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    • zippychick
    • By zippychick 13th Oct 14, 12:54 PM
    • 9,342Posts
    • 17,879Thanks
    April 2017 Grocery Challenge
    • #1
    • 13th Oct 14, 12:54 PM
    April 2017 Grocery Challenge 13th Oct 14 at 12:54 PM
    Hi everyone,

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

    If your new month starts early feel free to join this thread, or if you're still working on your March budget, then keep on posting in the March 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; 16-03-2017 at 11:17 PM.
    I'm a Board Guide of Old Style MoneySaving, The Northern Ireland board,How Much Have you Saved? and Martin's Blogs.
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Page 2
    • Redshank
    • By Redshank 21st Mar 17, 12:49 AM
    • 39 Posts
    • 493 Thanks
    I clearly haven't got a clue. December was a disaster, January was a disaster, February I didn't take part, March was another disaster. I'm completely under estimating and not really keeping the records I should so totally losing track. I never thought I'd find this so difficult!

    So, my April begins next week on the 28th. I've had a serious think and for April I'm going to try for £300. Wish me luck, or a kick up the backside, or something. *sigh*
    Newbie doing the best I can

    Grocery Challenge Jan 2017 £144.17/£250
    Aiming to save £2,017 in 2017 - £156 so far
    • Suffolk lass
    • By Suffolk lass 21st Mar 17, 9:37 AM
    • 1,899 Posts
    • 20,112 Thanks
    Suffolk lass
    Annual 2017
    DanielleNic87 £2200
    FurryBeastOz £3000
    K9sandFelines £4000
    Matron Midge £5200
    mrsnicewriting £2000
    Rachiedabbler70 £3250
    squirrelgirl £4800
    Suffolk lass £3600
    willowx £1560
    Originally posted by Coxy11
    Hi Coxy11, please change my annual budget to £3000, down from £3600. Thanks!
    MFiT T4 #2 update 51.75% after Q8 £5,203 behind where I should be
    Save £12k in 2018 #53 - after Feb 13.3%/£10,000
    OS Grocery Challenge 2018 spent £452.64/£3,000 including stores so far
    My DFD is here
    • LollyC_x
    • By LollyC_x 21st Mar 17, 12:02 PM
    • 11 Posts
    • 14 Thanks
    Could I please be added to April's challenge for £120 for one adult including cleaning/laundry items - first time tracking my spends so hopefully this will be a good estimate

    Equity loan savings: £150/£24,599
    Emergency fund: £200/£10,000
    Outstanding mortgage: £88,709.48/£89,000

    April 2017 GC: £- /£120
    • purpleybat
    • By purpleybat 22nd Mar 17, 3:33 PM
    • 335 Posts
    • 2,866 Thanks
    hello all
    can I be in with £160 again for april please.
    I've been struggling a bit the last couple of months with seemingly endless hospital appts with my dad so have been picking up stuff that's quick to cook and eat between there and work. luckily today we finally have his radiotherapy sessions booked to start next week so at least i'll know better what time I have.

    I'm hoping to come in at £150 but i'm finding things are easily overwhelming me and I end up beating myself up and then feeling really miserable, and I don't think it's the challenges aim to make me feel like that. I don't want to leave the challenge and I think raising my budget slightly gives me some breathing space while still keeping things in check.

    good luck to everyone, I'm sure we will all do well
    gc 2017 £1841.27.
    2018 jan £124.69/£130 feb £157.97/£150 mar £221.33/£200
    • pinkypig
    • By pinkypig 23rd Mar 17, 7:27 AM
    • 1,130 Posts
    • 9,420 Thanks
    Hi everyone. My new month starts on the 29th. Can I put down my usual £140 including all toiletries, pet food and alcohol (still struggling with this one but only two bottles of wine last month)?

    See you on the 29th

    PP x
    MFW 2018 #157 Target £15,000

    • ScotinLondon
    • By ScotinLondon 23rd Mar 17, 1:49 PM
    • 321 Posts
    • 3,746 Thanks
    Can you please put me down again for £140 commencing on 25/03/2017.


    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
    • caronc
    • By caronc 23rd Mar 17, 7:43 PM
    • 3,605 Posts
    • 23,561 Thanks
    Please put me in for £160for April running from 31/03 - 27/04 . I've a houseful for five days over Easter and 12 for dinner on Easter Sunday so it will be a spendy month. Thanks
    GC - Jan18 £55/£120, Feb18 £68/£120, Mar £104/£150, Apr £122/£200
    GC YTD - £349/£590
    • Newusername1
    • By Newusername1 23rd Mar 17, 8:50 PM
    • 128 Posts
    • 70 Thanks
    I'm new here, so I'm not sure I'm doing this right, I'm going for a single person £90 for April. That includes cat supplies and various item of toiletries/kitchen stuff. The cat is going to cost me £30 this month (£20 food and £10 litter), toiletries/kitchen stuff say £10. So my food bill will be £50 for the month broken down as follows:

    24 pork chops £10.00.
    6 lamb chops £5
    Rice £4
    Tinned vegitables £6
    Gravy granules £2
    Tinned fruit £6
    Milk £3
    Bread £1
    Other £4
    Delivery charge £4 (I online order twice a month).

    I online shop at Asda £90 is really the minimum a month I can spend because because I shop twice a month and there is a minimum order value of £40 each time then del. on top.

    I have loads of cornflakes so I can get through the month without buying them (so breakfast is sorted)

    Next month (May) my cat food and litter bill of £30 will half because I'm buying 6 weeks worth this month (April), so I can treat myself with £15 extra to play with to spend on myself. This month I have to cut back whilst I stock up the cat.
    • maria3104
    • By maria3104 24th Mar 17, 10:13 AM
    • 916 Posts
    • 9,580 Thanks

    Please could I be put down for £300
    • Sequeena
    • By Sequeena 24th Mar 17, 2:48 PM
    • 4,260 Posts
    • 18,097 Thanks
    Subscribing for April

    My budget is £240 for the month. Two adults, a 5 year old with a limited diet, 2 dogs and a cat. I include all toiletries, cleaning products and pet food in the budget.

    I have 2 freezers (one a chest freezer) full so I won't be buying any meat for a while unless I see any reduced.
    Wife and mother
    Grocery budget
    April week 1 - £42.78 | week 2 - £53.05
    24lbs in 12 weeks 15/24
    • NiftyNita
    • By NiftyNita 24th Mar 17, 7:13 PM
    • 2 Posts
    • 16 Thanks
    I'd like to join, please. I am new here but I have been following along at home. My problem is I go to Aldi and buy what I need (I meal plan quite carefully or things go to waste as it's only me) but then succumb to temptation during the week and find myself buying biscuits from the corner shop where they are £1 a packet. I've decided to just accept that I'm weak willed and buy biscuits from Aldi instead, I'll still weigh the same but will at least have saved some money!

    Could you put me down for £40 for this month, thank you. I will start on the 1st.
    • squirrelgirl
    • By squirrelgirl 25th Mar 17, 11:53 AM
    • 192 Posts
    • 1,168 Thanks
    i'm in again £3600 for the year please...still working on March at the moment but will update that later
    15 Month Challenge: House - £2161/£15000; Mortgage - £300/£19000 ; Jan Spends: Food £93.52/£300; Petrol £0/£300; Persie £0/ £300
    MFW No. 167 £300/ £15000
    • K9sandFelines
    • By K9sandFelines 25th Mar 17, 2:01 PM
    • 1,891 Posts
    • 16,069 Thanks
    In again for April, targets of £333.33 but £4,000 for the year.
    GC 2017 (£4,000/£3434.09) Jan £264.28, Feb £179.18, Mar £290.38/£270, APR £82.68 up to 15th/£270 p.m/£3,250 p.a

    ~ Still learning the art of frugality ~
    • Islandmaid
    • By Islandmaid 25th Mar 17, 2:24 PM
    • 2,511 Posts
    • 37,428 Thanks
    Hi all,

    I had better increase to £300 for April.

    DS2 is back 3/4 days a week and has hollow legs
    Note to self - STOP SPENDING MONEY !!

    March GC £250.00/ .00
    • *Margaret*
    • By *Margaret* 25th Mar 17, 11:44 PM
    • 87 Posts
    • 1,023 Thanks
    In again for April, £45 again I think. I'll be doing my usual Monday to Monday thing, so starting on the 3rd. Last month I attempted some expensive cooking experiments, but giving myself and my smoke alarm a break this month so think £45 very manageable.
    • zafiro1984
    • By zafiro1984 25th Mar 17, 11:54 PM
    • 1,270 Posts
    • 10,109 Thanks
    Can you please put me down for £150 for April. That's for two of us plus a dog.

    I hopefully have done my last shop for March and I have come in £3.08 under budget, really pleased When I look back for the same period last year I'd spent an extra £110.34.
    Jan grocery £50 per week
    • JingsMyBucket
    • By JingsMyBucket 26th Mar 17, 12:11 AM
    • 167 Posts
    • 1,859 Thanks
    Thank you Zippy for starting the new thread. Could you please put me down for €250, running from April 1st to 30th.

    I splurged these last couple weeks in March and in order to get back on track I will try to post every day even if it's a NSD. The new limit will give me roughly €60/week budget which I'd like to honestly keep to €45/week. At least there will be wiggle room for restocking or a splurge if wanted. (Damn you toilet paper and pork roasts!)
    APR 18 GC: €218.47/€400.00 // 8/10 NSD
    MAR 18 GC: €193.98/€400.00 // 17/10 NSD // £162.19/£150 UK stock up
    FEB 18 GC: €250.44/€450 and 15/10 NSD
    JAN 18 GC: €377.92/€550.00 // 8 NSD
    Dec 17 GC: €406.50/€350.00 // 11 NSD // £198.57/£200 UK stock up
    • gien
    • By gien 26th Mar 17, 9:50 AM
    • 1,583 Posts
    • 15,122 Thanks
    I'd like to join this April please, with £250- I don't know if this will be enough it let's see how it goes.
    Trying to keep in budget.

    • Florence J
    • By Florence J 26th Mar 17, 2:53 PM
    • 1,889 Posts
    • 11,163 Thanks
    Florence J
    I'm in, £195 a month for the rest of the year as that will keep us under budget for 2017 due to the colossal overspend we had in February.

    My month started yesterday and we have already spent an astonishing £132.66/£195 so will be aiming to spend most of my time on the 'eating out of the freezer and cupboards' thread instead of this one.

    The big spends so far have included bulk buys so things should even out over the next few months.
    Sealed Pot Challenge 11 #553
    £1000 Emergency Fund Challenge #253
    Wombling free 2017 = £2195.92
    Pay off all your debts by Xmas 2017 #53 (£3168.45/£3000)
    February 2018 Credit Card Debt: £3885
    • karenccs67
    • By karenccs67 26th Mar 17, 4:42 PM
    • 1,022 Posts
    • 5,493 Thanks
    £200 for April please
    ***Dont save what is left after spending, spend what is left after saving***
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