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  • FIRST POST
    • elsiepac
    • By elsiepac 28th Jul 18, 10:09 PM
    • 1,698Posts
    • 12,516Thanks
    elsiepac
    December 2018 Grocery Challenge
    • #1
    • 28th Jul 18, 10:09 PM
    December 2018 Grocery Challenge 28th Jul 18 at 10:09 PM
    Hi everyone,

    Welcome to the last Grocery Challenge of 2018 !!!!

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

    This Forum tip was included in MoneySavingExpert.com's weekly email!
    Last edited by elsiepac; 24-12-2018 at 9:21 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 12
    • SilverBird
    • By SilverBird 31st Dec 18, 3:47 PM
    • 251 Posts
    • 2,107 Thanks
    SilverBird
    Declaring a total GC spend of 2,104.01 for 2018.

    Best wishes to you all for 2019.
    #Life isn't about waiting for the storms to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain #We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us #If you focus on what you have left behind, you will never see what lies ahead - Gusteau/Ratatouille
    GC 2018: 2,104.01/2,160 total spend
    • selloptape
    • By selloptape 31st Dec 18, 5:29 PM
    • 576 Posts
    • 2,838 Thanks
    selloptape
    Thanks so much everyone for posting and keeping me motivated. Have come in under budget for the final month with 278.61 which will become jans’s target.

    Will join the Jan thread in the New Year. Have a lovely NYE all x
    GC Start again in Apr 0/278.61
    Save 12k in 2019 #8 2352.65/2,500
    MFiT T5 #22 Save 20k over 3 years 4873.42
    Walk 1500 miles in 2019 - 645.92/1500
    • JingsMyBucket
    • By JingsMyBucket 31st Dec 18, 9:33 PM
    • 396 Posts
    • 4,367 Thanks
    JingsMyBucket
    Happy new year everyone! Im declaring December today. I thought I was done even yesterday but I ended up buying some stuff after we returned from vacation this afternoon.

    FINAL DECEMBER TOTAL:
    403.36/350.00
    16 / 12 NSD

    Over a bit but it was worth with all the good vacation time we had.
    MAY19 GC: $182.18/$450.00 // 10/12 NSD
    APR19 GC: $722.15/$500.00
    MAR 19 GC: $312.83/$300.00 // 12/12 NSD
    Save 12K in 2019 - $633.95/$12,000 #123 5.2% )
    • K9sandFelines
    • By K9sandFelines 1st Jan 19, 8:49 AM
    • 2,113 Posts
    • 18,219 Thanks
    K9sandFelines
    3.55 spent at work and 10.65 at Morrisons.
    So, 9.25 total.

    Yearly total of 2250.95 which means I came app 1000 under compared to last year.
    More than pleased with that. Aiming for a similar spend next year, although I may have to readjust in the middle of the year.
    Last edited by K9sandFelines; 01-01-2019 at 2:57 PM. Reason: Found another spend.
    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 200.99/280
    ~ Still learning the art of frugality ~
    • MadamMim2013
    • By MadamMim2013 1st Jan 19, 2:22 PM
    • 803 Posts
    • 10,156 Thanks
    MadamMim2013
    Declaring..
    Declaring 252.16
    Whoooo.. Out with a win..
    Thanks to everyone who kept me motivated & have supplied endless tips, recipies and kindness, here's to more of that in 2019!
    "There's a little witch in all of us"
    2018 GC 93 2019 GC 3 2 JUNE GC 192.92/300
    : DEBT FREE 06/2018
    • flubberyzing
    • By flubberyzing 1st Jan 19, 4:03 PM
    • 1,262 Posts
    • 8,504 Thanks
    flubberyzing
    Well, I've come in over budget for December. But never mind! It's always an expensive month. Onwards and upwards for the new year!
    Because it's fun to have money!
    65.41/70 June GC
    January-May 2019 = 291.53/350

    • Doom_and_Gloom
    • By Doom_and_Gloom 1st Jan 19, 4:17 PM
    • 3,784 Posts
    • 12,947 Thanks
    Doom_and_Gloom
    We spent 2.54 yesterday. The last spend of the month and the year that was!

    So our last spend got us 3 persimmon, pack of pak choi and 2 4 packs of FF vegan iced mince pies.

    184.93/200.
    15.07 leftover

    Very happy that we came in budget right at the end of the year. Well let's hope 2019 budgeting goes just as well.

    Thank you everyone who participated in this thread over 2018 months. Lets all have a good 2019
    I am a vegan woman. My OH is a lovely omni guy
    • Chloris
    • By Chloris 1st Jan 19, 6:15 PM
    • 651 Posts
    • 9,422 Thanks
    Chloris
    Declaring for December with 663.86, so managed to come under budget. But, frankly it was a huge budget! Looking forward to improving next year! X
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