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    • elsiepac
    • By elsiepac 8th Mar 16, 11:39 AM
    • 1,508Posts
    • 10,933Thanks
    • #1
    • 8th Mar 16, 11:39 AM
    8th Mar 16 at 11:39 AM
    Hi everyone,

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

    If your new month starts early feel free to join this thread, or if you're still working on your March budget, then keep on posting in the March 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 elsiepac; 18-03-2018 at 1:36 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 (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 7
    • pamsdish
    • By pamsdish 6th Apr 18, 8:06 PM
    • 997 Posts
    • 6,014 Thanks
    I throw all my change in a dish, when accumulated I bag it for bank, but there is about 20 in my ashtray in the car s 50p 20p possibly a few 10p, so always change for parking and a quick car wash, if I think running down I use from my dish to top up.
    APRIL200=35 May200=61 JUNE200=6
    JULY [COLOR=DarkGreen][COLOR=Black]200=11 AUGUST[SIZE=3]180=[B][COLOR=DarkGreen]57[COLOR=Black] 180-60=120,-8=112,-5=107,-21=86,-37=49,-32=17,-33=-16
    • thriftwizard
    • By thriftwizard 6th Apr 18, 8:47 PM
    • 2,750 Posts
    • 34,313 Thanks
    I keep a little bag of change in my van; it's a small thing I made myself, like a little make-up bag, that wouldn't attract any attention. When I have excess small change, I empty some of the silver into that & it's there when I need it. Coppers go into a jar in the kitchen.

    GC Sept 18 - 405.65/380 - oh bother!
    Bulk-buy purse '18 145.26/250, pet & livestock food '18 273.63/300

    Money's just a substitute for time & talent...
    • Tales17
    • By Tales17 6th Apr 18, 8:48 PM
    • 238 Posts
    • 2,390 Thanks
    small spend of 1.58 on 2 packs of sweets at the garage so I had some change for the car park later. I need to sort some change out so I don't have to keep spending unneccessary money to get change.
    What do you all do for car park change?
    Originally posted by Mrs Cheshire
    I keep all change that comes from breaking up notes and try to sell a few things a month to keep the cash topped up! I have to pay for parking twice a week when the kids swim so I have been known to raid their money boxes to make sure I had the right change! I do pay it back though!
    Grocery Challenge 2018 YTD-3747.45/7200(56%)
    Grocery Challenge July - 562.75/600(94%)
    12k in 2018 #117: Monthly Saving Accounts 6300, Cashback & Competition Sites 265.90, Shopping Saving 996.58, Selling 338.07, Interest & Dividends 139.98, Surveys 25, Tesco Vouchers 140, Save 1p a Day #24 386.43
    Total Saved - 8591.96/12000(72%)
    • Tales17
    • By Tales17 6th Apr 18, 8:58 PM
    • 238 Posts
    • 2,390 Thanks
    April update so far:

    - 3.89 for Graze Box

    First week of April has been spent with family so not too much spending

    - 36 ASDA - mainly on beer and alcohol to share!

    - 4 ASDA - on sweets for cinema and film evenings!

    - 20.22 ASDA - on ingredients for cooking a family meal and drink top up!

    So total of 64.11 so far, not bad for week 1 but we do need to top up wine stock this month and I think we have a 10 voucher from Tesco Wine to use
    Grocery Challenge 2018 YTD-3747.45/7200(56%)
    Grocery Challenge July - 562.75/600(94%)
    12k in 2018 #117: Monthly Saving Accounts 6300, Cashback & Competition Sites 265.90, Shopping Saving 996.58, Selling 338.07, Interest & Dividends 139.98, Surveys 25, Tesco Vouchers 140, Save 1p a Day #24 386.43
    Total Saved - 8591.96/12000(72%)
    • Save Dosh
    • By Save Dosh 6th Apr 18, 10:53 PM
    • 1,254 Posts
    • 14,989 Thanks
    Save Dosh
    I'm not feeling great, as I fell down the stairs yesterday morning - very sore.
    Originally posted by PennyGrabber
    Sorry to hear that, hope you are feeling better soon.

    I throw all my change in a dish
    Originally posted by pamsdish
    Is it a 'pamsdish' - sorry !!!!!

    I'm currently working for an outreach organisation for homeless people, where we provide, amongst other things, food. We get the most amazing donations from local companies and I get to take home what I want. I don't take much really, but I can if I want. Today I got some wild garlic, ginger, mushrooms & seeded rolls. I get my meals on site and also cooked food to take home, should I want it. I've been eating out quite a bit lately. Today my friend took me for dinner and cocktails, which was really nice and i'm going to a Mexican 2 moz, so I think my food might last a year at this rate. Anyway, first spends of the month 11.99. Have a lovely w/e everyone.
    Last edited by Save Dosh; 06-04-2018 at 11:16 PM.
    Sept Grocery Challenge - Food 38.86/80, Alcohol 4.29/20
    Bulk Fund Left/Food 23.64
    Save 12k in 2018 #80 = 3,500/5,000
    • PennyGrabber
    • By PennyGrabber 6th Apr 18, 11:37 PM
    • 1,267 Posts
    • 22,427 Thanks
    Another 4.58 today takes me up to 16.72. Dd has two friends staying over and they wanted pizzas from ff00ds. Such expensive tastes!

    I'll have a spend day tom or sun, as I need a few last bits for the hol, and I refuse to pay more than I need to, hence shopping at aldililly before we go! We definitely need bread, but not too much else. She says!!!

    Feeling much better now, thank you everyone. Arm has full movement back, swelling has gone down and walking doesn't hurt now, but my back is still hurting. I guess that's because I landed on it! Another day or two and I'll be right as rain.

    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
    • Hexxed
    • By Hexxed 7th Apr 18, 7:31 AM
    • 6 Posts
    • 79 Thanks
    36.06 spent so far this month. I bought a slow cooker in March and have been trying out some new recipes which has pushed up my weekly meat spend quite a bit. I usually buy it in bulk a couple of times a year but I just couldn't wait until's too new and shiny to hide in the cupboard unused.
    • xironsongx
    • By xironsongx 7th Apr 18, 10:05 AM
    • 141 Posts
    • 380 Thanks
    Hey Sorry for joining so late,
    I get paid on the 5th or 6th of each month so that's when I get my grocerry money.

    I'd like to go for 52.50 for each week for 4 weeks.

    Thank you
    Engaged 01-09-17 Wedding 519.78 (BA) 80.22 (Sp) / 5,600 5,000 left to save
    • PipneyJane
    • By PipneyJane 7th Apr 18, 3:03 PM
    • 775 Posts
    • 5,570 Thanks
    PennyGrabber - hope your back stops hurting soon.

    MadamMim - sounds like you have a horrible cold. Get well soon.

    small spend of 1.58 on 2 packs of sweets at the garage so I had some change for the car park later. I need to sort some change out so I don't have to keep spending unneccessary money to get change.
    What do you all do for car park change?
    Originally posted by Mrs Cheshire
    While I rarely need to pay for parking, I usually dont use cash. Normally, I either pay online using an app or pay with my card. Occasionally I will pay-by-phone. There are at least two car parks I know that actually charge you more if youre paying cash!

    Ive got 3 spends to declare, starting with 13.48 in MrTs mid-week, which includes 6 spent on tins of chopped tomatoes. They had their 4-6 monthly, 4 cans for 1 offer on, so I stocked up. We use 6-8 cans a month and are just finishing off the last purchase. Id have bought them in March but DH argued that they werent the same, only backing down when took a tin out of our pantry and showed him the label.

    The second shop was 8.99 in Costco where we bought a tray of Chicken Enchiladas for dinner. (We popped in on the way home, getting back just in time for DH to watch the Liverpool-Manchester City match.)

    Final shop was Lidl, yesterday, where we spent 8.03 mainly on Bratwurst, bacon - still have yet to find any Lidl cooking bacon - and the largest aubergines we could find. The aubergines were 49p each. I use them as low calorie padding for minced beef meals (microwave for 10 minutes, scoop out the pulp, chop and add to your chilli/Bolognese, etc). Theyre currently being zapped and will make their way into the freezer shortly.

    Anyway, the above brings our current spend to 38.74/120, leaving 81.26 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
    • frugalish
    • By frugalish 7th Apr 18, 3:16 PM
    • 22 Posts
    • 266 Thanks
    Did a bigger than expected shop at Mr T today, but it means we don't need any shopping at all for at least a week! Stocked up on fruit and veg for 14.94, 3 lots of reduced meat for the freezer 6.78, a bottle of wine for tonight 5, and general groceries including some beard styling product (7!! ) for Beardy McBeardface to try (aka Mr F'ish ) We also combined the shopping trip with a work trip we had to do anyway, so saved on fuel

    Total spend today 49.48

    Total spend to date - 58.13 / 250

    Hoping not to spend anything on food, drink or groceries for at least a week, hopefully a fortnight. Although we might will need more wine...
    "What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult for each other?" - George Eliot

    Grocery Challenge April 18 183.42 / 250 = 66.58
    Frugal Living Challenge 2018
    • ScotinLondon
    • By ScotinLondon 7th Apr 18, 4:25 PM
    • 328 Posts
    • 3,830 Thanks
    My month started on 25/3 - have spent 25.05 so far. Forgot to add that my parents also bought some stuff for 15 i think, so my total to is now 40.05
    I haven't kept a log on lunches to work and NSDs.
    Not much needed this weekend, just bread - and start cooking again but am in CBA mood at the moment. Not sure why, hey ho.
    Have a good rest of the weekend all.
    Last edited by ScotinLondon; 07-04-2018 at 5:11 PM. Reason: extra spend
    D17/J18 75.27; J/F18 64.79; F/M 124.01; M/A 40.05/130.00
    CCC - 26.00
    Lunch2work 14/20 J18; 10/19 F18; 3/17 A18
    GNSD 18/31 J18; 15/28 F18; 7/31 M18; 7/30A18
    • Wysiwyg49
    • By Wysiwyg49 7th Apr 18, 4:35 PM
    • 186 Posts
    • 1,701 Thanks
    I'm on 95.23 for the first week of April. Thought it would be less actually as DH has been away most of the week!

    Had a pastry disaster yesterday - only had the "wrong" veg spread (Flora Buttery rather than Olivio) and it seemed to make the pastry too "short" to roll out without breaking up! This has happened before but never so badly that I had to dash out for ready made shortcrust as I had no SR flour left

    A1di's super 6 veg were all down to 19P each last week so I was hoping that continued into this week, but they have changed over grrr.
    GC Mar 239.57/360 : Feb 352.71/320
    • MadamMim2013
    • By MadamMim2013 7th Apr 18, 6:25 PM
    • 562 Posts
    • 6,921 Thanks
    Would have been a NSD, sadly had to send DS1 to the shop for milk.. So a very expensive 1 spend.. Am slowly making a list of items needed, though I'm really not well enough to go out yet, shall use up stuff from freezer first!
    Living life happily! Debt Free date: 06/2018!!!
    Jan-July 53 Sept GC 161.16/325
    • thriftwizard
    • By thriftwizard 7th Apr 18, 8:36 PM
    • 2,750 Posts
    • 34,313 Thanks
    12 spent on a leg of lamb to roast tomorrow, but I shouldn't need to go to the market or spend any more now until Tuesday. Fingers crossed!

    GC Sept 18 - 405.65/380 - oh bother!
    Bulk-buy purse '18 145.26/250, pet & livestock food '18 273.63/300

    Money's just a substitute for time & talent...
    • PennyGrabber
    • By PennyGrabber 7th Apr 18, 9:31 PM
    • 1,267 Posts
    • 22,427 Thanks
    Two spends today, one in a@da and one in aldililly. I'll add to total when I sort out the receipts. About 30, which was mainly bits for the holiday. Bit cross with how much that is, but it'll all be used somehow.

    Not sure if I'll be around now until weds evening, so have a great week everyone.

    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
    • selloptape
    • By selloptape 7th Apr 18, 9:56 PM
    • 470 Posts
    • 2,006 Thanks
    Just a couple of spends so far.

    Bits for lunches last week adding up to 3.55 and a visit to Mr Ts today which was 12.17.

    Lovely house guests left lots of treats so just need to buy main meals and healthy bits for the next few days.
    GC Sept 275.13/250
    2 Savers Club #59 58
    MFW 2018 #49 700/3,000
    MFiT T4 #21 - reduce mortgage by 20k over 3 years
    • Itisme
    • By Itisme 8th Apr 18, 11:22 AM
    • 129 Posts
    • 774 Thanks
    4.90 from Tesco yesterday.
    • MadamMim2013
    • By MadamMim2013 8th Apr 18, 3:34 PM
    • 562 Posts
    • 6,921 Thanks
    57.04 in L*dls.
    DS1 assisted me as I'm still weak and not 100% on form.. He was brill, lots got in for lunches as both back to college/school tomorrow.
    Curry from the freezer for tea their tonight, I'll see what I fancy
    Living life happily! Debt Free date: 06/2018!!!
    Jan-July 53 Sept GC 161.16/325
    • thriftwizard
    • By thriftwizard 8th Apr 18, 4:39 PM
    • 2,750 Posts
    • 34,313 Thanks
    Well - I might not have needed anything from the market this morning, but I did need dishwasher tabs... and some wholegrain rice, and some butter & cream to bake cakes for OH's marathon fundraising. So 15.04 duly added... we're not even into double figures days-of-the-month-wise, and nearly half of the budget has already gone! But that said, I shouldn't need too much more except fresh stuff...

    GC Sept 18 - 405.65/380 - oh bother!
    Bulk-buy purse '18 145.26/250, pet & livestock food '18 273.63/300

    Money's just a substitute for time & talent...
    • JingsMyBucket
    • By JingsMyBucket 8th Apr 18, 4:55 PM
    • 260 Posts
    • 2,802 Thanks
    Just in a quick check in to make sure I return with real numbers. Psych myself back up and all that. We've had friends visiting for the past few days and between them and overwhelming work, I've just been shoving receipts into a bag to tally them up later. I've spent a lot the last couple of days but hopefully that's abating now.

    I'm actually a bit upset at how much food I've tossed into the compost in the last week. Some of that is from when OH overbought food last Sunday and me over-cooking as well. I'm going to try just resetting my brain this week and pare back the fridge so it feels more manageable. Have you ever noticed that the fuller the fridge is, the less likely you are to cook? Researchers have done studies on this and it's due to a feeling of visual overwhelm (with choices). It just leads you to say "screw it" and order a pizza instead.
    SEP 18 GC: 512.70/500.00 // 7/12 NSD
    AUG 18 GC: 438.74 / 300.00 // 17/12 NSD
    JUL 18 GC: 368.77 / 400.00 // 16/12 NSD
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