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  • FIRST POST
    • elsiepac
    • By elsiepac 28th Jul 18, 10:09 PM
    • 1,734Posts
    • 12,721Thanks
    elsiepac
    July 2019 Grocery Challenge
    • #1
    • 28th Jul 18, 10:09 PM
    July 2019 Grocery Challenge 28th Jul 18 at 10:09 PM
    Hi everyone,

    Welcome to the seventh Grocery Challenge of 2019 !!!!

    If your new month starts early feel free to join this thread, or if you're still working on your June budget, then keep on posting in the June 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. Mr M 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 bread maker - 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. Obviously 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 health wise.

    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 guidelines 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 everyone's totals, see post #3 on this thread

    I hope everyone has a great month!

    elsiepac
    Last edited by elsiepac; 19-06-2019 at 10:44 AM.
    I'm a Board Guide on the Old Style, Greenfingered, Energy & Going Out Deals boards which means I'm a volunteer to help the boards run smoothly and I can move and merge threads there. Please remember, board guides don't read every post. If you spot an illegal or inappropriate post then please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com (it's not part of my role to deal with this) Any views are mine and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.
    SPC No 074
    GC: Apr 19 59.94/200
    Vegan 27-8-13
Page 3
    • LIzzieM
    • By LIzzieM 29th Jun 19, 5:27 PM
    • 25 Posts
    • 204 Thanks
    LIzzieM
    Hello everyone (hope I've done this in the right place, as although a long time lurker, haven't really posted for a long while!).

    I'd love to join the challenge please if I may? I'm currently off work (already registered disabled prior) following major surgery (which was planned for later in the year but suddenly decided it didn't 'feel like waiting' IYKWIM!

    There's only me (plus a tank of tropical fish!) and I'd like to put a budget of 40
    please to run from 1st - 31st.. This is only for food, as I have some HB vouchers to use up which I will tomorrow as my sister is taking me to get household bits and pieces. I am planning to defrost my freezer middle of the month, so obviously I need to use all the bits and bobs, in addition to my never-happened-brexit/limits to mobility 'stash'. I need to eat a high protein diet for medical reasons (although this is supplemented via my Doctor).

    It's my first time so please forgive me as I'm obviously a newbie at this. I'll thoroughly go through all the recipe ideas in bed as there look to be some fantastic ideas on there. Oh, and my little slow cooker is my friend

    Thanks very much,
    Lizzie

    Oh, and if any of you kind people would let me know how to make my 'total' red, along with updating my signature I'd be very grateful
    Last edited by LIzzieM; 29-06-2019 at 9:27 PM. Reason: Couple of little questions.
    • MrsRyan
    • By MrsRyan 29th Jun 19, 8:14 PM
    • 6 Posts
    • 62 Thanks
    MrsRyan
    Can I join please? I'm new to OS and feel sort of bad at my total. I have been spending 500-600 a month on groceries, so would like to aim for 400.

    I'd love to get down to some of the levels you guys are going for! Wow - inspired! x
    [FONT=Arial Narrow] Start Weight: 230lbs Goal Weight: 175lbs Current Weight: 230lbs
    • Merlin's Beard
    • By Merlin's Beard 29th Jun 19, 8:18 PM
    • 292 Posts
    • 2,430 Thanks
    Merlin's Beard
    Hello everyone (hope I've done this in the right place, as although a long time lurker, haven't really posted for a long while!).

    I'd love to join the challenge please if I may? I'm currently off work (already registered disabled prior) following major surgery (which was planned for later in the year but suddenly decided it didn't 'feel like waiting' IYKWIM!

    There's only me (plus a tank of tropical fish!) and I'd like to put a budget of 40 please to run from 1st - 31st.. This is only for food, as I have some HB vouchers to use up which I will tomorrow as my sister is taking me to get household bits and pieces. I am planning to defrost my freezer middle of the month, so obviously I need to use all the bits and bobs, in addition to my never-happened-brexit/limits to mobility 'stash'. I need to eat a high protein diet for medical reasons (although this is supplemented via my Doctor).

    It's my first time so please forgive me as I'm obviously a newbie at this. I'll thoroughly go through all the recipe ideas in bed as there look to be some fantastic ideas on there. Oh, and my little slow cooker is my friend

    Thanks very much,
    Lizzie

    Oh, and if any of you kind people would let me know how to make my 'total' red, along with updating my signature I'd be very grateful
    Originally posted by LIzzieM
    40[B ][SIZE="5 "][COL OR="Red"]Put the text you're highlighting here instead of at the start![/CO LOR][/SI ZE][/ B]

    (If you're using the advanced options highlight the "40" and then select the format bits you want to do to it)

    For the signature, click the floaty headshot/avatar in the top left corner, which will take you to your profile. Third category down is "settings and options" then "edit signature".
    • LIzzieM
    • By LIzzieM 29th Jun 19, 9:29 PM
    • 25 Posts
    • 204 Thanks
    LIzzieM
    Thanks so much Martin's Beard! Would either of these be right perhaps? [/CO LOR="Red"][/SI ZE="5"][/ B]40 or 40[/CO LOR="Red"][/SI ZE="5"][/ B] (I'm not this useless normally with IT but I'm blaming the meds!

    Thanking you again in hope!

    Lizzie
    Last edited by LIzzieM; 29-06-2019 at 9:32 PM. Reason: Useless today at IT
    • Suffolk lass
    • By Suffolk lass 30th Jun 19, 6:48 AM
    • 3,128 Posts
    • 28,569 Thanks
    Suffolk lass
    Thanks so much Martin's Beard! Would either of these be right perhaps? 40 (I'm not this useless normally with IT but I'm blaming the meds!

    Thanking you again in hope!

    Lizzie
    Originally posted by LIzzieM
    I do it differently.

    When posting I click on advanced option or preview post which takes me to the screen with all the fonts and colours, bullets and emojis and just select the bit to change - I have done it here and to your quote above - if you click quote to respond, you will see the text string I/others have used and could copy and paste from there too (I have to do this with hashtag which is not on my keyboard).

    To get to my signature I click on UserCP and then I can see the menu including edit signature down the left and all the threads I subscribe to, that have posts since I last caught up - on the right. You can subscribe to threads using the thread tools drop down, immediately above the first post on the screen.
    MFIT T5 target to clear our mortgage completely (59,998) Q2 30,085 or 50.14% paid - Mortgage Free Wannabes 2019 #37 78.13% 31,251.65 including July - reducing now we have stopped work
    Save 12k in 2019 - #68 target is 7k 6,875.14 after July
    OS Grocery Challenge 2019 target is 3k - 50.52% spent so far, at end of July
    My DFD is here
    • LIzzieM
    • By LIzzieM 30th Jun 19, 8:03 AM
    • 25 Posts
    • 204 Thanks
    LIzzieM
    Oh thank you very much !, Suffolk Lass
    Last edited by LIzzieM; 30-06-2019 at 8:05 AM. Reason: Settings.
    Attempting 100 grocery only for the month of August.
    As of 8/7 - 53.40/100.00
    GC funds left - 46.60
    • thriftmonster
    • By thriftmonster 30th Jun 19, 8:42 AM
    • 1,655 Posts
    • 8,010 Thanks
    thriftmonster
    I've spent another 60 but I have had guests and there is loads in. Off on holiday tomorrow but will be taking a lot from the cupboards and Mum and I have meal planned it down to a T.


    So that's about 115 of 300 so far - eek
    the princess jumped from the tower & she learned that she could fly all along. she never needed those wings.
    Amanda Lovelace, The Princess Saves Herself in this One
    • indigowarrior
    • By indigowarrior 30th Jun 19, 3:07 PM
    • 700 Posts
    • 5,396 Thanks
    indigowarrior
    Another 25 spent this weekend thats brings a total of 30/160
    No Spend July 0/17 30/160 Groceries 0/120/debt.
    • thrifty-hayley
    • By thrifty-hayley 30th Jun 19, 5:25 PM
    • 111 Posts
    • 397 Thanks
    thrifty-hayley
    Hi please put me down for 90 for July. This is to include toiletries and household bits as I live on my own. Managed 92/100 for June as a first attempt so trying to push myself a bit more this month
    August Grocery challenge 60/50
    Emergency fund: 502/1000
    • K9sandFelines
    • By K9sandFelines 30th Jun 19, 7:36 PM
    • 2,120 Posts
    • 18,260 Thanks
    K9sandFelines
    Going for 300 this month for four of us.
    GC 2017 3,434.09 GC 2018 2,250.95 GC 2019 Jan 268.24/200 Feb 158.01/200 Mar 220.05/200 April (moving) May (adjusting 270.73), Jun 291.01/280 Jul 344.31/300 Aug 232.48/300 Sep /300
    ~ Still learning the art of frugality ~
    • purpleybat
    • By purpleybat 1st Jul 19, 9:35 AM
    • 373 Posts
    • 3,134 Thanks
    purpleybat
    hello all

    i did better than expected last month so i think i'll stick to 200 for july please.
    i have a family weekend for birthdays that i end up catering for but then i have a week of feeding just me that should even things out.
    i must use freezer food cos goosegogs are ready to be picked so will freeze them until im over this hideous cold and can make strawgoggy jam
    gc 2017 1841.27.
    2018 jan 124.69/130 feb 157.97/150 mar 221.33/200 apr 223.04/250
    • thrifty-hayley
    • By thrifty-hayley 1st Jul 19, 11:35 AM
    • 111 Posts
    • 397 Thanks
    thrifty-hayley
    Spent 19.21 today in Aldi for my weekly shop. Hopefully shouldn't need to top up midweek.
    August Grocery challenge 60/50
    Emergency fund: 502/1000
    • flubberyzing
    • By flubberyzing 1st Jul 19, 12:37 PM
    • 1,269 Posts
    • 8,566 Thanks
    flubberyzing
    A 12.77 spend in Lidl to start the month. Mostly all fruit and veg, and a frozen pizza for dinner tonight!
    Because it's fun to have money!
    0/70 August GC
    68.35/70 July GC
    January-June 2019 = 356.94/420

    • thriftwizard
    • By thriftwizard 1st Jul 19, 1:18 PM
    • 3,086 Posts
    • 37,962 Thanks
    thriftwizard
    Eeeek! Have added a round 100 to my total, pending a Final Reckoning with DD1; we've just done the monthly non-perishables run to L1dls, where she was acquiring bits for her party next weekend. The total spend was 106, of which she thinks a mere 6 was hers. But our normal spend is 70-80... we'll go through the receipt together...
    Angie

    GC Aug 19 - 350.18/450
    2019 Fashion on the Ration Challenge: 39 coupons left out of 66

    (Money's just a substitute for time & talent...)
    • Saver.The.Taste
    • By Saver.The.Taste 1st Jul 19, 1:39 PM
    • 61 Posts
    • 271 Thanks
    Saver.The.Taste
    Done my monthly shop and did some replenishing of the store cupboard, total has gone very close to budget already, but stocked up heavily on my oat milk, so will only need bread for the rest of the month and maybe some veg, still going to be running close to the line though!

    118.76 spent out of 126
    July Bring Your Lunch To Work 0/16
    July Grocery Challenge 118.76/126 94%
    July No Spend Days 0/18
    • Doom_and_Gloom
    • By Doom_and_Gloom 1st Jul 19, 2:34 PM
    • 3,816 Posts
    • 13,138 Thanks
    Doom_and_Gloom
    Month started for us today and we have spent 7.92.

    OH is having dinner at his parents tonight.
    I'm having pasta salad tonight.

    I have soya beans soaking right now so I can make soya milk tomorrow. I will use the okara from it for the vegetable Bolognese planned to make okara balls.

    Meal plan for my dinners for the week.
    Pasta salad
    Balsamic veggie pasta
    Vegetable Bolognese
    Vegetable fajitas
    Vegetable burritos
    Burrito/fajita bowl
    Vegan pizza, salad and chips

    I have most of what is needed for the dinners in already. Hopefully it will be a cheap week.

    7.92/200
    192.08 left.

    ETA - I saved the aquafaba from the chickpeas used in the pasta salad. I will make mayonnaise out of it tomorrow.
    Last edited by Doom_and_Gloom; 01-07-2019 at 6:05 PM.
    I am a vegan woman. My OH is a lovely omni guy
    • dan958
    • By dan958 1st Jul 19, 3:47 PM
    • 209 Posts
    • 393 Thanks
    dan958
    Month has started. Lets try and do 120.

    This will be my first month doing this, so lets hope I can stick to this budget.
    • PipneyJane
    • By PipneyJane 1st Jul 19, 5:09 PM
    • 1,261 Posts
    • 9,321 Thanks
    PipneyJane
    Afternoon All.

    Ive got 3 spends to declare from the weekend: 10.30 spent on fresh veg at the farm shop, 11.74 at Lidl (mainly on cheddar, butter, toiletries and squash) and 40.41 on our main shop for the month at MrTs. This means weve spent 62.45/120, with 57.55 to last for the rest of the month.

    - 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
    • CRANKY40
    • By CRANKY40 1st Jul 19, 10:42 PM
    • 3,344 Posts
    • 36,567 Thanks
    CRANKY40
    Hello everyone and thanks for the thread Elsiepac. I really need to join in this month please. My grocery cupboards have far too much in them and some of it needs using up. Meals are a bit chaotic as I have a 14 year old son who would happily eat pasta with a tomato based sauce every night if I let him and then there's me - I'm almost permanently engaged in an attempt to lose weight.

    I did join the grocery challenge at the beginning of the year but due to circumstances I stopped keeping proper track of food spending. One of my closest friends was very ill so I was spending money on treats and on making treats for her (it was cancer so although she was ill, the massive doses of steroids that she was taking made her very hungry). I also started working in April. Until then I'd spent 9 years being a stay at home mum after being widowed when my ds was 4 (I tried to keep working at the time but holiday time childcare was unavailable so gave up almost 9 months after being widowed).

    It would be easy to use the extra money from my wages for convenience/junk food and to some extent I did when my friend was ill and we spent a lot of time hospital visiting. We also ate a fair bit of junk food/takeaway rubbish the week after my friend died. I'm hoping to record our meals every day on here to make myself accountable and also to stick to the budget that I will set myself and hopefully to come in under budget.

    July is a 5 week month for me so I will start with a budget of 300 please. That will be food/toiletries etc for me, ds and food/litter for 1 cat.
    Last edited by CRANKY40; 02-07-2019 at 8:11 AM.
    • pamsdish
    • By pamsdish 2nd Jul 19, 6:39 AM
    • 1,315 Posts
    • 8,151 Thanks
    pamsdish
    Spent about 7.50 in Asda on Sunday, 2 packs of y.s. pork chops and 2 packs of pigs liver, vacumn packed and frozen 8 nice thick chops and 4 paacks of liver. With the spend in Aldi last week will update signature 15
    2018 2285/2149
    2019 2000=878-53=825-20=805-25=671-19=652
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