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    • zippychick
    • By zippychick 13th Oct 14, 12:54 PM
    • 9,342Posts
    • 17,877Thanks
    June 2017 Grocery Challenge
    • #1
    • 13th Oct 14, 12:54 PM
    June 2017 Grocery Challenge 13th Oct 14 at 12:54 PM
    Hi everyone,

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

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

    Last edited by zippychick; 09-05-2017 at 1:05 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 12
    • Florence J
    • By Florence J 12th Jun 17, 10:32 AM
    • 1,889 Posts
    • 11,156 Thanks
    Florence J
    Been a bit of a spendy weekend, have £38.53 left of the budget.
    Sealed Pot Challenge 11 #553
    £1000 Emergency Fund Challenge #253
    Wombling free 2017 = £2195.92
    Pay off all your debts by Xmas 2017 #53 (£3168.45/£3000)
    February 2018 Credit Card Debt: £3885
    • t14cy t
    • By t14cy t 12th Jun 17, 2:02 PM
    • 683 Posts
    • 6,581 Thanks
    t14cy t
    £1 spent yesterday on milk! £8 left in budget for the rest of the month! x
    • XSpender
    • By XSpender 12th Jun 17, 4:04 PM
    • 2,883 Posts
    • 29,839 Thanks
    I am back from my week away. DH didn't eat any of the sandwiches I made and froze for him but at least it saves me a job of making them this week! He did go over budget by £30 because of this which has messed up my budget a bit.

    My total stands at £250.68/£290 with 2 weekends to go and £39.32 left to cover them! I don't think this will be enough.

    I did do a big shop yesterday in Aldi and Asda which consisted of masses of fruit and veg and a few items that I do not usually buy that were a lot but will last ages as I am going to start to eat a mainly grain and sugar free diet to ease tummy and energy issues.

    I am tracking snack spends this month which have come to £10.45 so far. This is the first month I haven't included booze in food budget and it is the lowest spend in that area since I can't remember when so there is some money in that pot to top up the food budget if needed.

    Meal plan for this week:

    Breakfasts - smoothie, smoothie bowl, omelette, grain free breakfast bars, granola

    Lunches - chick pea and sweet potato salad, quinoa pilaf with feta, l/o 'fried' chicken, l/o chicken tinola, oatcakes with cheese and crudities

    Dinners - steak/'fried' chicken and sweet potato wedges with salad, chicken tinola, vegan chilli from the freezer, chicken curry with cauli rice, gammon, egg, HM chips and veg/HM baked beans

    Snacks - HM almond ginger nuts, fruit
    Action Plan Part 1 - Clear First 3 Balances
    Target Debt Lloyds (Me) Part 1 £666.22/£0
    Target Debt Virgin (Me) Part 1 £1176.49/£627.42
    Target Debt Virgin (Me) Part 2 £1038/£1038

    Big black hole of debt - £53,515.15 @ 16.12.17 £52,811.64 @ 28.02.18
    • Kittencat
    • By Kittencat 12th Jun 17, 8:03 PM
    • 633 Posts
    • 3,973 Thanks
    So my 3 rd week and £73.22 spent

    which makes £116.25 left in the budget to last 1.5 weeks left.

    This is just us shopping normally so I can easily drop this budget down.

    I honestly thought our food budget was huge but it's the others things I buy with the groceries that make it look high. So I've taken them out and it's much more realistic.
    • FurryBeastOz
    • By FurryBeastOz 12th Jun 17, 8:24 PM
    • 1,185 Posts
    • 15,733 Thanks
    Another NSD. But I'm going to need milk tomorrow. Most of the rest of the list can wait so I'll try to stick just to that.
    Goals - Weight loss 6/26lb at 22nd Jan 18
    • PennyGrabber
    • By PennyGrabber 12th Jun 17, 10:34 PM
    • 1,246 Posts
    • 22,101 Thanks
    Nsd today. Too busy with work to even think about going shopping!! I can slow the work pace down a bit after the weekend though, which is fab. I'm so tired!

    I have some leftovers for tomorrow's dinner which I will zap when I get home - no time for real cooking.

    I may just be able to stay within the budget...

    PG x
    Grocery challenge for family of three - me, dd(12) and ds(11), feeding dp 2 or 3 x a week too. Only food, not toiletries. Jan £87.97/£100 Feb £0/£100
    Frugal 2018 needed! Saving and NOT spending
    • lynnejk
    • By lynnejk 12th Jun 17, 10:51 PM
    • 5,317 Posts
    • 54,967 Thanks
    Evening all

    Another couple of NSDs and should be one t/m

    Hope you all have a great Tuesday
    Bulk buy.......MAR=159.75
    OS WL= -2/8 ......CC =00......Savings = £13,140
    • FoxFace
    • By FoxFace 13th Jun 17, 6:26 AM
    • 238 Posts
    • 2,578 Thanks
    Morning all

    Went and did a little shop yesterday £13.59p for stuff to get us through the week. Also had to top up eldest son's lunch account... roll on September when he will be able to come home for lunch!

    £13.19p left for the week. Also have a small, separate budget for small child's birthday tea on Friday
    Debt Free Wannabe 21.05.2017
    ~Loan 04/07/17: £5500.00/5028.98p~Credit Card: £4861.51/£4090.68p
    Total Starting Debt = £11,020.01p Currently: £9119.66p
    ~Grocery Challenge: 5 Weeks under budget/1 over~
    Click>Fox's Debt Free Diary ~ Fox's Vegan Recipes<Click
    • XSpender
    • By XSpender 13th Jun 17, 6:49 AM
    • 2,883 Posts
    • 29,839 Thanks
    NSD yesterday but another 2 contactless payments from DH for lunches from last week have appeared on the internet banking so I am now down to £28.37 for the remaining 13 days! He has spent almost as much on lunches as I spent for 5 days abroad!
    Action Plan Part 1 - Clear First 3 Balances
    Target Debt Lloyds (Me) Part 1 £666.22/£0
    Target Debt Virgin (Me) Part 1 £1176.49/£627.42
    Target Debt Virgin (Me) Part 2 £1038/£1038

    Big black hole of debt - £53,515.15 @ 16.12.17 £52,811.64 @ 28.02.18
    • Merlin's Beard
    • By Merlin's Beard 13th Jun 17, 8:43 AM
    • 129 Posts
    • 1,241 Thanks
    Merlin's Beard
    Helpfully got invited away for the weekend, so my costs for the last three days are from my petrol budget not my food budget!

    Now on £76.28/£100
    • olgemama
    • By olgemama 13th Jun 17, 10:30 AM
    • 15 Posts
    • 86 Thanks
    New to this. Going to lurk for the rest of June then join in for July.
    Grocery bill is sky rocketing - my work hours have increased a lot, meaning I have less time so I'm relying on supermarket deliveries.
    We're a family of 4, 2 boys who eat nearly as much as an adult. No pets.

    I really need to get my spend down, as I don't feel any financial benefit of working more at the moment

    I think I do a good job - I meal plan and do a shopping list, but I know I can do better. Hopefully joining in here will make me save money.
    • pamsdish
    • By pamsdish 13th Jun 17, 2:20 PM
    • 833 Posts
    • 4,670 Thanks
    £30 bulk buy dry dog biscuit, £33-50 between morries and lidl.
    OCT£200£106NOV£200CRUISE,DEC£200XMAS.JAN £200=£107FEB£200=£40,MARCH£175-£32=£143,-£15=£128,-£11=£117,-£23=£94,-£29=£65,-£42=£23
    • mumofthetwins
    • By mumofthetwins 13th Jun 17, 9:59 PM
    • 928 Posts
    • 3,924 Thanks
    £55 spend for me today ... Not doing to bad this month at all lol ..

    Even managed to get a few YS bits for next week as well .. Whoop !
    Gotta say the people around the YS bit were lovely as well, I was expecting a nightmare after what I have read lol
    This time I'm sticking with it !!
    Feb £45.14/£300 7/10 NSD
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 14th Jun 17, 3:34 AM
    • 750 Posts
    • 4,912 Thanks
    So low on lunchbox things this morning that I made the girls a pasta salad (which they like but complain is messy for the school yard), then went shopping at Ald!. While there, remembered that I have both pizza bases and an entire packet of mini wraps in the freezer. I may need to sit down and make a list of what we have, whoops.

    Anyway, $12 top up shop including dishwasher tablets takes me to $465/$950, and I'm convinced I can keep the next couple of weeks pretty low given my stocks.
    MFW diary here. 1 Feb 2017 $229,371 - MFD Feb 2043 aiming for May 2028
    14 August 2017 - Refinanced: $220,000
    December 2017 - $214,653.00 Current MFD 31 July 2035
    • pamsdish
    • By pamsdish 14th Jun 17, 1:27 PM
    • 833 Posts
    • 4,670 Thanks
    Popped into Aldi as close by and needed lamb burgers, £17.60 later, but got some yellow sticker calamari and a pork tenderloin and replenished salad bits.
    OCT£200£106NOV£200CRUISE,DEC£200XMAS.JAN £200=£107FEB£200=£40,MARCH£175-£32=£143,-£15=£128,-£11=£117,-£23=£94,-£29=£65,-£42=£23
    • purpleybat
    • By purpleybat 14th Jun 17, 2:35 PM
    • 319 Posts
    • 2,695 Thanks
    nipped in to get crusty bread today and only bought wine so that's some grocery budget saved.... not sure about my liver tho
    tomorrow is my usual shop day and looking in cupboards and fridge I think only salad veg is needed, so in theory should be tiny. tho thinking about it I did say that last week when I only needed sarnie bits and a few veg!
    fingers crossed
    gc 2017 £1841.27.
    2018 jan £124.69/£130 feb £157.97/£150
    • YorksLass
    • By YorksLass 14th Jun 17, 5:50 PM
    • 304 Posts
    • 5,707 Thanks
    Small spend of £1.45 today for milk, so just £11.37 left in budget to last another 2 weeks. Tight, but do-able, as fridge/freezer/cupboards are well stocked up.

    It's official, cost of living up by 2.9% mainly due to rising cost of holidays abroad and FOOD. As quite a few of us on here have commented already that our grocery bills are creeping up, we probably didn't need to know that, did we?
    Be kind to others and to yourself too. Life has its ups and downs, use the ups to overcome the downs!

    Mar £96.84/£140 + 18/35 NSDs (Jan +£25.41 Feb +£15.25)

    • Doom_and_Gloom
    • By Doom_and_Gloom 14th Jun 17, 6:15 PM
    • 3,462 Posts
    • 10,808 Thanks
    It's official, cost of living up by 2.9% mainly due to rising cost of holidays abroad and FOOD. As quite a few of us on here have commented already that our grocery bills are creeping up, we probably didn't need to know that, did we?
    Originally posted by YorksLass
    Food has definitely gone up in price. Not only that but the reductions aren't quite as good as they once were, though still helpful.

    Spent £30.71 since last posted. Within that £8.28 was on a joint of beef for OH that was originally £14.56. I picked up 1kg of strawberries costing me just £1.70 as reduced in that too.

    £28.74 left.
    28 year old vegan woman. My OH is a lovely omni guy
    • Makethedayscount
    • By Makethedayscount 14th Jun 17, 7:42 PM
    • 34 Posts
    • 300 Thanks
    New to this. Going to lurk for the rest of June then join in for July.
    Grocery bill is sky rocketing - my work hours have increased a lot, meaning I have less time so I'm relying on supermarket deliveries.
    We're a family of 4, 2 boys who eat nearly as much as an adult. No pets.

    I really need to get my spend down, as I don't feel any financial benefit of working more at the moment

    I think I do a good job - I meal plan and do a shopping list, but I know I can do better. Hopefully joining in here will make me save money.
    Originally posted by olgemama

    You have come to the right place! There is so much good advice and help on this thread. I've found that just focusing upon a target can really concentrate the mind and cut down unnecessary spends. Looking forward to joining you in July and good luck!

    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 15th Jun 17, 6:26 AM
    • 750 Posts
    • 4,912 Thanks
    Had a meeting in the city today which brought me near the gourmet food markets - where I live is lovely but very, very ethnically white so I took advantage of being somewhere slightly more urban and picked up a bunch of Asian staples. Hainese chicken rice tonight, Malaysian seafood steamboat for Sunday family dinner, Saturday tends to be a bit luxe but then I have a week of cheap meals planned for which I mostly already have the ingredients.

    $501/950 with two main shops left to go.
    MFW diary here. 1 Feb 2017 $229,371 - MFD Feb 2043 aiming for May 2028
    14 August 2017 - Refinanced: $220,000
    December 2017 - $214,653.00 Current MFD 31 July 2035
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