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    • elsiepac
    • By elsiepac 28th Jul 18, 11:09 PM
    • 1,592Posts
    • 11,818Thanks
    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.
    SPC No 074
    GC: Jan 19 £0/£tbc
    Vegan 27-8-13
Page 5
    • K9sandFelines
    • By K9sandFelines 10th Aug 18, 6:47 AM
    • 2,075 Posts
    • 18,008 Thanks
    £3.25 spent Wednesday at the food club shop
    £6.55 spent in Aldi yesterday via Dad (would have been a lot more if I'd gone myself)
    £1.64 in work last night

    Total to add to sig : £11.44
    Last edited by K9sandFelines; 10-08-2018 at 6:54 AM.
    GC 2017 £3,434.09 GC 2018 £2,250.95 GC 2019 Jan £268.24/£200 Feb £110.98/200
    ~ Still learning the art of frugality ~
    • Save Dosh
    • By Save Dosh 10th Aug 18, 10:22 AM
    • 1,296 Posts
    • 15,490 Thanks
    Save Dosh
    A few more shops, totalling £17.90, bringing my total spend to £46.36, leaving £33.64. I am very well stocked - to be honest I could easily go the rest of the month without buying anything and eat well. Not intending buying anything for at least a week. #FamousLastWords. Have a lovely w/e everyone.
    Feb GC - £77.28/£80 - Alcohol 20/£20
    Bulk Funds - Food
    -£0.39 - Alcohol £-0.50
    Save 12k in 2019 £500/£5,000 - #155
    • Highland Fling
    • By Highland Fling 10th Aug 18, 2:02 PM
    • 105 Posts
    • 1,266 Thanks
    Highland Fling
    Good afternoon everyone
    just cleared out fridge and prepared veg for freezer. There was no way I was going to use up all the peppers etc.
    In the past the vegetables would have been thrown out. I was very guilty of wasting a LOT of food. To be honest there is still some going in the bin but I am really trying to stop this.
    Veg now chopped and bagged in freezer. I can easily use them up by throwing a bag of chopped veg into pasta sauces, soups or stews.
    Going out for lunch tomorrow. Still have plenty of chicken, fish, etc. in freezer so I have lots of options re future menus.
    Will need to buy milk next week but have enough for the weekend.
    Good luck to everyone else.
    • pamsdish
    • By pamsdish 10th Aug 18, 5:01 PM
    • 1,155 Posts
    • 7,253 Thanks
    Another £8.93 in Aldi, forgot to get butter, so 2 butter, 2 more chia seeds, 2 packs ground almonds, I had forgotten those too, and a packet of biscuits for a treat tonight.
    2018 £2285/£2149 2019 £2000=£1823
    FEB £1823-£8=£1815-£6=£1809-£16=£1793-£8=£1785-£7=£1778-£18=£1760-£18=£1742
    • Doom_and_Gloom
    • By Doom_and_Gloom 10th Aug 18, 5:31 PM
    • 3,748 Posts
    • 12,687 Thanks
    £6.04 spent since last post.

    3 Almond breeze cartons, 1 pip and nut coconut and almond carton, 400g organic white grapes, vegan burgers, coconut collaborative mango and passion fruit panna cotta and 1,450g bananas.

    £33.43 left.
    29 year old vegan woman. My OH is a lovely omni guy
    • PipneyJane
    • By PipneyJane 11th Aug 18, 10:05 AM
    • 935 Posts
    • 7,093 Thanks
    Good morning all

    Nearly half way through the month and Iíve got £29-ish left in the GC kitty. This last week looks a bit spendy, but weíve done our big shop and have quite a few successes on YS items:

    3/8/18. £1.54 spent in Sainsbugs on 2x1L milk, YS at 20p/L, plus two Rachelís Organics Greek-style yoghurt with honey YS at 54p each (down from £2.10). The milk went straight into the freezer for later in the month. The yoghurts were used up this week (each pot makes 4 Lock-n-Lock pots for work).

    5/8/18. Popped into MrTís to get our Sunday paper (weíre subscribers so get discounted coupons to pay for it so I donít count it in GC). Spent an additional £2.03 on salad stuff and something to drink (we were on our way back from Somerset and had drunk the water brought with us).

    8/8/18. Our big shop. £37.65 spent in Mr Tís, which included £7 spent on birthday cards (August is a busy month). Iíve argued with DH that we should pay for the cards separately, but he says not. Wandering around the shop, we found three crates of YS items filled with Chinese/Japanese sauce packets and dried noodles. We needed noodles anyway, so stocked up. They also had cooking bacon in stock, so we bought 2 packs at 57p/each.

    The one thing I couldnít get was a refil pack of their freeze-dried instant coffee, which tastes as good as Douwe Egberts but is considerably cheaper. The jars arenít worth the money, so after MrTís, we headed to Lidl to buy their freeze-dried instant coffee, cream cheese, nuts, breakfast cereals and cheddar (Lidlís is cheapest). Weíve not drunk their coffee before; Iíll give the juryís vote on Monday when weíve started the jar (we drink ďproperĒ coffee at the weekends, instant during the week).

    Anyway, all the above brings our total spend for August to £90.75/£120, leaving £29.25 remaining. It should do us for the month. We will need more yoghurts and some veg (mainly mushrooms and onions) but the garden is ready to yield up carrots and the tomato crop is ripening well.

    - 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
    • RedFraggle
    • By RedFraggle 11th Aug 18, 5:42 PM
    • 790 Posts
    • 2,220 Thanks
    First shop done at Mr T. A whopping £94.61!
    Few extras as our 4 year old granddaughter is coming to stay for the week tomorrow. Wine was also on offer so bought 8 bottles.
    £255.39 left!
    Originally posted by RedFraggle

    Today's shops
    Ald1 £26.04
    Mr T £48.03

    £181.32 to go
    Looking healthy this month so far!
    Officially in a clique of idiots
    • thriftwizard
    • By thriftwizard 11th Aug 18, 6:21 PM
    • 2,924 Posts
    • 36,498 Thanks
    £65 spent yesterday & this morning, on fresh fruit, veg, meat & bread. Still haven't done the non-perishables thanks to a massive struggle with the new chicken run. Nearly finished now, and we haven't run out of anything yet!

    GC Feb 19 - £288.40/£380 "Entertainments" £53/£50
    Bulk-buy purse '19 £250, pet & livestock food '19 £58/£400

    Money's just a substitute for time & talent...
    • pamsdish
    • By pamsdish 12th Aug 18, 11:42 AM
    • 1,155 Posts
    • 7,253 Thanks
    Had to go Asda for my tonic water that Morrisons can`t stock, picked up a y.s. mint to plant as mine is struggling. £12.72 spent.
    2018 £2285/£2149 2019 £2000=£1823
    FEB £1823-£8=£1815-£6=£1809-£16=£1793-£8=£1785-£7=£1778-£18=£1760-£18=£1742
    • K9sandFelines
    • By K9sandFelines 12th Aug 18, 12:19 PM
    • 2,075 Posts
    • 18,008 Thanks
    £3.25 spent Wednesday at the food club shop
    £6.55 spent in Aldi yesterday via Dad (would have been a lot more if I'd gone myself)
    £1.64 in work last night

    Total to add to sig : £11.44
    Originally posted by K9sandFelines
    £1.25 spent in B and M, £0.37 in work and £3.75 in Morrisons spent yesterday. So, £5.37 to add.
    GC 2017 £3,434.09 GC 2018 £2,250.95 GC 2019 Jan £268.24/£200 Feb £110.98/200
    ~ Still learning the art of frugality ~
    • Doom_and_Gloom
    • By Doom_and_Gloom 12th Aug 18, 7:22 PM
    • 3,748 Posts
    • 12,687 Thanks
    £1.26 spent yesterday. Today was a NSD for us though.

    For dinner we are both having pizza. OH is having a frozen pizza. My pizza is a Bfree base, some tomato paste, some coconut based 'cheese', courgette, onion and pepper. Also doing smoked paprika sweet potato chips to go with the pizza and as the oven is on put in 4 vegan sausages as well.

    £32.48 left.
    29 year old vegan woman. My OH is a lovely omni guy
    • thriftwizard
    • By thriftwizard 12th Aug 18, 9:08 PM
    • 2,924 Posts
    • 36,498 Thanks
    Finally did the non-perisahbles run, when DD1 pointed out that she'd need butter to make cake for OH's birthday tomorrow. So £83 added to my total; £70 (in reality, £69.99) spent at L!dls, and another £13 at the closing-down stages of the market, on an £8 gammon joint (which will do 3 meals over the next couple of weeks, plus sandwiches & omelette filling) & £5 on fruit & veg, which bought us a large bowl of tomatoes, a bag of onions, 5 mangos, 3 x aubergines, and a bowl containing a celeriac, some broccoli, some carrots and a parsnip! The broccoli and some carrots have already vanished but the rest will have to wait couple of days; we're off for a meal out tomorrow night to celebrate OH's birthday! (Budgeted for elsewhere...)

    GC Feb 19 - £288.40/£380 "Entertainments" £53/£50
    Bulk-buy purse '19 £250, pet & livestock food '19 £58/£400

    Money's just a substitute for time & talent...
    • Hopeless Case
    • By Hopeless Case 13th Aug 18, 6:32 AM
    • 942 Posts
    • 5,806 Thanks
    Hopeless Case
    Had a bit of an off-track weekend, and I spent £22.47 yesterday which was entirely off-budget . It incuded Voltaron and painkillers as OH has injured his leg, and meat veg wine etc for an inpromptu roast dinner to cheer him up!

    Oh well, life does get in the way and I'll try and have a good week this week!

    £130.47/£240 spent so far
    Feb GC £54.80/£200
    NSD target: Jan 15/20
    Bring Your Lunch to Work Target Jan 13/18
    £1 a day: Jan £22.7/£35
    Tesco CC Aug 18 £10,151.56 £9753.37 0% 30mnths, First Direct CC Aug 18 £4321.80 £3627.85 0% til Feb 20
    • Highland Fling
    • By Highland Fling 13th Aug 18, 9:05 AM
    • 105 Posts
    • 1,266 Thanks
    Highland Fling
    Good morning everyone
    well I made scones yesterday. Not the best I have ever made but edible. Used ingredients already in house so saved a trip to shops. However I do need more eggs, butter and a few other bits and pieces so I plan a trip to A;di in the not too distant future. Don't want to say too soon but the GC seems to be doing well this month. Famous last words........
    Have a good day everyone
    • Highland Fling
    • By Highland Fling 13th Aug 18, 6:41 PM
    • 105 Posts
    • 1,266 Thanks
    Highland Fling
    Good evening everyone.
    well I made a list before going to Ald". Total £47+.
    However I am very proud of myself as I only bought one extra item. Everything else was on my shopping list.
    • Merlin's Beard
    • By Merlin's Beard 13th Aug 18, 7:04 PM
    • 252 Posts
    • 2,139 Thanks
    Merlin's Beard
    £23.33 today, which will take me to £49.18/£100.
    • JingsMyBucket
    • By JingsMyBucket 13th Aug 18, 10:46 PM
    • 357 Posts
    • 3,972 Thanks
    Evening everyone. I did some shopping on Saturday and Sunday with today being a NSD. Iíll post my numbers tomorrow. I'm posting to make myself return to the thread. Iím dog tired after spending several hours decluttering parts of our apartment with a friendís help. Off to bed for now.
    Last edited by JingsMyBucket; 13-08-2018 at 10:49 PM.
    JAN 19 GC: Ä104.88/Ä350.00 // 7/12 NSD
    Save 12K in 2019 - $132.86/$12,000 #123 (1.1% )
    • Lauralozzle
    • By Lauralozzle 14th Aug 18, 2:41 PM
    • 585 Posts
    • 5,091 Thanks
    Food shop update from the weekend.

    Takeaway happened again, on Saturday. Not good. No more (otherwise I will not make budget!)

    Now at £145.20/£250

    So, still thin budget - 2 more food shopping trips to go this month. Feel like we might actually make it!
    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) |
    • More tea please
    • By More tea please 14th Aug 18, 9:33 PM
    • 15 Posts
    • 109 Thanks
    More tea please
    Hi all, quite a few spends since my last post so now at £153.59/£500 spent.

    Based on my spending this month so far I can't believe I was spending over £600 a month. I guess that it's very easy to over spend when you don't monitor it. I'm should meet my target this month and hopeful I can keep reducing it bit by bit.
    • thriftwizard
    • By thriftwizard 14th Aug 18, 9:50 PM
    • 2,924 Posts
    • 36,498 Thanks
    NSDs yesterday & today, not counting the restaurant bill, which was accounted for under another heading. But two big bags of produce came back from the allotment today, one so heavy I had to get OH to carry it, and I'm no delicate little sprig. Beans, courgettes, chillis, spuds, cucumbers, chard & red Russian kale. Half of the beans were processed & straight into the freezer, a quarter went for tea tonight, and the other quarter will "do" tomorrow. Two courgette "breads" (spicy cakes, not too sweet) are cooling beside me now. There will be a small expenditure tomorrow on lunch for Dd2 & I down at Mum's, but otherwise we should be able to coast through until Friday's market.

    GC Feb 19 - £288.40/£380 "Entertainments" £53/£50
    Bulk-buy purse '19 £250, pet & livestock food '19 £58/£400

    Money's just a substitute for time & talent...
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