries and 1% on everything else.  I liked it because it was a no fee card and I bank at RBC so I can see all of my accounts in one place. Perhaps their are better cards out there. (quick calculation versus  the Scotia Momentum card: it would cost $130 for two cards, and on an anticipated $15,000 spent on groceries (goals!) we would earn a refund of $600 versus $300 on my card, plus higher refunds on gas and other purchases. This would pay for itself and result in a few hundred bucks a year in my pocket.  I'm reluctant to increase the complexity of my finances. I love my one page banking, but I'm not sure if I love it to the tune of a few hundred bucks a year.)

-We don't make a shopping list. It's just all in her head.  If something is on sale she will tend to buy more of it. Some items she will only buy when it is on sale.  And she generally knows baseline prices of things.  Not like me, I have no idea how much food costs.

-We don't preplan our meals.  Well, breakfasts are all the same, but for dinners (and next day's lunch) what is bought defines what is cooked. Not the other way around.  This means that we aren't leveraging what is on sale each week, and instead hope to get lucky.  Clearly not optimal.

Yikes, lots of work to do.  Really appreciate everyone taking the time to help me on this.

nereo

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #24 on: May 08, 2018, 09:40:10 AM »
Reporting from Quebec --
Our target has always been to spend $400 or less per month for a household of 2 (i.e. $200/mo/person or >$50/week/person). Occasionally we go over, but often we are at or slightly under.  We don't purchase any processed foods and roughly 2/3rds of our meals are vegetarian.  Unlike the OP's wife we have no such restrictions on eggs or gluten.

As Villanelle mentioned one strategy can be to come up with a list of very cheap meals (e.g. <$2/serving) and make those your backbone. Curries, risotto and stir-fry are among our weekly favorites. We also use our freezer extensively and can, buying and storing when prices are low (e.g. when bell peppers are ≤99Ę/lb we'll buy and slice several dozen and deep freeze. We buy turkeys after the holidays, make pesto from basil, pick bushels of apples to make into sauce, etc).
I grow all my own herbs and in the summer we have a small but productive patio garden that really reduces our produce budget. Maybe that's 'cheating' but I enjoy it and it keeps costs down. Most herbs can be frozen with water in ice-cube trays (and later transferred to ziplock bags) to be used in the winter months.

Agree that tracking exactly where your food budget is going is key to finding where you can effectively reduce your spending. The last time we did this we realized how much we were spending on yogurt; now we make our own (with an InstantPot). Cheese winds up being our biggest single-category expense, but we've decided we'd rather pay for good cheese than go without. CostCo has the best prices for cheese in our area by far.

OtherJen

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #25 on: May 08, 2018, 09:41:53 AM »
-We do not us PC points. I don't even know how they work.  Normally I eschew loyalty programs and find it annoying that I'm always being asked for my phone number.  I'm convinced that, for the most part, loyalty cards encourage overspending by creating "loss aversion" where you spend X in order to avoid losing the bonus of Y, even though you weren't planning on spending X in the first place.  Plus, it keeps things simple. I love simple and think there is value in simple. But, maybe groceries are different as long as you know the baseline data of what is or isn't a good deal.

-We don't make a shopping list. It's just all in her head.  If something is on sale she will tend to buy more of it. Some items she will only buy when it is on sale.  And she generally knows baseline prices of things.  Not like me, I have no idea how much food costs.

Taking care of these points should bring you significant savings.

Re: loyalty points. The policies differ among stores, but I belong to the loyalty plans of a big supermarket chain and a local pet supply chain. Rather than penalties, these work by providing special pricing and sales for cardholders (no minimum spend amount required). The deals are often listed in the sale circulars, so you can plan for them.

Re: lists. I never shop without one. I keep separate lists for Costco and other stores. I only buy what we need, although I will occasionally buy a larger amount of a non-perishable or something that can be frozen if it's a good deal and we will definitely use it within a reasonable amount of time (no room to stockpile). Otherwise, you run the risk of having a pantry and fridge full of random things while forgetting something you actually need.

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #26 on: May 08, 2018, 09:46:33 AM »
I love your enthusiasm and willingness to listen and change!

Flipp - you can browse the flyers on your phone, clip things and sync with your wife's phone (and it will help you learn prices!). Easy to do while standing in line somewhere, in the elevator at work, etc. and then easy for her to use.

PC points - agree loyalty points can be dangerous. I mostly ignore in-store points deals for this reason. But I do take advantage of the "targeted offers" for points on things I buy all the time (for me this week: bananas, peppers, potatoes - easy 20% off). There's an easy app.

Credit cards - I'd get a PC World Elite Mastercard.  No fees for you or a spousal card, 3% back in PC points at grocery stores (also some gas bonuses and 1% everywhere else), and it also serves as your PC points card for earning and redeeming, so one less thing to worry about. On 15k you'd earn 450$ back a year (basically the same as the scotia but without the annual fees and much simpler).   Once you have the spousal card merge the resulting 2 PC points account into one household for even more simplicity. Churning can wait until you have the spending under control :)

Link (not referral or anything but offers you a bonus 100$): https://www.ratesupermarket.ca/credit_cards/pc_financial/presidents_choice_financial_world_elite_mastercard

Finally - please listen to what Snacky said upthread about doing this without making a lot more work for your wife. You have the enthusiasm but she will only be able to generate that enthusiasm for herself if you take on the burden of the energy to make change. Once you are in your new normal maybe it will make sense to step back but the change has to be driven by your hard work!

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #27 on: May 08, 2018, 09:47:54 AM »

-We do not us PC points. I don't even know how they work.  Normally I eschew loyalty programs and find it annoying that I'm always being asked for my phone number.  I'm convinced that, for the most part, loyalty cards encourage overspending by creating "loss aversion" where you spend X in order to avoid losing the bonus of Y, even though you weren't planning on spending X in the first place.  Plus, it keeps things simple. I love simple and think there is value in simple. But, maybe groceries are different as long as you know the baseline data of what is or isn't a good deal.

-I've never churned a credit card, and we do not have a credit card that offers 4% cashback on groceries.  I use a RBC Cashback Mastercard that gives us 2% for groceries and 1% on everything else.  I liked it because it was a no fee card and I bank at RBC so I can see all of my accounts in one place. Perhaps their are better cards out there. (quick calculation versus  the Scotia Momentum card: it would cost $130 for two cards, and on an anticipated $15,000 spent on groceries (goals!) we would earn a refund of $600 versus $300 on my card, plus higher refunds on gas and other purchases. This would pay for itself and result in a few hundred bucks a year in my pocket.  I'm reluctant to increase the complexity of my finances. I love my one page banking, but I'm not sure if I love it to the tune of a few hundred bucks a year.)

PC points - they have various offers every week.  I use their PC World Elite Master Card (free, and the equivalent of 3% back grocery store purchases)...for example this week, Zehers had PC frozen veg on sale for 1.99 a bag, PC points had an offer for 400 points for every $2 spent.  A point is worth a 1/10 of a cent, so 400 points is 40 cents....so each bag was only $1.59 (regular $3)....Super Centre has regular in store options as well....I don't normally advocate credit cards, but if your family is spending $400 a week, and assuming $300 of it is at Super Centre, that's $9 a week in points just for using the credit card, plus any weekly offers.  Sure $9 isn't alot off $300, but if you were spending it anyway, why the hell not get it.  Our Super Centre happens to have a gas bar attached, so buying gas gets 4 cents a litre worth of points plus the 3% for using the CC....and the gas is usually a few cents cheaper than other gas stations....

jambongris

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #28 on: May 08, 2018, 09:52:29 AM »
Hey Jambongris, can I get a copy of your price book? :D

I've started one since last august, but I could always use more data points.

I’ll try and remember to send it to you when I’m at home.

bluebelle

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #29 on: May 08, 2018, 10:02:04 AM »
speaking of grocery lists.....mine usually gets left on the kitchen counter, and I'm doing it from memory....any one have a suggestion for an electronic version?  One I could type in with my PC (ie regular keyboard), and access via my phone?  Usually I end up getting hubby to take a pic of the handwritten list and text it to me....that works too.
With all the data gathering sotres are doing, I would gladly give them my grocery list if they would ping me everytime I walk past an aisle that has something on my list.....can you tell I often get to the check out with something missing.....I would give the grocery store my list if they would then give it back to me sorted based on their store layout.....I often rewrite the grocery list before I leave home, without it, putting it into the order I think things are in the store.  If the list is in the order we ran out of stuff, I always miss things.  It's bad enough I have to grocery shop with reading glasses around my neck, I'm not carrying a pen to check things off.

OtherJen

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #30 on: May 08, 2018, 10:28:38 AM »
speaking of grocery lists.....mine usually gets left on the kitchen counter, and I'm doing it from memory....any one have a suggestion for an electronic version?  One I could type in with my PC (ie regular keyboard), and access via my phone?  Usually I end up getting hubby to take a pic of the handwritten list and text it to me....that works too.
With all the data gathering sotres are doing, I would gladly give them my grocery list if they would ping me everytime I walk past an aisle that has something on my list.....can you tell I often get to the check out with something missing.....I would give the grocery store my list if they would then give it back to me sorted based on their store layout.....I often rewrite the grocery list before I leave home, without it, putting it into the order I think things are in the store.  If the list is in the order we ran out of stuff, I always miss things.  It's bad enough I have to grocery shop with reading glasses around my neck, I'm not carrying a pen to check things off.

I use the Out of Milk app on my Android phone (also available for iPhone). I like it because you can categorize items according to type or location in the store, include amounts and notes, and keep separate lists. It looks like there's an online app for access from PCs, but I haven't tried it.

If you're a Google user, the Keep app can be used on both a PC and mobile device.

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #31 on: May 08, 2018, 10:40:43 AM »
I email my list to myself so it's on my phone. Easy.

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #32 on: May 08, 2018, 11:04:21 AM »
I keep my grocery list on my phone. (Keep app)

Not in Canada.  Family of 4, spend about $150 a week total.

I developed an intolerance to wheat, so I mostly eat gluten free (but, for example - it's not gluten - barley is fine).

What I do, mostly, is try to eat things that are naturally gluten free, instead of "gluten free" things.  I will buy GF bread and keep it in the freezer, but a loaf will last a few weeks.

For husband and kid, they can eat wheat, so we have regular bread for them.  And I used to make it regularly.  Kinda lazy lately.


The keys for me are:
1.  Price comparison.  Figure out WHAT you eat and figure out how to get it for less.  Unfortunately this means shopping at 2-5 stores a week.  Hey, it's not free it takes time.
2.  Cost per item/ meal.  Calculate the cost to make a few of your regular meals.  Increase rotation of the cheaper meals.
3.  Cheaper substitutions.  Lots of apples, oranges, and bananas in the winter.  Gorge on strawberries in the spring.  Stick to organic for dirty dozen only.  More chicken less beef.  More sardines or canned salmon, less fresh.
4.  Do not waste food.

I have a tween boy and a younger boy and a husband.  We eat a LOT of produce.  Along the lines of 30-40 lbs a week.  It is what it is.

GuitarStv

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #33 on: May 08, 2018, 11:10:09 AM »
- Plan your meals in advance, buy only the stuff you need to make your meals
- Make large batches of food and then freeze what you're not going to eat that week
- Don't buy junk food, or any processed food really
- Eat meat once a day or less, and choose cheaper cuts of meat

200$ per week average grocery bill for Canadian family of three here.  We splurge on a lot of fresh fruit and veggies each week.

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #34 on: May 08, 2018, 12:33:00 PM »
speaking of grocery lists.....mine usually gets left on the kitchen counter, and I'm doing it from memory....any one have a suggestion for an electronic version?  One I could type in with my PC (ie regular keyboard), and access via my phone?  Usually I end up getting hubby to take a pic of the handwritten list and text it to me....that works too.
With all the data gathering sotres are doing, I would gladly give them my grocery list if they would ping me everytime I walk past an aisle that has something on my list.....can you tell I often get to the check out with something missing.....I would give the grocery store my list if they would then give it back to me sorted based on their store layout.....I often rewrite the grocery list before I leave home, without it, putting it into the order I think things are in the store.  If the list is in the order we ran out of stuff, I always miss things.  It's bad enough I have to grocery shop with reading glasses around my neck, I'm not carrying a pen to check things off.
You could be my long-lost twin.  Reading glasses and all, except that I usually forget those too ... they are usually sitting on top of the list.  Damn those hard-to read best-before dates.

Another shopping tip:  check your receipt before you leave the store!!  I do this all the time and sometimes find I've been overcharged because something was scanned twice.  Better still, watch carefully on the cashier's screen as the items are entered.

jambongris

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #35 on: May 08, 2018, 12:35:17 PM »
Okay, so I reviewed Mint and the $20K per year has been the reality for the last six months.  I know it was higher before that but my wife has brought it down about 20% since we first started talking about this stuff.   Still, it is clear from the feedback that 20% was the low hanging fruit. Not even, it was the fruit that had already fallen off the tree. We should be able to realize another 20-30% without much pain.

A few things jump out at me as areas to explore / current weaknesses:

-I downloaded Flipp and for the first time in my life read a flyer. I know, I know.  Clearly, it pays to shop around. There are a half dozen grocery stores in my immediate vicinity and we only go to two of them.  But different stores seem to have different loss leaders, resulting in a significant savings potential.

-Nor do we leverage price matching. Well, my wife doesn't. I actually did this for the first time a few weeks ago at London Drugs - they matched off my Walmart App and I saved like $10 off their ridiculous prices on something.  So easy! Obviously, this is a must-do item.

-We do not us PC points. I don't even know how they work.  Normally I eschew loyalty programs and find it annoying that I'm always being asked for my phone number.  I'm convinced that, for the most part, loyalty cards encourage overspending by creating "loss aversion" where you spend X in order to avoid losing the bonus of Y, even though you weren't planning on spending X in the first place.  Plus, it keeps things simple. I love simple and think there is value in simple. But, maybe groceries are different as long as you know the baseline data of what is or isn't a good deal.

Yikes, lots of work to do.  Really appreciate everyone taking the time to help me on this.

I really like Flipp. It works really well and the cashiers are very comfortable with it.

I would definitely give PC Optimum points a try if you have participating stores nearby. Every week I get a number of deals for the equivalent of 20% off food that I buy regularly (bananas, cucumbers, tomatoes, apples, deli meat, breads, coffee, etc). That’s easy savings.

There are usually a few offers for things I would never buy but I just ignore them.

It seems as though the app tailors the offers based on your purchase history so if you buy lots of produce then you should get offers for produce.

You may end up deciding that the loyalty program isn’t for you but it’s worth a shot. Between the offers in the app, the PC Insiders program and our PC Mastercard we get enough points to effectively reduce our grocery bill by about 20% - down to ~$85/week for a family of four (~$21/week per person).

ender

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #36 on: May 08, 2018, 12:38:23 PM »
My recommendation would be to keep all your grocery receipts for at least a month (preferrably 2-3) and then categorize them.

Right now you are averaging over $19/meal/person.

I suspect if you took even a months worth of receipts you'd find a lot of valuable insights just by categorizing them (ie "yogurt", "milk", "cheese", "bread", "fruit", "vegetables" etc).

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #37 on: May 08, 2018, 04:27:39 PM »
family of four, $400/month in Canada. Lots of salads in our house, lots of dairy. Everything has been said already, I'll try to add slightly diffferent perspectives.

President choice card - I get simplicity, I like simple. I filled in a one page form, Pre-Authorized Debits, so that its paid in full every month automatically from my RBC bank account. I still see the bill every month, but if I'm busy or out of town it takes care of itself (provided you have the funds of course). 3% cash back on groceries, its the best card out there if you shop at Loblaw chain stores.
https://www.pcfinancial.ca/english/legal/pc-mastercard?list=5

Composter - I have a compost bin for every bit of organic waste. It puts food waste in perspective when you need to dump the bin every few days. How much do you waste? Its probably more than you realize (its generally true of most people), I seriously doubt you eat $5000/person/year. As gross as it sounds, take a look at how much garbage you throw out, the lowest budgets posted likely have the lowest waste. If you don't have/want a comopster, segregate for a few weeks and toss it back in the house waste (continuously, don't save it up!). You can learn a lot about people by what they discard, archeologists do it all the time.

daverobev

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #38 on: May 08, 2018, 04:34:30 PM »
You need to find a No Frills or 'ethnic' supermarket in a non-trendy part of town. Buy in bulk, and buy on sale.

Also, grow some of your own, if you can.

red_pill

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #39 on: May 08, 2018, 05:20:26 PM »
My recommendation would be to keep all your grocery receipts for at least a month (preferrably 2-3) and then categorize them.

Right now you are averaging over $19/meal/person.

I suspect if you took even a months worth of receipts you'd find a lot of valuable insights just by categorizing them (ie "yogurt", "milk", "cheese", "bread", "fruit", "vegetables" etc).

I donít think itís quite $19/person/meal (that would be 19x3x4x365 =$83,220 per year. Weíre not that bad!)   Agreed in the receipts - I need data to formulate a plan.  Iím working on a spreadsheet to try to get a better idea of what items are best priced where and what a good sale looks like for an item. 

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #40 on: May 08, 2018, 05:27:12 PM »
Is there Aldi in Canada? Buy lots of chicken on sale and freeze it.  Donít eat red meat. Make twice what you need for dinner and eat the rest for lunch the next day.

ender

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #41 on: May 08, 2018, 05:27:22 PM »
My recommendation would be to keep all your grocery receipts for at least a month (preferrably 2-3) and then categorize them.

Right now you are averaging over $19/meal/person.

I suspect if you took even a months worth of receipts you'd find a lot of valuable insights just by categorizing them (ie "yogurt", "milk", "cheese", "bread", "fruit", "vegetables" etc).

I donít think itís quite $19/person/meal (that would be 19x3x4x365 =$83,220 per year. Weíre not that bad!)   Agreed in the receipts - I need data to formulate a plan.  Iím working on a spreadsheet to try to get a better idea of what items are best priced where and what a good sale looks like for an item.

Oops. It's $9.50. My math was wrong ;-)   400/(7*3*2).

red_pill

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #42 on: May 08, 2018, 05:33:08 PM »
family of four, $400/month in Canada. Lots of salads in our house, lots of dairy. Everything has been said already, I'll try to add slightly diffferent perspectives.

President choice card - I get simplicity, I like simple. I filled in a one page form, Pre-Authorized Debits, so that its paid in full every month automatically from my RBC bank account. I still see the bill every month, but if I'm busy or out of town it takes care of itself (provided you have the funds of course). 3% cash back on groceries, its the best card out there if you shop at Loblaw chain stores.
https://www.pcfinancial.ca/english/legal/pc-mastercard?list=5

Composter - I have a compost bin for every bit of organic waste. It puts food waste in perspective when you need to dump the bin every few days. How much do you waste? Its probably more than you realize (its generally true of most people), I seriously doubt you eat $5000/person/year. As gross as it sounds, take a look at how much garbage you throw out, the lowest budgets posted likely have the lowest waste. If you don't have/want a comopster, segregate for a few weeks and toss it back in the house waste (continuously, don't save it up!). You can learn a lot about people by what they discard, archeologists do it all the time.

We do separate our waste here into a green bin. The occasions of us throwing out left overs because they didnít get eaten, or some other food item because it went bad is fairly rare.  Not totally unheard of, and I think this could be improved on with pre-planning meals and making shopping lists.  Will have to pay closer attention to this.

red_pill

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #43 on: May 08, 2018, 05:36:45 PM »
You need to find a No Frills or 'ethnic' supermarket in a non-trendy part of town. Buy in bulk, and buy on sale.

Also, grow some of your own, if you can.

No Frills.....feels like that would have terrible quality stuff.  Is that just an inaccurate perception based on marketing? 

jambongris

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #44 on: May 08, 2018, 05:41:03 PM »
My recommendation would be to keep all your grocery receipts for at least a month (preferrably 2-3) and then categorize them.

Right now you are averaging over $19/meal/person.

I suspect if you took even a months worth of receipts you'd find a lot of valuable insights just by categorizing them (ie "yogurt", "milk", "cheese", "bread", "fruit", "vegetables" etc).

I don’t think it’s quite $19/person/meal (that would be 19x3x4x365 =$83,220 per year. We’re not that bad!)   Agreed in the receipts - I need data to formulate a plan.  I’m working on a spreadsheet to try to get a better idea of what items are best priced where and what a good sale looks like for an item.

Oops. It's $9.50. My math was wrong ;-)   400/(7*3*2).

I’m getting $4.76 per person-meal.

$400/week, 4 people, 3 meals a day.

Bottom line is that it is still much higher than it could be. There’s lot of good advice here on how to move forward though.

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #45 on: May 08, 2018, 05:51:11 PM »
You need to find a No Frills or 'ethnic' supermarket in a non-trendy part of town. Buy in bulk, and buy on sale.

Also, grow some of your own, if you can.

No Frills.....feels like that would have terrible quality stuff.  Is that just an inaccurate perception based on marketing?

Yes.

We've been conditioned to believe that more expensive is synonymous with higher quality and 'better' overall.  It's often not the case, and it's particularly erroneous with food.
Some of the most enduring dishes became popular precisely because they were affordable to the poor. Risotto. Polenta. Beef Stew. Brisket. Frittatas. Pancakes. Pasta Carbonara. The list goes on and on.  Each of these can be part of a gourmet meal that costs under $2/serving if you avoid certain cost-traps.

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #46 on: May 08, 2018, 05:57:03 PM »
You need to find a No Frills or 'ethnic' supermarket in a non-trendy part of town. Buy in bulk, and buy on sale.

Also, grow some of your own, if you can.

No Frills.....feels like that would have terrible quality stuff.  Is that just an inaccurate perception based on marketing?

Do you really think they separate beans into ''good'' and ''less good'' cans? How about pasta sauce?
How about the fact that it's the exact same things sold at both locations?

red_pill

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #47 on: May 08, 2018, 06:29:56 PM »
You need to find a No Frills or 'ethnic' supermarket in a non-trendy part of town. Buy in bulk, and buy on sale.

Also, grow some of your own, if you can.

No Frills.....feels like that would have terrible quality stuff.  Is that just an inaccurate perception based on marketing?

Do you really think they separate beans into ''good'' and ''less good'' cans? How about pasta sauce?
How about the fact that it's the exact same things sold at both locations?

I kinda always assumed they did. But now that you mention it, that would be very labour intensive for the manufacturer when all they have to do is slap a different label on the exact same can and charge chumps like me more for it.

Iím sure thereís products where quality is in fact reflected in price - you get what you pay for rings true at times.  But for basic staples? Yeah, I hear what youíre saying. 

Damn, I got work to do. 
« Last Edit: May 08, 2018, 06:36:04 PM by red_pill »

nereo

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #48 on: May 08, 2018, 06:36:31 PM »
You need to find a No Frills or 'ethnic' supermarket in a non-trendy part of town. Buy in bulk, and buy on sale.

Also, grow some of your own, if you can.

No Frills.....feels like that would have terrible quality stuff.  Is that just an inaccurate perception based on marketing?

Do you really think they separate beans into ''good'' and ''less good'' cans? How about pasta sauce?
How about the fact that it's the exact same things sold at both locations?

I kinda always assumed they did. But now that you mention it, that would be very labour intensive for the manufacturer when all they have to do is slap a different label on the exact same can and charge chimps like me more for it.

Iím sure thereís products where quality is in fact reflected in price - you get what you pay for rings true at times.  But for basic staples? Yeah, I hear what youíre saying. 

Damn, I got work to do.
As an example, it's pretty well established that CostCo's Kirkland Signature brand is often another brand's product repackaged (called "co-branding"). Same product for less.
Walmart, Target and other national brands also engage in co-branding.

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #49 on: May 08, 2018, 06:39:05 PM »
You need to find a No Frills or 'ethnic' supermarket in a non-trendy part of town. Buy in bulk, and buy on sale.

Also, grow some of your own, if you can.

No Frills.....feels like that would have terrible quality stuff.  Is that just an inaccurate perception based on marketing?

Do you really think they separate beans into ''good'' and ''less good'' cans? How about pasta sauce?
How about the fact that it's the exact same things sold at both locations?

I kinda always assumed they did. But now that you mention it, that would be very labour intensive for the manufacturer when all they have to do is slap a different label on the exact same can and charge chimps like me more for it.

Iím sure thereís products where quality is in fact reflected in price - you get what you pay for rings true at times.  But for basic staples? Yeah, I hear what youíre saying. 

Damn, I got work to do.

They sell the literal same stuff as Loblaws, Superstore, Independent Grocers.

In my town, where there is a No Frills and a Metro (which is roughly the same 'fancy' level as Loblaws.. I guess), the exact same box of crackers will be 1/3 cheaper in No Frills.

Now - No Frills does not carry the same range of 'speciality' stuff. They are stack it high, sell it cheap. I know for some people, going shopping in two different places for groceries is too much effort to save whatever percentage. I'd say check the flyers, and go one week to one place, one week the other - if you need that specific stuff. No Frills does not have a great range of organic veg, meat, whatever. Ours, at least.

But if you buy porage oats, then the same bag can be 25% cheaper NOT ON SALE.

The difference is astounding, honestly.