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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 9
    • PipneyJane
    • By PipneyJane 7th Sep 17, 12:03 PM
    • 750 Posts
    • 5,326 Thanks
    Hi I am a newbie to this. Don't know if I'm posting this in right thread. Due to mounting debts I am in a position of needing to be a lot more savvy with my shopping. My pet food unfortunately I cannot get below 20 due to certain prescriptive items so I need some help and guidance with making the best out of what's left.
    My neares Aldi and Lidl are 6-8 miles away so are not always that easy to get to on a regular basis.
    Anyway my budget has to cover not only food but all household and toiletry items so my starting budget was goibpng to be 30 but I think I have already failed miserably.
    I shopped today at my local Morrisons. My bill came to 25.65 with very little to show. Still need to buy meat and salad.

    Pack if 9 toilet rolls. 2.80
    Toilet wipes. 0.78
    2 x washing up liquid. 1.00
    2x pot noodle. 1.00
    2x soups. 0.90
    Fruit. 4.22
    Yoghurts. 2.00
    Choc mousse x6. 1.00
    Tub Philadelphia. 1.00
    Milk. 1.50
    4 x tins tuna. 4.00. Should have been 3.50 was overcharged
    Tin sweet corn. 0.38
    Uncle beds rice. 1.00
    Savers loaf. 0.36
    Crisps. 1.00
    Biscuits/bars. 2.09
    Magazine. 0.67

    I think this was a disaster. Please feel free to comment. Dissect etc

    Originally posted by Cassox
    Hi Cassox

    You've had some good feedback from others about your shopping. If you feel up to it, do an audit of your pantry and post it on here. We may be able to help you with meal ideas, etc, to stretch the food out further.

    - 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
    • PipneyJane
    • By PipneyJane 7th Sep 17, 12:15 PM
    • 750 Posts
    • 5,326 Thanks
    i can declare i'm now debt free!!!! I called company and they gave me money off for an early closure, I'm so pleased.
    only spends today were for a bottle of wine to celebrate, not in this budget
    Originally posted by purpleybat
    Congratulations Purpleybat! Well done. I hope the wine was lovely.

    I have a spend to declare from yesterday, 12.62 in Costco, 8-odd of which was dinner. I wasn't expecting to cook last night. I was working in a distant office (60 miles) and DH was out catching up with a friend who was down in London for the day, so I drove home planning to make a cheese toasty for dinner. When I got home at 7.30pm, DH phoned and told me he hadn't had dinner, his mate was on the train back to Liverpool and he was on his way home. Could I pick him up, please? A cheese toasty wouldn't fill him up and Costco was on the way...

    Anyway, that brings my spend so far to 25.72/120, leaving 94.28 for the rest of the month.

    - 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
    • Frugalwannabe
    • By Frugalwannabe 7th Sep 17, 1:47 PM
    • 56 Posts
    • 360 Thanks
    I'm at 95.62/400 and only need a few bits for the next week. I've switched to cash only because I used to be so much better this way! Fingers crossed
    Grocery challenge June 0/500
    1000 by December 0/1000
    • dingdongsaving
    • By dingdongsaving 7th Sep 17, 8:23 PM
    • 354 Posts
    • 4,370 Thanks
    2 shops for the month so hubby went to a sporting event and got snacks on the way and took some 'donations' to a bring and share style meal for a birthday celebration at work (Yes, the day after a weekly shop & clearly not thought through when making the shopping list!)
    2/9 45 A5da (*need to confirm this to the nearest by digging out the receipt before end of month shops)
    3/9 5 Hubby, corner shop snacks
    7/9 41 Sainsbob delivery

    =91 with shops planned for 10/9, 16/9(approx.), 21/9 and 28th(approx.)

    10/9 should be a top-up week, 21/9 is birthday/celebration meals prep. and 28/9 will be a normal weekly shop.

    Keep up the great work all! Reading this thread really helps me keep on track!
    • Chrystal
    • By Chrystal 7th Sep 17, 8:34 PM
    • 327 Posts
    • 2,091 Thanks
    2/9/17 Tesco 65.39 17.80 of this was on Treats!
    7/9/17 Tesco 24.45
    7/9/17 Aldi 12.26

    Total spend so far = 102.10/300
    NSD so far = 5/7
    GC. Oct.17 = 261.18/ 300 = + 38.82 NSDs 20/31
    GC. Sept.17 = 354.89/300 = - 54.39

    • Cherry Burton
    • By Cherry Burton 7th Sep 17, 10:14 PM
    • 102 Posts
    • 568 Thanks
    Cherry Burton

    I have spent 18.97 so far in September. It would have been less if I had managed to get organised. Oh well, I'm still on track as we are 23.3% through the month and I have spent 18.97% of my budget.

    I must do better and will spend the weekend menu planning meals using ingredients in the cupboards and freezer.

    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
    • purpleybat
    • By purpleybat 7th Sep 17, 11:11 PM
    • 346 Posts
    • 2,945 Thanks
    thankyou all for your congratulations
    reading posts I see lots of people going back to using cash only for shopping, i'm the complete opposite, I find cash burns huge holes in my pockets so best off not taking it out of my account until it's desperately needed.
    today's weekly shop came to 14.89, i'm very aware that lots of it seems to be crisps and jelly beans so I will probably need another top up shop this week.
    I think i'm on about 30 this month which is really good considering I usually spend more than that on week one
    gc 2017 1841.27.
    2018 jan 124.69/130 feb 157.97/150 mar 221.33/200 apr 223.04/250
    • candygirl
    • By candygirl 8th Sep 17, 12:49 AM
    • 26,027 Posts
    • 106,139 Thanks
    Spent 15 in Morrisons today, which takes my total so far to 33/120 Also bought a new hand blender, so i'll be able to make loads of soup again now !!!128512;
    "You can't stop the waves, but you can learn to surf"

    (Kabat-Zinn 2004)
    • PennyGrabber
    • By PennyGrabber 8th Sep 17, 6:40 AM
    • 1,267 Posts
    • 22,422 Thanks
    Morning all,

    I had a nice little ys shop yesterday evening, so will need to add that to my shop once I've worked out how much it was. Trouble is, although it's all lovely stuff, I didn't need any of it, so now my freezer stocks will grow... Ah well!

    Dinner yesterday ended up being Chinese chicken and mushroom (9p) with some prawn crackers as a treat because I cba to cook rice after working an 11 hour day, followed by ys Swiss roll (5p). Not bad! Ys pork pie with ys coleslaw for lunch today, and then ys filled fresh pasta with the lo pasta sauce from the fridge for dinner.

    Have a great day everyone. I'll be doing another loooong day, longer than yesterday, so will be too knackered to shop later.

    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
    • kzzhar0
    • By kzzhar0 8th Sep 17, 9:04 AM
    • 20 Posts
    • 26 Thanks
    Hi all!
    Sorry I've not been on to report been having a hectic time... my car broke down (again!) luckily this time is was something minor so it was a quick and easy fix but still annoying nonetheless.
    Been really rubbish at saving and haven't actually done a real big grocery shop yet but I have made a list of all the recipes on here which we are going to fit into a meal plan.
    I have birthdays coming up and holidays to save for but seems like as per usual my money is just disappearing!
    • kzzhar0
    • By kzzhar0 8th Sep 17, 9:05 AM
    • 20 Posts
    • 26 Thanks
    Another thing actually ...I've had to change my username and account because my other account wasn't working and wouldn't let me post! The other one was kenzamcc but now this is my new one !!!55357;!!!56842; Hopefully it continues working!
    • caronc
    • By caronc 8th Sep 17, 11:32 AM
    • 4,041 Posts
    • 25,495 Thanks
    29 today mainly stocking up on loo roll, toiletries, tea bags and cooking oil. Total so far 42 out of 120
    GC - Apr 164/200, May 96/120, Jun 206/230, Jul 149/150
    GC YTD 2018- 735/1090
    • scotdebs
    • By scotdebs 8th Sep 17, 6:25 PM
    • 559 Posts
    • 3,101 Thanks
    so doing not to bad this month (so far) however still have a "family evening" to buy supplies for DC birthday and have just sent OH of to Wait...(its right beside DC Friday night activity) with a specific list of 3 things we need......................waiting with baited breath to see what he will come back with - the fact he will come back with stuff not on the list/ not needed is a given its just a question of how much
    I should have gone myself but caved in early to the vino due to day of hell at work
    CC debt Aug 2017 48.6K
    Sept GC 128.11/450
    • njk1012
    • By njk1012 8th Sep 17, 7:38 PM
    • 257 Posts
    • 2,206 Thanks
    55.93 spent today on the main weekly shop at Ald! . Don't think were doing so bad so far, but i know a store cupboard top up shop is looming, Two main weekly shops left till pay day. I know this is the honeymoon period as its the first month completed in several years but our budget really does need to go a fair bit lower over the coming year (preferably under 400) and stay that way.
    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
    • chocoholic_chick
    • By chocoholic_chick 8th Sep 17, 8:45 PM
    • 629 Posts
    • 3,133 Thanks
    Had to spend another 13.36 since my last update. Completely forgot about a charity bake sale at work and had to re-stock on baking essentials (caster, granulated and brown sugar etc.) so still have leftovers and more importantly we managed to raise a good amount for charity.

    Total spends now 104.86. Will need to do a top up shop at the weekend but it shouldn't be more than 15 as we still have plenty left in the freezers
    New House... New Mortgage! February 2017: 144,000
    Current Mortgage Balance: 122,991.81
    2017 OP's:5,935 2018 OP's: 6,965
    Total Debt 29,209 0 Debt free 6/8/16
    • lynnejk
    • By lynnejk 8th Sep 17, 10:31 PM
    • 5,343 Posts
    • 55,198 Thanks
    Evening all

    Spends today Morries = 21.56 and Al*i = 18.38, so total of 39.94 added to total.

    Have six grocery NSDs so far
    Bulk buy.......APR=233.76
    OS WL= -2/8 ......CC =00......Savings = 13,140
    • pamsdish
    • By pamsdish 9th Sep 17, 10:35 AM
    • 943 Posts
    • 5,618 Thanks
    18.55 in Aldi, I needed eggs, sigh, picked up some veg and a few store things so should last a week or so on little spends.
    APRIL200=35 May200=61 JUNE200=6
    JULY 200-5=195,-19=176,-10 =166,-10=156,-24=132,-17=115.-4=111,-26=85-9=76

    • chocoholic_chick
    • By chocoholic_chick 9th Sep 17, 2:02 PM
    • 629 Posts
    • 3,133 Thanks
    Slightly over what I had planned to spend today but that's down to the fact I forgot we're going round my sisters tonight so spent 6.99 on a bottle of wine to take round and also bought some chocolate (1.20) to make chocolate brownies to take round too. Still not bad though, spent 15.82 in total so only slightly over what I had originally planned on spending. Does take the total to 120.68 so just over 100 to last now

    In the past I'd never have included all these small top up shops, I'm including everything this month and it's quite scary how quickly these all mount up
    New House... New Mortgage! February 2017: 144,000
    Current Mortgage Balance: 122,991.81
    2017 OP's:5,935 2018 OP's: 6,965
    Total Debt 29,209 0 Debt free 6/8/16
    • Merlin's Beard
    • By Merlin's Beard 9th Sep 17, 7:46 PM
    • 181 Posts
    • 1,636 Thanks
    Merlin's Beard
    15.87 spent today, 4 of which was for a work thing, and 1.10 irritatingly was something scanning twice - didn't notice til got home! So 27.14/100. Trying to hold off the Big Shop as long as possible!
    • Wysiwyg49
    • By Wysiwyg49 9th Sep 17, 10:20 PM
    • 185 Posts
    • 1,689 Thanks
    Went to A1di and Tesc0 - I do find them cheaper than Sainsb. Spent 62.38 in both, included a large chicken, bacon, lots of veg and salad, tinned stuff in A and topped up with favourite brands, crisps etc in T. Bit disappointed that A1di's "super 6" were all fruit this week.

    Was aiming to make a turkey mince meatloaf tonight but DD was not keen so switched to HM spicy bean burgers and potato wedges. Made banana bread with some overripe bananas so felt very thrifty after all that effort! Still tidying up the kitchen though...

    Meals this week:
    - tonight done. Got a bean burger left, may try it in pitta for lunch at work
    - roast chicken dinner
    - spag bol
    - risotto with the LO chicken
    - meatloaf. Hopefully it will taste nicer than it sounds!
    - chicken pie
    - Spanish chicken bake (basically roast everything with chorizo)
    GC Mar 239.57/360 : Feb 352.71/320
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