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    • Pink.
    • By Pink. 27th Oct 08, 8:48 AM
    • 17,431Posts
    • 40,365Thanks
    November 2008 Grocery Challenge
    • #1
    • 27th Oct 08, 8:48 AM
    November 2008 Grocery Challenge 27th Oct 08 at 8:48 AM
    Hello everyone,

    Welcome to the eleventh Grocery Challenge of 2008.

    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 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 Galtizz
    For guidelines on posting in this thread please read the second post in this thread.

    For the Grocery challenge Recipe Index please see posts #3 and #4 on this thread.

    For everyone's targets and totals for the month please read posts #5 and 6 on this thread.

    I hope everyone has a great month!

    Last edited by Pink.; 28-10-2008 at 8:03 AM.
Page 20
    • canidothis
    • By canidothis 8th Nov 08, 2:10 PM
    • 226 Posts
    • 1,125 Thanks
    ok...who mentioned using the cheap curry sauce in a curried parsnip soup? and how would you do it?!
    Originally posted by JennyBee

    Hi JennyBee,
    The curried parship soup was me. All I did was pour a jar of value curry sauce over an onion, about 4 chopped up parsnips and some leftover grated carrot, then I added a jug of veg stock, once cooked through I blitzed it....its yum
    LBM March 2011 (what on earth took me so long?)
    overdraft (1) -2950 overdraft (2) -246.00
    total CC £12,661
    loan £5000
    DFD 2016 (cant come soon enough)
    • wmf
    • By wmf 8th Nov 08, 2:47 PM
    • 1,800 Posts
    • 21,646 Thanks
    Spent about £10 today on a piece of topside and a chicken from Morrisons. Hoping both will make all meals this week and provide for sandwiches. I noticed people really taking their time with shopping and looking for the things on offer. That's a good thing. My timing wasn't though, as the shop was soooo busy - about 12 on a Saturday. I'll try not to do that again.
  • Free in Three
    Budget Blow

    This is my first month on the grocery challenge and things are not going as well as I thought. First shop at Mr T was £63.91 which I was quite pleased with, downshifted to value on quite a few things and felt I had made some really good savings. Also got some dog biccies, crisps and 50% free shaving foam at a local bargin shop I have never been to before.

    The problem is we have probably spent another £100 on takeaways, take out tea/coffee and snacks. I work away quite a bit with work and have long journeys, hours spent in airports and come in late and tired and takeaways and the odd tea and snack makes life easier. We seem to have spent more on this kind of food in the last couple of weeks than we have done in months!! If anyone has any tips to stop this spending I would be pleased to hear them.

    I have £50 of the budget left to last until the 26th but have quite a bit of stuff in the freezer and cupboards so with a bit of planning and NO MORE TAKEAWAYS I still think we are in with a chance of sticking to the budget.
    Annual GC £2500/£486.79 for 2 adults and 2 dogs
    Savings Target 2009 Lloyds Act £6000/£1200 Jars & pig for Christmas and holidays
  • rosieben
    ... I work away quite a bit with work and have long journeys, hours spent in airports and come in late and tired and takeaways and the odd tea and snack makes life easier. We seem to have spent more on this kind of food in the last couple of weeks than we have done in months!! If anyone has any tips to stop this spending I would be pleased to hear them. ... .
    Originally posted by Free in Three
    It's difficult to resist temptation when you've been travelling and working and feel exhausted. Can you make time at the weekend to do some bulk cooking so you can freeze some extra meals ready for those tired evenings. Not sure what to suggest re travelling food, but I'm sure someone will be along with some ideas
    ... don't throw the string away. You always need string!

    C.R.A.P.R.O.L.L.Z Head Sharpener
  • huxley
    Hi all just updated signature, realy must try and keep a grip of budget this month, Mr A was a disaster this week had my list but kept seeing things I knew I needed and had left off it! Need to check out the receipe section, shot of enthusiasm seriously needed I'm falling into the repedative budget meals trap and its not good Oh well dh got me a big box of windfall apples when he was clearing a garden so best go prepare them for the freezer, mmmm maybe some comfort food of home made apple pie and thick custard is what is needed. Good luck everyone with this month
    • gilly1964
    • By gilly1964 8th Nov 08, 3:46 PM
    • 1,018 Posts
    • 7,435 Thanks
    Ouch, why do I do it?

    Take the OH that is.

    Today's shop was £51.59 and have calculated that if I had gone alone it would have been £27.96

    We did not need dressed crab, mussels, cheesecake, double cream , ice cream or pate

    £57.96 left for the rest of the month and he is definitely not coming with me next time.

    All the best
    • bestpud
    • By bestpud 8th Nov 08, 5:09 PM
    • 10,491 Posts
    • 21,313 Thanks
    Can I join you please?

    I'm not sure how it will work out for me but I'll just have to see how it goes I guess!

    For November I have already spent £148 as I did a big shop this week and have also just been to Avon online and taken advantage of the 5 for £5 offer + 15% discount + 16.5% Quidco cahsback + free delivery and bought enough shower gel, hand wash and bubble bath to keep us going into the new year and beyond, I hope.

    I've been spending about £100 a week of late for two adults, a 16 year old and a 6 year old, plus cat and dog, but I'm sure I can get that a lot cheaper! I've got three shops left this month, soooo, can I set £400 as my target for November please?

    • CAT££
    • By CAT££ 8th Nov 08, 5:42 PM
    • 207 Posts
    • 3,522 Thanks
    What's in your shopping trolley?

    I was just wondering what other moneysavers put in their shopping trolley during their weekly shop. I'm hopeless at shopping, I start with good intentions and add lots of fruit & veg, however, these can often be found rotting in the bottom of my fridge a fortnight later. I always end up spending a fortune, and yet, I often have to pop to the supermarket to buy ingredients. I should really menu plan, but it's a bit rubbish and doesn't always go to plan, as I live by myself and work shifts.
    • gairlochgal
    • By gairlochgal 8th Nov 08, 6:36 PM
    • 418 Posts
    • 730 Thanks
    Think your question is too general. Do you need to spend a bit of time thinking about what kinds of meals you prefer to cook when you have x, y and z time available? eg can you stick a baked potato in the oven and then have a few diff things that go with it. What about a slow cooker? What about cooking with leftovers in mind? There are lots of ways to jump.

    I get a weekly fruit & veg box and just started a monthly meat box, and bake bread at home. So my weekly items (all online) tend to be milk, marge, yogurt, toilet/kitchen paper, cheese, tea/coffee, pasta, any spreads, tinned bbeans, veg, soup, cleaning materials, toiletries.

  • Olliebeak
    .......I start with good intentions and add lots of fruit & veg, however, these can often be found rotting in the bottom of my fridge a fortnight later......
    Originally posted by CAT££
    Hi Cat - can I ask you please, do you buy bags of fruit? Maybe you should buy the loose stuff - perhaps 2 apples, 2 bananas, 2 pears for example. Maybe if you are buying the bags, they might be a bit overfacing for you.

    What about buying tinned fruit (in fruit juice for extra healthiness ) instead of the fresh stuff - would prevent it going off.

    Good Luck - I know that it can be quite difficult shopping for just yourself - remember it well :rolleyes: - but the beauty of it is that you can just please yourself .
    • oystercatcher
    • By oystercatcher 8th Nov 08, 8:41 PM
    • 1,854 Posts
    • 4,705 Thanks
    There's five of us and I work shifts plus can never be sure how many of us will be at home for meals. This is my excuse for not properly mealplanning ...yet! I don't bake much , have lots of good intentions but somehow it doesn't happen.

    I don't do a regular weekly shop as I work shifts on random days, also with three hungry teenagers I quite simply can't fit a whole weeks shop in a trolley!
    I probably do one or two biggish shops a week and maybe a smaller top up somewhere.

    Typically a 'big shop' would be, (I'm imagining myself walking round Morrisons now )...
    Fruit, a bag of apples, two bags satsumas, big bag of bannanas.
    Vegs, onions, garlic, value mushrooms, value peppers, potatoes (mostly big ones for baking) broccoli, a cabbage, maybe carrots/ parsnips. Salad stuff, tomato lettuce, cucumber.
    Two bottles of caffiene free diet coke...absolute rubbish but it keeps DH happy and he keeps ME happy
    Breakfast cereal usually own brand malties, weetabix, muslie, porrige.
    4 loaves white bread ,two loaves wholemeal plus some wholemeal rolls (this all goes in the freezer but comes out for use rapidly!
    4 tins baked beans whatever is cheapest but not value as they are all sauce and no beans a couple of tins of curry for quick meals for DS's Maybe Macaroni cheese in a tin too. several tins of sardines and tuna/salmon.
    4 packs of value pasta, 4 jars of value pasta sauce, 4 tins of tomato (value) , value basmati rice. Maybe a pack of lentils. Tinned chick peas , value Kidney beans,
    Value loo roll, cheap washing machine tablets, washing soda, cheap dishwasher tablets.
    Free range eggs, 3 X 4pt Milk (this will be gone in 3 days!!)
    Two big blocks of mature cheddar cheese (whatever is on offer)
    three packs of Ham (10 slices per pack not sure what weight it is )
    Bacon if it's on offer and not too fatty.
    4 packs of quorn mince/chunks
    Frozen fish/kippers depends what is on offer
    oven chips , oven roasts (for worn out days !)
    Fish fingers
    Frozen chicken/turkey breast when on offer
    frozen peas, frozen stirfry veggies (value)

    I've probably missed out loads of stuff but I'll get that when I'm back in a few days ...... my mob will eat their way through that in no time at all!
    Often the boys cook for themselves as we're all in and out at different times. Not the most MSE way of living but it does at the moment and we are slowly adapting as prices rise and the income doesn't !
    My weekly spend is between £80-120 , I'd like it to be less ....


  • bullet
    I did a small shop today and put in:

    Red lentils
    Beef mince
    Turkey thigh
    Curry sauce
    Chilli sauce
    Tinned tomatoes
    Spaghetti hoops
    Brown bread
    Red Leicester cheese
    Tomato puree.

    We have potatoes, pasta, gravy, flour, suet, margarine, milk, cornflakes, baking powder, cocoa and custard powder at hoem as well.
  • jexysbird
    Hi please add me again for £300. I managed £274 all in household/food/toiletries for four of us in Oct. Much better than my £502 back in September!!! Hooray!!

    MFW (as of 08/11/11) £7645.90
    Aiming to be mortgage free by Dec 2012
    Sealed Pot Challenge #1628 - £16.00
    • Baileys Babe
    • By Baileys Babe 8th Nov 08, 9:35 PM
    • 2,502 Posts
    • 12,931 Thanks
    Baileys Babe
    Spent £1.48 today on bananas & onions, signature updated.
    • candygirl
    • By candygirl 8th Nov 08, 9:54 PM
    • 27,393 Posts
    • 116,547 Thanks
    I put all my coins in a coinstar machine today and got £14 back, then spent £19 at tesco, so i'm only adding £5 to my total, as I don't count my loose change in the gc
    DD's moved into her flat today, and couldn't believe how much a full shop cost I had to bite my lip
    "You can't stop the waves, but you can learn to surf"

    (Kabat-Zinn 2004)
  • skintandscared
    The way I now shop is like this.

    I write down 7 meals that we both fancy during the week (just me and my OH to cook for). I try to choose meals that we already have SOME ingredients for in the cupboard or freezer.

    I go through each dish and write down what I need to make it (eg if the first dish needs one onion, I put 1 onion on the list, and if the second dish also needs an onion, I change the quantity to 2, etc). Then I add any breakfast and lunch items, toiletries and cleaning products by going round the house and seeing what's running low.

    I do the shopping on a Friday evening when it's quiet (and it keeps me from going out and spending money in the pub )

    I then make any "freezable" dishes up on a Saturday - like curry, chilli, bolognese sauce, shepherd's pie mince and mashed potato. I've got a few big stockpots so I have them all going at once, and it saves time because when you're chopping ingredients you can do them all at once (i.e. if I'm doing a curry, chilli and bolognese, they all have onion in so I can chop them all together and divide between the pots). I then freeze them in portion-sized batches.

    That would work really well for your family because people can have different meals, and if you're doing shift work it will save you loads of time preparing meals at all hours.

    I have found that doing this has literally cut my shopping bills in half (and I do get a lot of "value" ingredients these days too, like tinned tomatoes and herbs instead of Dolmio sauces!)

    The other benefit of batch cooking and freezing is that vegetables don't end up staying in the fridge and going off. They are cooked straight away. I always use frozen veg to accompany meals so there's no waste there either.

    It's getting in the habit of doing it that makes all the difference. I'm sure you don't really want to be spending your precious time doing lots of small shopping trips every week?!


    Sorry - just re-read your post and seen you live alone. If you have a freezer, this would be even better for you because you could cook about 4 portions of each dish in one go and do about 3 weeks' worth of dinners! Then you simply microwave them to reheat.

    Use freezer bags to put the food in, and put the bag inside a square-ish tupperware container when you freeze it. The bag will then pop out of the container and you'll have "brick" shaped blocks of frozen food that will stack neatly in your freezer.

    Oh, and if something ends up rotting in your fridge ... DON'T BUY IT AGAIN!!
    Last edited by skintandscared; 08-11-2008 at 11:07 PM.
    DMP Mutual Support Thread member 244
    Quit smoking 13/05/2013
    Joined Slimming World 02/12/13. Loss so far = 60lb in 28 weeks 18lb to go
  • sleepy-lady
    Hi CAT££ - I also live alone, I don't work shifts but I do commute to London 4 days a week - which means that 4 nights a week I don't get home till 8 o'clock. It's so difficult to cook for one person and to shop economically - perhaps we can help each other with meal plans and recipes?
    • nanokitten
    • By nanokitten 9th Nov 08, 12:16 AM
    • 703 Posts
    • 464 Thanks
    Making a list and making sure you don't go to the shops when you'e hungry can make a big difference (especially the latter).

    If you find you are left with rotting fruit or veg at the end of the week you need to start doing something to use them up before they get beyond eating.
    At the end of the week you should do one of the classic dishes 'everything in the fridge soup' or 'everything in the fridge curry'. use up all those odds and ends of veg half an onion soft spuds, bendy carrots, plenty of seaoning (or a dollop of curry paste and you'll never know the difference).
    It can go in a slow cooker or casserlole dish (just add herbs / spices for flavour) if your busy.
    Fot the fruit apples, pears, plums, nectarines, peaches, bananas etc can be cut in half and stuck in the oven with a bit of sugar or honey.
    You can also do it in the micorwave sprinkle with sugar cover (no water) an mcrowave until tender, the juices and sugar make a sort of caromel.

    There is also alot to be said for cooking in batches and freezing or adapting each meal so tomato sauce goes with: pasta, then rice, then curried then in a baked potato or stew... alternatively make double and take the left overs for lunch (thay are always nicer next day). save money in the canteen etc.
    • Pink.
    • By Pink. 9th Nov 08, 4:41 AM
    • 17,431 Posts
    • 40,365 Thanks

    I was just wondering what other moneysavers put in their shopping trolley during their weekly shop. I'm hopeless at shopping, I start with good intentions and add lots of fruit & veg, however, these can often be found rotting in the bottom of my fridge a fortnight later. I always end up spending a fortune, and yet, I often have to pop to the supermarket to buy ingredients. I should really menu plan, but it's a bit rubbish and doesn't always go to plan, as I live by myself and work shifts.
    Originally posted by CAT££
    Hi CAT,

    The best place on the Old Style board to get help, advice and support with cutting back your shopping bill is the Grocery Challenge so I've added your thread to it.

    • sinw
    • By sinw 9th Nov 08, 9:28 AM
    • 7,606 Posts
    • 41,419 Thanks
    Hi - never knew this was ere, i was mailed re morrisons offer spend £160 for £20 gift voucher - thats 4 x £40 spends must be 1 spend per week for 4 weeks
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