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    • zippychick
    • By zippychick 4th Jun 11, 12:19 PM
    • 8,947Posts
    • 16,109Thanks
    • #1
    • 4th Jun 11, 12:19 PM
    4th Jun 11 at 12:19 PM
    Hi everyone,

    Welcome to the ninth Grocery Challenge of 2013

    If your new month starts early feel free to join this thread, or if you're still working on your August budget, then keep on posting in the:
    August 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'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; 20-07-2013 at 2:29 PM.
    I'm a Board Guide of Old Style MoneySaving, The Northern Ireland board,How Much Have you Saved? and Martin's Blogs.
    This means I'm a volunteer to help the boards run smoothly and can move and merge posts there. However, do remember that Board Guides don't read every post. If you spot an inappropriate or illegal post then please report it to It is not part of my role to deal with reportable posts. Any views are mine and are not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.
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Page 41
    • mrs-moneypenny
    • By mrs-moneypenny 13th Sep 13, 5:31 PM
    • 12,479 Posts
    • 153,445 Thanks
    coxy sorry your birthday wasnt a good day, hope your laptop problems sort out soon.
    grocery challenge November budget 400 spent 376.28
    read your books challenge-currently on the Charm bracelet
    xstitch challenge 63 Christmas stocking
    15 in 2015 challenge 12/15
    2015 wooligan stuff - 12 squares, 6 prem hats, 2 pairs mittens 3 blankets, 24 bead bags
    • mrs-moneypenny
    • By mrs-moneypenny 13th Sep 13, 5:32 PM
    • 12,479 Posts
    • 153,445 Thanks
    I've been struggling this week.

    I have 1.50 to last me until monday & I will need milk tomorrow.

    Still managing on half what I was so progress is being made.

    It won't let me update my signature.
    Originally posted by CH27
    ch27 are you trying to do what i do sometimes clicking on the preview sig instead of the edit box below that lets you change the details

    ignore me, ive just tried and its giving a server error when i press submit as well so its a prob at mse end rather than anything you are doing.
    Last edited by mrs-moneypenny; 13-09-2013 at 5:35 PM.
    grocery challenge November budget 400 spent 376.28
    read your books challenge-currently on the Charm bracelet
    xstitch challenge 63 Christmas stocking
    15 in 2015 challenge 12/15
    2015 wooligan stuff - 12 squares, 6 prem hats, 2 pairs mittens 3 blankets, 24 bead bags
    • Sequeena
    • By Sequeena 13th Sep 13, 5:38 PM
    • 4,414 Posts
    • 17,836 Thanks
    Been to morrisons and lidls today. I spent 16.48 on various things - butter, fruit, bread, quorn chicken pieces, dishwasher tablets etc. Also got some new dummies for my son, some chocolates for his Christmas stocking and a new top (I don't include this in my budget).

    Not bad and will see us through until Tuesday when me and a friend go to ALDI

    Off to update my signature
  • CH27
    ch27 are you trying to do what i do sometimes clicking on the preview sig instead of the edit box below that lets you change the details

    ignore me, ive just tried and its giving a server error when i press submit as well so its a prob at mse end rather than anything you are doing.
    Originally posted by mrs-moneypenny
    I'm glad it's not just me
    Try to be a rainbow in someone's cloud.
    • xx_Jo_xx
    • By xx_Jo_xx 13th Sep 13, 5:52 PM
    • 2,854 Posts
    • 62,609 Thanks
    Thanks for the SC advice... Will do a batch of this tomorrow morning


    Eta Happy birthday to the msers that I've missed!! Xx
    Last edited by xx_Jo_xx; 13-09-2013 at 8:32 PM.
    Sometimes lurking, sometimes posting, but always flying
    You are supposed to be the leading lady of your own life, for God's sake! - The Holiday
    DFW August 2013... Debt total 15,475.56 - Jan 15 11,738.66 - DEBT FREE by 2015
    Feb GC 48.02/250 (201.98)
    I will declutter my house and debts
    • islandhoppa
    • By islandhoppa 13th Sep 13, 5:57 PM
    • 197 Posts
    • 2,624 Thanks
    Chippy tea at 12.10 and 99p on a loaf.... oh dear, still 12 days to go and almost spent up! It's these bloomin takeaways, I need to start resisting more
  • she who can not cook
    Well the throw things in a pan and hope for the best sausage hotpot thing was very tasty but I'm still waiting for the damn thing to cool down so putting it in bowls instead of the plastic tubs wasn't today's cleverest idea. with the batch cooking I have planned for this weekend, I'm not going to have enough food tubs so thought I would portion into bowls today before transferring to freezer bags. Would be interested to hear top tips for cooling food down....
    Originally posted by Flat Eric
    Freezer bag tied and put it a bowl of cold water. I stopped asking HIM to put my freezer bags away when he gets home from work. Usually i put them on the unit nearest my backdoor boy i need a draught excluder but it does chill stuff quick
    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
    • mrs-moneypenny
    • By mrs-moneypenny 13th Sep 13, 6:01 PM
    • 12,479 Posts
    • 153,445 Thanks
    Jo, mine is simmering as we 'speak'. hadnt got an onion so its got a stick of celery in.

    is it wine o'clock yet?
    grocery challenge November budget 400 spent 376.28
    read your books challenge-currently on the Charm bracelet
    xstitch challenge 63 Christmas stocking
    15 in 2015 challenge 12/15
    2015 wooligan stuff - 12 squares, 6 prem hats, 2 pairs mittens 3 blankets, 24 bead bags
  • Cambs85
    Chippy tea at 12.10 and 99p on a loaf.... oh dear, still 12 days to go and almost spent up! It's these bloomin takeaways, I need to start resisting more
    Originally posted by islandhoppa
    I know it's not quite the same, but maybe have some stock dinner treats at the ready instead? We have a bag of chips in the freezer for treat nights and also some pizza dough. So that way we can have 'take aways' of a home made kind? Just an idea!
    GC Sept '13: 249.05/250, NSDs: 9/7!!
    GC Oct '13 236.00/ 250, NSDs: 13/9!
    GC Nov '13 5.72/ 250, NSDs: /10
  • Miss Debt
    I started a grocery challenge the day I realised we had a got ourselves in a slight financial pickle. Our grocery spend has decreased every week, can't believe it. We're eating more food as well as a more varied diet, who knew!
    w/c 16/8 - 77.42

    w/c 23/8 42.59
    w/c 30/8 20.12
    w/c 6/9 18.54
    w/c 13/9 - 14.56 and received 0.76p off tesco voucher
    July 15 - Personal loan - 6200.00
    Joint savings/Emergency pot -

    Savings -
    Weight - 137lbs 134lbs
    PAD challenge - 478.21 Make 10 a day challenge - 270.19 NST July No.21 - 7/31 Assignments handed in - 0 out of 4
    • meg72
    • By meg72 13th Sep 13, 6:23 PM
    • 4,389 Posts
    • 41,314 Thanks
    Hi everyone,

    Sorry I haven't posted in days. My birthday was Tuesday - had a rubbish day and have been having further laptop problems

    Happy belated birthday to Flo - another Virgo

    Will update budgets in a mo.

    Meg - your post made me laugh

    Dinner tonight is scampi, French fries and green beans. Nice and easy as I worked today and DD has guides at 7pm so quick tea needed.

    Back later
    Originally posted by Coxy11
    So sorry your Birthday wasn't a good day
    pleased my antics with the onions gave you a laugh.
    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
    • cattysmum
    • By cattysmum 13th Sep 13, 6:40 PM
    • 1,248 Posts
    • 21,309 Thanks
    Been to mr waitys today for 8 free dr Os pizzas (with mocs) and got free range chicken for weekend, milk, rennies and other bits came to 11.20 then to iceland and spent 15.30. Dont know if I can spin grocery money out until end of sept , my purse looks decidedly empty
    GC 2015 - 200 per month - successful up to November 2015.

    [B]SPC No. 295 - SPC No 9 target 320 #1603/
    SPC 2014 150/SPC 2015 256
    Morgage finished 31/3/13 Florida 2017 - 2900
    • rach pach
    • By rach pach 13th Sep 13, 7:06 PM
    • 39 Posts
    • 474 Thanks
    rach pach
    DH has been to the shop, spent 10.94! We are going to be way over this month as I wanted to include the birthday meal in the total. I hate failing at it!
    Last edited by rach pach; 13-09-2013 at 7:17 PM.
    Living the dream, one moment at a time. It's not always easy but there are sparkles of joy around every corner.
    • mrs-moneypenny
    • By mrs-moneypenny 13th Sep 13, 7:09 PM
    • 12,479 Posts
    • 153,445 Thanks
    Jo, your soup was lovely, must admit after i blended it i added a little cream. weve just had a bowl each with wholemeal rolls and it is very filling.

    i didnt sautee i just cut veggies into chunks brought to boil then simmered in the stock till soft with the seasonings, blended and added the cream

    will definately make again
    grocery challenge November budget 400 spent 376.28
    read your books challenge-currently on the Charm bracelet
    xstitch challenge 63 Christmas stocking
    15 in 2015 challenge 12/15
    2015 wooligan stuff - 12 squares, 6 prem hats, 2 pairs mittens 3 blankets, 24 bead bags
    • Sequeena
    • By Sequeena 13th Sep 13, 7:19 PM
    • 4,414 Posts
    • 17,836 Thanks
    OH spent 2.20 on chocolate taking my total to 18.48
    • Billie-jo
    • By Billie-jo 13th Sep 13, 8:00 PM
    • 1,197 Posts
    • 15,697 Thanks
    9.19 today on some fruit, veg and loo roll.

    Tonight we had some belly pork marinated in Chinese flavouring with some roasted small potatoes, shallots and cherry tomatoes. Also did some salad. While the oven was on I roasted the last two beetroot, was going to have these as well but they were not quite done enough.

    Will have to nip to butchers in the morning as I must have forgotten some bacon when I went the other day and DH wants bacon butties for his lunch tomorrow.

    NOVEMBER 135.11/250
    • Bluegreen143
    • By Bluegreen143 13th Sep 13, 8:18 PM
    • 993 Posts
    • 11,731 Thanks
    I've lost a receipt from earlier on this week and struggling to remember what I bought (and I tell OH off for that all the time )

    Definitely milk (the 97p M**dow P*rk stuff from Mr Ms), salad - oh I remember, it was YS watercress at 50p and YS strawberries at 75p! Quite impressed I remembered as it was on Wed that I bought it

    Haven't had strawbs in forever as I normally just buy apples, bananas and tinned fruit. Have to say, I appreciated them so much more than I used to when I bought berries all the time and half of them used to go furry in the fridge - they felt like a real luxury, I quartered them and had half at work yesterday and half today as a treat

    OH bought cream (well actually E*mlea which I hate but oh well) for 1 yesterday, and a giant kitchen roll for 69p. Today he bought a pot noodle for his lunch and really rubbish processed white bread. I told him he had to pay for those himself but have relented on the white bread as he'll be eating it for lunches for a few days now so a bit silly not to count it I guess.

    Made four portions of Spanish veg & bean stew for dinner tonight, half for our dinner and half for the freezer. Even though I'm trying to clear it out as it needs a defrost, shh. Made it in my pressure cooker which I'm just loving

    Oh and happy birthday belatedly to Flo and Coxy

    Married 1 March 2014 <3
  • Taranaman
    Big shop today has taken us up to 205 out of the 300 budget. Cupboards are full though, as is the freezer. Will try and last with little shops now until the end of the month.
  • happydenial
    56 spent today in w**trose. Total now 178 for the month - need to budget carefully now to make my 72 last until October!

    On the upside, my eldest ds has just started school on the outskirts of town - no shops in the vincity at all, so saved a fortune already by not being able to 'pop in' anywhere!
  • strandedinaber
    My budget is out by around 15 for this week. I wasn't counting on getting sick and having to spend a load extra on buying tissues, paracetamol and orange juice in bulk. I also have veg for a casserole which I definitely don't have the appetite to eat. I plan on shoving it all in the slow cooker tomorrow and at least that way I can freeze it easily and not have it go to waste. I'm still resisting on the takeaways which are my usual downfall through, so I'm considering the week a success on that basis...
    Grocery Challenge August: 0/150.
    Alcohol Free Days August: 0/31.
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