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    • zippychick
    • By zippychick 13th Oct 14, 12:54 PM
    • 9,343Posts
    • 17,881Thanks
    May 2017 Grocery Challenge
    • #1
    • 13th Oct 14, 12:54 PM
    May 2017 Grocery Challenge 13th Oct 14 at 12:54 PM
    Hi everyone,

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

    If your new month starts early feel free to join this thread, or if you're still working on your April budget, then keep on posting in the April 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; 07-04-2017 at 7:44 PM.
    A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men
    Norn Iron club member #380

Page 2
    • pamsdish
    • By pamsdish 20th Apr 17, 4:57 PM
    • 889 Posts
    • 5,018 Thanks
    On post 3 @Coxy11 you list all users and budgets, if remaining the same do we need to post our budget again ?
    • chocolatebum
    • By chocolatebum 20th Apr 17, 6:17 PM
    • 222 Posts
    • 1,679 Thanks
    can i join in for may please, i did this challenge a while back but fell by the wayside.

    we are a family of 8. 5 adults and 3 children, plus a very hungry dog. i currently budget 150 pound a week for all food/toiletries/cleaning/dog food so will stick with that for this month and keep my receipts to analyse our spends. its a 5 shopping day month for me plus i need to allow a little extra as we have 2 big family celebrations planned which need catered for so i have a massive budget this month of 850
    PDBXmas 2017 2533.95/5000
    • Suffolk lass
    • By Suffolk lass 21st Apr 17, 8:07 AM
    • 1,971 Posts
    • 20,603 Thanks
    Suffolk lass
    On post 3 @Coxy11 you list all users and budgets, if remaining the same do we need to post our budget again ?
    Originally posted by pamsdish
    pamsdish You do need to post if your budget is monthly but not if it is an annual one, otherwise Coxy11 will put your name with no amount next to it
    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
    • spendaholic
    • By spendaholic 21st Apr 17, 12:32 PM
    • 1,444 Posts
    • 7,660 Thanks
    I'd like to pop back too, please. I used to always use this challenge, but then the thread started to get way too long and I couldn't keep up. Looks like that may have been curbed again, so I'd like to try again.

    I'll be starting again in May, when there are 4 weeks. I want to spend just 75 per week, for 2 adults and 3 pets, including detergents and toiletries.

    Therefore, my first target is 300.

    Good luck everyone.
    Highest debt: 35k (2005); Current debt: 6k (2018)

    2 tickets to the Home Building & Renovation show; 50 to spend on chocolate; 2 tickets to see the Harlem Globetrotters; designer cat food caddy; 2,500 cash; 36 cash; Jesus Christ Superstar tickets + 2 t-shirts; Creative Craft Show tickets; Birmingham City v Barnsley FC tickets; Marillion tickets; Beyond the Pole DVD; 1,000 cash; Legend of the Guardians goody bag; Dancing on Ice tickets; Barnsley FC v Millwall tickets
    • Coxy11
    • By Coxy11 21st Apr 17, 12:44 PM
    • 2,173 Posts
    • 26,349 Thanks
    Hi everyone,
    Budgets updated to here
    I update the list each month and several times throughout the month, so please do post your budgets in red if possible so I can spot them.
    Thanks all, and good luck!
    Cross-stitch WIP #1: Collecting Shells by Nancy Cole
    Cross-stitch WIP #2: Pretty Little London by Satsuma Street
    Crochet WIP: Apres-ski blanket by Black Sheep Wools
    • pamsdish
    • By pamsdish 21st Apr 17, 2:00 PM
    • 889 Posts
    • 5,018 Thanks
    Going for 125 again.
    • ScotinLondon
    • By ScotinLondon 22nd Apr 17, 1:04 PM
    • 322 Posts
    • 3,761 Thanks
    140 for me please. Starting on 25th April.

    Haven't posted much at all since the start of the this year. RL & study making me very busy.

    Hope all ok. SIL x
    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
    • thriftwizard
    • By thriftwizard 22nd Apr 17, 9:45 PM
    • 2,659 Posts
    • 33,259 Thanks
    OK, aiming to reduce it a bit as we're back down to 4 adults plus the menagerie & the odd visitor again, so please can you put me down for 420 this month? A little more than I'd like, but prices seem to have edged upwards somewhat lately. Thank you!

    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...
    • lynnejk
    • By lynnejk 22nd Apr 17, 11:08 PM
    • 5,343 Posts
    • 55,181 Thanks
    Evening all

    Thank you Zippy and Coxy for organising the thread.

    I'm hoping to get back on top of things after my heart attack and need to get into the freezers etc. I know I definitely need some butcher meat but not sure what else. Bulk cooking and freezing certainly saved the day here this month, whilst I was not well, but stores are now more than a little depleted.

    However, I am going for our usual 200 for the month to run from the 1st to 31st for all food, household things, laundry and general toiletries.

    Good luck everyone and hope you all have a great May
    Bulk buy.......APR=233.76
    OS WL= -2/8 ......CC =00......Savings = 13,140
    • ancientmum
    • By ancientmum 23rd Apr 17, 9:34 AM
    • 139 Posts
    • 1,163 Thanks
    Lynnejk, wishing you all the best and a full recovery.

    I get paid on Friday, so that is the start of the new month for me, finishing on 30th May. Please can you put me down for 180 again as it is a 5 week month and two bank holidays.

    Thank you to everyone who organises these threads.
    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
    • purpleybat
    • By purpleybat 23rd Apr 17, 10:49 PM
    • 344 Posts
    • 2,935 Thanks
    hello, can I join in again please, my target for the month is 160
    gc 2017 1841.27.
    2018 jan 124.69/130 feb 157.97/150 mar 221.33/200 apr 223.04/250
    • amandaatnumber7
    • By amandaatnumber7 24th Apr 17, 12:06 AM
    • 150 Posts
    • 1,495 Thanks
    Can you please put me down for $1000 as there is 5 weeks this month - Thanks
    Ive not done a grocery challenge for some time, but lately there has been a few top up shops each week so I think this is the best way to get back on track
    I shop for 3 adults, 2 children & a dog and it includes toiletries and cleaning products
    • Pink_Giraffe
    • By Pink_Giraffe 24th Apr 17, 12:08 PM
    • 183 Posts
    • 1,393 Thanks
    Hi, I used to do this a few years ago and really cut our spending down, but I've been lax and it's crept back up, I think around 300-350 a month for 2 adults, which seems excessive! So I'm aiming this month for 250.
    My months run 25th-24th, I'm pretty happy with meal planning when I get into it, but we're stuck in a bit of a rut. I'm trying to lose weight so healthy meals preferred and we're trying to cut down on meat, however OH won't eat cooked veg (but has a side salad with dinner every night), pulses or beans. Any advice with this is welcome!
    • Coxy11
    • By Coxy11 24th Apr 17, 12:19 PM
    • 2,173 Posts
    • 26,349 Thanks
    Hi everyone,
    Budgets list updated to here
    lynnejk - take care xx
    Good luck all,
    Cross-stitch WIP #1: Collecting Shells by Nancy Cole
    Cross-stitch WIP #2: Pretty Little London by Satsuma Street
    Crochet WIP: Apres-ski blanket by Black Sheep Wools
    • mumofthetwins
    • By mumofthetwins 24th Apr 17, 12:32 PM
    • 1,018 Posts
    • 4,005 Thanks
    Hi Guys .. Havent been on here for a good while but im back on it .. yay! im determined to get back to my money saving ways ..

    Can I join again with 300 for the month

    Lisa x
    May 1885/23042
    April 1266.27/25843.54 STF 1500/1500
    NSD 7/15
    MFW OP 2018 400
    GC MAY 78.84/250 April 149.35/250
    • K9sandFelines
    • By K9sandFelines 24th Apr 17, 10:21 PM
    • 1,915 Posts
    • 16,302 Thanks
    Continuing 4,000 for the year; which works out at 333 a month. This includes bulk buys/subscribe and save deliveries; which thankfully i haven't needed that many of in April. Shouldn't need any or many this month either ... i hope .

    Good luck everyone and thanks to the special ladies running the thread. Hope you start to feel better soon lynnejk.
    GC 2017 (4,000/3434.09) Jan 264.28, Feb 179.18, Mar 290.38, APR 182.39, MAY 152.34 up to 22nd (spend frpm 21st to add)/250 (270 p.m/3,250 p.a)

    ~ Still learning the art of frugality ~
    • mcculloch29
    • By mcculloch29 25th Apr 17, 3:00 AM
    • 4,776 Posts
    • 47,173 Thanks
    Thank you for updating with my total (140) Coxy. I started the May challenge early, on April 20th as I wanted to get going with this.
    It's now the 25th, Day 5, and my 140 is still intact. The first spend will possibly be Thursday, definitely Friday. I held back from an online Am@zon grocery purchase of decaff coffee capsules as I didn't want to break in to the 140.
    I have Am@zon Prime so will be able to get the capsules delivered quickly when they really are needed. I still have some in store. No supermarkets locally sell decaff Nespresso compatible capsules so I have to buy them online.
    Erma Bombeck, American writer: "If I had my life to live over again... I would have burned the pink candle, sculptured like a rose, that melted in storage." Don't keep things 'for best' - that day never comes. Use them and enjoy them now.
    • Pink_Giraffe
    • By Pink_Giraffe 25th Apr 17, 8:02 AM
    • 183 Posts
    • 1,393 Thanks
    Ooh I checked our bank statement last night and we've been worse than I thought, 430 for March Definitely need to focus this month to cut that down!
    • Cappella
    • By Cappella 25th Apr 17, 8:10 AM
    • 465 Posts
    • 6,195 Thanks
    I've been struggling so am setting a high budget for two adults and a dog. 360 for ALL groceries, toiletries, cleaning products, window cleaner and general household expenses.
    This will be a four week month for me so that's 80 a week. If I finally manage to stay within budget this month I'll aim for less next month
    • elsiepac
    • By elsiepac 25th Apr 17, 1:15 PM
    • 1,418 Posts
    • 10,446 Thanks
    lynnejk thinking of you and hope you are recovering well.

    I'm in from 26th Apr - 25th May 150 please.

    I have some meals batch cooked so I'm going to try and keep my first week spends to a minimum and not splurge like usual.

    I go over every month at the moment, but April was horrendous so wake up call needed!

    This month I have my MOT (fingers crossed as my car is on 103k miles now and sounding it!)
    and also VEGFEST BRISTOL on 20th and 21st, which is my favourite weekend of the year! So I need to keep as much money back for that as I can as it's right at the end of the month for me financially!
    Last edited by elsiepac; 27-04-2017 at 11:21 PM.
    I'm a Board Guide on the Old Style, Greenfingered, Energy & Going Out Deals boards which means I'm a volunteer to help the boards run smoothly and I can move and merge threads there. Please remember, board guides don't read every post. If you spot an illegal or inappropriate post then please report it to (it's not part of my role to deal with this) Any views are mine and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.
    GC: Nov 0/165 | Oct 220/220 | Sep 244.34/250 | Aug 190.38/200 | Jul 194.08/150 | Jun 179.03/150 | May 158.54/150 | Apr 316.94/200 | Mar 170.47/120 | Feb 199.45/160
    Vegan 27-8-13
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