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    • zippychick
    • By zippychick 4th Jun 11, 12:19 PM
    • 8,947Posts
    • 16,108Thanks
    • #1
    • 4th Jun 11, 12:19 PM
    4th Jun 11 at 12:19 PM
    Hi everyone,

    Welcome to the eleventh Grocery Challenge of 2013

    If your new month starts early feel free to join this thread, or if you're still working on your October budget, then keep on posting in the:
    October 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; 21-10-2013 at 7:22 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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    Norn Iron club member #380

Page 12
    • Billie-jo
    • By Billie-jo 3rd Nov 13, 9:44 PM
    • 1,196 Posts
    • 15,695 Thanks
    NSD #2
    I have a bowl of windfalls that need sorting so tomorrow will be peeling, cooking and freezing them before they go off.
    Have also taken out some nice and am thinking spag bol tomorrow as have mushrooms, onions and celery in.

    Meg - those potatoes really made me think how some people spend their money
    Florenceem - your lamb steak meal looks right up my street - any left? if so will be around.
    Emmad5689 - good luck
    NOVEMBER 81.17/250
    • CountingPennies
    • By CountingPennies 3rd Nov 13, 10:24 PM
    • 1,811 Posts
    • 14,462 Thanks

    I don't know, when they first started this initiative a few years ago, I was told the voucher had to be for 5 minimum, and it wouldn't work with e.g. 2x2 and 1x1. I will definitely go in and ask - this was a few years ago now and it might have changed since then!
    Originally posted by minicooper272
    I'll check with my mother tomorrow too. Hope i didn't dream it. Don't wanna build your hopes up

    CP xx
    GROCERY CHALLENGE:SEPTEMBER: 435.00/400 OCTOBER: 423.70/400 NOVEMBER: 354.28/400

    TOTAL LOSS 13lb

    MAKE 10 A DAY CHALLENGE: OCTOBER: 299.88/310 NOVEMBER: 312.59/300
    • evuka
    • By evuka 3rd Nov 13, 10:28 PM
    • 52 Posts
    • 513 Thanks
    I'm in for120 monthly budget, aiming to reach 100 for December or new year. I hardly spend any money apart from food... as I'm a comfort eater so hope this challenge will help me to fight the urge!
    Last edited by evuka; 03-11-2013 at 10:33 PM.
    SwagBucks 1021 SB
    Make 10 a day challenge need to jump in!
    Sell 100 items 4/100 365 in 365 days (online)
    Frugal Living Challenge 2015 11,000 annual budget (all incl.)

    • Sequeena
    • By Sequeena 3rd Nov 13, 10:47 PM
    • 4,414 Posts
    • 17,836 Thanks
    OH brought home a sack of dog food so it wasn't an NSD as I thought.
  • angelatgraceland
    Awwww that's so kind of you

    Spent 9.56 in B**ts on Saturday stocking up the medicine cabinet, including 16 cold and flu tablets for 1.99 - does anyone know where to get them any cheaper? I was hoping Ald! would have them better value, but couldn't see any.

    Made homemade pizza tonight - it was minimal effort as I did the dough in the BM, and topped it with cheese and mushrooms which I'd grated/sliced in bulk and frozen little bit of tomato paste, some mixed herbs, chopped peppers and ham, delicious!
    Originally posted by physicsgirl
    Check the ingredients of these and see if you can buy something else. They are often just paracetamol and hayfever tablet combined! Sometimes cheaper to buy that way-sometimes not. Have a chat with the pharmacist. I looked them up online but not sure I was looking at correct ones as nothing showing at 1.99
    Annual Grocery budget 2014 is 3000 pa 250 calendar month 57 pw for 3 adults One dog and two cats.
    January 2014 spend so far 87
    • lynnejk
    • By lynnejk 4th Nov 13, 1:03 AM
    • 2,945 Posts
    • 32,151 Thanks
    Was absolutely stunned to see woman in front of me pay 10.74 for 6 packs of microwave baked potatoes, 2 in a pack, 400grms, that was 89p a potato, and a not very big one at that, total 2400 grams, less than a standard 2.5 killo bag which I can get on our local market for 1.00;
    Originally posted by meg72
    I agree with you - I can't believe what some people will buy. Saw ready-to-oven bake carrot and parsnip today (about 2 carrots and one parsnip peeled/cut up with a bit of onion and some oil in a tray) - it was on a YS at 1.89

    Spent 9.56 in B**ts on Saturday stocking up the medicine cabinet, including 16 cold and flu tablets for 1.99 - does anyone know where to get them any cheaper? .
    Originally posted by physicsgirl
    Have you tried Sav*rs, Superdr*g or Home Bags/pound shops ?

    Had an interesting shopping trip today. Shows you can save if you look around.

    Mr S - Groundnut oil = 3.40 litre but Mr T = 4.00
    Mr S - 400 gms aubergine = SO 1.00 but Mr A = 59p
    Mr S - 1 kg medium onions = SO 1.00 but Mr A = 59p

    Spent Mr S = 6.00, Mr T = 9.20, Al*i = 20.25 so total of 38.45.apart from oil mainly fruit, veg and pack-ups.

    Still working on clearing the freezers so hope that's it for the week.

    Hope you all have a good Monday
    10aday......2014=3213.......2015=2634.67......NOV= 309.74/300
    Groc C ........2014=2162.......2015=1688.97......NOV= 205.37/240
    Bulk buy...NOV=15.64 ......NSD 2015=177..............NOV=18/15
    SPC130 x36 ...2014=1178.....2015=1287.48
    OS WL= 5.5/8 lbs

    • mooomin
    • By mooomin 4th Nov 13, 6:46 AM
    • 13,618 Posts
    • 134,141 Thanks
    121.20 left from my budget and exactly two weeks till payday. I do need to buy some small things this week but am aiming to keep my spending down to under 30.
  • Welsh Poppy
    Another NSD for me 2 on the bounce I have plenty in stock the only downside OH and myself have gone on a diet as of today so may need a few extras this week but will be worth it.I have a lot of weight to lose after I got a nasty shock on weighing scales!
    Weight loss challenge 66lb to lose/35lb's lost
  • CH27
    It's my first day of this month's challenge & OH is off for a couple of days which always means I spend
    Try to be a rainbow in someone's cloud.
    • CountingPennies
    • By CountingPennies 4th Nov 13, 9:26 AM
    • 1,811 Posts
    • 14,462 Thanks
    Kids are back at school this morning so i can prepare something for them coming in from school with the stuff in my cupboards. Was gonna do panache but I have no carrots left so thats out the window as they all love carrots. Might do HM cornbeef pie, HM actifry chips and beans, or with mash, peas and gravy. That always goes down well in this house!

    Lunch for me and DH (he isn't working till tonight) will be just be whatever we fancy out the cupboard

    CP xx
    GROCERY CHALLENGE:SEPTEMBER: 435.00/400 OCTOBER: 423.70/400 NOVEMBER: 354.28/400

    TOTAL LOSS 13lb

    MAKE 10 A DAY CHALLENGE: OCTOBER: 299.88/310 NOVEMBER: 312.59/300
    • emmad5689
    • By emmad5689 4th Nov 13, 9:46 AM
    • 1,020 Posts
    • 12,925 Thanks
    Morning all, have spent another 14.79 this morning, had some money off coupons from bzz so that was for 22 of shopping xx
    To get to Disneyland Florida 2016
    • emmad5689
    • By emmad5689 4th Nov 13, 9:51 AM
    • 1,020 Posts
    • 12,925 Thanks
    Good look Welsh Poppy x
    To get to Disneyland Florida 2016
    • meg72
    • By meg72 4th Nov 13, 10:30 AM
    • 4,389 Posts
    • 41,312 Thanks
    Awwww that's so kind of you

    Spent 9.56 in B**ts on Saturday stocking up the medicine cabinet, including 16 cold and flu tablets for 1.99 - does anyone know where to get them any cheaper? I was hoping Ald! would have them better value, but couldn't see any.

    Made homemade pizza tonight - it was minimal effort as I did the dough in the BM, and topped it with cheese and mushrooms which I'd grated/sliced in bulk and frozen little bit of tomato paste, some mixed herbs, chopped peppers and ham, delicious!
    Originally posted by physicsgirl
    I stopped buying cold and flue tablets when I reaslised they were mainly paracetmol, I now only buy Paracetemol tablets, boots own, and a smart price bottle of lemon squash, does the job at a fraction of the cost.
    Last edited by meg72; 04-11-2013 at 10:32 AM. Reason: typo
    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
    • meg72
    • By meg72 4th Nov 13, 10:34 AM
    • 4,389 Posts
    • 41,312 Thanks
    That mark up is just ridiculous. I have been tempted to buy a pack though (on good offer), as they do look nice and crispy on the pack, and I want to see how they get them crispy in the microwave (I'm assuming they're already ovenbaked!
    Originally posted by minicooper272
    I really don't think they will be crispy when microwaved, I know my home baked ones arn`t
    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
    • marris
    • By marris 4th Nov 13, 10:37 AM
    • 646 Posts
    • 4,704 Thanks
    spent 1,50 yesterday in Mr S on halloween sweets and got free yogurt with coupons.
    1.98 in Mr T on YS veg and bread. updated my signature.
    got a 3 off 20 spend in Mr T for this week so need to see what i really need.otherwise staying away from shops and a have a meal plan for this week,gonna stick to that, well at least will try.
    Last edited by marris; 04-11-2013 at 10:43 AM.
    Jan GC 66,82/100 Jan NSD 17/31; Feb GC 71,67/100 Feb NSD 14/28;Mar GC 81,82/100 Mar NSD 16/31;Apr GC 99,54/100 Apr NSD 14/30; May GC 127,20/100 May NSD 12/31; June GC 70,05/100 June NSD 17/30; July GC 47,52/100 NSD 05/31
  • Bookworm42
    Hi everyone.
    My budget this month is 460. I managed to come in under budget by 5 per week in October so I've decided to use 115 per week as my new target.
    Have already been to Mr S where I spent 74.01 and Mr T where I spent 8.91.
    Will catch up on all the posts over lunch (got to unpack the shopping and make the leek & potato soup).
    Here's to a good month.
    • lushlifesaver
    • By lushlifesaver 4th Nov 13, 12:17 PM
    • 1,825 Posts
    • 14,787 Thanks
    46.50 now after the weekend.

    Got to buy garlic bread, lettuce for at home and some other salad bits to keep at work for the week today too.

    Only just twigged that bf is away half the week next week and the same again the week after (Wednesday - Saturday next week, Thursday - late Sunday night week after) so that should mean very little to buy those weeks. Might be able to get away with just milk, butter and orange juice (fingers crossed)

    Back from the shop and realised about half way round that not picking things up today will mean making the rest of my week much harder with regards to what I plan for my breaks and likely to end up in more money spent so, with that in mind, I picked up a few add to total 9.80 bringing me up to 56.30 but I bought a months worth of eggs, garlic bread for 3 meals, a lettuce for bf's lunches (2 weeks), a carrot, a couple of reduced 'halloween' chocolates for each of us as a treat whilst watching a film tonight, 2 packs of toffee apple crisps (half price. treat for my draw at work!), 2 chocolate 'sundaes' for bf and a salad tray for work (will last a few days) determined not to shop now until Thursday at the earliest!
    Last edited by lushlifesaver; 04-11-2013 at 1:47 PM. Reason: To add today's spends
    Perfect Princess born 26/03/14 <3
    • 2childmum
    • By 2childmum 4th Nov 13, 1:43 PM
    • 114 Posts
    • 1,525 Thanks
    The first week of November for me, so I've planned mainly around my bulging freezer without going into my home made meals I'm saving for jury service next week. Having real problems finding child care for some evenings and the INSET day they are both off at the end. I do have friends that would have them but they all have younger kids so I can't see much homework getting done, and if it's not done every evening it builds up into an insurmountable mountain rather quickly. I think DH will have to take more time off work than we were hoping. Plus they can't tell me whether the food at the court restaurant is dairy free and if I take a packed lunch I won't get the money back! Sorry, off topic rant over!

    So my plan for this week -
    Mon - roast lamb (tucked away in the freezer) with roast pots, parsnips, carrots and broccoli
    Tues - home made chicken and veg pie with the remains of a roast chicken from several weeks ago
    Weds - pork casserole in the slow cooker
    Thurs - smoked fish crumble (this has appeared and not been cooked for about 4 weeks now!) Hoping to make 2 but not convinced there is room in the freezer for the second one
    Fri - sticky chicken stir fry
    Sat - sticky salmon and couscous
    Sun - Mediterranean cheese crumble

    Spent 21.30 in Me M and 50.69 in Mr T, including some reduced halloween sweets and cakes and 2 puddings. We don't do Halloween in our house but I'm quite happy to buy the reduced left overs!
    Oct GC 453.14/450.00
    Nov GC 408.77/550.00 - did my sums all wrong so giving up on this for this month!
    Dec GC budget - 450. Spent 357.53, 92.47 left
    Jan budget - 425. Spent 285.53, 139.47 left
    • carlamarie
    • By carlamarie 4th Nov 13, 2:58 PM
    • 1,026 Posts
    • 4,545 Thanks
    Hi everyone, I hope no one minds if I join in with this challenge?
    We are a family of 2dults, 3kids aged 6,5 and 2 and two german shepherds.

    I am aiming to spend 80 per week. This will include all food, toiletries and cleaning products. In regards to the dogs it will include the smaller things such as dog bags and treats (usually 2 every two weeks) but I won't add their sacks of food onto this

    I really need to knock the popping into the shop on the way home from school on the head too, so will aim for 10 NSDs too.

    I am starting this challenge tomorrow (payday)

    Looking forward to talking to you all
    Mummy to ds 29/12/06 dd 10/2/08 ds 25/5/11
    my angel born too soon 18/11/12, always with me Emmie Faith

    15 projects in 2015 10/15completed
    • WantToBeSE
    • By WantToBeSE 4th Nov 13, 3:35 PM
    • 6,590 Posts
    • 26,574 Thanks
    Hi all

    A NSD today..but i dont know if i can hold out for the rest of the day..really fancy chocolate..MUST RESIST!!
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