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    • zippychick
    • By zippychick 13th Oct 14, 12:54 PM
    • 9,343Posts
    • 17,881Thanks
    January 2018 Grocery Challenge
    • #1
    • 13th Oct 14, 12:54 PM
    January 2018 Grocery Challenge 13th Oct 14 at 12:54 PM
    Hi everyone,

    Welcome to the first Grocery Challenge of 2018 !!!!

    If your new month starts early feel free to join this thread, or if you're still working on your December budget, then keep on posting in the December 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 #4 to #10 this thread (the list is growing!!!!!)

    For everyones totals, see post #3 on this thread

    I hope everyone has a great month!

    Last edited by zippychick; 29-12-2017 at 12:48 PM.
    A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men
    Norn Iron club member #380

Page 10
    • kayester
    • By kayester 4th Jan 18, 7:57 PM
    • 1,800 Posts
    • 9,338 Thanks
    spend updated I know ive spent a bit but this thread has helped me thing about what I'm buying and spending less
    216/2018 (make ££ in 2018)

    Grocery challenge
    Jan 227/400
    swagbucks target 2018 1452/27375
    • PipneyJane
    • By PipneyJane 4th Jan 18, 8:00 PM
    • 746 Posts
    • 5,270 Thanks
    Making roast dinner tonight, going to use all of the potatoes or theyíll get thrown out, any good ideas what I can do with half of them to make and freeze for another meal.
    Originally posted by Anniee88
    May I ask why youíd throw out the potatoes? They donít go off. Potatoes keep for months, although they will eventually sprout.
    "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 4th Jan 18, 8:06 PM
    • 746 Posts
    • 5,270 Thanks
    Thanks ladies
    I have a major major hoarding issue that goes back to when we were literally bones of backside broke. Which makes me panic if not every storage space is full. OH took some storage off me in the past to reduce it didnít really help too much. Iím back to 3 freezer spaces, one which is tiny, at home and 2.5 at work. Iíve not even opened one of them for 5 months

    I know itís bad. Iíve had some counselling before but as soon as I get emotional (this time arguing with OH) I did it again. To the point I had £2.22 left in my pocket, as I did take cash. Everything I bought was healthy which is good. Did I need it ?? probably not. Crazy. I need to stop. I just donít know how yet. Iím 12 years into it.
    Originally posted by lil_me
    Big hugs to you Lil_Me. Thatís a very brave post.

    One of my friends attends a hoarders support group every week. He says it helps.

    - 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
    • Chloris
    • By Chloris 4th Jan 18, 9:00 PM
    • 595 Posts
    • 8,722 Thanks
    Managed 3 nsd so far this month which has helped with the budget. Today was weekly trip to a!di for fresh and staple stuff. Came to £45.69. Gives me a total of £101.53 which is too much already. I need to be just below £100 a week. I will have to have a think. X
    Happy budgeting all. X
    • Mrs Cheshire
    • By Mrs Cheshire 4th Jan 18, 9:06 PM
    • 826 Posts
    • 8,545 Thanks
    Mrs Cheshire
    Did my main weekly shop today, spent £49.73 in Ald! and £1.71 in Tosco as I couldn't get those 2 things in Ald!, I'll need to get pesto as I couldn't get any today and some steak and sausages for my meal plan early next week.
    SPC #148 2014-£25 2015-£5.50 My stars from Sue-UU

    Grocery Challenge 2018
    Jan£400.33/£400 Feb£383.02/£400 Mar£392.60/£370 Apr£?/£400 May£378.34/£400 Jun £274.19/£400
    • Hev
    • By Hev 4th Jan 18, 9:34 PM
    • 24 Posts
    • 413 Thanks
    Oops I said I was keeping my housekeeping purse firmly shut but after a visit to our library we popped into our local Mr T and took advantage on some of the offers . Now well stocked on coffee, tea, baked beans, milk, fruit, bread and eggs so should last a while. Still plenty in the freezer so still using up stuff.
    Some people are so poor all they have is money
    Jan 2018 GC £165.74/£200 = £34.26 left
    Feb 2018 GC £54/£200 = £146 left
    • lynnejk
    • By lynnejk 4th Jan 18, 10:19 PM
    • 5,343 Posts
    • 55,181 Thanks
    Evening all

    First spends of the year today was milk, potatoes and frozen French fries so 4.08/200.

    Should be okay now until weekly shop on Sunday fingers xd

    Hope you all have a good Friday
    Bulk buy.......APR=233.76
    OS WL= -2/8 ......CC =00......Savings = £13,140
    • lil_me
    • By lil_me 4th Jan 18, 10:35 PM
    • 13,090 Posts
    • 115,139 Thanks
    Back in the shop but partly as needed things for the boys and we have to cater for another one now with OHs great uncle and he was short of things we donít use. I bought what we needed. Have cleared a little freezer space so we can freeze anything not used before date. Looking forward to the boys back at college as they seem to just be eating and eating.
    One day I might be more organised...........:confused:
    GC May : £400
    Slinkies target 2018 - another 70lb off (half way to what the NHS says) so far 25lb
    • ma-ri-ella
    • By ma-ri-ella 4th Jan 18, 10:50 PM
    • 938 Posts
    • 8,970 Thanks
    18p spend today with 2x4 pints of milk!! don't think it was meant to be reduced either as dated the 12th jan lol the date was hard to read though and the rest were the 4th . Think i might make up some pasta dishes that need milk on sat so i have work lunches for sunday and Monday .
    91.50£365 a year spend challenge - this has included food/clothes/beauty
    20,000 step a day challenge
    • mrsnicewriting
    • By mrsnicewriting 5th Jan 18, 12:06 AM
    • 17 Posts
    • 185 Thanks
    Hi everyone, first spend of the year today,,£17.51 which was for milk,, rolls, loo roll, corned beef and eggs. This should last us (2adults) until next week as living from 2 stuffed freezers and hoping to keep costs down this year.
    Hope I've done the signature bit right as not techy at all! lol
    Take care all and enjoying hearing everyone's ideas and tips x

    JAN GC £17.51 / £150 / £1800 Annual
    • PennyGrabber
    • By PennyGrabber 5th Jan 18, 6:34 AM
    • 1,267 Posts
    • 22,414 Thanks
    Morning everyone. Don't know why I'm awake as off ill but never mind! Yesterday was a nsd. Today may or may not be, we'll see... I need to buy cat food (not included in GC budget), but that means entering a shop. Willpower to the max!! Feels good to have only had one spend day so far this month, so will try to harness that vibe.

    I'll report back 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
    • IrisViolet
    • By IrisViolet 5th Jan 18, 8:54 AM
    • 99 Posts
    • 1,849 Thanks

    8 days in and spent £74.95

    I had to go to the shops as had underestimated how much fruit and milk to buy and needed some more. Along with leeks and potatoes for soup a d some stock cubes and yoghurt. There are 6 of us so I think this is a good weekly amount though next week I will need toilet rolls so may spend more.
    I've decided I will do my weekly supermarket shop on either Friday night (8pmish) or a Saturday morning. Then I can top up on Thursdays when I'm in the village if needed.
    I don't want any other times.
    Been freezing leftovers and using things up - hopefully all this will help a lot
    • Ginmonster
    • By Ginmonster 5th Jan 18, 11:47 AM
    • 312 Posts
    • 4,109 Thanks
    Morning everyone.

    Well I've managed to blow over half the budget by 5 days in. This should be a fun month! I've been off work ill for a couple of days and pretty much confined to my bed exhausted but I'm starting to feel a bit better today so I've started doing a few things in the house and reading stuff online. That took me to looking on the AF site and sure enough to making an order. £54.43 down on lots of great bargains. I've got tons of bread flour, pasta, beans, cereals etc but heaven knows where I'm going to store them all!

    So the rest of the month I'll need to be very sensible and just buy the fresh things I really need. Bread won't be one of them - I've got 12 bags of bread flour coming!

    £ 54.43/£100
    • Grannymolly
    • By Grannymolly 5th Jan 18, 12:24 PM
    • 42 Posts
    • 500 Thanks
    Today is NSD. I!!!8217;m getting really into using up leftovers at the moment, I hate waste and I don!!!8217;t see why that shouldn!!!8217;t extend further into what we eat.

    So today for breakfast we had potato pancakes made with some leftover cheesey mash potato pie from last nights dinner, with a poached egg and a slice of bacon. Was really good and used up something that may have been binned previously being !!!8216;only mash!!!8217;

    Also just made !!!8216;stem soup!!!8217; with a few broccoli stems I!!!8217;ve kept and some cauli stem and leaves too. It!!!8217;s really yummy, like a broccoli soup but milder.

    I have ANOTHER £5 Morrisons voucher to use up but not sure what to spend it on yet, may wait until they have a good offer on laundry or something, I!!!8217;m finding it much cheaper to use Mr A and ald! even with staff discount....
    Family of 4 and a cat, trying to reduce outgoings GC JAN £225.94/£250 GC FEB £93.20/£250
    • Grannymolly
    • By Grannymolly 5th Jan 18, 12:26 PM
    • 42 Posts
    • 500 Thanks
    Morning everyone.

    Well I've managed to blow over half the budget by 5 days in. This should be a fun month! I've been off work ill for a couple of days and pretty much confined to my bed exhausted but I'm starting to feel a bit better today so I've started doing a few things in the house and reading stuff online. That took me to looking on the AF site and sure enough to making an order. £54.43 down on lots of great bargains. I've got tons of bread flour, pasta, beans, cereals etc but heaven knows where I'm going to store them all!

    So the rest of the month I'll need to be very sensible and just buy the fresh things I really need. Bread won't be one of them - I've got 12 bags of bread flour coming!

    £ 54.43/£100
    Originally posted by Ginmonster
    Ooh. I may have a look on AF, hubby is a baker and bakes us bread very often at home so I may stock up too!
    Last edited by Grannymolly; 05-01-2018 at 1:05 PM.
    Family of 4 and a cat, trying to reduce outgoings GC JAN £225.94/£250 GC FEB £93.20/£250
    • AprilR
    • By AprilR 5th Jan 18, 12:49 PM
    • 21 Posts
    • 117 Thanks
    Hello, I was wondering if I could join this please, I know Iím a bit later than others but Iím hoping this will keep us on track. Me and my partner bought a house in July and are looking at buying new windows etc, so we need to be good with our shopping. I have a stash of toiletries from living with parents (wanting to try too many things, but not using them quick enough). Our monthly budget is £100, which to be fair we think is reasonable. We tend to stock the cupboards and freezer when we need it and then get essentials weekly. We cook most meals from scratch, and get inventive sometimes. We originally budgeted £150, but we felt we could do a lot better. I hope I can join you all on this journey !!!128522;
    • pipkin71
    • By pipkin71 5th Jan 18, 12:53 PM
    • 19,360 Posts
    • 87,163 Thanks
    Welcome, AprilR and good luck with the challenge
    There is something delicious about writing the first words of a story. You never quite know where they'll take you - Beatrix Potter
    • 2018saver
    • By 2018saver 5th Jan 18, 12:59 PM
    • 50 Posts
    • 428 Thanks
    Didn't quite make it to the weekend. Spent £16.32 stocking up on some things for the LO in T/co.
    Going to have to try and keep the weekly A!di shop down on Sunday to claw back a bit!
    • X Duvessa X
    • By X Duvessa X 5th Jan 18, 1:05 PM
    • 34 Posts
    • 286 Thanks
    X Duvessa X
    Welcome AprilR yesterday was a no spend day and I'm aiming for another one today. Almost when to get some probiotics as I'm feeling so bloated with less carbs and more veg in my diet but settled on getting some L!dl Greek yogurt next time I go shopping.
    Think we will have hm fahita's tonight use up the peppers in the fridge and some frozen chicken. Will bulk it out with rice and sweetcorn for the small folk
    Jan GC £57.26/£50
    Feb GC £17.06/£60
    Jan - Mar WLC 6/11
    • purpleybat
    • By purpleybat 5th Jan 18, 2:29 PM
    • 346 Posts
    • 2,945 Thanks
    did a morries order £45.75 and got a few bits from lidls totalling £5.05. that's a sizeable chunk of months budget.
    on the upside tho freezer and stores are rammed so in theory will only need fresh veg and bread, oh, and milk for dad.
    I always panic a bit when my initial shop is big, but somehow seem to managed the rest of the month.

    fingers crossed!
    gc 2017 £1841.27.
    2018 jan £124.69/£130 feb £157.97/£150 mar £221.33/£200 apr £223.04/£250
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