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

Page 18
    • mouche
    • By mouche 29th Jun 17, 1:38 PM
    • 879 Posts
    • 4,359 Thanks
    I am declaring my first month at 200.76 - 76 p over budget. 15.89 of that was today and I would have avoided the 76p extra if the dishwasher tablets on offer had not finished before I got to the supermarket! I am very pleased considering I only really started focussing midway through the month.

    Next month is unlikely to be this good as I am feeding my 19-year-old nephew all month. Plus my 5-year-old will be on holidays for half the month and need feeding as well. Much planning will be required!

    See you on the July thread!
    Mortgage (original/ current):193,000 (23/09/11)/ 144,515.84 (16/06/2017).
    MFW target for 2017: 2355.48/ 5,000
    2017 Challenges
    Grocery Challenge: 162.32/200 (July); 200.76/ 200 (June)
    Make 300 a month: 107.42/300 (July); 237.88/ 300 (June)
    Lose 3st 9lb: 1st 12lb/3st 9lb
    • maisymoo5
    • By maisymoo5 29th Jun 17, 3:50 PM
    • 53 Posts
    • 356 Thanks
    well done on your first month mouche
    • YorksLass
    • By YorksLass 29th Jun 17, 6:09 PM
    • 349 Posts
    • 6,238 Thanks
    Six NSDs for me this week but had to buy milk and butter so I've ended June with a small overspend of 3.13 but, as it was a 5-week month for me, I'm not too disappointed.

    Congratulations to everyone who managed to come in on or under budget and commiserations to those who went over. Reading through the thread, I think a few of us have struggled this month - chin up, there's always July!

    "See" you all on next month's GC.
    Last edited by YorksLass; 29-06-2017 at 6:24 PM. Reason: Just popped back to add my congrats to Budgetbabe on new arrival - happy days!
    Be kind to others and to yourself too. Life has its ups and downs, use the ups to overcome the downs!
    May 130.30/175.00 NSDs144/35 (Jan-Apr 66.88 under budget)

    • ancientmum
    • By ancientmum 29th Jun 17, 6:19 PM
    • 140 Posts
    • 1,179 Thanks
    Have just caught up, but sort of lost the plot with my spends. So, I estimate I am about 20 over budget, declaring at 200/180 and will try to make it back next month. See you in July
    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
    • lynnejk
    • By lynnejk 29th Jun 17, 7:52 PM
    • 5,343 Posts
    • 55,181 Thanks
    Evening all

    Spend today of 24.03 in Al*i - mainly 3 x chicken crown on today's new offer and some milk and fruit as we were out of those.

    So declaring for month at 198.79/200 - just made it by a whisker eh

    Well done for all those taking up the challenge and excellent to see many on, just over or under their budgets Definitely beginning to notice the prices are rising now, so will have to tighten another notch

    'See' you all over in July
    Bulk buy.......APR=233.76
    OS WL= -2/8 ......CC =00......Savings = 13,140
    • Happy Kitties
    • By Happy Kitties 29th Jun 17, 8:31 PM
    • 513 Posts
    • 4,035 Thanks
    Happy Kitties
    Just finalising my end of month budgets today. Pleased that I am under budget. Need to get a few bits tomorrow but should still be jumping into July under budget by about 20 which I'm pleased about as I completely blew my budget last month and have decided to decorate the back bedroom so spends have gone up in the DIY dept.Any extra savings can be chanelled into buying those little extra bits that always add up.
    Will have my final total tomorrow. May leave DD at home though as she sends costs up!!!!!
    2017 birthday savings shopping frugally = 481.15:money. 2018 birthday savings so far=359.51
    • pamsdish
    • By pamsdish 30th Jun 17, 10:22 AM
    • 891 Posts
    • 5,051 Thanks
    Just got last shop of June at Aldi, 15.35, so declaring 165.70and 20 N.S.D.s
    • Skintmama
    • By Skintmama 30th Jun 17, 12:50 PM
    • 432 Posts
    • 1,650 Thanks
    Congratulations to all for completing another month of this challenge

    I am declaring now at 187.40 for June. My only spend this week has been for some extra eggs I need for baking cakes. This is for a fundraising event.

    The cupboards are clearer and I have emptied a freezer. I won't be refilling it and will just keep it as a back up, when required for special events. I really enjoy seasonal cooking and eating. I will be much more free to do this if I don't feel I have stuff I should be using up from the freezer. There is still the small freezer attached to the fridge so that will be adequate for now.

    Looking forward to seeing how we all get on in July
    • Wysiwyg49
    • By Wysiwyg49 30th Jun 17, 2:47 PM
    • 186 Posts
    • 1,686 Thanks
    Oh dear, declaring at 497

    July is a sort of 5 week month so I will try for 500. See you all over there!
    GC Mar 239.57/360 : Feb 352.71/320
    • Save Dosh
    • By Save Dosh 30th Jun 17, 3:17 PM
    • 1,226 Posts
    • 14,669 Thanks
    Save Dosh
    I would like to declare at 53.75, which is 26.25 under budget. I'm very happy with that, but must not forget, though, that I was away for 6 days. Have a lovely w/e everyone and see you over on July thread.
    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
    • *snow*white*
    • By *snow*white* 30th Jun 17, 5:04 PM
    • 117 Posts
    • 827 Thanks
    well way over budget at 319.33/250 but 30 of that was May that hit the account in Junes budget, couple of unexpected family bbq's and lots of heatwave lollies.

    Excuses?!? definitely but still under what it has been in recent months .
    1DV100 1200/1200 + 0/1613
    "Little by little one travels far"
    • FurryBeastOz
    • By FurryBeastOz 30th Jun 17, 7:46 PM
    • 1,193 Posts
    • 15,845 Thanks
    Over spent this month, but not hugely. Considering the cr*p that life has thrown, a little overspend is not the end of the world. DH has agreed to cover the bills this month, and I should have an income next month.

    289.26/250 but I have a full freezer
    Goals - Weight loss 6/26lb at 22nd Jan 18
    • Doom_and_Gloom
    • By Doom_and_Gloom 30th Jun 17, 10:41 PM
    • 3,512 Posts
    • 11,093 Thanks
    Stores are now shut. Can say we spent 2.50 since last spend.

    So declaring the following

    15.46 over budget. Not quite 52p more per day.
    29 year old vegan woman. My OH is a lovely omni guy
    • spendaholic
    • By spendaholic 3rd Jul 17, 10:05 AM
    • 1,444 Posts
    • 7,660 Thanks
    My final spend of the month was 64, bringing my overall total to 365 - so that's 10 under budget!
    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
    • K9sandFelines
    • By K9sandFelines 10th Jul 17, 6:52 PM
    • 1,917 Posts
    • 16,340 Thanks
    Hi all people. Hope June went well for you all. I am getting more scarce in this thread as the months go on, but I am still here lurking.

    I managed to come under by quite alot this month. So much so that I thought I had made a mistake and had to do the sums twice.

    Off to update my sig for June and July so far.
    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 ~
    • Wysiwyg49
    • By Wysiwyg49 10th Jul 17, 7:14 PM
    • 186 Posts
    • 1,686 Thanks
    Hi everyone,

    Been a frantic July so far with family illness (elderly parents) and Uni visits. We are the sandwich generation! but doing OK so far at 187.58.

    I've added household items (cleaning, tinfoil, light bulbs etc.) so increased the budget a bit because in earlier months they didn't add up to much. So of course this week I spent about 10 on LED GU10 bulbs which were half price!

    Meal plan this week (have lost my mojo for meal planning so it's a repeat of many other weeks ):

    Sat: pizza (DD), Spanish chicken bake (Hairy Bikers)
    Sun: sausages / wedges / beans
    Mon: chicken casserole and dumplings
    Tues: spag bol
    Wed & Thurs: haven't got that far yet...
    Last edited by Wysiwyg49; 10-07-2017 at 7:15 PM. Reason: LOL picked up wrong thread and this should go into July!
    GC Mar 239.57/360 : Feb 352.71/320
    • K9sandFelines
    • By K9sandFelines 11th Jul 17, 12:12 PM
    • 1,917 Posts
    • 16,340 Thanks
    Hi everyone,

    Been a frantic July so far with family illness (elderly parents) and Uni visits. We are the sandwich generation! but doing OK so far at 187.58.

    I've added household items (cleaning, tinfoil, light bulbs etc.) so increased the budget a bit because in earlier months they didn't add up to much. So of course this week I spent about 10 on LED GU10 bulbs which were half price!

    Meal plan this week (have lost my mojo for meal planning so it's a repeat of many other weeks ):

    Sat: pizza (DD), Spanish chicken bake (Hairy Bikers)
    Sun: sausages / wedges / beans
    Mon: chicken casserole and dumplings
    Tues: spag bol
    Wed & Thurs: haven't got that far yet...
    Originally posted by Wysiwyg49
    I was late to the party Wysiwyg49, but this is the June thread notJuly
    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 ~
    • maisymoo5
    • By maisymoo5 28th Jul 17, 11:34 AM
    • 53 Posts
    • 356 Thanks
    I confess what with holidays and an almost constant stream of guests, I got completely waylaid with keeping my receipts this month so have to declare that I would most certainly have been over budget. On to July and hopefully a more sensible month! See you over there everyone
    • maisymoo5
    • By maisymoo5 28th Jul 17, 11:45 AM
    • 53 Posts
    • 356 Thanks
    ignore the post above. Updated the wrong month.
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