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  • FIRST POST
    • elsiepac
    • By elsiepac 28th Jul 18, 10:09 PM
    • 1,734Posts
    • 12,721Thanks
    elsiepac
    June 2019 Grocery Challenge
    • #1
    • 28th Jul 18, 10:09 PM
    June 2019 Grocery Challenge 28th Jul 18 at 10:09 PM
    Hi everyone,

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

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

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

    If you are new to the challenge I have quoted the advice from Galtizz below which will help you get started.

    Please post into this thread for help and advice and support at any time. Good luck to everyone taking part!


    I have said this before, but for all the newbies to the challenge;

    For the first month I took a guess at the budget but I really had no idea how much I was spending.

    I found the best thing is to have a guess the first month but SAVE ALL OF YOUR RECEIPTS (and yes, that does include the ones from the local shop when you run out of milk), then at the end of the month add them all up and have a look if you were on budget, if not, it doesn't matter because your budget was a guess. For the next month you can use the total of your receipts and take a bit off to get a realistic budget, just shave off as much as you think you can, it could be 1 a week or 20 a week.

    If you are currently spending 200 a month don't suddenly drop it to 100 - you'll never do it but if you cut 20 a month off for a few months you'll get there eventually without feeling you're missing out on anything.

    You might think you've done everything you can in the first month but someone always comes up with a new idea and, if you try it you often find you save a bit more (unless you are SarahSaver who is an expert at this and could only save more if she turned her back garden into a paddy field and lived on rice ) In the first month I thought, I'm planning meals, I couldn't possibly save any more, but then I started double cooking and freezing, and making soup instead of buying it in tins.

    I've been doing this since Feb but only saved ALL of my receipts last month, it has given me a much better idea of where it is all going. Budget for next month is 80 for 2 of us, I'll start on 30/4. I could probably save more, by eating different foods but I can afford to live on 80, I have saved a lot of money since Feb. and I don't waste food or money any more. So I'm happy with my budget.
    By request, here is Spiggles wonderful helpful post


    We all have different budgets that suit our households. The most important thing to remember is that you set yours according to your needs and finances. It can take time to get to where you want to be too so don't knock yourself out if you go over in the first few months. We are here to support each other and it is not a competition.

    I thought it might help to outline where we've come from and the top tips I've learned.

    When we started in March 2010 we had spent in excess of 600 in the previous month. This had to stop, (there's only me and him and our two beautiful black cats) something which thankfully my OH completely agreed with so I have been lucky that he has been on board from the start. He gave me his debit card voluntarily and I still keep hold of it until he needs to get something for the home. At the same time we set up a system of pocket money (pm) at 15 each per week which doesn't count towards the GC and which we can each spend as we wish with no comebacks or complaints. OH predominantly uses his pm on his beer and I ferret mine away mostly.

    The next step was to set up my own spreadsheet which is absolutely simple onto which I put all spends so that I have a continuous running total for the month and for the year. We initially set our budget at 280 per month and brought it down to 240 where it resides for most of the year it is occasionally increased to allow for extras e.g. Christmas to 260.

    The important 'tools' we found greatly helped and continue to do so now are:

    Stocktake cupboards, fridge, freezer - make lists and ensure that the older products get used up first. You'll be amazed at what you find squirrelled away and it will help with your shopping list as you'll realise that you don't actually need so much.

    Before you go shopping check staples - running out of milk, bread, butter, etc often leads to going into a shop for one thing and coming out 20 lighter. Always check these and if they'll run out tomorrow buy them the same time as getting other things.

    Always make a shopping list and stick to it - the supermarkets (sm) try every which way to get us to spend so having a list and strong resolve is the only way to beat them.

    Keep every receipt - and then note it down on your spreadsheet/spend diary so that you always know where you are.

    When tempted, ask yourself do you NEED it or just WANT it - now this advice goes with two things. Firstly, the things you see in store when shopping that APPEAR to be bargains - if you hadn't planned spending the money then its not a bargain. Secondly, the sm send us loads of vouchers for X off a spend of XX - if you had no NEED to spend XX then have you SAVED anything???

    Use my supermarket to compare prices (limited to four of the biggies) - The site may be used to actually do an online shop at whichever of the big four offers the best value or, if you have the time and sm availability, to make up lists for visiting each of the stores so that you can purchase all you need at different stores thus getting the best possible value. (I'd add, do a 'shop' virtually on this site and take the list you create on it with you, whichever one you shop at, it will help keep target prices in your head and allow you to spot bargains. Mr M is not included but you can do a virtual list on their website so you know what you're going to be spending.)

    Always have a list - this is just as important when shopping online as shopping on foot.

    Use Approved Foods online (with a list!) - if you don't mind out of date things (ood) or you can search for only in date items. The only drawback is storing the goods as far as I can tell. Oh, and watch the delivery as it's done on a scaled charge for weight so keep an eye on it. You can of course do an AF order with friends, family, colleagues or like minded neighbours. Other GCers use Big Br*nds 4 Less too.

    Invest in a bread maker - we have saved so much by making our own bread. The prices in the shops are extortionate for bread these days. There's loads of advice on this thread and others in the forum on this.

    Use the recipe lists - always posted at the front of a new thread. There are fantastic, tasty, healthy and economical recipes to use on them and there are a number of other threads on the forum such as Weezl's that will help you to eat well on a budget.

    Shop locally - the local greengrocer (or preferably market but I don't have one ) is usually cheaper as an option for fruit and veg (f&v) than the sm. Often the prices may look the same but when you look at the quantity for the same price the greengrocer will be cheaper. The same goes for the local butcher. Often you will have far more variety of meat available, advice on how to cook a particular meat can be offered and there is (for me at least) no comparison in terms of quality. We buy our huge FR eggs there and I'm yet to find an equivalent FR egg in a sm at the same or lower price. Obviously if you have your own chicks/know someone who has chicks you can get them even cheaper again.

    Grow your own - it's quite simple to grow some f&v at home even if it's only in pots on the patio. There are also supportive threads on the forum for this.

    Cook your own - making meals at home from ingredients is far more economical, often tastes better than shop bought and is probably far better health wise.

    Meal Plan - this is something that others can advise on as we don't do it. I have a tremendous capacity for eating the same food over many days but presented in slightly different form. For example, we could buy 7 worth of brisket from the butchers and eat it as pot roast for a couple of days, sliced for sarnies, sliced with a salad, chucked into a casserole or shredded up and fried as crispy beef.

    Don't waste food - either only make what you need or use any leftovers for other meals/creations or freeze it for another day.

    Withdraw the cash you want to spend - and keep it in a separate purse. This can be particularly effective as you have the money in front of you reducing rather than spending with plastic which is so easy to lose track of. Very useful when you first start out.

    Don't go to the shops to browse - this can only lead to pain and hardship!!!

    Keep posting and reading the thread - there really is no better supportive, wise and inspirational place to be! I think I saw that somebody mentioned forgetting to read/post. I get around this by using the Advanced button to post, below the window where your text is displayed you will see Additional Options. In the Thread Subscription box use the dropdown to select either instant email notification (this is what I use) or daily email notification before you submit your latest post. Then you will get an email into your inbox from which you can click to the thread to see what others are saying.

    Always remember the sm is not your friend - it wants to profit from you and take as much of your money as it can coerce out of you!

    So, there you go as a starting point. Others on here will offer tremendous advice on meal planning. And don't forget, the only silly question is the one you didn't ask!

    See you all later,
    Spigs
    For guidelines on posting in this thread please read the second post in this thread.

    For the Grocery challenge Recipe Index please see posts #4 to #10 this thread (the list is growing!!!!!)

    For everyone's totals, see post #3 on this thread

    I hope everyone has a great month!

    elsiepac
    Last edited by elsiepac; 20-05-2019 at 6:58 AM.
    I'm a Board Guide on the Old Style, Greenfingered, Energy & Going Out Deals boards which means I'm a volunteer to help the boards run smoothly and I can move and merge threads there. Please remember, board guides don't read every post. If you spot an illegal or inappropriate post then please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com (it's not part of my role to deal with this) Any views are mine and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.
    SPC No 074
    GC: Apr 19 59.94/200
    Vegan 27-8-13
Page 8
    • ancientmum
    • By ancientmum 25th Jun 19, 4:00 PM
    • 191 Posts
    • 1,649 Thanks
    ancientmum
    Well folks, it's downhill to Christmas from here and my current total is 689.38. My youngest DS is home from uni so there will be a sharp rise in spending over the next three months, although I am well within my annual estimate. I'll just have to see how it goes.
    If life is a journey, I want comfy shoes
    Grocery Challenge 2019 976.99/2000, including pet stuff, toiletries and take-aways
    Make 2019 in 2019 no. 110 630.84/2019
    • thriftwizard
    • By thriftwizard 25th Jun 19, 7:40 PM
    • 3,086 Posts
    • 37,966 Thanks
    thriftwizard
    Hangs head in shame! Another 15 spent at the Grocers of Eastern Promise, on some spices we can't get locally, a massive bag of coarse bulgur wheat, some noodles, and somehow some Turkish Delight & some baclava crept into the basket too! So now I'm 30-odd over target, but shouldn't need to buy anything else until Friday, which is payday & thus in the July budget.
    Angie

    GC Aug 19 - 350.18/450
    2019 Fashion on the Ration Challenge: 39 coupons left out of 66

    (Money's just a substitute for time & talent...)
    • PipneyJane
    • By PipneyJane 26th Jun 19, 8:18 AM
    • 1,261 Posts
    • 9,336 Thanks
    PipneyJane
    declaring for June
    I have one final spend to declare for June, before I think the month is well and truly over. 5.88 in A$da last night, spent on Yeo Valley Yoghurts (it's the only place now doing 2-for-2), some mushrooms, a leaving card for a colleague and 10 pretty-but-random birthday cards at 28p each. That brings our total to 152.83/130, so 22.83 over budget for June. Payday is Friday and the next time I go shopping will be after that, so on July's budget.

    Hangs head in shame! Another 15 spent at the Grocers of Eastern Promise, on some spices we can't get locally, a massive bag of coarse bulgur wheat, some noodles, and somehow some Turkish Delight & some baclava crept into the basket too! So now I'm 30-odd over target, but shouldn't need to buy anything else until Friday, which is payday & thus in the July budget.
    Originally posted by thriftwizard
    Oohh!!! You've just reminded me of something else I need to look out for when I next visit WingYip! Big bags of bulgar wheat. How much did you pay and how big were they? It's now our grain of choice but we're buying it the expensive way in MrT's. Six months ago, if you'd asked me, I'd have said that basmati rice was my grain of choice, then one night I substituted some ancient bulgar wheat for rice in order to use it up and, after that, OMG basmati rice tastes so bland! Even my DH keeps suggesting using bulgar wheat instead of rice.

    - Pip

    PS: Elsiepac, I'm aware that you're trying to move home. Fingers crossed for you that you are approved for the new place.
    "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
    • thriftwizard
    • By thriftwizard 26th Jun 19, 1:12 PM
    • 3,086 Posts
    • 37,966 Thanks
    thriftwizard
    3.99 for 4Kg, Pipney-Jane. I always think a lot of the price of Basmati rice is down to the lovely smell! For my money, Patna rice is just as good, and quite a lot cheaper.

    Just discovered we're out of bananas. Sigh...
    Angie

    GC Aug 19 - 350.18/450
    2019 Fashion on the Ration Challenge: 39 coupons left out of 66

    (Money's just a substitute for time & talent...)
    • pamsdish
    • By pamsdish 26th Jun 19, 4:27 PM
    • 1,317 Posts
    • 8,155 Thanks
    pamsdish
    7.90 in MORRIES, salad bits and some mayo.
    2018 2285/2149
    2019 2000=878-53=825-20=805-25=671-19=652
    • PipneyJane
    • By PipneyJane 27th Jun 19, 8:50 AM
    • 1,261 Posts
    • 9,336 Thanks
    PipneyJane
    3.99 for 4Kg, Pipney-Jane. I always think a lot of the price of Basmati rice is down to the lovely smell! For my money, Patna rice is just as good, and quite a lot cheaper.

    Just discovered we're out of bananas. Sigh...
    Originally posted by thriftwizard
    That is a very good price.

    Basmati does taste different to, say, long-grain rice and until the night when we had bulgar wheat, I'd have said it was my favourite grain. It's just very subtle.

    - 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
    • Scrimps
    • By Scrimps 27th Jun 19, 9:35 PM
    • 260 Posts
    • 1,138 Thanks
    Scrimps
    I went we about 105 over this month! I made some poor budgeting choices but we also spent another 20+ on cat food I hoped not to and entertained guests.. where I went a bit silly and bought all the 'bits' that go with a curry. Hoping for better next month though that's already gone off to a poor start!
    • thriftwizard
    • By thriftwizard 28th Jun 19, 8:50 PM
    • 3,086 Posts
    • 37,966 Thanks
    thriftwizard
    I did get through yesterday, at least, without any further grocery spending. So declaring for June at 429.75/400, a mere 30 over budget - must try harder!
    Angie

    GC Aug 19 - 350.18/450
    2019 Fashion on the Ration Challenge: 39 coupons left out of 66

    (Money's just a substitute for time & talent...)
    • t14cy t
    • By t14cy t 29th Jun 19, 4:08 PM
    • 740 Posts
    • 6,901 Thanks
    t14cy t
    would like to declare 186 spent this month. spent 2.03 today in waitrose for 37.97 of goodies using coupons and vouchers!! sooooooo expensive usually, but such good quality!!
    • Saver.The.Taste
    • By Saver.The.Taste 29th Jun 19, 7:22 PM
    • 61 Posts
    • 271 Thanks
    Saver.The.Taste
    Good evening would like to post my (hopefully) last post for this month. One last top up at 2.38 and knowing full well I was in budget have splashed a little on some essentials ready for next month, when i'm being a little stingier so 10.09 in total. Takes me to 165.31. Considering in May I spent 250+ I am over the moon with that!

    I've run my stores down a lot, that would be my only concern for next month, but i'm sure I can succeed again!
    July Bring Your Lunch To Work 0/16
    July Grocery Challenge 118.76/126 94%
    July No Spend Days 0/18
    • pamsdish
    • By pamsdish 30th Jun 19, 6:07 AM
    • 1,317 Posts
    • 8,155 Thanks
    pamsdish
    Think I forgot to add 7.45 in Aldi, will adjust total later as off to Asda.
    2018 2285/2149
    2019 2000=878-53=825-20=805-25=671-19=652
    • thrifty-hayley
    • By thrifty-hayley 30th Jun 19, 5:15 PM
    • 111 Posts
    • 398 Thanks
    thrifty-hayley
    Had a couple of smallish top up shops from Aldi over the last week. Final total for June is 92/100 so I'm happy with that as a first attempt Hoping to do better in the coming months though as I live on my own, might try for 90 in July!
    August Grocery challenge 60/50
    Emergency fund: 502/1000
    • K9sandFelines
    • By K9sandFelines 30th Jun 19, 7:32 PM
    • 2,120 Posts
    • 18,264 Thanks
    K9sandFelines
    Declaring for June 11.01 over, but happy with that being as DD2 joined us again so we have gone from a three person family to four now.

    S0, 291.01 spent in June. Now i have a rough idea whats spent for all four of us, i am aiming for 300 next month to allow for some extra nice bits as we have been having the basics.

    Good luck for July everyone.
    GC 2017 3,434.09 GC 2018 2,250.95 GC 2019 Jan 268.24/200 Feb 158.01/200 Mar 220.05/200 April (moving) May (adjusting 270.73), Jun 291.01/280 Jul 344.31/300 Aug 232.48/300 Sep /300
    ~ Still learning the art of frugality ~
    • taka
    • By taka 30th Jun 19, 8:12 PM
    • 3,287 Posts
    • 17,585 Thanks
    taka
    Yay... managed to come in under budget with a spend of 146.80 out of a budget of 156.
    2019 MFW #51 451.41/1997.77
    MFiT-5 no 45
    MF date Dec 27, Feb 27, Sep 26
    You can't fly with one foot on the ground!
    • purpleybat
    • By purpleybat 1st Jul 19, 9:11 AM
    • 373 Posts
    • 3,134 Thanks
    purpleybat
    hello all,
    have totted up all the receipts ive found for the month and they come to 162.36, i know tho i did a top up shop i cant find the receipt for but im pretty sure it was about 11 so i think i'll add in 12 to cover it, so all in im going to say i spent 174.36.
    i think i said my target was 200 so thats not so bad
    gc 2017 1841.27.
    2018 jan 124.69/130 feb 157.97/150 mar 221.33/200 apr 223.04/250
    • Saver.The.Taste
    • By Saver.The.Taste 1st Jul 19, 1:31 PM
    • 61 Posts
    • 271 Thanks
    Saver.The.Taste
    Treated myself to fish and chips to celebrate at 8.45 total declaring at 173.76
    July Bring Your Lunch To Work 0/16
    July Grocery Challenge 118.76/126 94%
    July No Spend Days 0/18
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