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    • elsiepac
    • By elsiepac 28th Jul 18, 11:09 PM
    • 1,571Posts
    • 11,585Thanks
    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 2
    • CRANKY40
    • By CRANKY40 25th Dec 18, 9:37 PM
    • 3,038 Posts
    • 33,362 Thanks
    Happy Christmas all and thanks for the thread Elsiepac. 200 for me for January please.
    Weight loss 2019 2 lbs
    January '19 GC 109.98/200.00
    Freezer shop fund 15 Celebration fund 15
    • ChangeofFocus
    • By ChangeofFocus 25th Dec 18, 9:58 PM
    • 8 Posts
    • 129 Thanks
    I'd love to join in if that's ok please, started last year but only just now finding some semblance of normal again since our 2nd daughters arrival in October and really do need to get a grip back on our finances.

    We'll be aiming to come in under 240 for January please.
    • beenthere_donethat
    • By beenthere_donethat 26th Dec 18, 7:26 AM
    • 635 Posts
    • 209,642 Thanks
    New year, new start - hopefully

    I really want to try and cut our grocery spending next year so aiming for 350.00 for January, please
    If you dont follow your heart, you might spend the rest of your life wishing you had.
    • PipneyJane
    • By PipneyJane 26th Dec 18, 8:09 AM
    • 877 Posts
    • 6,483 Thanks
    Happy Xmas morning all and thanks elsiepac for starting the new year and new thread. Welcome to all the newcomers and all the old usuals.

    Please put me down for 350 lasting January 1st to January 30th. This will be the last month OH and I share together for a while because Im returning to America for a few months before we get married later in 2019. Ill be posting in dollars after January for a while. This also means that January is the last month in our apartment and were going to eat down the stores to avoid moving things!
    Originally posted by JingsMyBucket

    Congratulations Jings!

    - 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
    • Suffolk lass
    • By Suffolk lass 26th Dec 18, 8:36 AM
    • 2,343 Posts
    • 23,736 Thanks
    Suffolk lass
    Please can you add me to the annual budget group - I will go for 3000 in 2019 please. I will divide this by 15 so my monthly aim is 200 with 200 for my stores, 200 for Christmas and the last 200 to cover any bargains I need to have (YS etc). - I recommend this system to anyone who is looking to take it to the next level - you can easily adjust your pots size but it is good to know they are there
    MFiT T4 #2 90.89% after Q11 against target of 60k balance - Mortgage Free Wannabes 2019 #107
    Save 12k in 2019 - #68 target is 7k (Save 12k in 2018 saved 115.95% 13,914.45)
    OS Grocery Challenge 2019 target is 3k (2018 spent 2,684.95/3,000 including stores 89.5%)
    My DFD is here
    • carolinerunner
    • By carolinerunner 26th Dec 18, 10:04 AM
    • 488 Posts
    • 6,303 Thanks
    I am so done with December. Daren't even add it up. Please can you put me down for 500 for January, planning a dry and mainly veggie one, which should reduce costs, though not all my family will be up for that all the time, so we will see.

    Happy remainder of the festive season all!
    Erratically money saving
    Aiming for 500 for January 2019, spend so far 73.50
    • Cheapskate
    • By Cheapskate 26th Dec 18, 1:37 PM
    • 1,648 Posts
    • 20,227 Thanks
    Afternoon everyone

    Please can I go down for 300 for January? I'm hoping to come in well under, but just in case...

    Our budgets have to be slashed all round in the New Year, and I know the food bill is somewhere I can make huge improvements!

    We have plenty of food in the fridge, freezer, and cupboards, should be able to keep to this challenge next year!

    A xo
    Jan GC 61.89/300
    Decluttering 109/2019 items this year
    • candygirl
    • By candygirl 26th Dec 18, 1:51 PM
    • 27,003 Posts
    • 113,173 Thanks
    Can I aim for 120 for Jan please? Am only starting on the 1st though, but already know I've come in under for Dec, even though I need dog food , n bread this week
    "You can't stop the waves, but you can learn to surf"

    (Kabat-Zinn 2004)
    • Rachiedabbler70
    • By Rachiedabbler70 26th Dec 18, 4:38 PM
    • 246 Posts
    • 2,252 Thanks
    Thanks Elsiepac for setting up January thread. I'm going to aim for 270 for the month for 3 adults and a rabbit. All food, toiletries, clothes and dishwashing etc. I'm also hoping to stockpile a small amount of food as stocks very low after December 😀
    Good luck everyone xx
    Blitz that mortgage
    Jun 2016 152,000
    Jan 2019 119,187.35 (21.59% paid)
    MFW 2019 #169 697.67/8,000 (8.7%)
    Jan GC 118.62/270
    Mortgage neutral savings pot 8,518/19,000 4.1.19
    • Pixie Fairydust
    • By Pixie Fairydust 26th Dec 18, 6:11 PM
    • 248 Posts
    • 3,672 Thanks
    Pixie Fairydust
    January Budget
    Hi Im starting 2019 as I mean to go on! In some sort of control of my finances! Im scared to look at my online banking

    Could you please put me down for 120 for January?

    Thank you.
    P xx
    It's the most wonderful time of the year!
    Bears, Beets, Battlestar Galactica!
    I wish you were here.
    But you're not, you're there.
    And there doesn't know how lucky it is.

    • elsiepac
    • By elsiepac 26th Dec 18, 10:48 PM
    • 1,571 Posts
    • 11,585 Thanks
    This will be the last month OH and I share together for a while because I’m returning to America for a few months before we get married later in 2019. I’ll be posting in dollars after January for a while. This also means that January is the last month in our apartment and we’re going to eat down the stores to avoid moving things!
    Originally posted by JingsMyBucket
    How exciting Jings, Congratulations!

    Welcome to everyone so far, new and returning GCers!

    My budget for January is 287.50 from 20 December to 24 January - extortionately high but covered a lot of Christmas extras.

    In reality, for the remaining 4 weeks in my budget, I have 115.39. That's 3 weeks at 30 and 1 at 25.39. I got really out of control and lost track in 2018, coming in over every single month due to lack of discipline and poor planning, but I truly need to get back in control in every area of my life really!! Will be going to back to posting my old style updates so I see where I am very visually!

    January 2019

    20 Dec - 26 Dec...172.11...172.11
    27 Dec - 02 Jan...25.39....
    03 Jan - 09 Jan...30.00....
    10 Jan - 16 Jan...30.00....
    17 Jan - 24 Jan...30.00....

    Budgets updated to here!

    Last edited by elsiepac; 27-12-2018 at 12:15 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
    • ma-ri-ella
    • By ma-ri-ella 26th Dec 18, 11:52 PM
    • 949 Posts
    • 9,140 Thanks
    Trying for 31 pounds in jan. I did a massive cupboard shop last month when i had double discount at work so in theory just need fresh stuff
    365 a year spend challenge - this has included food/clothes/beauty?? who knows where I am
    20,000 step a day challenge
    • Pixie Fairydust
    • By Pixie Fairydust 27th Dec 18, 10:33 AM
    • 248 Posts
    • 3,672 Thanks
    Pixie Fairydust
    Thanks Elsiepac for adding my budget to the list!

    Im off work all week so intend to do a freezer/cupboard inventory and then a meal plan!

    My son has friends over on NYE so may need some nibbles!

    Have a good day, esp if back at work!

    It's the most wonderful time of the year!
    Bears, Beets, Battlestar Galactica!
    I wish you were here.
    But you're not, you're there.
    And there doesn't know how lucky it is.

    • monks
    • By monks 27th Dec 18, 1:57 PM
    • 156 Posts
    • 1,366 Thanks
    Please could you put me down for *** 3000*** for the year again and thank you for running this thread. Wishing everyone a happy new year in advance☺️
    Annual GC 96.25/40.00/3000
    Nsd 9/16
    EF#176 - 1000/1000
    Weight loss 0/6
    Clutter free challenge169/2019
    • Highland Fling
    • By Highland Fling 27th Dec 18, 3:11 PM
    • 101 Posts
    • 1,226 Thanks
    Highland Fling
    Hi everyone
    can Highland Fling January GC target be 100.
    • taka
    • By taka 27th Dec 18, 6:19 PM
    • 3,191 Posts
    • 16,781 Thanks
    Hi Can I be put down for 161.20 please for Jan (calendar month). It is a really annoying number but I've been on 5 a day for the last 3 years and am now struggling a bit to stick to this so I'm upping it to 5.20 a day!

    I definitely need to be a bit more organised and do at least a loose meal plan. I usually eat at my Dad's a few times a week which complicates things. I don't always know which day I'll go round until I've finished work that day, or even how many times I need to go round in any given week. (He's not very well & has good days and bad - I'm sort of his carer now). Sometimes he pays for the food for those days and sometimes I do, but when I pay (or pick up the odd bits of food for him for the next few days) it is often bought en route as I don't know what he has in or needs in advance, and the cost really adds up. I need to make sure I get these bits in Aldi / Lidl or similar where poss, or cook stuff in advance to fill his freezer and just heat / cook that. We've catalogued his freezer and we both have access to the list via an app which helps, but I still need to go through his cupboards and list all the foods that he has no idea how to cook so will only be used up when I'm there!

    I've also catalogued my freezer too... I forsee falafels a lot in the next few weeks!
    2019 MFW #126 34.72/500
    MFiT-4 no 30
    You can't fly with one foot on the ground!
    • Novice investor101
    • By Novice investor101 27th Dec 18, 6:31 PM
    • 396 Posts
    • 1,243 Thanks
    Novice investor101
    My paydays run from 27th to the 27th so I'm into my January grocery budget.
    Spent 1.84/50.00 today on some eggs & a small reduced loaf of bread. Reduced price 69p, full price &1.75! Blooming thing is tiny. Warbies "old English white".
    Save 12k in 2019. #25 0/2000

    January Grocery Challenge 14.11/50.00
    • K9sandFelines
    • By K9sandFelines 27th Dec 18, 6:31 PM
    • 2,062 Posts
    • 17,792 Thanks
    Aiming for 200 for January. Will see how i get on from there.
    This is for food and drink only. It does not include toiletries/cleaning or pet food.

    I'm hoping Brexit and an impending house move in the summer, doesn't wreck all my hard work. It's taken me years to get where i am now.
    GC 2017 3,434.09 GC 2018 2,250.95 GC 2019 Jan 88.42/200
    ~ Still learning the art of frugality ~
    • Money_mess
    • By Money_mess 27th Dec 18, 6:32 PM
    • 30 Posts
    • 124 Thanks
    Hi I will aim for 450 for the whole of January. really hoping to start managing a bit better. Family of 6. will see how it goes!!
    • carolinerunner
    • By carolinerunner 27th Dec 18, 6:59 PM
    • 488 Posts
    • 6,303 Thanks
    I forsee falafels a lot in the next few weeks! [/FONT]
    Originally posted by taka
    Taka, why falafels? I like them, so I'm curious!

    PipneyJane, I love your signature comment btw!! My physio/pilates teacher is that kind of person too
    Last edited by carolinerunner; 27-12-2018 at 7:02 PM.
    Erratically money saving
    Aiming for 500 for January 2019, spend so far 73.50
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