Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The Great Grocery Project: January Recap

It was a relatively uneventful month around here.  We all had the flu, so we may have eaten a bit less than normal.

The total grocery spend (value) in January was: $263.12.  

The total cash spent on groceries was: $218.12.
The difference between the two numbers is because I used points to get some groceries at Shopper's Drug Mart.  The value was slightly more, but I lost one of my grocery receipts this month and it was never found.  I used a gift card for those purchases though, so it would not change the cash spent amount.

My biggest spend this month was on Dairy - a total of $60.49 (this includes milk, yogurt, and cheese).

I didn't do anything supercrazy to save money this month - I just really avoided going grocery shopping unless I was completely out of something that I wanted.  I didn't really read the fliers this month because I didn't want to spend any money stocking up on things (and we are already pretty well stocked).

At the moment my freezer and pantry are full, full, full of stuff.  My fridge on the other hand is almost completely empty.  As a result, I am anticipating the bulk of my spending in February will be on dairy and produce.  Once again, we will be trying to keep the spending to a minimum this month.

I am going to be trying some new recipes with items on hand this month, hopefully I will find some good ones that I can share.

Friday, January 6, 2017

The Great Grocery Project: November and December

Hello friends!  Things have been a little crazy around here with the new baby (Chunkeroo! or Squisheroo!  Love him...) and the massive renovation, but I am finally getting around to posting my November and December numbers.

My total grocery spend for November & December combined was $756.29, or about $378.00 per month.  I took advantage of some great sales to stock up on a few things, and we also hosted a family Christmas dinner.  We are really feeling the money pinch this year, so I am trying to keep my January grocery spending to under $100.00 cash (I may, and already have, used some gift cards I received for Christmas to purchase some groceries - when I do my January update I will distinguish for you between the value of goods I bought and the cash I actually spent).

I am still tracking what I spend by food category, and by store, but instead of *yawn* boring you with those numbers this month I am going to share with you some great money savings that I had in November and December.

Money Saving Tips:
#1 - In November and December I redeemed $510.00 in Shoppers Optimum points.  Yes!  Amazing!  I was able to stretch my Optimum points even further than normal by doing two things:
1. On the  Black Friday weekend there was a redemption special, where if you redeemed 95,000 points you got 40,000 points back.  I did this twice, in order to get 80.000 points back.  Yes, this was an incredible deal.
2.  For one of these bonus points redemptions I used Ebates, and it was 10% Cash Back.  So -I redeemed $170.00 worth of points, my total owing was $4.10 (after the redemption) but I also earned $17.00 cash back (not to mention the 40 000 bonus points).  I actually MADE money on this points redemption!!!!
Most of my points redemption were used for Christmas gifts, pantry food items, cosmetics, and diapers.  Just to give you an idea of what $170.00 can get you at Shoppers, here is what I got with my most recent point redemption:
4 boxes of Pampers diapers (large)
4 large backs of toilet paper (12 rolls)
2 boxes of 400g Cheerios
1 small jar of Tide Liquid Detergent (this is to go in a baby shower gift)
1 Herbal Essences shampoo bottle
1 President's Choice Frozen Shrimp Ring
2 bags of Cavendish hashbrowns
4 packages of pasta (macaroni, penne, spaghetti, and fettuccine)
1 4 litre milk (1%)
6 cans of Campbell's soup
2 large bottles of President's Choice Cranberry juice
2 x 12 large eggs
1 small bottle of Fiji water
1 small bag of Lay's potato chips

Wowzers that is a lot.  The total pretax value of these items was $171.09.  I redeemed $170.00 worth of points and paid $12.40 cash to cover the taxes.  Did I mention I love the Optimum rewards program???

Where was I?? Oh yes, what else did we do to save money...

#2 The freezer!  We hosted a family Christmas.  My sister-in-law graciously offered to bring a lot of the food since I had the baby and our house is under renovation - so we cooked a frozen turkey we already had on hand (it was delicious) and they brought the rest of the food.  We had our Christmas on December 31st, so we did appetizers, turkey sandwiches, and desserts instead of the usual full turkey dinner spread.  Everyone was happy with this.

#3 DIY gifts.  For almost all of the adults on our Christmas list this year I made large gift baskets.  I bought the baskets themselves from the Salvation Army, and I filled them with delicious treats.  About 50% of the contents I made (delicious jams, sauces, preserves - because I love canning) over the summer, and the other contents I purchased at rock bottom sale prices right before Christmas.  For the non-edible contents, I used various gift items I purchased throughout the year at great prices.  The baskets looked beautiful if I say so myself!  Each basket had its own theme.  For example, the basket for my sister-in-law's family included things like Hot Chocolate, glass bottles of Ginger Ale, popcorn, coffee, tea, roasted nuts, a Davy Crockett DVD, a magnetic notepad, etc.  My father's basket included a cheeseboard, a Chuck Hughes cookbook, dark roast coffee, pistachios, etc.  I had lots of fun making the baskets and I know the retail value to buy similar baskets premade would be well over $150.00 each, whereas the cost of making them myself was significantly less.

I think I will leave it at that for now.  We are planning on having an extremely frugal January
 2017, so I will keep you posted on how things go this month.  I also have a few new recipes I plan to try this month from my Friday Night Dinners project.  Wish me luck!

Programming Note:  If you want to follow along, I really recommend subscribing to this blog.  Unfortunately I just can't commit to regular posting, so the best way to keep track is to subscribe.