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    • zippychick
    • By zippychick 4th Jun 11, 12:19 PM
    • 8,946Posts
    • 16,108Thanks
    • #1
    • 4th Jun 11, 12:19 PM
    4th Jun 11 at 12:19 PM
    Hi everyone,

    Welcome to the final Grocery Challenge of 2012 EEEEEKKKKK!!!!, Terrifying how quickly the year has flown in! I genuinely am in shock it's december grocery challenge.

    Hope you all have a happy poposturus prosperous Christmas and new year. Here's to 2013!!!

    If your new month starts early feel free to join this thread, or if you're still working on your November budget, then keep on posting in the:
    November 2012 Grocery Challenge

    As always this challenge is to reduce your own grocery budget to levels that you will be pleased with, not forgetting that we always recommend that you stay inside your own comfort levels and take things gently one step at a time. Remember that this is not a's designed to take you and your grocery spending to a level you are happy with.

    If you are new to the challenge I have quoted the advice from Galtizz below which will help you get started.

    Please post into this thread for help and advice and support at any time. Good luck to everyone taking part!

    I have said this before, but for all the newbies to the challenge;

    For the first month I took a guess at the budget but I really had no idea how much I was spending.

    I found the best thing is to have a guess the first month but SAVE ALL OF YOUR RECEIPTS (and yes, that does include the ones from the local shop when you run out of milk ), then at the end of the month add them all up and have a look if you were on budget, if not, it doesn't matter because your budget was a guess. For the next month you can use the total of your receipts and take a bit off to get a realistic budget, just shave off as much as you think you can, it could be 1 a week or 20 a week.

    If you are currently spending 200 a month don't suddenly drop it to 100 - you'll never do it but if you cut 20 a month off for a few months you'll get there eventually without feeling you're missing out on anything.

    You might think you've done everything you can in the first month but someone always comes up with a new idea and, if you try it you often find you save a bit more (unless you are SarahSaver who is an expert at this and could only save more if she turned her back garden into a paddy field and lived on rice ) In the first month I thought, I'm planning meals, I couldn't possibly save any more, but then I started double cooking and freezing, and making soup instead of buying it in tins.

    I've been doing this since Feb but only saved ALL of my receipts last month, it has given me a much better idea of where it is all going. Budget for next month is 80 for 2 of us, I'll start on 30/4. I could probably save more, by eating different foods but I can afford to live on 80, I have saved a lot of money since Feb. and I don't waste food or money any more. So I'm happy with my budget.
    By request, here is Spiggles wonderful helpful post

    We all have different budgets that suit our households. The most important thing to remember is that you set yours according to your needs and finances. It can take time to get to where you want to be too so don't knock yourself out if you go over in the first few months. We are here to support each other and it is not a competition.

    I thought it might help to outline where we've come from and the top tips I've learned.

    When we started in March 2010 we had spent in excess of 600 in the previous month. This had to stop, (there's only me and him and our two beautiful black cats) something which thankfully my OH completely agreed with so I have been lucky that he has been on board from the start. He gave me his debit card voluntarily and I still keep hold of it until he needs to get something for the home. At the same time we set up a system of pocket money (pm) at 15 each per week which doesn't count towards the GC and which we can each spend as we wish with no comebacks or complaints. OH predominantly uses his pm on his beer and I ferret mine away mostly.

    The next step was to set up my own spreadsheet which is absolutely simple onto which I put all spends so that I have a continuous running total for the month and for the year. We initially set our budget at 280 per month and brought it down to 240 where it resides for most of the year it is occasionally increased to allow for extras e.g. Christmas to 260.

    The important 'tools' we found greatly helped and continue to do so now are:

    Stocktake cupboards, fridge, freezer - make lists and ensure that the older products get used up first. You'll be amazed at what you find squirrelled away and it will help with your shopping list as you'll realise that you don't actually need so much.

    Before you go shopping check staples - running out of milk, bread, butter, etc often leads to going into a shop for one thing and coming out 20 lighter. Always check these and if they'll run out tomorrow buy them the same time as getting other things.

    Always make a shopping list and stick to it - the supermarkets (sm) try every which way to get us to spend so having a list and strong resolve is the only way to beat them.

    Keep every receipt - and then note it down on your spreadsheet/spend diary so that you always know where you are.

    When tempted, ask yourself do you NEED it or just WANT it - now this advice goes with two things. Firstly, the things you see in store when shopping that APPEAR to be bargains - if you hadn't planned spending the money then its not a bargain. Secondly, the sm send us loads of vouchers for X off a spend of XX - if you had no NEED to spend XX then have you SAVED anything???

    Use my supermarket to compare prices (limited to four of the biggies) - The site may be used to actually do an online shop at whichever of the big four offers the best value or, if you have the time and sm availability, to make up lists for visiting each of the stores so that you can purchase all you need at different stores thus getting the best possible value. (I'd add, do a 'shop' virtually on this site and take the list you create on it with you, whichever one you shop at, it will help keep target prices in your head and allow you to spot bargains. MrM is not included but you can do a virtual list on their website so you know what you're going to be spending.)

    Always have a list - this is just as important when shopping online as shopping on foot.

    Use Approved Foods online (with a list!) - if you don't mind out of date things (ood) or you can search for only in date items. The only drawback is storing the goods as far as I can tell. Oh, and watch the delivery as it's done on a scaled charge for weight so keep an eye on it. You can of course do an AF order with friends, family, colleagues or like minded neighbours. Other GCers use Big Br*nds 4 Less too.

    Invest in a breadmaker - we have saved so much by making our own bread. The prices in the shops are extortionate for bread these days. There's loads of advice on this thread and others in the forum on this.

    Use the recipe lists - always posted at the front of a new thread. There are fantastic, tasty, healthy and economical recipes to use on them and there are a number of other threads on the forum such as Weezl's that will help you to eat well on a budget.

    Shop locally - the local greengrocer (or preferably market but I don't have one ) is usually cheaper as an option for fruit and veg (f&v) than the sm. Often the prices may look the same but when you look at the quantity for the same price the greengrocer will be cheaper. The same goes for the local butcher. Often you will have far more variety of meat available, advice on how to cook a particular meat can be offered and there is (for me at least) no comparison in terms of quality. We buy our huge FR eggs there and I'm yet to find an equivalent FR egg in a sm at the same or lower price. Obvioulsy if you have your own chicks/know someone who has chicks you can get them even cheaper again.

    Grow your own - it's quite simple to grow some f&v at home even if it's only in pots on the patio. There are also supportive threads on the forum for this.

    Cook your own - making meals at home from ingredients is far more economical, often tastes better than shop bought and is probably far better healthwise.

    Meal Plan - this is something that others can advise on as we don't do it. I have a tremendous capacity for eating the same food over many days but presented in slightly different form. For example, we could buy 7 worth of brisket from the butchers and eat it as pot roast for a couple of days, sliced for sarnies, sliced with a salad, chucked into a casserole or shredded up and fried as crispy beef.

    Don't waste food - either only make what you need or use any leftovers for other meals/creations or freeze it for another day.

    Withdraw the cash you want to spend - and keep it in a separate purse. This can be particularly effective as you have the money in front of you reducing rather than spending with plastic which is so easy to lose track of. Very useful when you first start out.

    Don't go to the shops to browse - this can only lead to pain and hardship!!!

    Keep posting and reading the thread - there really is no better supportive, wise and inspirational place to be! I think I saw that somebody mentioned forgetting to read/post. I get around this by using the Advanced button to post, below the window where your text is displayed you will see Additional Options. In the Thread Subscription box use the dropdown to select either instant email notification (this is what I use) or daily email notification before you submit your latest post. Then you will get an email into your inbox from which you can click to the thread to see what others are saying.

    Always remember the sm is not your friend - it wants to profit from you and take as much of your money as it can coerce out of you!

    So, there you go as a starting point. Others on here will offer tremendous advice on meal planning. And don't forget, the only silly question is the one you didn't ask!

    See you all later,
    For quidelines on posting in this thread please read the second post in this thread.

    For the Grocery challenge Recipe Index please see posts #3, #4, #5 #6 #7 #8 & #9 on this thread (the list is growing!!!!!)

    For everyones totals, see post #10 on this thread

    I hope everyone has a great month!

    Last edited by zippychick; 18-11-2012 at 3:53 PM.
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Page 3
    • medusasmummy
    • By medusasmummy 20th Nov 12, 7:37 AM
    • 114 Posts
    • 1,209 Thanks
    Morning all.

    Can i join in please?

    i have joined in the past, usually around january time and then wained off.

    the festive period is always a little tighter for us as my hubby is self employed and no work means no pay. so what ever i can save is a bonus.

    this year we used the park hamper scheme to save weekly for christmas. we got the vouchers and a frozen joints/meat portions hamper. i know i could have gotten them cheaper else where, but i preferred the peace of mind of knowing it was paid for.

    I am combining these last 10 days of november in to our december budget and aiming for 300. our usual budget is 300 for 4weeks so this will mean we'll be stretching it over 6 weeks instead.

    Good luck to all and have a merry festive season

    x x x
    • kezlou
    • By kezlou 20th Nov 12, 1:18 PM
    • 3,281 Posts
    • 43,067 Thanks
    Hi please could you me down for 300 from now till the end of December.

    I was going to put the budget for less but just checked the cats supplies and they have drastically dwindled. Also have to buy flea stuff again, So another 18 for that, still better than 45+ from the vets!

    In January i'm going to set us an annual budget of 2600 which works out about 50 a week. We've had a massive outlay the 8 months due to building work being done in the house. Yes shockingly my landlords been repairs. Well forced into it but at least its getting done, so going to go back the way we were and get back to debt busting.

    Well i know i'll be spending today, have to buy more milk again.

    thanks for the starting the new thread and monthly challenge
    • Coxy11
    • By Coxy11 20th Nov 12, 1:36 PM
    • 1,562 Posts
    • 20,127 Thanks
    Budgets done to here If you would like to have your budget listed on the first page of the thread please try to post big and red so I can spot it - thank you

    Welcome - medusasmummy

    Cross-stitch WIP: Pretty Little Sydney
    Currently reading: Wideacre
  • VickyV

    I've not been doing the GC up until now but want to start in December with 260. Can I join at this late stage? If so my month starts on the 24th Nov and will end on Christmas Eve!

    September GC 191 / 192
    October GC 35.40/180
    Saving for Florida 2016 1861.40 / 8,000
  • she who can not cook
    PLease up me down for 186 for this month i am going for a five week month up to 29th dec..... thank you
    Gc 2013 +26 -5. -4 -7 -14 -15 -10.-8.20 +15p+30+5.80 Dec +9 GROCERY challenge 2014 Jan -2Feb -3 March -1.50 April +5.40 May +4.90 June -3.July 16.50/85

    God bless my sweet "old man" Goldie that died in the early hours of 27 th March please see him on my avatar
  • GreenFairy
    Just nipping in to add myself to the list, then back to the November thread
    €280 please - adding €30 on to cover extra bits for the holidays.
    Grocery challenge: May '13 289.37/300.
    April '13 277.74/280March '13 263.87/250
    Feb '13 287.26/230. Jan '13 150.20/250
    2012 GC (
    Jul-Dec) 1526.25/1580

    • Godiva500
    • By Godiva500 20th Nov 12, 7:42 PM
    • 416 Posts
    • 838 Thanks
    I will aim for 400 again for dec. It's going to be really difficult, with Christmas !
    • Shortie
    • By Shortie 20th Nov 12, 10:15 PM
    • 2,113 Posts
    • 10,663 Thanks
    An early report but we had a Mr T order delivered today 66.82. It should have been a bit more but a fresh chicken was refunded as it was under weight :/

    I could have done without it today in the end as my pay was mucked up big time but it was too late to cancel it by the time I got to work to find out. Hey ho

    But, this shop saw us getting a few little sweet treats in for Christmas (savoury treats in the next shop) and a fair bit of store cupboard stuff and meat to see us through 2 weeks. The mince should last longer - I got a decent amount as it was on offer... The only things we "should" need over the next 2 weeks are fresh things like top ups of milk, bread and fruit. I hope

    We have stuff in already of course to top up what we bought
    Appologies if there are random typos - I am usually replying via my phone

    Original Mortgage 234,000
    Original MF date Jan 2050

    Mortgage (07/05/2015) 232,547
    • elly2
    • By elly2 21st Nov 12, 12:59 PM
    • 553 Posts
    • 5,227 Thanks
    Hi after loosing the plot for Nov GC I'm in for Dec starting from the 26th (pay day I think) 50 per week please x

  • she who can not cook
    logging down my first spend of dec ~sainsburys and hb in the little shopping centre .... got four bags of dried skimmed milk for 1.01 each THATS CHEAP and its only used in my tea and cooking
    HE has his semi skimmed from iceland
    the hard part is being on holiday and getting more walking in... a walk to the shops here there and every where lol i do not need an excuse to spend
    Gc 2013 +26 -5. -4 -7 -14 -15 -10.-8.20 +15p+30+5.80 Dec +9 GROCERY challenge 2014 Jan -2Feb -3 March -1.50 April +5.40 May +4.90 June -3.July 16.50/85

    God bless my sweet "old man" Goldie that died in the early hours of 27 th March please see him on my avatar
  • poppy-glos
    310. for me for december please. i do a calender month so will be over to you on 1st dec when nov challenge finished.
    nov grocery challenge, .227.69/300, 9/25 nsd: , 7 Cmo, 10 egm.
    Me, 10 yo dd, and the dog. all food and drinks, in and out, plus household shopping.
    • tattycath
    • By tattycath 21st Nov 12, 9:01 PM
    • 6,132 Posts
    • 33,089 Thanks
    I'm in for this month. Starting on 1st December. I have no idea what to do about budget though. Do I include Christmas extras food and booze? or do I separate it out and have a separate it out and have a different budget for that? I'm in a quandry....will have a think and come back with a budget figure. I'm open to suggestions and ideas though.
    GE 36 *mortgage free date December 2027-target 2021-new target 2020
    MFIT-T3 No 106
    emergency fund 1300/2000
    Sealed pots 2015 =
    Mortgage : 810/3000
    48/100 2015
    October 10/200
  • keepcalmanddrinktea
    Count me in for December too, although mine will run from the 15th of the month again.

    I will set a budget later, want to see how I manage with November first
    August Grocery Challenge (15th)
    • meg72
    • By meg72 22nd Nov 12, 9:04 AM
    • 4,387 Posts
    • 41,301 Thanks
    I'm in for this month. Starting on 1st December. I have no idea what to do about budget though. Do I include Christmas extras food and booze? or do I separate it out and have a separate it out and have a different budget for that? I'm in a quandry....will have a think and come back with a budget figure. I'm open to suggestions and ideas though.
    Originally posted by tattycath
    I like the idea of a separate budget for Christmas extras as it can be
    planned and saved for. I found before I did this I really didnt have a clue as to how much it was actually costing and had many a stressful time at Christmas trying to provide everthing. Now that I plan and save for it, its a doddle and worry free.
    GC is to spend same or bit less than last year.
    Jan 50/50.Feb100/54 Mar 50/60.April 100/72.
    Sept 40/45Oct 45/40.Nov 50/60 Dec 100/85
    total for year 765/732
  • moonpixiewitch
    please put me down for 190 this month please - i was under budget last month , but would like to learn to walk before i try to run !!
    Started my own business and loving being my own boss
    march gc 144/230
    • pamsdish
    • By pamsdish 22nd Nov 12, 1:31 PM
    • 323 Posts
    • 1,556 Thanks
    I am in ,I find this really concentrates the mind my new month starts November 30th my budget for December is 200.Good luck everybody.
    O.A.P. With a burning need not to waste, but also to live in comfort. I earned it.
    • Tiglath
    • By Tiglath 22nd Nov 12, 4:38 PM
    • 3,449 Posts
    • 11,202 Thanks
    I'd like to amend my December budget. I originally said 350 but the catfood/litter costs are static and I don't really need to monitor them. Instead I'm aiming for 180 for human food/household stuff please, starting December from tomorrow. Aiming for 40/week plus a wee bit for Xmas luxuries.
    Last edited by Tiglath; 22-11-2012 at 5:58 PM.
    "Those are synapses, electric impulses in the brain that carry all the messages. Somewhere in all that organic wiring, all those ripples of light, is you the thing that makes you unique and human." ~ Dr. Jenner, The Walking Dead
    • MrsCD
    • By MrsCD 22nd Nov 12, 8:55 PM
    • 619 Posts
    • 9,186 Thanks
    Thanks to zippychick, rosieben and coxy for running the thread

    Please can you put me down for 75 per week again.

    I've saved up 150 on my MrA card so that's going to be for my 'extra treats'. Hopefully the normal weekly shop will come in under budget.
    I'm still in November until Sunday 2nd Dec, so I'll join you all on Monday 3rd for the start of my December GC! Good to see so many newbies
    • Coxy11
    • By Coxy11 22nd Nov 12, 9:59 PM
    • 1,562 Posts
    • 20,127 Thanks
    Evening everyone,

    Budgets done to here

    Welcome pamsdish

    Cross-stitch WIP: Pretty Little Sydney
    Currently reading: Wideacre
    • By JAMIEDODGER 23rd Nov 12, 6:43 AM
    • 3,987 Posts
    • 16,491 Thanks
    Please can you put me down for 220 for December please?

    I have been doing the NOvember challenge so I think I can keep it low for next month as have lots of practice this month

    My month will start on 1st and run until 31st and will include all food, toiletries, cleaning products and pet food. It's going to be tight but I have my fingers crossed. The extra savings will be helpful
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