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    • zippychick
    • By zippychick 13th Oct 14, 12:54 PM
    • 9,343Posts
    • 17,881Thanks
    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 15
    • Wysiwyg49
    • By Wysiwyg49 27th Sep 17, 9:09 PM
    • 185 Posts
    • 1,689 Thanks
    Revised my meal plan when I realised I had enough chicken for 3-4 meals but had put pork and burgers on the plan - doh.

    Like Doom n Gloom I could eat the same thing for a few days, but DD has already said "Chicken AGAIN" ... ! But I'm away tomorrow so have also made spag bol they can just heat up, so I pointed this out.

    Monday was HM chicken korma which was very nice.
    Tuesday piri piri chicken with sweet potato wedges
    Tonight sweet and sour YES chicken with rice
    Tomorrow spag bol
    Friday fish fingers and chips as I may not be back in time to do anything more creative!

    One "own goal" this week- I made leek and potato soup on Saturday, but put some frozen (real) chicken stock in it. This made it taste really weird so I had to throw it away

    Did have packed lunches both days at work this week, so that was good. Spent about £70 in Sainsb on Tuesday night, will update sig later...
    GC Mar £239.57/£360 : Feb £352.71/£320
    • njk1012
    • By njk1012 27th Sep 17, 10:42 PM
    • 257 Posts
    • 2,206 Thanks
    My September grocery challenge is over and i can declare at £407. 79 out of a budget of £434. I'm really pleased with this. Off to start on October's lower budget
    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
    • Suffolk lass
    • By Suffolk lass 28th Sep 17, 8:11 AM
    • 1,953 Posts
    • 20,924 Thanks
    Suffolk lass
    Done - just over £12 more than the average for each month within my £3000 budget for the year but this month has been so long and October will be too. We have the last of the holiday credit card bills and husband's car repairs due to clear out mid-month so over to October with a frugal outlook!
    MFiT T4 #2 update 88.72% after Q9 tiny bit ahead of where I should be
    Save £12k in 2018 #53 - after May 45.81% £4,581.38/£10,000
    OS Grocery Challenge 2018 spent £1,021.80/£3,000 including stores so far 34.06% of my annual budget at the end of May
    My DFD is here
    • Ginmonster
    • By Ginmonster 28th Sep 17, 9:06 AM
    • 313 Posts
    • 4,137 Thanks
    For the first time since starting this I completely lost track this month. My son starting school and also starting to wake up in the middle of the night nearly every flippin' night, work being manic and hubby being away for work for 3 weeks have all conspired to make me lose control of it all. I know I'm well over budget this month but I don't even know by how much. However, I'm going to take a deep breath, accept it was just a bad month and head on over to October for a fresh start and a clean slate. Onwards and upwards (or rather downwards if we're talking about spends)!
    • pamsdish
    • By pamsdish 28th Sep 17, 9:11 AM
    • 917 Posts
    • 5,319 Thanks
    Currently £22 over but eye test this morning so new glasses to add.
    Originally posted by pamsdish
    No glasses needed Spent £11 in Tesco though.
    APRIL£200=£35 May£200=£61,
    • Save Dosh
    • By Save Dosh 28th Sep 17, 9:59 PM
    • 1,235 Posts
    • 14,791 Thanks
    Save Dosh
    I'm going to declare at £60. I'm at £55.50, but may do a mini stock 2moz, depending what they have at the market. Anything over that amount, will be added to October, as that's when it will be used. Have a lovely upcoming weekend.
    June Grocery Challenge - Food £50.53/80, Alcohol £18.48/£20
    Bulk Fund Left/Food £50.91 Bulk Fund/Alcohol
    Save 12k in 2018 #80 = £2,000/£5,000
    Yoga 30 Day Challenge 0/30
    Lose 12lbs - 8/12 - Goal 9st
    • elsiepac
    • By elsiepac 28th Sep 17, 10:00 PM
    • 1,434 Posts
    • 10,596 Thanks
    For the first time since starting this I completely lost track this month. My son starting school and also starting to wake up in the middle of the night nearly every flippin' night, work being manic and hubby being away for work for 3 weeks have all conspired to make me lose control of it all. I know I'm well over budget this month but I don't even know by how much. However, I'm going to take a deep breath, accept it was just a bad month and head on over to October for a fresh start and a clean slate. Onwards and upwards (or rather downwards if we're talking about spends)!
    Originally posted by Ginmonster
    Crikey, sounds like you're having a right time of it! Perfect attitude though, it's water under the bridge and you can start October fresh with new focus!
    I'm a Board Guide on the Old Style, Greenfingered, Energy & Going Out Deals boards which means I'm a volunteer to help the boards run smoothly and I can move and merge threads there. Please remember, board guides don't read every post. If you spot an illegal or inappropriate post then please report it to (it's not part of my role to deal with this) Any views are mine and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.
    GC: Nov £0/£165 | Oct £220/£220 | Sep £244.34/£250 | Aug £190.38/£200 | Jul £194.08/£150 | Jun £179.03/£150 | May £158.54/£150 | Apr £316.94/£200 | Mar £170.47/£120 | Feb £199.45/£160
    Vegan 27-8-13
    • Doom_and_Gloom
    • By Doom_and_Gloom 29th Sep 17, 6:18 PM
    • 3,541 Posts
    • 11,274 Thanks
    Spent £4.09 today.

    I'm having vegetable, lentil rice with kimchi for dinner.
    OH is having beef stir fry and egg noodles.

    £13.70 left
    29 year old vegan woman. My OH is a lovely omni guy
    • pamsdish
    • By pamsdish 29th Sep 17, 8:49 PM
    • 917 Posts
    • 5,319 Thanks
    Really lost track today, help me please to try and work it out,,
    £82.42 spent in morries,
    £30 on ariel liquid for 2 friends, cash given.
    £30 on amazon vouchers,think it`s 5 points for every £, purchased 2
    items £23-31,( balance in credit for next spend,) for ex hubby from
    amazon £55 in post for other previous purchases.
    £10 in morries vouchers next visit as went over my total and got next voucher, had a ticket from petrol station for spend £50 get 5000 points. think it might be £12.42
    Last edited by pamsdish; 29-09-2017 at 8:53 PM.
    APRIL£200=£35 May£200=£61,
    • BrassicWoman
    • By BrassicWoman 29th Sep 17, 10:45 PM
    • 1,637 Posts
    • 6,790 Thanks
    Giant fail here; budget too tight, made me miserable, cue excess biscuit purchasing.

    Lesson learnt, upping budget for October!
    Jan 18 grocery challenge £105.13/ £150
    • chocoholic_chick
    • By chocoholic_chick 30th Sep 17, 6:23 PM
    • 628 Posts
    • 3,126 Thanks
    I lost track of spends after my last update. I didn't buy much this week so I'm going to say I've spent £20 which will put my spends for the month at £256.99 against a budget of £220. I think what I can take away from this month is that all the little top up shops quickly mount up and are my downfall! That being said I was far more conscious about what I was spending.

    Will be upping my budget for October as I had a large meat order delivered at the end of August which helped out this month. See you all on the October thread!
    New House... New Mortgage! February 2017: £144,000
    Current Mortgage Balance: £124,487.52
    2017 OP's:£5,935 2018 OP's: £5,970
    Total Debt £29,209 £0 Debt free 6/8/16
    • lynnejk
    • By lynnejk 30th Sep 17, 9:27 PM
    • 5,343 Posts
    • 55,181 Thanks
    Evening all

    Back from our holibobs and had a lovely time.

    Spends yesterday and today
    Li*l = £1.98
    Morrys = £9.20
    Al*i = £35.68

    Declaring for the month at £148.70/£200 so adding £51.30 to bulk buy going forward

    Hope you all having a lovely weekend and 'see' you on the October thread
    Last edited by lynnejk; 01-10-2017 at 3:32 PM.
    Bulk buy.......APR=233.76
    OS WL= -2/8 ......CC =00......Savings = £13,140
    • Doom_and_Gloom
    • By Doom_and_Gloom 30th Sep 17, 9:40 PM
    • 3,541 Posts
    • 11,274 Thanks
    NSD today and so I can now declare our total.

    £13.70 left .

    So under budget nicely.

    Congratulations those that came in under or at budget. Those that didn't just remember it likely would have been worse if you hadn't been keeping an eye on it. Don't let it get you down.
    29 year old vegan woman. My OH is a lovely omni guy
    • pamsdish
    • By pamsdish 1st Oct 17, 9:32 AM
    • 917 Posts
    • 5,319 Thanks
    Declaring £46 at least over, few N.S.D., lost track as forward spending in preparation for my hols, first 2 weeks Nov, dog in kennels food already prepared and frozen.
    Hopefully less in Oct as running stocks down.
    APRIL£200=£35 May£200=£61,
    • Cherry Burton
    • By Cherry Burton 1st Oct 17, 10:58 AM
    • 102 Posts
    • 568 Thanks
    Cherry Burton

    Right, so it is the final reckoning and I declare £92.26.

    I'm very pleased with that as in August it was about £200 . Really, September was an easy month for me because I had so much food in the cupboard. What I'm most pleased about is that I only bought 2 packaged sandwiches or so-called "meal deals".

    Onward to October!

    Thank you, everyone, for the encouragement you provide

    Last edited by Cherry Burton; 01-10-2017 at 7:47 PM.
    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
    • K9sandFelines
    • By K9sandFelines 1st Oct 17, 5:10 PM
    • 1,950 Posts
    • 16,566 Thanks
    I spent £225.83 on actual groceries and a little extra on subscribe and save groceries bringing it up to just over £250 this month. Though the actual figure per month comes to £333. So I am really happy with that. I need to stick to a rough figure of £250 if possible. I have cancelled three s & s as the price has shot up since I initially put them on my list, and they aren't essentials; so hopefully October's spend will be slightly less or the same.
    GC 2017 (£4,000/£3434.09) Jan £264.28, Feb £179.18, Mar £290.38, APR £182.39, MAY £210.24 JUN £109.90/£240 (£270 p.m/£3,250 p.a)

    ~ Still learning the art of frugality ~
    • Chrystal
    • By Chrystal 2nd Oct 17, 3:06 PM
    • 284 Posts
    • 1,891 Thanks
    Declaring - £54.89
    Gone totally skew wiff this month and spent OVER by £54.89 must try and do better for October
    GC. Oct.17 = £261.18/ £300 = + £38.82 NSDs 20/31
    GC. Sept.17 = £354.89/£300 = - £54.39

    • butterfly2507
    • By butterfly2507 3rd Oct 17, 10:14 AM
    • 236 Posts
    • 1,774 Thanks
    Well done to everyone! If you went over your target or lost track, just keep in mind that the next month will be better

    I can finally declare my spend for last week (shopping on Sept. 30) and overall spends for September.

    Last week we spent 66,04 €. Over our 50 € limit but we got a deal in Sprite six packs. Basically buy one, get 30 % off the second one. We'll have it for at least a month since we don't drink it THAT often.

    Spends for September: 192 / 250 so we saved 58 €!! So, so happy that we finally stayed under out budget Off to the October thread
    Dec GC 156,21 € / 250 €
    Jan GC 108,33 € / 250 €

    english is not my first language, sorry for any misspellings
    • PipneyJane
    • By PipneyJane 3rd Oct 17, 10:43 AM
    • 748 Posts
    • 5,296 Thanks
    Apologies but I'm a bit late in declaring for September. After spending £7.40 at the farm shop on Saturday, I'm declaring at £94.46/£120, which leaves a balance of £25.54. However, once I cleaned the shrapnel out of the housekeeping purse - we collect 5p, 1p, 2p and £2 coins - that gives me £23.30 to roll forward into October's budget.

    See you all in October.

    - Pip
    "Be the type of woman that when you get out of bed in the morning, the devil says 'Oh crap. She's up.' "

    C.R.A.P R.O.L.L.Z. #47 Official Brain Harvesting Body Counter
    • TooClumsy
    • By TooClumsy 5th Oct 17, 12:09 PM
    • 113 Posts
    • 330 Thanks
    thank you!
    Thank you @Yorklass, definitely a big giant learning curve. I am definitely guilty of enabling myself, or going to the supermarket slightly peckish etc or falling back on recipes for dinner parties where I don't already have the ingredients.

    I have receipts coming out of my ears, will grab some envelopes so they are organised by months, think the youtuber Jordan Page (apologies if I got that wrong) suggests doing.

    Keeping laundry or non-food things as a separate fund is quite interesting, we have SO many laundry pods now

    @zafiro1984 Such great ideas! I think we will definitely try and adopt some elements here, such a good way of keeping it interesting in terms of a mystery menu dinner party. Also agree, homemade gifts are a great way of showing appreciation!

    Goodness, your budgeting was eye-opening and totally makes sense to keep a separate fund for bulk items, as these are usually expensive (due to the volume) and would chomp up a signficant amount of a 'standard grocery budget' which does not take into account bulk foods. I believe this is what happened in September, the Costco trip ate up a lot of the funds.

    I also have been sitting on the fence about putting money aside for xmas, just because we end up using the sink funds for other things during the year and never got back into it. Now that we have our own place, we definitely need to include that here.

    We also bought some GORGEOUS Aldi wines (its at the top of my road!!) so wines were £5.50 or less and hubbie bought a new IPA to try from Aldi, but admittedly also bought beers from Tesco (greater selection) and bought what the guest specifically drinks. I think I definitely need to go back and look at all the receipts now that the month has passed to look for patterns etc.

    We got 23 chicken breasts I believe out of the musclefood fitness order, the delivery charge was £5, so definitely need to think about that. I've just noticed that Aldi have started doing a giant pack of chicken breasts that are similar in volume, but a more affordable price.

    Also 50% premium on kosher poultry-yikes! I can barely afford to eat regular non-organic meat/poultry, I have to say the Muscle Foods chicken breasts seem to be of superior quality to supermarket versions, however I think I do need to look for a local butcher and compare price/quality!

    Declaring £387.59/£250 for the month of September. Will be submitting new budget late (sorry!) in the Oct GC chat, once I've had a look at all receipts from this month!
    Last edited by TooClumsy; 05-10-2017 at 12:17 PM. Reason: forgot to declare final amount!
    GC Challenge 2018:
    Jan £309.44/£290.72
    Feb £204.81/£290
    March £153.60/£300
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