Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

Welcome to the MSE Forums

We're home to a fantastic community of MoneySavers but anyone can post. Please exercise caution & report spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts/messages: click "report" or email forumteam@.

Search
  • FIRST POST
    • elsiepac
    • By elsiepac 28th Jul 18, 11:09 PM
    • 1,623Posts
    • 11,986Thanks
    elsiepac
    January 2019 Grocery Challenge
    • #1
    • 28th Jul 18, 11:09 PM
    January 2019 Grocery Challenge 28th Jul 18 at 11:09 PM
    Hi everyone,

    Welcome to the first Grocery Challenge of 2019 !!!!

    If your new month starts early feel free to join this thread, or if you're still working on your December budget, then keep on posting in the December 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
    Last edited by elsiepac; 24-12-2018 at 10:23 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 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.
    SPC No 074
    GC: Jan 19 0/tbc
    Vegan 27-8-13
Page 18
    • lantanna
    • By lantanna 13th Jan 19, 11:58 AM
    • 2,608 Posts
    • 19,799 Thanks
    lantanna
    I've finally finished Christmas supplies, including the sprout mountain. I had 4 NSDs and spent a total of 5.82 on the other days on fruit, veg, milk and bread.

    I've wandered round most of the big supermarkets and the discounters and this challenge has helped me focus my mind on not buying stuff just because it's reduced. I have well stocked cupboards and freezer and I'd like them to be emptied enough so I can do a proper inventory. My HM soup lake is going down and I'm working on using up things in the cupboard close to or past their best before dates.
    Originally posted by Airthrey
    Soup lake 😂. No spending for me until Friday ( Payday ) yay Ive made it
    2019, A year of saving, getting healthy again and turning 40
    2793.67/184 debt cleared in 2019 #5o
    GC Feb 170 / 169.43
    • mummyjane
    • By mummyjane 13th Jan 19, 12:35 PM
    • 381 Posts
    • 3,682 Thanks
    mummyjane
    Spent 18 yesterday on a meal for dh, did and I whilst visiting family, wasn’t a planned spend but I suppose it could have been worse. Will need to pick up some more milk and lunch bits today but shouldn’t be much. Hope everyone’s enjoying their weekend ��
    Groceries Challenge 2019
    Jan 462.44/400
    Feb 210.10/450, 2/10 NSDs
    • shabbychic12
    • By shabbychic12 13th Jan 19, 12:38 PM
    • 137 Posts
    • 1,235 Thanks
    shabbychic12
    Small Aldi shop 13.40 still on target for the month. I've joined SW so needed a few bits of syn free food. x
    2019 early retirement wannabe
    Save 12K in 2019 no 94
    All this saving l'm turning into my Dad
    • pavlovs_dog
    • By pavlovs_dog 13th Jan 19, 2:10 PM
    • 9,797 Posts
    • 24,011 Thanks
    pavlovs_dog
    Before shopping today I went through my receipt from last week and highlighted what was started but not used up, what had been used up, and what had not yet been touched at all.

    Last week was supposedly a top up show. I bought 33 items, of which (21%) have been used up, 11 (33%) are started and 15 are as yet untouched (45%). Granted most of those are store cupboard items that will keep, but it is money which we probably didn't need to spend when we did.

    It was a real eye opener, and helped keep me on the straight and narrow in the supermarket today. If you are struggling to get a grip on your spends it is a worthwhile exercise which will no doubt provide food for thought
    know thyself

    Nid wy'n gofyn bywyd moethus...
    • allie23
    • By allie23 13th Jan 19, 3:02 PM
    • 1,331 Posts
    • 14,537 Thanks
    allie23
    Hi folks, I have about 30 left to do us for the next two weeks. I'm not particularly worried as I did big shop mid week and have lots of things in the freezer and the pantry for meals including diced steak, two gammon joints and one chicken joint (bought on offer from Mr T) as well as portions of leftovers from other meals. Although I'm not posting much on here I am keeping a better eye on things this month with the food budget.
    February 2019 Grocery Challenge
    Frugal Living Challenge 2019
    Save 12k in 2019 - Challenger No 69 - 6680/40,000
    • Need2bthrifty
    • By Need2bthrifty 13th Jan 19, 4:06 PM
    • 1,136 Posts
    • 9,661 Thanks
    Need2bthrifty
    Everyone seems to be doing very well this month, my spends for this week = 17.26, I needed to top up on dairy – 6.32, got some chicken thighs & a gammon joint - 4.74, bread & store cupboard stuff - 6.20, that leaves 23.52. I’m hoping to last out the week before I get some beef, fresh fish and stock up on some tinned goods.

    I need to remember to soak some chickpeas overnight to do in the slow cooker tomorrow and that will be hummus for breakfast/lunches, falafel for later in the week and some to put in the freezer.

    Trying to be as inventive as possible with my menu using what I have, at the moment it’s as follows but this could change depending on my mood :-
    Sun – chicken, feta, kale & pomegranate salad
    Mon – vegetable pakora, quinoa salad & hm kebab sauce
    Tues – gammon, sweetcorn fritters & cauliflower cheese
    Wed – falafel, roast cauli & brussel sprouts, hm tomato sauce
    Thurs – salmon fishcakes (veg dependant on whats left)
    Fri – shepherdless pie (veg dependant on whats left)
    Last edited by Need2bthrifty; 13-01-2019 at 4:09 PM.
    Grocery Challenge Annual Budget = 1000/877.90 left end of Feb
    Jan - 56.26/50.00
    Feb - 65.84/70.00
    Mar - 61.29/70.00
    • sweetpea26
    • By sweetpea26 13th Jan 19, 6:44 PM
    • 755 Posts
    • 5,435 Thanks
    sweetpea26
    Re organised my larder this week so I know what I have when I go to meal plan this week.

    Mr t. delivery 45.21
    Lidl 10.63
    Marksparks 11.83
    Local shop 3.99


    Very pleased with the shop this week. Have good bit in freezer but need a little bit of meat this week as well.
    I know I keep saying this but this challenge really makes me think of every penny I am spending on groceries. All the best to everyone, we are half way through the month.
    Grocery Challenge Jan..415.23/390 Feb.. 337.26/ 399

    2019 Clutter Free Challenge 80 / 250 bags donated /recycled / Disposed of ...and any other tat I no longer need
    2 large pieces of furniture are now gone !
    • funfairprincess
    • By funfairprincess 13th Jan 19, 7:06 PM
    • 1,820 Posts
    • 36,043 Thanks
    funfairprincess
    Bought 2 loaves and 2 cartons of milk yesterday 3.20
    Takeaway dinner tonight 11
    Will add this to my total.
    Have also placed a home delivery order with Mr A for Tuesday. It's all store cupboard things but I'll wait till they charge me before adding it to the total just in case the price changes.
    I'm not a muggle...I'm just magically challenged
    2 Savers club 2019 20p Savers Club 2019
    BLTW Feb
    2/19
    Pay all your debts by Christmas 2019 #20 paid 100
    • millionaire in training
    • By millionaire in training 13th Jan 19, 9:53 PM
    • 5,711 Posts
    • 19,895 Thanks
    millionaire in training
    went for a shop to ASDA yesterday and spent 58.18. Bit more than I wanted to but everything will be used for lunches . My DS takes tins of ravioli or spag bol or similar for his lunches and they were reduced so I stocked up. Anyway 155.95/250 so far
    2 year plan. Jan 2019 to Dec 2020- CC and overdraft debt free
    Currently 22,476.43 /22,900.17. Do-able

    February grocery challenge 154.35/250
    100 day challenge 785.29/2,000
    • JingsMyBucket
    • By JingsMyBucket 13th Jan 19, 11:14 PM
    • 368 Posts
    • 4,109 Thanks
    JingsMyBucket
    Cheese mountain... sprout mountain... soup lake... We have a veritable landscape of overly abundant food on this thread. I love it!

    Before shopping today I went through my receipt from last week and highlighted what was started but not used up, what had been used up, and what had not yet been touched at all.

    Last week was supposedly a top up show. I bought 33 items, of which (21%) have been used up, 11 (33%) are started and 15 are as yet untouched (45%). Granted most of those are store cupboard items that will keep, but it is money which we probably didn't need to spend when we did.

    It was a real eye opener, and helped keep me on the straight and narrow in the supermarket today. If you are struggling to get a grip on your spends it is a worthwhile exercise which will no doubt provide food for thought
    Originally posted by pavlovs_dog
    What an excellent idea for mentally assigning food and keeping track of it! Mind if I borrow that? Yoink!

    Yesterday, Saturday, was a NSD but this afternoon I headed to the outdoor market right as it was closing and got some fruit.

    6.32 at a favourite stall for bananas, raspberries, and strawberries.

    8.88 at Carrefour for unsalted peanuts, 2 off cuts of cheese for snacks, a treat, some fresh ravioli, and some bacon.

    TOTALS SO FAR:
    104.88 / 350.00
    7/12 NSDs

    Ill be on site organizing an event for a client the next three days, hence the nuts, cheese and fruit to tide me over and supplement the catered food. My laptop bag is packed and my snacks are doled out sitting in the fridge waiting for me to grab tomorrow morning. Ill make a breakfast sandwich to take with me to the venue.

    On Wednesday Ill be leaving the event early to catch a train to another city for a workshop and spend the weekend there. I may get a few extra train snacks tomorrow evening to tide me over but Im not sure. Were stocked for toilet paper and yoghurt for OH and hell meet me in the workshop city for the weekend. So, we may be able to finish out this week under 120 still.
    MAR 19 GC: $58.86/$300.00 // 0/12 NSD
    FEB 19 GC: $451.32/$450.00 // 15/10 NSD
    JAN 19 GC: 104.88/350.00 // 7/12 NSD
    Save 12K in 2019 - $132.86/$12,000 #123 (1.1% )
    • JingsMyBucket
    • By JingsMyBucket 13th Jan 19, 11:18 PM
    • 368 Posts
    • 4,109 Thanks
    JingsMyBucket
    Oh and I'll need to buy some black peppercorns from the halal store tomorrow evening. Carrefour was selling containers for 14.50 & 8.50 when I could get triple the amount at the halal store for 4!
    MAR 19 GC: $58.86/$300.00 // 0/12 NSD
    FEB 19 GC: $451.32/$450.00 // 15/10 NSD
    JAN 19 GC: 104.88/350.00 // 7/12 NSD
    Save 12K in 2019 - $132.86/$12,000 #123 (1.1% )
    • MandM90
    • By MandM90 14th Jan 19, 9:13 AM
    • 1,547 Posts
    • 8,371 Thanks
    MandM90
    37 remaining - eep! But neighbours brought LOADS of wine to my party so I have an unopened box of wine and about 6 gifted bottles. I'm wondering if it's cheeky/acceptable to return the box of wine I bought from Sainsburys last week. I have the receipt and it's intact. And it would add 15 to my dwindling food budget...
    I'm a Board Guide on the Marriages & Family,
    Old Style, Mortgage Free Wannabe, Green & Ethical
    boards. I'm a volunteer to help the boards run smoothly, and I can move and merge threads there. Any views are mine and not the official line of moneysavingexpert.com. Board guides are not moderators. If you spot an inappropriate or illegal post then please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com
    • pamsdish
    • By pamsdish 14th Jan 19, 9:26 AM
    • 1,185 Posts
    • 7,487 Thanks
    pamsdish
    37 remaining - eep! But neighbours brought LOADS of wine to my party so I have an unopened box of wine and about 6 gifted bottles. I'm wondering if it's cheeky/acceptable to return the box of wine I bought from Sainsburys last week. I have the receipt and it's intact. And it would add 15 to my dwindling food budget...
    Originally posted by MandM90
    Won`t hurt to ask.
    2018 2285/2149
    2019 2000=1682-59=1623-9=1614-22=1592-25=1567-27=1540-68=1472
    • Esthermate
    • By Esthermate 14th Jan 19, 9:33 AM
    • 22 Posts
    • 361 Thanks
    Esthermate
    I have an unexpected (and very welcome) guest so we spent 33.93 in Aldi.

    This makes my total 71.42

    I am abandoning my ambition of 80 and aiming for 100 this month.

    I am determined to stay under 100.
    • MadamMim2013
    • By MadamMim2013 14th Jan 19, 1:17 PM
    • 760 Posts
    • 9,689 Thanks
    MadamMim2013
    Very small spend this morning, less than a fiver. Will add to total in a moment.
    Happily using up whats in the cupboards, made for some unusual meals, still its good to have a change
    "There's a little witch in all of us"
    2018 GC 93 2019 GC 2 March GC 212.12/300
    : DEBT FREE 06/2018
    • Ginmonster
    • By Ginmonster 14th Jan 19, 3:37 PM
    • 393 Posts
    • 5,698 Thanks
    Ginmonster
    I'm running a bit over target for where we are in the month but it's still ok. I bought some tins of sweetcorn and jars of my fave peanut butter for the Brexit/bad weather/zombie apocalypse store, some gravy granules and coconut milk because we had run out of them and then 2 giant tubes of orange Smarties because they were reduced to 49p each. 😁. 7.57 spent.

    71.32/120
    • CRANKY40
    • By CRANKY40 14th Jan 19, 5:28 PM
    • 3,195 Posts
    • 35,310 Thanks
    CRANKY40
    I did a freezer inventory this morning and repacked the freezer so I now know what I have and where it all is. I then made quorn spag bol and quorn chilli. The HT had spag bol for his tea - I'm not well (chest infection and asthma) and couldn't face any after cooking it so I had a poached egg on toast....

    Hopefully I can make a sensible shopping list now. This is usually my last "stock up" shop in case of awful winter weather. I like to try and run the stocks down from now through to the end of summer then start again September/October.

    Ginmonster I've been buying stuff that I know we'll use if it's on special offer as a Brexit/zombie apocalypse measure. We had a power cut yesterday and the HT got dressed in case the zombies were coming He and his friends spend a fair amount of time discussing their apocalypse plans.
    Weight loss 2019 5 lbs
    • mummyjane
    • By mummyjane 14th Jan 19, 9:06 PM
    • 381 Posts
    • 3,682 Thanks
    mummyjane
    Spent 8 today on milk, grapes and orange juice. Its only through budgeting that Im realizing how much milk we go through. The past two weeks have been quite an eye opener for me Im starting to wonder if I set my first monthly budget too low!
    Groceries Challenge 2019
    Jan 462.44/400
    Feb 210.10/450, 2/10 NSDs
    • JingsMyBucket
    • By JingsMyBucket 14th Jan 19, 11:41 PM
    • 368 Posts
    • 4,109 Thanks
    JingsMyBucket
    37 remaining - eep! But neighbours brought LOADS of wine to my party so I have an unopened box of wine and about 6 gifted bottles. I'm wondering if it's cheeky/acceptable to return the box of wine I bought from Sainsburys last week. I have the receipt and it's intact. And it would add 15 to my dwindling food budget...
    Originally posted by MandM90
    I would most definitely take the box of wine back for a refund. There really is no shame in it.
    MAR 19 GC: $58.86/$300.00 // 0/12 NSD
    FEB 19 GC: $451.32/$450.00 // 15/10 NSD
    JAN 19 GC: 104.88/350.00 // 7/12 NSD
    Save 12K in 2019 - $132.86/$12,000 #123 (1.1% )
    • becky170
    • By becky170 15th Jan 19, 5:16 AM
    • 488 Posts
    • 4,220 Thanks
    becky170
    We've now spent 269.32 out of our 450 budget. Got an online shop being delivered tomorrow and after that we'll have one more delivery before the end of the month. Trying to stock up on a couple of essentials to build our store cupboard up.....this week we have extra toilet rolls being delivered as they're on offer ��
    MFW 2019 #7 505/1615
    Grocery challenge Mar 188.15/450
Welcome to our new Forum!

Our aim is to save you money quickly and easily. We hope you like it!

Forum Team Contact us

Live Stats

2,335Posts Today

6,854Users online

Martin's Twitter