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@.

Search
  • FIRST POST
    • elsiepac
    • By elsiepac 28th Jul 18, 10:09 PM
    • 1,698Posts
    • 12,516Thanks
    elsiepac
    May 2019 Grocery Challenge
    • #1
    • 28th Jul 18, 10:09 PM
    May 2019 Grocery Challenge 28th Jul 18 at 10:09 PM
    Hi everyone,

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

    If your new month starts early feel free to join this thread, or if you're still working on your April budget, then keep on posting in the April 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; 18-04-2019 at 9:09 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
    • candygirl
    • By candygirl 29th Apr 19, 2:14 AM
    • 27,393 Posts
    • 116,547 Thanks
    candygirl
    Due to a few hiccups recently in my life, i've fallen right off the OS wagon.So can you put me down for 120 for May please?
    I'm doing WW , n had batch cooked loads of healthy soups, curries, chillis etc, bunged them in the freezer, then it broke down, so I had to bin most of it
    Onwards n upwards anyway
    "You can't stop the waves, but you can learn to surf"

    (Kabat-Zinn 2004)
    • elsiepac
    • By elsiepac 29th Apr 19, 6:59 AM
    • 1,698 Posts
    • 12,516 Thanks
    elsiepac
    I know i have seen organic wholesalers
    Originally posted by ditty1234
    Suma is a big one (based just down the road from me actually!)

    Elsie, so glad you didn't have to wait too long for your car replacing.
    Originally posted by Vanlady
    Thanks! It feels so good to have a decent car again and it's sooo nice, I love it!

    There you go Vanlady - Elsiepac will definitely see this one
    Originally posted by Suffolk lass
    I certainly did!!

    Due to a few hiccups recently in my life, i've fallen right off the OS wagon.
    I'm doing WW , n had batch cooked loads of healthy soups, curries, chillis etc, bunged them in the freezer, then it broke down, so I had to bin most of it
    Originally posted by candygirl
    Hope things start to look brighter soon. I'd be so annoyed about the freezer too! hope it's fixed now
    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
    • candygirl
    • By candygirl 29th Apr 19, 9:01 AM
    • 27,393 Posts
    • 116,547 Thanks
    candygirl
    Hope things start to look brighter soon. I'd be so annoyed about the freezer too! hope it's fixed now [/QUOTE]

    I sourced a reconditioned one, until I have my kitchen redone in 6 months
    "You can't stop the waves, but you can learn to surf"

    (Kabat-Zinn 2004)
    • tighteningthebelt
    • By tighteningthebelt 29th Apr 19, 9:17 AM
    • 242 Posts
    • 2,594 Thanks
    tighteningthebelt
    I've been reading up on food waste at a national level (shocking). I'm going to do a food waste audit for my house through May. I know it's not exactly a grocery challenge, but there's a lot of overlap. Does anyone fancy joining me? I can start a new thread if people feel not appropriate on here, or that it will clutter the thread up.
    "Victory is won not in miles but in inches. Win a little now, hold your ground, and later, win a little more" Louis L'Amour
    GC (annual budget) 1195.87 left of 1800
    • Suffolk lass
    • By Suffolk lass 29th Apr 19, 9:42 AM
    • 2,926 Posts
    • 27,493 Thanks
    Suffolk lass
    I've been reading up on food waste at a national level (shocking). I'm going to do a food waste audit for my house through May. I know it's not exactly a grocery challenge, but there's a lot of overlap. Does anyone fancy joining me? I can start a new thread if people feel not appropriate on here, or that it will clutter the thread up.
    Originally posted by tighteningthebelt
    I will happily follow your thread but I have reduced my food waste to plate scrapings (when DS comes round), meat and fish bones (after making stock)and fruit/vegetable peelings (the latter of which I compost). I might be able to offer a few ideas on how to minimise it for others, if you think that is helpful.
    MFIT T5 target to clear our mortgage completely (59,998) Q1 26,828 or 44.71% paid - Mortgage Free Wannabes 2019 #37 29,215.99 after May
    Save 12k in 2019 - #68 target is 7k 4,998.99 or 71.41% after May
    OS Grocery Challenge 2019 target is 3k - 36.16% spent so far, after May
    My DFD is here
    • euronorris
    • By euronorris 30th Apr 19, 11:52 AM
    • 10,198 Posts
    • 47,709 Thanks
    euronorris
    Thanks vanlady. I haven't always been able to get the yellow sticker items myself. I've managed a few more since the easter weekend, but mostly bakery goods (warburtons bread for 25p a loaf, for example). I've been into Morries a few times since, and whilst they've had chilled stuff reduced, they haven't been reduced very much (packs of bacon the other day reduced from 2 to 1.50, but they had big red stickers on them that said 2 for 3 anyway!). So I've held out. Think I need to try a bit later in the day.


    26.52 - Morries - Nappies for the month, conditioner, gammon joint (was slow cooked yesterday), 2 packs of ham, potatoes, bananas and some yellow stickered bread.
    55.27 - Farmfoods - my big shop of the month. Fizzy pop for the month, beans, cheese, sugar, peperamis (for the little'un), sausages, coffee, birds eye crispy chicken grills, crisps, eggs (for DH to make his own fish bait with), ice poles. Used the 5 off voucher. Almost everything here was multibuys, and I couldn't get cheaper elsewhere. Multibuy savings totalled 10.72.
    3.32 - Morries - yellow sticker pork sausagemeat, choccy biccies, part baked baguettes (keep some in stock for days out/quick lunches)
    1.54 - Morris - Milk and carrots
    1.44 - Lidl - (orange stickered) Milk and broccoli


    New total - 122.40


    Freezers are rammed! lol So are cupboards now too. Had slow cooked gammon with mashed potato, carrots and gravy. Plenty of gammon left over for lunch sandwiches. Made a batch of cottage pie last night, so we have that for dinner. And I've got a 20p vegetable soup in the slow cooker today (reduced veg soup pack from Lidl with some free chicken stock that MIL gave me ages ago and has been in the freezer ever since). That'll do for some lovely lunches


    Plan now is to not go over 150 before 17th May (holiday date). SO MUCH food in the house, I only need to top up on fresh fruit, bread, milk and maybe a bit of veg (as we get through it).


    Have been walking to and from work. This saves fuel, wear and tear on car, is healthier for me, frees up a space for someone else at the office, stops me shopping at sainsburys unnecessarily (it's further to walk) and means DH has the car available to take DD out further afield/to the zoo.


    Total: 34.31/300
    May Grocery challenge: 192.98/300
    • Lauralozzle
    • By Lauralozzle 30th Apr 19, 5:55 PM
    • 633 Posts
    • 5,606 Thanks
    Lauralozzle
    Well done Lauralozzle - it's a real boost when you come in either below, or only just above your budget. And the fact that you are following, tracking and recording your progress is what this thread is all about
    Originally posted by Suffolk lass
    Thank you! I'm still amazed I managed it!

    Reporting a NSD today. Good start to the month!
    Grocery Budget: 52.23/300.00 | NSD: 5/16 |
    Car Finance: 4,682 (7.9% APR) | Mortgage: 108,097.94 (2.79% APR) |
    • LauraWxx
    • By LauraWxx 30th Apr 19, 7:26 PM
    • 565 Posts
    • 1,475 Thanks
    LauraWxx
    Managed to stay roughly inline with April, although i slightly lost track in the last week.
    So target for May is 500 again please. We go on holiday the 28th, so whilst I think I should be able to come in nearer 450, we do need to stock up on dog food before we go away, which comes out of the shopping budget.

    Spending Tracker for May

    Remaining balance +2.83
    Coop (top up shop) -6.99
    Dog Food -41.99
    Asda delivery pass -5.00

    Balance - 448.83 / 500 target
    2019 Totals: Savings: 929.53 / Mortgage OP - 746.32

    Grocery challange April: 130.17of 500 target remaining
    • tighteningthebelt
    • By tighteningthebelt 30th Apr 19, 8:04 PM
    • 242 Posts
    • 2,594 Thanks
    tighteningthebelt
    Link to my food waste audit/diary thread
    Hi, here's a link to my May 2019 food waste audit/diary thread, please feel free to visit or join in with me. I'm only doing the one month.

    https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?p=75761766#post75761766
    "Victory is won not in miles but in inches. Win a little now, hold your ground, and later, win a little more" Louis L'Amour
    GC (annual budget) 1195.87 left of 1800
    • pamsdish
    • By pamsdish 1st May 19, 7:13 AM
    • 1,256 Posts
    • 7,897 Thanks
    pamsdish
    First spend of May credit card bill for dog food, don`t know why I put it on my card as it really annoys me when it`s paid, better debit card it`s just gone then, 75.12, which included a bag of special diet for a friend, she gave me the cash right away, but that`s long spent.
    2018 2285/2149
    2019 2000=1071-15=1056-11=1045-6=1039-20=1019-59=960-59=901
    • Puddleglum
    • By Puddleglum 1st May 19, 8:50 AM
    • 673 Posts
    • 5,142 Thanks
    Puddleglum
    Reporting my first spend for May. Went to the very chilly country and spent 17.56 on chicken, burgers, eggs and veg. I reckon that I've got 8 breakfasts and protein for at least 10 dinners. The veg should last 4 days so I will need to top up on that soon but next week's spend should be fairly low.

    (Puddleglum wanders off to plot cunning plan to earn more money and afford better food)
    "A thousand candles can be lit from a single candle without shortening the life of that candle."

    April 2019 - pick myself up, dust myself down and give myself a stern talking to.
    Grocery spend 5814/80
    • miss saveapenny
    • By miss saveapenny 1st May 19, 10:20 AM
    • 33 Posts
    • 199 Thanks
    miss saveapenny
    I’m back after 7 years being self employed .....��
    Please put me down for 400.....tried to put it in red but it’s not working for me ��. Can anyone advise please
    • MissDotty93
    • By MissDotty93 1st May 19, 11:16 AM
    • 3 Posts
    • 11 Thanks
    MissDotty93
    Please put me down for 240 this month, its my first month giving this a go
    • Suffolk lass
    • By Suffolk lass 1st May 19, 11:24 AM
    • 2,926 Posts
    • 27,493 Thanks
    Suffolk lass
    Im back after 7 years being self employed .....��
    Please put me down for 400.....tried to put it in red but its not working for me ��. Can anyone advise please
    Originally posted by miss saveapenny
    Possibly your phone interface. I have boosted it for you though so don't worry
    MFIT T5 target to clear our mortgage completely (59,998) Q1 26,828 or 44.71% paid - Mortgage Free Wannabes 2019 #37 29,215.99 after May
    Save 12k in 2019 - #68 target is 7k 4,998.99 or 71.41% after May
    OS Grocery Challenge 2019 target is 3k - 36.16% spent so far, after May
    My DFD is here
    • Suffolk lass
    • By Suffolk lass 1st May 19, 11:26 AM
    • 2,926 Posts
    • 27,493 Thanks
    Suffolk lass
    Please put me down for 240 this month, its my first month giving this a go
    Originally posted by MissDotty93
    Welcome! Do have a read of the first few posts for ideas to help you - oldies but goodies. Lots of help if you want it, a place to post if you just want to keep your records here
    MFIT T5 target to clear our mortgage completely (59,998) Q1 26,828 or 44.71% paid - Mortgage Free Wannabes 2019 #37 29,215.99 after May
    Save 12k in 2019 - #68 target is 7k 4,998.99 or 71.41% after May
    OS Grocery Challenge 2019 target is 3k - 36.16% spent so far, after May
    My DFD is here
    • FoxFace
    • By FoxFace 1st May 19, 12:07 PM
    • 282 Posts
    • 3,122 Thanks
    FoxFace
    Hi everyone!

    I haven't been around in forever, but am back! Just need a bit more motivation to not buy tons of takeaways... I usually stick to my grocery budget, but then end up not cooking and buying junk.

    Can you put me down for 350 for May please? Aiming for 80.00p per week for groceries and a 30 contingency for emergencies
    Debt Free Wannabe 21.05.2017
    Total Starting Debt = 11,020.01p Currently: 7282.99p
    ~Grocery Challenge: May: 26.77p/350.00p~
    ~Fox's Vegan Recipes~

    • miss saveapenny
    • By miss saveapenny 1st May 19, 12:13 PM
    • 33 Posts
    • 199 Thanks
    miss saveapenny
    Do I have to add my husbands beer costs in there ? Lol
    • euronorris
    • By euronorris 1st May 19, 12:14 PM
    • 10,198 Posts
    • 47,709 Thanks
    euronorris
    Lidl - 1.58 - Bread, Bananas, and a reduced pack of tropical fruit trifles (X3) for 20p.


    New total: 123.98/300
    May Grocery challenge: 192.98/300
    • JingsMyBucket
    • By JingsMyBucket 1st May 19, 12:31 PM
    • 396 Posts
    • 4,367 Thanks
    JingsMyBucket
    Happy May everyone! @elsiepac could you please put me down for $450 for this month, May 1st to May 27th? I still need to tally up April and finish it off and OH/new husband is still here with me in New York City. He flies back to Scotland next Tuesday and I'll go visit him at the end of the month. So much in motion right now!
    MAY19 GC: $182.18/$450.00 // 10/12 NSD
    APR19 GC: $722.15/$500.00
    MAR 19 GC: $312.83/$300.00 // 12/12 NSD
    Save 12K in 2019 - $633.95/$12,000 #123 5.2% )
    • candygirl
    • By candygirl 1st May 19, 4:12 PM
    • 27,393 Posts
    • 116,547 Thanks
    candygirl
    Have spent 43 in Morrison's, n 27 in Aldi today .Have got full cupboards, fridge n freezer now, so hopefully wont have to spend a lot more this month.
    71/120
    "You can't stop the waves, but you can learn to surf"

    (Kabat-Zinn 2004)
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

160Posts Today

1,522Users online

Martin's Twitter
  • So how much work do I actually do on the MSE weekly email these days, now I?m in the exhaulted position of ?Executi? https://t.co/b8XWxPiUwn

  • Dear gumtree - I feel I've been sold a kipper. You're advertising has my face on it but I don't do adverts. If yo? https://t.co/kJAuziloOM

  • RT @MoneySavingExp: ????This chap ????@MSE_GuyAnker is responsible for delivering MSE's Weekly Email to 14 million people, 52 weeks of the year.?

  • Follow Martin