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January 2012 Grocery Challenge

edited 27 December 2011 at 2:52PM in Old style MoneySaving
3.3K replies 332.4K views


  • Hi Could you please ADD ME to this challenge - at the moment we budget £50 p/wk for food for 2 adults and 3 kids - which Im sure we can do much better with so for Jan our budget will be £220 - looking to decrease this as the year goes on - GOOD LUCK TO YOU ALL x x x
    :j Jan grocery challenge £0 / £220
    NSD 0/15
  • edited 31 December 2011 at 3:08PM
    lil_melil_me Forumite
    13.2K Posts
    edited 31 December 2011 at 3:08PM
    Add me please I need to come back, £160 please 4 weeks month for me

    Been a while, hi to those who remember me, was my daft idea to do the list with everyone's figures so sorry to those lumbered with the task after I couldn't commit to it any more but what a sterling job!

    After a successful few years and paying everything off I made some bad decisions, now I'm back to square negative balance

    But onwards and upwards! I have a plan, I know things will scupper it but if I reign in the grocery spends that will help. We have a lot of animal meats so just need eggs and some cottage cheese for them, a freezer & a half (rest is dog meats) with lots of 'bitsa' in so I'm going tO do January as a use up month. I've got loads of rice, pasta etc as we stocked up for the bad weather that didn't come!

    I'm in with a hope of £200 for 4 weeks including all meals for a family of 4 (kids are bigger than me and eat that way!) 2 dogs (puppy is 19 weeks but huge) and a couple of fussy lizards. Dogs are on raw food diet so use a lot of left over veg etc for them
    One day I might be more organised...........:confused:
    GC: £200
    Slinkies target 2018 - another 70lb off (half way to what the NHS says) so far 25lb
  • gorgeestwo, lentils are a Godsend! I put them into any kind of mushy mix, eg shepherds pie or bolognese sauce, they disappear in about 30 mins and NOBODY including my fussy kids knows they are there, haha! They thicken a sauce and add protein and they're cheap. What's not to like ;) ?

    thank you, maybe I'll make my new years resoloution, to eat more lentils :D

    NSD today :T

    Happy new year everyone, hope 2012 is a good one for you all :beer:
  • edited 3 January 2012 at 12:39PM
    SpiggleSpiggle Forumite
    1.8K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper
    edited 3 January 2012 at 12:39PM
    Afternoon 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,
    Mortgage Free October 2013 :T
  • edited 31 December 2011 at 3:17PM
    BeccatjeBeccatje Forumite
    728 Posts
    edited 31 December 2011 at 3:17PM
    Right.. Janurari coming up and I'm in!

    it's a bit tricky as our months run halfways... we get money in the 15th.. but the bills go out around the 30th/1st..
    But if I can just keep track of our grocery now untill the next pay day.. that would be good.

    So.. that is 150 euro

    That is for the 5 of us plus two cats and a dog.

    Today I've already spent 20 on some shopping. For our evening meal tonight and tomorrow.. and new years eve nibbles and drinks. ugh..
  • I was supposed to have the day today to do some much-needed tidying and cleaning, as the ch were going to their dad's for two nights. However, ds has not been well in the bottom department (!!), so ex h didn't want him. Obviously, I'm more than happy to keep my ds, but it now means I can't do the massive list of jobs I'd made!

    On the plus side, it also means I can't go shopping, as he needs to be close to a toilet at all times. Would've done a whoopsie hunt otherwise, not that I need anything or have space for it anyway!

    Went through my te$co vouchers today, and I have £45 worth. I usually save these for days out, but as I can't really afford to take the children out this year, I may keep them for emergency food. It would cost £22.50 in vouchers for the three of us to go to Longleat (plus petrol, packed lunch, extra drinks, ice cream, etc), so if I have made it to the summer hols with my budget intact, by which I mean in keeping with the annual budget, I will treat us to Longleat tickets. Means I have a possible £22.50 for food. That means a free week!

    I'm looking forward to starting my spending diary tomorrow - I've had a little cash book for a couple of weeks already. I went through two catalogues today, and made a list of about £100 worth of stuff I wanted, then threw out the catalogues before I could actually buy it! I must not even look in them this year, if I am to keep my head above water.

    Cheryl - cw18 - would it be possible for me to have a look at your spreadsheet too? I really want to spend more time this year thinking about money - I figure the more I think about it, the more I'll end up having!!

    DS will be having beans on toast or similar for dinner tonight, and I'll have celery soup (nom nom) with bread - hm if I cba! Tom, if ds is better, his dad will have him, so I'll have celery soup for lunch, then I'm out for dinner with a mate (poss, may propose I cook for her instead, although she really wants to go to this chinese place - we love it there!). Monday, the ch are back, so they'll have boiled egg for lunch, and sausage casserole for dinner. Have a bit of a plan for after that too. Meal planning - this year, I've been listing a month's worth of meals for my meal plan, and choosing the night before, but there are issues with fresh stuff then. This year, I'm going to start weekly planning, assigning meals to days from the outset, as then I should be able to plan better for fresh stuff. Also, this way, hopefully I'll be able to plan using up the mountain of food in the house...

    Sorry for the long post.

    PG x
    Grocery challenge for family of three - me, dd(12) and ds(11), feeding dp 2 or 3 x a week too. Only food, not toiletries. Jan £87.97/£100 Feb £0/£100
    Frugal 2018 needed! Saving and NOT spending
  • cw18cw18 Forumite
    8.4K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
    Cheryl - cw18 - would it be possible for me to have a look at your spreadsheet too? I really want to spend more time this year thinking about money - I figure the more I think about it, the more I'll end up having!!
    You should be able to download a copy - instructions here

    Any problems (or questions about it) please feel free to send me an IM, but I'll be going off line very shortly (probably still show green light for a couple of hours, but won't be sat at the laptop) and won't be back until some point tomorrow.....
    Grocery Budget : January £124. Spent £21.53 in shops + £8.84 from stocks + £4.10 discounts squirreled away = £34.47
    Grocery Budget : 2022 £1560. Spent £21.53 in shops + £8.84 from stocks + £4.10 discounts squirrelled away = £34.47
  • SpiggleSpiggle Forumite
    1.8K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper
    Great to see you back Cheryl, fantastic news on your running endeavours!

    All the best,
    Mortgage Free October 2013 :T
  • cw18 wrote: »
    You should be able to download a copy - instructions here

    Any problems (or questions about it) please feel free to send me an IM, but I'll be going off line very shortly (probably still show green light for a couple of hours, but won't be sat at the laptop) and won't be back until some point tomorrow.....

    You're a gem, thanks! :beer:
    Grocery challenge for family of three - me, dd(12) and ds(11), feeding dp 2 or 3 x a week too. Only food, not toiletries. Jan £87.97/£100 Feb £0/£100
    Frugal 2018 needed! Saving and NOT spending
  • I notice a lot of people say about using lentils to make meat dishes go a bit further. Is this red lentils? I've only ever used them in soup before so how would you use them in bolognese/shepherds pie? Do you just add the dried lentils to all the other ingredients when the meat has been browned? About how much lentils would you add in proportion to meat? Can they also be used in a chilli?

    Sorry for the list of questions but really have to cut back majorly on food and I usually use 500g of mince for a family of 5 (4 adults 1child) in one meal so wondering if I can stretch 500g mince for 2 meals or am I being unrealistic?
    Sealed Pot Challenge 2011 / no. 1205 £110 made]Sealed Pot Challenge 2012/no 1205 target £300
    Jan g/c 355.83/£450
    g/c Feb487.66/£400
    March 411.03/£450
    To feed 5 adults and 2 dogs includes toiletries & cleanining
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