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

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

    If your new month starts early feel free to join this thread, or if you're still working on your June budget, then keep on posting in the June 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; 10-06-2017 at 11:47 AM.
    A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men
    Norn Iron club member #380

Page 8
    • caronc
    • By caronc 7th Jul 17, 1:18 PM
    • 3,792 Posts
    • 24,342 Thanks
    Over budget this week at 48 but did spend 13 on bbq charcoal! Total so far is 97/170
    GC - Feb18 68/120, Mar 104/150, Apr 164/200, May 96/120
    GC YTD 2018- 487/710
    • FurryBeastOz
    • By FurryBeastOz 7th Jul 17, 2:15 PM
    • 1,193 Posts
    • 15,845 Thanks
    Over budget this week at 48 but did spend 13 on bbq charcoal! Total so far is 97/170
    Originally posted by caronc
    Bother. Knew I'd forgotten something.
    Goals - Weight loss 6/26lb at 22nd Jan 18
    • PennyGrabber
    • By PennyGrabber 7th Jul 17, 5:20 PM
    • 1,267 Posts
    • 22,414 Thanks
    Hi all,

    Nsd so far today. I'm about to drag myself out swimming in a bit, then I'm out for the evening for dinner with work. That won't come from GC budget. I'm des, so will only have one or two cokes, plus the set menu, so a works night out for under 20 - bargain!

    I may be tempted tomorrow, but will try to make it a nsd, then Sunday is shopping day. I'm aiming for about a 20 spend. Looking good for this time of the month.

    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 7th Jul 17, 6:44 PM
    • 3,511 Posts
    • 11,089 Thanks
    Spent 10.36.
    Not too bad. Watermelon, cucumber, courgettes, carrots, pears, tomatoes and 3 large mangoes for me, and for the OH duck spring rolls and a pack of muffins.

    67.09 left
    29 year old vegan woman. My OH is a lovely omni guy
    • Happy Kitties
    • By Happy Kitties 7th Jul 17, 7:23 PM
    • 511 Posts
    • 4,021 Thanks
    Happy Kitties
    I've spent a bit more than I would like so early in the month-100/190.
    I've noticed that with my DD being home now she has finished her exams is speeding up the spends, esp as she has a very high metabolic rate so just eats and eats and doesn't put any weight on.
    We are also spending extra on tuck boxes with travelling a lot for her sports, I'm determined not to spend on food when we are on our travels. YS items have come in very handy for these, all bagged up in the freezer.
    I've made her some meals this week and left some snack boxes in the fridge to help combat her far so good......if we can last the end of the month even better.
    Plenty of things in the freezer and cupboards so I'm not planning to do any shopping until next Friday now.
    Have a great weekend everyone x
    Last edited by Happy Kitties; 07-07-2017 at 7:24 PM. Reason: Spelling
    2017 birthday savings shopping frugally = 481.15:money. 2018 birthday savings so far=359.51
    • mumofthetwins
    • By mumofthetwins 7th Jul 17, 10:38 PM
    • 1,018 Posts
    • 4,006 Thanks
    35 spend for me today 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
    • lynnejk
    • By lynnejk 7th Jul 17, 10:42 PM
    • 5,343 Posts
    • 55,181 Thanks
    Evening all and hurrah for Mr Murray and Konta

    Had to buy milk today so spend of 99p at Mr Li*l.

    Hope you all have a great weekend
    Bulk buy.......APR=233.76
    OS WL= -2/8 ......CC =00......Savings = 13,140
    • PennyGrabber
    • By PennyGrabber 8th Jul 17, 12:00 AM
    • 1,267 Posts
    • 22,414 Thanks
    Oh rats. I went shopping today. I was early to pick up my friend so I popped into @sd@ and I bought 10.38 worth of stuff for 1.96. A full bag of veg - cubed swede, baby caulis, baby carrots, baby cabbages, 3x celery, mixed veg, kale, chopped leeks, chopped carrots, mushrooms, lettuce. Possibly more, that's just what I can remember. It all looks fine, so I'll ise what I use tom and sun, then freeze the rest.

    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
    • Suffolk lass
    • By Suffolk lass 8th Jul 17, 11:14 AM
    • 1,971 Posts
    • 20,630 Thanks
    Suffolk lass
    Time to go shopping. I must try to avoid the "restaurant" mentality that means I buy with three options available for any meal. I AM NOT RUNNING A RESTAURANT - "we are having this" is perfectly acceptable as a response to, "What's for dinner?"
    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
    • MissLemon
    • By MissLemon 8th Jul 17, 12:42 PM
    • 73 Posts
    • 426 Thanks
    This week's shop came to 33.66. I have a feeling that I'll be tipping up during the week as I haven't done my meal plans. But I didn't make everything on my meal plan last week (too hot so ate more salads!) so I probably have enough to for next week anyway.
    MFW #121. Mortgage at June 2017 96,491.71. 26 March 2018 85,220

    OP target 2018 2626.35/10,000
    OP target 2017 4816.35/5000
    Original MF Date January 2035. Target MF Date December 2023
    • Save Dosh
    • By Save Dosh 8th Jul 17, 4:53 PM
    • 1,226 Posts
    • 14,645 Thanks
    Save Dosh
    Haven't spent anything (groceywise) for 7 days. Today I spent 2.75 on some oat milk orange juice and water, which is really good for me, as I did take a wander 'round Wholefoods in Camden, and came out with nothing. Hoping to not spend anymore now and I am going away again to another festival - Latitude on Thursday, back on Monday, which is all catered and paid for, not by me, so no food spends. Any alcohol while away will be out of a separate budget. Have updated sig. Have a lovely w/e everyone.
    Last edited by Save Dosh; 08-07-2017 at 5:02 PM.
    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
    • purpleybat
    • By purpleybat 9th Jul 17, 12:20 AM
    • 344 Posts
    • 2,935 Thanks
    another big shop for me this week coming in at 39.99.
    am starting to be concerned about going over budget this month cos 'family day' has turned into 'family weekend' and therefore will be more expensive.
    i'm more pleased to be seeing my sisters and families for longer than fretting over a 20ish overspend tho, esp as sisters weekend at the beginning of june was postphoned this year due to ill health
    gc 2017 1841.27.
    2018 jan 124.69/130 feb 157.97/150 mar 221.33/200 apr 223.04/250
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 9th Jul 17, 3:08 AM
    • 774 Posts
    • 5,020 Thanks
    $110 on the weekly shop this week, which includes a few extra snacks because the girls are home on school holidays but no meat. That puts me at $492/$1100 so basically 500 down, 600 to go, with a lot of meat stashed away. Mr E's away for some of next week, which will help.

    Meal plan looks like:
    Sunday night: roast lamb dinner (freeze leftovers for lamb and pearl barley stew)
    Monday: Spaghetti bolognese
    Tuesday: Tomato soup and cheese toasties
    Wednesday: Tuna pasta
    Thursday: Meat pies (leftover bolognese sauce in puff pastry)
    Friday: Hainanese chicken rice (whole poached chicken, save leftovers for future meals)
    MFW diary here. 1 Feb 2017 $229,371 - MFD Feb 2043 aiming for May 2028
    14 August 2017 - Refinanced: $220,000
    May 2018 $211,274.60 Current MFD 31 June 2035
    • t14cy t
    • By t14cy t 9th Jul 17, 6:25 AM
    • 694 Posts
    • 6,594 Thanks
    t14cy t
    spends of 11 yesterday in morrisons, tea, coffee, hot chocolate, milk etc. 59 left in budget for the month! ys spree this afternoon I hope. x
    • Kittencat
    • By Kittencat 9th Jul 17, 7:57 AM
    • 634 Posts
    • 3,973 Thanks
    Well this week has been a big grocery week coming at 77.58. This has been mainly to do with painters being here all week and husband going out buying them goodies. Can still do our target though as the cupboards are still quiet full so shouldn't need to much today on my main shop.

    So I'm on week 2 of a 4.5 month and it's looking like this . . . . .138.76/275
    • MissLemon
    • By MissLemon 9th Jul 17, 8:08 AM
    • 73 Posts
    • 426 Thanks
    Haven't spent anything (groceywise) for 7 days. Today I spent 2.75 on some oat milk orange juice and water, which is really good for me, as I did take a wander 'round Wholefoods in Camden, and came out with nothing.
    Originally posted by Save Dosh
    Well done on getting out of Wholefoods alive without spending!

    If you drink Alpro oat milk it's on offer at the moment in Morrisons, buy 4 for 4. I've just stocked up!
    MFW #121. Mortgage at June 2017 96,491.71. 26 March 2018 85,220

    OP target 2018 2626.35/10,000
    OP target 2017 4816.35/5000
    Original MF Date January 2035. Target MF Date December 2023
    • GrowingPlants
    • By GrowingPlants 9th Jul 17, 4:11 PM
    • 24 Posts
    • 370 Thanks
    Just popped into Lidl and spent 2.85. So that's now the months spend at 28.04
    July 17 GC 61.44/100 : August 17 GC 30.40/50
    Sept 17 GC 46.18/100
    • Doom_and_Gloom
    • By Doom_and_Gloom 9th Jul 17, 6:47 PM
    • 3,511 Posts
    • 11,089 Thanks
    OH spent 2.43 since I last posted. Needed items only.

    64.66 left.
    29 year old vegan woman. My OH is a lovely omni guy
    • Suzywoozy8
    • By Suzywoozy8 9th Jul 17, 8:38 PM
    • 7 Posts
    • 67 Thanks
    End of week two and another major week of spending We have entertained twice this week though - not full on dinner but drinks and nibbles/ cake, which adds up faster than I think it does!

    I'm starting to see why we've not done a month under 400 for a long time. However, despite some big spends in the first two weeks, I can see that my mindset is changing and I'm thinking about how I can use things up rather than just filling the compost bin!

    Tonight we had roast chicken tonight with potatoes, salad and coleslaw that all needed using up rather than chucking. Remaining chicken is now shredded and boxed ready for sandwiches/ salad this week. I've also made lentil dahl for the freezer to use up some tomatoes that would otherwise have ended up in the bin! OH mum also gave us some leeks that were lovely and fresh then, but have just sat in our fridge and so are now chopped and stored in the freezer! Have also done a rough meal plan for the next week! So feeling chuffed that I've thought about how NOT to throw things away, but not over-excited at lasting the rest of the month on our remaining cash.

    So confession time, spends are currently: 286.67/ 400
    Oh, and also realised our month runs 25th June to 28th July this time as I got my dates wrong!!
    Last edited by Suzywoozy8; 09-07-2017 at 8:41 PM.
    • mouche
    • By mouche 9th Jul 17, 9:40 PM
    • 879 Posts
    • 4,359 Thanks
    Another 31 spend in Tesco - and that was after I put the dishwashing tablets and batteries back. It was all needed stuff - fruit, snacks for DS, cheese, milks (almond, 1% and chocolate for different family members). The only particularly expensive item was coffee but it all adds up so quickly these days. Doubt very much I will be anywhere close to budget this month!
    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
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