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

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

    If your new month starts early feel free to join this thread, or if you're still working on your February budget, then keep on posting in the February 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; 16-01-2017 at 11:32 AM.
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Page 2
    • pamsdish
    • By pamsdish 19th Feb 17, 1:09 PM
    • 851 Posts
    • 4,861 Thanks
    Still in February too, March 1st 125, please
    OCT200106NOV200CRUISE,DEC200XMAS.JAN 200=107FEB200=40,MARCH175=50
    APRIL200-5=195-22=173,-6=167,-28=139,-21=118,-10= 108
    • Islandmaid
    • By Islandmaid 19th Feb 17, 1:40 PM
    • 2,513 Posts
    • 37,447 Thanks
    Going to up my budget to 250 for March, DD is home for a lot of it, so will cost a few more quid
    Note to self - STOP SPENDING MONEY !!

    March GC 250.00/ .00
    • lynnejk
    • By lynnejk 19th Feb 17, 3:11 PM
    • 5,343 Posts
    • 55,180 Thanks
    Afternoon all and a warm welcome to the new peoples, returners, regulars and lurkers

    Thank you Zippy and Coxy for running the thread

    I am going for a budget of 120 for March as we go on holibobs from 17th to 31st This covers food, cleaning, laundry and toiletries for DH and myself from 1st to 16th. Holiday funds cover us whilst we are away so different budget

    Hope you all enjoy the challenge and good luck with keeping in your budget totals

    Still in February until 28th so back laters
    Bulk buy.......APR=233.76
    OS WL= -2/8 ......CC =00......Savings = 13,140
    • zafiro1984
    • By zafiro1984 19th Feb 17, 3:33 PM
    • 1,273 Posts
    • 10,131 Thanks
    Thanks for starting the new thread.
    Please put me down for 155 1st-31st. That's to cover groceries and pet food, alcohol and bulk buying are on a different budget. 2 people and one dog. I've still got plenty of stuff in the freezers mainly home grown so I'm trying to work through that before the new 'harvest' start.

    I'm still on the February thread but see you all later.
    Last edited by zafiro1984; 19-02-2017 at 3:35 PM.
    Jan grocery 50 per week
    • JensFeet
    • By JensFeet 19th Feb 17, 4:51 PM
    • 81 Posts
    • 711 Thanks
    Heh folks

    Thanks a million to Zippy and Coxy for setting this all up. I've really enjoyed the February challenge and would love to carry on too please. I am going to attempt to drop my budget to 260 from 1st - 31st March for all food, drink and household items for 2 adults and 2 children. I'm still taking part in the using up freezer and store cupboard challenge which has been another massive help and I feel I have gained a little bit of self control - long way to go yet.

    I'm also still in February so will see you all back here on the 1st March (or actually I won't because I will be in sunny Cyprus but my OH (and kids) will be fully stocked up and meal planned and under strict instructions to stay ON PLAN!)... I shall post for March upon my return!

    Very best of luck for everybody to stick to their budgets and achieve whatever it is they're trying to achieve with the challenge x

    • Ginmonster
    • By Ginmonster 20th Feb 17, 9:02 AM
    • 305 Posts
    • 4,035 Thanks
    I'd like to join in again this month but with a change to my budget. I'm not going to count my veg box and milk deliveries as they never change and get paid by direct debit but only spending that I have control over so 100 for me please.
    • JackieO
    • By JackieO 20th Feb 17, 3:00 PM
    • 15,753 Posts
    • 133,818 Thanks
    March 1st put me down for my usual 60.00. (Can't seem to change the colour of the font on this MacAir laptop for some reason) I am hoping to have some left over cash from February's budget which will get swept into my holiday account for treats on holiday
    Quot Libros,Quam Breve Tempus.
    2018 Food spend so far this year Three months totals 96.53 April 8.98 . this morning short shop was 5.62 only bought essentials
    • caronc
    • By caronc 20th Feb 17, 6:00 PM
    • 3,619 Posts
    • 23,627 Thanks
    Thanks zippychick
    Upping the March budget as feel I trimmed it too far for February and I have two family birthday's coming up which will involve the "gathering of the clan" to cater for at least once. Please put me in for 150that is for food, pet supplies, cleaning stuff and non-alcoholic drinks for 1 adult, 1 pooch, a visiting son a few nights a month and a family birthday. My month will run from 28th Feb to 31st March so the dreaded 5 week month
    GC - Jan18 55/120, Feb18 68/120, Mar 104/150, Apr 164/200
    GC YTD - 391/590
    • ancientmum
    • By ancientmum 20th Feb 17, 9:15 PM
    • 134 Posts
    • 1,115 Thanks
    Thanks zippychick for keeping this going.
    Please put me down for the usual 150 for 28th February to 30th March.
    If life is a journey, I want comfy shoes

    2018: Trying to keep to annual budgets 1040 for groceries, 480 for cat needs
    Update: 277.46/1040 114.84/480
    • Save Dosh
    • By Save Dosh 20th Feb 17, 10:48 PM
    • 1,216 Posts
    • 14,548 Thanks
    Save Dosh
    Yes, thank you zippychick. Can I please be put down for 80 again for the month, to include everything, except alcohol. Any food or coffee grabbed on the run are also included. Still doing February, will be starting on 1st.
    April Grocery Challenge - Food 25.12/80, Alcohol 23.49/20
    Bulk Fund Left - Food 32.61, Alcohol 0.00
    Save 12k in 2018 #80 = 1,500/5,000
    Yoga 30 Day Challenge 2/30
    Lose 12lbs - 2/12 - Goal 9st
    • Art Deco
    • By Art Deco 21st Feb 17, 2:06 PM
    • 179 Posts
    • 784 Thanks
    Art Deco
    Thanks for the help last month , please put me down for 380 for March, ive decided to up it and if I stay within budget , reduce next month again, this is for 4 adults and a fussy cat, all food and household stuff
    • Ammeretto
    • By Ammeretto 21st Feb 17, 2:24 PM
    • 177 Posts
    • 434 Thanks
    can i join the challenge please.
    im looking at 350 for march. thats for two adults, two kids, cat food and litter, toiletries and any alcohol

    thank you
    Debt at LBM (Mar 14) - 29,981.66 + 11,320.91 Car & Bike HP + 799.78 HMRC tax credits = 42,102.35
    Credit card Debt Dec 17 - 11,000
    PAYDbyXMAS2017 #142 - 12,850 / 10,000 - 128.5%
    PAYDbyXMAS2017 #142 - 4,400 / 11,000 - 40%
    • Tink_04
    • By Tink_04 21st Feb 17, 3:40 PM
    • 914 Posts
    • 4,662 Thanks
    My month starts on 24th so ive got 300 for 2 adults 2 kids and 2 cats!
    1p savings challenge 2018
    2 savings challenge
    • try harder
    • By try harder 21st Feb 17, 4:37 PM
    • 755 Posts
    • 2,871 Thanks
    try harder
    Please could i join in ,i would like to keep to 203 for 31 days .Thank you.
    • fivemoreminutes
    • By fivemoreminutes 22nd Feb 17, 12:32 AM
    • 6 Posts
    • 48 Thanks
    I would like to join in for March, please, with a budget of 350 for food, cleaning stuff, toiletries and nappies. We are two adults and three children, all aged 5 and under.

    Am hoping to avoid supermarkets as far as possible and make more use of all the local producers and markets we are lucky enough to have nearby - and find the cheapest places to buy washing powder, nappies and so on!
    • funfairprincess
    • By funfairprincess 22nd Feb 17, 10:34 AM
    • 1,709 Posts
    • 34,928 Thanks
    Hi all x
    I'm jumping in if that's ok.

    So my budget for March will be 500 that's for 4 adults, 1 child and our dog. I've no real idea what I'm spending but I will go with that this month.
    I've already spent 25 on meat and chicken but I'm hoping that will last the month.
    I'm not a muggle...I'm just magically challenged
    • AlwaysHungry2016
    • By AlwaysHungry2016 22nd Feb 17, 1:20 PM
    • 21 Posts
    • 250 Thanks
    Can I please be added with 150 for March?
    Thank you
    GC May 0/150
    GC Mar 46.95/150
    GC Feb 185.75/150
    • pajama
    • By pajama 22nd Feb 17, 3:17 PM
    • 103 Posts
    • 1,586 Thanks
    Please put me down for 360 March.

    Budget went to pot for February due to being given devastating health news and many hospital visits. Lived off a lot of takeaways and crap for the last 3 weeks. Need to keep the grocery budget tight seeing as I will never be working again.
    Grocery Challenge - Sept 205.56/350.00

    • dumpling
    • By dumpling 22nd Feb 17, 9:52 PM
    • 1,366 Posts
    • 19,213 Thanks
    Hi, February was a big wash out for me so I am going to try harder this month. Please can you put me down for 400 which will be difficult in one way as it is a 5 week month for us but at least we still have plenty of full cupboards and two freezers to use up.

    I am a shopping addict so I will be knitting like crazy to stop me buying more food that we don't need. Meal planning will be key as well. Good luck everyone x

    • Baileys Babe
    • By Baileys Babe 22nd Feb 17, 10:42 PM
    • 2,235 Posts
    • 10,888 Thanks
    Baileys Babe
    January and February I did the challenge quietly at home, for March I would like some company, is it okay if I join in with everyone else?

    My month will run from 25th February to 31st March, 5 weeks. My budget will be 350 I will also have any money left over from February's budget which I aim to use for bulk purchasing.
    We are a family of 2 adults and 2 children, our budget covers all food and drink including take aways, meals and snacks out, alcohol, toiletries, cleaning materials.
    Last edited by Baileys Babe; 05-03-2017 at 4:40 PM.
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