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    • zippychick
    • By zippychick 13th Oct 14, 12:54 PM
    • 9,343Posts
    • 17,888Thanks
    September 2017 Grocery Challenge
    • #1
    • 13th Oct 14, 12:54 PM
    September 2017 Grocery Challenge 13th Oct 14 at 12:54 PM
    Hi everyone,

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

    If your new month starts early feel free to join this thread, or if you're still working on your August budget, then keep on posting in the August 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; 12-08-2017 at 3:23 PM.
    A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men
    Norn Iron club member #380

Page 10
    • PennyGrabber
    • By PennyGrabber 9th Sep 17, 10:36 PM
    • 1,267 Posts
    • 22,422 Thanks
    Evening all,

    So, I did my weekly shop in aldililly today. They didn't have bread, so I'll need to get that in ffoods tom, and I need to get some pizzas there for dd plus two friends for Monday's dinner. I spent 17.??, which I thought was fab.

    I did, however, have my first bad experience of the fruit there. The bananas in the super six were warm. Like, actually warm!! I told the assistant store manager, and he said they were fresh off the plane and had arrived warm! I must've been wearing my 'I am a mug' tshirt!!

    On a positive note though, we have a h0m3 b4rg4in5 now!

    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
    • zafiro1984
    • By zafiro1984 9th Sep 17, 11:47 PM
    • 1,332 Posts
    • 10,503 Thanks
    Small shop at Lidl's today, mainly on fruit - bananas, satsumas, pears, grapes, pineapple, cherries and strawberries which are things I either can't grow or like the strawberries we have eaten all the home grown ones. Also got some 81% dark chocolate.

    Came to 12.84 but I've enough to last well into next week. Only got 64.76 left for the month but apart from milk, butter, bread and more fruit I think I should be able to survive if I'm careful.
    May Grocery challenge 117.37/150 only got 32.63 left
    • dumpling
    • By dumpling 10th Sep 17, 4:32 AM
    • 1,425 Posts
    • 20,077 Thanks
    Had a fish and chip tea after going to our local carnival. We then had a movie night to watch the new guardians of the galaxy 2 film which involved lots of snacky bits. This has bumped my total spend up to 129. Hopefully I won't need to go shopping this week as we have lots in our fridge and freezers.

    • Suffolk lass
    • By Suffolk lass 10th Sep 17, 6:47 AM
    • 1,993 Posts
    • 21,178 Thanks
    Suffolk lass
    I did, however, have my first bad experience of the fruit there. The bananas in the super six were warm. Like, actually warm!! I told the assistant store manager, and he said they were fresh off the plane and had arrived warm! I must've been wearing my 'I am a mug' tshirt!!

    PG x
    Originally posted by PennyGrabber
    Thank you PG It is good to laugh!

    I had to get up because I could hear a beep, beep. It woke me, sounding at annoying regular intervals. Tracked it down to the kitchen (other end of the house, and downstairs, while I was upstairs). It was the telephone base unit but I immediately spotted there were no lights on the washing machine which I set on timer to use in the cheap electricity period (1-8 in summer on economy 7), The fuse had gone, and judging by the stage of the washing when it resumed, it has been off for over five hours (causing the phone alarm). I am going to wait before I open the freezer door but I will be so upset if it has all defrosted.

    I'm going back to bed now...
    MFiT T4 #2 update 88.72% after Q9 tiny bit ahead of where I should be
    Save 12k in 2018 #53 - after June 55.17% 5,517.10/10,000
    OS Grocery Challenge 2018 spent 1,288.55/3,000 including stores so far 42.95% of my annual budget at the end of June
    My DFD is here
    • elf06
    • By elf06 10th Sep 17, 8:34 AM
    • 1,498 Posts
    • 15,140 Thanks
    Well I've not read through but thought I'd pop in and update my spends. I found myself in a worst position that I first thought this month due to some unexpected spends so I've had to tighten the purse strings seven more when it comes to gorcery shopping. Still managed to spend a whopping 73.73 though and need to get school lunch things and bread today!
    Will stop back later and catch up on the posts

    Aug GC - 88.17/130
    NSD - target 18 days, so far 5!!
    • butterfly2507
    • By butterfly2507 10th Sep 17, 8:56 AM
    • 240 Posts
    • 1,827 Thanks
    Ugh. I will never go to the gas station again to get some food. We had to go yesterday since we didn't have that much time and stores were closed once we were home ... 23 !!!8364; for 5 things!!! WHAT THE .... . I'll try to get some shopping done during the week since next Saturday we won't have time either.
    Dec GC 156,21 / 250
    Jan GC 108,33 / 250

    english is not my first language, sorry for any misspellings
    • njk1012
    • By njk1012 10th Sep 17, 10:22 AM
    • 257 Posts
    • 2,206 Thanks
    I gave up yesterday and went to factory foods for a top up shop, another 22.56 spent there. I was pretty happy with my purchases though, they had 3kg of rice for 99p, 3kg of custard powder for 1.49 , 1 kg of salami for 50p, GF sausage meat 50p and granola at 20p a pack. Also got a fair bit of freezer stuff for meals, cooking sauces and a couple of catering sized tins of mandarins.

    It wont be a NSD for us today either, as I realize were almost out of loo roll and bread.
    Grocery Challenge Sept 17 407.79/434. Oct 17 394.44/400. Nov 17 228.71/400
    Car finance 28/08/2017 = 8819.52 Car finance now 7934.38 (27% paid).
    Tax credit debt 28/08/2017= 2300
    • GrowingPlants
    • By GrowingPlants 10th Sep 17, 3:32 PM
    • 24 Posts
    • 370 Thanks
    First shop of the month 46.18.
    A larger shop than normal but the freezer is now looking much better.
    July 17 GC 61.44/100 : August 17 GC 30.40/50
    Sept 17 GC 46.18/100
    • pajama
    • By pajama 10th Sep 17, 4:43 PM
    • 103 Posts
    • 1,586 Thanks
    Just a few bits I needed for the weekend from ald! Spent 7.30. 1.78 spent in b&m on dog treats
    Grocery Challenge - Sept 205.56/350.00

    • Cherry Burton
    • By Cherry Burton 10th Sep 17, 7:58 PM
    • 102 Posts
    • 568 Thanks
    Cherry Burton
    Hi, today I spent 12.63 at ALDI for my weekly shop. Including,

    Tea Bags
    Baked beans

    Total spend since 1st Sept is 33.89 so I have spent 1/3 of my budget of 100 and we are 1/3 of the way through the month.My aim this week is to avoid having to shop because I haven't meal planned or made a packed lunch.

    Debt 08/14 - 8200
    Mortgage 1/1/14 approx 50,000, 1/8/16 31,269 1/9/16 27500 3/10/16 25842 1/11/16 23987 1/12/16 22050 1/4/17 16312 3/7/17 9989 1/8/17 7,666 1/9/17 5959 2/10/17 4772 1/11/17 2965 1/12/17 1329 Mortgage Free
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 11th Sep 17, 3:18 AM
    • 792 Posts
    • 5,192 Thanks
    I did a big Costco run this week as well as a normal (smaller than usual) weekly shop, so I'm already up to $592/$1100 with three weekly shops to go. Last time I got a bunch of ys bargains from the big butcher down by the Costco (it's over an hour away from me, so I only go occasionally), but this time nothing, so I doubt I'll get through the month without having to buy at least some red meat. But! I do have two roasting chickens, seven meals worth of beef mince, four pork roasts and a lot of good pork sausages, so I might make it work.

    I've planned out the next two weeks without having to buy much, so it'll be those last couple of weeks that'll be tricky. Some of the stuff I bought at Costco will last me well into next month, but I don't have a separate bulk budget to show that properly.
    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
    • Doom_and_Gloom
    • By Doom_and_Gloom 11th Sep 17, 3:11 PM
    • 3,554 Posts
    • 11,402 Thanks
    Since last post we have spent 21.09.

    79.15 left.
    29 year old vegan woman. My OH is a lovely omni guy
    • Ginmonster
    • By Ginmonster 11th Sep 17, 3:45 PM
    • 320 Posts
    • 4,227 Thanks
    Well, it is with some shame that I have to admit to having gone over budget already this month. I placed an AF order which came to 61.71 which although it is all stuff I will use, was not needed. I've realised why I did it though and that's because I'm a bit stressed with work and the little one starting school and I always do it when I'm feeling like I'm not totally in control of life. I'm going to try and learn from it and think of some other way I can react if I feel the hoarding urge in future.

    Meanwhile I shall allocate myself 10 a week for the rest of the month for fresh bits and bobs I'll need so I can be sensible.

    • Save Dosh
    • By Save Dosh 11th Sep 17, 7:31 PM
    • 1,242 Posts
    • 14,877 Thanks
    Save Dosh
    No (grocery) spends since 2nd. I have run out of Nutritional yeast, not good, so will get some tomorrow and try to not get much more than that.

    Well, it is with some shame that I have to admit to having gone over budget already this month. I placed an AF order which came to 61.71 which although it is all stuff I will use, was not needed. I've realised why I did it though and that's because I'm a bit stressed with work and the little one starting school and I always do it when I'm feeling like I'm not totally in control of life.
    Originally posted by Ginmonster
    Bl**dy AF - always used to do it for me. At least, like you say, it is stuff that you will use. If it's not going to be used in this month, you could transfer some of it onto next months budget. I used to do that when I would buy 10 Free From salad creams at once, as I rarely go Tesco. I would put them in the pantry with 1 sticker on and add them in2 budget as and when used. As for stress, instead of buying a bottle of the strong stuff, I CLEAN - not only do you end up with a clean & tidy place, its good exercise and known to be a stress buster. Good luck with the little one going school, my niece starts nursery tomorrow, she is so excited.
    July Grocery Challenge - Food 57.39/80, Alcohol 7.98/20
    Bulk Fund Left/Food 69.98 Bulk Fund/Alcohol
    Save 12k in 2018 #80 = 3,000/5,000
    Yoga 30 Day Challenge 0/30
    Lose 12lbs - 8/12 - Goal 9st
    • pinkypig
    • By pinkypig 11th Sep 17, 9:41 PM
    • 1,289 Posts
    • 10,375 Thanks
    I am so late . 150 please.

    PP x
    • Happy Kitties
    • By Happy Kitties 12th Sep 17, 8:46 AM
    • 548 Posts
    • 4,249 Thanks
    Happy Kitties
    I'm still sticking with my usual 190 for the month from Sept 1st until the 30th. Been over the last couple of months. Don't post on this regularly but have still been monitoring all my spends in my spendy book. I think last month i went over bec of buying extra food stuffs ready for DD for uni but hopefully I should even out this month
    2017 birthday savings shopping frugally = 481.15:money. 2018 birthday savings so far=359.51
    • candygirl
    • By candygirl 12th Sep 17, 11:49 AM
    • 26,027 Posts
    • 106,139 Thanks
    I am so late . 150 please.

    PP x
    Originally posted by pinkypig
    Better late than never
    "You can't stop the waves, but you can learn to surf"

    (Kabat-Zinn 2004)
    • Chrystal
    • By Chrystal 12th Sep 17, 3:40 PM
    • 323 Posts
    • 2,080 Thanks
    Spent 19.49 at Aldi yesterday.

    Still haven't done meal plans Feeling so depressed and can't find any motivation to do anything..think I need a kick up the proverbial.
    GC. Oct.17 = 261.18/ 300 = + 38.82 NSDs 20/31
    GC. Sept.17 = 354.89/300 = - 54.39

    • candygirl
    • By candygirl 12th Sep 17, 5:38 PM
    • 26,027 Posts
    • 106,139 Thanks
    Spent 23 in ALDI today, got lots of bits n bobs, so my running total's now 56/120 !!!128513;
    "You can't stop the waves, but you can learn to surf"

    (Kabat-Zinn 2004)
    • YorksLass
    • By YorksLass 12th Sep 17, 5:43 PM
    • 395 Posts
    • 6,794 Thanks
    First post this month after annual holidays, so congrats to those coming in on/under budget in August, commiserations to those who didn't and welcome to any newbies/returners. I'll catch up with this month's posts later in the week but here's my update for now.

    Small spend of 3.72 on Saturday on our way back to Yorkshire from Devon for potatoes, a savoy cabbage, a small loaf of bread and 1/2 doz eggs. Those, with what I knew I had in the freezer/cupboards, fed us on our return.

    Today had an online delivery of mainly cupboard staples (flour, tins of toms & chickpeas, dried fruit, pasta, rice etc), a couple of frozen items, dairy and a few household items that come out of a separate budget. The groceries came in at a modest 33.85, thanks to promotional items, 3 freebies (a small box of teabags, a bottle of soy sauce and a packet of chocolate biscuits) and a 10 MOC. I also got 3 useful extra-points vouchers for things I do use so they will come in handy over the next couple of weeks.

    That leaves me with a healthy 122.43 to cover a second online order next week (don't normally do this but I have another 10 MOC to use up) plus two top-ups before the end of the month. Looking good.
    Be kind to others and to yourself too. Life has its ups and downs, use the ups to overcome the downs!
    July 85.47/140 and 10/28 NSDs (Jan-Jun 68.59 under budget)

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