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    • elsiepac
    • By elsiepac 28th Jul 18, 10:09 PM
    • 1,652Posts
    • 12,232Thanks
    January 2019 Grocery Challenge
    • #1
    • 28th Jul 18, 10:09 PM
    January 2019 Grocery Challenge 28th Jul 18 at 10:09 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 9:23 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: Apr 19 59.94/200
    Vegan 27-8-13
Page 3
    • Nellbell21
    • By Nellbell21 28th Dec 18, 7:28 AM
    • 18 Posts
    • 243 Thanks
    Thanks for the thread and all the work you have put in last year. I am going for 600 this month. This is a big reduction for us but last month I finally came in under budget. However budget is way too high. I’m going to be less accommodating with the making three different meals thing! I’m going to try make 1 meal for everyone or two at a push. Happy New Year when it comes x
    • JingsMyBucket
    • By JingsMyBucket 28th Dec 18, 8:52 AM
    • 376 Posts
    • 4,180 Thanks
    Pipney Jane and elsiepac thank you very much. It’s a lot to manage at the same but we’ll make the road by walking.
    Last edited by JingsMyBucket; 29-12-2018 at 9:52 PM.
    MAR 19 GC: $312.83/$300.00 // 12/12 NSD
    FEB 19 GC: $451.32/$450.00 // 15/10 NSD
    JAN 19 GC: 104.88/350.00 // 7/12 NSD
    Save 12K in 2019 - $132.86/$12,000 #123 (1.1% )
    • Matron Midge
    • By Matron Midge 28th Dec 18, 8:59 AM
    • 536 Posts
    • 4,629 Thanks
    Matron Midge
    Hi everyone. I'm keeping my budget the same for 2019 (400 per month/5,200 annual)
    I shall shortly be venturing into the garage to do a freezer inventory and then I can prepare for the first couple of weeks.
    • NeverendingDMP
    • By NeverendingDMP 28th Dec 18, 9:42 AM
    • 291 Posts
    • 1,137 Thanks
    Hello everyone.
    My monthly budget is 433

    My last payday was early and i wont get another till 26th. Ive spent 180 out of 433 so far. Ooops.
    Need to make an effort to meal plan dinners and teas, buy no more wine and go to aldi for my food x
    35,213 - Jan 2018, 30113 remaining.
    Mortgage 77230- Jan 2018
    73892 remaining.
    Emergency fund 18
    Make 2019- 632.33/2019
    1% challenge. At ...somewhere in single figures again....
    • lantanna
    • By lantanna 28th Dec 18, 1:15 PM
    • 2,608 Posts
    • 19,810 Thanks

    Can I join please? My budget for January is 100. I am a single person and have a packed freezer so that should be ok for the first month. Also have a spa weekend booked in January so that will be one weekend less.

    My month has to start today though.

    Im also including cleaning products and toiletries in my budget. Apart from washing powder and deoderant I wont need anything.

    Going to keep all my receipts to stay accountable. I spend a ridiculous amount in the supermarkets and waste so much , so its time to commit. Hoping this thread can help!
    2019, A year of saving, getting healthy again and turning 40
    2793.67/184 debt cleared in 2019 #5o
    GC Feb 170 / 169.43
    • Doom_and_Gloom
    • By Doom_and_Gloom 28th Dec 18, 3:50 PM
    • 3,774 Posts
    • 12,882 Thanks
    Our January starts 1st and will go until 31st 200.
    2 adults for all food and non alcoholic drinks. Chinchillas, cleaning, toiletries, alcohol, etc all have their own budgets.

    Thanks elsiepac for the thread. I don't think I'm alone in saying it keeps me on track and more accountable this way. Hopefully we'll come under budget but I haven't reduced the amount to make sure I don't feel like I failed if we don't .

    200 left.
    29 year old vegan woman. My OH is a lovely omni guy
    • lantanna
    • By lantanna 28th Dec 18, 4:02 PM
    • 2,608 Posts
    • 19,810 Thanks
    Just been to Asda, deoderant, tea, washing powder and cupboard staples bought. Got wine and baileys for New Years Eve. Im including alcohol this month will prob give it its own budget from next month.

    Bought a new notebook too for my budgeting and receipt keeping.

    Spent 45.03 so 54.97 left TIL 18th Jan when Im paid.

    Should really just need fruit and salad bits.
    2019, A year of saving, getting healthy again and turning 40
    2793.67/184 debt cleared in 2019 #5o
    GC Feb 170 / 169.43
    • thriftwizard
    • By thriftwizard 28th Dec 18, 4:22 PM
    • 2,963 Posts
    • 37,078 Thanks
    Hello 2019, and many thanks to all who make this possible! Please could you put me down for 400 for January? I'd like it to be a lot less, as there's lots stashed away to eat up, but I don't know what effect the loss of our old butcher will have, or how capable I'll feel as my treatment goes along, so I'll keep it to something I'm fairly confident is achievable for now!

    GC Apr 19 - 388.30/420 "Entertainments" 40/50
    Bulk-buy purse '19 42/250, pet & livestock food '19 69/400

    Money's just a substitute for time & talent...
    • YorksLass
    • By YorksLass 28th Dec 18, 5:19 PM
    • 509 Posts
    • 8,344 Thanks
    Thanks elsiepac for the first thread for 2019 and to regulars, returners and newbies.

    I'm in again please with 200 for January, a 5-week month for two adults (Dec 30-Feb2); groceries only as household/cleaning and toiletries/OTC meds have their own budgets.

    We ended up 172-odd in surplus in 2018 so I've decided that my 40pw will be split into three: 32 for general groceries, 5 for freezer bulk fund and 3 for cupboard stock-up. I like to have a good stock of dried, packet and tinned goods (especially in winter) but can see it might be even more important in the run-up to the B situation in March. If the rumoured shortages/price increases do happen, then I'll be prepared. If they don't, well everything will get used in due course.
    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)

    • Shoogly Peg
    • By Shoogly Peg 28th Dec 18, 5:50 PM
    • 14 Posts
    • 219 Thanks
    Shoogly Peg
    I would love to join in please and budget for 100 for a single household for food, cleaning materials and toiletries from 1st to 31st January
    • ma-ri-ella
    • By ma-ri-ella 28th Dec 18, 5:57 PM
    • 969 Posts
    • 9,425 Thanks
    so my first spend on challenge but last for year hopefully - 2.70 . Biggest part was milk at 1.48 then the rest was reduced stickers - i think i did quite well for my money. Got bread, chicken slices, yogurt , stuffed mushrooms, pre done mash etc . ..just need to meal plan now as i have my shifts for the next few weeks. The only things i might buy over nxt few days would be yellow stckers as i still have space in my fridge/freezer
    365 a year spend challenge - this has included food/clothes/beauty?? who knows where I am
    20,000 step a day challenge
    • millionaire in training
    • By millionaire in training 28th Dec 18, 8:01 PM
    • 5,716 Posts
    • 20,030 Thanks
    millionaire in training
    Hi. Not done this for a couple of years but can I be put down for 250 for January please. This will include all food, toiletries etc and eating out for me. Kids have their own money so if they eat out it's not from my budget

    Good luck folks x
    2 year plan. Jan 2019 to Dec 2020- CC and overdraft debt free
    Currently 22,476.43 /22,900.17. Do-able

    February grocery challenge 154.35/250
    100 day challenge 785.29/2,000
    • lil_me
    • By lil_me 28th Dec 18, 9:07 PM
    • 13,142 Posts
    • 115,689 Thanks
    I have 3000 to find by march and oldest support ends this week so using up is a must

    200 for the 4 of us, good luck Everyone
    Last edited by lil_me; 29-12-2018 at 8:08 PM.
    One day I might be more organised...........:confused:
    GC: 200
    Slinkies target 2018 - another 70lb off (half way to what the NHS says) so far 25lb
    • dragonlily
    • By dragonlily 28th Dec 18, 9:37 PM
    • 181 Posts
    • 1,589 Thanks
    300 for us please
    • mummyjane
    • By mummyjane 28th Dec 18, 10:19 PM
    • 381 Posts
    • 3,682 Thanks

    Can I please be put down for 400 for January. That's for two adults and two teenagers and will include all our grocery shops and any takeaways (which we are trying hard to avoid).

    Thank you 😃
    Groceries Challenge 2019
    Jan 462.44/400
    Feb 210.10/450, 2/10 NSDs
    • elsiepac
    • By elsiepac 29th Dec 18, 12:39 AM
    • 1,652 Posts
    • 12,232 Thanks
    Budgets updated to here

    Welcome to all the new joiners and returners!

    I've done my second week's shop of the month and come in slightly over my planned budget at 31.59. I had to buy a few bits for my friend and she's bought me odd bits in the past, so I refused to take any money. But it came to about 4 so actually I'd have been under budget if it wasn't for that. I've adjusted my remaining week's budget to account for the extra. Still do-able if I keep planning like I have been.
    On the menu this week is:
    Chipotle Corn Chowder x3
    Moroccan Chickpea Soup x3
    Smoky Vegan Sausage Pasta x1
    Sriracha Tofu Stir Fry with Noodles x2
    Mushroom Macaroni x3

    January 2019

    20 Dec - 26 Dec...172.11...172.11
    27 Dec - 02 Jan...31.59....31.59
    03 Jan - 09 Jan...28.00....
    10 Jan - 16 Jan...28.00....
    17 Jan - 24 Jan...27.80....

    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
    • squirrelgirl
    • By squirrelgirl 29th Dec 18, 7:04 AM
    • 431 Posts
    • 2,306 Thanks
    Can I join please?

    My budget is 3600 per annum.

    Thank you!!
    12 Month Challenge:[COLOR=]"Red"Mortgage - 4900/16000 ; MFW 2019 No. 58 GC 587.26/3600 Jan 270/Feb 50/ March 87.26/April 180
    • CRANKY40
    • By CRANKY40 29th Dec 18, 7:08 AM
    • 3,235 Posts
    • 35,723 Thanks
    YorksLass Thanks - I like the idea of a freezer fund and I'm going to do this too. What usually happens is that as I start to run the freezer down I panic because it looks empty and fill it back up again If I know that I have money put away to do a freezer shop I think I will be more relaxed about using all the stuff in there.

    So..... out of my 50 per week I'm hoping for no more that 40 on food, 5 saved for freezer stock up and 5 saved towards special occasions food (like birthdays etc).
    Weight loss 2019 challenge two = 4.5 lbs
    Grocery challenge April 52.50/300
    • Legittrying
    • By Legittrying 29th Dec 18, 8:51 AM
    • 14 Posts
    • 162 Thanks
    Please can I be put down for 200

    I have sooooo much in the freezer and stores so going to do a stock take tomorrow before I buy a single thing!!

    I know I have LOADS of fish so need to hunt out some new recipes else we will be getting bored 😂
    • tiredwithtwins
    • By tiredwithtwins 29th Dec 18, 9:27 AM
    • 460 Posts
    • 1,529 Thanks
    please can you put me down for 160 for jan? (27/12-24/1)
    dec turned into a bit of a disaster - I vow to be more organised in 2019!!
    thanks for starting the jan GC, good luck everyone!
    dec gc epic fail!/150 ..jan 140/160 ..feb gc 90/150
    mar 100/120 apr 85/120
    wading through the treacle of life!
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