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

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

    If your new month starts early feel free to join this thread, or if you're still working on your August budget, then keep on posting in the August 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; 12-08-2017 at 3:23 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 8
    • Tete en l'Air
    • By Tete en l'Air 5th Sep 17, 8:35 AM
    • 6,802 Posts
    • 30,978 Thanks
    Tete en l'Air
    Congratulations Purpleybat!!!
    Lose 20lbs by 2018 (3/20)
    Currently reading: Piglettes (32/30 in 2017)
    September Grocery Challenge: £36.73/£250; NSDs: 1/15
    My 'Life Begins at 35' diary *click*
    • pamsdish
    • By pamsdish 5th Sep 17, 2:28 PM
    • 738 Posts
    • 3,900 Thanks
    pamsdish
    £62.73 in Morries and Lidl, which includes £30 Amazon voucher and £7 for a birthday pressie.
    JUNE, £200=£35
    JULY, £200=£58
    AUGUST, £300=£173
    SEPTEMBER, £300 - £28=£272-£63=£209-£18.55=£190,-£11=£179-£33=£146
    • Ginmonster
    • By Ginmonster 5th Sep 17, 3:33 PM
    • 268 Posts
    • 2,705 Thanks
    Ginmonster
    Well done purpleybat! That bottle of wine was well deserved. :-)
    • Wysiwyg49
    • By Wysiwyg49 5th Sep 17, 4:32 PM
    • 168 Posts
    • 1,424 Thanks
    Wysiwyg49
    £107.48 this week and prob only need another £1 4-pints of milk. It's a bit on the high side but I bought big packs of chicken and mince at A$da so have some for next week too. Plus double sausages at Sainsbobs (posh ones with 87% meat or something, only ones the family like!)

    DD has developed expensive breakfast tastes - bagels with cream cheese and smoked salmon
    GC Sept £174.61/£360
    • zafiro1984
    • By zafiro1984 5th Sep 17, 7:15 PM
    • 1,141 Posts
    • 8,868 Thanks
    zafiro1984
    Just decided to use cash only this month as it's too easy to flash the card. It's already making me think.
    Aug Grocery 258.35/250 Sept Grocery 194.66/300 £108.98 left
    • njk1012
    • By njk1012 5th Sep 17, 9:12 PM
    • 241 Posts
    • 2,122 Thanks
    njk1012
    2 NSD's together for us, which is a first! Although having cut back a lot this last couple of weeks have depleted some of the store cupboards and freezer, so will have to do some top up bargain shops soon. I'm trying to hold out till closer to the end of our month (the 26th) to make a trip to factory foods.

    Shopping only with cash is definitely making a huge difference as well as my mini challenges for never buying full priced bread and no buying food while at work, packed lunches all the way.

    Tomorrow I'll have to pick up some milk so hoping to hit on some yellow sticker stock up stuff too to replenish stocks.
    Grocery Challenge September 2017 £327.70/£434.
    Car finance 28/08/2017 = £8819.52 Car finance now £8659.14
    Tax credit debt = ????
    • pamsdish
    • By pamsdish 6th Sep 17, 8:53 AM
    • 738 Posts
    • 3,900 Thanks
    pamsdish
    Just decided to use cash only this month as it's too easy to flash the card. It's already making me think.
    Originally posted by zafiro1984
    I am doing the same, although I ended up lending my friend £50 to save ME a journey to the cash point with her card, already paid back, then i had to use my card in Morries as spent over £50, but knew I would have to draw more out by end of month, so I will stretch what cash I have.
    When I was in Lidl I paid in cash and didn`t realise she had given me old £ coins, time is drawing near to no longer be legal tender, I will be refusing them from now on.
    JUNE, £200=£35
    JULY, £200=£58
    AUGUST, £300=£173
    SEPTEMBER, £300 - £28=£272-£63=£209-£18.55=£190,-£11=£179-£33=£146
    • meg72
    • By meg72 6th Sep 17, 11:09 AM
    • 4,917 Posts
    • 45,167 Thanks
    meg72
    i can declare i'm now debt free!!!! I called company and they gave me money off for an early closure, I'm so pleased.
    only spends today were for a bottle of wine to celebrate, not in this budget
    Originally posted by purpleybat
    Congratulations enjoy your wine.
    Slimming World at target
    GC Nov 16.50.
    GC Dec 24.89
    GC Jan 2.50
    • zafiro1984
    • By zafiro1984 6th Sep 17, 6:31 PM
    • 1,141 Posts
    • 8,868 Thanks
    zafiro1984
    Dilemma - I've still got a £20 voucher off a £100 online shop at Wait...
    So comparing their website with mysupermarket and using the 10 picks of Wait.... 'My Favourites' I can spend £80.20p and save a total of £141.79.

    Do I spend the money - it does seem like a no brainer and I can freeze everything? However, I don't exactly need the items at the moment and it would eat into my monthly budget and just leave me with about £100 for the rest of the month. I can't leave the dilemma on the back burner because Wait... changes its offers each week and what is on offer now may not be on offer next week. Help.....

    By the way I've worked out I can make a total of 126 meals from this if I use vegs from my plot which works out at an average of 64p per meal.
    Last edited by zafiro1984; 06-09-2017 at 6:38 PM. Reason: typo
    Aug Grocery 258.35/250 Sept Grocery 194.66/300 £108.98 left
    • pamsdish
    • By pamsdish 6th Sep 17, 7:23 PM
    • 738 Posts
    • 3,900 Thanks
    pamsdish
    Dilemma - I've still got a £20 voucher off a £100 online shop at Wait...
    So comparing their website with mysupermarket and using the 10 picks of Wait.... 'My Favourites' I can spend £80.20p and save a total of £141.79.

    Do I spend the money - it does seem like a no brainer and I can freeze everything? However, I don't exactly need the items at the moment and it would eat into my monthly budget and just leave me with about £100 for the rest of the month. I can't leave the dilemma on the back burner because Wait... changes its offers each week and what is on offer now may not be on offer next week. Help.....

    By the way I've worked out I can make a total of 126 meals from this if I use vegs from my plot which works out at an average of 64p per meal.
    Originally posted by zafiro1984
    I would do it, it`s like banking save a little now for lean times Chr....as is looming.
    JUNE, £200=£35
    JULY, £200=£58
    AUGUST, £300=£173
    SEPTEMBER, £300 - £28=£272-£63=£209-£18.55=£190,-£11=£179-£33=£146
    • njk1012
    • By njk1012 6th Sep 17, 8:49 PM
    • 241 Posts
    • 2,122 Thanks
    njk1012
    Another £9.17 spent today mainly in Ald! on top up stuff, fruit yogurts and milk. Also includes two small spends in Mr T and Mr M on reduced stuff mainly bread, GF bread, 4 giant cheese and onion rolls towards a main meal and humus for lunches. We shouldn't need anything now till the main shop on Friday. Signature updated.
    Grocery Challenge September 2017 £327.70/£434.
    Car finance 28/08/2017 = £8819.52 Car finance now £8659.14
    Tax credit debt = ????
    • BrassicWoman
    • By BrassicWoman 6th Sep 17, 9:50 PM
    • 1,299 Posts
    • 5,409 Thanks
    BrassicWoman
    £15:05 - lots of treats I am afraid!

    Rolls
    Vegan "turkey"
    morrocan hummus (LOVE, cannot get the spices right myself)
    yogurts
    corn on the cob
    coconut hazlenut "ice cream"
    olives
    portobello mushrooms
    a sandwich
    dark chocolate spread
    banana malt loaf

    Planning big mushroom burger buns for dinner tomorrow

    Will make up some peanut butter and jam rolls for the freezer tomorrow - that saves me buying overpriced lunches at work. I just don't have the energy tonight!

    Got voucher for £7 off a £50 spend, but dont have £50 in the budget or anywhere to put £50 of tins and packets, so that's for the bin.
    Downsized and mortgage free
    September 17 grocery challenge £64.28/£100
    • BrassicWoman
    • By BrassicWoman 6th Sep 17, 9:53 PM
    • 1,299 Posts
    • 5,409 Thanks
    BrassicWoman
    Just decided to use cash only this month as it's too easy to flash the card. It's already making me think.
    Originally posted by zafiro1984
    weirdly I find it works the other way round, If I have a tenner I think "how much can I get for a tenner", not "what's the least I need."
    Downsized and mortgage free
    September 17 grocery challenge £64.28/£100
    • BrassicWoman
    • By BrassicWoman 6th Sep 17, 9:54 PM
    • 1,299 Posts
    • 5,409 Thanks
    BrassicWoman
    Dilemma - I've still got a £20 voucher off a £100 online shop at Wait...
    So comparing their website with mysupermarket and using the 10 picks of Wait.... 'My Favourites' I can spend £80.20p and save a total of £141.79..
    Originally posted by zafiro1984
    I'd do it if it is things you would genuinely usually buy
    Downsized and mortgage free
    September 17 grocery challenge £64.28/£100
    • lynnejk
    • By lynnejk 6th Sep 17, 10:07 PM
    • 4,871 Posts
    • 51,170 Thanks
    lynnejk
    Dilemma - I've still got a £20 voucher off a £100 online shop at Wait...
    So comparing their website with mysupermarket and using the 10 picks of Wait.... 'My Favourites' I can spend £80.20p and save a total of £141.79.

    Do I spend the money - it does seem like a no brainer and I can freeze everything? However, I don't exactly need the items at the moment and it would eat into my monthly budget and just leave me with about £100 for the rest of the month. I can't leave the dilemma on the back burner because Wait... changes its offers each week and what is on offer now may not be on offer next week. Help.....

    By the way I've worked out I can make a total of 126 meals from this if I use vegs from my plot which works out at an average of 64p per meal.
    Originally posted by zafiro1984
    Would you really have to buy much else this month if you are using home-grown vegetables ??

    Over the year would your budget level itself out ?

    If, honestly, it's all stuff you can and will use then I would go for it !
    Lx
    £10day..2014=3213..2015=3421..2016=3238..2017=1795....SEPT=189.80/150
    GrocC..2014=2162..2015=2083..2016=2181..2017=1337....SEPT=102.84/200
    Bulk buy.......SEPT=13.48
    GC.NSD....2015=216....2016=213....2017=126....SEPT=12/15
    SPC130x57...2014=1178...2015=1287...2016=4616. ..2017=764.96
    OS WL= -5/8 ......CC =840......Savings = £9250
    • pajama
    • By pajama 7th Sep 17, 12:25 AM
    • 111 Posts
    • 1,537 Thanks
    pajama
    This week I have spent so far £9.94 in Home B's and £52.11 in Ald!
    Signature updated
    Grocery Challenge - Sept £118.74/£350.00



    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 7th Sep 17, 3:30 AM
    • 598 Posts
    • 3,830 Thanks
    armchairexpert
    Goodness, I'm doing little top up shops every day this week. Bread flour and coffee beans I knew I was going to have to buy. A meat pie and trail mix for lunch, not so much!

    I'm at $307/$whatever I said already, with a Costco trip looming on tomorrow's horizon. Eep.
    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
    • Wysiwyg49
    • By Wysiwyg49 7th Sep 17, 9:08 AM
    • 168 Posts
    • 1,424 Thanks
    Wysiwyg49
    I'm at $307/$whatever I said ...
    Originally posted by armchairexpert
    thought I was the only one who forgot what I'd set for the month! I have to check my posts or sig every time.

    Have only topped up with milk for £1 this week so far, but DH has run out of cereal today. Now kids back at school maybe they won't eat as much in the house - sure hope not as DD's "cafeteria" style school lunches add up to about £20 a week! I'm trying to get her to keep to about £3 a day but it will be a challenge. Once they get to 6th form and start buying coffee you've had it.
    GC Sept £174.61/£360
    • dumpling
    • By dumpling 7th Sep 17, 9:51 AM
    • 1,222 Posts
    • 17,090 Thanks
    dumpling
    Good morning everyone, just popping on to update my signature. Had a tesco delivery this morning and I manged to keep it at £46 which is less than half of what I usually spend.
    September GC - £321.00/£550
    • Ginmonster
    • By Ginmonster 7th Sep 17, 11:47 AM
    • 268 Posts
    • 2,705 Thanks
    Ginmonster
    I had to buy onions yesterday as we'd totally run out and I can't cook anything without onions! I nipped into the local co-op and they only had a bag of 3 big onions for 75p which I thought was a bit steep but I had a tired from his first day of school 4 year old with me so I just went with it.

    Today I went and did a proper shop for some fruit, a few veg bits and some quorn for the freezer. I've been running down the freezer and using things like beans and lentils more but hubby complained that it's too hard when it's his turn to cook as he's not as confident cooking from scratch and prefers to chuck some sauce on some quorn and veg. £15.30 there.

    £41.05/£100
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