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    • zippychick
    • By zippychick 13th Oct 14, 12:54 PM
    • 9,342Posts
    • 17,879Thanks
    February 2018 Grocery Challenge
    • #1
    • 13th Oct 14, 12:54 PM
    February 2018 Grocery Challenge 13th Oct 14 at 12:54 PM
    Hi everyone,

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

    If your new month starts early feel free to join this thread, or if you're still working on your January budget, then keep on posting in the Januarychallenge.

    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; 18-01-2018 at 7:51 PM.
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Page 13
    • Mrs Cheshire
    • By Mrs Cheshire 8th Feb 18, 8:51 PM
    • 813 Posts
    • 8,384 Thanks
    Mrs Cheshire
    Hi all, 50.85 spend in Ald! on our main weekly shop, got loads of fruit and veg so hopefully won't need to buy much else for this week.

    I've been sent some 8 off 40 spend at Waitrose so thinking about using one next week for the main shop as it's mainly fruit, veg, bread products, diary and some cold cooked meats I buy as I already have all the meat for main meals in the freezer. Going to do an online basket to check the prices are comparable with Ald! before I go as it's not really close by.
    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 211.17/400
    • thriftwizard
    • By thriftwizard 8th Feb 18, 10:00 PM
    • 2,632 Posts
    • 32,926 Thanks
    Oh dear! Another 7 frittered away at the local supermarket... today didn't quite go as planned; I ended up spending the day listening to two dear friends unburden their hearts, one after the other but separately, not trotting over to the allotment & stocking up on kale & leeks as planned. So I had to buy veg for tonight's stir-fry instead. I'm not going to count that as a waste of a day, but it was 7 I wouldn't otherwise have spent.

    The good news, though, was that DS2 went over to some friends for tea, so I was able to pop half the meat into the freezer for another day. And I only used about half of the veg. So a swings-&-roundabouts kind of day; loss on the one hand, but gain on the other.

    GC April 18 341.11/450
    Bulk-buy purse 2018 280.08/435

    Money's just a substitute for time & talent...
    • MadamMim2013
    • By MadamMim2013 8th Feb 18, 10:45 PM
    • 508 Posts
    • 6,266 Thanks
    Another NSD by accident, felt too poorly to go before work & too tired after..
    Boys managed and ate up bits from the fridge, so that's a plus
    Must sit and write a proper list again so I buy what we need, not what I think we need!
    Living life happily! Debt Free date: 2018!!!
    Jan 18 GC Feb 18 GC Mar 18 GC Apr 18 GC: 281.35/300
    • JingsMyBucket
    • By JingsMyBucket 9th Feb 18, 12:19 AM
    • 169 Posts
    • 1,883 Thanks
    Hi folks, Im back! Ive been laying low for a bit. So far Im up to 29.51 / 450 and 5/10 NSD. We have visitors coming tomorrow night who will stay until Sunday afternoon. I think most of the food we will eat will outside the house so it wont count towards the grocery budget. That said, I'll probably pick up some fruit to go with the yoghurt and muesli we have in the house. Ill probably go to Holland and Barrett for a few things then get some back up toilet paper. Toilet paper, my old arch nemesis! *shakes old man fist*
    APR 18 GC: 257.96/400.00 // 10/10 NSD
    MAR 18 GC: 193.98/400.00 // 17/10 NSD // 162.19/150 UK stock up
    FEB 18 GC: 250.44/450 and 15/10 NSD
    JAN 18 GC: 377.92/550.00 // 8 NSD
    Dec 17 GC: 406.50/350.00 // 11 NSD // 198.57/200 UK stock up
    • purpleybat
    • By purpleybat 9th Feb 18, 6:15 AM
    • 339 Posts
    • 2,885 Thanks
    Sounds like expensive bread is the least of your problems. I have nerve probs in my arm and hand, occasionally painful, always very weak. It does slow me down a great deal.
    Hope you get better and back to your normal stuff soon.
    Where did you get the sevilles? I was thinking of marmalade with all the citrus on aldi super six at the moment.
    Originally posted by tighteningthebelt

    oh you have my full sympathy, it makes life miserable doesn't it? mine is due to 2 prolapsed discs in my neck that i'm hoping to get an operation to mend.
    I got my sevilles from morries, but according to my books you can make marmalade from any citrus fruits. if i can get them while out next week I plan on trying the pomelo recipe I found.
    I do find making marmalade a bit of a labour of love, all that shedding of peel. I only make it for my dad cos he likes quite sharp, bitter marmalade and finds shop ones now too sweet.
    gc 2017 1841.27.
    2018 jan 124.69/130 feb 157.97/150 mar 221.33/200
    • Ginmonster
    • By Ginmonster 9th Feb 18, 9:34 AM
    • 305 Posts
    • 4,037 Thanks
    A happy Friday to everyone! I hope all the poorly folk feel better soon and get some love and attention from their nearest and dearest in the meantime.

    I spent another 1.58 yesterday on carrots and low sodium salt which I use for my bread making (the salt not the carrots!).

    • starting_again_in_the_sun
    • By starting_again_in_the_sun 9th Feb 18, 10:07 AM
    • 117 Posts
    • 627 Thanks
    Sorry so many are feeling under the weather. We need spring to come!

    This month is going badly for me- Only 71.42 left :/.

    We do have quite a lot in the cupboards now so just need to stop spending! I don't think we will need any other household things, just food on 3.75 a day. This is doable but difficult I think.

    Meal plan for this week:
    Today: Risotto and chicken
    Tomorrow: Out then maybe soup.
    Tuesday: Pancakes
    Other meals: Cottage pie, chilli with rice, chilli with wraps, spicy pasta.

    Hope everyone has a lovely weekend.
    • Highland Fling
    • By Highland Fling 9th Feb 18, 10:22 AM
    • 44 Posts
    • 601 Thanks
    Highland Fling
    coffee shop culture
    Good morning everyone
    I find this thread so inspiring because it doesn't matter what your budget is everyone is aiming to be more accountable for what they spend and how they are spending their hard earned money.

    Hi Tighteningthebelt
    re visiting coffee shops. I do occassionaly have friends up for lunch/coffee but I live in a very small village about ten miles from the nearest town. All my friends live in the town and seem to think they are embarking on an expedition if they come to visit me. They fail to grasp the road is the same distance in the opposite direction. I did suggest we each take turns hosting but the majority of them enjoy being out of their home and shopping while they are out. (not old style money savers)
    I do quite like the idea of giving up coffee shops for lent but I would have to find some other way of spending time with my friends. Village life can be lonely and I have to make the effort to keep friendships.
    We did at one point join a knit n' natter group but guess what, it was in a coffee shop.
    Perhaps now the better weather is coming in we could meet for a short walk. I know they would want to go for coffee after but I could make my excuses and leave at end of walk.
    We have some lovely galleries etc in town but all roads lead to their gift shop and coffee shop.

    I will however be more aware of what I am spending and I think I might suggest we all go dutch from now on as I can never remember who paid last time.

    Any other suggestions would be gratefully recieved.
    • tighteningthebelt
    • By tighteningthebelt 9th Feb 18, 11:43 AM
    • 79 Posts
    • 1,029 Thanks
    highland fling
    Totally agree, friendships are the most important thing, and a coffee is a very small price to pay!
    Assuming the highlands is where you live, I expect it's a bit chilly at times, and some days wandering about outside probably isn't such a sociable activity.
    Sounds lovely though. I'm a townie through and through!
    • tighteningthebelt
    • By tighteningthebelt 9th Feb 18, 1:15 PM
    • 79 Posts
    • 1,029 Thanks
    Summary - teeny bit over but not scared yet!
    80 budget
    30.39 spent
    49.61 left
    8th NSD today, target was 14 for Feb. I know it's not over but that is such an improvement for me!!
    • VfM4meplse
    • By VfM4meplse 9th Feb 18, 3:06 PM
    • 25,469 Posts
    • 54,170 Thanks
    Just totted up the scores on the doors, and I'm at 9.35/40 so bang on track so far this month. The budgets going to be blown out of oblivion as I plan to stock up at Lidl this weekend.

    Re: coffee out, I'm always happy to spend on this, its my little treat. What I'm not happy to do is pay for a meal out I neither want nor need, just to be "sociable".

    "No man is worth, crawling on the earth"- adapted from Bob Crewe and Bob Gaudio

    Hope is not a strategy ...A child is for life, not just 18 years....Don't get me started on the NHS, because you won't win...If in doubt, don't pull out... I love chaz-ing!
    • euronorris
    • By euronorris 9th Feb 18, 3:39 PM
    • 10,006 Posts
    • 46,693 Thanks
    Wow, VfM4meplse, 40 for a month. If you even got close to that I would be in complete awe of you!

    I have fallen so badly off the wagon. Our total was 543.55 last month!!!

    We just can't afford that. We are a family of 3, and one of us is only 19 months old for god sake!

    I set the target at 300 again this month, but am already up to 261.92! I have started to put together a meal plan though. Have got 3 weeks worth of meals planned now (though, weeks 2 and 3 could do with some variety/tweaking). Still got week 4 to plan.

    We stuck to it last week for the main meals, but snacking is letting me down. As is my Dr Pepper Zero habit. I have a much clearer idea of how much I spend on that now, and it is pretty shocking!

    I've also developed a bad habit of shopping at the big S, as it's convenient on the way to work!

    I reckon, if I stick to the meal plan, cut down on the Dr Pepper Zero and shopped more at Liddel and Morries, I could stick to the budget pretty easily and maybe even cut it down.

    Have made a promise to myself to cut out the shops at the big S from this point on!
    • Save Dosh
    • By Save Dosh 9th Feb 18, 4:57 PM
    • 1,216 Posts
    • 14,548 Thanks
    Save Dosh
    where we had to walk past the krispy kreme fridge...I just wanted one doughnut. It obviously works out cheaper per doughnut if you get a dozen, so um, we got a dozen for 12.75 in total
    Originally posted by TooClumsy
    Wow, am I reading that right. I do like your reasoning though, it's probably much cheaper to buy in bulk, but they don't keep, so gotta eat them quick.

    Sorry to hear about all the poorlies - i'm another one, i'm afraid. I smashed myself up bad, running for a bus on 1st February - the day my dry January ended actually, funny that. Anyway, been on 10 painkillers a day, not happy about that, not been able to walk, or use one arm, as put my shoulder out, so no spends, though the lodger did buy some toilet rolls ,(about bl**dy time), 4 titchy ones, I had to look twice, were they made for a hobbit? and a friend came 'round with some bits, 2 pks of wraps, 2 pks falafel, cucumber, houmous, tomatoes, but wouldn't take any money. Gonna have to chuck loads of veg, as was unable to cook or even freeze it and try and cook the rest up today or tomorrow. Any CABBAGE recipes greatly appreciated. Am going to make coleslaw, spicy lentil dip and have made leak and potato soup for freezer. I still have a brimming pantry, with loads of different beans, so can make a ton of meals. Just made some oat milk and have enough oats left to make one more batch, so hopefully will last 'till Monday, when I will try to venture out. Have a lovely w/e everyone.
    April Grocery Challenge - Food 25.12/80, Alcohol 23.49/20
    Bulk Fund Left - Food 32.61, Alcohol 0.00
    Save 12k in 2018 #80 = 1,500/5,000
    Yoga 30 Day Challenge 2/30
    Lose 12lbs - 2/12 - Goal 9st
    • MadamMim2013
    • By MadamMim2013 9th Feb 18, 5:00 PM
    • 508 Posts
    • 6,266 Thanks
    Small spend in the local shop (some items for my Ma as well)
    Still feeling rubbish, work was fab and told me I wasn't to come in today, it'll be a loss in the wage department, though (what's left of) my health is more important..
    8.13, including ys ham and flat breads to go with our curry tea
    Living life happily! Debt Free date: 2018!!!
    Jan 18 GC Feb 18 GC Mar 18 GC Apr 18 GC: 281.35/300
    • pamsdish
    • By pamsdish 9th Feb 18, 5:09 PM
    • 852 Posts
    • 4,866 Thanks
    2.50 ish in Lidl, went with friend and I had internet purchase item to return, so more lemons to slice for freezer, whilst on super 6,and a naughty pack of biccies.
    OCT200106NOV200CRUISE,DEC200XMAS.JAN 200=107FEB200=40,MARCH175=50
    APRIL200-5=195-22=173,-6=167,-28=139,-21=118,-10= 108,-12=96
    • MrsPear
    • By MrsPear 9th Feb 18, 5:16 PM
    • 49 Posts
    • 485 Thanks
    I do hope everyone gets well some - some very unwell and broken bodies!

    No ideas for cabbages - other than saut! - or sardines in tomato sauce. I pick up the ones in olive oil.

    So updated signature -

    Co op - 1.09 chocolate chips - made the chocolate cake for my children. They are most happy.
    Sainsburys - 15.75 -
    children surprised me by eating all the yogurt at breakfast. Plus juice and milk for the wend and sunflower oil.
    Fish shop -7.80 - youngest asked nicely for a treat of chips for tea. They had red sausages too and chicken
    Gc challenge 363.53/ 500
    Y Feb 317.28 / 350
    • Doom_and_Gloom
    • By Doom_and_Gloom 9th Feb 18, 5:25 PM
    • 3,474 Posts
    • 10,895 Thanks
    Hoping not to spend too much in the next few days.
    Originally posted by Doom_and_Gloom
    Whoops, went shopping and I spent 8.04 on vegan yogurts (on offer), dates, apples, pears, avocados and adzuki beans.
    OH spent 11.59 on noodles, yogurts and a joint of beef.

    Me - 41.14/54. 12.86 left.
    OH - 26.70/81. 54.30 left.
    Total - 67.84/135. 67.16 left

    I do not need to shop again this week!
    28 year old vegan woman. My OH is a lovely omni guy
    • Save Dosh
    • By Save Dosh 9th Feb 18, 6:10 PM
    • 1,216 Posts
    • 14,548 Thanks
    Save Dosh
    I do hope everyone gets well some - some very unwell and broken bodies!
    No ideas for cabbages - other than saut! - or sardines in tomato sauce. I pick up the ones in olive oil.
    Originally posted by MrsPear
    I'm vegan, so don't eat sardines, but thank you.

    I spent 8.04 on vegan yogurts
    Originally posted by Doom_and_Gloom
    Where were the yogurts from?
    April Grocery Challenge - Food 25.12/80, Alcohol 23.49/20
    Bulk Fund Left - Food 32.61, Alcohol 0.00
    Save 12k in 2018 #80 = 1,500/5,000
    Yoga 30 Day Challenge 2/30
    Lose 12lbs - 2/12 - Goal 9st
    • Doom_and_Gloom
    • By Doom_and_Gloom 9th Feb 18, 7:09 PM
    • 3,474 Posts
    • 10,895 Thanks
    Where were the yogurts from?
    Originally posted by Save Dosh
    Mr S. The 500g Alpro cherry and blueberry are both on offer for 1.
    28 year old vegan woman. My OH is a lovely omni guy
    • klbooth
    • By klbooth 9th Feb 18, 7:21 PM
    • 204 Posts
    • 753 Thanks
    Couple of planned spends this week. Hubby picked up a tray of chicken breasts for me from the market but that also meant he picked up sweets for himself, doh. Shop today in Aldi for milk and bits.

    1P Challenge #13 170.18/667.95;2 Club #30 34;50p Club #8 18;20p Club #100 21;SPC #39 ?;VSPC #15 297.85;1 Debt Vs 100 Days #1 3964/3964 (100%); PAYDOBX 2018 #118 6212/10014 (62%);GC Jan 483.58/450; Feb 390.32/430; Mar 260.41/410; Apr 185.44/410
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