Canadian Family Grocery budget?
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  1. #1
    Registered User mommy4ever's Avatar
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    Default Canadian Family Grocery budget?

    I am posting directly to my fellow Canadians. I'm curious what is your monthly budget? Please include how many you are feeding and ages. I get a little frustrated comparing to my US cousins, as they have way different pricing. Chicken for example is a cheap meat, where here it's almost a luxury unless there is a 'sale' and even then...

    I am trying to decide on a reasonable budget for our family. I feed: 3 adults, 2 teen girls, a picky 8yo, then I provide lunches and snacks 5 days a week to 3 preschoolers. We are at about $200 - 300 per week, and I think it's insane. But there is not alot left in the house! We go through 6 4L jugs of milk a week, that alone is $30. I DO insist on lots of water, but between breakfast, lunch and bedtime snacks, it's still alot of milk. I only have 1 child that will eat beans, and only occasionally. Dh refuses any vegetarian meals. He's all about meat and has a very high metabolism. The only time I can do a leftovers meal, or breakfast for supper, or vegetarian is if he isn't home.

    I would love to see what others are spending, and any tips on how to cut back.
    Mom to 4 wonderful kiddos. Homeschooling mom
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  2. #2
    Registered User Nadders11's Avatar
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    For 2 adults and a 3 year old we spend about 600 a month. I just increased this from a low of 400 a month a couple of months ago when we were trying to get rid of our HELOC. Now I have incorporated all kinds of things in the "food" budget and use cash. Seems to be working well. Home and beauty, dh's haircuts, cat food and I'm stockpiling baby things right now (due in 6 weeks.)

    My dh is a meat eater too, can only convince him to have one meatless dinner a week. Usually Mac and cheese full of veggies. We buy hamburger at Costco ($30 for 3 meals) and chicken breast usually at Costco (8 breasts- 4 meals for about $20). And one meal of steak every 2 weeks - get this for under $10 (superstore). Salmon at superstore for $20 for 3 meals. Now these portions are based on 2.5 people eating.

    I shop at Costco, superstore all the time, sometimes no frills, sobeys and coop if they have decent deals. I find them way too overpriced. But I did just get chicken breast for $11/kg at coop this week. About once a month sobeys has pork chops for a dollar each.

    Do look after these preschoolers? Do you charge their parents for food? I've started looking after a one year old 10 days a month and I've been providing some food. I'm charging 20 dollars more...can't afford to feed other people's kids.

    My friend watches 3 preschoolers same as you, she doesn't charge them anything for food....I think it's silly, preschoolers eat so much. She spends about 800 a month of groceries - 2 kids, 2 adults and 3 part time preschoolers. She also lives on pei, where prices are more.

    Meal planning and cheap hamburger meals have helped me. Homemade hamburger helper, meatloaf, huge pot of spaghetti, chilli the next day, tacos, hamburgers. Milk is used for only one meal a day, then it's water or way watered down juice. It's too expensive.

    Where do you buy your gas? We buy exclusively at superstore, and use the super bucks for our groceries. Save at least 20 dollars a month, this last month was closer to 40.

    Other than that stockpiling as much as you can. I used to coupon but have no time anymore, it is good for home and beauty products, not so much for food stuffs....unless you buy packaged/ name brand- which we rarely do. Now I just have a detailed plan and watch for deals to stock up on. Know your prices! Started a price book recently too...helps a lot.

    Good luck.

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    Registered User mommy4ever's Avatar
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    Thanks Nadders

    I do include food in my fee. But i am finding they are eating more and more! The 1yo eats more than my 8yo..lol.

    I would love to get dh to agree to a meatless day. It's bbq season, so I have been doing cheap burgers for him, he seems content with a slab of meat on the bbq. I don't often get steak, too pricey. I am debating about a side of beef though. The last one worked out to $3.25/lb including steaks, ribs, roasts. It was nice and lean too. That would be an investment, but in the long run cheaper, and have lots on hand which means less last minute runs to the store.

    I am going to look at our recipes, put away the pricey ones for special occasions and run on the less pricey ones.

    Yes, I do coupon, I have a single shelf that I use for health and beauty, cleaning products. I minimize as much as i can for that stuff, but as you say, it's few and far between for non processed foods.
    Mom to 4 wonderful kiddos. Homeschooling mom
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  4. #4
    QM
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    I'm in southwestern Ontario, and I think we average $150 to $200 per week...that is feeding 2 adults, an 8 year old, a 6 year old, two 3 year olds, one 2 year old and one 1 year old. (The four youngest kids are daycare kids.) I try to stock up on sale items. We never drink juice...just water and sometimes milk. Lunches aren't usually the most luxurious...sometimes Kraft dinner, sandwiches, wraps, crackers & cheese, pizza (that was on sale), and so on. Suppers are always the most expensive meals, but I try to make sure what we eat was on sale. It's hard...I feel your pain when it comes to food.
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    Thanks QM... so I'm seeing that my budget might not be that far off....*sigh* I was hoping I could cut.

    That said, I just put in a call, hormone-free, antibiotic-free, grass fed beef, $2.85/lb! I can see a side coming soon. Waiting for call back. That would save lots. It would last us about 6mo - 8, and eliminate most of the meat purchases fro those months, which is on average $300/mo. I'd still need to get chicken... researching that too....
    Mom to 4 wonderful kiddos. Homeschooling mom
    • FFEF 2/6months
    • Retirement savings to start
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    I just want to pop in with a quick *hug*

    Canadian prices blow me away!!

    Can you guys give me a quick list of basic food prices - like milk, bread, sugar, etc. ??

    Just for my own curiousity..... Can you guys find as many coupons there as we have access to here? Can you use the same coupons? ((ex: if I mailed you some that I don't use for name brands that you have there, can you use them too? or are they specific to the US?))
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    Registered User mommy4ever's Avatar
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    Milk is $4.59 per 4 L(1Gal=3.8 L) plus .05 enviro tax + .25 recycling fee
    cheap white bread $1.79/loaf up to $5/loaf for healthier breads but at a discount store you can get 10 loaves for $10
    Sugar - I think there was a sale 2kg for $3(not sure though)
    flour 10kg for $8
    lean ground beef $3.59+/lb
    chicken breast $6/lb for fresh boneless skinless
    apples - $1.39/lb

    I'd have to go through receipts to find more. That is off the top of my head.

    Thank you for the offer, but coupons are specific to the country.
    Mom to 4 wonderful kiddos. Homeschooling mom
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    • Retirement savings to start
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    Registered User Nadders11's Avatar
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    Where did you call about the side of beef? I've been thinking about that too, but didn't know where to look. I'm in Calgary.

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    Moderator monkeywrangler71's Avatar
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    The big difference must be from sales, coupons, and discount stores, because I've been to lots of US stores and paid the same or more for groceries as I do here. Other than milk, which I think is just cheap in the states because they are allowed to use that hormone that makes the cows over produce, but we hardly use any milk so I don't really pay attention to the price.

    Considering that you are feeding 6 people full time and 3 people part time, I think you are doing well at $200-300 a week. You're the size of 2 average families, your grocery budget is going to reflect that. I have about half as many mouths, we spend about half as much.

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    Registered User mommy4ever's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nadders11 View Post
    Where did you call about the side of beef? I've been thinking about that too, but didn't know where to look. I'm in Calgary.
    I did a search in kijiji.ca
    Mom to 4 wonderful kiddos. Homeschooling mom
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    • Retirement savings to start
    • Mortgage


    DEBT, n. An ingenious substitute for the chain and whip of the slave driver.
    - Ambrose Bierce






  11. #11
    QM
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    I bought 2 lb bags of sugar this evening for $1.50 each!! I bought 4! They were 2/$3 at Food Basics here. Yay!

    We also buy a 1/2 side of beef. Last time we bought it, it cost $2.59/lb. We buy it from my dad's first cousin. His beef isn't organic, but after DH asked lots of questions we figured that he's doing nothing different than the organic farmers...he's just not certified because it costs lots of money, etc. Supposedly the price of beef is going up. I'm not sure if it has already. I'm scared to buy the next order.

    I also bought some extra lean ground beef on sale the other day for $3.07/lb. That was because I was asking when/if they reduce it when it's near its expiry. I know the meat lady felt sorry for me with all the kids and looking for meat sales, so she threw on the reduced stickers (when it wasn't even close to the expiry) for 30% off the regular price! She let me have two packages, so I chose the biggest.
    If you will live like no one else, later you can live like no one else.


    2014 Lose-A-Pound-A-Week Challenge
    Started tracking my calories and REALLY trying on June 23rd (at 138.0 lbs)
    1st goal will be 135 lbs Reached this goal on Saturday, June 28th
    2nd goal will be 132 lbs
    3rd goal will be 130 lbs
    4th goal will be 128 lbs
    5th goal will be 126 lbs

    April No Spend Challenge 10/30 No Spend Days
    ~~will start up again in May~~

    Personal
    Pay off my Mortgage
    $61,482.34 (as of August 28th, 2014 - 5 years, 8 months)
    $73,670.29 (as of December 29th, 2013 - 7 years, 0 months left)
    $94,506.12 (as of December 21st, 2012 - 9 years, 2 months left)
    $108,631.38 (as of December 3rd, 2011 - 12 years, 7 months left)
    Pay off my Line of Credit#1 - General
    $21,799.26(as of August 28th, 2014)
    $19,058.22 (as of July 28th, 2014)
    $10,784.38 (as of December 20th, 2013)
    $20,330.65 (as of June 7th, 2013)
    Pay off My Line of Credit #2
    $30,152.71(as of August 28th, 2014)/$35,308.44 GRAND TOTAL
    Breakdown
    $828.42 undercoating for new van
    $1,743.27 eavestrophs on our house
    $1,736.75 new walkway in the front of our house
    $31,000 van

    Winning at money is 80% behaviour and 20% head knowledge....Hey, if it were easy, every moron walking would be wealthy.
    ~Dave Ramsey

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    Registered User madkat2618's Avatar
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    Do you know if you have any Hutterite Colonies around you? Here in southern Manitoba, we can get whole chickens from them for $1.50 per pound. They usually have eggs too, somewhere between $2-2.50/dozen. One of the colonies here has a sale every fall, and we can get vegetables for really cheap. I think we paid $8 for 40 or 50 pounds of potatoes, and cabbages were super cheap.

    I find you have to talk to everyone you know, and mention the fact that you're looking for a local farmer to buy meat from. Somebody, somewhere always knows someone!

    To answer your question about how much we spend, I average about $250-300 twice a month. We also bought a 1/4 of a cow (which wasn't nearly enough, but we were late buying), plus pork from a whole pig. I have 2 bottomless teenagers as well as a high-metabolism husband!

    Oh, and another thing I do, but you need freezer space for this, is around the major holidays (Christmas, Easter & Thanksgiving), I stock up on whole turkeys when they are under $1/lb. When I cook one, the meat will feed us for almost a week. I think I have 4 or 5 in my freezer right now.
    ~Tracy~

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    Registered User Nadders11's Avatar
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    Good idea for stocking up on chickens. This year, I might be able to do that, planing the Christmas budget should have some extra money. Thanks

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    we seem to spend about $180 - $220 every 2 weeks. sometimes more, sometimes less. we are 2 adults and 1 child.

    we just got a costco card and dropped a pretty penny on our first shop...we also shop at superstore and safeway.

    everything is so expensive lately.

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    We spend $150-200/week for 3 adults, food only, mostly organic, grass fed, hormone and anti-biotic free meats. I run a dual kitchen. I'm gluten free, dairy free, and soy free. DH and boarder are not.

    Having said that, I came out of the grocery store in shock today. I spent $217 on food alone. Granted, I have most of our meat supply for the month. But still... I need to pick up some lean ground beef from the butcher's. Superstore, where we normally shop, didn't have any grass fed, hormone and anti-biotic free beef today.

    I consider it a good month when I can come in under $600 for food. It doesn't happen often anymore.

    A 2 L carton of 2% milk cost $3.09 this morning. I don't drink milk. I make my own almond milk, and am thinking it might be time to make my own rice milk as well. I go through a gallon of it a week. You can also cook with oat milk. I've made that before too...a long time ago...when I could have gluten.

    Omega 3 eggs were $3.49/dozen IF you bought 2 dozen. Otherwise they were $3.99. A friend who lives in the country brought me in a dozen eggs from a local farmer last visit. It was nice. The shells were awfully fragile though, compared to the omega-3 eggs.

    The bread DH and the boarder like is $3.50 on sale and $4.79 not on sale. They like Dempster's 12 Grain or Ancient Grains. I used to buy at the bakery thrift store, but we no longer have the space to store 10 loaves of bread (the multiple you have to buy to get their discount). Plus DH and the boarder take two or three weeks to go through a loaf of bread now. I store it in the fridge to keep it from mildewing.

    One thing I do is check Dollarama for packaged things like rice crackers, sardines, etc. The rice crackers are the same as the health food store and Superstore for half the price.

    I find buying bulk helps too. I can't eat candy bars anymore, so I have a nut and fruit bar called L'arabar that I buy. It's $2/bar individually, but if I buy them in a box of 16 at Superstore, they're $1/bar. So that's what I do. They are my quick afternoon pick me up when I need one.

    My DH has a slow metabolism and eats vegetarian willingly. I rotate meat sources here, primarily to prevent me from developing an intolerance to any meat source. For high metabolism you might want to try more nuts (walnuts and almonds, as they are cheapest) and seeds in dishes (sunflower, pumpkin). I check bulk vs. packaged prices at Superstore. Sometimes, like today, the packaged was cheaper than the bulk sliced almonds.

    Also cooking from scratch helps keep the grocery budget down I find.

    That's about all I can think of at the moment. High metabolism is a real problem. We have a friend with that and he has to consume at least 3000 calories a day just to not lose weight. I believe he's been told to take some kind of protein powder or something like that by a doctor. Not sure what it is, but it's to help him not lose weight.

    Best of luck!

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