Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

Welcome to the MSE Forums

We're home to a fantastic community of MoneySavers but anyone can post. Please exercise caution & report spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts/messages: click "report" or email forumteam@.

    • zippychick
    • By zippychick 4th Jun 11, 11:19 AM
    • 9,343Posts
    • 17,889Thanks
    • #1
    • 4th Jun 11, 11:19 AM
    4th Jun 11 at 11:19 AM
    Hi everyone,

    Welcome to the eleventh Grocery Challenge of 2013

    If your new month starts early feel free to join this thread, or if you're still working on your October budget, then keep on posting in the:
    October 2013 Grocery 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. MrM 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 breadmaker - 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. Obvioulsy 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 healthwise.

    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 quidelines on posting in this thread please read the second post in this thread.

    For the Grocery challenge Recipe Index please see posts #3, #4, #5 #6 #7 #8 & #9 on this thread (the list is growing!!!!!)

    For everyones totals, see post #10 on this thread

    I hope everyone has a great month!

    Last edited by zippychick; 21-10-2013 at 6:22 PM.
    A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men
    Norn Iron club member #380

Page 3
    • Bluegreen143
    • By Bluegreen143 25th Oct 13, 3:33 PM
    • 1,108 Posts
    • 12,739 Thanks
    Hello all - welcome to all the newbies, best of luck for your first challenge

    Coxy - can you put me down for £175 this month? It's a five week month so I've increased slightly from last month, but since it's a decrease (by only £5 lol) from the last 5 week month I'm happy.

    Really chuffed at coming below budget last month (I really didn't think I would after spending £15 on a three month delivery saver from Mr As) and I'm feeling confident about this month - have a few HM 'ready meals' in the freezer so that will help, and of course I don't need to pay delivery costs either

    This is for me and the OH to pay for food shopping, toiletries, cleaning/household stuff and food/litter for our cat. Doesn't include alcohol or eating out/takeaways (which are infrequent anyway - we both take packed luckes to work which come out of the grocery budget).
    Married 1 March 2014 DS born 06 Dec 2014 DD born 14 Dec 2018
    • First_Trouble
    • By First_Trouble 25th Oct 13, 4:20 PM
    • 974 Posts
    • 3,142 Thanks
    This weekend will be doing a stock take of all fridge/freezer/cupboards in preparation for my first GC shop on the 1st.
    Have printed off a load of recipes above for inspiration.
    Feeling motivated!

    Good luck everyone.
    • chocoholic_chick
    • By chocoholic_chick 25th Oct 13, 9:07 PM
    • 643 Posts
    • 3,260 Thanks
    Could I be put down for £200 this month please. Slightly less than last month as we still have a fair bit in the freezer and we're both travelling with work a bit this month so meals will be included for these trips.

    First shop will be tomorrow so need to come up with a meal plan and a shopping list

    Good luck with the challenge everyone!!
    New House... New Mortgage! February 2017: £144,000
    Current Mortgage Balance: £101,657.85
    2017 OP's:£5,935 2018 OP's: £11,956.00 2019 OP's: £9,990
    Total Debt £29,209 £0 Debt free 6/8/16
    • lynnejk
    • By lynnejk 25th Oct 13, 11:49 PM
    • 5,343 Posts
    • 55,198 Thanks
    Again aiming to spend as little as possible and use up as much as possible.
    Really want to start the new year with an empty freezer, trouble is with batch cooking I take something out and put back 3 or 4 meals.
    Originally posted by meg72
    I totally agree meg72. This is where I am also

    Well, here goes - our first monthly challenge!!
    Please put us down for £250 for myself and DH as trying to put treats etc away for Christmas. Wish us luck please!!!
    Originally posted by just the two of us
    Good Luck and I'm sure you'll do well. Everyone on here so supportive

    This weekend will be doing a stock take of all fridge/freezer/cupboards in preparation for my first GC shop on the 1st.
    Have printed off a load of recipes above for inspiration.
    Feeling motivated! Good luck everyone.
    Originally posted by First_Trouble
    Welcome and sounds like you getting well organised.

    I'm still on October so not updated signature for Nov.

    Good luck everyone
    Bulk buy.......APR=233.76
    OS WL= -2/8 ......CC =00......Savings = £13,140
    • kayester
    • By kayester 26th Oct 13, 5:17 AM
    • 1,800 Posts
    • 9,338 Thanks
    not been doing so well so far, and its the run unto christmas and ide like to put my budgets for weekly food and christmas food/alcohol together so please put me down for £450
    216/2018 (make ££ in 2018)

    Grocery challenge
    Jan 227/400
    swagbucks target 2018 1452/27375
    • Nelly11
    • By Nelly11 26th Oct 13, 10:38 AM
    • 190 Posts
    • 1,392 Thanks
    It looks like I only need to buy some disposable razors and some boy spray this week.
    I want to try to get two pressies off my Christmas list too
    Hopefully I shall only spend a couple of pounds out of this weeks budget and the rest can go off the mortgage
    Barclay card £4,024/£0 0%interest
    HMRC £3,456/£0 0% interest
    Blackhorse £2763/£0 0% interest
    HMRC2 £397/£0 0% interest
    Credit card £1400/£0 29% interest
    Save all loose change 2018 total =
    • chocoholic_chick
    • By chocoholic_chick 26th Oct 13, 11:41 AM
    • 643 Posts
    • 3,260 Thanks
    First shop of Novembers challenge done this morning so £33.87 spent in Aldi. Meal plan for this week is :-

    Saturday - Out for a meal
    Sunday - Beef Goulash
    Monday - Chilli ( from freezer )
    Tuesday - Italian Meatballs ( from freezer )
    Wednesday - Toad in the hole with veg
    Thursday - Poached eggs on toast
    Friday - Chicken Fajitas

    Using up some of the meals in the freezer this week. Bought a big pack of chicken breasts today so will have 3 chicken breasts to use in the following weeks meal plan as well

    Also bought some sweets for halloween today so will have to hide them away so DH doesn't eat them!

    Can't believe how much I've got my weekly spends down to now, it's gone from an average of £70 a week to £40 a week. Really making the most of leftovers now which is helping. I can now get 5 portions out of 1 pack of mince, 2 chicken breasts generally can make 4 meals and weigh out things like rice and pasta so I don't have loads of waste. Quite sad how excited about it all I get
    New House... New Mortgage! February 2017: £144,000
    Current Mortgage Balance: £101,657.85
    2017 OP's:£5,935 2018 OP's: £11,956.00 2019 OP's: £9,990
    Total Debt £29,209 £0 Debt free 6/8/16
    • meg72
    • By meg72 26th Oct 13, 12:43 PM
    • 5,082 Posts
    • 46,072 Thanks
    Have just signed up to Sun+ 1 month trial for £1 they send you a £10 voucher for Morrisons and as long as you remember to cancel within a month thereis no more pay
    Slimming World at target
    • Billie-jo
    • By Billie-jo 26th Oct 13, 4:04 PM
    • 1,221 Posts
    • 15,892 Thanks
    Thanks to everyone who keeps this thread going.

    Will try November £220 please.
    Good luck to everyone and hope you all do well. Will join you all over here on the first of the month.
    [COLOR="Purple"][B] MARCH £62.38/250 [B][COLOR="Purple"]
    • SilverBird
    • By SilverBird 26th Oct 13, 4:16 PM
    • 251 Posts
    • 2,107 Thanks
    GC budget for November is £250.
    #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
    • lushlifesaver
    • By lushlifesaver 26th Oct 13, 5:14 PM
    • 2,312 Posts
    • 18,637 Thanks
    Been out for the day will dad so stocked up on things like rice, pasta etc. These things will last us four-eight weeks. Went to Aldi for the first time in ages so got about £10 of stuff from there and my dad saw a router (as in for woodwork) which is something he's wanted for a while so I picked one up for his Christmas box, that's him almost done!
    Nipped in to the giant ASDA next door to get some bits Aldi didn't stock plus a few fresh bits, squash (2 bottle last us about 6/8weeks), cherry Pepsi for bf and some Saturday night treats and that was another £20, also spent £4 in Iceland (2 packs of mini malt loaves and two jars of Dolmio).

    All in all £34 of the budget spent but sorted for a minimum two weeks apart from a small loaf of bread :-) meal plan to be finalised tonight whoop.
    Perfect Princess born 26/03/14 <3
  • Rachel021967
    Please can you put me down for £600.
  • she who can not cook
    Can I join please? I get paid on the 18th of the month ... I would love to stick within this budget as I tend to be a bit rubbish with food budgeting. One of my aims in the next couple of weeks is to eat our way through everything in Freezer 1 so I can defrost it. I won't be buying any more meat until that's done.

    Hopefully I'll be able to resist those whoopsied bargains...
    Originally posted by mooomin
    I can not resist the reduced sections. My local Tesco is a newish one
    it has a self scanner and a frozen reduce section . The other week it had some meatloaf priced at 1,25 not bad I thinks. Goes to the till and pay but the amount did not look right looked at the receipt the meatloaf was 62 pence. Went right back and got the other two the date was Feb 2014. So this Thursday there is "simply cook "bacon 4x 200gram been in the reduced freezer section for a long time but thur the price ticket had been removed. So I went to the self scan I nearly dropped the bag it was 1.12,
    I got nine bags and had trouble getting them in my chest freezer. Budget busted
    Gc 2013 +26 -5. -4 -7 -14 -15 -10.-8.20 +15p+30+5.80 Dec +9 GROCERY challenge 2014 Jan -2Feb -3 March -1.50 April +5.40 May +4.90 June -3.July 16.50/85

    God bless my sweet "old man" Goldie that died in the early hours of 27 th March please see him on my avatar
    • toddles*
    • By toddles* 26th Oct 13, 7:18 PM
    • 360 Posts
    • 2,653 Thanks
    Not done the challenge in ages and changes in family circumstances means I really need to, looking forward to reading
    Please put me down for £300 for the month

    Thanks and good luck guys
    Happy days
    • fairy3
    • By fairy3 26th Oct 13, 7:28 PM
    • 469 Posts
    • 4,500 Thanks
    Please can you put me down for £150 please for four adults. I have done a stock take of freezer and cupboards and menu planned until Thursday as there is no money in the coffers due to the blinking car!! Payday is Wednesday so aim to spend nothing until Friday from the budget.
    Like a lot of others I would like to run the freezer down before Christmas and spend as little as possible. Interesting meals coming up methinks looking at the list.
  • Bubbletea
    Hi all, new newbie here! After seeing our bills go up a huge amount this month we've decided that it's time to be more sensible with money :/ This, along with bulk cooking for the freezer, seems like the best place to start!

    Our month starts now so Can you put me down for £200 for this month, 2 adults and 2 children, please? Just stocked up on two weeks worth of food for batch cooking.. Wish me luck! Xx
    • kimthomasandaimee
    • By kimthomasandaimee 26th Oct 13, 9:39 PM
    • 16 Posts
    • 155 Thanks
    I'm so pleased to have found this thread.

    We are a family of two adults, two children and two cats.

    So far in October we have spent £1400 on food

    Come here in desperation for some help really.

    Would like to spend £400 so the thousand can go on reducing debt x
    • Cwtchie
    • By Cwtchie 26th Oct 13, 9:45 PM
    • 331 Posts
    • 822 Thanks
    Hello, I don't think I did too well last Month . Well actually I was rubbish! So I am going to try again as my last week or so of October turned out to be quite good so maybe I just need more practise. £280 . for me please this month and I will try to be good!
    £250 shopping, diesel and any other spends
    December 16- January 15 £345.06/250.00 -£95.06
    £2 saving a day for christmas 2017 £0/£730
    Total debt paid off before 26 December 2017 £3142.31/14,053.85 = £10911.54 left to go
    • lynnejk
    • By lynnejk 26th Oct 13, 10:57 PM
    • 5,343 Posts
    • 55,198 Thanks
    Hi all, new newbie here! After seeing our bills go up a huge amount this month we've decided that it's time to be more sensible with money :/ This, along with bulk cooking for the freezer, seems like the best place to start!

    Our month starts now so Can you put me down for £200 for this month, 2 adults and 2 children, please? Just stocked up on two weeks worth of food for batch cooking.. Wish me luck! Xx
    Originally posted by Bubbletea

    I'm so pleased to have found this thread.

    We are a family of two adults, two children and two cats.

    So far in October we have spent £1400 on food

    Come here in desperation for some help really.

    Would like to spend £400 so the thousand can go on reducing debt x
    Originally posted by kimthomasandaimee
    I know you will find lots of help on here
    Bulk buy.......APR=233.76
    OS WL= -2/8 ......CC =00......Savings = £13,140
    • MinnieMousesMummy
    • By MinnieMousesMummy 27th Oct 13, 9:01 AM
    • 1,287 Posts
    • 13,340 Thanks
    After adding up all the receipts from October it comes to a spend of £370 which feeds 2 adults, a baby, a 2 year old and a 10 year as well as a hamster, cat and 2 chickens. The grocery bill includes nappies for the 2 little ones. For November I will aim for grocery bill of £350, which is a reduction of £20 (not much I know but every little helps)
    £10 challenge 2017: Jan £387.76, Feb £82.21, March £254.10, April£0, May £674.30
Welcome to our new Forum!

Our aim is to save you money quickly and easily. We hope you like it!

Forum Team Contact us

Live Stats

282Posts Today

3,769Users online

Martin's Twitter