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    • elsiepac
    • By elsiepac 28th Jul 18, 11:09 PM
    • 1,626Posts
    • 11,990Thanks
    January 2019 Grocery Challenge
    • #1
    • 28th Jul 18, 11:09 PM
    January 2019 Grocery Challenge 28th Jul 18 at 11:09 PM
    Hi everyone,

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

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

    As always this challenge is to reduce your own grocery budget to levels that you will be pleased with, not forgetting that we always recommend that you stay inside your own comfort levels and take things gently one step at a time. Remember that this is not a'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,
    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!

    Last edited by elsiepac; 24-12-2018 at 10:23 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 (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: Jan 19 £0/£tbc
    Vegan 27-8-13
Page 17
    • shabbychic12
    • By shabbychic12 11th Jan 19, 5:50 PM
    • 137 Posts
    • 1,236 Thanks
    Well lve got to the end of the week having spent 0 on food this week. As everyone says planning is the key to success and this weeks proved it for me. I've even managed 4 nsds,
    wonders never cease x
    2019 early retirement wannabe
    Save £12K in 2019 no 94
    All this saving l'm turning into my Dad
    • Hollyberry
    • By Hollyberry 11th Jan 19, 5:58 PM
    • 821 Posts
    • 4,646 Thanks
    Now at £181/£320 for January. The cupboards and freezer are pretty full, but the fridge is looking empty enough that the remaining milk, cucumber, salad leaves and cheese are getting lonely on their individual shelves. So there will be more fresh arriving tomorrow, including some store cupboard bargains. That will then leave me enough budget for two more shops of fresh stuff, and we'll still have plenty in the cupboards and freezer at the end of the month to contribute to February's meals.
    • YorksLass
    • By YorksLass 11th Jan 19, 6:31 PM
    • 508 Posts
    • 8,323 Thanks
    My word, this thread moves quickly! So many posts in just a week.

    Two spends to report for my Week 2. Today's was a small one of £7.25 at the market for potatoes, eggs, spring greens, onions, carrots and sandwich meats.

    Tuesday's was somewhat larger at £66.78 a Sainsbobs delivery of mainly store cupboard items. Some were things I'd run out of or was getting short of, eg sugar, olive oil, rice, pasta, noodles, oats etc and the rest was tinned F&V for my Brexit stock. I've noticed a few things jumping up in price already so I'm happy to stock up now before the event - if it happens at all.

    I tend to buy the biggest bags I can of things like rice, sugar, pulses etc as it (generally) works out cheaper and it means I don't have to carry it home. Not having a car, I'd end up getting a taxi anyway, so I don't object to paying for the delivery. If I can book a £1 delivery slot it's worth it to me.

    Next month I'll be looking at stocking up on toilet rolls, tissues and teabags and then I think I'll be OK for quite some time to come. Everything's long dated (2021/2) and it will all get used over the course of time.
    Be kind to others and to yourself too. Life has its ups and downs, use the ups to overcome the downs!
    Mar: £0/£132 and 0/28 NSDs
    2019 to date: £57.81 under budget (2018: £172.45 under budget)

    • candygirl
    • By candygirl 11th Jan 19, 6:49 PM
    • 27,244 Posts
    • 115,572 Thanks
    We spent £12.97 since last post.

    For dinner I'm having shepherdless pie mix with mash potatoes. May spice it up with a bit of sriracha as will be third day in a row.
    OH is going to his parents. They'll feed him there.

    £83.48 left
    Originally posted by Doom_and_Gloom
    Oooh I love shepherdless pie.
    "You can't stop the waves, but you can learn to surf"

    (Kabat-Zinn 2004)
    • thriftwizard
    • By thriftwizard 11th Jan 19, 7:06 PM
    • 2,938 Posts
    • 36,750 Thanks
    Stuck to my target & spent £36.55 at the market this morning, leaving me £20 for the butcher tomorrow. I don't know whether DS3 & his beloved will be joining us on Sunday; if not,it'll be a lamb roast, but if they are, it'll be beef. Hopefully he'll let me know in good time, whilst the butcher still has sensibly-sized joints.

    GC Mar 19 - £360.50/£450 "Entertainments" £40/£50
    Bulk-buy purse '19 £250, pet & livestock food '19 £58/£400

    Money's just a substitute for time & talent...
    • dingdongsaving
    • By dingdongsaving 11th Jan 19, 8:19 PM
    • 374 Posts
    • 4,699 Thanks
    Grocery shop delivered and all put away. Nothing spent on grocery stock since I last posted.
    Total spend at £186.42.
    We track our no spend days too but these are no spends beyond our direct debits (electricity etc) and not just grocery no spends. 7 for the month so far and hoping to improve this over the next week.
    Happy Friday everyone!
    • JingsMyBucket
    • By JingsMyBucket 11th Jan 19, 11:26 PM
    • 368 Posts
    • 4,109 Thanks
    Evening everyone. OH asked me if I wanted something at Delhaize on his way home so asked for a bag of cheese puffs and never mind if they didnít have any. He came home with Ä12.01 of junk food and drinks, none of which included my blasted cheese puffs. I donít think he can walk into a store and just buy one thing or the actual item thatís been requested. Lesson learned. The next time he asks I'll just say no. Iíve seen the pattern for the past few months and Iím just going to skip asking him to get stuff.

    Tomorrow I might get some ground beef but not sure yet. Iím really mentally exhausted after a stressful week and canít think straight.

    Ä89.68 / Ä350.00
    6/12 NSDs
    MAR 19 GC: $58.86/$300.00 // 0/12 NSD
    FEB 19 GC: $451.32/$450.00 // 15/10 NSD
    JAN 19 GC: Ä104.88/Ä350.00 // 7/12 NSD
    Save 12K in 2019 - $132.86/$12,000 #123 (1.1% )
    • Wysiwyg49
    • By Wysiwyg49 12th Jan 19, 11:53 AM
    • 198 Posts
    • 1,915 Thanks
    Hi all
    Trying this on iPad so hope it works ok- sitting at a PC feels too much like work on a Saturday!

    Did an Ald1 and Tesc0 shop last weekend and only spent £46.92 but topped up 3 times with chicken and extra bits for recipes like tortilla chips when I fancied making chilli - so total for week is £78.32 which isnít bad.

    Easy peel oranges from Ald1 totally tasteless though so most have gone in the bin

    Must check back what my budget is and update sig!
    GC Feb 2019 (to 10th) £397.07/£300
    • Lifeisforliving19
    • By Lifeisforliving19 12th Jan 19, 12:15 PM
    • 287 Posts
    • 1,988 Thanks
    Some items missing from Click and Collect and some more OOS since I ordered...really going off Asda. Wouldn't have used them if I had felt ok, just couldn't be bothered to go round the shop and our Mr M, Mr S and Mr T, don't do click and collect.
    So quick nip into local butcher and local "sell everything" discount store, My budget now stands at £86.52/£200.

    Freezer is full enough to last a while, so hoping next week might just be bread, fruit and veg. I am really pleased with how well I am doing and am sure I can get this down even more if I put my mind to it once I am feeling 100% better.

    DMP 2015 £57,549, now £42,310 (26% paid)
    EF £300 Mortgage OP's this year £60
    Christmas 2019 £20 SPC #110....keeping it a surprise
    There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow, Shining at the End of Every Day!

    • MrsLottie
    • By MrsLottie 12th Jan 19, 12:34 PM
    • 86 Posts
    • 1,089 Thanks
    Small spend of £10.71 in Asda yesterday so well on track to stay in budget so far this month £40/£250 .Will need to shop again probably on Monday .
    • thriftwizard
    • By thriftwizard 12th Jan 19, 12:52 PM
    • 2,938 Posts
    • 36,750 Thanks
    A slight overspend of £28 this morning, £22 on the meat (acceptable) and £6 on "posh" bread (dodgy!) of which half is already in the freezer. That was a fresh large sourdough and a 2-day-old "toasting" loaf, some of which is about to be reduced to breadcrumbs & frozen for future reference. The rest is for a bread-&-butter pudding to cheer OH up; he's not a fan of grey January days, but HM pudding generally has the desired effect!

    Bread should now be sorted for the week; it'll be bananas & other fresh stuff that need topping-up on Tuesday or Wednesday.

    GC Mar 19 - £360.50/£450 "Entertainments" £40/£50
    Bulk-buy purse '19 £250, pet & livestock food '19 £58/£400

    Money's just a substitute for time & talent...
    • awinterstale
    • By awinterstale 12th Jan 19, 2:02 PM
    • 30 Posts
    • 308 Thanks
    Planned spends at the shops this morning.. £5.49 in Tesco and £32.48 in Aldi. Pretty pleased with that, as had hubs with me which normally means extra spends in the Ďmiddleí aisle in Aldi on stuff that we donít really need (that he swears we do haha!). Didnít have breakfast whilst we were out either (sometimes tempted by a Tesco fry-up!), instead we had a really lovely brunch of bubble and squeak (from the freezer made from Christmas Dinner leftovers), sausages, bacon and a fried egg. Not good on the waist line but was extremely yummy all the same! Have a lovely Saturday everyone
    TOTAL DEBT @ 01.01.19. = £30,103.94

    #52 Pay Debt by Xmas 19 - £433.12/£13,000 ; 2019 Annual GC - £116.03/£3000; #3 The 365 day penny challenge £86.38/£667.35
    • ChangeofFocus
    • By ChangeofFocus 12th Jan 19, 5:26 PM
    • 10 Posts
    • 149 Thanks
    Been to Ald! today and spent £39.13 which included stocking up on tinned chickpeas and frozen fish fillets so really happy with that. Also ended up buying a highchair which at £10.99 was too good a price to miss and comes from a different budget so pleased I decided to give the Mr T delivery a miss this week.

    Total so far £133.95/£240 with one shop left before payday so will use the spare budget to restock up on a 10kg sack of rice, macaroni and baking supplies Etc
    • MadamMim2013
    • By MadamMim2013 13th Jan 19, 12:40 AM
    • 760 Posts
    • 9,690 Thanks
    Another NSD yesterday, think it will be again today.
    Iím really pleased with how l am thinking before rushing off to buy little bits and am making use of whatís in house!
    On track to make a saving this month and have decided that Iíll remove what I havenít spent for the month and put into a savings pot for emergencies and perhaps a little pot for fun too!
    "There's a little witch in all of us"
    2018 GC 93 2019 GC 2 March GC £212.12/£300
    : DEBT FREE 06/2018
    • Hopeless Case
    • By Hopeless Case 13th Jan 19, 6:54 AM
    • 942 Posts
    • 5,806 Thanks
    Hopeless Case
    Bit of a spendy week this week, £13.69 on Fri which was all on budget or allowed RTC items - I'm quite stocked up now so apart from dog food, i shouldn't need to spend much this week.

    I've got 3 huge cauliflowers for 30p each to prep and shoehorn into the freezer, a whole chicken and a big pack of mince which will make chilli for at least 3 meals for us, a fish pie made on Friday which will do another 2 meals and maybe lunch for me, so it's up to me to be careful now!

    .....and then there's yesterday, £8.47 basically on sandwiches crisps and chocolate from Mr T breaking all my rules on spending and also trying to cut down on unnecessary packaging . I don't even like shop bought sandwiches, but we were tired and busy and not organised enough!

    £80.69 / £200, 15 days left
    Last edited by Hopeless Case; 13-01-2019 at 6:56 AM.
    Feb GC £54.80/£200
    NSD target: Jan 15/20
    Bring Your Lunch to Work Target Jan 13/18
    £1 a day: Jan £22.7/£35
    Tesco CC Aug 18 £10,151.56 £9753.37 0% 30mnths, First Direct CC Aug 18 £4321.80 £3627.85 0% til Feb 20
    • Wysiwyg49
    • By Wysiwyg49 13th Jan 19, 8:41 AM
    • 198 Posts
    • 1,915 Thanks
    I know exactly what you mean, if I don’t get organised I spend a fortune running out for lunch at weekends. I’ve got into the habit of going to sm on a Sunday but really getting a delivery on Thursday or Friday would be better.

    Spent £20.20 yesterday but this included £6 on dog food which I don’t usually count. Making a list this morning for shopping later and may just plan till Thursday then try getting next weeks’ supplies in before the weekend!

    Also need a plan for the Cheese Mountain - we have so much left, we could invite Wallace and Gromit to stay!
    GC Feb 2019 (to 10th) £397.07/£300
    • Suffolk lass
    • By Suffolk lass 13th Jan 19, 9:17 AM
    • 2,623 Posts
    • 25,619 Thanks
    Suffolk lass

    Also need a plan for the Cheese Mountain - we have so much left, we could invite Wallace and Gromit to stay!
    Originally posted by Wysiwyg49
    I routinely grate hard cheese and freeze it in poly bags that I use to fill the little air-gaps in my freezer! - blue cheese I crumble over things like mac and cheese or cauliflower cheese, or stir into soup in a cup. French cheese are divine with veg sticks after nuking them in the microwave, especially if they are whole.

    As you can tell, we have a mound of cheese too
    MFIT T5 target to clear our mortgage completely (£59,998) - Mortgage Free Wannabes 2019 #37 £23,972.28 after Feb
    Save £12k in 2019 - #68 target is £7k £2543.59 after Feb
    OS Grocery Challenge 2019 target is £3k 20.66% so far, just one March shop left
    My DFD is here
    • Hopeless Case
    • By Hopeless Case 13th Jan 19, 10:41 AM
    • 942 Posts
    • 5,806 Thanks
    Hopeless Case
    We've got a fair bit of cheese left too, using a bit is going for dog treats but good ideas for the rest, we've got almost half a brie left from Christmas which I'll look at heating
    Feb GC £54.80/£200
    NSD target: Jan 15/20
    Bring Your Lunch to Work Target Jan 13/18
    £1 a day: Jan £22.7/£35
    Tesco CC Aug 18 £10,151.56 £9753.37 0% 30mnths, First Direct CC Aug 18 £4321.80 £3627.85 0% til Feb 20
    • Suffolk lass
    • By Suffolk lass 13th Jan 19, 11:27 AM
    • 2,623 Posts
    • 25,619 Thanks
    Suffolk lass
    I spent another £13.50 in Aldo's yesterday and remembered another approx £5 last Monday in Lidl. Added to a bit more for my stores, my spend is now £94.33 for the year to date, or 3.14% of my annual budget.
    MFIT T5 target to clear our mortgage completely (£59,998) - Mortgage Free Wannabes 2019 #37 £23,972.28 after Feb
    Save £12k in 2019 - #68 target is £7k £2543.59 after Feb
    OS Grocery Challenge 2019 target is £3k 20.66% so far, just one March shop left
    My DFD is here
    • Airthrey
    • By Airthrey 13th Jan 19, 11:42 AM
    • 59 Posts
    • 773 Thanks
    Week ending 13 January
    I've finally finished Christmas supplies, including the sprout mountain. I had 4 NSDs and spent a total of £5.82 on the other days on fruit, veg, milk and bread.

    I've wandered round most of the big supermarkets and the discounters and this challenge has helped me focus my mind on not buying stuff just because it's reduced. I have well stocked cupboards and freezer and I'd like them to be emptied enough so I can do a proper inventory. My HM soup lake is going down and I'm working on using up things in the cupboard close to or past their best before dates.
    Mar 2019 GC £88.78/£150
    Feb 2019 GC £101.88/100
    Jan 2019 GC £31.11/£31
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