The FI Chocolate savings plan

This post contains affiliate links, and chocolate was consumed in the writing of this post.

A few years ago I worked overseas and we were locked up in a dry camp for 21 days at a time. Now I’m not saying that the complete absence of Micro brew beer for 3 weeks was a bad thing…But it sure made for some lonely nights. Thank goodness for Lindt Sea Salt Dark chocolate. Being in South America, it was nice to bring a treat from home to frugally nibble on after the Tripe for dinner. Believe me, you need something to try and rid your mouth of that taste. However, this led to a bit of a chocolate addiction problem I still haven’t kicked! Are there meetings for that? Before each trip, I’d scour the local grocery stores for the best price on my Lindt bars. At the time I could find them for $1.50 on sale. Alas, inflation has definitely shown in the current prices as high as $4.50!!! That’s $45 per Kilo, nothing frugal about that. Anyway, this is where this post turns into a math lesson, but you wouldn’t have started reading it if I told you it was all about math at the beginning.

Alright, let’s see the math

Now, keeping with the chocolate theme, because secretly I know that’s why you’re all here. I still keep an eye out for fantastic deals on the Lindt chocolate when I’m doing our usual shop. Just recently, in a last-second turn into aisle 5 before the express checkout, I scoped an Airmiles deal on with the Lindt bars. I’ll have to fill you in on my Airmiles escapades in another post. Anyway, the deal was ‘buy 4 bars at $3.00 each and receive 40 Airmiles’. Upon first glance, that was an initial $0.99 savings on the $3.99 normal price. Not bad. But then I asked, “What is the value of those 40 Airmiles?” Now for the math…

If 95 Airmiles =$10 at the till
Then 1 Airmile = ($10 divided by 95)$0.105 rounded
Therefore 40 Airmiles =$4.20

Sweet chocolately awesomeness, that’s an additional $4.20 discount, bringing the purchase price down to $1.95 per bar, or a whopping 51% discount. There I am in aisle 5 salivating from the combined thrill of the chocolate and the deal. Luckily there are only 16 bars of the Sea Salt flavour left. Naturally, I stick them all in the basket and forgo the express line… again. Instead, I head over to customer service and put on my most charming smile and politely say that they are out of stock on said Lindt bar. After a quick check, they are happy to write me a rain-cheque for a future purchase with the existing deal.

Hidden price is $3.99

This is where things really get good. I request another 40 bars!!!!! Which should last me….well let’s just assume it’s quite a while. The important concept here is that I locked in a great inflation beating deal for future me, saving $81.60 on the future purchase. Now I know what you’re thinking. Wouldn’t I have been better off saving the $31.20 and going home without the chocolate? Technically yes, but our journey to FI is about happiness and being mindful with our spending. This deal fulfills both for me. So, remember to ask for rain-cheques when you come across an item on sale that is out of stock. They don’t expire. Just take the appropriate carrying containers when you’re planning on bringing home all 72 cans of Coconut Milk you’ve secured a deal on.

The point of this ramble

We all spend a fair bit of money in our local grocery stores. Now, I’m not one to advocate clipping coupons and wasting a bunch of time and gas driving around town trying to save a buck here or there. But I am very conscientious of the price of our regular items, and some math helps me recognize a deal when I see one. For example, if there’s a promotion on that requires us to spend $75 to get 100 bonus Airmiles (which I had on me for the chocolate caper). I’ll find the best (sale) price on an item that we can store and know we will use in the long run. Olive oil, chocolate, canned items, chocolate, frozen stuff, chocolate, coffee beans, etc. are all things that can be added onto a shopping trip if the expenditure warrants the deal. I mean, you aren’t going to turn down a 14% instant savings, are you? And you’ll never run out of beans for chili again! If all this seems like a bit too much math to handle while you’re battling for pole position in the dairy aisle. Pull in for a pit-stop in the pet food aisle (it’s always empty) and pull out your trusty cell phone calculator and math those deals up. Like anything we do on our path to FI, additional savings that you can generate at the grocery store are going to add up and compound when that money is working for you. As a bonus on this particular trip, I even got a 5 cents off/litre gas coupon….mind blown.

$27.83 worth of Airmiles equal to a 23% discount on this bill.

Unless there’s a Thrifty foods near you, this is the best deal I could find online for Lindt.

What strategy do you use to minimize your grocery shopping and maximize the special price deals or loyalty offers?

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About the Author: Money Mechanic

The Money Mechanic is a 40 something 50% of his way to FI. Active in the FI/RE community. He is passionate about personal finance and educating others and sharing the tools you need on the path to Financial Independence in Canada.


  1. Those Air Miles offers can be pretty amazing! I completely agree that stocking up on a good deal is a smart thing to do.

    LOL about the emptiness in the pet food aisle—never thought about that! I’ll have to keep that in mind if I’m ever in the insanity that is Superstore on a weekend afternoon!

    1. Yeah, the pet food isle is my go-to for the quickest isle to the other side of my local Thrifty foods. I’ve often thought that someone should make a charity out of unused Airmiles. How many times do you hear the person in front of you say they don’t have a card. Well, then the ‘charity’ card which stays at the checkout, should be swiped and the money used for food etc.

  2. Fun post! Stocking up can be great, but we once unpacked 24 cans of tomato sauce after moving half way across the country. I’m sure that cost us more than we saved since we paid the movers by the pound. What is the deal with the AirMiles? You can buy them at the grocery store?

    1. Airmiles is a points-based rewards program. You can choose to redeem the miles for travel (flights), merchandise, or cash (my choice). Usually, it is 1 Airmile for every $20 spent, which isn’t a great return. That’s why the promos with bonus miles are huge. I’m always excited when I earn more miles than the dollar total I spend. My wife and I have a little competition going to see who can get the most points over unity. Airmiles are offered at 120 different retailers in Canada. See more here Thanks for reading! Glad you enjoyed the post. We can’t always be so serious when discussing money.

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