Grocery Challenge- Week 2 Update

Since starting this grocery challenge, I managed to save money in week 1 (which I put towards my TFSA) but week 2 not so much.  The whole point on this exercise for me is to see whether our grocery budget is too high, low or just right.  My current grocery budget is $140/week for my husband and I.  After completing this exercise for the month of April, I will come to a decision whether I want to leave it at $140/week, increase or decrease the amount.

So how did I do for week 2:

Budgeted amount $140/week
Goal for challenge $100/week
Actual amount spent $148.91 ( I opted not to include receipts for brevity)
Overspent from budgeted amount $8.91

Total redeemable bottle refund amount: $3.00

So not only did I not meet my challenge of $100/week, but I ended up spending more than my budgeted amount of $140/week.  This is largely because:

  • I bought a lot of meat this week. I got 1 bag of shrimp, 1 bag of scallops, 2 packs of chicken thighs and 1 pack of extra lean ground beef. The meat alone ate up more than half the amount spent
  • I bought some fruits and vegetables. I got 2 bags of mandarins, some bananas, lettuce and peppers.

Some things I did differently this time around:

  • Although I shopped with a list, I didn’t keep a running total of the items going into my cart. This may have resulted in purchasing one too many meat items.
  • I bought more fruits than I did last week. The objective of this monthly challenge is to be proactive about finding ways to save money on my grocery bill, not necessarily giving up pricey foods like meat and fruits. During our debt repayment journey, we lived on $100/week (or less) for groceries so I know I am capable of reaching that amount again. However, now that we are debt free, I want to continue saving money but still enjoy plenty of meats, fruits and vegetables.
  • I redeemed $10 from my air miles reward card, so if I didn’t redeem this amount I would actually be $18.91 over.
  • This weekend we plan on taking in the refundable bottles in to the bottle depot from the last 2 weeks. I think this is a tradition I will continue doing after the challenge. It takes me no time at all to sort out the bottle and then it is just a matter of passing by the bottle depot when we run errands.
  • This week’s refundable bottle amount was exactly $3.00, plus the $1.45 from last week, that $4.45 back into my TFSA. Let’s assume that at any given week, my husband and I had a refundable amount of $2.50 (some weeks could be higher, other’s lower). If I take the $2.50/week for 52 weeks and account for the fact that my husband and I have been together for 10 years (age 21 to 31) that’s $1,300 ($2.50 X 52 weeks X 10 years). Plus I was living on my on since I was 18 years old so that’s probably another $200-$300 over those 3 years (18-20 yrs. old). That’s an astonishing $1,500-$1,600 over my adult life of money that could have gone back into my pocket, but didn’t. It not like I didn’t know that I could return my bottles for a refund, it is just that I didn’t see the financial impact until I extracted it over many years.
  • Ditched the meal plan idea. Instead, I just cooked a bunch of food for the week, froze some and will replenish when needed. I think meal plans are great to use once you get a rhythm going, and you know where to shop for deals and get the best savings, which is primarily my focus for this challenge. However, cooking in advance for the work week freed up time for me to work on other things after work like the course I am taking and blog.

Overall thoughts:

Given the fact that I bought so much meats and fresh fruits, I am happy with my total. I may also need to rethink shopping at Superstore regularly and make Walmart a top choice for shopping for most groceries (except their fruits, I have had terrible experience with fruits from Walmart). I typically shop at Superstore so I can use my loyalty points, but I think if I did this shop at Superstore, my bill would have been substantially higher. I may forgo the points for greater savings at Walmart.



Categories: Budgeting

Tags: , , , , ,

2 replies

  1. I recently started buying a lot of stuff in bulk online. For example, I just bought 10kg of pure natural peanut butter (free shipping), which is 30% cheaper than buying it instore.


    • Nice!. What I noticed is there is a growing trend for people in the United States to purchase foods online more than there is in Canada. I would have to say in Canada, we still have not caught on to buying a majority of our groceries online yet. Although their are a few people that I know do it, it hasn’t caught on as it has in the States. It may be due to economies of scale and it still not cheap to do so.


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