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    • elsiepac
    • By elsiepac 28th Jul 18, 11:09 PM
    • 1,547Posts
    • 11,271Thanks
    August 2018 Grocery Challenge
    • #1
    • 28th Jul 18, 11:09 PM
    August 2018 Grocery Challenge 28th Jul 18 at 11:09 PM
    Hi everyone,

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

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

    Last edited by elsiepac; 19-08-2018 at 9:31 AM.
    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 4
    • Thrice
    • By Thrice 6th Aug 18, 10:43 AM
    • 90 Posts
    • 416 Thanks

    Can I join in please?

    I've got a budget of £230.00 for Sat 28th July to Friday 31st August

    I bought wee brown envelopes and split the money into each dated envelope. £50 wk1, £50 wk2, £40 wk3, £40 wk4, £50 wk5 (each week running Saturday to Friday).

    So far I've spent £40-ish on week one and £42-ish from week 2's budget. I'll update once I get my totals from home.
    SPC010 £22.05
    • Lauralozzle
    • By Lauralozzle 6th Aug 18, 11:26 AM
    • 584 Posts
    • 5,090 Thanks
    So, weekend was spendy as first shop of the month done and we've succumbed to the takeaway already.

    Total spend £72.37/£250

    That is on a shop at Aldi, Morrison's and a curry takeaway. No more takeaways now, must stay strong. The tiredness got too much on Friday and I couldn't be bothered with the effort of cooking.

    We have enough food in for this week, I'll make a new menu for this week and slap it on the fridge door.
    Credit Card 1: £0.00 (0%) | Credit Card 2: £985.98 (0%) | Credit Card 3: £0.00 (0%) Car Finance: £5,805 (7.9% APR) | Mortgage: £109,261 (2.79% APR) |
    • Snoozy2012
    • By Snoozy2012 6th Aug 18, 1:36 PM
    • 4 Posts
    • 16 Thanks
    First timer
    Hello all!

    I'd like to give this a go for the month, don't keep much track of what we spend currently although we are inherently thrifty.

    Can I go for £200 from 06th August to 03rd September please? I'm thinking £50 a week for 2 adults a cat and a dog should be easy right?!
    • Hopeless Case
    • By Hopeless Case 6th Aug 18, 5:16 PM
    • 888 Posts
    • 5,347 Thanks
    Hopeless Case
    £7.32 spent today, that should more or less be it for the week - we'll need bread and possibly celery but hopefully my allowance of £10 for this week will be ok..

    £108.20/£240 spent so far
    Nov GC £80.34/£200
    NSD target: Nov 1/15
    Bring Your Lunch to Work Target Nov 1/15
    £1 a day: Nov £44.75/£45
    Tesco CC Aug 18 £10,151.56 £9950.56 0% 30mnths, First Direct CC Aug 18 £4321.80 £3968.77 0% til Feb 20
    • YorksLass
    • By YorksLass 6th Aug 18, 6:27 PM
    • 459 Posts
    • 7,600 Thanks
    Good morning everyone. well such a change in the weather here. It has been raining for the last few days and the garden is loving it. I have beautiful chives in the garden does anyone know if I they freeze well. Last two days NSDs so everyday is a bonus.
    Originally posted by Highland Fling
    Yes, you can freeze them. Wash the chives and dry them (wrap in a clean dishtowel and pat gently). Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and open freeze for about 1-2 hours. Transfer the frozen pieces to a freezer safe container or a bag. They should keep for 6 months; after that the taste will be OK but the texture might not be as good.

    Week 1 spends came to a total of £41.87/£175 and 4/35 NSDs. Somewhat more than I had planned on spending but it did include some good ys bargains as well as top-up of stores, a small gammon joint and fresh F&V from the market.

    The only thing I'll need to buy this week is a pint of fresh milk and I'll be using up the contents of the fridge before we go on holiday on Sunday. I've already chopped and frozen 2 red peppers that I know I won't be using and am planning on making up sandwiches for the journey. DH thinks it's a bit of a faff but I prefer to do that rather than pay service station prices for "not a lot".
    Be kind to others and to yourself too. Life has its ups and downs, use the ups to overcome the downs!
    Dec £26.32/110 and 5/28 NSDs (Jan-Nov £170.14 under budget)

    • Doom_and_Gloom
    • By Doom_and_Gloom 6th Aug 18, 7:25 PM
    • 3,700 Posts
    • 12,260 Thanks
    £16.08 spent since last post.

    Had bbq and ate in the garden today.
    OH had venison burgers from the freezer in white baps with two corn on the cob slathered in butter (I do mean slathered and am pretty sure he couldn't really taste the corn ).
    I had vegan sausages and burgers with a corn on the cob (very tasty as it was, no vegan butter required) and salad. Also did veggie skewers. Yum. Haven't finished all my food but can snack on it later.

    £52.38 left.
    Last edited by Doom_and_Gloom; 06-08-2018 at 7:27 PM. Reason: Auto correct wrong
    29 year old vegan woman. My OH is a lovely omni guy
    • MadamMim2013
    • By MadamMim2013 7th Aug 18, 4:14 PM
    • 587 Posts
    • 7,208 Thanks
    Main shop done today, coming in at £67.29
    The lady that had been behind me at the checkout stopped me outside and asked did I mind telling her how much my shopping came to, she was astounded when I gave the total
    (& I said that was 2 weeks for me 2 large men (sons) and 2 puddies..) She has just started shopping at good ole Mr Lidel.. As I said to her, it's saved me a few quid this year.
    A small purchase yesterday to add too, off to total up..
    Living life happily! Debt Free date: 06/2018!!!
    Jan-Nov 83 DecGC £99.21/£300
    • K9sandFelines
    • By K9sandFelines 7th Aug 18, 5:03 PM
    • 2,044 Posts
    • 17,526 Thanks
    Spends since last time are
    B and M: £2.16 on chopped tomatoes, sugar and soup.
    Morrisons: £0.97 on bananas; and £1.80 and £2.29 according to the bank (but don't know what on, or whether it is solely groceries).
    £1.80 on Revels and Maltesers in work for DD2.

    Total of £9.02
    Off to update
    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 ~
    • Doom_and_Gloom
    • By Doom_and_Gloom 7th Aug 18, 5:31 PM
    • 3,700 Posts
    • 12,260 Thanks
    £6.12 spent since yesterday.

    1,130g sweet potatoes, 5 peppers (4 orange 1 red), 2 iceberg lettuces (reduced), 2 packs tomatoes (reduced), 500g red grapes (reduced), and 400g blueberries (reduced).

    £46.26 left.

    I try to reduce the amount of plastic but reduced items are something I still buy despite the plastic. I know I basically justify it as to me it would be plastic with produce in causing more problems if not bought. Waste of plastic and waste of produce which is something I hate too. Does anyone else feel this way?
    29 year old vegan woman. My OH is a lovely omni guy
    • Merlin's Beard
    • By Merlin's Beard 7th Aug 18, 8:14 PM
    • 233 Posts
    • 1,943 Thanks
    Merlin's Beard
    £25.85/£100, including more Muller Corner yoghurts than one person would reasonably want to eat in a month, but they're 12 for £3, so who can say no.
    • thriftwizard
    • By thriftwizard 7th Aug 18, 10:15 PM
    • 2,854 Posts
    • 35,529 Thanks
    I feel quite disorientated - day 7 of August, and 5 of those have been NSDs! That's not deliberate - wish it was - but I've been too busy to run to the shops. And we haven't yet become desperate for anything, though the bananas are running dangerously low... I've done another dash down to Mum's new home, to unpack the last few boxes before she did herself a mischief trying to squeeze her walker past them, and we're replacing our dilapidated 15 year old hillbilly-style chicken shed & run, so the garden is strewn with poles, weld-mesh, splintered wood and ecstatic chickens, who aren't normally allowed "out" until half an hour before dusk. The slugs are running for cover and the kittens are baffled by birds that take a dim view of their attempts to play with them, and chase them back!

    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...
    • Doom_and_Gloom
    • By Doom_and_Gloom 8th Aug 18, 4:17 PM
    • 3,700 Posts
    • 12,260 Thanks
    £6.12 spent since yesterday.

    Broccoli, lettuce, pak choi, chopped dates, free from cheddar style and spring onion crispbakes, organic milk, sandwich loaf and pulled pork burrito.

    £39.47 left.
    29 year old vegan woman. My OH is a lovely omni guy
    • thriftwizard
    • By thriftwizard 8th Aug 18, 9:34 PM
    • 2,854 Posts
    • 35,529 Thanks
    Eeek, it's quiet in here! Or has nearly everyone had an NSD? I didn't, today; £13.33 spent on fresh fruit & veg as a top-up. I still haven't done the non-perishables run to L!dls, as we've been putting Cluckingham Palace together today; maybe tomorrow? I do need to go before we run out of loo roll...

    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 8th Aug 18, 9:59 PM
    • 98 Posts
    • 1,157 Thanks
    Highland Fling
    hi everyone,
    another spend of £20.

    Thank you YorksLass for advice re freezing chives. Will do so in the next few days.
    • JingsMyBucket
    • By JingsMyBucket 8th Aug 18, 10:14 PM
    • 329 Posts
    • 3,488 Thanks
    Eeek, it's quiet in here! Or has nearly everyone had an NSD? I didn't, today; £13.33 spent on fresh fruit & veg as a top-up. I still haven't done the non-perishables run to L!dls, as we've been putting Cluckingham Palace together today; maybe tomorrow? I do need to go before we run out of loo roll...
    Originally posted by thriftwizard
    "Cluckingham Palace"! Thank you for that much needed laugh!!

    I've had two NSDs on Monday and Tuesday, thankfully. I kept meaning to post every day but was busy with calls. I finally broke down and bought a few groceries tonight after work because I noticed we were down to just 2 cloves of garlic while making our lunches this morning.

    €10.61 at Delhaize: garlic, bananas, tomatoes, olives, and tiny potatoes.

    €220.75 / €300.00
    4 / 12 NSD

    I'm trying to make our food stretch for another couple days before buying more stuff. I almost bought strawberries this evening. They weren't looking great so I decided to use the frozen fruit at home instead for the next couple of days. That will also help me cool down when working from home too. For our lunches today I made a couscous salad that used up a lot of vegetables; tonight I roasted vegetables that were on their last legs. We should be okay for veg until Friday I think.

    Have a good week everyone! We're almost there.
    DEC 18 GC: €138.33/€350.00 // 7/12 NSD
    NOV 18 GC: €436.44/€300.00 // 13/12 NSD
    OCT 18 GC: €293.20/€300.00 // 13/12 NSD
    • Hopeless Case
    • By Hopeless Case 9th Aug 18, 6:47 AM
    • 888 Posts
    • 5,347 Thanks
    Hopeless Case
    Eeek, it's quiet in here! Or has nearly everyone had an NSD? I didn't, today; £13.33 spent on fresh fruit & veg as a top-up. I still haven't done the non-perishables run to L!dls, as we've been putting Cluckingham Palace together today; maybe tomorrow? I do need to go before we run out of loo roll...
    Originally posted by thriftwizard
    Cluckingham Palace is just brilliant

    I did a shop on Monday but nothing since, I do need a few things today though, bread and celery mainy!
    Nov GC £80.34/£200
    NSD target: Nov 1/15
    Bring Your Lunch to Work Target Nov 1/15
    £1 a day: Nov £44.75/£45
    Tesco CC Aug 18 £10,151.56 £9950.56 0% 30mnths, First Direct CC Aug 18 £4321.80 £3968.77 0% til Feb 20
    • JingsMyBucket
    • By JingsMyBucket 9th Aug 18, 7:29 AM
    • 329 Posts
    • 3,488 Thanks
    £6.12 spent since yesterday.

    Broccoli, lettuce, pak choi, chopped dates, free from cheddar style and spring onion crispbakes, organic milk, sandwich loaf and pulled pork burrito.

    £39.47 left.
    Originally posted by Doom_and_Gloom
    You got all that for only £6.12?! Jealous of UK prices!
    DEC 18 GC: €138.33/€350.00 // 7/12 NSD
    NOV 18 GC: €436.44/€300.00 // 13/12 NSD
    OCT 18 GC: €293.20/€300.00 // 13/12 NSD
    • Doom_and_Gloom
    • By Doom_and_Gloom 9th Aug 18, 12:00 PM
    • 3,700 Posts
    • 12,260 Thanks
    You got all that for only £6.12?! Jealous of UK prices!
    Originally posted by JingsMyBucket
    £6.12 spent;
    Broccoli, lettuce, pak choi, and the pulled pork burrito were all reduced. OH would never buy the burrito unless reduced as he could make it cheaper but reduced it was same kind of price and just shove in oven.
    The chopped dates were reduced to clear.
    Only the free from cheddar style and spring onion crispbakes, organic milk and sandwich loaf were usual price.

    Not included as we bought them for a celiac friend were gluten free frozen sausage rolls at 35p per pack instead of £2.50 as reduced to clear . She will be very happy to have those at the next drinks night we provide the food for.

    We buy reduced and reduced to clear items to help keep our budget down or when things are on offer buy loads.
    Last edited by Doom_and_Gloom; 09-08-2018 at 12:02 PM.
    29 year old vegan woman. My OH is a lovely omni guy
    • pamsdish
    • By pamsdish 9th Aug 18, 1:07 PM
    • 1,075 Posts
    • 6,606 Thanks
    £11.68 First spend of August on grocery, haven`t been able to get tonic water in my local Morrisons for months, so trip elsewhere on the cards, noticed the store seems very sparse on things like butchery dept, may have to change my store, do most of my shopping in Lidl/Aldi, but can`t get the things I can`t get in L/A any more.
    APRIL£200=£35 May£200=£61 JUNE£200=£6
    JULY £200=£11 AUG£180=£57SEPT£180=£57Lost OCT, under budget
    NOV£150£14LOST the plot. DEC£200-£39=£161-£9=£152-£10=£142-£13=£129-£4=£125-£18=£107,-£23=£84
    • caronc
    • By caronc 9th Aug 18, 7:13 PM
    • 4,823 Posts
    • 29,257 Thanks
    £22 today bringing total for month to £69/£140. Well stocked now though so this should hopefully last until the 20th (ish) though I might need to get a loaf

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