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    • zippychick
    • By zippychick 13th Oct 14, 12:54 PM
    • 9,342Posts
    • 17,880Thanks
    June 2017 Grocery Challenge
    • #1
    • 13th Oct 14, 12:54 PM
    June 2017 Grocery Challenge 13th Oct 14 at 12:54 PM
    Hi everyone,

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

    If your new month starts early feel free to join this thread, or if you're still working on your May budget, then keep on posting in the May 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; 09-05-2017 at 1:05 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 11
    • spendaholic
    • By spendaholic 9th Jun 17, 10:25 AM
    • 1,443 Posts
    • 7,655 Thanks
    Very pleased to have spent just £59 for week 2, so that's £130 v £375 budget.
    Highest debt: £35k (2005); Current debt: £6k (2018)

    £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
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 9th Jun 17, 11:24 AM
    • 768 Posts
    • 4,987 Thanks
    Mr E took the day off today to accompany the girls on a school excursion and then decided he was too knackered to either cook what I'd planned or to take the girls on the ballet run so I could cook it. So I went to the supermarket for a cooked chicken, wraps, dips and cheese and somehow that all came to $32! I did also get some extra snack wraps that will do for school lunches next week and there's leftovers for the weekend, so it's not all bad. Still though.

    $298/950 with three of my four weekly shops left to go.
    MFW diary here. 1 Feb 2017 $229,371 - MFD Feb 2043 aiming for May 2028
    14 August 2017 - Refinanced: $220,000
    December 2017 - $214,653.00 Current MFD 31 July 2035
    • claireyfairy82
    • By claireyfairy82 9th Jun 17, 1:11 PM
    • 110 Posts
    • 1,380 Thanks
    Unplanned taked away, I'm a bit under the weather so no cooking for me. £212.51 spent with 3 weeks left. I should be able to manage no bother with what I have left in the fridge and freezer fingers crossed I can stay out the shops, it shouldn't be this hard to not buy more food!
    JAN - £208.56/£250 NSD-8
    FEB - £121.51/£200 NSD- 1
    Penny a day challenge #001: £200.79/£667.95
    • *snow*white*
    • By *snow*white* 9th Jun 17, 2:51 PM
    • 113 Posts
    • 815 Thanks
    Ok so £101.44/£250 spent so far.

    Is actually not as bad as it seems as have a meal plan for next week only needing couple of lunch bits, yoghurt for breakfast and green peppers for chilli/stirfry.

    Cupboards and freezer well stocked. £33.82 of the £101.44 is also payments that have hit the account as the result of an epic fail at the end of last month due to dh buying lunches and "popping to the shop"

    So all in all not too bad. Happy weekend everyone
    GCC £152.20/£250
    "Little by little one travels far"
    • Doom_and_Gloom
    • By Doom_and_Gloom 9th Jun 17, 3:07 PM
    • 3,474 Posts
    • 10,895 Thanks
    Two little shops since last post coming to £9.60.

    OH needs to go to the shops later for milk so will add that shop later.
    Not doing too bad right now.

    £62.75 left.
    28 year old vegan woman. My OH is a lovely omni guy
    • Islandmaid
    • By Islandmaid 9th Jun 17, 5:50 PM
    • 2,515 Posts
    • 37,466 Thanks
    Hi all,

    I have spent just under £75 so far this month £57 at Aldi, the rest at Mr S - had to top up the bathroom bits, shampoo, conditioner etc

    Off to update my signature
    Note to self - STOP SPENDING MONEY !!

    March GC £250.00/ .00
    • YorksLass
    • By YorksLass 9th Jun 17, 6:37 PM
    • 330 Posts
    • 6,046 Thanks
    Week 2 spends were a market shop of £17.80 and a small top-up of £3.45 at the C!op, so a total of £21.25 spent with 5 NSDs. £75.85 left in budget for 3 weeks.

    Last night my fridge was just about empty; apart from the usual jars of chutneys, sauces, pickles etc there was a reasonable stock of cheeses, milk, half an onion and enough cabbage for one more meal. The freezer had started to see some space in it and I'd also used up some store cupboard items too.

    Well, I shouldn't have been so smug because today's shopping for Week 3 really blew a hole in the budget. A total of £63.03 spent, most of it at the sm and a small spend at the market. In my defence, I did buy a joint of pork loin that will be for Sunday dinner with more than enough left over for 2-3 more meals. I also stocked up on salad, fresh fruit and veg (sorely needed) as well as some store cupboard items that were on the shopping list - happily, most of these were on promo. I did well on the ys haul: potato cakes, beef meatballs, diced pork, minced pork and braising steak. I also got a large pack of chicken wings for £1.77 (not ys) that I'll be doing in the sc this week and, although you don't get a huge amount of meat off them, there'll be enough for a meal mid-week for us.

    Staggered home (warm day here), unpacked everything and had a well-deserved cuppa while I was berating myself for spending so much. Then I portioned up the things for the freezer and updated my freezer inventory.

    So, just £12.82 left in the budget with two weeks to go. It should be do-able as I won't need anything else this week (meal plan done) and there's plenty in the fridge, freezer and cupboards for Weeks 4 & 5.

    I think I might have to freeze my purse in a block of ice for the next couple of weeks. Have a good weekend all.
    Be kind to others and to yourself too. Life has its ups and downs, use the ups to overcome the downs!
    Apr £109.84/£140 NSDs 16/28 (Jan-Mar £56.48 under budget)

    • FoxFace
    • By FoxFace 9th Jun 17, 6:57 PM
    • 238 Posts
    • 2,578 Thanks
    Hey everyone

    Another full Monday-Friday of NSD's here, although today was close!

    Tiring day at work and general apathy towards cooking and Friday evening chip shop dinner was calling me... but I only have my "emergency" cash and chips, as delicious as they are, do not really constitute an emergency

    So I got off my lazy butt and made a batch of HM chips with the potatoes I was going to bake for lunch (ended up with hummus sandwiches again ) Got some Salt & Pepper baps out of the freezer and made some HM Chip butties that were actually way better than the chip shop and effectively cost me nothing

    Grocery money in my purse ready for my weekend spends
    Debt Free Wannabe 21.05.2017
    ~Loan 04/07/17: £5500.00/5028.98p~Credit Card: £4861.51/£4090.68p
    Total Starting Debt = £11,020.01p Currently: £9119.66p
    ~Grocery Challenge: 5 Weeks under budget/1 over~
    Click>Fox's Debt Free Diary ~ Fox's Vegan Recipes<Click
    • Doom_and_Gloom
    • By Doom_and_Gloom 9th Jun 17, 8:27 PM
    • 3,474 Posts
    • 10,895 Thanks
    £3.30 spent.

    £59.45 left.
    28 year old vegan woman. My OH is a lovely omni guy
    • PennyGrabber
    • By PennyGrabber 10th Jun 17, 9:50 AM
    • 1,267 Posts
    • 22,412 Thanks
    Hi all,

    Hope you all have good weekend plans. I'm working as have mega deadline on weds, so got to be done...

    I'm locking myself in today, although may go for a short walk later if I've done enough work. This means today should be a nsd. Then tomorrow, I'll be doing the weekly shop, but need very little - bread, milk, yogs, bit of fruit. May just take a tenner so I can't be tempted!

    Not sure what I'm eating today - I may have eggs, tomatoes and bacon for lunch. Maybe veg bake for dinner... Dunno!

    Have a great day everyone.
    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
    • Makethedayscount
    • By Makethedayscount 10th Jun 17, 2:13 PM
    • 34 Posts
    • 300 Thanks
    After second week shop £101.82 / £225 and feel like the fridge, freezer and cupboards are bursting with food, although that is sure to change once OH returns from overseas tonight. Had bananas browning and strawberries on the turn so used inspiration from the recipes and now have both banana and strawberry ice cream freshly made in the freezer. Just waiting for the good weather now! Really enjoying this this thread and the savings are really helping too. Keep up the good work everyone!

    • lynnejk
    • By lynnejk 10th Jun 17, 4:33 PM
    • 5,343 Posts
    • 55,180 Thanks
    Afternoon all

    Spends today were
    Al*i = £21.16
    Home Bags = £9.66
    £land = £1
    Total of £31.82 added
    Am on 95.30/200 and NSDs = 8 for June

    Hope you all having a super weekend
    Bulk buy.......APR=233.76
    OS WL= -2/8 ......CC =00......Savings = £13,140
    • Happy Kitties
    • By Happy Kitties 10th Jun 17, 5:51 PM
    • 482 Posts
    • 3,856 Thanks
    Happy Kitties
    Setting my budget for
    This month please to run from the 1st-30th
    Went over my budget by £60 last month but I did have a treat shop to M+S -one of my weaknesses so it's only an occasional treat and I made use of several offers with the shop.
    Hoping to come under this month as cupboards/freezer are full and since DD passed her driving test she likes to do a YS run and has come home with some amazing discounted products
    2017 birthday savings shopping frugally = 481.15:money. 2018 birthday savings so far=276.42
    • PennyGrabber
    • By PennyGrabber 10th Jun 17, 8:39 PM
    • 1,267 Posts
    • 22,412 Thanks
    Wow! That was close! I nearly went to leedle to buy cheese - a fb group said that for this weekend only their 830g mature cheddar is only £1.99! Just about found the willpower to not go out again!

    I did go out earlier as a break from work. I mooched around some charity shops and bought myself some books and two skirts. Took an apple and a bottle of water in case I got hungry, as I didn't want to be tempted to open my purse for food.

    Haven't really eaten meals today - been picking on bits and pieces. I'll eat better tomorrow, but I haven't felt amazing today.

    I really need to do some housework, but been so busy working - think that's partly why I haven't cooked too. Why are there never enough hours in the weekend?!

    Must crack on with some work

    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
    • Wysiwyg49
    • By Wysiwyg49 11th Jun 17, 3:25 PM
    • 186 Posts
    • 1,679 Thanks
    Marathon trip round A1di, Tesco AND Sainsb this morning, but quite pleased as spent £72 in all three. Together with a dash to Sainsb Local on Friday for chicken and some other bits, week 2 so far is at £81.93 which I would be very happy with.

    Meal plan this week is:
    SUN: Chicken dinner
    MON: Moussaka
    TUES: Cauli cheese with mushrooms/bacon (oh dear, forgot the bacon! grr)
    WED: Baked spuds and whatever we have to hand
    THURS: Spag bol
    FRI: Something with LO chicken, prob curry

    Lunches for me inc. chicken caesar salad, tuna nicoise salad. I resisted the ready made packet of caesar salad and got anchovies instead to make my own!

    Oh and after visiting a friend's house, DD commented that she hadn't realised how healthily we eat, because I make most things from scratch, till she saw her friend's family's kitchen is crammed with convenience food and ready meals.
    GC Mar £239.57/£360 : Feb £352.71/£320
    • FurryBeastOz
    • By FurryBeastOz 11th Jun 17, 4:16 PM
    • 1,193 Posts
    • 15,845 Thanks
    Really pleased so far. I've been leaving the wallet at home. Quite effective. £47.16 spent so far this month. Well within budget.
    Goals - Weight loss 6/26lb at 22nd Jan 18
    • PennyGrabber
    • By PennyGrabber 11th Jun 17, 7:20 PM
    • 1,267 Posts
    • 22,412 Thanks
    Hi all,

    Did my shopping in leedle so I could take advantage of the cheese on offer. I got two packs, and ended up spending £15.01, which was more than the £10 I wanted to spend, but there's 1.66 kg of cheese there! Then went mooching in @sd@, and oh bought four lunchables (as it's a stressful week at work, so ch sorted for two days!), plus there was loads of cheese reduced - 350g for 50p! Got another two, so that's 2.36kg of cheese for £4.98! Bargain!

    Had a bacon and egg sandwich for lunch, courtesy of oh, and I have some bendy veggies roasting away as we speak, to make something yummy for dinner.

    Have remembered to take the sausages out of the freezer ready for tomorrow's dinner, then I'll have some leftover stuff Tuesday when the ch are with their dad. Weds we're going out for dinner, again courtesy of oh as his brother is visiting. Not too sure about the tail end of the week yet - there's loads in, so we won't starve!

    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
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 12th Jun 17, 1:13 AM
    • 768 Posts
    • 4,987 Thanks
    Nice controlled weekly shop puts me at $453/950 with half the month to go and a freezer and fridge full of stuff. Ald! had a whole bunch of stuff on special that I use regularly, so I stocked up, and I reckon if I really tried I could do just a veg/bread/milk shop next week given how full my pantry is.

    We seem to have fallen into a pattern of indulgent food on the weekends and then frugal meals over the week, which feels like a good balance and leaves nobody feeling very deprived. So this weekend was fresh salmon fillets Saturday, HM burgers Sunday and then there'll be a roast beef today (it's a long weekend here) - then it's cheap meat/vegetarian meals over the rest of the week with a spinach and feta quiche, HM tomato soup and garlic bread, vegetarian chilli and a poached chicken which I'll pull half the meat off for another meal.
    MFW diary here. 1 Feb 2017 $229,371 - MFD Feb 2043 aiming for May 2028
    14 August 2017 - Refinanced: $220,000
    December 2017 - $214,653.00 Current MFD 31 July 2035
    • FoxFace
    • By FoxFace 12th Jun 17, 6:40 AM
    • 238 Posts
    • 2,578 Thanks
    Hey all, hope you are doing well?

    Medium sized spend yesterday... £23.22p on a few basic bits (soya milk, bread, coffee etc). £36.78p of budget remaining for week.

    I am supposed to be going shopping today for the main food shop, as DH was doing overtime yesterday so I didn't have time (and don't want to waste money on a taxi). Seriously considering seeing how far I can eke out what I already have in and aim for more NSDs
    Debt Free Wannabe 21.05.2017
    ~Loan 04/07/17: £5500.00/5028.98p~Credit Card: £4861.51/£4090.68p
    Total Starting Debt = £11,020.01p Currently: £9119.66p
    ~Grocery Challenge: 5 Weeks under budget/1 over~
    Click>Fox's Debt Free Diary ~ Fox's Vegan Recipes<Click
    • mrs-moneypenny
    • By mrs-moneypenny 12th Jun 17, 8:17 AM
    • 15,460 Posts
    • 197,557 Thanks
    Sorry don't think I posted last month as overtime was manic at work

    Slightly under so declaring £389 for May and want June to be £400

    Going to meal plan now I have afternoons back I can cook more so will help with the fridge rotation again and keep on top of using things that need it.
    grocery challenge April budget £400 spent £108
    SPC~11 No100 : : X4 O/t fund so far £1400
    read your books challenge-currently on After you
    cherish all living things
    17in 2018challenge 3/18
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