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    • elsiepac
    • By elsiepac 28th Jul 18, 10:09 PM
    • 1,701Posts
    • 12,587Thanks
    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'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; 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 (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
    • thriftwizard
    • By thriftwizard 2nd Jun 19, 4:13 PM
    • 3,049 Posts
    • 37,671 Thanks
    Another £39 spent; this included a £20 pack of chicken breasts which will last OH & I for at least a month, mostly now in the freezer, & £8 on 2 trays (24 small punnets) of "jam" strawberries to make a year's supply of jam - 18 jars - now cooling!

    Two lots of ice-cream have also been made today; pineapple & mango sorbet, which is everybody's favourite so far (this is the second batch) and chocolate - well it had to be done! All done with supplies we already had in, but I shall have to slow up now, for my waistline's sake, never mind the budget!

    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...)
    • Smoosh
    • By Smoosh 2nd Jun 19, 8:46 PM
    • 1,081 Posts
    • 12,626 Thanks
    £39.56 weekly shop today.

    House plant (YS), soup (YS), 2 yoghurts (YS), tomatoes (YS), 2 packs of melon (YS), salad pot (YS), 2 bread rolls (YS), loaf of bread (YS), 2 Portuguese custard tarts (YS), 4 pints of milk, pack of Quorn chicken, tub of Greek yoghurt, block of cheddar, 1/2 cucumber, raspberries, a lettuce, 1 banana, beansprouts, 2 baking potatoes, premade mash, pad Thai kit, 4 tins of baked beans, 1 tin of spaghetti, caesar dressing, croutons, 6 eggs, babybels, 3 jelly pots, 6 litres Pepsi max, 2 litres lemonade, 2 alcohol free ciders, fabric softener, biological detergent and fabric whitener.

    Think we did pretty well considering some unnecessary purchases (plant and cider).

    Meal plan for the week:
    1. Pies (Quorn for me, steak for OH) with mash, peas, broccoli and asparagus
    2. Pad Thai
    3. Jacket potatoes with beans for OH and spaghetti for me
    4. Caesar salad with Quorn chicken
    5. Spaghetti with vegetarian sausages

    We're away Friday and Saturday evening and meals with be kindly provided by my parents

    For lunches I'll be having salads and soups as usual! Breakfasts will be yoghurt or overnight oats. And for snacks this week we have raspberries, banana, jelly, pistachios, crisps, fibre bars, rice cakes and cheese.

    We have £256.44 left
    • PipneyJane
    • By PipneyJane 3rd Jun 19, 10:08 AM
    • 1,178 Posts
    • 8,859 Thanks
    Ta Da! We have £10 to roll over from May!
    Good morning All

    Elsiepac, please amend my budget for June to £130. Many thanks. Amazingly, we managed to finish May with £10 left.

    I have two spends to declare from yesterday: £8.70 in the farm shop and £10.37 spent in MrT's. We were disappointed to note that the long running Yeo Valley yoghurt 2-for-£2 offer for the big pots seems to have disappeared from MrT. A$da used to have it too, so we'll check them out later in the week and stock up if possible.

    Part of the spend at the farm shop was on 2 bags of broad beans.
    They've been shelled, blanched and are now in the freezer. However, the most noticeable thing was that they'd nearly run out of broccoli. The weird weather we had earlier this year has made it bolt.

    The above spend brings our total for June to £19.07/£130, leaving £110.93 for the rest of the month. We've got a big shop on the horizon - probably on Thursday - so a large proportion of that will disappear then.

    - 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
    • vintageteainmywardrobe
    • By vintageteainmywardrobe 3rd Jun 19, 10:18 AM
    • 23 Posts
    • 169 Thanks
    Morning all,

    Went shopping on Saturday and really happy with how much I spent, £14.97 spent for the week. I've decided that I am going to try and get my store cupboards down as I have load's of stuff I am just not using/will probably never use and I actually want to get a "pantry" together that I will actually use so it's either being used or it's being forfeited, hence the low shop.

    We also went out on Saturday to have a walk around the motorbikes on the prom and treated ourselves to dinner out so that was a spend of £9.70. I think we'll be doing the same thing tonight and Friday maybe. We're creatures of habit so will be having the same both times . Also think I might be doing a quick shop for some picnic items as we are going to be on the mountain all day Friday watching the races and want to make sure we have everything we'd need.

    So far its £24.67 // £200 (£175.33) left to spend.
    • squirrelgirl
    • By squirrelgirl 3rd Jun 19, 11:28 AM
    • 446 Posts
    • 2,404 Thanks
    Nothing spent yet but I don't think it will last!
    Gone on a health kick now so I will be spending more on fruit and vegetables- this means a lot more planning as I intend to have no waste, it's going to be an interesting month
    12 Month Challenge:[COLOR=]"Red"Mortgage - £5929/£16000 ; MFW 2019 No. 58 GC £737.26/£3600 Jan £270/Feb £50/ March £87.26/April £180/May £150
    • flubberyzing
    • By flubberyzing 3rd Jun 19, 2:08 PM
    • 1,268 Posts
    • 8,551 Thanks
    Starting the month with £18.26 split between Lidl and Aldi.

    Mostly fruit and veg, and enough bread/fillings to make a months worth of freezer sandwiches.
    Because it's fun to have money!
    £47.90/£70 July GC
    January-June 2019 = £356.94/£420

    • getmyacttogether2016
    • By getmyacttogether2016 3rd Jun 19, 2:15 PM
    • 217 Posts
    • 1,223 Thanks
    Afternoon all

    Hoping to keep track of my spends better this month so £30.89 to declare.

    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
    • chirpychick
    • By chirpychick 3rd Jun 19, 4:56 PM
    • 968 Posts
    • 8,699 Thanks
    I forgot to come back and write down our spend but basically on week 1 I had £30 carried over so only spent £20. Then this week which lasts until Thursday I have now only got £8.87 left. We went to the market on Saturday to try their fruit and veg and I feel so upset because the carrots which are now 2 days post purchase, desperately need using up! Some of the potatoes have had to be thrown out (and i'm somebody who generally will use veg months later). The berries are almost gone bad too, my son wont eat the blueberries as he says they are bad so I spent £20 on this stuff and whilst i can give my chickens some and dogs, some has had to be thrown or can't be used for what I wanted. I wont be making this mistake again! However, I have a horrible sore throat and cough so I will make carrot soup tomorrow. I'm lucky in that I do have a store cupboard which we have been using. But I will be doing an order with Tesco for delivery this week (already pay delivery saver) in order to not end up in the same position next week.
    Also we spent about £30 in Morrisons on a whim ice cream, ice lollies, crisps, chocolate and bread! I would love to say this is rare but it's not. But now I see how easily it is to spend £30 here and there! I shouldn't have allowed that. But I have to admit the cold stuff is a godsend right now!
    Last edited by chirpychick; 03-06-2019 at 4:58 PM.
    Everything is always better after a cup of tea
    • Merlin's Beard
    • By Merlin's Beard 3rd Jun 19, 5:58 PM
    • 287 Posts
    • 2,396 Thanks
    Merlin's Beard
    Lots of fresh starts this month, good luck to everyone x

    (Lots of ice cream buying as well )

    £27.02/£100 to get me started for this month... I've got two weeks off but I'm not going away for many days at a time, so it's going to be a case of trying not to eat my own bodyweight in snacks.
    • Scrimps
    • By Scrimps 3rd Jun 19, 6:28 PM
    • 255 Posts
    • 1,130 Thanks
    something has gone awry already I overspent in tesco by 12p on Friday monring, I was on the self service check out so asked the staff member to help me return a banana to bring myself under budget - she put 20p in the till for me which was lovely. I gave her back the 8p change for the next person who went over budget of course. I had to get a lot of the bits at tesco as aldi hadnt stacked their shelves by the time I got there at just after 8 - this may be why i went over budget. Im taking £5 from future weeks money to pay for yet more bananas and bread.

    Ive got £80.45 to last us the rest of the month. I have more food in the freezer with premade broths & stews and self prepared veg than I did at the start of the month so hopefully itll be OK. The toddler has hit a really fussy phase so Im struggling to find what to give him, he used to love legumes which we have plenty of and now they seem to be all out of favour! I intend to shop my cupboards more and build a meal plan around that rather than creating a meal plan - then seeing what we have in and what else I need to get.

    I struggled to get back to sleep last night and im sure its because I dont know what our income is going to be over the next few months (our payroll dept are useless) so having a good grasp of the household budgeting would really help.
    • JingsMyBucket
    • By JingsMyBucket 3rd Jun 19, 7:28 PM
    • 405 Posts
    • 4,443 Thanks
    Hi everyone. Iím in Scotland now and arrived last Tuesday. Weíve spent about £119.32 so far since May 28th. The mister has been dragging me around town showing me the sights so Iíve been racking up the steps on my FitBit. Iíll do more of an update and read everyoneís posts later tomorrow. Have a good evening all!
    Last edited by JingsMyBucket; 03-06-2019 at 7:42 PM.
    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% )
    • thriftwizard
    • By thriftwizard 3rd Jun 19, 8:07 PM
    • 3,049 Posts
    • 37,671 Thanks
    A whole £1.49 spent today, on chick crumb for the 5 Cream Crested Legbar chicks that we hurtled across two counties to pick up this morning! Now safely slipped under their new bantam "mothers" who are utterly besotted with them... Wouldn't normally go so far for chicks, but our normal supplier didn't have any coming in for weeks and our dear little Pekin bantams would quite cheerfully have starved themselves to death sitting on the nest before then. So next winter's egg supplies should be secure now!

    Two more adventures with my bargain ice-cream maker today, both made with supplies we already had; Kiwifruit Sorbet - very nice & refreshing - and Strawberry & Prosecco Ice Cream - superb! I also baked a sourdough loaf, started off last night, which turned out very well - I'm getting better at this! About time too...

    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...)
    • Smoosh
    • By Smoosh 3rd Jun 19, 9:03 PM
    • 1,081 Posts
    • 12,626 Thanks
    £1.90 on some stock cubes because I went to make soup to find OH had left an empty box in there

    £254.54 left.
    • elsiepac
    • By elsiepac 4th Jun 19, 6:53 AM
    • 1,701 Posts
    • 12,587 Thanks
    Budgets updated to here

    Hi all

    I've gone massively wrong again and shopped way too much straight after being paid... I'm very well stocked up but will need to be careful to eke out my remaining budget properly for fresh stuff each week.

    22 days until I get paid again.

    I have tons of frozen vegan sausages and things, Loads of tinned toms & beans, pasta, rice, quinoa and bulgar as well as a few other grains. Some frozen stock and some stock cubes.I have main meals made for the rest of this week, plus a load of veg in the fridge and a ton of almond milk as I really stocked up in Morries as they had the 3 for £3 offer on Alpr0 and when they are usually £1.80 each it's deffo worth stocking up! I'll muddle through just can't understand why I can't function like an actual adult. What is wrong with me

    Last edited by elsiepac; 04-06-2019 at 6:59 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
    • pamsdish
    • By pamsdish 4th Jun 19, 9:32 AM
    • 1,285 Posts
    • 8,031 Thanks
    £11.50 In Iceland
    2018 £2285/£2149
    2019 £2000=£878-£53=£825-£20=£805-£25=£780
    • t14cy t
    • By t14cy t 4th Jun 19, 12:30 PM
    • 737 Posts
    • 6,878 Thanks
    t14cy t
    £13 spent today in tesco/aldi and morrisons. first spend of the month. hoping not to shop again until the weekend. xx
    • Isca82
    • By Isca82 4th Jun 19, 2:53 PM
    • 6 Posts
    • 35 Thanks
    Hi everyone, please can I join the challenge?

    Iíve not really got a good sense of what we spend so at going to say £400 for June with a view to reducing it over the coming months.

    Iíve spent £67.94 so far
    • Saver.The.Taste
    • By Saver.The.Taste 4th Jun 19, 6:19 PM
    • 61 Posts
    • 271 Thanks
    1st small top up 1 week in at £3.08, on the way out bumped into a friend which cost me £5.49 for a catch up lunch.

    Now at £98.05 out of my £175 target!
    July Bring Your Lunch To Work 0/16
    July Grocery Challenge £118.76/£126 94%
    July No Spend Days 0/18
    • thrifty-hayley
    • By thrifty-hayley 5th Jun 19, 9:20 AM
    • 100 Posts
    • 338 Thanks
    I've spent £44.33 this week on a big shop which will hopefully see me through the month with a few small top up shops.
    July Grocery challenge £32.72/£90
    Emergency fund: £502/£1000
    • ceb1995
    • By ceb1995 5th Jun 19, 3:37 PM
    • 265 Posts
    • 603 Thanks
    I'd like to join, we've been trying to get under £200 since the start of the year and have been unsuccessful.
    I've recently handed my notice in and i don't have a new job yet (i know not the most sensible choice but it is the best choice for my health to leave asap and we although we have savings to top up dh's wages for a couple of months to give me time, i've got more motivation than ever to cut the food bill).

    So we're aiming for £190 this month for 2 adults and a cat. Got some reduced salmon and mince in the freezer at the moment and a few bits of various carbs and herbs, we are a 5 minute drive from a supermarket so we can make strategic trips to check out the reduced aisles, should be fine till the friday night with what we have in and i've made a meal plan with two meat free days for next week.

    So far we're on £36.77/£190

    Any advice on where we can cut our budget would be greatly appreciated
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