Wednesday, October 4, 2017

The Great Grocery Project: September Recap

This month turned out to be quite busy!!!

There was lots of planning, and prepping, and getting ready for things to come - mainly my return to work in December.  We also took a vacation, which is why I am a bit late posting, but I will get to that later.

This month we spent $432.49 on groceries.  There was a lot of stocking up on things like cheese (on sale for $3.77), potatoes, carrots, onions, frozen pie shells, and two frozen turkeys.  September was also the month I decided to make a change to the grocery shopping.  The change is not in what we buy, but in methodology.  I have been regularly reading the flyers for years, I actually really enjoy it.  However, life is getting to the point where I do not have time to read the flyers weekly.  We get a lot of them!  If you read the flyers regularly, you know that the best sales essentially rotate among various stores in different (or sometimes the same) weeks.  If you read this blog, you also know that I regularly shop at No Frills, and my local No Frills will price match with Metro and Walmart flyers.  And so, I made the decision that I will no longer read the flyers weekly.  Going forward, I will be reading only the No Frills, Walmart, and Metro flyers.  This saves me time a fair amount of time and energy which is a big win in our house.  In addition, I subscribe to SaleWhale, so if there is something specific I really need that I am desperate to have (unlikely) I can search for a sale quickly using Sale Whale.

What did we spend our money on?
Beverages = $2.99
Bread = $10.96
Dairy = $111.61 (I stocked up on cheese specifically when it was on sale for a great price).
Frozen Food = $35.00 (I stocked up on frozen pie crusts on sale for $2.49, frozen corn, and 4 frozen pizzas for emergency meals).
Meat = $33.57  (Two frozen turkeys, some Reduced for Quick Sale ground beef and chicken).
Pantry = $133.21 Prepping for a few tight months with no income before I go back to work.
Prepared Food = $10.99  Did you know it's Pumpkin Pie season at Costco?  You literally cannot make a pie of the same size for what it costs to buy these.  And they know it.  There was actually an article devoted to this in the current issue of the Costco Members Magazine.
Produce = $70.06  There was lots of stocking up on root vegetables and potatoes at fantastic prices.

Recipe Share:
I made and froze a lot of beets this month.  I also tried a few new beet recipes.  Thanks to some readers at The Prudent Homemaker, I decided to try a beet chocolate cake.  AMAZING.  Actually - it was so good.

Click here for the recipe I used.  I used all purpose flour instead of cake flour (but had to increase the cooking time) and I did not grate the cooked beets because you end up pureeing them anyway.  I also used a different (cream cheese) icing.  This cake is sooooo good.

I also made a Beet Cranberry Chutney.  This recipe is super easy to make and very yummy.  You can use fresh or frozen cranberries as well as home roasted or boiled beets.  It can also be frozen.  It was delicious with crackers and goat's cheese.  It would also pair well with cream cheese or brie, and poultry or pork.  Or the vegetarian tourtière recipe that is suggested on the recipe link (I imagine, I haven't tried it with this myself).

For the French version of the recipe click here.

For the English version click here.

How did we save money this month?

When I started going through my list, I realized I probably should have done an earlier post. Nonetheless, here we are. 

1. Price matching - I continue to price match at No Frills.

2. Optimum Points Bonus Day and Survey - I love the Optimum rewards program through Shoppers Drug Mart.  This month I made purchases on a day when I could earn bonus points.  I also am a member of their consumer panel, and so I earn extra points by completing surveys they send.  Finally, every Tuesday I receive a coupon with a special offer via text.  I've never used one of these, until last week when we were on vacation and I realized I had forgotten to bring Little Swimmers and there were some other items I needed to pick up.  I happened to get a great coupon that Tuesday - so I used it.  Hurray for bonus points.

3. Ebates Cheque - I received an Ebates cheque for $11.77.  

4. Costco Executive Membership Rebate Cheque - I received our rebate cheque which was for $75.00.  I'm a bit blasée about this program.  It covers the cost of the Executive Membership (but not the full membership) because we do not spend enough money at Costco.  It's not a loss because we still save loads on some specific items at Costco that I can't get on sale other places (specialty cheeses!!), but it's hard to get excited about it.

5. House Photos - I will save most of the details for another post, but we were getting photos done of our house and I staged it myself and made my own flower arrangements with flowers from the grocery store.

6. Vacation - We went on our first non-family visiting vacation in five years.  (Expect a future post about this).  We traveled to the Laurentians and used points from our MasterCard so we did not pay a penny for our hotel.  UPDATE: Trip details are now available here.

7. Clothing Discount - I have a list of things I need before returning to work - so I went to the Vaughan Mills outlet mall.  I was about to pay at a store when I remembered that 3 years ago (the last time I was shopping for work clothes), this store offered a discount for members of my profession.  There was no sign posted, but I asked if they still did this.  Yes they do!  $34.75 came off my bill.  BIG SMILE.

8. DIY Christmas Gifts - I made personal journals and also started working on some additional DIY Christmas gifts.

9. Make Ahead and Freeze - I am making ahead and freezing food for a party we are hosting in October.

10.  I filled up at Costco when I noticed gas there was actually a lot cheaper (it isn't always) and this saved me $12.00.

I hope you all had a wonderful month!!


  1. I wrote a nice long comment on here yesterday, and then the internet ate it, so I'm going to post a shorter one today!

    I also read almost only No Frills and the SDM flyers. I find I can get the best prices with those with minimal effort.

    Def going to try the vegetarian tortiere! Sounds delish!

    And regarding the Costco executive membership refund, do you have to ask for that? And if so, when and where? TIA!

    1. I hate it when the Internet eats things!!! Regarding flyers - for some reason we aren't getting the SDM flyer here anymore. But I do get their emails, so when it is a good bonus points week I look up the flyer online and read it.

      Regarding Costco - the Executive Membership is about twice the price of regular membership. Also, their membership fees are increasing this year across the board. It is around $130 annually for the Executive Membership. You get 2% back on all Costco purchases for the year up to $750 (I guess if you have a small business you might spend enough to earn this much back - but that is just over $34k). Anyway - to answer your question, the cheque comes in the mail with your notice for membership renewal. :)

    2. On a related note, since you are an SDM and Costco shopper, this might interest you:

    3. Thanks for the info! I have a business (red and white card) membership through my work, so I actually don't pay for it myself, which is nice because I don't buy enough there to make it worth my while. Although there are things that I only buy there, such as chocolate chips!

  2. That's a lot of good prices! I also bought a fair bit of that cheese when it was on sale at No Frills. May I ask where you get the Metro and Walmart flyers? Are they still in weekend papers or do you get them online? I don't have a smartphone so can't do the apps version of things.

    1. Our Metro and Walmart flyers come with our local weekly paper. Also for some reason we get Walmart flyers in our actual mail weekly. If you don't get them in the mail, they are also available online on the store websites.

  3. I buy tons of cheese when it's on sale, as well. It lasts a very long time--after all, aged cheese is more expensive the longer it ages! :)
    It sounds like you are well-stocked for the fall. I did the same thing in September--stocked up big-time. Now, I've haven't had to spend anything yet in October, but I will buy some groceries soon.

    1. My drawer is so full of cheese in the fridge.....but I'm afraid I will eat more because I know it is all there haha. Self restraint!!