Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

Welcome to the MSE Forums

We're home to a fantastic community of MoneySavers but anyone can post. Please exercise caution & report spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts/messages: click "report" or email forumteam@.

Search
  • FIRST POST
    • zippychick
    • By zippychick 4th Jun 11, 11:19 AM
    • 9,343Posts
    • 17,889Thanks
    zippychick
    • #1
    • 4th Jun 11, 11:19 AM
    4th Jun 11 at 11:19 AM
    Hi everyone,

    Welcome to the fifth Grocery Challenge of 2012

    If your new month starts early feel free to join this thread, or if you're still working on your March budget, then keep on posting in the:
    April 2012 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 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 and #6 on this thread.

    For everyones totals, see post #7 on this thread

    I hope everyone has a great month!

    Zip
    Last edited by zippychick; 19-04-2012 at 5:45 PM.
    A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men
    Norn Iron club member #380

Page 8
    • EyesWideOpen
    • By EyesWideOpen 28th Apr 12, 5:53 PM
    • 88 Posts
    • 1,076 Thanks
    EyesWideOpen
    The food pictures are so lovely and inspirational! As are all the stories and tips - your all great! In fact, I was at a dinner party yesterday and found myself in a foody conversation and I started to divulge MSE insights...such as meal planning and the deviancy of SM's. I got a funny look from the chap I was talking too... but honestly, he was saying such blasphemos things as "I don't know the price of milk!!!" Was a lovely time but it brought it home to me how different peoples attitudes to money are.

    I am checking in to state a big spend of 68.5 today. Annoyed with myself as I bought things that were already in... I thought I had a good overview but otherhalf who cooked pasta last said we needed it so I bought two big bags, when packing away two were already in the cupboards!! Grr... Same thing happened with rice, which we had plenty of and so it went on. I must do a stock list like some have mentioned here, that should sort out the double/tripple/etc buying.

    I did get some bargains and useful bits of meat but I have now used a third of my budget and we're just a week into my May GC. I now have to use up what I have before I go shopping again next weekend.

    In other MSE news I went to a flea market today and got a massive kitchen/food processor machine for 10. Haven't checked it over in detail yet but am really pleased with what I have seen so far. Which means I shall have an easier time of baking bread and that sort of thing, yay!

    Hope all are well this saturday evening
    Finally had my eyes opened and I am ready to tackle my debts!
    ---------------------------------------------------------------
    Janus Illusion challenge #87
    Total CC & overdraft: 5827, planned DFD= 31.12.14
    • Fiasco55
    • By Fiasco55 28th Apr 12, 5:59 PM
    • 1,345 Posts
    • 15,364 Thanks
    Fiasco55
    Today was my first NSD of the new challenge. I ended up having to cover a shift in work so no YS hunt for me today . I have now moved to the sofa and will only be leaving it to sort dinner out. I think it will be something very simple as I am shattered.
    No buying toiletries Graduated May 2017

    Decluttered 2016 2469 items, 2017 1580 items
    2018 3060 items

    Sealed Pot Challenge No 038
    • craigywv
    • By craigywv 28th Apr 12, 6:00 PM
    • 1,976 Posts
    • 27,825 Thanks
    craigywv
    is it just me or is anyone else finding it hard to THANK people for their posts, maybe just my computer?
    • Flat Eric
    • By Flat Eric 28th Apr 12, 6:07 PM
    • 3,992 Posts
    • 24,049 Thanks
    Flat Eric
    Hi

    Just popping in to report 16.07 on a MacDonalds and 2 sneaky vanilla slices DH bought (and ate) while I was out .

    Will update signature.

    On a slightly different note. I have accumalated 3 10 of 80 spends at Tesco all to be used next week. Not sure whether to use these all and try to meal plan within an inch of my life or whether I'll just end up wasting money and should just spent as I go? Does anyone have any thoughts?

    Thanks
    Claire
    Originally posted by ClaireT13
    I've signed up for that Mr T delivery saver so with my shop tomorrow, I think I will qualify for a voucher BUT as with other promotions of a similar nature, its only a saving if I really need to spend 80 next week. I would rather have 80 in my pocket or spend 50 and save myself 30 on unwanted items. my efforts in the past to buy enough products to qualify for a spend promotion have often gone awry.

    • rising from the ashes
    • By rising from the ashes 28th Apr 12, 6:24 PM
    • 12,321 Posts
    • 59,551 Thanks
    rising from the ashes
    I'm behind on the thread already! Better get reading!

    I lost track (of posts, not spends) in April so am going to try extra had to keep up this month - I do find the support fantastic & do sooooo much better when I read everyday!

    Need to have a frugal month and try to use up some stocks so will be doing an inventory and use some stuff up! Will be having a think about the budget!
    Grocery Challenge 211/455 (01/01-31/03)
    2016 Sell: 125/250
    1,000 Emergency Fund Challenge #78 3.96 / 1,000
    Vet Fund: 410.93 / 1,000
    Debt free & determined to stay that way!
    • sallybunny
    • By sallybunny 28th Apr 12, 6:32 PM
    • 59 Posts
    • 608 Thanks
    sallybunny
    A spend of 10.75 in Mr T this morning for a few bits and pieces (more to be divulged later this month!) to get the 10 voucher. I have 50 in vouchers to use, plus the 10 and the wine festival is on until Monday so my plan is to do a big 60 wine stock up and then some 'real' shopping to go with it!

    Reading this thread is finally making me actually think about how I'm spending and on what!
    • Gorgeestwo
    • By Gorgeestwo 28th Apr 12, 6:34 PM
    • 364 Posts
    • 5,889 Thanks
    Gorgeestwo
    Eeeeek I've spent a fortune today but have stocked up on alcohol, some ys meat and a ton of the velvet toilet tissues on offer in Mr T's, we've got enough toilet rolls to last a lifetime now . I'm also doing a roast dinner for 10 tomorrow - seemed like such a good idea when we invited them!! I'm going to make a malteser cheesecake, scared myself when I added up how much the ingredients for the cheesecake cost, but it'll taste good . Will update my sig in a minute.
    Hope everyone is having a good weekend
    Grocery challenge : January 2016 65.86/300
    For 2 adults, 2 children (10 & 9 yrs) 3 cats & 2 dogs.


    • nicknack
    • By nicknack 28th Apr 12, 6:34 PM
    • 89 Posts
    • 1,861 Thanks
    nicknack
    Hi everyone,

    I'm back on the GC for May (April was a bit of a disaster, I've totally lost track of what I've spent), so I'm going to try for 200 again and will just update my signature as I go along.

    For several reasons OH and I have decided to mainly have veggie meals so I'll be scouring the recipe index for some good veggie recipes!

    Good luck to everyone for May.

  • abitofhelp
    Hello EyesWideOpen at least with your extra stocks you can start meal planning to use them up.
    Craigywv - i seem able to thank people ok, hope you are able to get it sorted.
    Flat Eric- i think my overspends come from using the moc from the supermarket, its a habit i am trying really hard to get out of
    Grocery Challenge 24th Feb-28 Dec 2012 2000/1404
    18th May- 15th June 2012 100/75
    Dont Throw Food Away 2012 May 5/0
    • NickJW
    • By NickJW 28th Apr 12, 6:39 PM
    • 678 Posts
    • 13,646 Thanks
    NickJW
    Eeeeek I've spent a fortune today but have stocked up on alcohol, some ys meat and a ton of the velvet toilet tissues on offer in Mr T's, we've got enough toilet rolls to last a lifetime now . I'm also doing a roast dinner for 10 tomorrow - seemed like such a good idea when we invited them!! I'm going to make a malteser cheesecake, scared myself when I added up how much the ingredients for the cheesecake cost, but it'll taste good . Will update my sig in a minute.
    Hope everyone is having a good weekend
    Originally posted by Gorgeestwo
    That wouldn't by any chance be the white chocolate malteser, malt cheesecake from bbcgoodfood by any chance? If it is, please let me know how it is, because I have Horlicks in the cupboard and was considering making that!
    Grocery Challenge 14 Jan 14 46.05/130

    Grocery Challenge 13 -spent 1453.06
    Grocery Challenge 12 -spent 1565.51

    DFD 1st March 2011
    • craigywv
    • By craigywv 28th Apr 12, 6:46 PM
    • 1,976 Posts
    • 27,825 Thanks
    craigywv
    FLORENCEEM coooeeeeeeeee whats for dinner? ..............waiting on the photos !!!!!
    • Flat Eric
    • By Flat Eric 28th Apr 12, 7:12 PM
    • 3,992 Posts
    • 24,049 Thanks
    Flat Eric
    can we post stuff that we have to use up on this thread ?? I have in my fridge aubergines/peppers/onions/a cucumber/spring onions/courgettes/mushrooms/carrots and stir fry veg ?!

    any ideas on how best to use all this up ???

    • allie23
    • By allie23 28th Apr 12, 7:15 PM
    • 1,343 Posts
    • 14,647 Thanks
    allie23
    Hi folks. Can I sign up for the GC this month. Have lapsed over the last couple of months. Am trying for 150 this month but am away on holiday for a week or so in the middle of the month so (hopefully) should be less than that.

    Just about to head out to Mr T to see if I can pick up some discounted bread. On a Saturday night - I am so rock and roll!
    February 2019 Grocery Challenge
    Frugal Living Challenge 2019
    Save 12k in 2019 - Challenger No 69 - 13,310/40,000
    • rising from the ashes
    • By rising from the ashes 28th Apr 12, 7:22 PM
    • 12,321 Posts
    • 59,551 Thanks
    rising from the ashes
    can we post stuff that we have to use up on this thread ?? I have in my fridge aubergines/peppers/onions/a cucumber/spring onions/courgettes/mushrooms/carrots and stir fry veg ?!

    any ideas on how best to use all this up ???
    Originally posted by Flat Eric
    Couple of suggestions:

    Aubergine & Courgette Bake ... yum!

    I've used this recipe in the past & it was errrr yum!

    http://hje-at-home.blogspot.co.uk/2009/03/aubergine-courgette-bake.html (you may need to print the page to read it)

    Roasted peppers stuffed with savoury rice

    Cheat a bit with this one:

    1/2 peppers & remove seeds
    Put in roasting tin & drizzle with olive oil
    Roast for about 10-15 mins @ around 200 deg
    Turn over & roast the other side

    Meanwhile - make a packet of savoury rice of your choice (L*idl do a fab Mexican one) - I tend to fry off any any veg I have that need used up (eg mushrooms) & add them to the mixture

    Remove peppers from oven, stuff with rice & sprinkle with cheese
    Put back in oven for a few mins until cheese melts ..... yum!
    Grocery Challenge 211/455 (01/01-31/03)
    2016 Sell: 125/250
    1,000 Emergency Fund Challenge #78 3.96 / 1,000
    Vet Fund: 410.93 / 1,000
    Debt free & determined to stay that way!
    • MrsCD
    • By MrsCD 28th Apr 12, 7:23 PM
    • 753 Posts
    • 11,263 Thanks
    MrsCD
    Evenin' all.
    Had to buy eggs today. I was hoping for a third NSD in a row.
    So to cheer myself up after work, and having to make the dinner when I got home, I made one of those mw sponge puds I've been reading about. I put some raspberry jam in the bottom and it was lovely. Had some hm custard with it - thanks Florenceem for reminding me how much better it is than the instant stuff!

    I don't know how to do the bottom bit with the figures etc., but I'm aiming for a weekly spend of no more than 75 for 4 adults (food, toiletries and household stuff) and trying to shop once a week, except for absolute necessities.

    Enjoy the rest of the weekend
  • HappyTorty
    Evenin' all.
    Had to buy eggs today. I was hoping for a third NSD in a row.
    So to cheer myself up after work, and having to make the dinner when I got home, I made one of those mw sponge puds I've been reading about. I put some raspberry jam in the bottom and it was lovely. Had some hm custard with it - thanks Florenceem for reminding me how much better it is than the instant stuff!

    I don't know how to do the bottom bit with the figures etc., but I'm aiming for a weekly spend of no more than 75 for 4 adults (food, toiletries and household stuff) and trying to shop once a week, except for absolute necessities.

    Enjoy the rest of the weekend
    Originally posted by MrsCD
    Go to the green bar above the title of this thread. Click on user CP, then on the left hand side "edit signature" HTH
    May Grocery Challenge : 64.81 so far


    May NSD: 0
    • Gorgeestwo
    • By Gorgeestwo 28th Apr 12, 7:40 PM
    • 364 Posts
    • 5,889 Thanks
    Gorgeestwo
    o
    That wouldn't by any chance be the white chocolate malteser, malt cheesecake from bbcgoodfood by any chance? If it is, please let me know how it is, because I have Horlicks in the cupboard and was considering making that!
    Originally posted by NickJW
    Its not Nick, though did see that one, its this one here http://uktv.co.uk/food/recipe/aid/637209 but the ingredients cost over 11 I've made it before and it really was delicious but its not very MSE!
    If you make the other one let me know what its like we all love cheesecake in this house and love trying new variations.
    Grocery challenge : January 2016 65.86/300
    For 2 adults, 2 children (10 & 9 yrs) 3 cats & 2 dogs.


    • Gorgeestwo
    • By Gorgeestwo 28th Apr 12, 7:44 PM
    • 364 Posts
    • 5,889 Thanks
    Gorgeestwo

    Roasted peppers stuffed with savoury rice

    Cheat a bit with this one:

    1/2 peppers & remove seeds
    Put in roasting tin & drizzle with olive oil
    Roast for about 10-15 mins @ around 200 deg
    Turn over & roast the other side

    Meanwhile - make a packet of savoury rice of your choice (L*idl do a fab Mexican one) - I tend to fry off any any veg I have that need used up (eg mushrooms) & add them to the mixture

    Remove peppers from oven, stuff with rice & sprinkle with cheese
    Put back in oven for a few mins until cheese melts ..... yum!
    Originally posted by rising from the ashes
    Thanks for this I'm going to give this a go, both my children absolutely love peppers in any shape or form, do you serve it with anything else?

    I'm definitely going to be trying some of the recipes on the first page as my son has asked that wednesday be our 'try something new day' this week I'm going to be making my first ever risotto, which I have to say I'm a little bit scared about lol
    Grocery challenge : January 2016 65.86/300
    For 2 adults, 2 children (10 & 9 yrs) 3 cats & 2 dogs.


  • shoe string
    Hello,
    Can I join in please?
    I really have no clue as to what we spend each week on food but what I do know is that I dont have any money left at the end of every month.
    I would like to start with 160 a week please. Thats for 3 adults, 2 teenagers and a dog. To include ALL food, toiletries and cleaning stuff.
  • Mrs Addicted to Spending
    Hi sorry I've been MIA but I'm revising for an exam the Wednesday after next. I haven't had time to read everyone's posts but will catch up after my exam. In the meantime, I'll just post my week's spend each Tues. Hope everyone's OK .

    Please can you add me to this month's challenge:

    320 for the month

    Thank you.
    Pay debt in 2012 #278 2347/5364
    Sealed Pot 5 #1713 78.57 //Crazy Clothes Challenge #97 79.49/100
    Grocery Challenge:
    Feb 359/360 Mar 390/450 Apr 335/320
    May 330/320 Jun 455/400 Jul 321/320
    Aug 399/370 Sep 345/300 Oct 421/400 Nov 0/320
Welcome to our new Forum!

Our aim is to save you money quickly and easily. We hope you like it!

Forum Team Contact us

Live Stats

241Posts Today

3,628Users online

Martin's Twitter