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
    • 9,326Posts
    • 17,748Thanks
    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 14
    • Florence J
    • By Florence J 15th May 17, 9:19 PM
    • 1,601 Posts
    • 9,065 Thanks
    Florence J
    Had decided to do another mini challenge of only spending £10 for a week, only that means it started on Friday and after the OH's spends at the weekend and my £3.46 today that means we only have 47p left! So erm, I may re-think that.

    £71.67 is left of the budget. I would in the past see how well I was doing and use that as an excuse to buy Gin or something, but I really want to keep this month's costs as low as possible to make up for how much we are over by on this year already.
    Sealed Pot Challenge 10 #553 (£90) Wombling free 2017 = £1623.56 Pay off all your debts by Xmas 2017 #53 (£2953.21/£3000) Debt to OH paid back £1120.95/£1120.95
    October 2017 Credit Card Debt: £4163.86
    • t14cy t
    • By t14cy t 16th May 17, 6:32 AM
    • 636 Posts
    • 6,481 Thanks
    t14cy t
    £3 spends yesterday in morrisons on fruit and veg, all ys bargains! xx
    • Cappella
    • By Cappella 16th May 17, 7:40 AM
    • 403 Posts
    • 5,079 Thanks
    Cappella
    Goodness, can't believe how long it's been since I posted but I've only shopped twice since my last post and spent £63 on a bulk order of fresh meat, fruit, veg and cheese so am still on target
    Spend so far has been £203/£400 and my hoping to make it well within target.
    Have to say though that it's the NSDs that have worked the miracle and the reason for so many NSDs is that OH dislocated his shoulder a few weeks ago, and that meant that on top of other health issues he has has needed a lot of extra care so life's been a bit restricted. He's a lot better now though and I'm really pleased with the savings we've made so fingers crossed for a good sum in our emergency savings at the end of May. Pay day here is the 26th so not long to go
    • ancientmum
    • By ancientmum 16th May 17, 11:09 AM
    • 120 Posts
    • 914 Thanks
    ancientmum
    I have spent £38.98 in Mr. S since my last post. Taking advantage of a money off voucher, I did some forward planning and added washing pods and catfood to make up the spend to just over £40, so that is in the "stocks bank". Two more weekends until I get paid, so fairly well on track.
    I have been inspired by some of the veggies on this thread to make at least one meal a week meat/fishless, and another is usually omelette based. Most of the meals are adaptions of my usual repertoire using beans or cheese to replace meat. This week I am trying veggie lasagne, using the peppers and aubergine on special at Mr. A, I already have tomatoes in fridge. I am also trying to replace cake with fruit, but it just does not hit the spot somehow. Will just have to have fruit cake
    If life is a journey, I want comfy shoes
    Jan-July 17 GC £1156.46/1170
    • mcculloch29
    • By mcculloch29 16th May 17, 1:17 PM
    • 4,558 Posts
    • 44,890 Thanks
    mcculloch29
    I've just won £25 worth of gift vouchers which I am converting to Tesco gift cards. Normally it's Am@zon but I got a small fortune in Am@zon gift cards for my birthday. I've made a couple of purchases of budget cookbooks, which are my weakness.

    I'm still sticking to my £140 budget and counting the grocery spends on the cards as part of that. It just means that there will be every bit as much incentive to spend wisely to get the most for my money, and also £25 more in my bank account than there would have been.

    I'm thinking what would be a realistic total for next month already. With only four days left of my original April 20th starting month and plenty of money still to play with, perhaps £100.

    I have enough leeway to do a little stockpiling this month, if I see some good special offers. Yorkshire Tea Decaff is on offer at Mr T's until next week so that will be one of them.
    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.
    • meg72
    • By meg72 16th May 17, 2:08 PM
    • 4,920 Posts
    • 45,191 Thanks
    meg72
    I've just won £25 worth of gift vouchers which I am converting to Tesco gift cards. Normally it's Am@zon but I got a small fortune in Am@zon gift cards for my birthday. I've made a couple of purchases of budget cookbooks, which are my weakness.

    I'm still sticking to my £140 budget and counting the grocery spends on the cards as part of that. It just means that there will be every bit as much incentive to spend wisely to get the most for my money, and also £25 more in my bank account than there would have been.

    I'm thinking what would be a realistic total for next month already. With only four days left of my original April 20th starting month and plenty of money still to play with, perhaps £100.

    I have enough leeway to do a little stockpiling this month, if I see some good special offers. Yorkshire Tea Decaff is on offer at Mr T's until next week so that will be one of them.
    Originally posted by mcculloch29
    Nice win hope you find some good offers to stock up
    Slimming World at target
    GC Nov 16.50.
    GC Dec 24.89
    GC Jan 2.50
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 17th May 17, 4:01 AM
    • 648 Posts
    • 4,144 Thanks
    armchairexpert
    I'm so determined not to go to the shops to stock up that I found myself down in the chicken shed staring pointedly at a non-laying chicken this morning so I could have some breakfast!

    And also I sent a Strongly Worded email to my husband asking him to explain the mysterious disappearance of a tin of tuna.

    I think I'm losing the plot, people.
    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
    • Makethedayscount
    • By Makethedayscount 17th May 17, 10:05 AM
    • 33 Posts
    • 286 Thanks
    Makethedayscount
    In at £184.55 / £230 so far this month. Know I am sailing quite close to the wind, but managed to get 4 loaves of ys bread at 9p each last night and with food bought till 23rd, I'll be reading the thread for some inventive ideas. Worse thing is OH and DSs who complain 'there's nothing ever nice to eat'! Can't win 'em all! Thanks everyone for giving me the willpower to persevere!��

    • Ginmonster
    • By Ginmonster 17th May 17, 4:27 PM
    • 273 Posts
    • 2,865 Thanks
    Ginmonster
    A couple more necessary spends for me - some tea bags for work and some yoghurt and butter for home £2.73 in total.


    £55.31/£100
    • candygirl
    • By candygirl 17th May 17, 4:34 PM
    • 25,825 Posts
    • 104,618 Thanks
    candygirl
    I spent £28 in ALDI yesterday, so am still waaaay under budget this month, which is just as well really ;-)
    "You can't stop the waves, but you can learn to surf"

    (Kabat-Zinn 2004)
    • Suffolk lass
    • By Suffolk lass 17th May 17, 7:40 PM
    • 1,513 Posts
    • 17,173 Thanks
    Suffolk lass
    In at £184.55 / £230 so far this month. Know I am sailing quite close to the wind, but managed to get 4 loaves of ys bread at 9p each last night and with food bought till 23rd, I'll be reading the thread for some inventive ideas. Worse thing is OH and DSs who complain 'there's nothing ever nice to eat'! Can't win 'em all! Thanks everyone for giving me the willpower to persevere!��
    Originally posted by Makethedayscount
    When mine complain about nothing interesting in the fridge, I make half a batch of Twinks Hobnobs from the biscuit recipes at the front of the thread - cheap as can be and yummy
    MFiT T4 #2 update 31.2% after Q6
    Save £12k in 2017 #64 - £8833.96 saved (80.31%) after September - my annual target is £11,000
    OS Grocery Challenge 2017 budget of £3,600 £3000 (reduced from Apr) - 70.68/75% including stores after July
    My DFD is http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=5593594
    • XSpender
    • By XSpender 17th May 17, 8:31 PM
    • 2,628 Posts
    • 27,067 Thanks
    XSpender
    When mine complain about nothing interesting in the fridge, I make half a batch of Twinks Hobnobs from the biscuit recipes at the front of the thread - cheap as can be and yummy
    Originally posted by Suffolk lass
    Oooo twinks! I haven't made them in years, guess what I will be doing at the weekend?

    I made one of our favourite recipes from the recipe index tonight, Spanish Chicken and Chorizo Rice. I used white rice as I didn't have any paella rice and it took much longer than usual but was just as tasty. DS tried it for the first time and liked it even with the onions and peppers which he normally doesn't like unless well disguised. I put enough for my lunch tomorrow in a bowl while I was dishing it up.

    DH spent £4.50 on some beers tonight.

    Our total stands at £351.98/£500. I have a Mr T delivery coming on Friday for about £54 and I have included enough beer and snacks so we don't need to nip anywhere at the weekend and then only 1 more shop before the end of the month
    EF £1000 - £0
    • Cappella
    • By Cappella 18th May 17, 7:47 AM
    • 403 Posts
    • 5,079 Thanks
    Cappella
    Mmmm - hobnobs! It's a brilliant recipe.

    All NSDs since my last post, but the nearer we get to the end of the month the more I'm valuing having had a well stocked larder and pantry at the beginning of the challenge. I've used up all sorts of ' bought for a recipe ages ago, never used it since' opened packets of pastas and cereals (it turned out that orzo is lovely in salads or hm chunkyvegetable soup) and only replaced things I do actually use every week (tinned tomatoes mostly) but haven't bought anything extra so will be starting June well stocked too
    Still on target but there's another ten days to go so need to keep checking in.
    • t14cy t
    • By t14cy t 18th May 17, 1:06 PM
    • 636 Posts
    • 6,481 Thanks
    t14cy t
    YS spends of £20 yesterday in Tesco. fridge and freezer stuffed again. not intending to shop until next week now. xx
    • Islandmaid
    • By Islandmaid 18th May 17, 1:33 PM
    • 2,271 Posts
    • 32,984 Thanks
    Islandmaid
    Spent £67 at Aldi yesterday bit annoyed with myself as I broke the 1st rule of shopping and was hungry, so bought a good deal of rubbish
    Note to self - STOP SPENDING MONEY !!


    Sept GC £250/£0.00
    • Matron Midge
    • By Matron Midge 18th May 17, 3:42 PM
    • 423 Posts
    • 3,657 Thanks
    Matron Midge
    Declaring for the month at £355.21/£400
    Very pleased with that. See you over in June thread.
    • pamsdish
    • By pamsdish 18th May 17, 3:43 PM
    • 753 Posts
    • 4,036 Thanks
    pamsdish
    £27 between Lidl and Morries
    OCTOBER, £200, -£12.55=£187.45,-£39.70=£147.75,-£9.49=£138.26
    • Florence J
    • By Florence J 18th May 17, 5:04 PM
    • 1,601 Posts
    • 9,065 Thanks
    Florence J
    OH went to the shops, and I guess we did need a few things but he spent a lot of money!

    £9.15 in Savers
    £3.50 in Iceland
    £8.88 in Tesco

    Means we have £50.14 remaining of the budget but I don't think we have ever done this well so late in the month. Our new food month begins next Friday, so we are doing very well indeed.
    Sealed Pot Challenge 10 #553 (£90) Wombling free 2017 = £1623.56 Pay off all your debts by Xmas 2017 #53 (£2953.21/£3000) Debt to OH paid back £1120.95/£1120.95
    October 2017 Credit Card Debt: £4163.86
    • Makethedayscount
    • By Makethedayscount 18th May 17, 5:31 PM
    • 33 Posts
    • 286 Thanks
    Makethedayscount
    Thanks Suffolklass! You are going to make two cheeky boys and one OH very happy Twinks Hobnobs sound so delicious I can see I'm going to have to make quite a few. I love this thread! Thanks for the help. Think I might just stay within budget this month.

    • XSpender
    • By XSpender 18th May 17, 8:55 PM
    • 2,628 Posts
    • 27,067 Thanks
    XSpender
    Local shop has DH beer on special offer so he bought the last 2 packs in the shop! £9.50 to add to the total but will call it a tenner as wont see the 50p change

    I made vegan chilli tonight and used up 6 tins from the cupboard, old onions from the fridge and a box of taco shells. I used v lazy chilli and it didn't have the heat I usually get from chilli powder (which I had run out of). Plenty left for a meal to go in the freezer.

    I have added a few bits to the Mr T order for the morning so I can avoid having one next week as I don't need much. Will pop to aldi next week for a top up.
    EF £1000 - £0
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

1,226Posts Today

8,058Users online

Martin's Twitter
  • Hurrah! The ASA's ruled against 2 fake Facebook ads using my image https://t.co/GvNrqDPOC5 tho Facebook still shows others

  • PS Today's poll is obviously inspired by the real question I was asked and tweeted about last night.

  • Not all firms have panels and HR teams. There are many very small businesses out there without such resources :) https://t.co/cLo0zO7Yqu

  • Follow Martin