Author Topic: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?  (Read 3846 times)

daverobev

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #50 on: May 08, 2018, 06:41:34 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.

Nope. No Aldi, no Lidl. As with many things, not much competition in the grocery sector - there are AFAIK three companies (Loblaws, which is owned by the Weston family - or at least controlled/partly owned - who also do bread; Metro; and Empire, which owns Safeway and Sobeys).

No Frills and Food Basics are pretty good analogues (franchised from Loblaws and either franchised or owned by Metro, I'm not sure, respectively).
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Malkynn

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #51 on: May 09, 2018, 06:27:49 AM »
I literally do none of the price reduction strategies here.
I almost never price compare, never price matched, donít have PC points, donít pay any attention to whether something is seasonal, and have never used a coupon, and I can often manage an entire week of groceries for the two of us for under $40 while buying premium ingredients.

I donít have a lot of motivation to do leg work and like my grocery process to be as quick and simple as possible, so the above strategies are not where I put my energy.

I focus on meals that are fundamentally more low cost.
I put my energy into finding and refining recipes that will always be cheaper to make and still taste delicious: Sri Lanken spicy cabbage and carrot with brown rice and chick peas; rosemary potato and kale with feta and eggs baked on top, Turkish split pea soup, kale/carrot/white bean chilli packed with aromatic fresh herbs, shakshuka, etc

We all have our strengths and weaknesses, my weakness is that I hate grocery shopping and want to think about it as little as possible, so I will never consistently strategize my grocery shopping. I play to my strengths, which is cooking. I enjoy building complex flavour palates with simple ingredients. Turning cabbage, rice, and carrots into a richly flavoured dish is a fun challenge for me. Comparison shopping to price match isnít.

Play to your strengths, mitigate your weaknesses.

ender

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #52 on: May 09, 2018, 07:17:25 AM »
I literally do none of the price reduction strategies here.
I almost never price compare, never price matched, donít have PC points, donít pay any attention to whether something is seasonal, and have never used a coupon, and I can often manage an entire week of groceries for the two of us for under $40 while buying premium ingredients.

I donít have a lot of motivation to do leg work and like my grocery process to be as quick and simple as possible, so the above strategies are not where I put my energy.

I focus on meals that are fundamentally more low cost.
I put my energy into finding and refining recipes that will always be cheaper to make and still taste delicious: Sri Lanken spicy cabbage and carrot with brown rice and chick peas; rosemary potato and kale with feta and eggs baked on top, Turkish split pea soup, kale/carrot/white bean chilli packed with aromatic fresh herbs, shakshuka, etc

We all have our strengths and weaknesses, my weakness is that I hate grocery shopping and want to think about it as little as possible, so I will never consistently strategize my grocery shopping. I play to my strengths, which is cooking. I enjoy building complex flavour palates with simple ingredients. Turning cabbage, rice, and carrots into a richly flavoured dish is a fun challenge for me. Comparison shopping to price match isnít.

Play to your strengths, mitigate your weaknesses.

It sounds like the OP doesn't have your strengths, however, given that you can easily accomplish low budget grocery shopping while they are spending about 5x what you spend per person.

Malkynn

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #53 on: May 09, 2018, 07:46:44 AM »


It sounds like the OP doesn't have your strengths, however, given that you can easily accomplish low budget grocery shopping while they are spending about 5x what you spend per person.

I agree. My point was to illustrate that it can be very realistic to have a much much lower food bill without really doing anything tedious. Iíve found that honest self reflection about what I am willing and not willing to do on a regular basis has been huge to my success at cutting spending without feeling deprived or it being tedious.

Had I believed that I needed to price compare, coupon, or shop at particular stores to cut my grocery bill, I would have said ďfuck it, the way we eat is worth itĒ.

Funnily, as it stands, because Iíve started prioritizing cheaper ingredient meals, the cheaper ethnic grocers is now the most convenient. Whereas, back when I was prioritizing premium meats and fish along with fresh produce, expensive butchers, seafood stores and premium grocers next to them were the most convenient to shop with as little effort as possible.

I wouldnít buy fresh fish at the discount grocer, but if Iím trying to find cabbage, dried beans and rice in bulk, and spices, then the discount/ethnic grocer is perfect for only making one stop.

Iím all about making frugality as comfortable and attractive an option as possible. I know that I wonít do it if it complicates my life or isnít fun.

Dragonswan

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #54 on: May 09, 2018, 07:51:16 AM »
Good suggestions all. Here's a little higher hanging fruit you can try for.  You could try to have a pasta night once or twice a week, as pasta is dirt cheap and will fill you up.  Without much effort your wife can modify her portion to avoid the pasta.  Here are a few examples.  Have spaghetti with meatballs.  Your wife has zucchini noodles and meatballs. You could even put a few zoodles in the spaghetti to get vegetables into the rest of the family. I roast my zoodles to keep the moisture content down and get that nice flavor but there are other methods that work. I'm so used to zoodles now that regular spaghetti no longer tastes right. Then there's pasta primavera you can have while your wife substitutes sliced zuchinni for the noodles for her portion and omits the cheese.  Or have some homemade mac and cheese and your wife just doubles up on the vegetables for herself. Worth a try I think.

GuitarStv

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #55 on: May 09, 2018, 07:55:12 AM »
Do you really think they separate beans into ''good'' and ''less good'' cans?

If you're buying beans in cans . . . you're doing it wrong.

Malkynn

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #56 on: May 09, 2018, 07:59:47 AM »
Do you really think they separate beans into ''good'' and ''less good'' cans?

If you're buying beans in cans . . . you're doing it wrong.

Canned beans taste so weird to me now since Iíve switched. They taste like can.

nereo

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #57 on: May 09, 2018, 08:06:03 AM »
Do you really think they separate beans into ''good'' and ''less good'' cans?

If you're buying beans in cans . . . you're doing it wrong.

Canned beans taste so weird to me now since Iíve switched. They taste like can.
I tend to agree.  And since I got my InstantPot I see no reason to use canned in the first place.  Bags of dried beans taste better, are much cheaper (like, stupidly cheap bought in bulk) and take about as much time to prep as rinsing & reheating canned beans on the stovetop.
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Malkynn

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #58 on: May 09, 2018, 08:21:55 AM »
Do you really think they separate beans into ''good'' and ''less good'' cans?

If you're buying beans in cans . . . you're doing it wrong.

Canned beans taste so weird to me now since Iíve switched. They taste like can.
I tend to agree.  And since I got my InstantPot I see no reason to use canned in the first place.  Bags of dried beans taste better, are much cheaper (like, stupidly cheap bought in bulk) and take about as much time to prep as rinsing & reheating canned beans on the stovetop.

My boss gave me a pressure cooker for Christmas and I was like ďWTF do I do with this stupid thing??Ē until I learned about using it for beans. Now it lives on the counter, which is prime real estate in my kitchen.

red_pill

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #59 on: May 09, 2018, 08:44:24 AM »
I literally do none of the price reduction strategies here.
I almost never price compare, never price matched, donít have PC points, donít pay any attention to whether something is seasonal, and have never used a coupon, and I can often manage an entire week of groceries for the two of us for under $40 while buying premium ingredients.

I donít have a lot of motivation to do leg work and like my grocery process to be as quick and simple as possible, so the above strategies are not where I put my energy.

I focus on meals that are fundamentally more low cost.
I put my energy into finding and refining recipes that will always be cheaper to make and still taste delicious: Sri Lanken spicy cabbage and carrot with brown rice and chick peas; rosemary potato and kale with feta and eggs baked on top, Turkish split pea soup, kale/carrot/white bean chilli packed with aromatic fresh herbs, shakshuka, etc

We all have our strengths and weaknesses, my weakness is that I hate grocery shopping and want to think about it as little as possible, so I will never consistently strategize my grocery shopping. I play to my strengths, which is cooking. I enjoy building complex flavour palates with simple ingredients. Turning cabbage, rice, and carrots into a richly flavoured dish is a fun challenge for me. Comparison shopping to price match isnít.

Play to your strengths, mitigate your weaknesses.

Thanks, Malkynn, I really appreciate a totally different way to look at things.  The ďfuck it, the way we eat is worth itĒ has exactly been our mindset the last few years.  And my wife loves making new dishes.  Thanks!

PoutineLover

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #60 on: May 09, 2018, 09:28:19 AM »
Yeah, I don't consider my way of shopping a burden or hassle, and it's cheap. I don't use a list or recipes, I have enough experience cooking that I can throw together a balanced meal with whatever I have on hand. I don't use coupons or shop around, I know that what's easy for me is shopping where I know on average the prices are low, it's close to home, and I only buy what I can carry on my bike and what seems like a good deal. I occasionally ask friends to pick up certain things I know are cheap at costco if they're going anyway, but not enough to burden them. Or I'll tag along, because samples!
My dad used to check the sales, cut the coupons, stock up when it was cheap, and make the rounds to like 5 different stores. I think the time, effort and gas was not worth the savings. If I see something at a good price I might buy more, especially meat cause I can freeze it, but to me the biggest savings come from having a cheap nearby store and a flexible diet.
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bluebelle

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #61 on: May 09, 2018, 09:52:43 AM »
Hey Red_Pill.....since your wife is into organic, super centre (at least in Ontario), is giving 3000 points (equivalent to $3) for every $7 spent on organic tomatoes and cucumbers starting tomorrow- that's the equivalent of 42% off.  You need to get PC Optimum.  (I think you had already bought in to that, but this deal seems taylored for your family)....that probably makes organic cheaper than 'regular' produce.  I'll have to look at that myself this week.

red_pill

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #62 on: May 09, 2018, 10:03:02 AM »
Hey Red_Pill.....since your wife is into organic, super centre (at least in Ontario), is giving 3000 points (equivalent to $3) for every $7 spent on organic tomatoes and cucumbers starting tomorrow- that's the equivalent of 42% off.  You need to get PC Optimum.  (I think you had already bought in to that, but this deal seems taylored for your family)....that probably makes organic cheaper than 'regular' produce.  I'll have to look at that myself this week.

Just signed up for the PC Optimum app so now I see how it works.  What a no brainer! Yesterday I bought strawberries for $2/lb and thought it was a good deal. But had I had the optimum card I would have given 200 pts for every dollar spent - thatís another 20% off!  Damn!

jambongris

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #63 on: May 09, 2018, 10:06:11 AM »
Hey Red_Pill.....since your wife is into organic, super centre (at least in Ontario), is giving 3000 points (equivalent to $3) for every $7 spent on organic tomatoes and cucumbers starting tomorrow- that's the equivalent of 42% off.  You need to get PC Optimum.  (I think you had already bought in to that, but this deal seems taylored for your family)....that probably makes organic cheaper than 'regular' produce.  I'll have to look at that myself this week.

One thing to keep in mind with those PC deals is that they aren’t prorated. So you’ll get 3000 points for any amount spent between $7.00 and $13.99. You only get the points for each full $7 increment.

Malkynn

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #64 on: May 09, 2018, 10:09:10 AM »
Thanks, Malkynn, I really appreciate a totally different way to look at things.  The ďfuck it, the way we eat is worth itĒ has exactly been our mindset the last few years.  And my wife loves making new dishes.  Thanks!

No judgement from me.
We used to spend the exact same as you. $200/week for the two of us and I have absolutely no regrets about that because at the time I was obese from weight gain during my doctorate, I was adjusting to a very high stress and long hours job, and spending that way allowed me to develop delicious and easy meals that helped me lose a ton of weight.

I was in the ďfuck it, itís worth it to be healthyĒ camp for a few years until I lost all the weight I needed to, got kind of bored of the way I was eating, and decided to change things up and took on the challenge of improving our food while lowering our food costs.

The point Iím really really trying to drive home is that spending less than half of what you are now is actually extremely easy (it might take some actually effort to get it down to a quarter, but half should be stupid easy). I used to feel like we were doomed to spend so much due to our healthy lifestyle: eating a daily diet of Vega One for breakfast, fresh salmon, avocado, bell peppers, cucumbers, vine ripened tomatoes, pine nuts, wild rice and chia seeds for lunch and dinner was definitely expensive. It really didnít take much to drastically improve our spending and actually make cooking even easier and more enjoyable.

Iím emphasizing this so much because of your use of language in your first post that conveyed a tone of resignation that it feels like itís not even possible in your particular case. Well, it really is. Itís super easy and this is pretty low-hanging fruit if you just rethink a bit how you want to feed yourself.

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #65 on: May 09, 2018, 10:15:55 AM »
I don't think I expend energy or effort on keeping my grocery bill low. It just is. Most people just eat the same things over and over, with the odd experimental meal, right? So have your regular meals be cheap things. I like Budget Bytes for tasty, interesting meals. If your wife likes cooking new things see if anything on that website piques her interest.
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Villanelle

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #66 on: May 12, 2018, 05:57:42 AM »
I literally do none of the price reduction strategies here.
I almost never price compare, never price matched, donít have PC points, donít pay any attention to whether something is seasonal, and have never used a coupon, and I can often manage an entire week of groceries for the two of us for under $40 while buying premium ingredients.

I donít have a lot of motivation to do leg work and like my grocery process to be as quick and simple as possible, so the above strategies are not where I put my energy.

I focus on meals that are fundamentally more low cost.
I put my energy into finding and refining recipes that will always be cheaper to make and still taste delicious: Sri Lanken spicy cabbage and carrot with brown rice and chick peas; rosemary potato and kale with feta and eggs baked on top, Turkish split pea soup, kale/carrot/white bean chilli packed with aromatic fresh herbs, shakshuka, etc

We all have our strengths and weaknesses, my weakness is that I hate grocery shopping and want to think about it as little as possible, so I will never consistently strategize my grocery shopping. I play to my strengths, which is cooking. I enjoy building complex flavour palates with simple ingredients. Turning cabbage, rice, and carrots into a richly flavoured dish is a fun challenge for me. Comparison shopping to price match isnít.

Play to your strengths, mitigate your weaknesses.

This.  And given that your wife does most of the shopping and it sounds like she might not be entirely gung-ho about all of this, coupons and price books and shopping at 6 stores and only meal planning based on what is on sale (meaning figuring it out on the fly while at the store) and all that may just not be worth the hassle.  If that rings even slightly true, I think coming up with the list of cheap meals and snacks--consistently cheap regardless of season--might give you the most bang for your buck. 

Meals from your "cheap" list at least 5 times a week and then, since your wife likes to experiment, she can do that the other two nights with little thought to price.  It's not ideal, but it sounds like "ideal" might not be realistic. 

jj2

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #67 on: May 15, 2018, 10:51:37 AM »
This thread is great.  Reducing grocery bills has been on my radar for a long time, but unfortunately haven't made much progress.  Good to know that it is doable.  We're ~$1200-1600 / month for 2 adults and 2 teens in S. Ont; luckily we spend very little on restaurants. 

We do a lot of things recommended and have done so for years:  plan meals; very little processed food; in season fruits and veg etc; shop at 'budget' stores for most things.  Things that add up are meats, dairy, gluten free, switch to keto diet (meaning no beans, pasta, potatoes, rice - all the cheap fillers!), some shopping at the 'premium' stores and discrepancies between shoppers for 'needed' items.

To some extent, we also still have a bit of the 'fuck it, I'll eat what I want and enjoy good food' type of attitude - trying to change this.

Swish

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #68 on: May 15, 2018, 11:27:11 AM »
@jj2

If you eat a lot of meat dairy and are lucky enough to live near local farmers one trick we use is setting up an agreement with them. Lots of time they have a steer break its leg and they have to put the animal down prior to being able to find some one who will take the meat. It then essentially goes to waste. We currently have an agreement to pay for the butcher fees any time this happens so the farmer has no risk of being out the cash for butchering. So far we have received a few animals as a result. The guy we made the agreement with is pretty happy the meat is not going to waste. We do have to sell some of it though to friends as each animal produces between 500-1000lbs of meat. @$3/lb we can cover the butchering costs and storage costs and end up getting free meat.

I know this is a tad weird but it works for us.

Alf91

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #69 on: May 15, 2018, 11:59:57 AM »
$400/week wow! Definitely possible (even easy) to cut that way back.

Family of 2, we spend about $50/week.

As folks have mentioned, which store you shop at makes a huge difference.
Buy what's on sale and create meals from that.
Eat more beans and less meat. I probably buy meat twice a month.
No name brands cost less and taste the same (99% of the time).
Eat because you're hungry, not for entertainment.

red_pill

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #70 on: May 15, 2018, 09:17:55 PM »
So, week 1 of data collection and a few nice chats with my lovely wife revealed some interesting things. 

1) ďbut itís just a dollar moreĒ was a common response to justify buying organic instead of regular, or buying out of season fruit etc.  It may be just a dollar more, but when thatís on a $6 item we are talking 15%. And compounded over our $20K bill, thatís $3,000!  This tendency will have to be challenged.  She insists on organic red peppers and apples.  Iím cool with that.

2) there is some craziness that has come to an end. $36 (yes, thirty six dollars) to stock up on organic frozen blueberries at $.72 /lb when in a few months we will have local blueberries at less than .$.50/lb for example. Yikes.

3) she doesnít want to waste time looking for coupons or shopping around. She doesnít think it will be worth it. Maybe it wonít be. But Iíll do the legwork to start it off and see.  In the first week I found some great deals on a few of our staples.  But when I mentioned them to her, and we were literally in the parking lot of the store (going to a different place) she didnít want to bother.  To her, grocery shopping is a nuisance to be done in the least amount of time on the weekends and not a money saving challenge (unlike her incredible fashion hunting efforts - she gets great  stuff for cheap!) Anyway, interesting to see how she approached it and gave me some insight. Iíve asked for a shopping list but it hasnít materialized yet.

4) there is almost zero comparison shopping happening. The ďprices in her headĒ system is not as a robust database as she thinks. Lol.  Iíve started a price list so I can know where to buy what.  Costco seems to be good for peanut butter and chia seeds. But eggs at $5.50 a dozen (free range whatever) are more than other places. Shoppers Drug Mart has some kick ass deals sometimes.  Gonna take some time to build the database.

5). We eat way more meat than the people with lower food budgets.  My 2 eggs + 1/2 cup of egg whites for breakfast and 1/4 lb+ of meat for lunch and another 1/4lb for dinner seems to be quite a bit higher than what is suggested for budgetary purposes. I take the blame for this and Iím not sure Iíll move off of it but will consider it.  Gotta think on it. 

Lots of work to do. Thanks for everyoneís input.

MBot

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #71 on: May 15, 2018, 09:41:48 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.

Another vote for No Frills. Meat and produce are great there.
Avoid a lot of the couponing and price matching hassle too. Just change where you shop.

snacky

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #72 on: May 15, 2018, 10:15:55 PM »
So you want your wife to take on much more labour connected to a task that she clearly hates but you don't want to reduce your consumption of a high price food category? If I were your wife I would be hearing all this as "Honey, I found a bunch more work for you to do so we can live by my values! But I'm not changing any of my own behaviour, mkay?"

If reducing grocery costs is your goal, you do it.

(I am an internet stranger and don't know your marital dynamics, ignore me if you want to. I'm just speaking as someone who has seen a lot of people posting here when passionate about their newfound frugality goals, only to be frustrated when their spouse didn't want to change their habits and do more and consume less. Marital discord is no fun. Here's the epic post on a good way to approach new values: https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/how-to-convert-your-so-to-mmm-in-50-awesome-steps/ )
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CanuckStache

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #73 on: May 15, 2018, 10:39:53 PM »
Yeah that's definitely pretty high. I might have missed this if you already posted, but does that include alcohol?

We eat really well and definitely spend much less (and I still think we spend too much). We just find a balance between organic and non. Quite frankly, we just read the science about. Not that I'm trying to start a debate, but certain foods make more sense than others to be worried about organic or not - i.e. fruit with a peel? Fine if it's not organic. In a perfect world we'd buy all organic but it's just too costly.

One thing we do is buy meat in bulk from a butcher once a year. We usually buy a hind quarter and it it's from a local-ish ranch and is free range, grass fed, etc etc. You get tons of cuts (steaks, ground, stew meat, and the bones if you want them for stock or marrow). Works out to about $5 per lb. $5!! It's easily twice that or more on average at a grocery store. You just need a freezer. Call a butcher and ask what they've got...you'll be happy you did.

Our local grocery store does, however, have organic chicken that often goes on sale - like when they need to move it off the shelf, it's often half price. We load up on that when we see it, again, throw it in the freezer. Otherwise we're fine with 'regular' chicken that we get at Costco.

We also eat a lot of salmon, but that's because I love fishing and go out often with a friend of mine. I pulled in a 15lbs salmon recently - you know what that would have cost at the store? $200+. Make friends with fishers and hunters. Our older neighbour across the way gives us moose meat whenever I help him out with something (like borrowing a ladder for an hour in exchange for moose sausage? Yeah, take it anytime!).

We also cook a lot. Like all the time, from scratch.

Anyways-  our general rule of thumb for organic vs non-organic is if the price is the same, or maybe slightly above - we'll opt for organic. Otherwise, hey, we're perfectly healthy so we'll go for lower priced options. The only thing processed I can think of that we eat on a regular basis is pasta. We used to make our own, but with kids running around now, it's just too much of a time suck.


red_pill

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #74 on: May 15, 2018, 11:04:15 PM »
So you want your wife to take on much more labour connected to a task that she clearly hates but you don't want to reduce your consumption of a high price food category? If I were your wife I would be hearing all this as "Honey, I found a bunch more work for you to do so we can live by my values! But I'm not changing any of my own behaviour, mkay?"

If reducing grocery costs is your goal, you do it.

(I am an internet stranger and don't know your marital dynamics, ignore me if you want to. I'm just speaking as someone who has seen a lot of people posting here when passionate about their newfound frugality goals, only to be frustrated when their spouse didn't want to change their habits and do more and consume less. Marital discord is no fun. Here's the epic post on a good way to approach new values: https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/how-to-convert-your-so-to-mmm-in-50-awesome-steps/ )

Haha we are so far from discord in our house its not even funny - if it comes off that way then thatís my writing errors. My wifeís awesome and our ďargumentsĒ canít even really be called that.

But you are right that until recently I never realized that a grocery bill is decided by two factors - 1) what is being bought and 2)  when/where it is being bought.  And Iíve learned from this thread that some people target one, some target the other, and some do both. Honestly, I had never considered the first option before, and it would take a lot of thought to figure out if such a change would work for us (we all eat a lot of meat, but by size and activity level I am the main consumer).

But I suspect that if I sprung significant dietary changes on my wife on top of the rest, she would lay down the law and this experiment would be over.  So, baby steps, starting with looking for a few easy wins.   If even a few small changes can realize a 10 % savings, then Iím happy.  And if I continue to look into this and conclude that based on how we choose to eat, and based on how much effort we choose to put into shopping, that weíre as good as weíre going to get - weíll, at least Iíll know I looked into it and Iím not pissed off that we are wasting money - it will be at that point a conscious decision.   Donít think that Iím not listening to what you say - I am - itís just a lot to think about, and like you said, that advice has to be mapped onto our family dynamics and personal reality.   Not a quick process.

red_pill

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #75 on: May 15, 2018, 11:09:52 PM »
Yeah that's definitely pretty high. I might have missed this if you already posted, but does that include alcohol?

We eat really well and definitely spend much less (and I still think we spend too much). We just find a balance between organic and non. Quite frankly, we just read the science about. Not that I'm trying to start a debate, but certain foods make more sense than others to be worried about organic or not - i.e. fruit with a peel? Fine if it's not organic. In a perfect world we'd buy all organic but it's just too costly.

One thing we do is buy meat in bulk from a butcher once a year. We usually buy a hind quarter and it it's from a local-ish ranch and is free range, grass fed, etc etc. You get tons of cuts (steaks, ground, stew meat, and the bones if you want them for stock or marrow). Works out to about $5 per lb. $5!! It's easily twice that or more on average at a grocery store. You just need a freezer. Call a butcher and ask what they've got...you'll be happy you did.

Our local grocery store does, however, have organic chicken that often goes on sale - like when they need to move it off the shelf, it's often half price. We load up on that when we see it, again, throw it in the freezer. Otherwise we're fine with 'regular' chicken that we get at Costco.

We also eat a lot of salmon, but that's because I love fishing and go out often with a friend of mine. I pulled in a 15lbs salmon recently - you know what that would have cost at the store? $200+. Make friends with fishers and hunters. Our older neighbour across the way gives us moose meat whenever I help him out with something (like borrowing a ladder for an hour in exchange for moose sausage? Yeah, take it anytime!).

We also cook a lot. Like all the time, from scratch.

Anyways-  our general rule of thumb for organic vs non-organic is if the price is the same, or maybe slightly above - we'll opt for organic. Otherwise, hey, we're perfectly healthy so we'll go for lower priced options. The only thing processed I can think of that we eat on a regular basis is pasta. We used to make our own, but with kids running around now, it's just too much of a time suck.

The $20K does not include alcohol. But we arenít drinkers other than a bottle of wine every month or so.

We get a half side of beef every year from a local guy. $4.50 per pound last year. But I think that as ďon the hoofĒ or whatever - not sure what it actually worked out to per lb of meat in the freezer.  We are also getting a pig from a local farm.

Last week we found a local chicken farm that has chickens they do every few months at about 25% cheaper than Costco organic chicken. My wifeís concern is not so much about formal organic designations but rather staying away from factory farm practices.  I donít disagree.  We will put an order in soon - that meets my goal of saving a bit of cash and her goal of ethical consumer purchases. Win win. 
« Last Edit: May 15, 2018, 11:13:00 PM by red_pill »

Hirondelle

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #76 on: May 15, 2018, 11:49:55 PM »

5). We eat way more meat than the people with lower food budgets.  My 2 eggs + 1/2 cup of egg whites for breakfast and 1/4 lb+ of meat for lunch and another 1/4lb for dinner seems to be quite a bit higher than what is suggested for budgetary purposes. I take the blame for this and Iím not sure Iíll move off of it but will consider it.  Gotta think on it. 




There's a lot to say about all of your points and many have already touched upon it. I totally agree with #1 and #2 where you lay out that organic isn't always worth it and that insane stocking up on products out of season isn't necessary when the season is approaching. Whether #3 and #4 are worth is depends on your situation and your willingness to put in time.

However, I'd like to nitpick a little on this particular one as this one's your own responsibility and not your wife's. Your wife blames her dietary restrictions for your high bill, but to me it sounds more like it's your insane meat consumption. Yes, I call this insane. You're eating about 2x as much meat as recommende consumption for males (using Dutch guidelines here - not sure if Canadian government has higher recommendations but I'm still sure you're well above). You mention you eat a lot, but I wonder whether you eat 2x as much on all other food groups too.

As you mention to value clean/healthy eating: red (processed) meat consumption is, after smoking, the strongest risk factor for developing cancer (colon and stomach cancer more specifically). That information isn't derived from some vegan-propaganda blog, its been scientifically proven over and over again and has been adopted by the WHO, Cancer Research Institutes and dietary guidelines in several countries.

I'm not sure about your reasons to eat these amounts of meat. If you're worried about protein intake; 1/2 lb meat/day results in about 65 g/protein. Add the eggs to that (7g/egg + 13g/eggwhites) and you're on 92 without taking into account any protein from other sources (note; I easily get 50g/1500 kcal without meat/dairy taken into account). General recommendations here are up to 1.2g/kg bodyweight for people doing strenght training so most likely you're overeating on protein and can easily cut back on 1/4 lb of meat, either by limiting your portions or by cutting out meat from several meals.

That'll save you a ton of money without any couponing effort from your wife and improve your health.

GuitarStv

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #77 on: May 16, 2018, 07:28:42 AM »

5). We eat way more meat than the people with lower food budgets.  My 2 eggs + 1/2 cup of egg whites for breakfast and 1/4 lb+ of meat for lunch and another 1/4lb for dinner seems to be quite a bit higher than what is suggested for budgetary purposes. I take the blame for this and Iím not sure Iíll move off of it but will consider it.  Gotta think on it. 




There's a lot to say about all of your points and many have already touched upon it. I totally agree with #1 and #2 where you lay out that organic isn't always worth it and that insane stocking up on products out of season isn't necessary when the season is approaching. Whether #3 and #4 are worth is depends on your situation and your willingness to put in time.

However, I'd like to nitpick a little on this particular one as this one's your own responsibility and not your wife's. Your wife blames her dietary restrictions for your high bill, but to me it sounds more like it's your insane meat consumption. Yes, I call this insane. You're eating about 2x as much meat as recommende consumption for males (using Dutch guidelines here - not sure if Canadian government has higher recommendations but I'm still sure you're well above). You mention you eat a lot, but I wonder whether you eat 2x as much on all other food groups too.

As you mention to value clean/healthy eating: red (processed) meat consumption is, after smoking, the strongest risk factor for developing cancer (colon and stomach cancer more specifically). That information isn't derived from some vegan-propaganda blog, its been scientifically proven over and over again and has been adopted by the WHO, Cancer Research Institutes and dietary guidelines in several countries.

I'm not sure about your reasons to eat these amounts of meat. If you're worried about protein intake; 1/2 lb meat/day results in about 65 g/protein. Add the eggs to that (7g/egg + 13g/eggwhites) and you're on 92 without taking into account any protein from other sources (note; I easily get 50g/1500 kcal without meat/dairy taken into account). General recommendations here are up to 1.2g/kg bodyweight for people doing strenght training so most likely you're overeating on protein and can easily cut back on 1/4 lb of meat, either by limiting your portions or by cutting out meat from several meals.

That'll save you a ton of money without any couponing effort from your wife and improve your health.

+1

Eating an arseload of meat has been shown time and again to be detrimental to health, not beneficial.  If you're looking for good protein sources, there are many dairy and plant based options that would not only be cheaper but also healthier for you.

Tom Bri

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #78 on: May 16, 2018, 07:30:03 AM »
Gluten-free is cheap if you are not buying premade 'gluten-free' products. We make corn bread in place of wheat bread. It is cheap and fast. My sandwich bread which I eat almost every day is made with corn meal, a bit of salt and oil, eggs and milk. Fry it in a pan like pancakes.
If you have to avoid eggs and milk you will need to think of something else to use as a binder.

slappy

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #79 on: May 16, 2018, 07:38:51 AM »
Do you guys have any stores near you that allow you to shop online and pick up in store? Or grocery delivery? That would make it easier to track prices, easier to avoid impulse purchases and your wife wouldn't have to do the task she hates. Also, you can see the total price of your items as you go, so you might be tempted to make some changes when you see the total adding up. In my area, I think there is only one store that does this, but people seem to like.

red_pill

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #80 on: May 16, 2018, 08:07:46 AM »

5). We eat way more meat than the people with lower food budgets.  My 2 eggs + 1/2 cup of egg whites for breakfast and 1/4 lb+ of meat for lunch and another 1/4lb for dinner seems to be quite a bit higher than what is suggested for budgetary purposes. I take the blame for this and Iím not sure Iíll move off of it but will consider it.  Gotta think on it. 




There's a lot to say about all of your points and many have already touched upon it. I totally agree with #1 and #2 where you lay out that organic isn't always worth it and that insane stocking up on products out of season isn't necessary when the season is approaching. Whether #3 and #4 are worth is depends on your situation and your willingness to put in time.

However, I'd like to nitpick a little on this particular one as this one's your own responsibility and not your wife's. Your wife blames her dietary restrictions for your high bill, but to me it sounds more like it's your insane meat consumption. Yes, I call this insane. You're eating about 2x as much meat as recommende consumption for males (using Dutch guidelines here - not sure if Canadian government has higher recommendations but I'm still sure you're well above). You mention you eat a lot, but I wonder whether you eat 2x as much on all other food groups too.

As you mention to value clean/healthy eating: red (processed) meat consumption is, after smoking, the strongest risk factor for developing cancer (colon and stomach cancer more specifically). That information isn't derived from some vegan-propaganda blog, its been scientifically proven over and over again and has been adopted by the WHO, Cancer Research Institutes and dietary guidelines in several countries.

I'm not sure about your reasons to eat these amounts of meat. If you're worried about protein intake; 1/2 lb meat/day results in about 65 g/protein. Add the eggs to that (7g/egg + 13g/eggwhites) and you're on 92 without taking into account any protein from other sources (note; I easily get 50g/1500 kcal without meat/dairy taken into account). General recommendations here are up to 1.2g/kg bodyweight for people doing strenght training so most likely you're overeating on protein and can easily cut back on 1/4 lb of meat, either by limiting your portions or by cutting out meat from several meals.

That'll save you a ton of money without any couponing effort from your wife and improve your health.

I havenít been tracking my macros lately but I shoot for approx 2800 cal a day, and 35% of that being protein, which puts me at around 240 g per day.  At least thatís my goal, Iím probably under it and havenít been tracking in detail lately.   Normally Iím at around 150g of meat for lunch and then another 150 g for dinner. The rest of the protein is from other sources. I weigh 84 kg (184lb).   This diet is my crossfit try to get stronger and not have a dad bod diet. It may also be a grow a tumour diet. But I train hard and a lot - sometimes twice a day.  And I gotta be honest - I like being strong.

But youíre 100% right that this has a bigger impact on our budget than I was appreciating before. The question is - is it necessary to achieve my fitness goals? Maybe not.  I got a buddy who is jacked and heís a vegetarian. So itís obviously possible (tho he has far better genetics than I do). This will take some thinking and research for sure.

slappy

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #81 on: May 16, 2018, 08:52:10 AM »

5). We eat way more meat than the people with lower food budgets.  My 2 eggs + 1/2 cup of egg whites for breakfast and 1/4 lb+ of meat for lunch and another 1/4lb for dinner seems to be quite a bit higher than what is suggested for budgetary purposes. I take the blame for this and Iím not sure Iíll move off of it but will consider it.  Gotta think on it. 




There's a lot to say about all of your points and many have already touched upon it. I totally agree with #1 and #2 where you lay out that organic isn't always worth it and that insane stocking up on products out of season isn't necessary when the season is approaching. Whether #3 and #4 are worth is depends on your situation and your willingness to put in time.

However, I'd like to nitpick a little on this particular one as this one's your own responsibility and not your wife's. Your wife blames her dietary restrictions for your high bill, but to me it sounds more like it's your insane meat consumption. Yes, I call this insane. You're eating about 2x as much meat as recommende consumption for males (using Dutch guidelines here - not sure if Canadian government has higher recommendations but I'm still sure you're well above). You mention you eat a lot, but I wonder whether you eat 2x as much on all other food groups too.

As you mention to value clean/healthy eating: red (processed) meat consumption is, after smoking, the strongest risk factor for developing cancer (colon and stomach cancer more specifically). That information isn't derived from some vegan-propaganda blog, its been scientifically proven over and over again and has been adopted by the WHO, Cancer Research Institutes and dietary guidelines in several countries.

I'm not sure about your reasons to eat these amounts of meat. If you're worried about protein intake; 1/2 lb meat/day results in about 65 g/protein. Add the eggs to that (7g/egg + 13g/eggwhites) and you're on 92 without taking into account any protein from other sources (note; I easily get 50g/1500 kcal without meat/dairy taken into account). General recommendations here are up to 1.2g/kg bodyweight for people doing strenght training so most likely you're overeating on protein and can easily cut back on 1/4 lb of meat, either by limiting your portions or by cutting out meat from several meals.

That'll save you a ton of money without any couponing effort from your wife and improve your health.

I havenít been tracking my macros lately but I shoot for approx 2800 cal a day, and 35% of that being protein, which puts me at around 240 g per day.  At least thatís my goal, Iím probably under it and havenít been tracking in detail lately.   Normally Iím at around 150g of meat for lunch and then another 150 g for dinner. The rest of the protein is from other sources. I weigh 84 kg (184lb).   This diet is my crossfit try to get stronger and not have a dad bod diet. It may also be a grow a tumour diet. But I train hard and a lot - sometimes twice a day.  And I gotta be honest - I like being strong.

But youíre 100% right that this has a bigger impact on our budget than I was appreciating before. The question is - is it necessary to achieve my fitness goals? Maybe not.  I got a buddy who is jacked and heís a vegetarian. So itís obviously possible (tho he has far better genetics than I do). This will take some thinking and research for sure.

Do you use any protein powder to get some extra protein in? It may be cheaper than the meat.

Prairie Stash

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #82 on: May 16, 2018, 10:19:06 AM »
We get a half side of beef every year from a local guy. $4.50 per pound last year. But I think that as ďon the hoofĒ or whatever - not sure what it actually worked out to per lb of meat in the freezer.  We are also getting a pig from a local farm.

Last week we found a local chicken farm that has chickens they do every few months at about 25% cheaper than Costco organic chicken. My wifeís concern is not so much about formal organic designations but rather staying away from factory farm practices.  I donít disagree.  We will put an order in soon - that meets my goal of saving a bit of cash and her goal of ethical consumer purchases. Win win.
On the Hoof - that means you're buying the animal, paying for butchering and getting the result. A nice steer should weigh 1000 lb (or more), you paid for half of it. Over 10% of your grocery bill is beef.

$4.50 means about $7.50 for both Steak and Hamburger. Some people pay more, they don't take the stew bones, so their average cost is higher. Some people have lower average cost; we use to eat more of an animal than the average.

When you buy from a farmer you are paying the farmer more for an animal than they would have received selling it at auction. Then you are paying a specialty butcher instead of the factory butcher to process it. You can cut out the store markup and transport, which saves a bit. The real savings is that you're forced to eat hamburger instead of buying steak from the market. However, if you skip over the cheap cuts, you can end up paying more than just buying from a butcher. I grew up eating the cows we raised from birth, like an DIY project it was cheap when you did all the work yourself. When you outsource every step, not so much.

Buying direct is great for ethical or moral reasons. I suggest an analysis of meat costs, if you want to find savings you should know where the money is going. Do the same for chicken, pork and fish.

Hirondelle

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #83 on: May 16, 2018, 10:46:50 AM »

I havenít been tracking my macros lately but I shoot for approx 2800 cal a day, and 35% of that being protein, which puts me at around 240 g per day.  At least thatís my goal, Iím probably under it and havenít been tracking in detail lately.   Normally Iím at around 150g of meat for lunch and then another 150 g for dinner. The rest of the protein is from other sources. I weigh 84 kg (184lb).   This diet is my crossfit try to get stronger and not have a dad bod diet. It may also be a grow a tumour diet. But I train hard and a lot - sometimes twice a day.  And I gotta be honest - I like being strong.

But youíre 100% right that this has a bigger impact on our budget than I was appreciating before. The question is - is it necessary to achieve my fitness goals? Maybe not.  I got a buddy who is jacked and heís a vegetarian. So itís obviously possible (tho he has far better genetics than I do). This will take some thinking and research for sure.

240g protein on 84 kg bodyweight is almost 3g protein /kg bodyweight. Honestly, your body just isn't able to process that much and convert it into muscle. The excess will just be burnt like any other nutrient or stored as fat.

Lowering your meat consumption with 100g/day will still leave you at over 200g protein. Actually, even when completely cutting ALL the meat you'd still be at 165g which is 2g/kg bodyweight and well over general recommendations for sporters. You are right that you could go vegetarian without losing your muscle building ability. Now your 2800 kcal doesn't sound unreasonable so the calories have to be replaced, for which beans seem an excellent candidate. Still rich in protein and though high in carbs it's all complex carbs and fibers :).

Don't fall into the fancy protein powder trap; you don't need any more protein.

red_pill

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #84 on: May 16, 2018, 11:08:46 AM »

I havenít been tracking my macros lately but I shoot for approx 2800 cal a day, and 35% of that being protein, which puts me at around 240 g per day.  At least thatís my goal, Iím probably under it and havenít been tracking in detail lately.   Normally Iím at around 150g of meat for lunch and then another 150 g for dinner. The rest of the protein is from other sources. I weigh 84 kg (184lb).   This diet is my crossfit try to get stronger and not have a dad bod diet. It may also be a grow a tumour diet. But I train hard and a lot - sometimes twice a day.  And I gotta be honest - I like being strong.

But youíre 100% right that this has a bigger impact on our budget than I was appreciating before. The question is - is it necessary to achieve my fitness goals? Maybe not.  I got a buddy who is jacked and heís a vegetarian. So itís obviously possible (tho he has far better genetics than I do). This will take some thinking and research for sure.

240g protein on 84 kg bodyweight is almost 3g protein /kg bodyweight. Honestly, your body just isn't able to process that much and convert it into muscle. The excess will just be burnt like any other nutrient or stored as fat.

Lowering your meat consumption with 100g/day will still leave you at over 200g protein. Actually, even when completely cutting ALL the meat you'd still be at 165g which is 2g/kg bodyweight and well over general recommendations for sporters. You are right that you could go vegetarian without losing your muscle building ability. Now your 2800 kcal doesn't sound unreasonable so the calories have to be replaced, for which beans seem an excellent candidate. Still rich in protein and though high in carbs it's all complex carbs and fibers :).

Don't fall into the fancy protein powder trap; you don't need any more protein.

I think I messed up my numbers a bit (245g is high but I have definitely tried for 180+).  Still, your point stands. I will look into it for sure. 

Knitwit

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #85 on: May 16, 2018, 11:46:16 AM »
@red_pill - I live in Western Canada. Just for fun, I looked up the grocery flyers on Flipp using a variety of postal codes. What I discovered is that the flyer items & prices are IDENTICAL for all of Western Canada, from the ritziest Vancouver suburb to the lowliest rural Saskatchewan town. I don't think you can blame your high grocery bills on living in a HCOL area.

Advice:
1. Eat from the flyer. Don't just buy grapes because you always buy grapes... look what fruit is on sale. Berries are on sale? Great, we eat a lot of berries this week. We don't buy berries in January, but we buy citrus fruit, which is dirt cheap. Same thing with the meat. If chicken isn't on sale this week, don't eat chicken. Craving variety? Buy an extra package of sale chicken for the freezer. Remember to use it next time you want chicken!

2. Examine what you throw out. Are you throwing out lots of rotten produce? Freezer burnt meats you forgot about? Leftovers that weren't eaten in time? Buying organic and free range is nice, but it's a bigger drain on the environment if you don't eat what you buy.

3. Get a PC World Elite Mastercard. Change none of your habits. Use it for all your purchases. Next time you are at a Loblaws store, ask the cashier to use your points before you pay. Voila! You now have free groceries. For the next level of badassity, log in once a week to your account, review & load your offers (which are personalized off of what you buy regularly), and earn an extra 20% in points at Loblaws.

For comparison, I spend $400 a month for two adults and a baby (that includes baby food and formula). Spending $400 a week is unfathomable to me.

red_pill

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #86 on: May 16, 2018, 11:58:50 AM »
@red_pill - I live in Western Canada. Just for fun, I looked up the grocery flyers on Flipp using a variety of postal codes. What I discovered is that the flyer items & prices are IDENTICAL for all of Western Canada, from the ritziest Vancouver suburb to the lowliest rural Saskatchewan town. I don't think you can blame your high grocery bills on living in a HCOL.


Haha, busted!  I didnít know that - youíve just given me more motivation!  Thanks!

MustacheAnxiety

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #87 on: May 16, 2018, 12:13:03 PM »
Do you really think they separate beans into ''good'' and ''less good'' cans?

If you're buying beans in cans . . . you're doing it wrong.

Canned beans taste so weird to me now since Iíve switched. They taste like can.
I tend to agree.  And since I got my InstantPot I see no reason to use canned in the first place.  Bags of dried beans taste better, are much cheaper (like, stupidly cheap bought in bulk) and take about as much time to prep as rinsing & reheating canned beans on the stovetop.

My boss gave me a pressure cooker for Christmas and I was like ďWTF do I do with this stupid thing??Ē until I learned about using it for beans. Now it lives on the counter, which is prime real estate in my kitchen.

Actually, you guys have probably tried the wrong canned beans (give Goya a try if you want your counter space back).  https://www.americastestkitchen.com/taste_tests/1517-canned-white-beans

I love the advice of this community, but when it comes to food I have to go with the rigorous testing of America's Test Kitchen.  When buying off the supermarket shelves (instead of mail ordering heirloom beans) you are surprisingly better off with the canned Goya beans over the identical dry version (also over all the other tested brands).  The article explains in detail why the best supermarket canned beans are better then the best dry beans.

Knitwit

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #88 on: May 16, 2018, 12:20:30 PM »
@red_pill - I live in Western Canada. Just for fun, I looked up the grocery flyers on Flipp using a variety of postal codes. What I discovered is that the flyer items & prices are IDENTICAL for all of Western Canada, from the ritziest Vancouver suburb to the lowliest rural Saskatchewan town. I don't think you can blame your high grocery bills on living in a HCOL.


Haha, busted!  I didnít know that - youíve just given me more motivation!  Thanks!

You're welcome! I didn't know it either.

Here's something else you might find helpful. If you shop at Superstore, did you know you can check their prices online? They offer a service called Click & Collect, in which you can place an online order for pick-up. I don't often use Click & Collect, but what I do use the website for price checking. You just select the store that you would shop at, and then you can search items and it displays the price you would pay in store.  (You might also find the "per item" pricing useful or interesting - e.g. at $1.98/lb, the average Gala apple costs $0.92.)

https://www.realcanadiansuperstore.ca/

nereo

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #89 on: May 16, 2018, 01:16:54 PM »

Actually, you guys have probably tried the wrong canned beans (give Goya a try if you want your counter space back).  https://www.americastestkitchen.com/taste_tests/1517-canned-white-beans

I love the advice of this community, but when it comes to food I have to go with the rigorous testing of America's Test Kitchen.  When buying off the supermarket shelves (instead of mail ordering heirloom beans) you are surprisingly better off with the canned Goya beans over the identical dry version (also over all the other tested brands).  The article explains in detail why the best supermarket canned beans are better then the best dry beans.
Link is behind a paywall.

FWIW, I use both canned (often Goya brand) and dried beans. The biggest drawback for canned for me is the storage space involved. The only issue i have with dried is a minor aesthetic one (dried beans tend to split more). Taste seems pretty comparable to me, particularly since they're usually an ingredient surrounded by flavoring liquids.

To each their own - there's multiple ways of arriving at a tasty meal, even when the ingredients are similar.
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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #90 on: May 16, 2018, 01:21:07 PM »
Do you really think they separate beans into ''good'' and ''less good'' cans?

If you're buying beans in cans . . . you're doing it wrong.

Canned beans taste so weird to me now since Iíve switched. They taste like can.
I tend to agree.  And since I got my InstantPot I see no reason to use canned in the first place.  Bags of dried beans taste better, are much cheaper (like, stupidly cheap bought in bulk) and take about as much time to prep as rinsing & reheating canned beans on the stovetop.

My boss gave me a pressure cooker for Christmas and I was like ďWTF do I do with this stupid thing??Ē until I learned about using it for beans. Now it lives on the counter, which is prime real estate in my kitchen.

Actually, you guys have probably tried the wrong canned beans (give Goya a try if you want your counter space back).  https://www.americastestkitchen.com/taste_tests/1517-canned-white-beans

I love the advice of this community, but when it comes to food I have to go with the rigorous testing of America's Test Kitchen.  When buying off the supermarket shelves (instead of mail ordering heirloom beans) you are surprisingly better off with the canned Goya beans over the identical dry version (also over all the other tested brands).  The article explains in detail why the best supermarket canned beans are better then the best dry beans.

You're talking about beans, right?

They don't need to the highest rated in a blind gourmand taste test, they just need to be there and cheap.  Dried beans are radically cheaper.  The way that I tend to prepare beans they're just a small part of a whole dish . . . and I'd be shocked if someone noticed the difference between bean sources.  YMMV though.

MarciaB

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #91 on: May 16, 2018, 05:36:47 PM »
Does your teen or your tween have any interest in household finance or budgeting or thinking about food costs? Could you enlist one of them to help reduce these costs and give them a cut of the savings? This would teach a lot of good lessons and also provide a side hustle for the kid(s), while reducing your overall bill.
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OtherJen

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #92 on: May 16, 2018, 05:43:10 PM »
Do you really think they separate beans into ''good'' and ''less good'' cans?

If you're buying beans in cans . . . you're doing it wrong.

Canned beans taste so weird to me now since Iíve switched. They taste like can.
I tend to agree.  And since I got my InstantPot I see no reason to use canned in the first place.  Bags of dried beans taste better, are much cheaper (like, stupidly cheap bought in bulk) and take about as much time to prep as rinsing & reheating canned beans on the stovetop.

My boss gave me a pressure cooker for Christmas and I was like ďWTF do I do with this stupid thing??Ē until I learned about using it for beans. Now it lives on the counter, which is prime real estate in my kitchen.

Actually, you guys have probably tried the wrong canned beans (give Goya a try if you want your counter space back).  https://www.americastestkitchen.com/taste_tests/1517-canned-white-beans

I love the advice of this community, but when it comes to food I have to go with the rigorous testing of America's Test Kitchen.  When buying off the supermarket shelves (instead of mail ordering heirloom beans) you are surprisingly better off with the canned Goya beans over the identical dry version (also over all the other tested brands).  The article explains in detail why the best supermarket canned beans are better then the best dry beans.

To each their own. I agree that Goya is the best option for canned beans, but even they taste a little odd to me. Not off or spoiled, but thereís an aftertaste that I donít love. Iím Mexican-American. I grew up on dry beans cooked in our home kitchen. To me, they taste significantly better.

red_pill

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #93 on: May 16, 2018, 05:58:34 PM »
Does your teen or your tween have any interest in household finance or budgeting or thinking about food costs? Could you enlist one of them to help reduce these costs and give them a cut of the savings? This would teach a lot of good lessons and also provide a side hustle for the kid(s), while reducing your overall bill.

The older teen (19) is actually our German Au Pair so not really appropriate to involve her in our household finances. The younger one is 10 and I donít think sheís quite ready for that.  But itís a good idea Iíll keep in mind for a few years down the road.

Malkynn

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #94 on: May 17, 2018, 03:57:35 AM »
Do you really think they separate beans into ''good'' and ''less good'' cans?

If you're buying beans in cans . . . you're doing it wrong.

Canned beans taste so weird to me now since Iíve switched. They taste like can.
I tend to agree.  And since I got my InstantPot I see no reason to use canned in the first place.  Bags of dried beans taste better, are much cheaper (like, stupidly cheap bought in bulk) and take about as much time to prep as rinsing & reheating canned beans on the stovetop.

My boss gave me a pressure cooker for Christmas and I was like ďWTF do I do with this stupid thing??Ē until I learned about using it for beans. Now it lives on the counter, which is prime real estate in my kitchen.

Actually, you guys have probably tried the wrong canned beans (give Goya a try if you want your counter space back).  https://www.americastestkitchen.com/taste_tests/1517-canned-white-beans

I love the advice of this community, but when it comes to food I have to go with the rigorous testing of America's Test Kitchen.  When buying off the supermarket shelves (instead of mail ordering heirloom beans) you are surprisingly better off with the canned Goya beans over the identical dry version (also over all the other tested brands).  The article explains in detail why the best supermarket canned beans are better then the best dry beans.

The article is behind a paywall, but it appears to be about white beans specifically, which I do actually prefer from a can. It gives them a smoother ďcreamierĒ texture than from dry.

However, chick peas, black beans, kidney beans, etc, any of the less ďcreamyĒ texture beans I prefer to cook from dry. The texture is much nicer from dry, and I can cook them with a bunch of garlic and bay leaves, giving them some intrinsic flavour. This is especially important for dishes like salads where the beans wouldnít be cooked any further. Chick peas straight from a can taste like can.

Sure, for some people it wonít matter, but as someone who cooks vegetarian where beans are a main ingredient of almost every dish, it matters to me and I am picky.

Prairie Gal

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #95 on: May 20, 2018, 10:51:46 AM »
I'm trying to figure out if it is better to use my Tangerine card for 2% cash back, or my PC Financial credit card. Let's say I spend $300/month, so that's $3600/year. At 2% Cash back that it $72. On the PC Optimum ponts calculator site it shows I would get $36. Unless I am missing something.

SoftwareGoddess

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #96 on: May 20, 2018, 11:05:34 AM »
I'm trying to figure out if it is better to use my Tangerine card for 2% cash back, or my PC Financial credit card. Let's say I spend $300/month, so that's $3600/year. At 2% Cash back that it $72. On the PC Optimum ponts calculator site it shows I would get $36. Unless I am missing something.

That's correct, at non-Loblaws-owned stores, you only get 1% back in points. If you shop at the Loblaws-owned stores, you get 3% back. I think there are extra points at Mobil and soon Esso, if you buy gas there, but I haven't looked at the details. So it kind of depends where you shop.

ETA: I'm assuming that you are talking about the PC Financial World Elite Mastercard. There are lower/no bonus points above the 1% base points if you have one of the "lower-tier" cards.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2018, 11:09:17 AM by SoftwareGoddess »
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red_pill

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #97 on: May 20, 2018, 11:14:18 PM »
Funny, I came up with the same strategy - slow, incremental changes. - We started today with making a meal plan for next week and grocery list.  The trip was cheap (by our standards $178) because most of the meat is already in the freezer.  There was no goal to reduce the bill - it was just to do a menu and shop off a list.  Thatís it.   Very interesting - we realized we would have double bought some things and missed some things.  So that was cool.

This should also help with food waste.  I monitored this week and we threw out more than I thought we did.  Oh, and my wife said that a couple of years ago we tried to go meatless a few days a week and I bitchced and moaned about it. This is likely true.  But, weíll be picking away at that as well.

Oh, and we got PC optimum points app which we used for the first time.

So, not much progress but progress none the less.




« Last Edit: May 20, 2018, 11:21:58 PM by red_pill »

red_pill

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #98 on: May 20, 2018, 11:16:00 PM »
I think that your spending is super high.... and I think it's great that your wife is on board with trimming it. I'm spotting socioeconomic clues that indicate that some more radical switches would put the grocery changes into unfamiliar territory. But I bet that you can get it down by 50% over the next 6-8 territory without hitting weird territory.


Iím interested to hear more about these ďsocioeconomic cluesĒ you speak of. 

slappy

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Re: Canadian grocery bill - is sub $400 per week possible?
« Reply #99 on: May 21, 2018, 05:48:16 AM »
I think that your spending is super high.... and I think it's great that your wife is on board with trimming it. I'm spotting socioeconomic clues that indicate that some more radical switches would put the grocery changes into unfamiliar territory. But I bet that you can get it down by 50% over the next 6-8 territory without hitting weird territory.


Iím interested to hear more about these ďsocioeconomic cluesĒ you speak of.

I was thinking the same thing...