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    • zippychick
    • By zippychick 13th Oct 14, 12:54 PM
    • 9,342Posts
    • 17,877Thanks
    February 2018 Grocery Challenge
    • #1
    • 13th Oct 14, 12:54 PM
    February 2018 Grocery Challenge 13th Oct 14 at 12:54 PM
    Hi everyone,

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

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

    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 #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!

    Last edited by zippychick; 18-01-2018 at 7:51 PM.
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Page 25
    • Tales17
    • By Tales17 1st Mar 18, 10:44 PM
    • 189 Posts
    • 2,015 Thanks
    Nope I will be the last, no time to sort accounts out today with kids unexpectedly at home today! Will try to update tomorrow!
    Grocery Challenge 2018 YTD - £1366.22/£7200 (19%)
    Grocery Challenge Mar - £310.72/£600 (52%)
    £12k in 2018 #117: Monthly Saving Accounts £1800, Cashback & Competition Sites £46.20, Shopping Saving £528.13, Selling £18, Interest & Dividends £55.04, Surveys £25, Tesco Vouchers £140, Save 1p a Day #24 £128.83
    Total Saved - £2741.20/£12000 (23%)
    • PipneyJane
    • By PipneyJane 2nd Mar 18, 12:54 PM
    • 685 Posts
    • 4,753 Thanks
    And I thought the last person would be me! Tales 17, the crown is yours. )

    As reported on the £50 February thread ( we came in £10.26 over budget, at £60.26/£50. It was a frugal month, even if we didn't make the target.

    - Pip
    "Be the type of woman that when you get out of bed in the morning, the devil says 'Oh crap. She's up.' "

    C.R.A.P R.O.L.L.Z. #47 Official Brain Harvesting Body Counter
    • Mrs Norris
    • By Mrs Norris 2nd Mar 18, 1:04 PM
    • 6 Posts
    • 68 Thanks
    Mrs Norris
    Final count for me is £179.10. A first!
    Roll on March.
    • fifi35
    • By fifi35 2nd Mar 18, 4:52 PM
    • 222 Posts
    • 177 Thanks
    Overspent by £6.80 but am pleased with that. I've got tons of stuff in so am going to go for £125 again for MArch. Thanks again for all the advice and encouragement.
    Grocery Challenge 2018
    Jan £170/£125, Feb £131.80/£125
    • cw18
    • By cw18 2nd Mar 18, 7:48 PM
    • 7,909 Posts
    • 84,781 Thanks
    Wednesday saw a final 80p spend, taking my declared total spend for the month to £85.02

    That 80p was spent in Mr T on a pack of 4 wholemeal rolls (reduced from 65p to 16p), a pack of 6 white rolls (reduced from 75p to 19p), and a pack of value mini swiss rolls (45p - just 'cos my sweet tooth kicked in after a couple of days covering lots of miles in soft snow, compacted snow and cold winds - oh the joys of being a postie ).
    Sell £1000 : £0.00 Crazy Clothes : £0.00
    Toiletries : 0 IN; 2 UU; 0 TA; 0 GA
    Groceries : Mar £29.44/£100. Feb £85.02 / £80.Jan £112.15 / £130. Annual £226.61 / £1200

    • Cherry Burton
    • By Cherry Burton 2nd Mar 18, 8:08 PM
    • 102 Posts
    • 568 Thanks
    Cherry Burton
    Hi all,

    A total fail for me this month. Instead of £120, I ended up spending £156.08 in February. The problem I have is that I don't know when members of my family will come to stay for a few days or a week. Obviously, I have to buy food for them so I end up going over my budget. In the future, I am going to try to have £120 for me and £30 for others. Then if anyone comes to stay I have money put aside for them.

    Thank ypu everyone

    Debt 08/14 - £8200
    Mortgage 1/1/14 approx £50,000, 1/8/16 £31,269 1/9/16 27500 3/10/16 £25842 1/11/16 £23987 1/12/16 £22050 1/4/17 £16312 3/7/17 £9989 1/8/17 £7,666 1/9/17 £5959 2/10/17 £4772 1/11/17 £2965 1/12/17 £1329 Mortgage Free
    • klbooth
    • By klbooth 2nd Mar 18, 9:15 PM
    • 191 Posts
    • 717 Thanks
    Time to declare for the month at £390.32 which I am pleased about, under for Feb, although think I might struggle with March but here we go.....
    1P Challenge #13 £112.92/£667.95;£2 Club #30 £28;50p Club #8 £14;20p Club #100 £18.20;SPC #39 £?;VSPC #15 £194.94;1 Debt Vs 100 Days #1 £3964/£3964 (100%); PAYDOBX 2018 #118 £6212/£10014 (62%);GC Jan £483.58/£450 Feb £390.32/£430 Mar £175.59/£410;
    • Cottage Economy
    • By Cottage Economy 3rd Mar 18, 3:13 PM
    • 898 Posts
    • 3,924 Thanks
    Cottage Economy
    Decided to declare my monthly total as what it was before we went away on 25th - £143.57. I forgot i had been very organised and included self-catering food in our holiday spending budget
    Last edited by Cottage Economy; 03-03-2018 at 3:30 PM.
    'Save £12k in 2018' £1500/£6,000 (25%)
    March GC £71.68/160

    "...success in personal finance isn't about mastering the technicalities. It is about mastering yourself."
    • Tales17
    • By Tales17 4th Mar 18, 12:48 AM
    • 189 Posts
    • 2,015 Thanks
    Hi there,

    Final update from me,
    managed to find some time this evening to get on top of everything so I must be the last for February!

    - £38.10 Sainsburys online shop - don't usually use them but since we have been given 6 weeks of money off shopping vouchers it has definitely seemed worth it recently! This week it was £18 off a £60 spend for doing my first shop online and I managed to get almost spot on and with a couple of things out of stock it brought the total down a bit more too!

    - £24.83 ASDA shop - top up shop of a few things that I can only get in ASDA or were cheaper this week (quick check on mysupermarket to check as I knew I was heading there!)

    - £6.96 - mini top up shop at Home Bargains

    - £5 Tesco - other half buying himself some beers for getting a well earned bonus this month!

    Giving a final total of £439.52 which is fantastic for me on £600 budget, just shows what you can do if you actually focus on it!

    See you in the March thread!
    Last edited by Tales17; 04-03-2018 at 9:01 AM.
    Grocery Challenge 2018 YTD - £1366.22/£7200 (19%)
    Grocery Challenge Mar - £310.72/£600 (52%)
    £12k in 2018 #117: Monthly Saving Accounts £1800, Cashback & Competition Sites £46.20, Shopping Saving £528.13, Selling £18, Interest & Dividends £55.04, Surveys £25, Tesco Vouchers £140, Save 1p a Day #24 £128.83
    Total Saved - £2741.20/£12000 (23%)
    • TooClumsy
    • By TooClumsy 5th Mar 18, 3:48 PM
    • 113 Posts
    • 328 Thanks
    Have been sick again this month, so posting late today! Total grocery spends for the month = £204.81 out of £290, so pretty darn good. Was cheeky and did a shop on 1st of March, (will post budget and spends in the March thread after this!).

    Been cooking up a storm of Indian food as I've been craving heat and spice after being so poorly, so have run down fresh meat/poultry stocks in the freezer so I think there are 4 chicken breasts left (which is like one curry two last two days) before its the orange food... (nuggets, meatballs etc).

    Am pleased with Feb spends
    GC Challenge 2018:
    Jan £309.44/£290.72
    Feb £204.81/£290
    March £153.60/£300
    • mrsnicewriting
    • By mrsnicewriting 6th Mar 18, 1:03 AM
    • 16 Posts
    • 167 Thanks
    final spend for February
    [SIZE="4"][/SIZsorry re late declaring but gone a bit over this month as £231.43 total , although only six actual shopping days!] with underspend in January still okay for annual spend, see you all in March x
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