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    • elsiepac
    • By elsiepac 28th Jul 18, 10:09 PM
    • 1,649Posts
    • 12,202Thanks
    February 2019 Grocery Challenge
    • #1
    • 28th Jul 18, 10:09 PM
    February 2019 Grocery Challenge 28th Jul 18 at 10:09 PM
    Hi everyone,

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

    If your new month starts early feel free to join this thread, or if you're still working on your January budget, then keep on posting in the January 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; 25-02-2019 at 2:18 PM.
    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: Apr 19 £59.94/£200
    Vegan 27-8-13
Page 8
    • Saver.The.Taste
    • By Saver.The.Taste 10th Feb 19, 8:19 PM
    • 42 Posts
    • 180 Thanks
    Did my first food spend of Feb yesterday totalled £63.41, that's a massive shop for me, but hopefully this big but rare will suit me better than little and often. Looking at it this, bar essentials should keep me going for at least 2 weeks. Treated myself to a £3 pasty on the way home for a very rare treat

    February Bring Your Lunch to Work - 5/16
    February No Spend Days - 8/17
    February Grocery Challenge £66.41/£110
    Make £2019 in 2019 NUMBER 57 - £232.32/£2019
    Save 12k in 2019 NUMBER 64 - £589.05/£7500
    • MadamMim2013
    • By MadamMim2013 10th Feb 19, 8:30 PM
    • 772 Posts
    • 9,840 Thanks
    Hi all!
    I hope you are all well, I gave up on forums last year as my Dad was poorly from October and passed away in November so everything went crazy for a while. I am just getting back on top of all my accounts again now so would like to rejoin again!)
    Originally posted by Tales17
    Tales17, Iím sorry to read this, It will have been a difficult few months for you.. take it easy on yourself!

    Iíve had a NSD here Hoping for another tomorrow.. does depend if the DSís decide to go on a milkshake frenzy again though
    "There's a little witch in all of us"
    2018 GC 93 2019 GC 3 April GC £158.88/£300
    : DEBT FREE 06/2018
    • caronc
    • By caronc 11th Feb 19, 11:17 AM
    • 5,234 Posts
    • 32,195 Thanks
    First "proper" shop this month came in at £36 not too bad as it included a bottle of vermouth for cooking with and a large bag of bird food.

    • Save Dosh
    • By Save Dosh 11th Feb 19, 12:03 PM
    • 1,313 Posts
    • 15,681 Thanks
    Save Dosh
    I'm challenging myself to incorporate all the little odds & ends in the freezer into this week's meal plan. Wish me luck!
    Originally posted by YorksLass
    Good luck. It's what I do, makes for some very interesting meals sometimes !!

    I gave up on forums last year as my Dad was poorly from October and passed away in November so everything went crazy for a while.
    Originally posted by Tales17
    Sorry to hear that. Wishing you all well.

    Beyond Meat burgers (OH wants me to try them and report back.
    Originally posted by JingsMyBucket
    Is your OH in UK - they stock them in Tesco. I can highly recommend the 'No Bull' ones from Iceland too, in particular the jalapeno ones, 1/3 of the price as well. Wishing you well with the move.

    Ok, done a few shops. Had to throw out lots of food. My fridge bit of my freezer was intermittently going warm n cool, so got an engineer out. He took off the panel (1 min max), chipped off some ice that had somehow formed (it's a frost free), which was stopping the fan from rotating and screwed the panel back. He was there no more than 15 mins and charged me £120. Anyway, have restocked. I have a couple of friends coming to stay Thursday-Sunday, but won't really have to buy too much. Breakfasts will be some kind of toast - beans on toast, creamy mushrooms, or some houmous/salad concoction, plus I have loads of veggie sausages/burgers/hash browns in the freezer and can knock up an egg free scramble, if needs be, lunches homemade soup/crusty bread/sandwiches/wraps and evening meals, I have a load of cooked veggie mince which can make spag bol, shepherdless pie, jacket potatoes with vegan cheese and salad or wraps, I will make some sweet potato, chickpea & spinach thai green curry from store ingredients and I'm assuming we will eat out lots anyway, so more than covered. So some snacky bits for evening, just in case. Went to Iceland and they had the large pots of Alpro for 50p, dated 16th February, so bought 5 pots and got 6 punnets of raspberries for £1 at the market, which will be frozen. Have a lovely week everyone. Have updated sig.
    April GC - Food £37.40/£80 - Alcohol £14.50/£20
    Bulk Funds - Food £0
    - Alcohol £0
    Save 12k in 2019 £1,300/£5,000 - #155
    • White_musk
    • By White_musk 11th Feb 19, 12:23 PM
    • 166 Posts
    • 1,786 Thanks
    I usually go into town on a Monday but due to spending that bit extra in the village on Friday, I don't need anything urgently. I might go later in the week or just wait until my village shop on Friday. NSD are great.
    Feb 2019 GC £151.53/£300

    God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, wisdom to know the difference.
    • Doom_and_Gloom
    • By Doom_and_Gloom 11th Feb 19, 5:10 PM
    • 3,772 Posts
    • 12,868 Thanks
    Since last post we have spent £33.10.

    For dinner I'm having vegan sausages, smoke paprika sweet potato wedges, beans and salad.
    OH isn't sure what he's having. Probably some of the wedges as he loves them but what with no idea.

    £65.30 left.
    29 year old vegan woman. My OH is a lovely omni guy
    • Merlin's Beard
    • By Merlin's Beard 11th Feb 19, 6:19 PM
    • 266 Posts
    • 2,275 Thanks
    Merlin's Beard
    £11.27 spent, which leaves me with £7.65 for the rest of the month... let's see how that goes
    • MadamMim2013
    • By MadamMim2013 12th Feb 19, 3:51 PM
    • 772 Posts
    • 9,840 Thanks
    Spend of £13.79 between local shop & Waitroose..
    Got a couple of different flavour Keifer to try..
    Adding to total..
    "There's a little witch in all of us"
    2018 GC 93 2019 GC 3 April GC £158.88/£300
    : DEBT FREE 06/2018
    • ma-ri-ella
    • By ma-ri-ella 12th Feb 19, 6:36 PM
    • 968 Posts
    • 9,417 Thanks
    not doing too bad this month. wanted a takeaway tonight and stuck to what was in house :P
    £365 a year spend challenge - this has included food/clothes/beauty?? who knows where I am
    20,000 step a day challenge
    • K9sandFelines
    • By K9sandFelines 12th Feb 19, 7:12 PM
    • 2,111 Posts
    • 18,198 Thanks
    £35.40 spent on Ocado delivery and 10p in work tonight.
    Also got a Tesco delivery due tomorrow.
    GC 2017 £3,434.09 GC 2018 £2,250.95 GC 2019 Jan £268.24/£200 Feb £158.01/200 Mar £220.05/£200 (up to & incl 29th.
    ~ Still learning the art of frugality ~
    • pamsdish
    • By pamsdish 13th Feb 19, 11:57 AM
    • 1,211 Posts
    • 7,619 Thanks
    Been for a birthday brunch with my neighbour, called in Asda for petrol, and got 12 tonic waters will last about 24 days, 6 y.s. 73% chocolate, and a y.s duck which I will cut in half and freeze, £17.69.
    2018 £2285/£2149
    2019 £2000=£1445-£13=£1432-£31=£1401-£32=£1369-£4=£1365=£18=£1347
    • Suffolk lass
    • By Suffolk lass 13th Feb 19, 12:27 PM
    • 2,667 Posts
    • 25,942 Thanks
    Suffolk lass
    Been for a birthday brunch with my neighbour, called in Asda for petrol, and got 12 tonic waters will last about 24 days, 6 y.s. 73% chocolate, and a y.s duck which I will cut in half and freeze, £17.69.
    Originally posted by pamsdish
    I was just going to post this - Blimey, is that 73% by volume or cost of your shopping? - seems like quite a lot of chocolate - then I thought, "Cocoa solids". I hope I am right...
    MFIT T5 target to clear our mortgage completely (£59,998) - Mortgage Free Wannabes 2019 #37 £26,242.80 after Mar
    Save £12k in 2019 - #68 target is £7k £3,669.04 after Mar
    OS Grocery Challenge 2019 target is £3k - 23.57% spent so far, after starting April shops
    My DFD is here
    • MrsLottie
    • By MrsLottie 13th Feb 19, 2:02 PM
    • 109 Posts
    • 1,309 Thanks
    Spent £17 .29 in Aldi today bringing my total spend for Feb so far £108.59 from a budget of £200.00 .Of on holiday for a week on Friday so should have no spends next week .
    • pamsdish
    • By pamsdish 13th Feb 19, 5:40 PM
    • 1,211 Posts
    • 7,619 Thanks
    I was just going to post this - Blimey, is that 73% by volume or cost of your shopping? - seems like quite a lot of chocolate - then I thought, "Cocoa solids". I hope I am right...
    Originally posted by Suffolk lass
    Yes you are, only eat the high percent cocoa solids, usually 85% but at 75p indulged myself.
    2018 £2285/£2149
    2019 £2000=£1445-£13=£1432-£31=£1401-£32=£1369-£4=£1365=£18=£1347
    • thriftwizard
    • By thriftwizard 13th Feb 19, 6:03 PM
    • 2,960 Posts
    • 37,058 Thanks
    A whopping great £47.30 spent at W8rose (small town, local supermarket) as I start the last "cycle" of my treatment tomorrow & needed to buy in some "low-residue" supplies to see me through the next couple of weeks. However I think we can still stick to budget; there's plenty in the freezer & store cupboards though I will try to venture out for fresh food from time to time, energy levels allowing! If not, I'll have to send one or other of the troops out, which does tend to end up quite expensive...

    GC Apr 19 - £321.30/£420 "Entertainments" £0/£50
    Bulk-buy purse '19 £42/£250, pet & livestock food '19 £69/£400

    Money's just a substitute for time & talent...
    • VickyV
    • By VickyV 14th Feb 19, 1:10 PM
    • 157 Posts
    • 1,991 Thanks
    Spends this week in morries and local Tesc0 bringing the weekly total to £43.80.
    Declaring there for the week and putting £21.20 in to the slush fund.
    Starting this week early because tomorrow is my DDs 18th and I'll have no time for shopping!

    So for this next week, £13.40 in the grocers and £2.50 in morries on yogurt and English muffins. £15.90/£65 so far.
    Grocery challenge March 2019 £175.87/£260.
    2019 GC slush fund: £147.80
    2019, Q1 Weight loss challenge 20/11lb
    Saving money, decluttering and getting fit. How hard can it be?
    • VickyV
    • By VickyV 14th Feb 19, 4:04 PM
    • 157 Posts
    • 1,991 Thanks
    I'm cross with myself for going rogue in Aldi! New sourdough part baked baguettes and reduced mince and sausages jumped in the trolley. Spent £24.10 in there and £4.15 in Home Barge-ins. £44.15 for the week. Hopefully I can avoid any more spending this week.
    Grocery challenge March 2019 £175.87/£260.
    2019 GC slush fund: £147.80
    2019, Q1 Weight loss challenge 20/11lb
    Saving money, decluttering and getting fit. How hard can it be?
    • Doom_and_Gloom
    • By Doom_and_Gloom 14th Feb 19, 5:04 PM
    • 3,772 Posts
    • 12,868 Thanks
    Since last post we have spent £4.89.

    Tonight for dinner I'm having cucumber salad and butternut squash curry.
    OH will likely be having omelette or frittata.

    £60.41 left.
    29 year old vegan woman. My OH is a lovely omni guy
    • YorksLass
    • By YorksLass 14th Feb 19, 5:29 PM
    • 509 Posts
    • 8,344 Thanks
    Small spend of £2.24 in the local Co-op today on a pack of crumpets (on promo), a ys pack of hot X buns and a ys bag of mozarella.

    Not much on the shopping list for tomorrow so I think it will be a very low spend week.

    All going well with using up freezer odds & ends so will continue with this into next week.
    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)

    • MadamMim2013
    • By MadamMim2013 14th Feb 19, 9:25 PM
    • 772 Posts
    • 9,840 Thanks
    No spends for the last couple of days.. Have a small list forming, want to use up a few more bits before giving in, that said Iím out of eggs & DS2 will be gutted if he canít make his pancakes in the morn.. (& if I suggest the possibility of walking to the shop .. itís not gonna happen)
    "There's a little witch in all of us"
    2018 GC 93 2019 GC 3 April GC £158.88/£300
    : DEBT FREE 06/2018
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