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

    Welcome to the sixth 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:
    May 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'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,
    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!

    Last edited by zippychick; 11-05-2012 at 6:59 PM.
    A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men
    Norn Iron club member #380

Page 47
    • **purpleprincess**
    • By **purpleprincess** 13th Jun 12, 8:48 PM
    • 3,516 Posts
    • 3,845 Thanks
    Bad day today, poor DD (only 22) found a lump and was referred to breast clinic, went for scan and they did an immediate biopsy......I am obviously terrified and trying not to show it.

    Any positive thoughts and prayers you can spare will be gratefully received while my girl waits for the result

    20 spent on taxis and buses to and from hospital.
    Originally posted by fozziebeartoo
    Sending you lots of positive thoughts
    Official DFW Nerd no. 082!
    Debt @ 01/01/2014 16,956 Debt now: 0.00
    Aims: clear debt, get married, buy a house ALL DONE!!
  • mummy2mygirls
    fozzie thinking of you and your DD. I hope you get the results back very soon and that they are clear xx

    NSD here today Even though I though I would need to pop to shops. Im glad ive managed to last a extra day before poping to the shop Will have to pop tomorrow and then will do a bigger shop on friday ready for the weekend
    GC: Nov: 60.22/450 Oct: 338.48/450, July: 363.05/450, June 447.98/500
    2 savers No68: 104/100

    mummy to: 8yr, 5yr, 3yr, 2yr, 1yr. No6 Due Mar 2013 My world.
    • Kitchenbunny
    • By Kitchenbunny 13th Jun 12, 9:50 PM
    • 1,860 Posts
    • 20,252 Thanks
    Just quickly looked in and saw about Fozzie's DD - am thinking of you both and sending positive vibes and wishes.

    K xx

    • craigywv
    • By craigywv 13th Jun 12, 10:23 PM
    • 1,976 Posts
    • 27,825 Thanks
    FLO your pie looks lovely as usual! nsd here for me but my mum called round her and my dad were bored (joys of retirement)so they went on one of their "outings" this time they ended up in ikea,mums excuse was she heard i wanted jars and cannisters for my lentils etc dads excuse was he wanted least he was honest! so now i have various assortment of lovely tall/small/glass jars im delighted, also got 2 packs of tealights so i was very pleased. whilst fiddling about in my veg patch this morn i got bit on my boob by an earwig! didnt know they bit until it latched onto my finger so will be on the lookout for the assasin earwig as he escaped.sitting here quite bored as oh and ds snoring away and im listening to the freezer defrosting quite scary when large chunks of ice fall off. sc all set for casserole for tomorrow , think i shall go fill up bm so can wake up to nice bread night all x
    C.R.A.P.R.O.L.L.Z #7 member N.I splinter-group co-ordinater I dont suffer from insanity....I enjoy every minute of it!!.
    • elsiepac
    • By elsiepac 13th Jun 12, 11:23 PM
    • 1,698 Posts
    • 12,516 Thanks
    fozziebear - I'm so sorry to hear about your DD - you and her are in my thoughts and I hope you get positive results very soon.


    I got some bargains in Mr T today - went at prime time for YS!!! But only needed stuff for tea for me and mum, so changed what I had in mind for us to fit around my YS's!

    Big punnets of strawbs for 50p...
    Packs of 3 peppers for 41p...
    Cheese and Onion quiches for 77p... (normally 2 for 4!)
    Twin pack rocket fpr 37p
    Bag of physalis for 17p


    5.55 to add to GC as a result, although was intending to spend no more than a fiver, but that was on tea ingredients, and I've got stuff for a while now, so actually better off!

    Also 3.66 yesterday in A1d! on FR eggs, vintage cheddar and 1kg bananas.

    I've also restarted my veg box order - I used a value company years ago in my flat, and cancelled as they didn't deliver to mum and dad's area plus I was getting overrun with potatoes! - , however they keep offering me a half price box, so thought I'd have a look and they're doing a new box specially for "Small Families of 1 or 2" - I like that I'm a small family of one!!! It's 9.95 a box, and a mixture of veg, fruit and salad. I've initially gone with once a fortnight to see how I do - they don't do the dreaded 2kg bag of potatoes in this one thank goodness!!! So my first one is on Thur 21st and will cost 4.97 as half price - will update total now to reflect.

    I'm a Board Guide on the Old Style, Greenfingered, Energy & Going Out Deals boards which means I'm a volunteer to help the boards run smoothly and I can move and merge threads there. Please remember, board guides don't read every post. If you spot an illegal or inappropriate post then please report it to (it's not part of my role to deal with this) Any views are mine and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.
    SPC No 074
    GC: Apr 19 59.94/200
    Vegan 27-8-13
    • allie23
    • By allie23 14th Jun 12, 8:01 AM
    • 1,336 Posts
    • 14,594 Thanks
    Sending positive energy and hugs Fozzie.
    February 2019 Grocery Challenge
    Frugal Living Challenge 2019
    Save 12k in 2019 - Challenger No 69 - 13,310/40,000
    • slowlyfading
    • By slowlyfading 14th Jun 12, 8:04 AM
    • 13,035 Posts
    • 75,211 Thanks
    Fozzie - hoping for good news for you sending positive vibes your way x
    Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind - Dr Seuss
    Personal Finance Blogger / June NSD - 2 / In pursuit of FIRE
    • purplesheila
    • By purplesheila 14th Jun 12, 8:30 AM
    • 24 Posts
    • 477 Thanks
    Thoughts to Flozzie

    Thursday Shopping Day

    Menu plan in hand List at the ready and a trip to Ald!

    My husband and I are members of Scouting as well as the kids, and we went to an information evening last night regarding a trip to Egypt next August. Its no way compulsory but a 2 week trip costs 1100 and it includes: Food, Cruse Trip down the Nile, seeing the Pyramids, Camel rides, and sa trip on a Sleeper Train etc etc. A trip of a Lifetime. Only thing is Cost X 4 = 4400.

    We all really want to do it as for value of money it is cheap. Justlooked up how much it would be for two weeks in August this year and an allinclusive is 1000 each with no activities

    So I have decided that I am going to try to cut my food budget even more 55 per week and an extra 15 per week can go in the trip pot.We dont need to confirm till end of September so hopefully I will have made a start in saving and we will make our final decision then.

    I am currently not working decided to be a stay at home mum, our local school always wants lunchtime staff and DD has said she will try and get a paper round. Dishwasher has just bust so washing up by hand for now

    Well lets see how much I can save for deposits in September?????
    Last edited by purplesheila; 14-06-2012 at 8:32 AM.
    April Grocery challenge 0/160 (17th April-30th Apr)
    NSDs - 0/14
    • Barbeduk
    • By Barbeduk 14th Jun 12, 8:32 AM
    • 816 Posts
    • 7,150 Thanks
    Hi, just caught up with yesterday's posts, do hope all goes well for DD Fozzie and hope you slept ok.

    I have done a couple of small shops (car misbehaving so could only buy what I could walk home with). So Mr M today 5.93 on yet more frozen veg, Branston beans, mushrooms, baking potatoes and juice. Yesterday 7.24 on fruit, rolls, sausages and blinkin' sweets as I had the kids with me.

    DD has 3 friends round for tea so making them macaroni cheese as one is a vegetarian. Will also make some Millie's cookies as recommended by Cleggie. Just realised DH is out this eve so I'll probably have rice and veg with perhaps a bit of leftover roast chicken. Must also put the breadmaker on for a w'meal loaf and soak some fruit for a tea loaf. You can tell it's a day off!

    Have been making cous cous salad and pasta salad for our packed lunches as we were finding a roll and banana was not enough. Think that's where all the frozen corn and peas have gone!
    Last edited by Barbeduk; 14-06-2012 at 8:33 AM. Reason: Sp
    June GC 288.01/400
  • cleggie
    Good luck on your savings purplesheila, the holiday sounds like loads of fun!

    Barb- ooh, yummy millie cookies! I am making some more today, as my oldest is having a friend home from school and requested that i made these for them to eat, as well as the hobnobs. Hope your car gets sorted out soon!

    My Mr T delivery is coming later (4-6) as well, so i shouldnt have to buy anything for a week or so!

    Have a great day everyone.
    • Coxy11
    • By Coxy11 14th Jun 12, 8:50 AM
    • 2,295 Posts
    • 27,317 Thanks
    Morning everyone,

    Fozzie - sending you and your DD (((((hugs))))) and thinking all positive thoughts for you. Take care xxx

    Just on to update my spends this week. Took Mum to lunch on Tuesday as she was 70 and visited her A!di whilst there. Also went to MrT last night as we had no milk and no dog food. DH was at a scout meeting so had to take the children with me. Went quite late as I run a youth club on Wednesdays and happened upon the rtc section. Got some finest steak burgers - 4 x 4pack for 66p - second purse paying for those.

    Totals are now looking quite scary, but I have meal planned and most of the meat/fish/chicken is in the freezer courtesy of DR orders and ys finds. Also have enough packed lunch goodies for the month. Just have to pay back 2nd purse when I use those items. Better to have the money in my purse than paying the SMs

    Off to update sig.
    Cross-stitch WIP #1: Collecting Shells by Nancy Cole
    Cross-stitch WIP #2: Pretty Little London by Satsuma Street
    • fozziebeartoo
    • By fozziebeartoo 14th Jun 12, 9:03 AM
    • 1,564 Posts
    • 12,675 Thanks
    Thank you SO much for everyones good wishes regarding my DD, I cannot say how much I appreciate your positive thoughts and prayers, thank you

    I will let you know how it goes.

    Meanwhile, trying to stop thinking of it, hoping my budgeting will help distract my mind.
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 14th Jun 12, 9:27 AM
    • 3,984 Posts
    • 52,562 Thanks
    Sausage pie recipe FAO Sb88.
    Into large round dish I put 4 cooked sausages - split down the middle then cut into pieces - makes it look more! Add a tin of value baked beans and tinned tomatoes plus some cooked rashers of cheap bacon - cut into bits. I nuked in one of my 99p shop micro dishes - 2 sticks of celery - cut into bits + a large onion chopped. Add freshly ground black pepper/sprinkling of dried mixed herbs and garlic granules. I love garlic - put in 4 cloves. I added a teaspoon of Mr A tandoori spice mix plus a drop of gravy. mix all the pie ingredients together and cover with HM shortcrust pastry. Cook 200c for about 25 minutes then at 180 for another 30 minutes - oven times will vary.
    This pie is so versatile - you could put in chopped up peppers or mushrooms.
    A lot of tasty filling pie for not a lot of money.
    I reckon this pie costs about 1.60 to make - 8 portions.
    Mr F thought it was delicious.
    15 in 2015 1/15
  • Midnight Shopper
    Hi All,

    I'm over half way through my groceries budget already, and I was hoping to be well short of it this month.

    All your postings are keeping me on track, inspiring me, and making me envious of all your lovely hc'd meals.

    I'm using my EEBA app for the first time this month, so at least I actually know (for the first time ever) where all my money is going - so that's some progress.

    Thanks for inspiring me to keep going,


    'Extra payment every week' (started May '12) 60.00 this week = 150.94 so far

    'Virtual Sealed Pot Challenge' (#174 started May '12) 33.00 this week = 86.19 so far

    [FONT=Comic Sans MS][SIZE=2][COLOR=DeepSkyBlue][COLOR=Blue]
    • jedi82
    • By jedi82 14th Jun 12, 10:35 AM
    • 406 Posts
    • 3,548 Thanks
    morning, a horrible day here so me and dd2 are staying in and not ging anywhere (except school run) so will be a NSD, i hope!

    Fozzie, you and your dd are in my prayers xxx

    Jedi x
    Finally getting my life on track. Onwards and upwards.
    BSC No 327
    GC Jan 336.91/450
    GC Feb 0/400
    • sistercas
    • By sistercas 14th Jun 12, 11:02 AM
    • 4,841 Posts
    • 58,661 Thanks
    another big spend in @sda 74 and 23 in l!dl , ive also placed an AF order for 50
    near the end of my budget now so next week will have to be a very small one

    tea tonight will be chicken stirfry and noodles with black bean sauce ( got loads of black bean sauce form AF lol)
  • Mrs Addicted to Spending
    Fozzie - best wishes for you and your daughter *hugs*.

    Another spend so we are now at 409/out of 400. Even though I'm being very careful now, I started off the month badly so I was pretty sure we would go over. Must try harder next month . Leftovers tonight - HM pizza and moussaka - tribe can pick what they want - I'm so generous!!
    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
  • archived user
    I'm eating some of my bargain Mr W salad as we speak - I think it tastes nicer cos I know it was reduced from 1.99 to 19p
    A reprise of last night's dinner for me tonight as DD working late again so that's easy.
    Florenceem your pie looks & sounds splendid, I might have to try that. I like the fact you've only used pastry on the top so it's healthier and you don't get a soggy bottom
  • Midnight Shopper
    Forgot to say... Frozziebear (have I spelt it right?)... hope all goes well with your DD.


    'Extra payment every week' (started May '12) 60.00 this week = 150.94 so far

    'Virtual Sealed Pot Challenge' (#174 started May '12) 33.00 this week = 86.19 so far

    [FONT=Comic Sans MS][SIZE=2][COLOR=DeepSkyBlue][COLOR=Blue]
  • sneakyspender
    Hello newbie here, have been lurking in June and May have decided to go for a.budget of 325 in Julythat is for 2 adults and 2kidaaged 38,36,85
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