October 2008 Grocery Challenge. Please read first two posts.

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Old Style MoneySaving
1.2K replies 103.6K views


  • Pink.Pink. Forumite
    17.7K Posts
    Hi cazspatch,

    I think the rising prices are affecting us all. :o

    If you feel that you are beginning to live beyond your means have a look at Martin's Budget Planner, that should help you to find out if/where you are overspending and give you ideas on how you could cut back. There is also his article on Supermarket Shopping which has lots of hints and tips on saving money on groceries.

    Meal planning is a good way to save money on food. To get some ideas and help with this, have a look in The Complete Menu Plans Collection and for cheap meal ideas these threads may help.

    The Grocery Challenge is also a great thread where you'll get help, support and advice on reducing your grocery bill so I'll add your thread to that one later.

  • thriftlady_2thriftlady_2 Forumite
    9.1K Posts
    I've been Money Tipped!
    Hi Cazspatch :)

    What kinds of things are you buying? Even if you cook from scratch it isn't going to be cheap if you're buying expensive cuts of meat and fish for example. Exotic fruit and veg can be expensive too.

    Are you wasting food either by throwing away stuff because it has gone off before you can use it or by not using what you already have in?

    Could you, perhaps, make a list of all the food you have in and make a meal plan from that before you go shopping for more food?
  • are you down grading brands for a cheaper version- some are brill worth a try but all still add up!
  • phizzimumphizzimum Forumite
    1.7K Posts
    don't get discouraged! 2 weeks isn't long, and these things can take time, especially if you're trying to make lots of changes at once.

    maybe you could post a typical week's menu and we could offer some (tactful) suggestions?

    also, what is it you run out of and have to shop for in the week? it's easy to pop in to the supermarket for milk and end up with £10 of stuff that just jumped into the basket! It's worth making room in the freezer for bread and milk so you're not caught out. I also keep a carton of longlife milk in the back of the cupboard - I wouldn't like it in tea or on cereal, but it's fine in coffee or for cooking with.
    weaving through the chaos...
    :j :j :T :beer: :beer: :beer: :T :j :j :j :j
    :D I know i'm in my own world~it's ok they know me here!!! :D
    :) "It will be fine" quoted by ....me :)
  • egonegon Forumite
    439 Posts
    fertyskids wrote: »
    i find it stressful going around asda with a 3yr old and a 1yr old trying to feed them in the trolley. i could go at night but previously found that the shop runs low on all the value range so i spend a lot more and i rarely find bananas in the evenings and so have to make extra shopping trips. i know that i need to get organised and take more snacks etc with me. ive also brought a few baby jars this month, this is something i had completely stopped doing over the last couple of months but little one got ill and is now stroppy at meal times because he finds it easy to not chew!!! I just need to get him back on track and i need to prepare more easy meals for hi. more cooking...

    anyway ive gone on enough. i hope everyones doing ok. this is not easy especially with all the prices going up all the time. take care karen

    Hi there,

    Have you tried going shopping whilest the 3y old is in nursery? I have a three and one year old too. Also, like you say, have enough snacks with you. Prepare your list beforehand. It does help!
    I have to admit, sometimes my two get a packet of crisp between them as a treat and it keeps them happy for a while. (I bulk buy them, one multi bag last me a month, as long as DH didn't have a need for crisps)

    I mealplan for the month. I divide my shopping into weekly lists then. For any non-perishable items I order at the beginning of the month, I also include fresh stuff etc I need for the first week. It means, the rest of the month I only need to top up with F&V, milk and things I have forgotten or run out. It keeps the time I spend in the shops to a limit!


    I wish Germany had a website like moneysavingexpert!
  • cazspatchcazspatch Forumite
    58 Posts
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    Thankyou for your replies.

    I have been meal planning and once ive done this weeks i will post it for your advices.

    I must do a budget plan - just got to find the time.

    I have been buying the cheaper brands and find very little difference between them and the more expensive.

    Often run out of bread and as mentioned end up with a basket full!!!

    I made one lot of HM bread so must do that this week and then freeze.

    I have a feeling that meat is my biggest problem - although i have cheap cuts we tend to have it every meal!!!

    Another one of my problems is time. I work full time (term time only) and work for Ann Summers in evening so if there are leftovers never have time to find what to do with them???

    House is a mess, i suffer with Very bad IBS (probley stress!!) and have a mountain of debt so am really really struggling and its driving me mad!!

    Thanks x
  • OK. Firstly, Well done for wanting to tackle your spending!

    I am a list-maniac, as I find that they help to focus my mind....so:

    I would start with listing what you have in your cupboards/freezer.

    Then list all the meals you have had over the past few weeks (as far as you can remember).

    These 2 lists are a good way to prepare for list 3 - your meal plan for the next week, fortnight, whatever you prefer.

    From which you go to list 4 - your shopping list. When I do mine I put down a probable cost of each item, then if the total is more than I have/want to spend, I can see which are the most expensive items and adjust my meal-plan accordingly for something cheaper.

    Also, make sure you keep your receipts, and do an 'assessment' of them afterwards - you may find that if you are supermarket shopping there a quite a few 'extras' which pop up which are NOT groceries! (eg. birthday cards, gifts, clothes). I have a separate budget for these things, so I adjust my totals accordingly.

    I know it sounds very time-consuming and faffy, but when you get used to it it's very easy and quick - takes me a few mins each time I've been shopping to go down the recipt and enter stuff on my 'storecupboard spreadsheet' and when I plan to use something from it, I colour it in so I know it is planned, then delete after I've used it.
    I also note use-by dates if they are fairly close, and that way I never have to chuck out stuff which is unusable past it's date.

    Hope this helps as a few ideas to get you started!


    PS - I was shocked when I started at how much booze we bought - cheap beer & cider deals may be a savings vs. going to the pub, but not when they come out of my grocery budget! - so DH and I have to pay for that separately out of our 'pocket money' now!
    The best advice you can give your children: "Take responsibility for your own actions...and always Read the Small Print!"
    ..."Mind yer a*se on the step!"
    TTC with FI - RIP my 2 MC Angels - 3rd full ICSI starts May/June 2009 - BFP!!! Please let it be 'third time lucky'..... EDD 7th March 2010.
  • moanymoanymoanymoany Forumite
    2.9K Posts
    Have a look at what you have to go out and buy - usually it's milk and bread.

    Have the makings of a loaf - even if it is soda bread - in the cupboard. Value flour is good enough for both soda bread and ordinary bread.

    I have a pack of Tesco value milk powder - usually one opened and one in waiting. I use this to make sauces and on cereals. Boxes of Tesco value skinmmed are what I use anyway.

    I find that I only cook a meat meal two or three times a week as a general rule. I make meals with the soya mince mixed with meat mince as well. I've become a lover of beans and soak and cook my own. They freeze well.

    The recommended size for a portion of meat is that of a pack of playing cards - so we often eat more meat than we need.

    I buy value products where I can.

    Good luck. It took me a while to get to grips with producing nice food with not much money - had some strange things to start with!

    When I was on a really small budget one of my faves was value pasta - 100grams each - 1 tin of value tomatoes per person. Cook the pasta and mix with the heated tomatoes. Put in a dish and put 100 gramms strong value cheese on top and bubble it under the grill. This is called - pasta, cheese and tomatoes!!! :rotfl:

    Once you get into the swing of it you will find lots of ways of cutting back. There are some splendid frugal recipes on here.
  • BoodleBoodle Forumite
    1.1K Posts
    We used to spend similar to you on 2 adults, toddler and cat, then with my first meal plan, it dropped to £40! So you may well find this week is a lot cheaper than usual. I can imagine it will add up if you have meat at every meal. You could try dropping that one evening and replace it with fish. Then perhaps the next week, drop another meat meal for a meal with an alternative protein such as beans, eggs or lentils. That way it will be a gradual process and give you time to find other meals you like rather than ending up with 5 days of mushroom stroganoff or something :rotfl: (Tho for the record, I do like mushroom stroganoff... ;) )

    I also use powdered milk in cooking - and I also love a variation on Moanymoany's fabulous "pasta cheese and tomatoes" :D I usually simmer the tomatoes for a bit with a squirt of puree so it thickens a bit - with a pinch of oregano too for extra yumminess!

    Good luck!
    Love and compassion to all x
This discussion has been closed.
Latest MSE News and Guides

Students - apply for uni funding NOW

If you plan to get a place via 'clearing'

MSE News

A guide to council tax bands

Lower your band & save £1,000s

MSE Guides