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  • FIRST POST
    • elsiepac
    • By elsiepac 25th Jun 18, 8:54 AM
    • 1,508Posts
    • 10,933Thanks
    elsiepac
    July 2018 Grocery Challenge
    • #1
    • 25th Jun 18, 8:54 AM
    July 2018 Grocery Challenge 25th Jun 18 at 8:54 AM
    Hi everyone,

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

    If your new month starts early feel free to join this thread, or if you're still working on your June budget, then keep on posting in the June 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. Mr M 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 bread maker - 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. Obviously 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 health wise.

    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 guidelines 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 everyone's totals, see post #3 on this thread

    I hope everyone has a great month!

    elsiepac

    This Forum tip was included in MoneySavingExpert.com's weekly email!
    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 6
    • K9sandFelines
    • By K9sandFelines 4th Jul 18, 10:26 PM
    • 1,994 Posts
    • 17,001 Thanks
    K9sandFelines
    1.00 at Iceland
    3.00 at Farmfoods
    2.00 at Band M
    56.74 at Sainsburys online

    So far, 62.74 total
    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 199.22/220 SEP 157.58/210 (1,597.47 up to and incl Aug/3,250 p.a)

    ~ Still learning the art of frugality ~
    • selloptape
    • By selloptape 4th Jul 18, 11:12 PM
    • 468 Posts
    • 2,000 Thanks
    selloptape
    After a slightly non- keeping track of things May and June I'm back on track (hopefully) for July.

    Started the month with a freezer thawing disaster but on the plus side, now that I've had to clear it out, it can be properly organised, and I actually know what's in it for a change

    Target for July is 250 x
    GC Sept 151.46/250
    2 Savers Club #59 58
    MFW 2018 #49 700/3,000
    MFiT T4 #21 - reduce mortgage by 20k over 3 years
    • Snorky6
    • By Snorky6 5th Jul 18, 7:24 AM
    • 4 Posts
    • 63 Thanks
    Snorky6
    So far i have managed to not spend anymore money so far this week. I even made a cake yesterday to stop the OH from buying snacks like he normally does after running club. Getting loads of tips from you all. I might try getting some of next week's shop in aldi but might struggle OH is a bit of a brand addict and a snob when it comes to his food. Does anyone else have this issue?


    Total 70.39/300
    229.61 left
    • Hopeless Case
    • By Hopeless Case 5th Jul 18, 7:26 AM
    • 752 Posts
    • 4,351 Thanks
    Hopeless Case
    Clocked up a whopping 6.29 yesterday on ingredients for a chocolate cake for my sister's birthday - a luxury Mary Berry chocolate cake, what she requested, but hopefully it won't melt!

    She definitely deserves it, but it put a dent in my new, smaller budget!

    Some of it was store cupboard, as I had to buy a whole new tin of cocoa powder, which will last me for years, and a pack of self raising, but the dark chocolate and double cream were a one-off expense
    Sept GC 62.58/240
    NSD target: Aug 21/20, Sept 8/14
    Sept Bring Your Lunch to Work Target
    6/13
    1 a day: Aug 60.88/31
    Sept 29.63/30
    Tesco CC 10,151.56 0% 30mnths, First Direct CC 4321.80 4111.7 0% til Feb 20
    • Moguline
    • By Moguline 5th Jul 18, 9:22 AM
    • 319 Posts
    • 951 Thanks
    Moguline
    So far i have managed to not spend anymore money so far this week. I even made a cake yesterday to stop the OH from buying snacks like he normally does after running club. Getting loads of tips from you all. I might try getting some of next week's shop in aldi but might struggle OH is a bit of a brand addict and a snob when it comes to his food. Does anyone else have this issue?


    Total 70.39/300
    229.61 left
    Originally posted by Snorky6
    My husband was the same - it's what he knew all his life. He's now a true convert. Most of the things in Aldi are the same, or actually better than the brands. Just make a deal to give it a try one week and then only get the brands that he really can't live without after that. He'll probably be positively surprised!
    LBM: Christmas 2017 Highest debt (01/01/2018): 23,786 As of 30/07/2018: 19,570.38 Total reduction in 2018: -4,215.90 DFD of my dreams: 31/12/2019
    • K80 Black
    • By K80 Black 5th Jul 18, 2:05 PM
    • 59 Posts
    • 223 Thanks
    K80 Black
    Hey, I'd like to join if I may.

    My budget for the month is 200 for myself, plus my other half 3 evenings and one day a week (so 4 meals + 1 breakfast a week.) I've already spent 84.60 on a big home delivery - but that's got me a very well stocked cupboard, plus enough alcohol to last the entire month. (Yay, 25% off 6 bottles of wine at Tesco again!). I tend to do my weekly shop online, at just over 40 a week, plus one 'double' week, when I buy all the booze for the month and top up basics. I find it difficult to get to the shops and the minimum order for most deliveries is 40, so going beneath that isn't an option. I'd ideally like to get it to 160 for the month, without cutting out too much alcohol!

    I only have a small chest freezer, so batch cooking or stocking up on fresh meat bargains etc is difficult. To top it all off, I'm a vegetarian and my partner is a meat eater, so I tend to find myself cooking properly for him and bunging in a quorn fillet or similar for myself about once a week, which works out quite expensive!

    I'd love to hear any easy meals that can be made meaty or vegetarian. I tend to do stir fry (I cook his meat separate) and fajitas (meat for him, beans for me) a lot, as they're easy to do both ways. He also quite likes veggie tortellini/raviolis, though I sometimes fry off some pancetta to top his off.

    This week, my goal is to make a whole bunch of fajita/taco seasoning, instead of buying packets. I've been putting it off as spending 4-5 on spices seems more expensive than 50p for a packet - but I know I can make a large batch so it'll be cheaper overall, and we do eat them a lot. Hopefully I can work that into my budget!
    • SilverBird
    • By SilverBird 5th Jul 18, 3:17 PM
    • 250 Posts
    • 2,099 Thanks
    SilverBird
    GC budget will be 180 for the month of June.
    #Life isn't about waiting for the storms to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain #We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us #If you focus on what you have left behind, you will never see what lies ahead - Gusteau/Ratatouille
    GC: May 173.93/180 June 0/180 (887.16/2,160)
    • CRANKY40
    • By CRANKY40 5th Jul 18, 4:20 PM
    • 2,912 Posts
    • 31,566 Thanks
    CRANKY40
    NSD for me today grocery wise. The garden kindly gave me a courgette, some rhubarb which I stewed and froze in "add to yogurt" sized lumps and a handful of peas.

    K80 what about home made pizza? Jack Monroe's basic pizza dough is so easy to make (and freezes really well incidentally). The recipe if you search for it is for penny pizzas but I make the same dough and use it to make individual pizzas for myself and the House Troll. I like spicy tomato puree and plenty of veg on mine and he doesn't. Special fried rice is another one - add veg, beansprouts etc and just put his meat in at the end like you do for stir fries.
    Weight loss 2018 18.5 lbs
    • K80 Black
    • By K80 Black 5th Jul 18, 5:24 PM
    • 59 Posts
    • 223 Thanks
    K80 Black
    K80 what about home made pizza? Jack Monroe's basic pizza dough is so easy to make (and freezes really well incidentally). The recipe if you search for it is for penny pizzas but I make the same dough and use it to make individual pizzas for myself and the House Troll. I like spicy tomato puree and plenty of veg on mine and he doesn't. Special fried rice is another one - add veg, beansprouts etc and just put his meat in at the end like you do for stir fries.
    Originally posted by CRANKY40

    Yeah, I've done pizzas a few times. I actually used to be a pizza chef - maybe that's why I begrudge making them, it feels like work!

    Fried rice is a great idea, thanks!
    • caronc
    • By caronc 5th Jul 18, 5:31 PM
    • 4,402 Posts
    • 26,985 Thanks
    caronc
    33 today mainly on F&V, fresh stuff and some bits for son staying & bbq at the weekend. Total so far 48/150
    GC - Jun 206/230, Jul 211/150, Aug 105/140, Sep 152/160
    GC YTD 2018- 1186/1390
    • Merlin's Beard
    • By Merlin's Beard 5th Jul 18, 9:41 PM
    • 208 Posts
    • 1,790 Thanks
    Merlin's Beard
    11.50/100 at the minute... 4.50 of that is laundrette costs for my winter duvet.

    I need to go shopping but I can't face the thought of cooking - too hot!! Jacket potatoes in the microwave and salad are about my limit at the minute. Have also had quite a few days out that are coming out of a different budget as well.
    • JingsMyBucket
    • By JingsMyBucket 5th Jul 18, 10:20 PM
    • 260 Posts
    • 2,796 Thanks
    JingsMyBucket
    Today was a NSD for groceries. We ate breakfast and lunch out though for OHs birthday and those are different budgets. We also went out for an apero on our square around 5pm and I ordered a portion of cheese to nibble. I was expecting just a bowl of cubes as thats what theyve given before sometimes. I got 3 huge chunks of cheese! They portion it out as if youre going to share it amongst 3 5 people. We brought half of it home with us so it didnt go to waste. Im calling it bonus cheese for now!

    TOTAL SO FAR:
    2 / 12 NSD
    82.33 / 400.00

    Im not sure if Ill buy anything tomorrow. We have a friend coming to town this weekend so we may head out to meet him for meals a couple times instead. Im just glad to not have added too much to the coffers today. (BONUS CHEESE!!)
    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
    • K80 Black
    • By K80 Black 6th Jul 18, 5:19 AM
    • 59 Posts
    • 223 Thanks
    K80 Black
    At 136.32/200 after picking up a few bits at my local shop (ice cream and drinks while I was out) and doing my weekly shop for next week online. Looks like I am about on track for this month!

    This thread has prompted me to make a spreadsheet detailing ALL of my outgoings. I've had a fairly good idea on what I spend, but seeing it broken down like this will hopefully make it more obvious where I can afford to shave a few pounds off into savings.

    Also, because I was talking to the OH last night about how I was trying to save money on food, he's starting to contribute towards the food costs. He usually buys me little gifts and pays for trips out to compensate me for cooking and always having beer in the fridge - now he's switching to cold hard cash, which is much easier to save! Huzzah!
    • Hopeless Case
    • By Hopeless Case 6th Jul 18, 6:09 AM
    • 752 Posts
    • 4,351 Thanks
    Hopeless Case
    Managed not to spend any more since the big cake splurge - annoying thing is that I did have enough cocoa powder so didn't need the new tin, good thing is the cake ended up being made with Cadbury's Bournville cocoa instead of Mr Ts! I might take the other tin back, as we barely use it and it's not cheap
    Sept GC 62.58/240
    NSD target: Aug 21/20, Sept 8/14
    Sept Bring Your Lunch to Work Target
    6/13
    1 a day: Aug 60.88/31
    Sept 29.63/30
    Tesco CC 10,151.56 0% 30mnths, First Direct CC 4321.80 4111.7 0% til Feb 20
    • Chloris
    • By Chloris 6th Jul 18, 8:24 AM
    • 626 Posts
    • 9,090 Thanks
    Chloris
    Hello All. Weekly shop was yesterday. We did our usual smash and grab at lidi for basics and then salns for the other bits using a moc. Also paid the milkman. Which puts me on 123.40 so far this month which I am very pleased with. I needed to buy a number of ingredients to bake a cake for a party we are attending and also the ingredients for fudge for end of year gifts. Starting to feel organised and in control. X
    • pamsdish
    • By pamsdish 6th Jul 18, 5:56 PM
    • 997 Posts
    • 6,013 Thanks
    pamsdish
    Popped into Aldi needed yoghurt and eggs, got more salad stuff and a few other odds and ends 19.14 spent.
    JAN200=107FEB200=40MARCH175=50
    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
    • Sewinglady
    • By Sewinglady 6th Jul 18, 6:27 PM
    • 14 Posts
    • 95 Thanks
    Sewinglady
    Just popping in to admit a small spend yesterday - 8.30 - to make a cake for the WI plus some bananas! However another NSD today - so far so good!
    Grocery Challenge - July
    116.87/ 250
    • K9sandFelines
    • By K9sandFelines 6th Jul 18, 7:08 PM
    • 1,994 Posts
    • 17,001 Thanks
    K9sandFelines
    DD2 has picked up a loaf and some sugar for me today, which i think totalled 1.09. I haven't asked for a receipt.
    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 199.22/220 SEP 157.58/210 (1,597.47 up to and incl Aug/3,250 p.a)

    ~ Still learning the art of frugality ~
    • JingsMyBucket
    • By JingsMyBucket 6th Jul 18, 8:37 PM
    • 260 Posts
    • 2,796 Thanks
    JingsMyBucket
    So much cake baking going on this week for lots of folks on this thread! Now Im feeling jealous and want to make one myself.

    Another NSD for me today. I may go to the market tomorrow for some bananas.

    TOTAL SO FAR:
    3 / 12 NSD
    82.33 / 400.00

    Hrm... to use up the broccoli and cauliflower in the freezer, should I maybe make a cheese based baked dish? Its seems too hot here to do that but Im not sure how else to use them. I guess a stir fry instead might work too. Any ideas please?
    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
    • Save Dosh
    • By Save Dosh 7th Jul 18, 1:07 AM
    • 1,254 Posts
    • 14,988 Thanks
    Save Dosh
    My life has become crazy busy at the mo - I hate 'busy', will catch up on posts. Off to 'Pride London' 2moz, plus other amazing stuff happening. The company I work for are in partnership with a prominent LGBT (etc), organization, so we are taking part in the parade. We are riding down in a huge bus in support of homelessness proud to be part of that. Soz n all that, I'm diving off at the nearest bar showing the footie - #ItsEnglandDonchaKnow #BrazilROut #FootballsComingHome. Anyhow. Got lots of spends, they collectively come to 12.50 and 6.50 from the bulk fund on 2 items from the herb shop. Have a beautiful w/e everyone.
    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
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