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  • FIRST POST
    • zippychick
    • By zippychick 13th Oct 14, 12:54 PM
    • 9,348Posts
    • 17,803Thanks
    zippychick
    April 2017 Grocery Challenge
    • #1
    • 13th Oct 14, 12:54 PM
    April 2017 Grocery Challenge 13th Oct 14 at 12:54 PM
    Hi everyone,

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

    If your new month starts early feel free to join this thread, or if you're still working on your March budget, then keep on posting in the March 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; 16-03-2017 at 11:17 PM.
    I'm a Board Guide of Old Style MoneySaving, The Northern Ireland board,How Much Have you Saved? and Martin's Blogs.
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Page 2
    • Redshank
    • By Redshank 21st Mar 17, 12:49 AM
    • 39 Posts
    • 493 Thanks
    Redshank
    I clearly haven't got a clue. December was a disaster, January was a disaster, February I didn't take part, March was another disaster. I'm completely under estimating and not really keeping the records I should so totally losing track. I never thought I'd find this so difficult!

    So, my April begins next week on the 28th. I've had a serious think and for April I'm going to try for 300. Wish me luck, or a kick up the backside, or something. *sigh*
    Newbie doing the best I can

    Grocery Challenge Jan 2017 144.17/250
    Aiming to save 2,017 in 2017 - 156 so far
    • Suffolk lass
    • By Suffolk lass 21st Mar 17, 9:37 AM
    • 1,586 Posts
    • 18,080 Thanks
    Suffolk lass
    Annual 2017
    DanielleNic87 2200
    FurryBeastOz 3000
    K9sandFelines 4000
    Matron Midge 5200
    mrsnicewriting 2000
    Rachiedabbler70 3250
    squirrelgirl 4800
    Suffolk lass 3600
    willowx 1560
    Originally posted by Coxy11
    Hi Coxy11, please change my annual budget to 3000, down from 3600. Thanks!
    MFiT T4 #2 update 42.67% after Q7 5,465 behind where I should be
    Save 12k in 2017 #64 - 9,260.94 saved (84.19%) after October - my annual target is 11,000
    OS Grocery Challenge 2017 budget of 3,600 3000 (reduced from Apr) - 78.56% including stores after October
    My DFD is http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=5593594
    • LollyC_x
    • By LollyC_x 21st Mar 17, 12:02 PM
    • 11 Posts
    • 14 Thanks
    LollyC_x
    Could I please be added to April's challenge for 120 for one adult including cleaning/laundry items - first time tracking my spends so hopefully this will be a good estimate

    Savings
    Equity loan savings: 150/24,599
    Emergency fund: 200/10,000
    Outstanding mortgage: 88,709.48/89,000

    April 2017 GC: - /120
    • purpleybat
    • By purpleybat 22nd Mar 17, 3:33 PM
    • 276 Posts
    • 2,111 Thanks
    purpleybat
    hello all
    can I be in with 160 again for april please.
    I've been struggling a bit the last couple of months with seemingly endless hospital appts with my dad so have been picking up stuff that's quick to cook and eat between there and work. luckily today we finally have his radiotherapy sessions booked to start next week so at least i'll know better what time I have.


    I'm hoping to come in at 150 but i'm finding things are easily overwhelming me and I end up beating myself up and then feeling really miserable, and I don't think it's the challenges aim to make me feel like that. I don't want to leave the challenge and I think raising my budget slightly gives me some breathing space while still keeping things in check.


    good luck to everyone, I'm sure we will all do well
    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 sep 123.67/160 oct 151.56/160 nov 141.30/150
    • pinkypig
    • By pinkypig 23rd Mar 17, 7:27 AM
    • 741 Posts
    • 6,444 Thanks
    pinkypig
    Hi everyone. My new month starts on the 29th. Can I put down my usual 140 including all toiletries, pet food and alcohol (still struggling with this one but only two bottles of wine last month)?

    See you on the 29th

    PP x
    • ScotinLondon
    • By ScotinLondon 23rd Mar 17, 1:49 PM
    • 275 Posts
    • 3,310 Thanks
    ScotinLondon
    Can you please put me down again for 140 commencing on 25/03/2017.

    Thanks

    SIL
    GC J17 119.36/140; F17 35.60/140; M 76.65/140; A 120.63/140; M 114.03/140: J 121.98/140.00; J:129.51/150: A129.51/140; S135.61/140; O113.79/140; N28.31/140
    • caronc
    • By caronc 23rd Mar 17, 7:43 PM
    • 2,763 Posts
    • 17,848 Thanks
    caronc
    Please put me in for 160for April running from 31/03 - 27/04 . I've a houseful for five days over Easter and 12 for dinner on Easter Sunday so it will be a spendy month. Thanks
    August 108/120, Sep GC 121/120, Oct GC 141/200, Nov 116/120, Dec 46/60
    • Newusername1
    • By Newusername1 23rd Mar 17, 8:50 PM
    • 126 Posts
    • 62 Thanks
    Newusername1
    I'm new here, so I'm not sure I'm doing this right, I'm going for a single person 90 for April. That includes cat supplies and various item of toiletries/kitchen stuff. The cat is going to cost me 30 this month (20 food and 10 litter), toiletries/kitchen stuff say 10. So my food bill will be 50 for the month broken down as follows:

    24 pork chops 10.00.
    6 lamb chops 5
    Rice 4
    Tinned vegitables 6
    Gravy granules 2
    Tinned fruit 6
    Milk 3
    Bread 1
    Other 4
    Delivery charge 4 (I online order twice a month).

    I online shop at Asda 90 is really the minimum a month I can spend because because I shop twice a month and there is a minimum order value of 40 each time then del. on top.

    I have loads of cornflakes so I can get through the month without buying them (so breakfast is sorted)

    Next month (May) my cat food and litter bill of 30 will half because I'm buying 6 weeks worth this month (April), so I can treat myself with 15 extra to play with to spend on myself. This month I have to cut back whilst I stock up the cat.
    • maria3104
    • By maria3104 24th Mar 17, 10:13 AM
    • 914 Posts
    • 9,542 Thanks
    maria3104
    HI

    Please could I be put down for 300
    • Sequeena
    • By Sequeena 24th Mar 17, 2:48 PM
    • 4,260 Posts
    • 18,097 Thanks
    Sequeena
    Subscribing for April

    My budget is 240 for the month. Two adults, a 5 year old with a limited diet, 2 dogs and a cat. I include all toiletries, cleaning products and pet food in the budget.

    I have 2 freezers (one a chest freezer) full so I won't be buying any meat for a while unless I see any reduced.
    Wife and mother
    Grocery budget
    April week 1 - 42.78 | week 2 - 53.05
    24lbs in 12 weeks 15/24
    • NiftyNita
    • By NiftyNita 24th Mar 17, 7:13 PM
    • 2 Posts
    • 16 Thanks
    NiftyNita
    I'd like to join, please. I am new here but I have been following along at home. My problem is I go to Aldi and buy what I need (I meal plan quite carefully or things go to waste as it's only me) but then succumb to temptation during the week and find myself buying biscuits from the corner shop where they are 1 a packet. I've decided to just accept that I'm weak willed and buy biscuits from Aldi instead, I'll still weigh the same but will at least have saved some money!

    Could you put me down for 40 for this month, thank you. I will start on the 1st.
    • squirrelgirl
    • By squirrelgirl 25th Mar 17, 11:53 AM
    • 131 Posts
    • 647 Thanks
    squirrelgirl
    i'm in again 3600 for the year please...still working on March at the moment but will update that later
    15 Month Challenge: Mortgage- 0/19000 House - 0/15000
    2018 - Jan - Mar: M 0/1410 H 0/4110 April-Jun: M 0/1410 H 0/4110 Jul - Sep: M 0/1410 H 0/4110 Oct - Dec: M 0/5520 2019 -Jan - March: M 0/5520
    • K9sandFelines
    • By K9sandFelines 25th Mar 17, 2:01 PM
    • 1,817 Posts
    • 15,365 Thanks
    K9sandFelines
    In again for April, targets of 333.33 but 4,000 for the year.
    GC 2017 (4,000 (2777.66)) Jan 346.72 Feb 241.99 Mar 280.29 Apr 196.58 (app.) May 232.77 Jun 191.14 Jul 280.45 Aug 362.70 Sep 304.10 Oct 240.92 Nov 161.20 (up to and incl. 20/11) + Smart Pass 1.99 x 11= 21.89

    ~ Still learning the art of frugality ~
    • Islandmaid
    • By Islandmaid 25th Mar 17, 2:24 PM
    • 2,417 Posts
    • 34,136 Thanks
    Islandmaid
    Hi all,

    I had better increase to 300 for April.

    DS2 is back 3/4 days a week and has hollow legs
    Note to self - STOP SPENDING MONEY !!


    DECEMBER GC - not a bloomin clue - opting out of December as its my 50th and i think once a half century its okay not to mind - back in the saddle January
    • *Margaret*
    • By *Margaret* 25th Mar 17, 11:44 PM
    • 88 Posts
    • 1,022 Thanks
    *Margaret*
    In again for April, 45 again I think. I'll be doing my usual Monday to Monday thing, so starting on the 3rd. Last month I attempted some expensive cooking experiments, but giving myself and my smoke alarm a break this month so think 45 very manageable.
    • zafiro1984
    • By zafiro1984 25th Mar 17, 11:54 PM
    • 1,243 Posts
    • 9,807 Thanks
    zafiro1984
    Can you please put me down for 150 for April. That's for two of us plus a dog.

    I hopefully have done my last shop for March and I have come in 3.08 under budget, really pleased When I look back for the same period last year I'd spent an extra 110.34.
    Aug Grocery 258.35/250 Sept Grocery 352.33/300 Oct 266.36/310 Nov 153.48/300 Non food/alcohol Oct 24.30/Nov 28.49
    • JingsMyBucket
    • By JingsMyBucket 26th Mar 17, 12:11 AM
    • 55 Posts
    • 546 Thanks
    JingsMyBucket
    Thank you Zippy for starting the new thread. Could you please put me down for 250, running from April 1st to 30th.

    I splurged these last couple weeks in March and in order to get back on track I will try to post every day even if it's a NSD. The new limit will give me roughly 60/week budget which I'd like to honestly keep to 45/week. At least there will be wiggle room for restocking or a splurge if wanted. (Damn you toilet paper and pork roasts!)
    April GC = 63.87 / 250 // 0 NSD
    March GC = 296.17 / 200 // 12 NSD
    February GC = 392.27 / 400
    • gien
    • By gien 26th Mar 17, 9:50 AM
    • 1,574 Posts
    • 14,989 Thanks
    gien
    I'd like to join this April please, with 250- I don't know if this will be enough it let's see how it goes.
    Trying to keep in budget.

    2270
    • Florence J
    • By Florence J 26th Mar 17, 2:53 PM
    • 1,794 Posts
    • 10,164 Thanks
    Florence J
    I'm in, 195 a month for the rest of the year as that will keep us under budget for 2017 due to the colossal overspend we had in February.

    My month started yesterday and we have already spent an astonishing 132.66/195 so will be aiming to spend most of my time on the 'eating out of the freezer and cupboards' thread instead of this one.

    The big spends so far have included bulk buys so things should even out over the next few months.
    Sealed Pot Challenge 11 #553
    1000 Emergency Fund Challenge #253
    Wombling free 2017 = 2110.15
    Pay off all your debts by Xmas 2017 #53 (3133.08/3000)
    November 2017 Credit Card Debt: 3980
    • karenccs67
    • By karenccs67 26th Mar 17, 4:42 PM
    • 1,020 Posts
    • 5,490 Thanks
    karenccs67
    200 for April please
    ***Dont save what is left after spending, spend what is left after saving***
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