Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

Welcome to the MSE Forums

We're home to a fantastic community of MoneySavers but anyone can post. Please exercise caution & report spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts/messages: click "report" or email forumteam@.

Search
  • FIRST POST
    • zippychick
    • By zippychick 13th Oct 14, 12:54 PM
    • 9,325Posts
    • 17,733Thanks
    zippychick
    May 2017 Grocery Challenge
    • #1
    • 13th Oct 14, 12:54 PM
    May 2017 Grocery Challenge 13th Oct 14 at 12:54 PM
    Hi everyone,

    Welcome to the fifth Grocery Challenge of 2017 !!!!

    If your new month starts early feel free to join this thread, or if you're still working on your April budget, then keep on posting in the April challenge.

    As always this challenge is to reduce your own grocery budget to levels that you will be pleased with, not forgetting that we always recommend that you stay inside your own comfort levels and take things gently one step at a time. Remember that this is not a competition....it's designed to take you and your grocery spending to a level you are happy with.

    If you are new to the challenge I have quoted the advice from Galtizz below which will help you get started.

    Please post into this thread for help and advice and support at any time. Good luck to everyone taking part!


    I have said this before, but for all the newbies to the challenge;

    For the first month I took a guess at the budget but I really had no idea how much I was spending.

    I found the best thing is to have a guess the first month but SAVE ALL OF YOUR RECEIPTS (and yes, that does include the ones from the local shop when you run out of milk ), then at the end of the month add them all up and have a look if you were on budget, if not, it doesn't matter because your budget was a guess. For the next month you can use the total of your receipts and take a bit off to get a realistic budget, just shave off as much as you think you can, it could be £1 a week or £20 a week.

    If you are currently spending £200 a month don't suddenly drop it to £100 - you'll never do it but if you cut £20 a month off for a few months you'll get there eventually without feeling you're missing out on anything.

    You might think you've done everything you can in the first month but someone always comes up with a new idea and, if you try it you often find you save a bit more (unless you are SarahSaver who is an expert at this and could only save more if she turned her back garden into a paddy field and lived on rice ) In the first month I thought, I'm planning meals, I couldn't possibly save any more, but then I started double cooking and freezing, and making soup instead of buying it in tins.

    I've been doing this since Feb but only saved ALL of my receipts last month, it has given me a much better idea of where it is all going. Budget for next month is £80 for 2 of us, I'll start on 30/4. I could probably save more, by eating different foods but I can afford to live on £80, I have saved a lot of money since Feb. and I don't waste food or money any more. So I'm happy with my budget.
    By request, here is Spiggles wonderful helpful post



    We all have different budgets that suit our households. The most important thing to remember is that you set yours according to your needs and finances. It can take time to get to where you want to be too so don't knock yourself out if you go over in the first few months. We are here to support each other and it is not a competition.

    I thought it might help to outline where we've come from and the top tips I've learned.

    When we started in March 2010 we had spent in excess of £600 in the previous month. This had to stop, (there's only me and him and our two beautiful black cats) something which thankfully my OH completely agreed with so I have been lucky that he has been on board from the start. He gave me his debit card voluntarily and I still keep hold of it until he needs to get something for the home. At the same time we set up a system of pocket money (pm) at £15 each per week which doesn't count towards the GC and which we can each spend as we wish with no comebacks or complaints. OH predominantly uses his pm on his beer and I ferret mine away mostly.

    The next step was to set up my own spreadsheet which is absolutely simple onto which I put all spends so that I have a continuous running total for the month and for the year. We initially set our budget at £280 per month and brought it down to £240 where it resides for most of the year it is occasionally increased to allow for extras e.g. Christmas to £260.

    The important 'tools' we found greatly helped and continue to do so now are:

    Stocktake cupboards, fridge, freezer - make lists and ensure that the older products get used up first. You'll be amazed at what you find squirrelled away and it will help with your shopping list as you'll realise that you don't actually need so much.

    Before you go shopping check staples - running out of milk, bread, butter, etc often leads to going into a shop for one thing and coming out £20 lighter. Always check these and if they'll run out tomorrow buy them the same time as getting other things.

    Always make a shopping list and stick to it - the supermarkets (sm) try every which way to get us to spend so having a list and strong resolve is the only way to beat them.

    Keep every receipt - and then note it down on your spreadsheet/spend diary so that you always know where you are.

    When tempted, ask yourself do you NEED it or just WANT it - now this advice goes with two things. Firstly, the things you see in store when shopping that APPEAR to be bargains - if you hadn't planned spending the money then its not a bargain. Secondly, the sm send us loads of vouchers for £X off a spend of £XX - if you had no NEED to spend £XX then have you SAVED anything???

    Use my supermarket to compare prices (limited to four of the biggies) - The site may be used to actually do an online shop at whichever of the big four offers the best value or, if you have the time and sm availability, to make up lists for visiting each of the stores so that you can purchase all you need at different stores thus getting the best possible value. (I'd add, do a 'shop' virtually on this site and take the list you create on it with you, whichever one you shop at, it will help keep target prices in your head and allow you to spot bargains. MrM is not included but you can do a virtual list on their website so you know what you're going to be spending.)

    Always have a list - this is just as important when shopping online as shopping on foot.

    Use Approved Foods online (with a list!) - if you don't mind out of date things (ood) or you can search for only in date items. The only drawback is storing the goods as far as I can tell. Oh, and watch the delivery as it's done on a scaled charge for weight so keep an eye on it. You can of course do an AF order with friends, family, colleagues or like minded neighbours. Other GCers use Big Br*nds 4 Less too.

    Invest in a breadmaker - we have saved so much by making our own bread. The prices in the shops are extortionate for bread these days. There's loads of advice on this thread and others in the forum on this.

    Use the recipe lists - always posted at the front of a new thread. There are fantastic, tasty, healthy and economical recipes to use on them and there are a number of other threads on the forum such as Weezl's that will help you to eat well on a budget.

    Shop locally - the local greengrocer (or preferably market but I don't have one ) is usually cheaper as an option for fruit and veg (f&v) than the sm. Often the prices may look the same but when you look at the quantity for the same price the greengrocer will be cheaper. The same goes for the local butcher. Often you will have far more variety of meat available, advice on how to cook a particular meat can be offered and there is (for me at least) no comparison in terms of quality. We buy our huge FR eggs there and I'm yet to find an equivalent FR egg in a sm at the same or lower price. Obvioulsy if you have your own chicks/know someone who has chicks you can get them even cheaper again.

    Grow your own - it's quite simple to grow some f&v at home even if it's only in pots on the patio. There are also supportive threads on the forum for this.

    Cook your own - making meals at home from ingredients is far more economical, often tastes better than shop bought and is probably far better healthwise.

    Meal Plan - this is something that others can advise on as we don't do it. I have a tremendous capacity for eating the same food over many days but presented in slightly different form. For example, we could buy £7 worth of brisket from the butchers and eat it as pot roast for a couple of days, sliced for sarnies, sliced with a salad, chucked into a casserole or shredded up and fried as crispy beef.

    Don't waste food - either only make what you need or use any leftovers for other meals/creations or freeze it for another day.

    Withdraw the cash you want to spend - and keep it in a separate purse. This can be particularly effective as you have the money in front of you reducing rather than spending with plastic which is so easy to lose track of. Very useful when you first start out.

    Don't go to the shops to browse - this can only lead to pain and hardship!!!

    Keep posting and reading the thread - there really is no better supportive, wise and inspirational place to be! I think I saw that somebody mentioned forgetting to read/post. I get around this by using the Advanced button to post, below the window where your text is displayed you will see Additional Options. In the Thread Subscription box use the dropdown to select either instant email notification (this is what I use) or daily email notification before you submit your latest post. Then you will get an email into your inbox from which you can click to the thread to see what others are saying.

    Always remember the sm is not your friend - it wants to profit from you and take as much of your money as it can coerce out of you!

    So, there you go as a starting point. Others on here will offer tremendous advice on meal planning. And don't forget, the only silly question is the one you didn't ask!

    See you all later,
    Spigs
    For quidelines on posting in this thread please read the second post in this thread.

    For the Grocery challenge Recipe Index please see posts #3, #4, #5 #6 #7 #8 & #9 on this thread (the list is growing!!!!!)

    For everyones totals, see post #10 on this thread

    I hope everyone has a great month!

    Zip
    Last edited by zippychick; 07-04-2017 at 7:44 PM.
    I'm a Board Guide of Old Style MoneySaving, The Northern Ireland board,How Much Have you Saved? and Martin's Blogs.
    This means I'm a volunteer to help the boards run smoothly and can move and merge posts there. However, do remember that Board Guides don't read every post. If you spot an inappropriate or illegal post then please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com. It is not part of my role to deal with reportable posts. Any views are mine and are not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.
    New to the Forum? Why not watch the Guide?
    A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men
    Norn Iron club member #380

Page 3
    • Makethedayscount
    • By Makethedayscount 25th Apr 17, 4:00 PM
    • 33 Posts
    • 286 Thanks
    Makethedayscount
    Count me in again this month please! I'm going to try £230 this month as though there are lots of birthdays I'm feeling confident I can make a few more savings. Thanks again for organising this thread.
    • Ginmonster
    • By Ginmonster 25th Apr 17, 6:16 PM
    • 268 Posts
    • 2,704 Thanks
    Ginmonster
    Count me in for £100 again please.
    Good luck everyone!
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 26th Apr 17, 2:43 AM
    • 598 Posts
    • 3,830 Thanks
    armchairexpert
    I'm still in April but definitely in again in May. Can I be down for $AU950 please?
    Last edited by armchairexpert; 26-04-2017 at 2:53 AM. Reason: formatting
    MFW diary here. 1 Feb 2017 $229,371 - MFD Feb 2043 aiming for May 2028
    14 August 2017 - Refinanced: $220,000
    September 2017 - $218,597.77
    • Suffolk lass
    • By Suffolk lass 26th Apr 17, 4:54 PM
    • 1,470 Posts
    • 16,849 Thanks
    Suffolk lass
    Hooray, DH got paid today! that means we are into May! Thank goodness! My signature is up to date for grocery spending and just in the green. Woohoo
    MFiT T4 #2 update 31.2% after Q6
    Save £12k in 2017 #64 - £8112.39 saved (73.74%) after August - my annual target is £11,000
    OS Grocery Challenge 2017 budget of £3,600 £3000 (reduced from Apr) - 61.61/66.66% including stores after July
    My DFD is http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=5593594
    • Florence J
    • By Florence J 26th Apr 17, 9:18 PM
    • 1,577 Posts
    • 8,902 Thanks
    Florence J
    I'm in.

    To be honest I am finding it really difficult to stay within £250 most months so I would consider it an achievement to just stick with the old budget of £200
    Sealed Pot Challenge 10 #553 (£90) Wombling free 2017 = £1505.37 Pay off all your debts by Xmas 2017 #53 (£2743.11/£3000) Debt to OH paid back £1120.95/£1120.95
    September 2017 Credit Card Debt: £4344.96
    • pinkypig
    • By pinkypig 26th Apr 17, 10:09 PM
    • 583 Posts
    • 5,806 Thanks
    pinkypig
    Can I try my usual £140 for the month please?
    • elsiepac
    • By elsiepac 27th Apr 17, 8:14 AM
    • 1,311 Posts
    • 9,492 Thanks
    elsiepac
    Just popping in to say it was payday yesterday and I didn't spend any grocery money! Woohoo! Would have been easy to pick up a treat or two, specially as mum was over, and that somehow "makes it ok", but I resisted! I am doing my shop tonight and sticking to my list! Just going through it and making sure it's all needed
    I'm a Board Guide on the Old Style, Greenfingered, Energy & Going Out Deals boards which means I'm a volunteer to help the boards run smoothly and I can move and merge threads there. Please remember, board guides don't read every post. If you spot an illegal or inappropriate post then please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com (it's not part of my role to deal with this) Any views are mine and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.
    GC: Sep £162.70/£220 | Aug £190.38/£200 | Jul £194.08/£150 | Jun £179.03/£150 | May £158.54/£150 | Apr £316.94/£200 | Mar £170.47/£120 | Feb £199.45/£160 | Jan £199.08/£140
    Vegan 27-8-13
    • Wysiwyg49
    • By Wysiwyg49 27th Apr 17, 9:12 AM
    • 168 Posts
    • 1,424 Thanks
    Wysiwyg49
    May will be a 5 week month (shopping 5 Saturdays from 29 April to 27 May) so I'll go for £375 this month please.

    DH away for most of first week to I should get off to a thrifty start
    GC Sept £174.61/£360
    • allie23
    • By allie23 27th Apr 17, 12:54 PM
    • 1,246 Posts
    • 13,604 Thanks
    allie23
    Hi folks, Can I join again this month? Please put me down for £150 for May.


    As always huge thank you to those who run the thread each month.
    Save £12k in 2017 - Challenger 11 - £14,920/£24,000
    • purpleybat
    • By purpleybat 27th Apr 17, 3:29 PM
    • 233 Posts
    • 1,770 Thanks
    purpleybat
    I spent a while this afternoon having a nosey throo approved food site. I have looked before and sorted an order for them to decide they didn't want to take my card payment (even tho 3 other sites did the same day).
    this time I struggled to get to £9, half of the amount needed before postage, for them to send. I was using my notebook and half of the stuff I would've bought is cheaper in lidles.
    I think its cos its branded stuff on approved food, but I've never been bothered by brands.
    the upshot was that I saved myself £9 most of it would've been stuff I fancied rather than needed.


    also, while looking at sites (that I saw here first) I was looking at Heron Food shops, it seems these are mainly up north (bah), but I got side tracked looking at their recipes.
    now I don't know if anyone's tried them but they do have a couple of nice ideas on there, I have saved the frozen veg veggie burgers and like the idea of a fish cobbler (tho as with fish pie i'd never cook the fish before going in the oven).


    I think a lot of supermarket recipe pages are worth a look at, you can get everything for them in the store and a lot of the recipes are quite budget orientated to feed a family.
    Last edited by purpleybat; 27-04-2017 at 4:11 PM.
    gc jan 148.59/150 feb 134.58/150 mar 148.35/160 apr 139.24/160 may 165.78/160 june 129.05/160 july 148.23/170 aug 163/170
    • Art Deco
    • By Art Deco 27th Apr 17, 6:39 PM
    • 179 Posts
    • 781 Thanks
    Art Deco
    Hi could you put me down for £380 again please .
    Last edited by Art Deco; 27-04-2017 at 6:41 PM. Reason: wrong colour
    • caronc
    • By caronc 27th Apr 17, 7:24 PM
    • 2,208 Posts
    • 14,941 Thanks
    caronc
    Five week month here to running from 27/04/17 to 01/06/17 please put me in for £150 thanks.
    First shop of £30 so £30/£150 mainly toiletries and pet supplies.
    May GC £150/£150, June GC £117/£120, July £185/£170, August £108/£120, Sep GC £63/£120
    • mcculloch29
    • By mcculloch29 27th Apr 17, 8:37 PM
    • 4,558 Posts
    • 44,820 Thanks
    mcculloch29


    also, while looking at sites (that I saw here first) I was looking at Heron Food shops, it seems these are mainly up north (bah), but I got side tracked looking at their recipes.
    now I don't know if anyone's tried them but they do have a couple of nice ideas on there, I have saved the frozen veg veggie burgers and like the idea of a fish cobbler (tho as with fish pie i'd never cook the fish before going in the oven).


    I think a lot of supermarket recipe pages are worth a look at, you can get everything for them in the store and a lot of the recipes are quite budget orientated to feed a family.
    Originally posted by purpleybat
    The furthest south Heron go is Northamptonshire/Cambridgeshire I think - they are in the North West, North East, Yorkshire, West Midlands and the East Midlands.
    I use Heron ingredients a lot in my cooking. Farmfoods seems to have some of what Heron has but it's never appealed to me the way Heron does.
    Heron tends to be in smaller towns and suburbs rather than in major city centres.
    Erma Bombeck, American writer: "If I had my life to live over again... I would have burned the pink candle, sculptured like a rose, that melted in storage." Don't keep things 'for best' - that day never comes. Use them and enjoy them now.
    • Florence J
    • By Florence J 27th Apr 17, 9:36 PM
    • 1,577 Posts
    • 8,902 Thanks
    Florence J
    First Food of the month bought today, an online Mr T shop.

    £91.30 spent so £108.70/£200 left.

    Our household of me and the boyfriend tend to do a big food shop with a month's supply of long lasting things and then just top up during the month.
    Sealed Pot Challenge 10 #553 (£90) Wombling free 2017 = £1505.37 Pay off all your debts by Xmas 2017 #53 (£2743.11/£3000) Debt to OH paid back £1120.95/£1120.95
    September 2017 Credit Card Debt: £4344.96
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 28th Apr 17, 1:00 AM
    • 598 Posts
    • 3,830 Thanks
    armchairexpert
    May will be a 5 week month (shopping 5 Saturdays from 29 April to 27 May) so I'll go for £375 this month please.

    DH away for most of first week to I should get off to a thrifty start
    Originally posted by Wysiwyg49
    I love it when Mr Expert goes away. He's away for two weeks at the end of May (overlapping into June) and I just did a two week meal plan for that time and costed it, and it's going to come in at roughly half of what it normally does, for the remaining 3 of us. That's because when he's here he wants to eat tuna steaks and roasts and things-based-around-meat, and when he's not here I eat lentil soup for three dinners in a row and feed the girls tomato soup and cheese on toast, or filled baked potatoes - perfectly healthy, but not nearly as luxurious!
    MFW diary here. 1 Feb 2017 $229,371 - MFD Feb 2043 aiming for May 2028
    14 August 2017 - Refinanced: $220,000
    September 2017 - $218,597.77
    • mumofthetwins
    • By mumofthetwins 28th Apr 17, 8:40 AM
    • 836 Posts
    • 3,653 Thanks
    mumofthetwins
    well fist spend of the month yesterday .. £55.32 spent but I have stocked up on a few bits .. I have managed 2 NSD so far aswell .. im determined this month lol.
    This time I'm sticking with it !!

    May £264.56/£300 NSD lost track but much more than last month / 38 June £216.30/£300 NSD 15/30 July £120.21/£300 NSD 11/15 Aug £96.46/£300 6 NSD
    PAD
    June £3362.78 July £1803.88 Aug £1895
    • fendi-bag-lady
    • By fendi-bag-lady 28th Apr 17, 11:12 AM
    • 191 Posts
    • 617 Thanks
    fendi-bag-lady
    I've not done this challenge in a long time and now have very limited cooking / freezing facilities so I'm interested to see how this goes. I'm going to aim for £250. A bit much for one person but I'd rather aim too high than too low and reduce it next month when I know where I'm at. I don't smoke, drink or go out much at all so food is my guilty pleasure! This will run from 28th April to 31st May and include all toiletries and cleaning products.

    Good luck everyone!
    Lx
    May Challenges: make £20 a day: £183.48/£620, groceries: £23.99/£250, NSD:
    1/8

    Whit's fur ye'll no go by ye!
    • Save Dosh
    • By Save Dosh 28th Apr 17, 11:14 AM
    • 1,086 Posts
    • 13,123 Thanks
    Save Dosh
    Hi, can you put me down for my usual £80, its to cover all household goods, toiletries etc, but not alcohol. I am still on April and will see you on 1st.

    DOES ANYONE KNOW if I can buy Hendersons relish in London, North or West. Thanking you.

    Lynnejk sorry to hear your not well. Hope it's not anything serious and wishing you a speedy recovery.
    Last edited by Save Dosh; 28-04-2017 at 11:17 AM.
    GC September £42.64/£60, Alcohol £10.75/£20, Bulk Buy £59.76
    Save 12k in 2017 #132 = £1,900/£5,000 (38%)
    KonMari: Clothes, Wardrobe, Drawers, shoes, bags, Papers
    Bedding, Books, Toiletries,Bric a Brac, Kitchen, Pantry

    • AlwaysHungry2016
    • By AlwaysHungry2016 28th Apr 17, 11:46 AM
    • 21 Posts
    • 250 Thanks
    AlwaysHungry2016
    Hello!

    Please could you add for this month's challenge - budget - £150

    Many thanks X


    GC May £0/£150
    GC Mar £46.95/£150
    GC Feb £185.75/£150
    • elsiepac
    • By elsiepac 28th Apr 17, 1:03 PM
    • 1,311 Posts
    • 9,492 Thanks
    elsiepac
    I've edited my original budget to £150 - just noting here in case it isn't picked up, although I don't think it has been yet

    First spends on a huge shop last night. Actually, it wasn't a huge shop, it was a massive cleaning product and soap stock up, with some treats and some veggies and some "for the month" items.

    I do need to go shops tonight for remaining basic groceries for the week, but mainly veggies.I WILL be on budget this month.




    Date.......Shop......Amount.....Remaining from £150 Budget
    27 Apr.....Wa1tr0se..£80.19.....£69.81 (Groceries, treats, stock up eco vegan cleaning stuff)

    I'm a Board Guide on the Old Style, Greenfingered, Energy & Going Out Deals boards which means I'm a volunteer to help the boards run smoothly and I can move and merge threads there. Please remember, board guides don't read every post. If you spot an illegal or inappropriate post then please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com (it's not part of my role to deal with this) Any views are mine and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.
    GC: Sep £162.70/£220 | Aug £190.38/£200 | Jul £194.08/£150 | Jun £179.03/£150 | May £158.54/£150 | Apr £316.94/£200 | Mar £170.47/£120 | Feb £199.45/£160 | Jan £199.08/£140
    Vegan 27-8-13
Welcome to our new Forum!

Our aim is to save you money quickly and easily. We hope you like it!

Forum Team Contact us

Live Stats

4,445Posts Today

9,018Users online

Martin's Twitter
  • Shana tova umetuka - a sweet Jewish New Year to all celebrating. I won't be online the rest of t'week, as I take the time to be with family

  • Dear Steve. Please note doing a poll to ask people's opinion does not in itself imply an opinion! https://t.co/UGvWlMURxy

  • Luciana is on the advisory board of @mmhpi (we have MPs from most parties) https://t.co/n99NAxGAAQ

  • Follow Martin