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  • FIRST POST
    • zippychick
    • By zippychick 13th Oct 14, 12:54 PM
    • 9,325Posts
    • 17,737Thanks
    zippychick
    September 2017 Grocery Challenge
    • #1
    • 13th Oct 14, 12:54 PM
    September 2017 Grocery Challenge 13th Oct 14 at 12:54 PM
    Hi everyone,

    Welcome to the ninth Grocery Challenge of 2017 !!!!

    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 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; 12-08-2017 at 3:23 PM.
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Page 12
    • njk1012
    • By njk1012 16th Sep 17, 7:58 PM
    • 249 Posts
    • 2,137 Thanks
    njk1012
    Small spend today of 30p on reduced bread one french stick and two packs of Bread rolls.
    Grocery Challenge September 2017 £407.79/£434. October 2017 £0/£400
    Car finance 28/08/2017 = £8819.52 Car finance now £8659.14
    Tax credit debt = ????
    • Cherry Burton
    • By Cherry Burton 16th Sep 17, 8:13 PM
    • 78 Posts
    • 406 Thanks
    Cherry Burton
    Hi everyone,

    I've been to ALDI to get the weekly shop, the total cost was £15.89. I have a guest staying overnight so I had to purchase more than usual
    • Orangies
    • Mushrooms
    • Beer
    • Milk
    • Bread
    • Fancy biscuits
    • Eggs
    • Washing liquid
    • Pancakes
    • Cola
    • Bacon
    • Yogurt
    • Couscous

    So far in September, I've spent £50.79 meaning that at 53.33% through the month I have spent 50.79% of my budget.

    One thing I am really pleased about so far this month is that I haven't eaten a shop brought sandwich for lunch. I had got into the habit of buying them 4/5 times a week.

    CB
    Debt 08/14 - £8200
    Mortgage 1/1/14 approx £50,000, 1/8/16 £31,269 1/9/16 27500 3/10/16 £25842
    1/11/16 £23987 1/12/16 £22050 1/4/17 £16312 3/7/17 £9989 1/8/17 £7,666 1/9/17 £5959
    • minnie2
    • By minnie2 16th Sep 17, 8:14 PM
    • 417 Posts
    • 6,848 Thanks
    minnie2
    I tend to go to the main supermarkets late on my way home from work and get the reduced gluten free bread and freeze it. Also Fultons freezer shop often have gluten free stuff much cheaper, they have battered fish and fish fingers in at the moment. I also go to Factory Foods about once a month they often have gluten free products that i buy in bulk (their stock changes every week though, so never know what will be in). They currently have GF sausage meat at 50p a pack and GF flour at 2 for £1.
    Originally posted by njk1012
    Thank you!!
    Ive never heard of those two shops will see if we have them im in norfolk.i cant get to supermarkets late after work as i have to pick up babies then cook and put them to bed :-( after hubby gets home im too tired to trek across city.
    Frugal living challenge - need to revisit its been.a while !! Need to reduce our debts!!
    • njk1012
    • By njk1012 16th Sep 17, 9:27 PM
    • 249 Posts
    • 2,137 Thanks
    njk1012
    I made meatballs tonight with sausage meat which was a variation of a traditional Greek recipe that was shared with me earlier in the year.

    The original recipe if anyone would find it useful (sorry I'm not good with amounts I'm more a chuck it in kind of cook).

    1 potato grated
    2 carrots grated
    2 small onions finely chopped or grated
    I use the food processor for the above
    1 pack of lamb mince 450/500g?
    fresh or dried mint could possibly substitute with mint sauce?
    salt and pepper (pinch of each)

    Squeeze excess liquid from the grated vegetables and put with the rest of the ingredients in the food processor and blend till almost smooth. Roll in to small balls (aim for a little smaller than a golf ball) and deep fry (I've baked in the oven and this also works well).

    The Greek lady I know makes a batch of these for all guests that arrive at her home and serves them with yogurt and mint sauce, but we usually have them as part of a main meal. As i was substituting the lamb for sausage meat tonight I changed the mint for sage which worked really well.

    Minnie2- These should meet your dietary needs too and are very quick if using a food processor.
    Grocery Challenge September 2017 £407.79/£434. October 2017 £0/£400
    Car finance 28/08/2017 = £8819.52 Car finance now £8659.14
    Tax credit debt = ????
    • caronc
    • By caronc 17th Sep 17, 11:36 AM
    • 2,232 Posts
    • 15,052 Thanks
    caronc
    £21 this week so £63/£120 so far this month
    May GC £150/£150, June GC £117/£120, July £185/£170, August £108/£120, Sep GC £109/£120
    • njk1012
    • By njk1012 17th Sep 17, 5:16 PM
    • 249 Posts
    • 2,137 Thanks
    njk1012
    Another £6.42 today at factory foods for 2x GF sausage meat 6x GF Indian party platters 3x GF coconut granola 4x pasta sauces 2x oven dishes and 2x chocolate spread.
    Grocery Challenge September 2017 £407.79/£434. October 2017 £0/£400
    Car finance 28/08/2017 = £8819.52 Car finance now £8659.14
    Tax credit debt = ????
    • minnie2
    • By minnie2 17th Sep 17, 8:28 PM
    • 417 Posts
    • 6,848 Thanks
    minnie2
    What is a reasonable budget for 4 people well 2 adults and two very hungry children with dietary requirements ? I havent a clue.spent the day trying kondmaring my bedroom and ditched recents receipts. I dont know what i spent in first week of september i think it was around £44 that rings a bell in asda.then nothing as i was laid up with bad neck/back and since friday ive spent £8 home bargains £24 aldi and £3 asda.i am going to try living out of cupboards for few days and assessing situation.get back in swing of things.the kids are eating so much!!
    Frugal living challenge - need to revisit its been.a while !! Need to reduce our debts!!
    • NewShadow
    • By NewShadow 17th Sep 17, 9:40 PM
    • 2,061 Posts
    • 9,571 Thanks
    NewShadow
    Well my rent's just gone up by £75 so next month I'm going to need to rejoin this challenge.

    Thought I'd post here to get into the habit and to start reading all of your successes to spur me on!

    The next couple of weeks I think need to be doing an inventory of existing stocks, a realistic review of the budget, and getting out and cleaning those appliances I've not been using - like the slow cooker - to remind myself how they work.

    One person, three cats, working 4 days a week with no allergies - should be easy enough.

    Should be...
    We’ve had to remove your signature. Please check the Forum Rules if you’re unsure why it’s been removed and, if still unsure, email forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com
    • lynnejk
    • By lynnejk 17th Sep 17, 11:09 PM
    • 4,871 Posts
    • 51,186 Thanks
    lynnejk
    Evening all

    Just a small spend of £4.14 for milk, bread etc. in Al*i.

    We go on our holibobs on Tuesday, so didn't want to buy 'stuff' we wouldn't use up before that. I want to buy all fresh fridge foods when we return and I've plenty in the freezers and stocks for now.

    Hope you all have a money-saving Monday and an enjoyable couple of weeks.
    Lx
    £10day..2014=3213..2015=3421..2016=3238..2017=1795....SEPT=189.80/150
    GrocC..2014=2162..2015=2083..2016=2181..2017=1337....SEPT=102.84/200
    Bulk buy.......SEPT=13.48
    GC.NSD....2015=216....2016=213....2017=126....SEPT=12/15
    SPC130x57...2014=1178...2015=1287...2016=4616. ..2017=764.96
    OS WL= -5/8 ......CC =840......Savings = £9250
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 18th Sep 17, 3:00 AM
    • 611 Posts
    • 3,885 Thanks
    armchairexpert
    Kept the weekly shop down to under $150 thanks to the big meat shop I did at Costco. Last night we had a whole salmon trout each, done on the barbecue and wolfed by the children. There's enough left over that I might attempt a fish pie for dinner tonight.

    Rest of the week looks like this:

    Fish pie
    Quiche (spinach and feta and whatever else I have in the fridge)
    Sausages and mash
    Laksa w/ tofu and whatever leftover bits I have
    Burgers and chips

    I'm at $816/1050 with two weekly shops to go. Tight!
    MFW diary here. 1 Feb 2017 $229,371 - MFD Feb 2043 aiming for May 2028
    14 August 2017 - Refinanced: $220,000
    September 2017 - $218,597.77
    • elsiepac
    • By elsiepac 18th Sep 17, 4:20 PM
    • 1,314 Posts
    • 9,511 Thanks
    elsiepac
    Hey all

    Only one more "shopping day" left for me in this budget, but I'm not sure I'll need all that much stuff. Lucky as I'm very nearly at budget now. But have a full fridge, so not worried.

    Tried a new recipe last night - it was really delicious so I'll share my version of it with you guys (I simplify things sometimes when I CBA or when I'm missing ingredients lol)

    Curried Corn & Veggie Chowder

    Ingredients
    1 tsp oil
    1 big onion
    2 carrots
    1 decent size red pepper (I used 1 small red and 1 small yellow)
    4 cloves garlic
    A thumb of ginger
    1/4 tsp chilli flakes (optional)
    1 tbsp curry powder
    1 courgette
    1 3/4 cups of sweetcorn
    3 cups stock (750ml)
    1/2 can of coconut milk
    Juice of 1 lime

    Method
    • Chop all the veggies finely
    • Saute the onion, carrot and pepper in the olive oil for a few minutes until the onion is translucent (I put the lid on the pot to steam it as then I need less oil, but use as much as you want!)
    • Add the minced garlic and peeled and chopped or grated ginger, along with the chilli flakes
    • Stir for a couple of minutes, then add the curry powder and the courgette along with the sweetcorn, and pour in the stock and the coconut milk
    • Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes until your veggies are cooked through
    • Using a hand blender, blend half the mixture (or take half out into a food processor)
    • Mix well, stir in your lime juice and enjoy... you can top with coriander if you have some

    Based on a recipe from Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moscovitz
    Last edited by elsiepac; 18-09-2017 at 4:22 PM.
    I'm a Board Guide on the Old Style, Greenfingered, Energy & Going Out Deals boards which means I'm a volunteer to help the boards run smoothly and I can move and merge threads there. Please remember, board guides don't read every post. If you spot an illegal or inappropriate post then please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com (it's not part of my role to deal with this) Any views are mine and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.
    GC: Oct £0/£tbc | Sep £244.34/£250 | Aug £190.38/£200 | Jul £194.08/£150 | Jun £179.03/£150 | May £158.54/£150 | Apr £316.94/£200 | Mar £170.47/£120 | Feb £199.45/£160
    Vegan 27-8-13
    • TooClumsy
    • By TooClumsy 19th Sep 17, 8:46 AM
    • 99 Posts
    • 155 Thanks
    TooClumsy
    Already Over budget for September :(
    Hello everyone,

    Current situation: just moved into our first home with husband, so my budget covers 2 adults who love to eat, an occasional grocery shop for grandparents and includes all cleaning supplies as well.

    I had set the budget to £250 for the month, very naively me thinks.

    We had two sets of dinner parties in two weeks, for close friends who came to see our new home for the first time. So we went significantly over, despite putting £40 into a sink fund for friends for the month.

    I've decided to track our grocery spends by week, imagining the costs would be higher in the first two weeks of the month. There is also a Costco trip and a MuscleFoods order for chicken breasts too.

    Breakdown:

    Aldi: £51.21 (Big grocery shop)
    Costco £87.56 (Laundry supplies and some groceries)
    Tesco £15 Baked banana bread for the first time
    Muscle Foods £29.99 (Delivery charge for £5)
    Pound Stretcher £1.56
    Tesco £14.29 (Dinner party specifics including flowers)
    Week 1 Total: £197.81/£250 (79% allocated funds spent)

    Aldi £14.84
    Aldi £5.31
    Sainsburys £30.11 (Includes ingredients for dinner party where we had a GF, DF guest)
    Tesco £52.32 (Alcohol and fresh flowers)
    Week 2 Total: £102.58
    Grand Total: £300.39/£250

    Petrol Station: £1.49 Milk for 2 year old niece
    Tesco: £14.29 (second dinner party bits)
    Aldi: £10.75 (milk, lunch meats and beer)
    Week 3 Total so far: £26.53
    Grand Total: £326.92

    So if my updated budget amount is £250 + £40 sink fund = £290, then I am currently 31% over budget.

    Does anyone have any tips for dinner parties etc? We are going into peak festival period for my religion so expect a lot of visits, visiting, gifts to hand out etc so will be looking to make a saving where we can.

    Separately, how long did it take everyone to just "get it" in terms of their desired spends for groceries. I can basically convince myself and hubbie that we NEED that mushroom pate and that pot of humus (Sabra brand: blimming gorgeous!).

    -TC
    GC Challenge: Sept £326.92/£290
    • YorksLass
    • By YorksLass 19th Sep 17, 4:05 PM
    • 253 Posts
    • 3,254 Thanks
    YorksLass
    Well my rent's just gone up by £75 so next month I'm going to need to rejoin this challenge.....The next couple of weeks I think need to be doing an inventory of existing stocks, a realistic review of the budget, and getting out and cleaning those appliances I've not been using - like the slow cooker - to remind myself how they work.
    Originally posted by NewShadow
    Ouch! Good plan though to re-adjust the budget, good luck.

    Thanks elsiepac for the Curried Corn & Veggie Chowder recipe, it sounds yummy - I'll be giving it a try.

    Current situation: just moved into our first home with husband.....Separately, how long did it take everyone to just "get it" in terms of their desired spends for groceries. TC
    Originally posted by TooClumsy
    Welcome to the thread and congratulations on moving into your first new home. It can be expensive when you're just starting up so maybe you'll find things will get easier with time. Looking at your breakdown of spends so far, I'd say things like the laundry supplies etc wouldn't be something you'd be buying every month - maybe you could have a separate budget for these and also make a note of how long they last.

    Other tips:
    Keep all your receipts and write down every spend in a notebook - that way, you can see where the money is going so it would be easier to set a realistic budget.
    Keep an inventory of what you have in the freezer/cupboards so you don't buy things you already have.
    Good idea to have a sink fund for the dinner parties. Could you perhaps make some of the dinner party dishes instead of buying ready-made (eg the hummus and pate? Lots of helpful recipe links at the beginning of this thread.
    Watch out for delivery charges - they can "up" the final cost more than you might think.
    The "do I NEED" scenario (we've all been there ) - have a rummage through stocks to see if you have something else you could use before giving in to temptation.

    As to your last question, well .... it's different for everyone and sometimes life throws things at us that upset all our best laid plans!
    Be kind to others and to yourself too. Life has its ups and downs, use the ups to overcome the downs!

    Sep GC: £160 - £108.22 = £51.78 NSDs 15/28
    Aug GC: £200 - £115.38 = £84.62 NSDs 28/35 July GC +£7.98 June GC -£3.13 May GC +£10.37

    • YorksLass
    • By YorksLass 19th Sep 17, 5:06 PM
    • 253 Posts
    • 3,254 Thanks
    YorksLass
    Week 3
    One thing I am really pleased about so far this month is that I haven't eaten a shop brought sandwich for lunch. I had got into the habit of buying them 4/5 times a week. CB
    Originally posted by Cherry Burton
    Well done, it's amazing how much you can save by making your own - it makes the effort worthwhile, plus you know whats gone in it. Add in things like dried fruit, nuts, carrot/celery sticks, yogurt etc too, then you won't be tempted by chocolate bars and crisps. When I was working we had a vending machine for snacks, tea, coffee etc but I used to take my own coffee in a thermos flask (the vm tea was disgusting and the coffee only marginally better), one cuppa in the morning and one in the afternoon, with water at lunchtime.

    Week 3 has seen spends of £6.90 (market - eggs, cooked meat, oven cakes), £34.95 (Sainsbobs for fruit, veg, salad, ys items for freezer - x4 1/4lb beefburgers, x2 cod fishcakes, x8 large cod goujons and x2 cod fillets) and an online delivery this morning £35.70 (Sainsbobs again, cupboard stores - stocking up for winter - and meat for freezer - liver, sausage, beef escalopes, mince), total of £70.65.

    Total spends so far this month: £108.22/£160 and 15/28 NSDs, leaving a balance of £51.78 in the kitty. Nine days to go and I'm hopeful all I will need next week is milk. It would be nice to have a kick-start to next year's holiday fund!
    Be kind to others and to yourself too. Life has its ups and downs, use the ups to overcome the downs!

    Sep GC: £160 - £108.22 = £51.78 NSDs 15/28
    Aug GC: £200 - £115.38 = £84.62 NSDs 28/35 July GC +£7.98 June GC -£3.13 May GC +£10.37

    • candygirl
    • By candygirl 19th Sep 17, 11:36 PM
    • 25,680 Posts
    • 104,036 Thanks
    candygirl
    Spent £23 in ALDI today, so that's £93/120 so far this month.Think I'll be under target, as have loads in , n also got my £15 TESCO voucher for the trolley injury
    "You can't stop the waves, but you can learn to surf"

    (Kabat-Zinn 2004)
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 20th Sep 17, 2:51 AM
    • 611 Posts
    • 3,885 Thanks
    armchairexpert
    $20 on lunchbox top ups and things for Mr E to take to work. That leaves me with $250 for the next two weeks, which will be...surprising, if I manage it.
    MFW diary here. 1 Feb 2017 $229,371 - MFD Feb 2043 aiming for May 2028
    14 August 2017 - Refinanced: $220,000
    September 2017 - $218,597.77
    • Matron Midge
    • By Matron Midge 20th Sep 17, 10:01 AM
    • 423 Posts
    • 3,657 Thanks
    Matron Midge
    Declaring for September on £313.82/£400
    This was helped by our holidays where we were using a different budget.
    Cupboards and freezer looking sparse so will need to stock up when I go shopping. We also have two birthdays looming where food will be an integral part of the celebrations but I think I'm ok with that.
    See you on the October thread.
    • chocoholic_chick
    • By chocoholic_chick 20th Sep 17, 10:12 AM
    • 596 Posts
    • 2,856 Thanks
    chocoholic_chick
    Spend of £9.10 so far this week. Needed bread and sandwich meats, a few bits for lunches and some fruit. Have people coming round Saturday night for food and drinks so have planned out what I'm going to cook and it's coming in at just under £50 which includes a case of beer. It's a fair chunk of my remaining budget, but I'm still fairly confident I'll not overspend this month
    New House... New Mortgage! February 2017: £144,000
    Current Mortgage Balance: £137,804.34
    2017 OP's:£2,950
    September Grocery Challenge: £229.99/£220
    Total Debt £29,209 £0 Debt free 6/8/16
    • zafiro1984
    • By zafiro1984 20th Sep 17, 10:34 AM
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    zafiro1984
    Does anyone have any tips for dinner parties etc? We are going into peak festival period for my religion so expect a lot of visits, visiting, gifts to hand out etc so will be looking to make a saving where we can.
    -TC
    Originally posted by TooClumsy
    Many of us have been there, new house, limited budget, wanting to do the best for friends and family and as you say the festive/expensive season is approaching.
    Also, no doubt you will have friends or family in a similar position and you want to keep up with your social life not shut yourself away because of not being able to afford to socialise .

    My tip for entertaining friends/family is to suggest that you provide a main course and wine, get the invited couple to provide a dessert and if there is a third couple they should provide a starter or cheese. It's a flexible way of entertaining on a regular basis and splits the cost. Also, it's quite entertaining as you don't know exactly what the others will be bringing The idea could be used for a posh dinner or dressed down to sitting on the sofa. Don't forget to reciprocate the idea when you are invited back to their place.

    We used to do this - many years ago - it worked well and our circle of friends grew enormously as we met so many different people at these dinners. It was also very entertaining.

    Small gifts:- something homemade - chocolate truffles (Delia Smith has a brilliant recipe), homemade chutney or jams - plums are good and in season now. If HM jam is good enough for the Royal Family it's Ok for us to do the same. Save jars and buy some pretty gingham fabric to cover the lids.
    If your religion will allow it fruit soaked in vodka, or brandy to make a liqueur - plenty of recipes on the web - save small bottles, you don't have to give a wine sized bottle away. Homemade is always appreciated as it shows you have made an effort not just flashed the cash/card.
    Last edited by zafiro1984; 20-09-2017 at 10:49 AM.
    Aug Grocery 258.35/250 Sept Grocery 277.53/300 £22.47 left
    • PipneyJane
    • By PipneyJane 20th Sep 17, 10:37 AM
    • 563 Posts
    • 3,530 Thanks
    PipneyJane
    Hello everyone,

    Current situation: just moved into our first home with husband, so my budget covers 2 adults who love to eat, an occasional grocery shop for grandparents and includes all cleaning supplies as well.

    I had set the budget to £250 for the month, very naively me thinks.

    We had two sets of dinner parties in two weeks, for close friends who came to see our new home for the first time. So we went significantly over, despite putting £40 into a sink fund for friends for the month.

    I've decided to track our grocery spends by week, imagining the costs would be higher in the first two weeks of the month. There is also a Costco trip and a MuscleFoods order for chicken breasts too.

    Breakdown:

    Aldi: £51.21 (Big grocery shop)
    Costco £87.56 (Laundry supplies and some groceries)
    Tesco £15 Baked banana bread for the first time
    Muscle Foods £29.99 (Delivery charge for £5)
    Pound Stretcher £1.56
    Tesco £14.29 (Dinner party specifics including flowers)
    Week 1 Total: £197.81/£250 (79% allocated funds spent)

    Aldi £14.84
    Aldi £5.31
    Sainsburys £30.11 (Includes ingredients for dinner party where we had a GF, DF guest)
    Tesco £52.32 (Alcohol and fresh flowers)
    Week 2 Total: £102.58
    Grand Total: £300.39/£250

    Petrol Station: £1.49 Milk for 2 year old niece
    Tesco: £14.29 (second dinner party bits)
    Aldi: £10.75 (milk, lunch meats and beer)
    Week 3 Total so far: £26.53
    Grand Total: £326.92

    So if my updated budget amount is £250 + £40 sink fund = £290, then I am currently 31% over budget.

    Does anyone have any tips for dinner parties etc? We are going into peak festival period for my religion so expect a lot of visits, visiting, gifts to hand out etc so will be looking to make a saving where we can.

    Separately, how long did it take everyone to just "get it" in terms of their desired spends for groceries. I can basically convince myself and hubbie that we NEED that mushroom pate and that pot of humus (Sabra brand: blimming gorgeous!).

    -TC
    Originally posted by TooClumsy
    Where do I start? That first shop after DH and I moved into my flat back in April 2000, we spent at least £180 in Mr T's just "stocking up" and that was without buying any meat. (I use a butcher.). We literally started with nothing but some empty Tupperware. I remember the two of us standing in the kitchen wondering where all the money had gone and agreeing that next month we'd start a kitty system, taking cash out of the bank and contributing £50 each for groceries and £20 for meat (so a monthly budget of £100 for groceries and £40 for meat).

    Fast forward to 2017 and our "housekeeping budget" is now as follows:-

    £120 Groceries (which I track for the grocery challenge)
    £ 40 Meat fund
    £ 40 Bulk fund (used for Costco, visits to Wing Yip for rice, flour, spices)
    £ 10 Garden fund (for seeds, equipment, etc)
    £ 10 Christmas food
    -----
    £220 a month
    ====

    Most of the funds accrue for several months then we'll do a big shop. While I meal-plan a little, I shop primarily to restock my freezer and pantry. We try to always have the basics in stock: onions, garlic, mushrooms, tins of tomatoes, flour, rice, kidney beans, carrots, lentils, etc. I buy the big bags of spices and store them in Douwe Egbert coffee jars (each jar takes approximately 500g of spice).

    Hope that helps. Now, to turn to your spending: how many chicken breasts did you get from MuscleFoods for your £29.99? 20? 30? Are they really worth the expenditure? Would you get a better deal if you ordered them from a local butcher? To give you a benchmark, my kosher butcher usually sells a tray of 10 for about £23 and, buying kosher, I expect to pay a premium of at least 50%.

    Dinner parties: take a look at your receipts and figure out where the money is going. Are you buying a lot of pre-prepared food? Spending it all on steak? Is the majority of the spend on wine? If the latter, have you tried Lidl's wines? Remember, you most guests just want good company accompanied by tasty food and plenty of it - good friends won't care a damn if you've shopped in Fortnums or in Lidl.

    Good, cheap, homemade starters are veggie soup, pate (serve in ramekins accompanied by a sliced baguette), savoury roulades, vegetable terrines (make a white sauce, split it in half, add a cup of peas to one half and cauliflower and cheddar to the other, then pur!e with some gelatine. Line a loaf pan with cling film and layer up).

    Main courses: a stew always works well, served with plenty of mash. Or a curry. Or consider homemade lasagne, a homemade fish pie; even a roast can be good if you can carve (prep the veggies in advance and have everything ready to shove in the oven, so that you don't need to spend time cooking while you're guests are with you).

    Deserts: I'm not much of a pudding person, so I usually stick to a couple of tried and true recipes: Nigella Lawson's gooey chocolate pudding (buy your chocolate in Lidl) served with double cream; Rose Elliott's chocolate-chestnut torte; or a pavlova. Even a homemade cake is good, served warmed with cream. In my deserts, the most important ingredient is probably my food processor.

    The above works for most religious festival meals as well, although I appreciate that certain festivals have certain traditional foods to accompany them (Judaism has the concept of "the table as altar"). Make as much as you feel capable of and prepare it advance where possible.

    HTH

    - Pip
    "Be the type of woman that when you get out of bed in the morning, the devil says 'Oh crap. She's up.' "

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