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    • elsiepac
    • By elsiepac 8th Mar 16, 11:39 AM
    • 1,547Posts
    • 11,269Thanks
    • #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 18 0/tbc
    Vegan 27-8-13
Page 9
    • Puddleglum
    • By Puddleglum 12th Apr 18, 5:23 PM
    • 564 Posts
    • 4,640 Thanks
    This week's spend has come in at 13.99 which represents a 21 claw back on last week's 23 overspend. It was worth it, spending the weekend with old friends and there was enough food left over to push back this week's shop to today.

    No alcohol for the rest of the month now so that will keep the bills down.
    "A thousand candles can be lit from a single candle without shortening the life of that candle."

    Pay off debts and save 2018. Time to turn my life around (candle moment).
    • Doom_and_Gloom
    • By Doom_and_Gloom 12th Apr 18, 5:28 PM
    • 3,699 Posts
    • 12,257 Thanks
    90.13 left.
    Originally posted by Doom_and_Gloom
    Since last post we spent 8.69.

    81.34 left.
    29 year old vegan woman. My OH is a lovely omni guy
    • Itisme
    • By Itisme 12th Apr 18, 10:57 PM
    • 129 Posts
    • 774 Thanks
    7 and 25 from Tesco.

    Updated total: 114.73/250.
    • MadamMim2013
    • By MadamMim2013 12th Apr 18, 11:00 PM
    • 587 Posts
    • 7,205 Thanks
    6.70 spend for tonight's tea.. That covered us all for chips, jumbo battered sausage, chicken & muchroom pie and a pea fritter for me
    Was well worth it.. Yum

    Oops.. Forgot the 2.45 spent on eggs and nibbles for boys lunch boxes..
    All added to the total!
    Last edited by MadamMim2013; 12-04-2018 at 11:04 PM. Reason: Forgot a bit
    Living life happily! Debt Free date: 06/2018!!!
    Jan-Nov 83 DecGC 99.21/300
    • Save Dosh
    • By Save Dosh 13th Apr 18, 12:15 AM
    • 1,279 Posts
    • 15,255 Thanks
    Save Dosh
    More spends. Bought sun dried tomatoes, houmous, coconut milk, peanut butter, dairy free ice cream - lots more. It came to 7.64. Tonight I ate out at a beautiful Thai restaurant, really lovely, but I do have loads in n need to start using it. The alcohol budget is blown to shreds, too tired to work it out and going to crash, will sort it out tomorrow. Will probably take the overspend out of the bulk fund. Have updated food spends.
    Last edited by Save Dosh; 13-04-2018 at 12:18 AM.
    December Grocery Challenge - 27.81/80
    Bulk Fund - Food 41.47
    Save 12k in 2018 #80 = 4,620
    • Highland Fling
    • By Highland Fling 13th Apr 18, 9:17 AM
    • 98 Posts
    • 1,157 Thanks
    Highland Fling
    30.60 spent in M*rrisons. Wouldn't be my shop of choice but was in that town and made sense to go and save myself calling into another town on the way home.
    Plan to organise an on line shop for later in the month as I need some bulky items and it saves me carrying them.
    hope everyone has a good weekend.
    • NewShadow
    • By NewShadow 13th Apr 18, 2:21 PM
    • 3,360 Posts
    • 14,497 Thanks
    Originally posted by NewShadow
    This week Ocado tempted me with 10 off 40 so I've indulged in a little mid-month shop.

    45.31 in Ocado on a number of things inc: 2.5kg of organic pork shoulder, posh breads, fruit/veg and a cake for a colleague who's due to return to work Monday after several months off.

    New total = 122.98

    Also spent 3.80 on drinks for visitors at a work meeting - which I'll be reinbursed for eventually so won't count here.
    That sounds like a classic case of premature extrapolation.

    House deposit: 26% = 26,000 + 800pm * 9 months = 33,000

    Goal: Keep the bigger picture in mind...
    • pamsdish
    • By pamsdish 13th Apr 18, 5:04 PM
    • 1,073 Posts
    • 6,598 Thanks
    6.46 in Aldi just a few bits and bobs, including 3 telescopic ice scrapers reduced to 19p each from 2.99, throw it in the boot until next winter, 1 for sister and friend too.
    APRIL200=35 May200=61 JUNE200=6
    JULY 200=11 AUG180=57SEPT180=57Lost OCT, under budget
    NOV15014LOST the plot. DEC200-39=161-9=152-10=142-13=129-4=125-18=107
    • cw18
    • By cw18 13th Apr 18, 6:02 PM
    • 7,981 Posts
    • 85,464 Thanks
    Small spend of 75p last night, taking me to 102.59 / 100. I'm shocked that I've managed 12 days with only 7.59 of spends - I really thought I'd find it much harder to stay out of the shops after my major blow-out on 1st

    Nipped into Mr T for a non-GC item after I finshed work last night, but still checked the RTC items. Picked up 2 fruit loaves (each reduced from 1 to just 25p) which will give me something slightly sweet to eat with a coffee when I get in from work for 5 days (2 days down, the rest is on the way into the freezer to do next Mon, Tues & Wed - then I'm off work until the following Wed) and a pack of value ginger nuts. I actually prefer the value ginger nuts to the big brand (but can't stand the ones from A!di since they changed the recipe 2 years ago, so only ever pick up when in Mr T). I went to eat a few last night, and suddenly realised I'm not on 'proper' tea, which is what I always dunk them in - but I have to say I'm looking forward to another blackcurrant tea to dunk them in later tonight as it's a combination that works very well

    Had a mild panic earlier this week that I may not have enough chicken nuggets in the freezer to get through the rest of this month (it's what I always take to work as a lunch I can eat while still working), but a quick count up showed that I'm fine - just

    Still eating well from stocks, but alnost out of veg now so will have to replenish supplies there later this week / early next I expect

    I'm currently trying to meal plan for next Friday evening through to the following Monday breakfast while in London for the Marathon, which is going to put a serious dent in my overspend. But at least we've got a self-catering apartment so we don't have to eat out (which would be a lot more expensive) and we've located a Mr T within walking distance of the apartment (actually found 2 about equal distance, but looking on G00gle maps one appears to be much bigger than the other so that'll be the one we head for). And I planning to take a few things with me where I only need part packs (such as risotto rice, one stock pot, a couple of cloves of garlic, a small container with olive oil) as I'd rather carry down what we need and throw away empty packets than buy full packs there and have to throw away unused food or bring back almost full packets.
    Groceries : May 11.97 / 120 Apr 137.78 / 100 Mar 99.55 / 100.Feb 85.02 / 80.Jan 112.15 / 130. Annual 446.47 / 1200

    • thriftwizard
    • By thriftwizard 13th Apr 18, 8:45 PM
    • 2,853 Posts
    • 35,517 Thanks
    Cw18, OH & I will also be in a S/C apartment, but just for the Saturday night; he just wants piles of pasta for tea & pancakes for breakfast! He's staying at his brother's the night before so he can register early on Saturday, and I'll travel up with the girls, who are staying near DS1 (their brother) on Saturday morning.

    Somehow I spent 63 at the market this morning; I'm still working out exactly how. There was fish, cheese, some nuts & seeds, fruit, veg & some plants, and some cake to share with my friends over a cuppa; whichever way I look at it, I make that more like 53. Either I've forgotten something, or I didn't check my change carefully enough. Most of the stallholders are as honest as the day is long, but when you're trying to serve 3 customers at once, it's easy to make mistakes. Botheration!
    Last edited by thriftwizard; 14-04-2018 at 9:28 PM.

    GC Dec 18 - 214.45/550
    Bulk-buy purse '18 239.56/250, pet & livestock food '18 403.63/300

    Money's just a substitute for time & talent...
    • MadamMim2013
    • By MadamMim2013 13th Apr 18, 8:57 PM
    • 587 Posts
    • 7,205 Thanks
    Spends in both Assdaa & Lidles
    Around 48 ish, shall dig out receipts in a bit and add to total! Had peeps over to feed so extras in that wouldn't normally be bought..
    Living life happily! Debt Free date: 06/2018!!!
    Jan-Nov 83 DecGC 99.21/300
    • Save Dosh
    • By Save Dosh 13th Apr 18, 10:41 PM
    • 1,279 Posts
    • 15,255 Thanks
    Save Dosh
    The alcohol budget is blown to shreds, too tired to work it out and going to crash, will sort it out tomorrow. Will probably take the overspend out of the bulk fund. Have updated food spends.
    Originally posted by Save Dosh
    OK, so spent 33.99 yesterday, to be exact lol. Anyway after taking the remainder out of alcohol budget n overflow, there is 13.28 to come out of bulk. Not too bad. Have a lovely w/e everyone. Have updated sig.
    December Grocery Challenge - 27.81/80
    Bulk Fund - Food 41.47
    Save 12k in 2018 #80 = 4,620
    • ancientmum
    • By ancientmum 14th Apr 18, 8:11 AM
    • 146 Posts
    • 1,253 Thanks
    I have updated signature with 27.97, which was the total of a few small spends at Aldli, Sains and Tresco over the last week. I am pleasantly surprised as I thought it would be more than this. We had a lovely Thai takeaway last Friday which has not been counted as it comes out of the treats money.
    I have also added more to the cats and reptile spend as I bought some food for all of them and flea treatment for the felines. I am coming to the end of the bulk buy cat litter I bought before Christmas, but am waiting for a MOC for an on line order from Sains before stocking up again. I usually get them when I don't need them, hey ho.
    If life is a journey, I want comfy shoes

    2018: Trying to keep to annual budgets 1080 for groceries, 480 for cat needs
    Update: 1204.67/1080 485.13/480
    • Coxy11
    • By Coxy11 14th Apr 18, 11:24 AM
    • 2,254 Posts
    • 27,176 Thanks
    Hi everyone,
    Budgets updated to here
    Cross-stitch WIP #1: Collecting Shells by Nancy Cole
    Cross-stitch WIP #2: Pretty Little London by Satsuma Street
    • Bracelovers
    • By Bracelovers 14th Apr 18, 2:10 PM
    • 18 Posts
    • 63 Thanks
    Am I too late to join April challenge. Current spending is 225 per month so would like to aim for 190 this month please spending to date is 80
    • Hexxed
    • By Hexxed 14th Apr 18, 3:03 PM
    • 6 Posts
    • 79 Thanks
    This week's spend came to 58.89 with most of it lining Asda's pockets. We've actually done a surprisingly decent job of cutting down on the amount of workplace snack buying that has been going on since Christmas, just need to keep that trend going now
    • K9sandFelines
    • By K9sandFelines 14th Apr 18, 3:23 PM
    • 2,044 Posts
    • 17,519 Thanks
    Spends update
    1.68 spend 07/04/18 in Morrisons
    24 ish at Iceland Warehouse (will double check) yesterday
    5.61 spend in Morrisons today

    So, roughly 31.29
    Last edited by K9sandFelines; 14-04-2018 at 3:27 PM.
    GC 2017 (3,434.09/4,000) Jan 264.28, Feb 179.18, Mar 290.38, Apr 182.39, May 210.24 Jun 122.33, Jul 149.45, Aug 199.22, Sep 211.46, OCT 227.94, Nov 200.33, Dec 36.15 (2,237.75/3,250 p.a)
    ~ Still learning the art of frugality ~
    • cw18
    • By cw18 14th Apr 18, 7:55 PM
    • 7,981 Posts
    • 85,464 Thanks
    1.02 spend in A!di today, taking me to 103.61 / 100

    Picked up a pack of 6 salad tomatoes and a pack of cream crackers.

    Expecting another small spend tomorrow as I'm getting bored of the carbs I have in the house !
    Groceries : May 11.97 / 120 Apr 137.78 / 100 Mar 99.55 / 100.Feb 85.02 / 80.Jan 112.15 / 130. Annual 446.47 / 1200

    • thriftwizard
    • By thriftwizard 14th Apr 18, 9:33 PM
    • 2,853 Posts
    • 35,517 Thanks
    3 spent at the market this morning (peppers, bananas, carrots, forgotten yesterday) and there'll be more tomorrow as the butcher wasn't there today. That's added to my signature, but I'm not adding some more spent with OH this afternoon at the supermarket, as it was entirely marathon-related stuff and he's adamant it shouldn't impact on the family budget. Yes, it comes out of the same bank account, but we've "allowed" for it separately.

    GC Dec 18 - 214.45/550
    Bulk-buy purse '18 239.56/250, pet & livestock food '18 403.63/300

    Money's just a substitute for time & talent...
    • Highland Fling
    • By Highland Fling 15th Apr 18, 9:24 AM
    • 98 Posts
    • 1,157 Thanks
    Highland Fling
    Good morning everyone,
    beautiful morning here. Perhaps spring is on the way
    Well I spent 60 in Ald+ yesterday. That is about 110 from GC budget. However I am not too upset as I now have pork medallions, beef mince, prawns, scampi, chicken breasts, stir fry pork, stir fry beef, stir fry chicken and more portioned and placed in freezer.
    I also bought more vegetables, butter, milk, etc. etc. etc.
    Plan to have a browse through the recipes at start of thread to give me some inspiration before deciding on menu plan.
    Anyway I am now off to hang out washing and catch up with other household chores.
    Back to work tomorrow so hopefully I will have meals prepared and ready to go.
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