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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 3
    • emmwri
    • By emmwri 25th Jul 17, 9:44 AM
    • 60 Posts
    • 418 Thanks
    Thanks for the welcome yorkslass hoping the challenge will be another step to get me back on track!

    zed42 jessop64 euronorris and quintwins I've got my fingers crossed for us newbie/returners this month. We can do this!!

    Looking at this thread, I might have to change from asda delivery to sainsburys - asda never seem to do vouchers! My fave is aldi so I reckon I will shop there over the summer while I'm off work.

    Good luck for August everyone!
    Last edited by emmwri; 25-07-2017 at 9:47 AM. Reason: Typo!
    Aug 2017 GC Budget 180
    • YorksLass
    • By YorksLass 25th Jul 17, 4:04 PM
    • 394 Posts
    • 6,793 Thanks
    More welcomes to quintwins, Jessop64 and pipkin71 (and anyone else I may have missed )

    euronorris !!!8211; As VickiV says, A1di nappies are cheaper. DDiL used these for DGS1 and now for twin DGSs 2&3; she swears by them and wouldn!!!8217;t buy any other brand. Likewise with the wipes. If you have any of the small grocery bags that are provided near the fruit & veg aisles, save them and use in place of nappy sacks any time you run out.
    • quintwins
    • By quintwins 25th Jul 17, 4:21 PM
    • 5,003 Posts
    • 29,347 Thanks
    Thanks for the welcome girls, I'm pretty confident I'll be ok as I'll be potty trainings so no nappies needed and lots of time spent at home

    Just to add we use lidl nappies, they cost us 2 for 20 and are great.
    DFW 7632/28996 26.3%
    • lynnejk
    • By lynnejk 25th Jul 17, 8:22 PM
    • 5,343 Posts
    • 55,198 Thanks
    Evening all and a warm welcome to the new peoples and returners

    Thanks Zippy and Coxy for the new month's thread

    Please put me down for our usual 200 for the month and fifteen grocery challenge NSDs. This is to cover all food, cleaning, laundry and toiletries, from the first to last day of the month.

    I'm still in July until the end of the month and will 'see' you all laters.

    Hope you all enjoy the challenge and good luck for the month
    Bulk buy.......APR=233.76
    OS WL= -2/8 ......CC =00......Savings = 13,140
    • Cheapskate
    • By Cheapskate 26th Jul 17, 4:17 PM
    • 1,595 Posts
    • 19,427 Thanks
    Afternoon, everyone! Please can I go down for 300 for August? We might be away over the bank holiday, so it may be a shorter month. Also got plenty of meat and fish in the freezers, so shouldn't need to buy much protein for meals. Got most of the toiletries we need, but low on cat food.


    A xo
    CRAPROLLZ member #20 Cheapskate - Head of Hunting (family membership co-ordinator)

    Jan GC 27.05/300
    • ScotinLondon
    • By ScotinLondon 26th Jul 17, 5:42 PM
    • 325 Posts
    • 3,805 Thanks
    Evening all - can you please put me down for 140 commencing yesterday.

    Am just totting up my receipts so will post my total for July when all done & dusted.


    D17/J18 75.27; J/F18 64.79; F/M 124.01; M/A 40.05/130.00
    CCC - 26.00
    Lunch2work 14/20 J18; 10/19 F18; 3/17 A18
    GNSD 18/31 J18; 15/28 F18; 7/31 M18; 7/30A18
    • Doom_and_Gloom
    • By Doom_and_Gloom 26th Jul 17, 6:56 PM
    • 3,554 Posts
    • 11,397 Thanks
    We're still in July right now, however I want to put our budget for August up now.
    155 August 1st to 31st for us; a couple (one vegan, one omnivore) for just food and drink (non-alcoholic) only. Chinchillas have a different budget. Toiletries, cleaning etc also a different budget. Alcohol has it's own budget.

    I was tempted to put the budget up however it looks like we will come in budget for July so I'm hopeful about August.
    29 year old vegan woman. My OH is a lovely omni guy
    • euronorris
    • By euronorris 27th Jul 17, 8:41 AM
    • 10,006 Posts
    • 46,693 Thanks
    Hi All

    Right, the month started yesterday for us and I did a quick shop in Sburys in the morning to get something that I knew I couldn't get in Lidel, then did a shop in Lidel in the afternoon to get the majority of what we need for this month, but I forgot the receipts so I can't confirm exact amounts yet. Will update tonight.

    Had to pop to Sburys this morning to get some other bits I discovered yesterday that Lidel do not sell - semonlina flour, crunchy chicken seasoning mix, sausage meat and spinach (they had sold out in Lidel) as well as some dr pepper zero (slightly addicted at the moment! Eek). Came to 14.35.

    Shouldn't need anything for about a week now, and then it should only be top up of fresh fruit, bread, milk etc. Oh, might need milk sooner than that for little one, but that's it.

    Made sure to make my egg sandwiches for my lunch today and put chicken casserole in slow cooker for tonight (and to portion up to freeze), and had some stuffing and sausage meat balls wrapped in bacon for dinner last night (had made them previously and frozen them to use up some leftovers).

    Have a good day all.
    • MrsSave
    • By MrsSave 27th Jul 17, 1:26 PM
    • 1,589 Posts
    • 4,949 Thanks
    The month has started here and we've spent 38.78 stocking up on nappies and formula for the youngest member of the family!
    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:
    • GrowingPlants
    • By GrowingPlants 27th Jul 17, 6:00 PM
    • 24 Posts
    • 370 Thanks
    I will have a short month (3 weeks) as I'm not going to be at home and apart from the odd meals out I won't have any food shopping to do. With that in mind can I reduce my budget to 50(this isn't going to include meals out) for August.
    July 17 GC 61.44/100 : August 17 GC 30.40/50
    Sept 17 GC 46.18/100
    • MrsCautious
    • By MrsCautious 27th Jul 17, 9:08 PM
    • 1,113 Posts
    • 13,296 Thanks
    It's a very long time since I've done this. Years x I'd like to be included please and would like to aim for 180. That's for a family of three. I hope it's a realistic starting point. We'll see. I will start on August 1st. Thanks very much and good luck all. I will be reacquainting myself with Aldi and my nectar card when at Sainsbury's. This won't include eating out and I have a family meal booked out for 21st.
    Last edited by MrsCautious; 27-07-2017 at 9:12 PM.
    • maisymoo5
    • By maisymoo5 28th Jul 17, 11:48 AM
    • 111 Posts
    • 663 Thanks
    Hello everyone - new and old. I'd like to be put down for 260 please. This excludes eating out and alcohol but includes groceries, household and toiletries along with pet food. I completely messed up in July but a new month always brings fresh enthusiasm and hope. Good luck and thank you for the thread Zippychick
    • caronc
    • By caronc 28th Jul 17, 12:50 PM
    • 4,036 Posts
    • 25,473 Thanks
    Please put me in for 120 for August my month runs from 31/07-31/08, thanks
    GC - Apr 164/200, May 96/120, Jun 206/230, Jul 149/150
    GC YTD 2018- 735/1090
    • euronorris
    • By euronorris 28th Jul 17, 1:01 PM
    • 10,006 Posts
    • 46,693 Thanks
    OK, I'm back to update:

    Liddel big shop: 118.58
    Sburys shop: 5.50
    Liddel (today): 3.56

    Total of budget spent so far: 141.99/300

    Really didn't need to go to Liddel's today, but I forgot the bread to go with my soup for lunch, so I popped over and got swayed by crisps, a bit of choccy and a jar of beetroot (running low at home).

    Tonight is spag bol with garlic bread for DH and I, from the freezer, as I made a big batch last weekend. DD is having morroccan chicken again, and tonight I'm going to make her some fish fingers, and then fishcake for DH and I with the remainder of the cod and freeze it for another night.

    Happy Friday all!! x
    • pastmysellby
    • By pastmysellby 28th Jul 17, 4:47 PM
    • 15 Posts
    • 141 Thanks
    It's ages since I've been on the forum and I can't remember if I've ever done the grocery challenge. I've just retired early (no pension yet) so living off savings. I really need to cut back on food as I know we spend too much. There are only two of us and a dog but we do feed the rest of the family 2/3 times per month - 10 of us altogether. We generally spend about 300 per month excluding alcohol, cleaning products, toiletries, dog food. This goes up to about 500 in December. I'm actually horrified at that amount seeing it written down!! I love cooking (and eating ) and now I've got time on my hands I have no excuse not to work at this.

    I'd like to join in with a budget of 275 and hopefully reduce it each month. Looking forward to the challenge.
    • Tete en l'Air
    • By Tete en l'Air 28th Jul 17, 10:36 PM
    • 6,873 Posts
    • 31,518 Thanks
    Tete en l'Air
    Hello may I join you please? I used to be such a good little moneysaver but have let things slide over the last few years and I want to get back on top of my finances again. I have never really kept track of grocery shopping however so I'm not sure what I should be aiming for.

    I've just trawled through my bank statements for July and I spent 498.89 in supermarkets this month. That did include extras such as books, magazines and some pans, but even so I think you'll agree that that's way over the top for one woman and her cat, and it's those extras-that-add-up that I want to put a stop to.

    I'm aiming to halve this figure to 250, including all cat stuff, cleaning supplies and toiletries - anything bought in a supermarket basically, and I don't think that's unreasonable.

    (ETA: my month will run from Sat 29 July - Fri 1st September inclusive)

    I'm following Slimming World so I'm pretty good at meal planning and cooking from scratch, but I need to switch to more meals with carrots and tuna rather than asparagus and salmon.

    Looking forward to getting started!
    Last edited by Tete en l'Air; 29-07-2017 at 9:25 AM.
    Slimming for Summer: 0.5/10
    • Suzywoozy8
    • By Suzywoozy8 28th Jul 17, 10:49 PM
    • 7 Posts
    • 67 Thanks

    After a successful challenge last month, I'd like to join in again this month please. 400for the month. Managed it last month though it was tight. This month will be harder as we have two birthday celebrations as well! My month is 28th July to 25th August.

    Good luck all!
    Last edited by Suzywoozy8; 28-07-2017 at 10:51 PM.
    • MrsSave
    • By MrsSave 29th Jul 17, 7:13 AM
    • 1,589 Posts
    • 4,949 Thanks
    Weekly shop arriving today, and it's already showing on internet banking. 44.02. This bring the month so far to

    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:
    • Suffolk lass
    • By Suffolk lass 29th Jul 17, 8:01 AM
    • 1,993 Posts
    • 21,178 Thanks
    Suffolk lass
    I haven't spent anything yet in August although my month started on DH's payday - 26th. I did very slightly overspend against my average in July but I think with it being the second five weekend month in a row for groceries that is probably why.

    Hopefully our holiday this month will help to get that spend down a bit in August, ahead of the autumn.

    Welcome to all the new people! If you want some top tips do read the first post in the thread as it's full of sound advice and sensible techniques - mine is down from around 700 to about 200 now - but not in one month and definitely not in my first year. I wish you success
    MFiT T4 #2 update 88.72% after Q9 tiny bit ahead of where I should be
    Save 12k in 2018 #53 - after June 55.17% 5,517.10/10,000
    OS Grocery Challenge 2018 spent 1,288.55/3,000 including stores so far 42.95% of my annual budget at the end of June
    My DFD is here
    • mr1972
    • By mr1972 29th Jul 17, 10:17 AM
    • 5 Posts
    • 60 Thanks
    Hello all, after a bad month last month can I put me down for a budget of 350.00

    This is for 3 adults all packed lunches but not eating out.

    Also aiming for 10 NSD so we will see where we go.
    Big shop in l*dl yesterday. 102.88 month runs from 28-27.

    Thanks to everyone and good luck

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