I love my grocery buying algorithm! Here’s the method that I use when I go grocery shopping using Flipp app Canada and Checkout 51. There are lot of steps to my grocery shopping strategy, even though our grocery bills are still relatively high for trying to save money.
Table of Contents
Step 1A: Check the Online Flyers of Stores I Frequent
I don’t have flyers delivered to me anymore unfortunately (I’m not sure why? I used to even though I live in an apartment). Because of this, I started relying on the Flipp app so I can check out what’s on sale without having to clumsily look at the store’s website online. You can also look at the Flipp website for the sales too.
Flipp is one of the best personal finance apps in Canada, in my opinion.
As you can see in the screen shot below, I just inputted “No Frills” and voila, the weekly flyer is uploaded.
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If it is a 20x the PC Points event at Shoppers Drug Mart, I will usually take the effort and add up the minimum spending amount of items I can find in the flyer. For example, there was a $50 minimum spend and you get 20 times the PC Points event, and I bought just over $53 worth of items sub-total. Usually everything I buy is on sale. It’s worth it as you can get about $15 worth of PC Optimum points with a 20x Event.
I also make sure that my PC Optimum “Offers are Loaded”.
It seems like Loblaw’s totally keeps track of what you buy and then they offer you PC Optimum Points for buying those items in following shopping trips.
Like I bought some contact lens solution one week and the next time, my offer was for 2000 points if I bought contact lens solution. I also load my husband’s offers through our joint email account but oftentimes they are the same offers that I got.
Sometimes they have some great deals, like 200 points on every $10 spent on diapers or something like that (equivalent to about $6 off a box of $33.72 diapers). Couple that with a $1.50 printed out coupon, and a $3.00 checkout 51 coupon, and you’ve got the diaper savings trifecta!!
Step 1B: Search for any Items that Might be on Sale
Sometimes I am looking for something specific.
Like Red Bull (my husband likes to drink it). When the 4 pack is not on sale, it’s almost $10. Sometimes it has been on sale for $5.98, and usually I stock up if it is less than $7.99. I just input “red bull” into the search box, and you can see which retailers have it on sale. This week the sales aren’t really that great because $2 a can is the standard sale price, so I’ll pass and move on.
Step 2: “Circle” the Grocery Items on Flipp
Then, as part of my grocery buying algorithm, I just tap on the item if I want to ‘circle’ it. When I go to my shopping list it separates out the items that I have circled into “My Clippings”. As you can see, 18 pack of eggs at $2.88 is a steal of a deal!
Step 3: Print out any coupons needed and Scan Checkout 51
Before I head to the store, I print out any coupons that I might need. For example, Pampers diapers coupons, there is usually a $1.50 Baby Dry Coupon that I can print out every few months from Smart Source. I sometimes do a quick search for coupons online before I head to the store.
I also scan Checkout 51 really quickly for their weekly offers. They often alternate between Huggies or Pampers coupons. Sometimes the Pampers diaper with Checkout 51 is $3.00! When it is a Pampers week at Checkout 51 I make sure I print out my Pampers coupons ($1.50).
Step 4: Go to the Store and Buy the Goods with the Points Credit Card
Then I make the trek to the store, equipped with my Flipp app and check off the items on my shopping list or “My Clippings”. Sometimes I am annoyed as I can’t find the item even though it is advertised. Or I am annoyed because the price scanned is not the price that is advertised (ahem, Scanning Code of Practice!).
I give any coupons I have to the cashier. I’m not embarrassed to use coupons, I love using them! I don’t use many coupons though because most of the stuff we buy is fresh and perishable except for diapers and toiletries… and chips.. and chocolate.
If it is at a Loblaw’s owned store (City Market, No Frills, Shoppers Drug Mart, T&T Supermarket) I use our PC Financial World Elite Mastercard to pay for the groceries and to collect the points. If it is another grocer and they accept American Express, I whip out the American Express Gold Rewards Credit Card as you get 4 Scotia Rewards for every $1 spent at grocers.
Step 5: Use Checkout 51
Then, when I get home, I open up my Checkout 51 app and check if there is anything that can be claimed. About 50-60% of the bills can be claimed (the Cadbury dark/milk chocolate has been a recent one) with Checkout 51, and if there’s nothing, often there’s a “enter for a chance to win free groceries” for spending more than $60 on groceries. I take a picture of my receipt. I wait until I get home because you need a bright background to upload your receipt, otherwise they will ask you to resubmit it again.
Thankfully, Checkout 51 doesn’t influence my buying decision (otherwise, there’d be a lot of buying name brand goods!). Then I wait for approval, they usually approve or disapprove within 24 hours.
We have received over $46 in the past year for claiming stuff through the free app, Checkout 51.
Step 6: Make Sure there is no PC OPtimum Discrepancy
Finally, I log into my PC Optimum App (if the purchase was made at a Loblaw’s store, and also the points show up just through using the PC Financial World Elite Mastercard) to make sure that there was no discrepancy for PC Optimum Points.
Then I admire the points accumulation for a few seconds because I am a #pointsaddict.
There we go, that’s how I do my weekly grocery shopping and that’s my grocery buying algorithm. For fruits and vegetables that aren’t on sale, I often go to a small mom and pop grocery store where they have cheaper groceries than you would get at a big chain supermarket.
Finally I would finish off and see I can get any cash back for scanning the receipt.
You may also be interested in:
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- The Ultimate List of Cash Back Coupon Apps in Canada
- Rexall Be Well Rewards Review
- How to save on groceries in Canada
What does your grocery buying algorithm look like?
Do you check flyers or only buy on sale?
Do you do your shop at one place or do you go to a few different places for your weekly grocery shop?
GYM is a 30 something millennial interested in achieving financial freedom through disciplined saving, dividend and ETF investing, and living a minimalist lifestyle. Before you go, check out my recommendations page of financial tools I use to save and invest money. Don’t forget to subscribe for blog updates, a free dividend yield spreadsheet, and the free Young Money Bootcamp eCourse.