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  • FIRST POST
    • elsiepac
    • By elsiepac 28th Jul 18, 10:09 PM
    • 1,701Posts
    • 12,584Thanks
    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 7
    • t14cy t
    • By t14cy t 19th Jun 19, 5:40 AM
    • 737 Posts
    • 6,878 Thanks
    t14cy t
    just catching up!! 58 spent over the last 10 days. mixture of chicken/dog and food for humans!! so 95 spent so far this month!!
    • Suffolk lass
    • By Suffolk lass 19th Jun 19, 7:56 AM
    • 3,045 Posts
    • 28,049 Thanks
    Suffolk lass
    Spends up to 170 so far this month.. Had both DSs home this evening so made a rather tasty chicken curry with some YS chicken (got today) & a sauce from the cupboard..
    Yum!
    Will be taking stock of my hidey hole upstairs, forgotten exactly what was put in there..
    Originally posted by MadamMim2013
    What are we like? - I am sure I boost the SM profits with all their stuff I store here - and I pay them instead of them needing warehousing to store it!

    A case in point - The toothpaste I like was on offer when I popped in for bowl fruit yesterday - so three popped in to my basket (although I have not paid full price for these for about 8 years) probably 7 at home is a little more than normal...
    MFIT T5 target to clear our mortgage completely (59,998) Q1 26,828 or 44.71% paid - Mortgage Free Wannabes 2019 #37 78.13% 31,251.65 including July
    Save 12k in 2019 - #68 target is 7k 4,998.99 or 71.41% after May
    OS Grocery Challenge 2019 target is 3k - 46.03% spent so far, mid July
    My DFD is here
    • elsiepac
    • By elsiepac 19th Jun 19, 10:41 AM
    • 1,701 Posts
    • 12,584 Thanks
    elsiepac
    Suffolk Lass - your soup is in the recipe index under the Soups section and named "Squash and Vegetable Soup"

    July GC is now live HERE
    Last edited by elsiepac; 19-06-2019 at 10:48 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
    • Merlin's Beard
    • By Merlin's Beard 19th Jun 19, 1:37 PM
    • 287 Posts
    • 2,396 Thanks
    Merlin's Beard
    Up to 68.56/100 for the month now, had a bit of an oops moment that involved going to the supermarket hungry. And Ben and Jerry's being reduced to 3 a tub in T3sco's.
    • thriftwizard
    • By thriftwizard 19th Jun 19, 5:18 PM
    • 3,047 Posts
    • 37,662 Thanks
    thriftwizard
    We're up to 316.45 following an 8.77 top-up shop - bananas, bread flour, noodles, some extra veg, and a tub of spice for yet another baking experiment. It actually came to more than that, but I returned a couple of new potatoes that turned out to be green when I'd scrubbed them, and they refunded me for the whole lot. Considering they were quite a bit more than twice the price for the same spuds down at the market (where I'd have bought them in the first place, if I'd known we were going to need them) I felt quite justified in returning them when they weren't up to scratch.

    This baking lark is costing a bit upfront, but the savings will kick in later. I need to buy a small amount of equipment (which will come from another part of my budget - "household infrastructure") but can mostly bodge it with what I've already got. Once I feel I've really got the hang of it, we shouldn't ever need to buy bread again. What I'm turning out at the moment is reliably good, but not superb, which is what I'm aiming for; I'm hoping to be able to produce a delicious, nutritious, fluffy & crunchy sourdough loaf for the same price as a mid-range supermarket loaf, even counting in energy used. Getting there!

    ETA: just worked that out, using the current prices for a) the flour (using Stoates Organic Strong White; wholemeal's a bit cheaper but I tend to use a mix) 90p, salt probably no more than 5p, water 0p as we're not metered, and the 'leccy around 20p, so 1.15. Somewhat cheaper than the bakery's 3.90...
    Last edited by thriftwizard; 19-06-2019 at 8:37 PM.
    Angie

    GC July 19 - 326/400
    2019 Fashion on the Ration Challenge: 39 coupons left out of 66

    (Money's just a substitute for time & talent...)
    • Suffolk lass
    • By Suffolk lass 19th Jun 19, 10:01 PM
    • 3,045 Posts
    • 28,049 Thanks
    Suffolk lass
    thriftwizard, I recommend buying some wheatgerm to add to your bread - it makes all the difference to the flavour and goodness. I buy mine from Shipton Mill - my old Basic White Bread recipe (with a dough hook) has been in the recipe index at the front for years. I add sourdough from our starter for flavour, and top it with some dried yeast these days, and as you suggest, a mix of flours (and seeds sometimes)
    MFIT T5 target to clear our mortgage completely (59,998) Q1 26,828 or 44.71% paid - Mortgage Free Wannabes 2019 #37 78.13% 31,251.65 including July
    Save 12k in 2019 - #68 target is 7k 4,998.99 or 71.41% after May
    OS Grocery Challenge 2019 target is 3k - 46.03% spent so far, mid July
    My DFD is here
    • thriftwizard
    • By thriftwizard 20th Jun 19, 11:47 AM
    • 3,047 Posts
    • 37,662 Thanks
    thriftwizard
    Thank you, Suffolk lass, I shall certainly try that! However I have to report - I'm going to need more Zaatar. The rolls are so delicious I've eaten two whilst waiting for my soup to heat up! Good job I did a 2.5 mile walk with DD1 first thing this morning...
    Angie

    GC July 19 - 326/400
    2019 Fashion on the Ration Challenge: 39 coupons left out of 66

    (Money's just a substitute for time & talent...)
    • PipneyJane
    • By PipneyJane 21st Jun 19, 7:23 AM
    • 1,173 Posts
    • 8,841 Thanks
    PipneyJane
    Morning All

    I have a few spends to report from this week. 8.90 at the farm shop on Saturday, followed by 4.78 in MrT's on Sunday, then an extra $6.08 in Lidl last night. (It's Scottish Week - I went looking for their Haggis pizzas...) That brings our total spend for June to 141.79/130, so 11.79 over budget so far.

    Having broken our budget so early in the month, I think we'll be considerably over come 30th June. DH and I each contributed an extra 10 to the GC kitty last weekend - not counted in the 130 budget above - but that is almost all spent.

    - 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 21st Jun 19, 8:19 AM
    • 3,045 Posts
    • 28,049 Thanks
    Suffolk lass
    Thank you, Suffolk lass, I shall certainly try that! However I have to report - I'm going to need more Zaatar. The rolls are so delicious I've eaten two whilst waiting for my soup to heat up! Good job I did a 2.5 mile walk with DD1 first thing this morning...
    Originally posted by thriftwizard
    Have you tried making Zaatar? the recipe looks simple and I have everything in my cupboard except Sumac and most SMs sell that - I was looking at this recipe here
    MFIT T5 target to clear our mortgage completely (59,998) Q1 26,828 or 44.71% paid - Mortgage Free Wannabes 2019 #37 78.13% 31,251.65 including July
    Save 12k in 2019 - #68 target is 7k 4,998.99 or 71.41% after May
    OS Grocery Challenge 2019 target is 3k - 46.03% spent so far, mid July
    My DFD is here
    • Smoosh
    • By Smoosh 22nd Jun 19, 8:58 AM
    • 1,081 Posts
    • 12,626 Thanks
    Smoosh
    30.96 on cat food that will last until towards the end of next month.

    91.13 left. Doing the weekly shop tomorrow.
    • chirpychick
    • By chirpychick 22nd Jun 19, 1:05 PM
    • 968 Posts
    • 8,699 Thanks
    chirpychick
    Hey everyone, we were away last week so were working from a different budget. 4 days until payday so far within budget, have 30 left and barely any food in the house.
    Everything is always better after a cup of tea
    • thriftwizard
    • By thriftwizard 22nd Jun 19, 8:50 PM
    • 3,047 Posts
    • 37,662 Thanks
    thriftwizard
    Thank you, Suffolk lass, that looks absolutely do-able!

    I've gone over budget too. Too much baking! And not enough staying-out-of-the-supermarket. It's not disastrous, luckily, but just goes to show how easy it is to drift & lose focus. Must do better in July... shouldn't need much else this week, and it's payday on Friday, but I've said I'll accompany DS2's partner to the market tomorrow morning to see what bargains we can find...
    Angie

    GC July 19 - 326/400
    2019 Fashion on the Ration Challenge: 39 coupons left out of 66

    (Money's just a substitute for time & talent...)
    • getmyacttogether2016
    • By getmyacttogether2016 22nd Jun 19, 9:39 PM
    • 217 Posts
    • 1,223 Thanks
    getmyacttogether2016
    Evening all

    Another spend for me today of 39.67 , total now stands at 160.34.

    GMAT
    Lost my way for a while but now back on board

    Grocery challenge June 160.34/200, May 234.30/200
    2019 Fashion on the Ration 17/44
    No buying unnecessary toiletries - UU 8
    • Saver.The.Taste
    • By Saver.The.Taste 23rd Jun 19, 8:41 AM
    • 61 Posts
    • 271 Thanks
    Saver.The.Taste
    After a little bit of reckless food shopping and the odd meal out with old friends, really surprised when totting up to find myself still under budget. My monthly food shop is now almost run out bar the stuff I bought on a whim and now have no idea what to do with, so let the inventing begin!!

    With a week to go and a little of the budget left I feel this one is in the bag, and considering there were 2 meals out and 4 lunches I reckon I can tighten my budget for next month!

    155.22/175
    July Bring Your Lunch To Work 0/16
    July Grocery Challenge 118.76/126 94%
    July No Spend Days 0/18
    • Smoosh
    • By Smoosh 23rd Jun 19, 3:23 PM
    • 1,081 Posts
    • 12,626 Thanks
    Smoosh
    42.11 on the weekly shop today:

    Bag of salad leaves (YS), 2 pots of pomegranate (YS), noodle salad pot (YS), blueberry apple and chia seed loaf (YS), 4 rosemary focaccia, 6 eggs, 7 jelly pots, 6 litres Pepsi max, 40 mint teabags, sweet chili sauce, bolognese sauce (4 portions), pasta sauce (2 portions), tin of chopped tomatoes, ball of mozzarella, hard goats cheese, 4 pints of milk, creme fraiche, gnocchi, basil plant, broccoli, 2 baking potatoes, 1 leek, bunch of flowers (YS), 1 banana, cherry tomatoes, 1/2 cucumber, 1 red pepper, bag of frozen butternut squash chunks, 1 sweet potato, 3 portions frozen fries, Quorn mince, bleach, 6 sponges, anti-bac spray, 1 doughnut (YS), 2 millionaire shortbread slices (YS).

    Meal plan:
    1. Quorn bolognese with linguine
    2. Pasta ready meals from the freezer (given to us by my mum)
    3. OH is out - I'll make an omelette with whatever's in the fridge and some fries
    4. Creamy broccoli gnocchi
    5. Meatball mozzarella bake
    6. Sweet potato, sweet chili and goats cheese salad

    Lunches will be soup (making leek and potato this week) and salads, and the YS noodle pot.

    Breakfasts will be yoghurts, fruit and overnight oats/porridge.

    For snacks we have rice cakes, pistachios, fibre bars, breakfast biscuits, crisps, popcorn, jelly, cheese and more fruit and yoghurt.

    49.02 left - we need to get dog food and treats on Saturday which will probably be 15-20, so we'll have to do a cheap weekly shop Saturday evening and make the most of our freezer/cupboard stocks.
    • thriftwizard
    • By thriftwizard 23rd Jun 19, 3:50 PM
    • 3,047 Posts
    • 37,662 Thanks
    thriftwizard
    I escaped from the market without buying any more food! (We won't mention the two 1 plants... different budget!) There wasn't anything on offer that we like & I hadn't already bought on Friday. Phew - I spent all yesterday evening making strawberry jam, and am about to cut up 4 mangoes for the dehydrator, and - enough's enough!
    Angie

    GC July 19 - 326/400
    2019 Fashion on the Ration Challenge: 39 coupons left out of 66

    (Money's just a substitute for time & talent...)
    • Matron Midge
    • By Matron Midge 24th Jun 19, 9:27 AM
    • 548 Posts
    • 4,726 Thanks
    Matron Midge
    Declaring June at 333.14/400.
    Annual total is looking good at 2279.43/5200.
    Students have returned home and are eating like locusts so I will be lucky to have another frugal month, although that said, my cupboards and freezer stocks are healthy and the garden is now producing supplies of berries and veg and there are quite a few yellow sticker pizzas for when they demand quick snack foods after sports and before nights out.
    See you on the July thread!
    • MadamMim2013
    • By MadamMim2013 24th Jun 19, 9:58 AM
    • 804 Posts
    • 10,180 Thanks
    MadamMim2013
    A few items purchased today inc munch for a cinema trip
    Total so far I’d 192.92/300
    "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 24th Jun 19, 5:19 PM
    • 1,268 Posts
    • 8,551 Thanks
    flubberyzing
    That's me declaring for the month at 65.41 for the month. I did a final little food shop after work, and was walking around Lidl with my phone as a calculator! I needed to be sure I was coming in under a tenner.

    I've enough in the cupboards to see me through the next week, and into July.
    Because it's fun to have money!
    35.40/70 July GC
    January-June 2019 = 356.94/420

    • Merlin's Beard
    • By Merlin's Beard 24th Jun 19, 6:32 PM
    • 287 Posts
    • 2,396 Thanks
    Merlin's Beard
    Hopefully declaring at 98.30/100, as long as I semi successfully make some bread this week at some point. Let's just say that that skill a work in progress, but improving.
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