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  • FIRST POST
    • zippychick
    • By zippychick 13th Oct 14, 12:54 PM
    • 9,343Posts
    • 17,858Thanks
    zippychick
    January 2018 Grocery Challenge
    • #1
    • 13th Oct 14, 12:54 PM
    January 2018 Grocery Challenge 13th Oct 14 at 12:54 PM
    Hi everyone,

    Welcome to the first Grocery Challenge of 2018 !!!!

    If your new month starts early feel free to join this thread, or if you're still working on your December budget, then keep on posting in the December 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 #4 to #10 this thread (the list is growing!!!!!)

    For everyones totals, see post #3 on this thread

    I hope everyone has a great month!

    Zip
    Last edited by zippychick; 29-12-2017 at 12:48 PM.
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Page 19
    • YorksLass
    • By YorksLass 13th Jan 18, 6:39 PM
    • 249 Posts
    • 4,961 Thanks
    YorksLass
    It was very tasty indeed and tbh I only did it because I have loads of carrots in and not much other veg to make a soup! More to be used tomorrow in a carrot cake.

    I'll be going to Sainsbobs on Friday for mainly fruit & veg but will make up next week's meal plan first so I can see what purchases will fit in with the plan. Will check out YS of course but may will have to be quite disciplined 'cos there's not much storage room for too many extras.
    Originally posted by YorksLass
    The carrot cake hasn't happened yet - no eggs left - postponed until Sunday.

    Friday shopping came to £41.51 (split between market and Sainsbobs). We had very little left at all in the way of fresh F&V so that's nicely stocked up again.

    YS items purchased were casserole beef (cooking in the SC now, half for tomorrow's dinner and half for a meal during the week; 2 prawn/rice/lemon grass fishcakes (in the freezer) and 3 jars of mincemeat that cost the princely sum of ... 10p per jar. Dated Nov 2020. I can see mincemeat flapjacks making an appearance on the menu soon!

    I also bought a 4-pack of small tins of tuna in a Mexican dressing (just the right size for a lunchtime sandwich) that were on sale for £1.13 - I'm guessing Sainsbobs won't be stocking them any more.

    Pleased too with the grocer's bag of peppers, 8 small-medium size, 6 red and 2 orange. £1.30 as opposed to 50p each for a medium size one.

    Next week's soup is going to be celery (bought yesterday) and bacon (using bacon bits from freezer). Not done this one before so I might just do a smaller batch than I'd normally do to make sure we like it.
    Be kind to others and to yourself too. Life has its ups and downs, use the ups to overcome the downs!

    2018 - Jan £53.34/£140 10/28 NSDs
    2017 - £144.10
    • debtfreeforlife
    • By debtfreeforlife 13th Jan 18, 6:56 PM
    • 108 Posts
    • 552 Thanks
    debtfreeforlife
    So I'm turning up very very shamefully to admit to £171.41 spent so far, which is just ridiculous - I was half tempted to just skip the rest of this challenge rather than admit to how much I've spent so far!! A good £60-70 was spent on stocking up the cupboard and freezer again, and there's a few bottles of wine in there for a night at a friend's the other night, but the rest of it - no idea! I'm half wondering if I've bought some household stuff in the grocery store and forgotten what it was. I've not taken meals into work this week, so there's been far too much spent on lunches - no excuse, just laziness. Going to do my absolute best to keep on track the rest of the month.
    GC Jan 18: £171.41/£220 | 2018 MFW #130: £0/£5000
    New recipe challenge: 1/52
    • X Duvessa X
    • By X Duvessa X 13th Jan 18, 8:16 PM
    • 29 Posts
    • 199 Thanks
    X Duvessa X
    Spent £14.20 in l!d! Today that included stocking up on frozen fruit for breakfasts kids wanted take out pizza tomorrow when we watch the American football came to a compromise with buying a fresh AS one at £4.50, cheaper than take out I guess but I wish I could have made pizza. I'm at £40.20 so the last week is going to be tight.
    Jan GC £40.20/£50 NSD 12
    Jan - Mar WLC 4/11
    • ancientmum
    • By ancientmum 13th Jan 18, 8:49 PM
    • 124 Posts
    • 971 Thanks
    ancientmum
    Happy Saturday!
    shopping in Aldo today came to £17.97:

    big pack of toilet rolls(will last a couple of months)
    instant hot choc
    washing pods (I get the 2-in-1)
    cheese
    oatcakes
    easy peelers
    AA batteries
    milk
    butter
    bananas
    apples
    bread
    biscuits

    I know we all have different reasons for doing this challenge but a report in the paper today about food shortages in Venezuela made me feel grateful that I live where there is so much choice.
    If life is a journey, I want comfy shoes

    2018: Trying to keep to annual budgets £1040 for groceries, £480 for cat needs
    Update: £37.08/1040
    • PennyGrabber
    • By PennyGrabber 14th Jan 18, 7:39 AM
    • 1,212 Posts
    • 21,578 Thanks
    PennyGrabber
    Next week's soup is going to be celery (bought yesterday) and bacon (using bacon bits from freezer). Not done this one before so I might just do a smaller batch than I'd normally do to make sure we like it.
    Originally posted by YorksLass
    Celery soup is one of my faves! Never made it with bacon, but sounds good.

    I've had lots of nsds this week, except Thursday, when I spent £3.92 on ys bits. Weekly shop today, then I'll update signature. Don't need a massive amount.

    Must remember to freeze the lo bolognese, and get mince out for today's cottage pie - that should do some of this week's lunches for me too.

    Have a super Sunday everyone!

    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 £54.12/£100
    Frugal 2018 needed! Saving and NOT spending
    • butterfly2507
    • By butterfly2507 14th Jan 18, 8:04 AM
    • 236 Posts
    • 1,773 Thanks
    butterfly2507
    Good Morning!

    We did a bit of shopping yesterday and spent around 40 €. Last week we had around 60 € and it added up to be 108,33 €. It's a bit more than planned but there will be no shopping this coming Saturday so that fine by me
    Dec GC 156,21 € / 250 €
    Jan GC 108,33 € / 250 €

    english is not my first language, sorry for any misspellings
    • pipkin71
    • By pipkin71 14th Jan 18, 8:50 AM
    • 18,989 Posts
    • 85,080 Thanks
    pipkin71
    So I'm turning up very very shamefully to admit to £171.41 spent so far, which is just ridiculous - I was half tempted to just skip the rest of this challenge rather than admit to how much I've spent so far!! A good £60-70 was spent on stocking up the cupboard and freezer again, and there's a few bottles of wine in there for a night at a friend's the other night, but the rest of it - no idea! I'm half wondering if I've bought some household stuff in the grocery store and forgotten what it was. I've not taken meals into work this week, so there's been far too much spent on lunches - no excuse, just laziness. Going to do my absolute best to keep on track the rest of the month.
    Originally posted by debtfreeforlife
    I always think one of the first hurdles to reducing the grocery bill,,is working out where it's being spent, so don't give up this month; see it as a learning curve instead
    There is something delicious about writing the first words of a story. You never quite know where they'll take you - Beatrix Potter
    • Grannymolly
    • By Grannymolly 14th Jan 18, 9:25 AM
    • 35 Posts
    • 388 Thanks
    Grannymolly
    I always think one of the first hurdles to reducing the grocery bill,,is working out where it's being spent, so don't give up this month; see it as a learning curve instead
    Originally posted by pipkin71
    You’re so right! By at least writing it down and counting receipts you’re half way there.

    A little while ago before I started a proper meal plan and budget ( I loosely meal Planned) I used to think I was spending £200 on food a month but I forgot that DH was spending around £100-150 on extras from the shop most months
    That doesn’t happen now but we couldn’t work out why we had nothing left at the end of the month!!
    Family of 4 and a cat, trying to reduce outgoings
    Debt free 2018 £100/£1800GC JAN £152.62/250
    • thriftwizard
    • By thriftwizard 14th Jan 18, 10:37 AM
    • 2,526 Posts
    • 31,375 Thanks
    thriftwizard
    Sigh... £14.50 spent at the market this morning, and sad confirmation that the butcher won't be coming back for Fridays & Saturdays; they're winding down towards retirement now and it just isn't worth their while paying the pitch fee & travelling costs any longer, as so are most of their customers. It feels like the beginning of the end of an era... for 25 years I've been feeding my family on good meat of known provenance at a reasonable price, mostly locally-produced, from them, but all good things come to an end eventually. Their kids are taking the farm & business in a new & more profitable direction, doing specialist event catering, and who can blame them?

    So I need to sit down & think up a new strategy now, because I work a fair number of Sundays. They will still be doing the Wednesday market in our county town, where I do my mother's shopping, for now, and I have a decent fridge in my van, so I will be able to stock up there some of the time. They also do the market down at the port on a Thursday, but that means driving down into the city and jockeying for a parking space; the outside car park is always rammed because it's cheaper, and I can't use the multi-stories as my van is too tall. And if the long-term is that they won't be doing any markets at all, it's time to find a new way to source good, responsibly-produced meat at sensible prices - the other two omnivores in the household are verging on carnivores, so giving it up altogether isn't (yet) an option.
    Angie

    GC Jan18 £329.10/£380
    Bulk-buy purse 2018 £45.00/£350

    Money's just a substitute for time & talent...
    • RedFraggle
    • By RedFraggle 14th Jan 18, 11:10 AM
    • 556 Posts
    • 1,344 Thanks
    RedFraggle
    So behind with posting!! I am still in!
    Spends so far this month......
    06 Jan £69.56 Mr T
    06 Jan £5.54 Mr S (who's value mushy peas are better, has smaller tins of value sweetcorn, has the best pizza base mix and who does a value parmesan type block plus a couple of bits I forgot at Mr T)
    13 Jan £68.88 Mr T
    Total £143.98 so £206.02 left from my budget of £350
    Pleased :-) should be fine this month after my December Fiasco Shame!
    Officially in a clique of idiots
    • Islandmaid
    • By Islandmaid 14th Jan 18, 11:18 AM
    • 2,285 Posts
    • 34,905 Thanks
    Islandmaid
    Few NSDs now, but have ordered delivery for Wednesday, that’s around £70 and only £1 delivery, when counting in my time, its cheaper to have it delivered

    I also stuck to my ‘list’ based on the meal plan
    Note to self - STOP SPENDING MONEY !!


    January GC £250.00/157.00
    • Grannymolly
    • By Grannymolly 14th Jan 18, 1:57 PM
    • 35 Posts
    • 388 Thanks
    Grannymolly
    Forgot to mention the Mr M coupon I used on friday, didn’t think it would come to anything but was worth a try.
    Apparently they’re honouring them though so got £20 off £40, stocked up on washing bits, chicken and mince and gammon, more cat food!
    Will update sig when that arrives but that’s looking like I’ll manage the month under £200 now!

    Roast Chicken with all the trimmings for dinner which I’m really looking forward too, I’m so hungry today.... maybe the cold weather....
    Family of 4 and a cat, trying to reduce outgoings
    Debt free 2018 £100/£1800GC JAN £152.62/250
    • VfM4meplse
    • By VfM4meplse 14th Jan 18, 2:43 PM
    • 24,462 Posts
    • 51,737 Thanks
    VfM4meplse
    Day 14: and my expenditure is already £27.99 ex £30. Expenditure on snacks for guests that happen to have ended up in my own tummy has taken me over budget. I still have a cupboard full, and am eating cake on a daily basis .

    I don't think I'm going to succeed this month - even if I spend the next 17 days eating Weetabix / porridge! Will try to limit spends to a revised £40 this month.

    Goes off to drink a fizzy Vit C tablet....
    Value-for-money-for-me-puhleeze!

    "No man is worth, crawling on the earth"- adapted from Bob Crewe and Bob Gaudio

    Hope is not a strategy ...A child is for life, not just 18 years....Don't get me started on the NHS, because you won't win...If in doubt, don't pull out... I love chaz-ing!
    • K9sandFelines
    • By K9sandFelines 14th Jan 18, 3:56 PM
    • 1,839 Posts
    • 15,494 Thanks
    K9sandFelines
    I have Sainsburys being delivered on Wednesday, but it is mostly toiletries which I am not including, just food! So, I should manage to break even.Once and if I ever manage to get the food spend to an absolute minimum then I can gradually concentrate on toiletries. I don't think i'll ever crack pet food though
    Originally posted by K9sandFelines
    My spend was £24.40 at Sainsbury's online - this was for food only.
    I have also had a few small spends at B and M and Morrisons, and a shop from Ocado has come.
    I made a big boo boo here; as i forgot the one thing i had done the order for, so i am going to have to reorder. I am not doing very well at sticking to budget so far. I am already about £50 over for the month, and if i have to do another shop for the laundry liquid i missed then that will bump it up more. Nowhere sells Astonish Laundry liquid near to me, or any other Vegan liquid or powder and i have enough for about one wash load left
    GC 2017 (£4,000/£3434.09) Jan £165.52(up to and incl.14th Jan) £270 p.m/£3,250 p.a

    ~ Still learning the art of frugality ~
    • Maisie M
    • By Maisie M 14th Jan 18, 4:21 PM
    • 1,383 Posts
    • 12,904 Thanks
    Maisie M
    £40.34 spent this weekend (£8 Iceland, £26.94 in Lidl and £5.40 in Greggs)

    Takes me to a total of £144.65 out of my £250. I should make the challenge easily and I was going to go to 3 February but have decided to keep the additional money in a seperate account and that way I can put it to our holiday savings instead it will also give me a bit extra should I wish to do any bulk buying.
    GC Jan 2018 £144.65/£250
    Lbs lost 6 Jan 18 - 30 Mar 18 - 1.5/14
    • LalalaLindy
    • By LalalaLindy 14th Jan 18, 6:27 PM
    • 39 Posts
    • 363 Thanks
    LalalaLindy
    A £34.25 spend this weekend, bringing my total to £277.76 so far.

    £2.75 of yesterday’s was on frozen roast potatoes, despite having loads of potatoes at home in the fridge. I was ill and OH didn’t want to have to peel anything himself

    So today I have passive-aggressively batch cooked and frozen three meals worth of mashed potatoes just in case I’m ill again (fairly likely) so he’s got no excuse next time!

    Does anyone else struggle with the rest of the family being not quite on board with the challenge?
    JAN GC: £305.77/£390 = £84.23 left to spend + 4 NSD

    LBM 23/09/13
    • RedFraggle
    • By RedFraggle 14th Jan 18, 6:38 PM
    • 556 Posts
    • 1,344 Thanks
    RedFraggle
    . Nowhere sells Astonish Laundry liquid near to me, or any other Vegan liquid or powder and i have enough for about one wash load left
    Originally posted by K9sandFelines
    Thought it might be worth mentioning that Staples/Office Supplies? (think they changed their name) sell it as it's a bit of an unexpected one if you don't have a Home Bargains etc.
    Officially in a clique of idiots
    • klbooth
    • By klbooth 14th Jan 18, 7:47 PM
    • 47 Posts
    • 142 Thanks
    klbooth
    So 2 weeks into January and 4 days after signing up to the challenge having had some big stock up shops at the start of January and I am sitting at £354.90/£450 I am fairly hopeful with only top up shops till February that we will make it with room to adjust for next month with my plan to reduce our monthly grocery spends down below £300 by the end of the year. For the purposes of this accounting it includes all food for home and basic household cleaning/toiletries etc. Doesn't include eating out, snacks bought while out etc they are on a different list.

    Have started a spending diary for the first time to track everything spent this year to get on top of what we spend money on. I also think the act of noting it down might just have a good effect on unnecessary purchases, hope so anyway!
    1P Challenge #13 £41.02/£667.95;£2 Club #30 £6;50p Club #8 £4.50;20p Club #100 £13.40;SPC #39 £?;VSPC #15 £18.49;1 Debt Vs 100 Days #1 £0/£3964;
    Pay All Your Debt Off By Xmas 2018 #118 £600/£10014
    Jan Grocery Challenge £368.57/450
    • ma-ri-ella
    • By ma-ri-ella 14th Jan 18, 8:12 PM
    • 840 Posts
    • 8,286 Thanks
    ma-ri-ella
    so up to 21.77 for the month. Don't need anything this week apart from milk and some fresh food. No yellow stickers for days now . I could go weeks living out my cupboard but i want to include fresh veg etc in diet /also had to buy medicine . I could still get under the £31 for the month just been lazy cause one shop has had enough yellow stickers for me needs so i haven't needed to go further :P
    22.09/£31 January grocery challenge(£365 year)
    20,000 step a day challenge
    • lil_me
    • By lil_me 14th Jan 18, 9:05 PM
    • 13,069 Posts
    • 114,895 Thanks
    lil_me
    Updated my total
    Mainly bought fresh stuff, flavoured waters, 2 tins, lots of fridge things, OH came so a pile of yoghurt drinks I don’t usually buy etc. That said, we’ve not bought OHs usual cola as much as he’s on the water now

    Think I’ve way way way underestimated our spending I know I said it would be a using up month too thought I was being generous. Diet stuff is costing more too
    One day I might be more organised...........:confused:
    GC: £234.56 / £300
    Slinkies target 2018 - another 70lb off (half way to what the NHS says) so far 5lb
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