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  • FIRST POST
    zippychick
    • #1
    • 4th Jun 11, 12:19 PM
    4th Jun 11 at 12:19 PM
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    Hi everyone,

    Welcome to the eighth Grocery Challenge of 2013

    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 2013 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 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. 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,
    Spigs
    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!

    Zip
    Last edited by zippychick; 20-08-2013 at 2:27 PM.
    I'm a Board Guide of Old Style MoneySaving, The Northern Ireland board,How Much Have you Saved? and Martin's Blogs.
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Page 8
  • citygirl40
    My five week month starts today and I'm going to be relying on my full cupboards and freezer.

    Went to As*a today for first shop of week. Bought potatoes (my goodness the price of potatoes has rocketed, so pleased I've some growing in the garden now), carrots, a dozen eggs as this week I'm making quiche, pancakes and a cake. Got 2 loaves of bread reduced for son, a load of cheese and 3 lots of quorn products that I had 4 in vouchers towards so total spend of 9.96 and that included a pack of Famous names chocs, reduced to 2 and I had a 1 voucher. BB Jan 2014, have put in Xmas box under spare bed.

    Hoping to only buy milk now this week, its just my OH that needs reining in now this week!!!

    August grocery challenge 60.23/300

    Week 1 60.23/60
    Week 2 77.81/60
    Week 3 15.48/41.96
  • Florenceem
    Overspent this week but - a lot of money was on Branston Baked Beans - Asd - 4 for 1. There are 49 tins sitting in the garage.
    We had HM Shepherd's Pie + Carrots/Onion + LO Baked Beans for dinner.
    I made some muffins while I had the oven on. This week I bought a bag of the odd shape carrots - 1.5kg Sainsbugs - 95p
    First time using this recipe - very different to my usual Muffin recipe. In the interests of readers - I tested a Muffin - delicious.
    I had to substitute some of the ingredients but the result was great - Mr F loved his half of a Muffin.
    I will share recipe if anyone wants it. Cost to make 12 Muffins - approx 1. They are a filling Muffin - I suppose because of the added fibre ingredients.



    15 in 2015 1/15
  • Yazhini26
    Hi,
    This challenge seems interesting. I'm a newbie here. Can I join in the challenge for Aug-2013 please? My budget is 130 for two adults (just my guess). Have some store cupboard stocks. Lets see how it plays out.

    Thanks!
  • XSpender
    13.50 to add for a cheeky takeaway on Friday night as DH hadn't eaten all day. We haven't had one for a while and really enjoyed it. Also 3.98 on 6 pairs of rubber gloves as DH was cleaning the oven.

    It's my birthday next week so DFIL is talking DS to the local show and DH is talking me to the pictures and for GF pizza ( different budget). However it has been chucking it down all night and all morning so I am not sure if the show will still be on. If not there goes my birthday treat

    Meal plan and shop is done for next week except 2 pork chops and some of the value nappies DS uses at night. I have been having a look through my recipe books and may make another chicken recipe instead of the pork cops as it will put off a spend on meat until next weeks shop.

    I made an olive and herb loaf in the bread maker (GF) yesterday morning using up some bread mix I have had since last year, an open jar of olives and herbs from my stash. It was lovely but has a very soft crust so is difficult to slice and I want to slice and freeze in portions. I may have to invest in an electric knife.
    2015 Goals
    Pay off my CC - 2798 Pay off DH CC - PIF Pay off secured loan - 6958 Holiday '15 - PIF Mini EF 100%
  • K9sandFelines
    My five week month starts today and I'm going to be relying on my full cupboards and freezer.

    Went to As*a today for first shop of week. Bought potatoes (my goodness the price of potatoes has rocketed, so pleased I've some growing in the garden now), carrots, a dozen eggs as this week I'm making quiche, pancakes and a cake. Got 2 loaves of bread reduced for son, a load of cheese and 3 lots of quorn products that I had 4 in vouchers towards so total spend of 9.96 and that included a pack of Famous names chocs, reduced to 2 and I had a 1 voucher. BB Jan 2014, have put in Xmas box under spare bed.

    Hoping to only buy milk now this week, its just my OH that needs reining in now this week!!!
    Originally posted by citygirl40
    7.5kg are 5 (i think) in FF ... until yours are ready
    GC 2015 ~ AUG
    2 Savers Club 2015 no 30 ~ 204.00/450 Roadkill Rebels 0.78p

    ~ Still learning the art of frugality ~
  • stafftopets
    Well, I am back to have another go at controlling my grocery spend. It is amazing how quickly money disappears when you take a close eye of it.

    This month is a five week one for me so it is going to be a little tight as my rent comes out twice so will really need to cut back to cover costs also we have a holiday booked for Sept so will need to save for that.

    This month I am going for 150 (2 people) and I am planning to shop as and when I need to but only to have a set amount in my purse per week. I have plenty in fridge, freezer and store cupboards - just checked and TBH I have forgotten I had so much stuff.

    So here goes..........
    Grocery Challenge: 42.13 /100 September 2013
    Current Debt: 32,000 (31.08.13) Final LBM (31.08.13)

    Out of debt, out of danger - Joan Jonker
  • WantToBeSE
    Hi,
    This challenge seems interesting. I'm a newbie here. Can I join in the challenge for Aug-2013 please? My budget is 130 for two adults (just my guess). Have some store cupboard stocks. Lets see how it plays out.

    Thanks!
    Originally posted by Yazhini26
    Welcome to MSE, Yazhini And also welcome to the GC! Good luck
    SPC #465

    My Savings Diary http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/....php?t=4815948
  • meg72
    Day 5 of my NSP and give myself 5.00. so 25.00 in 2nd purse.

    I am so so tempted to go and buy fresh fruit but knowing that I have to give a fiver back if I do is really curbing the temptation. I have loads of tinned and frozen fruit so dont need it.

    I have a stockpile of tinned potatoes (20 tins) which I only use in stew normally, has anyone any recipes for using these please.
    GC is to spend same or bit less than last year.
    Jan 50/50.Feb100/54 Mar 50/60.April 100/72.
    May50/95.June50/55.July85/72.Aug50/49
    Sept 40/45Oct 45/40.Nov 50/60 Dec 100/85
    total for year 765/732
  • medsdemon
    Please put me down for 200 for a 5 week month. I am trying to budget to do so many things so am trying to cut back on our food spending.

    I did our first shop of the month today at A*da spending 30.28 with my list and that should be everything for the week including lunches and breakfasts. I actually wrote a meal plan!!! I also spent 2.68 on a few bits in B&*- they had jars of cherry peppers for 79p that I usually get in my local Sains for 2.89 that are great as a base for a pepper pesto in an emergency meal situation.

    Meal plan for week:
    Pork belly with sweet onion scrumpy sauce and veg for tonight followed by Rhubarb Crumble with rhubarb from the garden.
    Monday: Lentil pasta sauce with spaghetti
    Tuesday: Mushroom risotto
    Wednesday: Potato and spinach curry and naan and HM onion bhaji
    Thursday: Crispy Pork Stirfry and noodles in a Black pepper sauce
    Friday: Omelette and chips and side salad.
    [March GC : 67.29/300.00 NSD: 1/30

    2015 wins: theatre tickets
  • Nicky Noo Na
    240 for me for this month please, I usually budget 160 but its a 5 week month we will have at least 2 weeks without a kitchen this month (getting a new one at last!!) so will succumb to a couple of chippy teas/takeaways/ready meals I reckon. We only need 80 for sept due to hols so using the other 80 as an advance. The week or two before the kitchen gets done will try and make some homemade microwaveable ready meals for the freezer to keep costs down and to try and stay healthy as we can't be having takeaway every day!

  • ipie
    Just to update another 60 pounds spent in aldi today bring total spends to 119. I feel I may have been a tad ambitious when setting my budget they kids haven't stopped eating ! Going to try and stay away from doing a biggish shop till Friday hopefully. But will be nipping into asda to grab ten packs or so of those branston beans.
    Off to make sausage casserole for tea with roast potatoes and lots of veggies !
  • Josslette
    I have a stockpile of tinned potatoes (20 tins) which I only use in stew normally, has anyone any recipes for using these please.
    Originally posted by meg72
    I've heard that tinned potatoes are very nice diced up and saut!ed in butter/oil. Could be nice with garlic/herbs added.

    Could be good used in corned beef hash?
    September Grocery Challenge 0/225
  • Angie66
    49 for my first week shop, this has to last till next weekend other than milk and bread top ups
    " August Grocery challenge 2013 200
    August Wk 1 49
  • flyinggiraffe

    I have a stockpile of tinned potatoes (20 tins) which I only use in stew normally, has anyone any recipes for using these please.
    Originally posted by meg72
    I like to drain and blitz them until coarse to make salsa, or blend them until a bit finer and use as a base for pasta sauces or a pizza topping.
  • meg72
    I've heard that tinned potatoes are very nice diced up and saut!ed in butter/oil. Could be nice with garlic/herbs added.

    Could be good used in corned beef hash?
    Originally posted by Josslette
    Oh thank you yes I do think will work well in cornbeef hash.
    I have used up 1 tin today, There are about 15 pots in a tin, so I coated five of them in some lemon and herb So crispy and had them with Gammon, sweetcorn, carrots and peas.

    I then used another 5 with onion,sweetcorn carrots and peas to make Potato salad.

    I am thinking the last portion will make a fry up tommorow with some cooking bacon and onions.

    I down only 19 to go, trouble is I dont really like the texture unless in soup or stew, but if it means keeping my NSP money I will suffer.
    GC is to spend same or bit less than last year.
    Jan 50/50.Feb100/54 Mar 50/60.April 100/72.
    May50/95.June50/55.July85/72.Aug50/49
    Sept 40/45Oct 45/40.Nov 50/60 Dec 100/85
    total for year 765/732
  • meg72
    Helloooo Alll!

    Please can you put me down for 750 for August. I am having a 5 week month - that's how it fits the spreadsheet as I get paid weekly.

    Fridge fairly full, cupboard jammed, freezer nearly to top. There has to be something to eat there!
    Originally posted by Sligo
    Just a suggestion but with such good stocks have you considered a use up week instead of a 5 week shop, actually the 5th week is never a full week only a matter of 3 days or so
    GC is to spend same or bit less than last year.
    Jan 50/50.Feb100/54 Mar 50/60.April 100/72.
    May50/95.June50/55.July85/72.Aug50/49
    Sept 40/45Oct 45/40.Nov 50/60 Dec 100/85
    total for year 765/732
  • meg72
    Hi all

    Firstly, I'd like to increase my budget to 110 please.

    This is because I had a little more stocking up to do than I first realised! I'm talking like my coffee, big thing of olive oil, tablets, new (unplanned) re-usable bag, veggie mains, so immediately my first shop was huge in price but not in items!

    So my month is shaping up to look like this:

    Week 1 - 26 Jul - 01 Aug: 45
    Week 2 - 02 Aug - 08 Aug: 25
    Week 3 - 09 Aug - 15 Aug: 25
    Week 4 - 16 Aug - 18 Aug: 15
    18 Aug - 26 Aug - LANZAROTE with the family!!! :-)


    Week 4 is high for 3 days, because that will include if I buy a drink or 2 in the airport on Sun 18 Aug (bound to be a fiver each) so it's not very much really!

    I'm not being massively frivolous by going on holiday by the way - some of you know that my mum was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer at the beginning of December. Total and utter shock to us all and she's not at all the profile who usually get it - she's only 52, not at all overweight, never smoked, only drinks socially generally fit and healthy. Anyway, she's had 4 months of chemo, which was really successful as inthe first 3 months, the tumour reduced by 20%. Now she's just finished the first part of radio, which was 5 weeks and now we are in a 3 month waiting period because the radiotherapy carries on working. Then she'll be assessed again and they are looking to operate around October. This is a huge operation - they say bigger than heart surgery as they remove the head of the pancreas and then have to connect everything up again. It's not without risk and she'll have a very long recovery time, I mean months.
    So, the holiday came about by me just mentioning to mum that I'd really like us to try and plan a family holiday (I'm 29 and my last one was when I was 15!) - it's all happened very quickly but basically mum and dad are paying for us and my sister to go to Lanzarote for the week. It's all very last minute and we've deliberately done it before the op. For nice memories before the long recovery.
    I have not been able to contribute anything to the flights or villa and had nothing saved obviously! Friday was my only payday between now and when we go so I've managed to squeeze 125 from my budget by cutting some stuff back and pushing some back to next month (risky business but don't worry, my DMP is safe, I would never risk that!!!). I'll only acheive this if I rigorously stick to my budget plus I still need to try and shave some off as 125 won't go far what with eating out etc. I know they will pay, but I always look bad - my sister has tons of money and TBH doesn't really understand quite how tight things are for some people (and I'm not even that pushed, I'm just average I think). But I always look ungenerous because I can't contribute or contribute as much. So dreading that a little!
    also, I had no holiday clothes, so mum has advanced me part of my Christmas money and birthday money - half of each to be precise, and I am to spend on clothes. I've bought 3 tops and a lovely maxi dress so far. I have 39 left and have found some cropped trousers on eBay which I'm going to order today, see how they are, and then get another colour if they are good, I think they came to about 11 with postage. Anyway, that is how I am acheiving a holiday - basically I'm being paid for.

    So far my totals look like this:

    Week 1 - 26 Jul - 01 Aug: 45 / 36.70
    Week 2 - 02 Aug - 08 Aug: 25
    Week 3 - 09 Aug - 15 Aug: 25
    Week 4 - 16 Aug - 18 Aug: 15
    18 Aug - 26 Aug -
    LANZAROTE with the family!!! :-)

    I need to get some more veg for the rest of this week once I've worked out my meal plan properly.

    Hope everyone is having a lovely weekend so far - sorry for the ginormous post!

    LC x
    Originally posted by elsiepac
    Oh Elsie love so sorry about your Mum but a lovely idea for the holiday, dont worry about not paying as much as others, for years I was the poor one in our family but am now able to actually pay for DD and GDD, mind you I am 68 next month, just make sure you give your Mum lots of hugs lots of giggles and make it a holiday to remember for her, and for you too. Will be thinking of you.
    GC is to spend same or bit less than last year.
    Jan 50/50.Feb100/54 Mar 50/60.April 100/72.
    May50/95.June50/55.July85/72.Aug50/49
    Sept 40/45Oct 45/40.Nov 50/60 Dec 100/85
    total for year 765/732
  • Puddickle
    OK - so far we have done a big shop at Ald*, and the few items we couldn't get there at Lid* including a stock up of all our cupboard items. We've tried to be as thorough for the week as we can and hope not to spend any other money apart from on our vegetable box. So... our weekly spend is currently at:

    Ald* and Lid* shops: 67.79
    Fruit and veg box: 9.95

    =77.74

    If we can make this our only spend for the week - i.e. no top ups (we've put a ban on ourselves nipping to the shops for anything) we are well on track to meet our target of 90 a week, as subsequent weeks should be even cheaper! Eeek!!

    Tonight I've made a quiche from scratch (including the pastry), and we're having chips and salad with it :-) yum yum.
  • meg72
    13.50 to add for a cheeky takeaway on Friday night as DH hadn't eaten all day. We haven't had one for a while and really enjoyed it. Also 3.98 on 6 pairs of rubber gloves as DH was cleaning the oven.

    It's my birthday next week so DFIL is talking DS to the local show and DH is talking me to the pictures and for GF pizza ( different budget). However it has been chucking it down all night and all morning so I am not sure if the show will still be on. If not there goes my birthday treat

    Meal plan and shop is done for next week except 2 pork chops and some of the value nappies DS uses at night. I have been having a look through my recipe books and may make another chicken recipe instead of the pork cops as it will put off a spend on meat until next weeks shop.

    I made an olive and herb loaf in the bread maker (GF) yesterday morning using up some bread mix I have had since last year, an open jar of olives and herbs from my stash. It was lovely but has a very soft crust so is difficult to slice and I want to slice and freeze in portions. I may have to invest in an electric knife.
    Originally posted by XSpender
    Really Really hope you get the Birthday treat, if we cant have a treat on our Birthday then when can we. My Birthday treat , 18th August, is a day trawling the Charity shops and a half price mixed grill in Weatherspoons, with DD and GDD, I dont care if it pours down, lightening or thunder so looking forward to it.
    GC is to spend same or bit less than last year.
    Jan 50/50.Feb100/54 Mar 50/60.April 100/72.
    May50/95.June50/55.July85/72.Aug50/49
    Sept 40/45Oct 45/40.Nov 50/60 Dec 100/85
    total for year 765/732
  • meg72
    I like to drain and blitz them until coarse to make salsa, or blend them until a bit finer and use as a base for pasta sauces or a pizza topping.
    Originally posted by flyinggiraffe
    Thank you I had not thought of Pizza topping. Bless with all these suggestions I may go and stock up on a few more cans while they are still 14p. Only joking do need to use up this stash.








































    thank you
    GC is to spend same or bit less than last year.
    Jan 50/50.Feb100/54 Mar 50/60.April 100/72.
    May50/95.June50/55.July85/72.Aug50/49
    Sept 40/45Oct 45/40.Nov 50/60 Dec 100/85
    total for year 765/732
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