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@.

    • zippychick
    • By zippychick 4th Jun 11, 11:19 AM
    • 9,343Posts
    • 17,889Thanks
    • #1
    • 4th Jun 11, 11:19 AM
    4th Jun 11 at 11:19 AM
    Hi everyone,

    Welcome to the sixth Grocery Challenge of 2014 !!!!

    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 grocery 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; 18-05-2014 at 6:23 PM.
    A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men
    Norn Iron club member #380

Page 9
    • lynnejk
    • By lynnejk 1st Jun 14, 11:10 PM
    • 5,343 Posts
    • 55,198 Thanks
    A warm welcome to all the new people and good luck with your grocery challenge

    recoveringspendaholic - I feel the same about most cereal but I found a good kind of muesli in Li*l in a purple plastic bag. It's full of fruit and nuts and I have 2/3 times a week.

    laurahoggle - sometimes gravy or sauce splits when you freeze it but if, after warming, you whisk it then it comes back together.

    Does anyone buy a large joint and use it throughout the week?
    All ideas welcome!
    Originally posted by Treadingwater84
    I always buy large joints as they cook better. When I cook them I portion them when cold and freeze in gravy, or liquor if gammon, to stop them drying out and then have as roast dinners later. Saves time and money

    I know it's not gc related completely, but can I weigh in on the bills thing? I get paid on the 23rd of the month, and used to try and work from then, but always got stressed. Then I had a brainwave! I opened a separate bills account. After payday, I put a set amount into that account, and that's my bills paid for the month. As for those awkward quarterly or yearly bills, I put the right percentage each month into the bills account, so every month my bills cost me the same, and I never have any expensive months that way. It also doesn't matter when in the month the bills come out, as they're already paid for. I work things like the gc and pocket money by the calendar month, as I've had a week to sort out the main money. Thought I'd share that, as it has relieved a huge amount of stress, and it's actually a really simple, manageable system. PG x
    Originally posted by PennyGrabber
    I do the same, putting away all my monies monthly on the 1st even if paid yearly such as car tax etc. just put in 1/12th.

    I now put it into a TSB account so it's earning 5% interest as well
    As all my DDs come out of my 123 Santander account (to earn cashback) I move money over as necessary and buy everything I can on my 123 credit card to get cashback and move monies over monthly to pay it off.

    I did really well yesterday I made left over veg soup
    Originally posted by Aldahbra
    We call it 'bottom of the fridge soup' in our house very useful.

    Declared for May as 209/240

    Well - I've looked at what I've spent on GC so far this year and it's worked out at 205 a month so I'm going to cut my GC budget down to 200 a month from this month please and see how we get on.

    This is for two adults (trouble is we are both foodies), all meals, packed lunches, household stuff, cleaning stuff and shared toiletries. We have a separate budget for wine (60 a month) and a small personal budget.

    We had roast lamb, roasties, steamed carrots, broccoli, cauliflower and gravy for lunch. Pitta breads with taramasalata and fruit with plain yogurt for tea.

    Hope you all have a magnificent Monday
    Last edited by lynnejk; 01-06-2014 at 11:16 PM.
    Bulk buy.......APR=233.76
    OS WL= -2/8 ......CC =00......Savings = 13,140
    • cw18
    • By cw18 2nd Jun 14, 12:56 AM
    • 8,045 Posts
    • 85,987 Thanks
    Just spent the first 22 of this months budget (and that was after using a 20 off voucher that arrived with an order from Amaz0n ). Now have a grocery hamper coming on 13th with meals for DS1 and myself on the Friday (if it arrives in time, Monday if it's too late to start messing with a new recipe) and Sunday, and a meal for OH and myself on Saturday. DS1's at a wedding on the Saturday, so it means OH and I can have the fish option (which DS1 wouldn't touch) and I don't have to worry about cooking something different for him.

    After DS1 "didn't like" (and wasted most of) 2 of the 3 meals in last months hamper (from a different company) I got him to come and help make the selection - he went for one I expected him to, and totally blanked the other I'd have got for him. He finally managed to pick another, but I suspect he's not going to eat everything that comes with it again!!

    More spends planned for later today - Mr T in the morning (5 items on list that come to just over 11), Costc0 in the afternoon (though it's mainly a price check mission for me, whilst picking up bits for DS1 and OH's mother), and possibly a brief visit to A1di as well.
    • piglet27
    • By piglet27 2nd Jun 14, 3:37 AM
    • 174 Posts
    • 2,102 Thanks
    Hello to all,

    I am a newbie to this thread, I am hoping that I can join in, please? I have a budget of 300 for June, which started on the 26/5 and goes until 30/6.

    I have been researching healthy, clean living for a few months now, but it's all via American sites! Hm freezer foods, hm bread/cakes etc, hm cleaning products. Only problem is the deals are for stores I don't have access to. . Everyone on here seems very focused and disciplined, this is what I need, the support and accountability, you all give each other, is great.

    Even though June is 5 weeks!! I am hoping to come in under budget for 2 adults and 2 children- (to include all groceries, toiletries, cleaning ingredients) pm extra for me and OH. My freezer is FULL, cupboards stocked and fridge is brimming with veg and dairy. I will keep all receipts and post any spends on here, hope fully just eggs, dairy and veg/fruit the rest of the month.

    I will also keep my eyes open for any fantastic sale items.
  • kiwiblue
    Can you please put me down for $400 for June please. We have managed to come in under budget so far this year, but am anticipating a more expensive month
    Jan: $386.38/$500
    • mumofthetwins
    • By mumofthetwins 2nd Jun 14, 7:33 AM
    • 1,042 Posts
    • 4,027 Thanks
    well guys not gonna be about for a bit as we have had a family loss .. still gonna try to stick to my GC budget and pop back to update while I can ... yesterday was another NSD but a very sad day too !

    lisa x
    July 0/17100
    June 2400/19500 Murphy 500/500
    May 3085/23042
    April 1266/25843 STF 1500/1500
    MFW OP 2018 600/1600
    • mrs-moneypenny
    • By mrs-moneypenny 2nd Jun 14, 7:33 AM
    • 15,518 Posts
    • 198,189 Thanks
    may wasnt to good 438.22

    will try harder for june and again attempt 400

    need to be really tight this month as the holiday balance is due!!
    cupboards and freezer are full so heres hoping

    thank you to the keepers of the lists and everyone is this thread who is so supportive and inspiring
    SPC~12 ot 124

    In a world that has decided that it's going to lose its mind, be more kind my friend, try to Be More Kind
    • Happygreen
    • By Happygreen 2nd Jun 14, 8:58 AM
    • 2,642 Posts
    • 9,940 Thanks
    Mumofthetwins - so sorry to hear about your loss.

    I managed to finish May 2 under budget and have started June with 2 NSDs. A serious shop is due as the basics are running out so maybe I'll look at S*bury's first on-line offer. I like the idea of not having to go out at the moment but it certainly can't be more expensive than normal.
    First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, and then you win - Gandhi
    • Frizzle
    • By Frizzle 2nd Jun 14, 9:03 AM
    • 1,104 Posts
    • 15,700 Thanks
    Bought a bread maker at the weekend and realised my little pot of yeast is not going to last long. Where is the best place to bulk buy yeast?
    Grocery challenge-
    J- 52.40/200 M- 187.56 A- 212.93 M-193.44 F-201.31 J- 240.62 D- 149.27 N- 210.69 O- 196.80
    S- 213.68 A- 213.03 J- 249.66 J-206.29, M- 252.91, A-250, M- 250

    debt free as of feb 2015. Now saving for deposit for new house! Moving in June 2015!!!
  • Rainbow-Brite
    Morning all,

    I'm also new to this thread and would like to join in this month.

    I would like to put 250 for June.

  • Miss Bea
    Hi everyone,

    I would like to be put down for 50 for June, please.
    June 2014 Grocery Challenge: 0/50
    NSDs so far in June (4 weeks/28 days): 0
    • Ladyluck1
    • By Ladyluck1 2nd Jun 14, 9:22 AM
    • 612 Posts
    • 7,237 Thanks
    Hoping for a no spend week as ive got lots in from May still! Possibly need milk end of week but have a YS loaf of bread in the freezer too.
    Fajitas for dinner tonight with some 1 YS chicken and a 27p lidl pepper
    I'm C, Mummy to DS 29/11/2010 and DD 02/11/2013

    Overdraft PAID OFF
    GC Sept 141.17/200
    • atolaas
    • By atolaas 2nd Jun 14, 9:51 AM
    • 1,107 Posts
    • 5,350 Thanks
    Just done my 1st shop on the challenge and managed to everything I needed for 11.73. I'm hoping that I won't need to go food shopping for the rest of the week as I'm off on my hols on Friday..a long weekend on the south coast! My 1st holiday in 2 years...really looking forward to it. Have a good week everyone x
    SPC7 ~ Member#390 ~ 432.45 declared
    Re-joined SW 9 Feb 2015 1 stone lost so far

    Her Serene Highness the Princess Atolaas of the Alphabetty Thread as appointed by Queen Upsidedown Bear
    • atolaas
    • By atolaas 2nd Jun 14, 9:57 AM
    • 1,107 Posts
    • 5,350 Thanks
    Bought a bread maker at the weekend and realised my little pot of yeast is not going to last long. Where is the best place to bulk buy yeast?
    Originally posted by Frizzle
    Try ebay.. Just typing a few more words so this will be posted!!
    SPC7 ~ Member#390 ~ 432.45 declared
    Re-joined SW 9 Feb 2015 1 stone lost so far

    Her Serene Highness the Princess Atolaas of the Alphabetty Thread as appointed by Queen Upsidedown Bear
    • joedenise
    • By joedenise 2nd Jun 14, 11:41 AM
    • 6,258 Posts
    • 46,010 Thanks
    Been shopping this morning and now have all the meat I need for the rest of the month except for some burgers from the butchers (he does SW ones which are made with extra lean mince).

    Have now spent 101.49/250 with another 3 weeks to go! I think it's going to be quite tight, although should only need bacon, bread, milk, fresh fruit, salad & veg, I think!

    • malamay
    • By malamay 2nd Jun 14, 12:06 PM
    • 346 Posts
    • 4,698 Thanks
    Hubbs and I went shopping over the weekend - the scan as you go option is great for us as it holds his interest for much longer

    Spent a whopping 63.18, although the total was 93.75 before offers and my armload of vouchers and cashback!
    Swagbucks Amazon gift vouchers 2014 125/250
    GC October 100.8/150 September 99.36/180 August 178.77/180 June 163.18/180 May 177.89/180 April 160.66/180 March 163.48/180 Feb 154.21/150 Jan 51.65/150
    • XSpender
    • By XSpender 2nd Jun 14, 12:21 PM
    • 3,336 Posts
    • 34,378 Thanks
    Butternut Squash and Beetroot Tortilla with Goats Cheese

    xspender can you post the recipe for the butternut squash dish on your meal plan? It sounds lovely and I have a BNS in the fridge.
    Originally posted by recovering spendaholic
    2tbsp olive oil
    300g bag of butternut squash
    6 eggs
    2 tbsp milk
    2 cooked best root diced
    75g goats cheese

    Heat the oil and fry the BS for 5 mins, reduce the heat and cover the pan. Cook for a further ten mins stirring occasionally until the squash is soft.

    Beat the eggs and milk together and season.

    Cut the beet root the same size as the squash add to pan and fry for a couple of mins before pouring over the eggs. Move mixture about till beginning to set, cover with a lid and cook for 5 mins.

    Scatter goats cheese on top and pop under grill for a couple of mins.

    Nice with crusty bread or new pots and salad.
    • XSpender
    • By XSpender 2nd Jun 14, 12:51 PM
    • 3,336 Posts
    • 34,378 Thanks
    A couple so spends to add from the weekend in M&S and sains. We should have most of the meat in for the month now except maybe a gammon joint and some GF sausages.

    As DH is away until late Wednesday I am just going to eat out of the cupboard and fridge and should hopefully have enough fruit in to last until the weekend. We definitely have enough of everything else!

    Tomorrow I am going to list the contents of my cupboards and freezer which should hopefully help me stay within budget and not buy stuff I have already got. 3 bottles of lemon juice??

    We took DS out for an Italian meal (with a gift card) at the weekend and he wolfed down his pasta bolognaise. I don't tend to cook with mince as I don't eat red meat but will turn the half a pound in the freezer into bolognaise for DH and DS and will make a lentil bolognaise for me.

    I just need to work out what to with a bowl of past-their-best eating apples and half a punnet of sad mushrooms.
    • peony40
    • By peony40 2nd Jun 14, 1:50 PM
    • 489 Posts
    • 6,389 Thanks
    Afternoon all,

    I have just put my 100 in my purse for this month's grocery budget. I am hoping that if I have to hand over the money it will make me more aware, rather than when I shop online.

    On my second NSD, i have made a loaf and some shortbread biscuits as out of both. Dinner tonight is left over cottage pie, and mixed veg and a few extra roast potatoes for hubby.

    It is good to know that there are others on the same journey, it is encouraging to read all the posts.

    January 2019 GC: 67.88/250.00 (182.12)
    2019 Frugal Living Challenge
    2019 Sealed Pot Challenge 107
    2019 Make Do Mend & Minimise
    A Simpler Life 2019
    • gien
    • By gien 2nd Jun 14, 2:23 PM
    • 1,645 Posts
    • 15,703 Thanks
    I did a lot of shopping today, so I'm hoping it will last well into the weekend. Main shop was at Ald! with little bits that they didn't have at other supermarkets.
    Total spent 173/500
    Trying to keep in budget.

  • sheeppappar
    Hello hello may I join in please? I'm not setting a budget this month but want to lurk on the thread for everyone's tips!

    I used to be on here a couple of years ago - since then have got married and moved house so in dire need of moneysaving again.. starting with the grocery budget.

    I used to love all the recipes & thrifty ideas I read on here, as well as everyone's encouragement for each other, so am coming back to join in again. Have a fab June everyone
    CC1 7,944.10
    CC2 2,680.03
    CC3 1,020.88
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

935Posts Today

6,424Users online

Martin's Twitter
  • It's the weekend, it's the weekend, yay. It's that moment, when as usual, to sign off for family time. So I bid y?

  • Actually the BBC was set up to "educate, entertain and inform" so I think it is one of its responsibilities and cle?

  • Today's FRI twitter poll: Puritanical new laws by Tories/Labour/EU/Trump/Putin (pick ur own scapegoat) dictate mode?

  • Follow Martin