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December 2011 - Grocery Challenge

edited 17 November 2011 at 11:18AM in Old Style MoneySaving
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  • sproggisproggi Forumite
    1.6K posts
    Debt-free and Proud!
    Updating with £13.52 spends over the last couple of days in MrT and L*dl.
    Today [STRIKE]should[/STRIKE] will be a NSD.

    Sproggi
    'We can get over being poor, but it takes longer to get over being ignorant'
    Jane Sequichie Hifler
    Beware of little expenses.A small leak will sink a great ship
    Benjamin Franklin
  • SpiggleSpiggle Forumite
    1.8K posts
    Tenth Anniversary 1,000 Posts Name Dropper
    ✭✭✭
    Morning All,

    Welcome and good luck to our newbies! And good luck to everyone of course!

    I'm not sure if the following will help any of you but here goes anyway ...

    I hope my fellow regulars won't mind me posting this again but it may be of some help to all the enthusiastic and excited people joining us. I believe it has helped others in the past. So here goes:

    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. :eek: 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. :rotfl:

    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 :cry:) 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! :D


    See you all later,
    Spigs
    Mortgage Free October 2013 :T
  • quintwinsquintwins Forumite
    5.2K posts
    ✭✭✭✭
    havent read threw in a few days will hopefully catch up tonight but have a few spends

    £10 on kfc because we had to wait an hr and 45mins to see santa and it was sooo late by then but he was free :)
    £2.98 in lidl on 2 loaves of bread, 2 garlic bread (cheaper than value ones) and a box of cheese twists
    £3 of 3 bottles of pepsi/7up to take to mil's yesterday
    £2.50 on bin bags when i relised i'd run out

    and £8 for our xmas tree and £10 for silicone and £40 for desil :( but they don't count in this budget has been an expensive weekend :( but we had a huge toy clear out and are about to decorate our tree

    ust had freied egg sandwichs at the request of hubby, lunch at mil's and for dinner we will be havings fridays stew half of which will be frozen
    OCT GC £196.12/£200
  • SpiggleSpiggle Forumite
    1.8K posts
    Tenth Anniversary 1,000 Posts Name Dropper
    ✭✭✭
    Well, we've had our first spends of December which were made on the 1st and 2nd so we're now at £46.50.

    I'm a little unsure about the budget for some reason. We don't tend to buy loads of extras for Christmas and the biggest 'inflated' expense is usually the turkey. Thinking back I don't think we got one last year as we were at a friends on the day. We decided last night though that she'll come to us as will DD, DD'sP and our gorgeous DGD1&2. For some reason this has made me a little unsure about potential spends. Hmm, we'll see how it goes.

    The other thing is that I need to get some wash liquid which is always a purse cruncher! At some point I'll need to do a big shop but not sure at the moment whether to do it online or go to the damnable sm which I loathe doing! Anyway, don't need to worry about it today but just get some paper ready to start a list.

    Ok, I'm off now and will see you all later.

    Take care,
    Spigs
    Mortgage Free October 2013 :T
  • Around a £50 spend at ASDA yesterday so that's a fair whack off the budget! Had £6.35 in vouchers though which helped, we did actually spend £70ish but a chunk of that was whisky for a Christmas present so doesn't come off the GC. About £80 left for the rest of the month. The freezers are absolutely full to bursting though (fun trying to fit everything in...) as are the cupboards, so the next two weeks should only be £20 shops really.

    Off to update sig now.
    February Grocery Challenge - £100.87/£180
    February Don't Throw Food Away Challenge - £0.60/£1.50
  • pepsi-kinspepsi-kins Forumite
    94 posts
    Tenth Anniversary
    Well November was a disaster in some respects, went well over budget, but that was due to OH starting his healthy eating campaign, so had to get things in for that, but we're now eating mega healthily, so am saving on crisps, choccy and cakes etc, so swings and roundabouts really. Anyhow I don't know how I managed it but the tally I keep on my signature here is less than the tally I have in my diary, according to that I am £46 over my annual target, so I will go with that, and change this sig, later. I'm not too worried though as I know I added in stuff bought at the vets for the cat at the beginning of the year, which I have since made a seperate budget for. Anyhow enough waffle, I'm down to using the vouchers now for the rest of the month, which is quite do-able.

    Have a good week everyone. x
    2019 G/C £3072.39
    Vouchers: £352.61

    2020 G/C £1865.29
    Vouchers:£66.00/Ipsos £10
  • hex2hex2 Forumite
    4.7K posts
    Spiggle - thankyou, such a valid and helpful post.

    First spend - £4.50 on lots of milk, plus I need to pay the milkman £17.42 for the milk, and F&V box
    'If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need' Marcus Tullius Cicero
  • Think my post yersterday got lost!

    my bill in mr s yest came to £12.46, used £2.50 nectar points and got it to £9.46, £3.99 of that was a tub of celebrations, another family crimbo contribution so its not in my gc, so £5.46 to add to my sig, bought stuff for a fudge cake im making today, cocoa powder, baking paper, vanilla essence, bag of sensations, thank christ i can use the ingredients again, so can make loads of the same thing if its nice.
    Lose 28lb 3/28lb
    SPC Member 1522/2012-£264/ new pot 2013
  • recovering_spendaholicrecovering_spendaholic Forumite
    3.1K posts
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    Spiggle - awesome advice post thanks!! I agree with everything you say and wish I could do what you suggest all the time - at the moment I am only about half way there - still impulse buying and being sucked in with the till spit spend and save vouchers!!

    yesterday was going to be a NSD but got scuppered as we all went to the retail park for shoes for DD1's night out last night and it turned into a nightmare of epic proportions! Kids fell out and had a humdinger of a row, DD2 ran off and took an hour to find her, which meant that DD1 was late for the hairdressers and the air was blue with her ranting and raving. I went into Costa and got us all a coffee/chocolate and a mufiin and it cost £14:eek: I was too stressed to care though. The drive home was so awful that by the time I got in I felt absolutely dreadful - all painicky and sick.

    Anyway that's £14 I didn't need to spend to add to my budget.

    Then DD1 came in from said night out and ate the contents of the fridge - potato gratin, a whole pizza, half a box of mince pies, a load of bread, half a box of cornflakes (she had her mates with her!), nearly a whole 2 litre milk, half a pound of butter and a tube of pringles. Then I asked her this morning if she would let me have £50 for keep this month and she went mental! She works and goes to uni, but her take home pay is over £800 a month and I don't think £50 is excessive, particularly given the amount she eats.

    Anyway brunch today was bacon, sausage and egg and dinner tonight is a pork roast dinner. NSD day today:T
    Sorry this was a bit of a rant but I am so fed up at the moment as I seem to spend all my money on food and it goes as fast as I get it in!!
    Jane

    ENDIS. Employed, no disposable income or savings!
  • Pixie_FairydustPixie_Fairydust Forumite
    310 posts
    Ninth Anniversary 100 Posts Photogenic
    ✭✭
    Have just caught up with all the posts......

    Tigerfeet - really feel for you and OH, fingers crossed things work out. :)

    Spiggle - great advice, thanks :T

    Recovering Spendaholic - don't you just love teenagers! My DS wanted a friend over on Fri eve, turned out to be 6 of them! My fridge and cupboards were bare by Sat am! :D

    Ok all you lovely people, I am contemplating buying an Ald! 4 bird roast for Christmas lunch, I am cooking for 7 adults, me and DS will have a veggie option, so would it feed 5? Has anyone tried it? or should I get a turkey crown?

    I must add up my receipts and update my signature, will do when i'm back from work.

    Have a great weekend, what's left of it!

    Pixie.
    🎄The most wonderful time of the year 🎄
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