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    • zippychick
    • By zippychick 13th Oct 14, 12:54 PM
    • 9,343Posts
    • 17,881Thanks
    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.
    A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men
    Norn Iron club member #380

Page 15
    • PennyGrabber
    • By PennyGrabber 20th Apr 17, 4:35 PM
    • 1,267 Posts
    • 22,414 Thanks
    I'm so cross with myself! I did an online shop last night as I need dog food which is heavy. I cancelled it because I didn't actually need anything else but would've had to spend an extra 21. I went into @sda to pick it up. I ended up spending 46 on top of the dog food!! I didn't need anything!!! What was I thinking?!

    So, to look on the positive side, I have extra fruit for fruit salads, I spent 12 on ys meat - there's a beef in black bean sauce in my slow cooker now which will do 4/5 meals. I have a big bit of pork, to make bbq pulled pork and lots of other bits and pieces. I now need to make sure that I use everything and not waste anything.

    Meal planning, here I come!!

    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
    • Doom_and_Gloom
    • By Doom_and_Gloom 20th Apr 17, 5:00 PM
    • 3,512 Posts
    • 11,093 Thanks
    Since last update spent another 40.45. Hoping beyond hope that we stay within budget this month.

    Tonight for me is sweet and sour vegetables, rice and seaweed. OH is having beef stir fry with egg noodles.

    24.99 left.
    Last edited by Doom_and_Gloom; 22-04-2017 at 3:36 PM. Reason: typo
    29 year old vegan woman. My OH is a lovely omni guy
    • pamsdish
    • By pamsdish 20th Apr 17, 5:02 PM
    • 891 Posts
    • 5,051 Thanks
    Took friend to Drs, forgot cream cheese in Lidl so popped into Aldi, got a few bits and cream cheese 10, hopefully I should have a decent stock of items to last well into May.
    • Islandmaid
    • By Islandmaid 21st Apr 17, 11:56 AM
    • 2,564 Posts
    • 37,766 Thanks
    Blew best part of 90 at Aldi today and no booze double a 'normal' spend

    DS2 is costing me a fortune in food/snacks being back from Uni and working shifts, he needs 'grab' food as no microwave etc Sandwiches all the time is a little boring - hey ho one of the joys of being a parent I guess..
    Note to self - STOP SPENDING MONEY !!
    • pamsdish
    • By pamsdish 21st Apr 17, 2:09 PM
    • 891 Posts
    • 5,051 Thanks
    On reflection went back to Aldi, I have lemon slices in hot water every morning, so got another load to slice and freeze, bulk buy ex, also 3 more avocados, went in Tesco as a 4 off 30 spend, 2 reduced meat for freezer 2 cans of J.W tuna I had vouchers for so free, then bought to total with my chocolate, to take from bulk buy total bill down to 23-11,20 of which is bulk buy fund, by my accounting that leaves 24 for last week of April.
    Last edited by pamsdish; 21-04-2017 at 2:12 PM.
    • caronc
    • By caronc 21st Apr 17, 7:57 PM
    • 3,794 Posts
    • 24,361 Thanks
    26 spend today 10 of which should really be from my entertainment budget as it was food for a "girls" lunch on Monday. Should be more or less it for April though do hope to buy some fish at a food market tomorrow. Total so far is 150/160 so might go over but also bought today soap powder on offer which won't get used for a bit so don't mind.
    GC - Feb18 68/120, Mar 104/150, Apr 164/200, May 96/120
    GC YTD 2018- 487/710
    • K9sandFelines
    • By K9sandFelines 22nd Apr 17, 12:52 AM
    • 1,917 Posts
    • 16,340 Thanks
    Will log exact spends soon; but today i had to buy deodrant, dry shampoo, bananas, lettuce, and frozen sweetcorn. Think that was it. Hopefully, nothing needed now until next week.
    Last edited by K9sandFelines; 23-04-2017 at 8:47 PM.
    GC 2017 (4,000/3434.09) Jan 264.28, Feb 179.18, Mar 290.38, APR 182.39, MAY 204.76 up to 27th/250 (270 p.m/3,250 p.a)

    ~ Still learning the art of frugality ~
    • Suffolk lass
    • By Suffolk lass 22nd Apr 17, 9:39 AM
    • 1,985 Posts
    • 20,711 Thanks
    Suffolk lass
    Got my final week's shop for 36.64 in the new Aldo's after going into town with DS. 3.98 was store cupboard items but all in my overall target of 33.33% at this 4 month point. Off to update my signature. Happy weekend everyone
    MFiT T4 #2 update 88.72% after Q9 tiny bit ahead of where I should be
    Save 12k in 2018 #53 - after March 19.96% 1,996.19/10,000 5.04% behind
    OS Grocery Challenge 2018 spent 721.33/3,000 including stores so far 24.04% of my annual budget at the end of April
    My DFD is here
    • Islandmaid
    • By Islandmaid 22nd Apr 17, 10:22 AM
    • 2,564 Posts
    • 37,766 Thanks
    NSD here again

    Catching up on washing before the weather turns this week.

    Market Porter steaks tonight, bought on MSE deal earlier this month, served with Dauphinois potatoes and home grown Asparagus and wild garlic

    Chocolate Fondants for pud - DH,s favourite meal
    Note to self - STOP SPENDING MONEY !!
    • mumto2girlsandaboy
    • By mumto2girlsandaboy 22nd Apr 17, 12:04 PM
    • 46 Posts
    • 322 Thanks
    Have 48 left till end of the month so hoping to come in on target as cant really afford to go over this month.
    PAYDBX 2018 #073 709/2279
    PAYDBX 2017 #073 2571/2500
    EF #220 670/1000
    MFW dec 12 97000 jan 18 86973
    • candygirl
    • By candygirl 22nd Apr 17, 2:28 PM
    • 26,027 Posts
    • 106,139 Thanks
    I'm still on track fof this month .Have spent 88 /120, n have got loads in for the next wedk or so.Will just need bread n soft drinks !!!128522;
    "You can't stop the waves, but you can learn to surf"

    (Kabat-Zinn 2004)
    • Doom_and_Gloom
    • By Doom_and_Gloom 22nd Apr 17, 3:35 PM
    • 3,512 Posts
    • 11,093 Thanks
    Since last update spent another 40.45. Hoping beyond hope that we stay within budget this month.

    Tonight for me is sweet and sour vegetables, rice and seaweed. OH is having beef stir fry with egg noodles.

    24.99 left.
    Originally posted by Doom_and_Gloom
    Need to stay away from the shops. We now have a pathetic 9.25 left for the rest of the month.

    Got reduced bananas, reduced huge papaya for 99p (was 4!), two reduced cabbages at 14p each. Large punnet strawberries. Cauliflower rice 29p.
    Also picked up dairy free white chocolate bunnies 50p each. Crisps I like on offer for 75p for huge bag (5 portions) so of course got quite a lot of those. OH will hide them away from me.

    I'm having sweet and sour vegetables and rice again. Vegetable curry will be in the slow cooker over night so will have that tomorrow with potatoes.
    OH is having beef stir fry and egg noodles again.

    9.25 left.
    29 year old vegan woman. My OH is a lovely omni guy
    • thriftwizard
    • By thriftwizard 22nd Apr 17, 9:40 PM
    • 2,660 Posts
    • 33,278 Thanks
    Hmm - 108.60 spent in the last couple of days, between the market (90) and the supermarket (18.60) which doesn't leave a lot to get us through to the end of the month with. However, DS3 goes back to uni tomorrow, thus slashing the pizza bill, and there's plenty of - well, everything I can think of! - so with some judicious menu-juggling and defrosting, I should be able to bring us in on budget.

    Absolutely not mentioning the "entertainments" budget, though, or even thinking about it... a take-away for 7 with all the trimmings to celebrate DS3's triumph in gaining 3 years' funding and stipend to do his PhD cost an arm, a leg and some of the bits in between too!

    GC May 18 326.16/400
    Bulk-buy purse '18 145.26/250, pet & livestock food '18 131.45/300

    Money's just a substitute for time & talent...
    • Save Dosh
    • By Save Dosh 23rd Apr 17, 9:00 AM
    • 1,226 Posts
    • 14,669 Thanks
    Save Dosh
    Spent 20.30 yesterday on lots of non dairy/meat free stuff, cheese, cream, lentils, tagliatelle, chocolate swedish glace ice-cream. A want, but not a need, sweet potatoes, avocados and free from salad cream, would cost 3. Very happy with how the spending has gone this month. Usually I make it, but feel like I have struggled, this month has felt luxurious. I now try to go as long as I can into the new month living off stores, buying just the odd bit, to make up meals, which then leaves me a load in the budget, to 'splurge' later in the month. Really working for me. Have updated sig. Now just need 'Arsenal' to win today. xx Have a lovely day everyone. Have updated sig.
    Last edited by Save Dosh; 23-04-2017 at 10:14 AM.
    May Grocery Challenge - Food 59.09/80, Alcohol 17.79/20
    Bulk Fund Left/Food 63.50 Bulk Fund/Alcohol
    Save 12k in 2018 #80 = 2,000/5,000
    Yoga 30 Day Challenge 3/30
    Lose 12lbs - 5/12 - Goal 9st
    • ancientmum
    • By ancientmum 23rd Apr 17, 9:27 AM
    • 140 Posts
    • 1,179 Thanks
    Good morning,
    I get paid next Friday, so am hoping I will not need to spend any more this week, apart from bread and possibly milk. Main shop was 30.53 at Aldo, the rest was odds and ends at various places. I have updated my sig.
    If life is a journey, I want comfy shoes

    2018: Trying to keep to annual budgets 1080 for groceries, 480 for cat needs
    Update: 417.35/1080 173.04/480
    • Wysiwyg49
    • By Wysiwyg49 23rd Apr 17, 12:03 PM
    • 186 Posts
    • 1,686 Thanks
    Shopped at L1dl and Sainsb this morning. Fruit and veg in L1dl seemed expensive today! Was looking for bargain spuds but none to be seen. Did get a good large chicken for 4.10 though.

    Have gone a little over budget at 325 but quite pleased overall.

    Plan this week:
    Sunday - roast chicken dinner
    Monday - spag bol
    Tuesday - chicken pie
    Wed - cauli cheese with bacon and mushrooms
    Thurs - HM pizzas (bought pizza tray with holes to try!)
    Fri - oven baked cod with roast mediterranean veg

    Also making tomato soup today, flapjack, apple and blackberry crumble (blackberries been in freezer since last year!) and have work lunches planned. On to May soon, see you all there.
    GC Mar 239.57/360 : Feb 352.71/320
    • Islandmaid
    • By Islandmaid 23rd Apr 17, 3:23 PM
    • 2,564 Posts
    • 37,766 Thanks
    NSD again here

    Lamb Kleftico here with lemon potatoes -should be plenty of leftovers for wraps on Tuesday
    Note to self - STOP SPENDING MONEY !!
    • K9sandFelines
    • By K9sandFelines 23rd Apr 17, 8:57 PM
    • 1,917 Posts
    • 16,340 Thanks
    Need to find the receipt from the last spend, but have spent about fifteen pounds on top of that including lots of ys bread rolls (from work), marg, deodrant, dry shampoo, carrots, tahini ( which I already had one of, and didn't realise), ys chocs (again from work),crisps, eggs and salad tomatoes

    One of the freezers is playing up again which means i need to try and use up what is inside or try and put it in my other freezer (which i am also trying to sort out ( empty and defrost), so i can get rid of it. my only working freezer is full. Nightmare

    Also found a receipt from March for 12 odd that i hadn't added, so will do that now and add to sig.
    GC 2017 (4,000/3434.09) Jan 264.28, Feb 179.18, Mar 290.38, APR 182.39, MAY 204.76 up to 27th/250 (270 p.m/3,250 p.a)

    ~ Still learning the art of frugality ~
    • Florence J
    • By Florence J 23rd Apr 17, 9:42 PM
    • 1,893 Posts
    • 11,183 Thanks
    Florence J
    Currently 37.40 over budget.

    I don't know whether it is the rising cost of food but my money seems to not go as far this year despite increasing the food budget this year.

    I did stock up on lovely east end chopped tomatoes and chickpeas in Mr T though, and the OH had some turkey steaks and he rarely eats meat so he deserved a little treat.

    I blame Easter!
    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
    • t14cy t
    • By t14cy t 24th Apr 17, 8:01 AM
    • 694 Posts
    • 6,594 Thanks
    t14cy t
    whoops, blown the budget this month!! spent 29 this week so gone over by 20. though in my diffence the freezer and fridge and chokker again!! best finds yesterday on the ys trail were huge pieces of fresh tuna originally 6.28, 49p paid!! I have however noticed that the ys bargains are not as cheap as they were, not surprising really as the general feeling is all supermarkets are upping their prices. xx
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