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    • zippychick
    • By zippychick 13th Oct 14, 12:54 PM
    • 9,343Posts
    • 17,888Thanks
    August 2017 Grocery Challenge
    • #1
    • 13th Oct 14, 12:54 PM
    August 2017 Grocery Challenge 13th Oct 14 at 12:54 PM
    Hi everyone,

    Welcome to the eighth Grocery Challenge of 2017 !!!!

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


    This Forum tip was included in's weekly email!
    Last edited by MSE Andrea; 09-08-2017 at 9:15 AM.
    A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men
    Norn Iron club member #380

Page 2
    • Penguin8410
    • By Penguin8410 19th Jul 17, 4:51 PM
    • 93 Posts
    • 195 Thanks
    please can you add me to the board. Its going to be my first month doing this since having my children but determined as am frittering too much away.

    Please can you put me down for 250

    14046.59 14046.59


    • YorksLass
    • By YorksLass 20th Jul 17, 5:49 PM
    • 394 Posts
    • 6,792 Thanks
    Thanks zippychick for the August challenge.

    Sainsburys have kindly sent me 36 of vouchers (9 x 4) if I go back to shop with them for the next few weeks. Of course, I shall as that is free money to stock up with.
    Originally posted by Matron Midge
    Mmm, I think I'm about due some of these too. They are useful aren't they, although sometimes I struggle to make up the necessary spend with just the items I need. When that's the case I look to see what their offers are on basics to replenish the cupboards.

    Still posting in July for another week but please put me down for 200 for August (the dreaded 5-week month for me), groceries only as toiletries and cleaning/household items have their own budgets. The plan is to spend as little as possible and concentrate on stores for meals as we go on holiday soon. The holiday is paid for and we have spending money but a bit more wouldn't go amiss so that's my incentive.
    Be kind to others and to yourself too. Life has its ups and downs, use the ups to overcome the downs!
    July 85.47/140 and 10/28 NSDs (Jan-Jun 68.59 under budget)

    • B17c
    • By B17c 21st Jul 17, 4:45 PM
    • 290 Posts
    • 1,541 Thanks
    Hello! Please may I join?? My budget is 60 for the month... I HAVE to clear my debt and try to save a little by May/June next year! I've just signed a contract for a second job today so I'm going to try to hammer the poop out of my debt! I'm ashamed at myself for letting it get this bad...
    Credit Card Debt: 11,000
    Capital One: 2900
    Aqua: 2900
    Marbles: 2700
    Tesco: 2500
    • MrsSave
    • By MrsSave 21st Jul 17, 9:33 PM
    • 1,589 Posts
    • 4,944 Thanks
    It's been a while since I've done this. Can you please put me down for 200 please.
    Extra money made: July 11.89/90
    Finally debt free (other than the mortgage) - 05/02/18
    Check out my debt free diary 'Mrs after debt' below:
    • Graciefields
    • By Graciefields 22nd Jul 17, 10:13 AM
    • 27 Posts
    • 47 Thanks
    Please can you add me to this? I have tried before and failed. It's just me, the cat and the puppy. Not sure how much to put but will try for 25 per week. 125 per month. This includes all groceries, dog and cat food, toiletries and cleaning products.

    Good luck everyone.

    Hope I can make it this time.

    • YorksLass
    • By YorksLass 22nd Jul 17, 3:05 PM
    • 394 Posts
    • 6,792 Thanks
    I HAVE to clear my debt and try to save a little by May/June next year! I've just signed a contract for a second job today so I'm going to try to hammer the poop out of my debt! I'm ashamed at myself for letting it get this bad...
    Originally posted by B17c
    Welcome and please don't be ashamed, we've probably all been there at some stage. At least you're acknowledging there is a problem and trying to do something about it.

    I have tried before and failed. Hope I can make it this time. Gracie
    Originally posted by Graciefields
    Another welcome - if at first you don't succeed ....

    Keep following this thread for encouragement and other threads (e.g. Love Food Haste Waste, Cooking for One, Eating out of the freezer and cupboards challenge for hints & tips, ideas, how others do it etc.
    Be kind to others and to yourself too. Life has its ups and downs, use the ups to overcome the downs!
    July 85.47/140 and 10/28 NSDs (Jan-Jun 68.59 under budget)

    • emmwri
    • By emmwri 22nd Jul 17, 11:44 PM
    • 60 Posts
    • 418 Thanks
    I haven't posted in years but circumstances mean I'm struggling with debt and need to save where I can. Going to give the grocery challenge a go! Please put me down for 180 for the month. That's for food, toiletries and cleaning stuff for me, OH, DS1 and 2 but not counting pet stuff.
    • YorksLass
    • By YorksLass 23rd Jul 17, 3:17 PM
    • 394 Posts
    • 6,792 Thanks
    Welcome emmwri. It's nice to "meet" newbie / returner posters to the thread.

    As expected, I got some Sainsbobs vouchers in the post but not the ones Matron Midge got. Mine are 3 off a shop (no minimum spend) and two for extra loyalty points which, for once, are on items that I normally buy anyway. So, a good beginning for this month's challenge.

    What do others do with the cash saved by using a money-off coupon? Do you keep it in your grocery cash, do you move it to another pot (e.g. holidays, treats etc) or does it just "disappear" into the ether?
    Be kind to others and to yourself too. Life has its ups and downs, use the ups to overcome the downs!
    July 85.47/140 and 10/28 NSDs (Jan-Jun 68.59 under budget)

    • Zed42
    • By Zed42 23rd Jul 17, 10:16 PM
    • 899 Posts
    • 5,621 Thanks
    Evening all ...

    I've been off the wagon for way-too-long, so let me crawl back on.

    This coming month is going to be challenging as DH has just ripped (literally) out the kitchen, so I'm going to have to make a "camp kitchen" to keep us going until we've bought and fitted a new one!

    I have a slow cooker and a steamer, so that will cover most options. But no microwave (which is what I did have last time he ripped the kitchen out for 6 months (different house!)).

    Not setting a budget to begin with.

    GC - Jan -

    • BrassicWoman
    • By BrassicWoman 23rd Jul 17, 10:22 PM
    • 1,666 Posts
    • 6,874 Thanks
    100 for me please, lots of other bills due
    Jan 18 grocery challenge 105.13/ 150
    • purpleybat
    • By purpleybat 23rd Jul 17, 11:20 PM
    • 346 Posts
    • 2,945 Thanks
    hello all
    I have a few guests again this month so can I be put down for 170 again please, will also have to include a treat dinner for my birthday that i'm cooking for a few friends, luckily it won't have to cover booze
    gc 2017 1841.27.
    2018 jan 124.69/130 feb 157.97/150 mar 221.33/200 apr 223.04/250
    • PennyGrabber
    • By PennyGrabber 24th Jul 17, 12:14 AM
    • 1,267 Posts
    • 22,422 Thanks
    Hello everyone,

    I'm still in July, but popped over here to say [COLOR="Red"]100[/ for August, which will probably be very challenging as all three of us are off for the summer. Still, needs must!

    See you on the 1st!

    PG x
    Grocery challenge for family of three - me, dd(12) and ds(11), feeding dp 2 or 3 x a week too. Only food, not toiletries. Jan 87.97/100 Feb 0/100
    Frugal 2018 needed! Saving and NOT spending
    • pamsdish
    • By pamsdish 24th Jul 17, 8:03 AM
    • 940 Posts
    • 5,604 Thanks
    Still going in July, been rethinking and need to cut overall spends drastically, so going for 300 for everything that costs money, excepting D.D.s
    APRIL200=35 May200=61 JUNE200=6
    JULY 200-5=195,-19=176,-10 =166,-10=156,-24=132,-17=115.-4=111,-26=85

    • quintwins
    • By quintwins 24th Jul 17, 10:04 AM
    • 5,003 Posts
    • 29,347 Thanks
    Can I be added to the board please. I haven't done this in a good few years now but always found It helped before.

    170 for me please
    DFW 7632/28996 26.3%
    • Jessop64
    • By Jessop64 24th Jul 17, 12:20 PM
    • 7 Posts
    • 24 Thanks
    Hi I'm a newbie to the forum please can I join this challenge? Id like to stick to 200 for the month of August please

    Jess x
    • elf06
    • By elf06 24th Jul 17, 4:57 PM
    • 1,498 Posts
    • 15,140 Thanks
    I've had to buy bits and pieces of not remembered about this month plus it's a longer month than normal as I started early AND I hadn't taken into account the school hols and having to feed extra lunches and snacks - this month isn't looking good and it's barely started
    Still in the spirit of it all I'm going to try and claw it back a bit. Just been through my receipts and my current spend is 31.15 and only 2 NSD's
    I need to get lundry things tonight so that eill add another bit to the total.....goimg to have to be careful for the next 4 weeks!! Plenty of dinners in the freezer and some of my spend has been on YS items. I CAN do this (or if I can't it gives me a place to start from next month). Onwards and upwards

    Aug GC - 88.17/130
    NSD - target 18 days, so far 5!!
    • euronorris
    • By euronorris 24th Jul 17, 4:59 PM
    • 10,006 Posts
    • 46,693 Thanks
    OK, please put me down for 300 this month for hubby, myself and DD. This is to include everything, toiletries, nappies, the lot.

    I tried this months ago, but DD still wasn't sleeping well, or napping well and we were just about making it through the days without falling asleep, so we succumbed to takeaways a lot.....again.

    But, ......touch wood, touch wood, touch wood, DD has been sleeping a lot better for months now, and so we've got a lot better at prepping and freezing meals, wasting less and not ordering takeaways. Still room for improvement though, especially for work lunches when I'm feeling lazy and 'just popping into' Lidl (next door to work) and buying something completely different (and unnecessary) for dinner.

    So, have started meal planning for us all to ensure that stops happening. Completely overspent earlier this month, so have been using up a lot of the meat from the freezer to make meals etc, so I know it can be done.

    Month starts from 26th July (payday) for me, and will run until 25th August (next payday).

    Have already sourced the cheapest place to buy DDs nappies for this month. Mr T. Will get their own brand wipes and nappy sacks, and try and source a few needed things from there to meet the min spend. I could go to the shop, but it's in the centre of town, and the traffic in at this time of year is horrendous. As is parking.

    The rest I will get from Lidl. I have Tuesday afternoon off as Health Visitor is coming for 1 year checkup, so I will finish work and then do a big (ish) shop before going home.
    Last edited by euronorris; 25-07-2017 at 8:48 AM.
    • VickyV
    • By VickyV 24th Jul 17, 5:27 PM
    • 111 Posts
    • 1,348 Thanks
    Hi euronorris,
    Just wondered if you have an A1di nearby. Their nappies come in boxes of 78 for 4.99 so 1 and a half pence cheaper per nappy than Te5co (the 44 pack is only 1p cheaper per pack though). The wipes are 52p a pack too. Nappy bags are also dead cheap from places like h0me bargains, disc0unt UK and B&M.
    If not, ignore me...
    Vicky x
    August GC 138.50/210
    Saving money, decluttering and getting fit. How hard can it be?
    • pipkin71
    • By pipkin71 24th Jul 17, 9:31 PM
    • 19,360 Posts
    • 87,163 Thanks
    It's been a while since I last did a grocery challenge but would like to start up again, so could you put me down for 360 for August, please. That works out at roughly 90 per week for 3-4 adults and two dogs.

    I have been spending far more than 90 per week but this was a comfortable amount when I previously did the challenge so will see how it goes. (I am planning on eating out of the freezer as well so that will hopefully leave a surplus of cash )
    There is something delicious about writing the first words of a story. You never quite know where they'll take you - Beatrix Potter
    • euronorris
    • By euronorris 25th Jul 17, 8:59 AM
    • 10,006 Posts
    • 46,693 Thanks
    Thanks Vicki. I do have an Aldi nearby, so I could try them. I'll probably have to get some of lidl's own tomorrow to tide us over, as I think we will run out before I get a Tesco order in, so I might just try those out and see how good they are as they are cheaper. The nappy bags I usually get from them anyway as they are cheaper, and work just as well. As for wipes, I usually get supermarket own brands when they're on offer so they work out as 50p a pack, so will have to have a search around.

    I got pesto from Lidl yesterday for our home made pizzas and DH has given it a BIG thumbs up. So that's a bonus.

    Broke the measuring jug this morning. Fell out of the cupboard this morning, inbetween my feet. How it didn't land on my foot, or cut me at all, I don't know! Needs replacing now though. Sigh.
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