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  • FIRST POST
    • elsiepac
    • By elsiepac 8th Mar 16, 11:39 AM
    • 1,418Posts
    • 10,432Thanks
    elsiepac
    • #1
    • 8th Mar 16, 11:39 AM
    8th Mar 16 at 11:39 AM
    Hi everyone,

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

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

    elsiepac
    Last edited by elsiepac; 23-02-2018 at 11:10 PM.
    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 forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com (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
Page 9
    • Doom_and_Gloom
    • By Doom_and_Gloom 6th Mar 18, 9:01 PM
    • 3,508 Posts
    • 11,081 Thanks
    Doom_and_Gloom
    No spend days Sunday and Monday.
    £2.80 spent today. OH spent £1.53, while I spent £1.27.

    For dinner I had vegetable stew with home made buckwheat bread.
    OH had beef stew with bread for dinner.
    We had the same things yesterday.

    Me - £5.79/£77.50. £71.71 left.
    OH - £12.88/£77.50. £64.62 left.
    Total - £18.67/£155. £136.33 left
    28 year old vegan woman. My OH is a lovely omni guy
    • lynnejk
    • By lynnejk 6th Mar 18, 9:27 PM
    • 5,343 Posts
    • 55,181 Thanks
    lynnejk
    .........
    Not feeling very creative at the moment, so succumbed to an enchilada kit yesterday. I'm sure it could be made at home for a fraction of the almost £3 it costs for basically tomato puree, corn tortillas and seasoning! Has anyone tried?
    Originally posted by Wysiwyg49
    I always make my own - I prefer them Loads of recipes if you 'google' enchiladas.

    Spent £21.72 in Al*i today on a few basics inc bread, milk, f&v.

    On 4 GC NSDs so far

    Hope you all have a money-saving week
    Lx
    £10day.2014=3213/2015=3421/2016=3238/2017=2702/2018=498..APR=12.03/300
    GrocC.2014=2162/2015=2083/2016=218/2017=1996/2018=450..APR=17.13/200
    Bulk buy.......APR=233.76
    GC.NSD..2015=216/2016=213/2017=229/2018=39..APR=03/15
    SPC130x61..2014=1178/2015=1287/2016=4616/2017=3843
    OS WL= -2/8 ......CC =00......Savings = £13,140
    • PennyGrabber
    • By PennyGrabber 6th Mar 18, 10:03 PM
    • 1,267 Posts
    • 22,414 Thanks
    PennyGrabber
    Another nsd today. That's now up to 5/6 for me - a personal best! Only because I'm so busy, but shhhh!

    Working two very long days tom and thurs, which I'm not looking forward to. I don't get overtime, it's just part of the job so I have to suck it up.

    I'm still enjoying the fridge, pantry and stores going down. Used up a jar today.

    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
    • K9sandFelines
    • By K9sandFelines 7th Mar 18, 1:59 AM
    • 1,913 Posts
    • 16,288 Thanks
    K9sandFelines
    Can't find receipt from the other day, so will haveto consult online banking. Spent £8.25 today on pizza, fruit and veg and bread.
    Last edited by K9sandFelines; 08-03-2018 at 12:22 PM.
    GC 2017 (£4,000/£3434.09) Jan £264.28, Feb £179.18, Mar £290.38, APR £182.39, MAY £113.77 up to 18th/£250 (£270 p.m/£3,250 p.a)

    ~ Still learning the art of frugality ~
    • Save Dosh
    • By Save Dosh 7th Mar 18, 4:52 AM
    • 1,223 Posts
    • 14,629 Thanks
    Save Dosh
    First spends of the month £1.38 on a ys quinoa salad and also a beer, which is a separate budget. Have updated sig.
    May Grocery Challenge - Food £39.82/80, Alcohol £15.25/£20
    Bulk Fund Left/Food £63.50 Bulk Fund/Alcohol
    -£21.02
    Save 12k in 2018 #80 = £2,000/£5,000
    Yoga 30 Day Challenge 3/30
    Lose 12lbs - 5/12 - Goal 9st
    • supersaver1000
    • By supersaver1000 7th Mar 18, 6:39 AM
    • 2,050 Posts
    • 12,727 Thanks
    supersaver1000
    Amazing to read people having their first spends and spending so little, but I'm glad I'm not the one also having large spends. I know I will get there with practice, it will just take a couple of months.

    A$da order arrived yesterday. I knew there were several veg. not on there as they had written to me twice, but then it turned up without the joint of beef as well.

    I called at A1di on the way home for the veg and blow me if the A$da order turned up early - that's never happened before, luckily dd was there to let him in. But in the rush to leave A1di I didn't check my receipt and have found they had charged for an extra stuffing mix! Only 34p, but still annoying.

    Its been an annoying week for shopping but given all the disruption everywhere I am just grateful we have fully stocked cupboards for delicious homemade meals. And doing this challenge seems to mean that we are having more cooked from scratch meals - we're all pleased about that

    So my A$da order was only £58.04 in the end, but I still need to buy the joint of beef and the veg to go with it. I can do that on Weds eve on the way back home. Currently have around £119 left and around 3 weeks to go
    CCs (32% paid) - target Feb2019 Xmas 2018 : Returner Flylady : Grocery club member
    It's not getting what you want, it's wanting what you've got
    (being satisfied with your lot and making the most of it)
    • K9sandFelines
    • By K9sandFelines 7th Mar 18, 6:44 AM
    • 1,913 Posts
    • 16,288 Thanks
    K9sandFelines
    Can't find receipt from the other day, so will to consult online banking. Spent £8.25 today on pizza, fruit and veg and bread.
    Originally posted by K9sandFelines
    Managed to get on online banking and the other amount is £6.37.
    GC 2017 (£4,000/£3434.09) Jan £264.28, Feb £179.18, Mar £290.38, APR £182.39, MAY £113.77 up to 18th/£250 (£270 p.m/£3,250 p.a)

    ~ Still learning the art of frugality ~
    • archwaysaver
    • By archwaysaver 7th Mar 18, 9:18 AM
    • 35 Posts
    • 312 Thanks
    archwaysaver
    Spent £13.85 yesterday at Sainsbury's and Tesco on some essentials - tinned tomatoes, onions, peanut butter, bread flour, and baking paper which we'd run out of. We buy olive oil from the Turkish shop around the corner as it works out cheaper, but it's a big one-off every few months (£17.99 for 5 liters) and I think will have to restock in the next week or two.
    Bring lunch to work March: 5/13
    NSD March: 6/18

    Goal by Sept 2019: £20,100
    So far: £3,749.89
    (tuition £1,920/4,100, cushion £456/1,000, dream £1,300.44/15,000)
    • starting_again_in_the_sun
    • By starting_again_in_the_sun 7th Mar 18, 10:02 AM
    • 117 Posts
    • 628 Thanks
    starting_again_in_the_sun
    Spent 11.25 yesterday on bin bags, bread, butter, juice, fruit and veg.

    DD has eaten most of the satsumas and cherry tomatoes already but won't go back to supermarket until Friday.
    • JingsMyBucket
    • By JingsMyBucket 7th Mar 18, 12:30 PM
    • 185 Posts
    • 2,069 Thanks
    JingsMyBucket
    Amazing to read people having their first spends and spending so little, but I'm glad I'm not the one also having large spends. I know I will get there with practice, it will just take a couple of months.
    Originally posted by supersaver1000
    I love seeing it too. I would like to reach that point in a few months as well.

    So my A$da order was only £58.04 in the end, but I still need to buy the joint of beef and the veg to go with it. I can do that on Weds eve on the way back home. Currently have around £119 left and around 3 weeks to go
    Originally posted by supersaver1000
    Could you possibly pull some meat and veg from the freezer instead of going out to buy a joint and veg? Do you have chicken legs, hamburgers, etc and frozen veg you can sautee in a pan? That might be able to hold you off for a while, even to just avoid the hassle of having to go back out to get stuff.

    On to my stuff: Sunday, Monday and Tuesday were NSDs. That brings me up to 5 so far. Today should be one as well. Tonight OH and I are going to check out a very large grocery store for the first time to see how it differs from our more local/neighbourhood stores in terms of variety and sales. If things look good, this might become the store where we get stock up items on sale like loads of TP once a month, etc.

    I probably won't buy anything tonight because the fridge is full to the brim but OH might pick up some nice things for himself. That said, we do have a visitor arriving and staying the night tomorrow evening, so we might get some yoghurt for him. Hrm. I'll try to avoid it though. Do you ever get to the point where you just don't feel like spending? I think I'm there.

    Totals So Far:
    5/10 NSD
    €93.80 / €400.00
    £0/£150 UK stock up
    MAY 18 GC: €112.63/€400.00 // 6/10 NSD
    APR 18 GC: €406.12/€400.00 // 16/10 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
    • Mrs Norris
    • By Mrs Norris 7th Mar 18, 1:16 PM
    • 7 Posts
    • 72 Thanks
    Mrs Norris
    [QUOTE[“

    Amazing to read people having their first spends and spending so little, but I'm glad I'm not the one also having large spends. I know I will get there with practice, it will just take a couple of months.

    Originally posted!by!supersaver1000”

    I love seeing it too. I would like to reach that point in a few months as well.!

    Originally posted by JingsMyBucket QUOTE]]

    Me too....would like to stay within a £200 target again this month but between us all weve spent £100 already.
    £200 is a fair budget for us but we're still learning to make impulse grocery buys are a thing of the past....Maybe a grocery shopping puse is our answer.
    • indigowarrior
    • By indigowarrior 7th Mar 18, 4:26 PM
    • 510 Posts
    • 3,704 Thanks
    indigowarrior
    Spent £6.96 buying bits and bobs. I have a full stocked cupboard and enough for the next 6 days until my next shopping day. £10.16 spent so far.
    #545- SPC/ Frugal Living Challenge May NSD 3/19
    • RedFraggle
    • By RedFraggle 7th Mar 18, 8:07 PM
    • 654 Posts
    • 1,762 Thanks
    RedFraggle
    First shops of the month:
    Mr T £42.54
    Mr S £10.20
    P@H £3.99 forgy type stuff for the hamster

    Total £56.73 so £243.27 left

    Money wasting quote of the week: My big boss...."we just shop in M&S" my reply "there are better things to spend money on"
    Officially in a clique of idiots
    • indigowarrior
    • By indigowarrior 7th Mar 18, 8:50 PM
    • 510 Posts
    • 3,704 Thanks
    indigowarrior
    Another £17.60 on take aways.
    #545- SPC/ Frugal Living Challenge May NSD 3/19
    • supersaver1000
    • By supersaver1000 7th Mar 18, 8:56 PM
    • 2,050 Posts
    • 12,727 Thanks
    supersaver1000
    Thanks Jingsmybucket I think the problem is that I don't have any meat in the freezer. Fish/fishfingers, frozen curry items and frozen veg. Plus lots of pasta. We are big veggie eaters and we are trying to eat healthier but I need to have a couple of meat items in the freezer for times like these.
    CCs (32% paid) - target Feb2019 Xmas 2018 : Returner Flylady : Grocery club member
    It's not getting what you want, it's wanting what you've got
    (being satisfied with your lot and making the most of it)
    • Mrs Cheshire
    • By Mrs Cheshire 7th Mar 18, 9:33 PM
    • 814 Posts
    • 8,400 Thanks
    Mrs Cheshire
    NSD again, could have done with getting some squash as we're on the last dribbles in 2 bottles, but will make it last till tomorrow as it's shopping day.
    Need to review my meal plan as we've had quite a lot of changes this week, all using stuff I already had in.
    Will need to do a bulk meat order but hoping to make it to later next week before I need to do it, as my freezer is still quite full.
    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 7th Mar 18, 9:39 PM
    • 2,658 Posts
    • 33,248 Thanks
    thriftwizard
    Another £39 gone at the county town market this morning, mostly on meat - ok, one leg of lamb is already in the freezer and the beef's been made into a massive stew which will go on into some pies tomorrow or Saturday. The other leg of lamb will be roasted for Sunday lunch & the leftovers will go into a tagine next Tuesday.

    But I'm kicking myself, having realised that two of the items I stocked up on at the wholesalers yesterday (dried mushrooms & pasta) and one from L!dls (loo roll) I actually already had plenty of; they'd just been stored in a different place to usual, so I didn't see them when assessing what we had. In an ideal world, that means less expenditure at some point in the future, but somehow that never quite seems to work in real life!
    Angie

    GC May 18 £326.16/£400
    Bulk-buy purse '18 £145.26/£250, pet & livestock food '18 £131.45/£300

    Money's just a substitute for time & talent...
    • PennyGrabber
    • By PennyGrabber 7th Mar 18, 10:03 PM
    • 1,267 Posts
    • 22,414 Thanks
    PennyGrabber
    Evening all,

    Yet another nsd today as I worked long hours. That's now 6/7. Also a very cheap food day as I've hardly eaten, and the children ate at a friend's today! Cheating I know, but I'll take it!

    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
    • NeverendingDMP
    • By NeverendingDMP 7th Mar 18, 10:38 PM
    • 48 Posts
    • 360 Thanks
    NeverendingDMP
    Hello all. I've lost count a little bit over last few days as been bobbing in various shops for milk etc but had to get organic/smaller tubs and whatever was left. Think it's 75 I've got left to last till 26th. I need to try my best but if I have to get a bit out of savings pot to go over I won't get to upset. I'm only on month two and this month's budget is lower than it should be. Still got meat in freezer and basics for this week though so I can't complain
    35,213 Jan 2018, 34498 remaining.
    Mortgage 77230 Jan 2018
    76588 remaining.
    • MadamMim2013
    • By MadamMim2013 8th Mar 18, 8:00 AM
    • 522 Posts
    • 6,457 Thanks
    MadamMim2013
    Hi all..
    £9 something (need to find receipt) yesterday on bread, fruit and a few other items..
    Waiting for Ocado delivery.. Noted they've sent a reciept to say £47.28, yet £49.28 has been taken from my bank?? Do I querie the driver or contact them direct?
    Will tally up totals in a while, feels like a lot of spends in a short time yet stock cupboard still not sorted?!
    Living life happily! Debt Free date: 2018!!!
    Jan 18 GC Feb 18 GC Mar 18 GC Apr 18 GC: May 18 GC £219.40/£300
    Slinky C : 3.5lbs/2st
    :
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