Post #6 – Indiana Jones and the Opportunity Cost – 40.3% Savings

– $124.43 bill, $77.58 in savings, 3.80 in PC Points

I originally want to call this post “Indian Jones meets Storage Wars meets The Edison Twins”…but opportunity cost plays a big part in today’s shopping adventure.

Before I get into the story: CRAZY BIG DEAL! Right now Honey Nut Cheerios are $4.99 for a 685g box. “Who cares?” you say…I do, and you should too if you have people that drink milk and eat Cheerios! The box is normally priced at $7.99 ($6.77 at Walmart), so straight off you save $3 per box (Loblaws price). HOWEVER – if you use your Indian Jones skills and look really close (okay, not really close) you will see you get a coupon for 2L of free milk the next time you buy a box of cereal. I don’t know what 2L of milk costs (say $3.50 for arguments sake) so you end up paying $4.99 for $11.49 worth of stuff! “But Gavin”, you say, “I then have to buy more cereal”…Sure you do. I have kids…they have about 12 years of eating cereal left in them, and worst comes to worst…I eat the cereal.

Opportunity Cost: Today I helped tutor a friend’s child in math during the optimal shopping hour of 9am, because let’s face it, some things are more important than 50% off prepared salads and cut fruit. I don’t think the tutoring went so well because I kept saying things like “Now imagine that parabola you are trying to solve for is like a grocery bill, or a double PC points bonus on something you really like…”

Lets break the rest of this post up into three sections: Indiana Jones, Storage Wars, and The Edison Twins.

The “Indiana Jones” refers to doing some reasoning, and noticing, and hunting, I guess. Such as noticing the extra deal on the Cheerios…Another thing I do though is I check out the best before sell by date on the meat that is on sale this week. Grocery stores get their meat in big shipments and they all have the same sell by date and buy more than the normal amount figuring they will move it because it is on sale. That meat, if it doesn’t sell, if going to be heavily discounted (see every other post I have written) on the night before the sell by date…so it might be worth remember the date and heading back to check.

Today my grocery store decided to reset-up the way they do the deli and cheese section, so they got rid of my usual spot to find deli meat and cheese marked down 75%…I search THE WHOLE section to find were they had moved it…I finally found a spot where a bunch of 50% cheeses were, but that was it. I am hoping once the renovation is done they will put it all back!

Storage Wars: Sometimes I wish I had someone shopping with me, so I could be all like “see back in that corner, I think I see something good” or just straight up “YEEEPPPPP”… There were two instances of something like this today.

First, I always look for 50% off yogurt, the stuff is already bad milk, and it is pretty easy to test if it has gone bad once you open it and they often have stuff 50% off to get it out of the way. Anyways, the only stuff I could find (at the start) was 500ml containers of plain yogurt. I figured I could suck it up and flavour it myself and portion it myself…nothing I look foward to. Then I notice a normal 8 serving pack of flavoured yogurt 50% off…No need to do my own work! Then I looked closer, sell by date of January 14th…PASS! I felt a little dejected going back to the plain stuff, but then I noticed it, pushed to the back, a bunch of yogurts marked 50% off, with sell by dates of JANUARY 30th BOOM – SAVINGS! 

Second, at the entrance of the store there were 8 shopping carts filled with clearance stuff, in two rows of 4 back-to-back…What people (other than yours truely) failed to notice, was that there was stuff on the bottom of the backs of the carts, so bending down and having a look revealed a whole new area to look and save.

Edison Twins: I was trying to think of a good example of a hero using math to get ahead, and the only thing that really came to mind was the Edison Twins…Sometimes you have to stand there and do the math to figure out the best deal. Today I failed to notice that my grocery store was selling meat way below the advertised price…The price for chicken thighs this week was $5.00 per lbs, a modest savings, but a savings just the same…What the store had done though was to sell all the packs of thighs for $5 each, the package I picked up was just over 3lbs, which means they sold it to me at $1.60 a pound instead of the advertised price…Even better, they were selling deboned-skinless chicken breast for $5 a pound and that wasn’t even an advertised special! If you pay attention, you sometimes find good deals hidden right under your nose.

Total this post:

Total spent: $124.43

50% off: $28.92

Sales: $32.65

Repriced items: $16.01

PC Points: $3.80

Year to date:

Total spent: $687.05

50% off: $128.73

Sales: $98.93

Repriced items: $246.98

PC Points: $28.20


Post #5 – What does $28 worth of groceries look like? – 70.6% in savings

This is what a late night shopping trip looks like for me:


If I’m arriving home around 10:45, I’ll often take a detour to the grocery story to see what is about to be thrown out (I guess you can say I am one step above dumpster diving).

You can’t see it, but the original price on that roast is $28…what I ended up paying for the whole load of groceries…So you could say I got the rest for free…”The rest” being: 4 large chicken legs, 2 organic striploin steaks, 1lbs of stuffed peppers, 2 pieces of pork schnitzel, a wedge of brie and a small wheel of camembert. The original price tag for this stuff is $98. So I saved $70!

“But Gavin, where are fruits and veggies?”…don’t worry, those are Saturday purchases, when they all go on sale! I’m behind by one post, I’ll hopefully get it up in a few days, but I got some great savings on salads and fruit on the weekend. I was eating pre-made goat cheese salad for $2.50. There was probably $2.50 worth of goat cheese on it alone!

“But Gavin, how are you going to eat all of that?”…don’t worry, what we can’t eat we will freeze…and I’m hoping to find someone to share the roast with…and the stuffed peppers are going to work to share…Sharing is caring!

Total this post:

Total spent: $28.73

50% off: $0

Sales: $0

Repriced items: $69.45

PC points: $0.20 (how did I manage to get PC points on this?!)

Year to date:

Total spent: $562.62

50% off: $99.81

Sales: $66.28

Repriced items: $230.97

PC Points: $24.40

Post #4 – 7 year old girls don’t eat as much as adult males? – 37.6% in savings

– $315.27 bill, $184.62 in savings, $3.40 in PC points

M’s Birthday Edition!!! (really 4 shopping trips summarized in 1 post)

So, today’s post would probably be a good time to give a long winded presentation on attacking the denominator instead of the numerator (buying less stuff is cheaper than trying to make the stuff you buy cheaper)…but I won’t torture you with it…I think everyone gets the idea.

I have had some people send me awesome stories of their frugality. When I talked about trying to stretch things more in order to buy less, one person told me about their dad cutting dryer sheets in two, and someone else told me about cutting kitchen sponges in two…amazing!

Before you go all “24stars” on me and ask “Why the heck is Gavin spending so much on groceries?” let me tell you the reason. This past week was M’s 7th birthday. Since she seems to like to celebrate the same way I do, it meant 2 dinners for about 12 people each and 1 party for about 14 kids…so lots of food was needed.

That being said, I bought WAY TOO MUCH food for the party. I thought buying 10 – 750ml cartons for chocolate milk (@$0.49 each!!!) would be the right amount…Needful to say, kids started getting them included in loot bags by the end of the party…

Which leads me to loot bags…We buy discount stuff all year long to include in loot bags, whatever holiday has just ended we stock up! “Why is my kid getting halloween toys in a January loot bag?” – ’cause they were giving it away in early November! I just have to make sure I buy stuff that lasts! It is like a walk down memory lane of all the holidays that have taken place in the past year. Also the parents were super excited (and then horribly disappointed) when the loot bags came in reused wine gift bags…psych!

The thing that really killed my percentage this week (37.7% Gavin? You’re slipping!) is that T did one of the shopping trips, she managed to save $16.79 on $76.73 (17.9%, bless her heart) whereas on my 3 bills I saved $168.63 on $407.19 (41.4%), also, with kids birthday parties you specifically need somethings, you can’t just substitute with what is on sale: “Oh you wanted a birthday cake? Sorry, I got you cherry danishes at 50% off”…So don’t lose faith in my abilities 🙂

For those of you that have made it this far, here are some highlights: 750 ml Chocolate milks for $0.49 (x10)! $4.99 in wrapping paper for $0.44 (x3)! Greek Yogurt 70% off (x4)! On one of the 4 bills I bought 24 things: 1 at full price, 8 at 50% off, 10 at 66% off, 4 at 70% off and 1 at 75% off!

Total this post:

total spent: $315.27

50% off: $53.01

Sales: $35.79

Repriced items: $95.82

PC Points: $3.4 (1%? What the heck!?!, I feel I have let Al C down…)

Year to date:

total spent: $533.89

50% off: $99.81

Sales: $66.28

Repriced Items: $161.52

PC Points: $24.20

Post #3 – 70% off steak! Sure thing! – 44.6% Savings

$154.36 bill, $108.40 in savings, $20.80 in PC Points

I knew today was going to be good…again. PC Points was wonderful enough to give me 40 cents in PC points for every $1 I spent on beef…So I knew I was hunting for discounted steaks. Since the steaks would be at least 50% off (and hopefully, 70% off, but they weren’t) I would have been able to get 40% off the 50% I was paying, meaning my steaks were only going to cost me the equivalent of 30%. I did pretty well. I got $86.60 worth of steak for $43.30 and picked up $16.60 in PC points!

One thing I love is when Loblaws slaps a 50% off sticker on a clearance item. For example, today I bought Christmas crackers for next year (T – “Why the hell did you do that? We already have 4 packs for next Christmas!?”…oops)…they were discounted to $2.94 from $9.99 and then they had a 50% off sticker as well, so I got them for $1.47! A savings of 86.3%!

Side note – I broke my phone today 😦 So, Loblaws has mobile phone booth to get a new phone. Right now they are trying to encourage people to use it, so I got $100 in Loblaws gift cards and $10 in PC points for doing my shopping there…so I walked away with a new phone, a cheaper plan and $110 to spend at Loblaws…seemed a little surreal!

Total Spent: $154.36

50% off: $22.61

Sales: $13.09

Repriced Items: $65.70

PC Points: $20.80

Year to Date:

Total Spent: $218.62

50% off: $46.80

Sales: $30.49

Repriced: $65.70

PC Points: $20.80

Post #2 – Sickness=savings (often) – 47.2% savings

$68.95 bill, $61.61 in savings

Pharmacies always seem to have the best deals. Today I was in getting a prescription filled for M and the Pharmacist told me it would be 15 minutes….15 minutes of glorious price checking!!! When I went back after 15 minutes she excused them for not being ready (some parents say they are staying and leave) so I got an extra few minutes of shopping!

Pharmacies I think have the most frequent loss leaders, they are trying to compete with grocery stores, but don’t have the same appeal, so they need to work hard to get people through the doors. You can find the best savings there!

One thing that irks a lot of shoppers is the relative incomparability of sizes, for example Rexall had a wicked deal on their cheapo brand of paper towels 2 rolls of 40 sheets for $0.59. They also had their 6 pack of 70 sheet paper towels on sale for $4.99. You can’t just say that the bigger package is 3 times bigger, you have to do the math and figure out the small pack has 80 sheets and the large pack has 420 sheets, making the small pack an amazing deal (by comparison, and overall).

January is the only month of the year I will buy scotch tape. I stock up. How can you not? Today I paid $1.29 for $4.99 worth of tape! Amazing!

I think the other most noteworthy thing they had on sale was Lysol spray bottles, normally $6.29 for only $2.50!

Non-prescription Pharmacy spending 2015: $68.95

Post #1 – In the beginning…

I decided to start a blog to get all of my crazy shopping posts off of facebook. How many posts will this last? Who knows, 1, 2, 1000?

What I will attempt to do inn this blog is: tell funny/amazing grocery stories (probably the hardest thing next to childbirth), give updates on my annual saving/PC points/spending, and maybe give some tips as to how I do it…

But lets get back to me for a minute…Who am I as a shopper? I’m a middle class guy who likes to hunt for a good deal, and by “hunt” I mean on the spur of the moment when out shopping. I don’t usually leave the house expecting to come back with 20 boxes of cereal or 2 kg of cheese I have found on sale…but that is what makes it fun, but for me and my (incredibly patient) wife.

Stuff I don’t do (yet): I don’t drive to the States to do big discount shopping…It isn’t a question of patriotism, it is laziness. I also don’t do price matching shopping…probably also out of laziness. I am addicted to parlaying my PC points deals, and do look forward to getting my PC deals e-mail every week. I also love repriced meat and cheese and other miscellaneous  goodness I can find laying around in the 50% off bins.

I ended 2014 with a BANG!!! I bought a $100 block of cheese for $11! I also bought a bunch of other cheese for 75% off!

First grocery shopping of 2015:

Total spent: $64.26

50% off: $24.19 (28%) – premade salads and precut fruit…8 containers!

Sale items: $17.40 (27%) – 20 cans of Campbell’s soup 87 cents off per can!

PC Points: 0.00!!!

Year to date:

Total spent: $64.26

50% off: $24.19

Sale items $17.40

PC points: $0.00