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  • 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 seventh 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:
    June 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; 04-06-2012 at 12:30 PM.
    A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men
    Norn Iron club member #380

Page 54
    • jasmin10
    • By jasmin10 15th Jul 12, 9:42 PM
    • 895 Posts
    • 1,720 Thanks
    jasmin10
    I tried to post the other morning, but it wouldn't let me log in?!

    I am a bit worried I will come in over budget, already spent over half and less than half way through the month...

    I think one issue is that I have done grocery from 1st to end of month, put my pay runs from 15th to 15th...

    New plan is to just keep spending down now until 15th August, try and come in at 400 for 31st of July and then start again proper 15th, I might have to work across 2 threads.

    Tonight I have made bolognese, chilli, and mash to go with some sausages to last us the next 5-8 days along with lunchboxes, but I will need more potato possibly.

    I am very annoyed that my bread seems to go mouldy before best before date Which I would use!

    I wish I could figure out this a bit better, I have no idea how to do signature, so can't join in totally properly?!

    I am reading my understanding excel book from the library and watching lots of recommended vids on u tube, thank you... So hopefully August I can also get all my budgets in a work book...I love organisation!

    I also got a golf bag free for OH today brand new, colleague had had it in their shed for 5 months and wanted to clear some space... Result! I didn't want not to do anything in return so made up old jam jars with some sweet treats and funky lid covers for his children... Rather OS I felt

    Hope everyone else is doing well x
    Originally posted by SusanP
    How about you freeze and just take out say 8 slices (or work out roughly how many u need) and keep them out in a separate bag. Even if u did find u needed a couple extra they only take a couple of minutes to defrost standing up against each other - better than wasting a whole loaf. HTHs

    There was something in tv last about food factories, how they keep shop sarnies so fresh. They said a mistake a lot of people do is keep bread in the fridge which apparently makes it go stale 6 times faster. Never knew that as I usually do this when it's warm. Not now as I just make it myself as an when.

    Also, does any know if asda publish a list or if there's an online list of the products they have knocked down to 50p this week (saw if advertised on tv)
    Last edited by jasmin10; 15-07-2012 at 10:00 PM.
    [I]TopCashback 1792.63
    My Little World
    • tigerfeet2006
    • By tigerfeet2006 15th Jul 12, 10:13 PM
    • 13,826 Posts
    • 29,891 Thanks
    tigerfeet2006
    Another busy day today with birthday parties, church and dinner at FIL's. Though dinner meant a meal I didn't have to cook and a free meal and it gets even better as there was a load of beef left which he has given me, so that is Tuesdays dinner sorted. Tomorrows dinner will be the left over mince from the pack I defrosted on Saturday for DC1's and my dinner.
    BSCno.87
    The only stupid question is an unasked one
    Loving life as a Kernow Hippy
    • MrsCD
    • By MrsCD 15th Jul 12, 10:39 PM
    • 753 Posts
    • 11,263 Thanks
    MrsCD
    I am very annoyed that my bread seems to go mouldy before best before date Which I would use!

    I wish I could figure out this a bit better, I have no idea how to do signature, so can't join in totally properly?!

    I also got a golf bag free for OH today brand new, colleague had had it in their shed for 5 months and wanted to clear some space... Result! I didn't want not to do anything in return so made up old jam jars with some sweet treats and funky lid covers for his children... Rather OS I felt
    Originally posted by SusanP
    SusanP - I had the same problem, so now I freeze all my bread when I buy it and just keep about a third of a loaf of white and the same of wholemeal in bags in the bread bin. This lasts us two or three days then I take another third or so out to defrost.

    To do your signature, go the the green bar near the top of the page and click on User CP. You will see a list on the left hand side. Click on Edit Signature and off you go!

    Well done on the swapsies

    NSD here today.
    • tigerfeet2006
    • By tigerfeet2006 15th Jul 12, 10:59 PM
    • 13,826 Posts
    • 29,891 Thanks
    tigerfeet2006
    Hello, can I join you? Will just update in my sig. I am hoping to sort out my finances and think that 150 a month is doable for us. There is only me and my 2 little ones. Going to go for 70 for the rest of July but this will be easy as I have tonnes of food in.
    Originally posted by becca-2012
    Welcome to the thread Becca, good luck with your grocery challenge.

    Thanks for the welcome back Suffolk Lass, good to be back here again.

    Was wondering today how I am going to do the GC in Abu Dhabi. Should be interesting.
    BSCno.87
    The only stupid question is an unasked one
    Loving life as a Kernow Hippy
    • Possession
    • By Possession 16th Jul 12, 7:16 AM
    • 3,140 Posts
    • 41,491 Thanks
    Possession
    NSD yesterday and should be today too....sports day too and doesn't look like that's going to be happening!

  • Mrs Addicted to Spending
    Hi Becca-2012 - welcome to the thread.


    I'm another one who freezes bread unless I know for sure it's going to be used within 2 days. I just take out what I need or if it's for packed lunches I just use it from frozen - it's defrosted by lunchtime and keeps everything fresh.
    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
  • sb88
    I'm looking at revising my target for August!

    The last two months I have gone over 130, I have a feeling this month it will be 160.

    You all do so well with your budgets! I am not sure why I keep over running my grocery spend, so I am going to look at my recipts and see where I am spending too much.

    Is there anyone else with a grocery budget for 2 ?

    Had to sacrifice two chicken breasts last night, my dog has had an upset stomach and so has been on a diet of chicken and rice last night and today.
    Weightloss: 18lbs/28lbs (Start weight: 11st, Current 9st 10)
  • Boodle
    We thoroughly b*gg**ed that up! 36 quid. Oh well, now we are watching what we are doing which is the main reason behind the lowish budget for us. And hopefully as we continue we will keep it down closer to the under 30. Hope everyone has a good week x
    Love and compassion to all x
    • Soworried
    • By Soworried 16th Jul 12, 9:01 AM
    • 2,150 Posts
    • 19,990 Thanks
    Soworried
    Morning, I hope everyone is well.
    Keza, It sounds like your oven is cooking unevenly. It is free standing? If so put a spirit level on the top and turn the feet until it is level.
    If it is already level then I would put an empty baking sheet on the shelf below when you bake. That should solve it. Or to be more economical put a quiche or pizza on the shelf below that you want a firmer base on.

    I need to update my signature with a 2.35p spend on milk and chocolate. I really need to stop spending for the rest of this month.
    36/240
    5522
    One step must start each journey
    One word must start each prayer
    One hope will raise our spirits
    One touch can show you care
    • DebtFree2012
    • By DebtFree2012 16th Jul 12, 9:15 AM
    • 3,476 Posts
    • 9,584 Thanks
    DebtFree2012
    Morning all,

    About to catch up but posting my updates so far.

    I have slightly overspent this w/e so only have 9.66 left from my 150 budget - this is for 2 adults and 2 kids less than 6 and includes everything.

    Hope I can eek this out until 25th!

    xx
    Debt - CCV 3792
    CCB 1383 (took a hit for a holiday)

    Loan 1 1787
    Loan 2 1683
    Total 8601 Was 39302
    • keza
    • By keza 16th Jul 12, 9:44 AM
    • 1,300 Posts
    • 9,249 Thanks
    keza
    I'm looking at revising my target for August!

    The last two months I have gone over 130, I have a feeling this month it will be 160.

    You all do so well with your budgets! I am not sure why I keep over running my grocery spend, so I am going to look at my recipts and see where I am spending too much.

    Is there anyone else with a grocery budget for 2 ?

    Had to sacrifice two chicken breasts last night, my dog has had an upset stomach and so has been on a diet of chicken and rice last night and today.
    Originally posted by sb88
    im a budgeter for 2! ours is 250 (200 for me a DH and 50 for nappies and milk for William).

    We used to have a budget of 130 like yours but that was 3 years ago. we have found the cost of food impossible to keep our budget any lower than 250 - this month it was 300! HTH xx
    Current Mortgage balance - 372006.55/395,999.
    MBNA - 4,760.45
    Barclaycard - 2,932
    • keza
    • By keza 16th Jul 12, 9:47 AM
    • 1,300 Posts
    • 9,249 Thanks
    keza
    Morning, I hope everyone is well.
    Keza, It sounds like your oven is cooking unevenly. It is free standing? If so put a spirit level on the top and turn the feet until it is level.
    If it is already level then I would put an empty baking sheet on the shelf below when you bake. That should solve it. Or to be more economical put a quiche or pizza on the shelf below that you want a firmer base on.

    I need to update my signature with a 2.35p spend on milk and chocolate. I really need to stop spending for the rest of this month.
    Originally posted by Soworried
    thanks for this. its a free standing gas cooker. i did turn the muffin tins round half way thru cooking coz they were browning quicker on one side. i will try this idea next time thou they cooked my twinks fine last week but i seem to have trouble with muffins bases burning and sticking to the paper. thanks x
    Current Mortgage balance - 372006.55/395,999.
    MBNA - 4,760.45
    Barclaycard - 2,932
    • Bluegreen143
    • By Bluegreen143 16th Jul 12, 10:18 AM
    • 1,108 Posts
    • 12,739 Thanks
    Bluegreen143
    I'm looking at revising my target for August!

    The last two months I have gone over 130, I have a feeling this month it will be 160.

    You all do so well with your budgets! I am not sure why I keep over running my grocery spend, so I am going to look at my recipts and see where I am spending too much.

    Is there anyone else with a grocery budget for 2 ?

    Had to sacrifice two chicken breasts last night, my dog has had an upset stomach and so has been on a diet of chicken and rice last night and today.
    Originally posted by sb88
    I budget for two! And a cat, lol. I've only been doing this for 2 months so don't know what my eventual 'rock bottom' budget will be, but I used to spend 300+ (this includes toiletries, cleaning stuff, cat food and our food, but not alcohol or eating out). To my perspective, you do really well, as I spent 260 last month and was chuffed at that!

    But I know it must be really frustrating to not get it as low as your target. Maybe it's like dieting, where you hit a plateau and it suddenly becomes much harder to shed even a few pounds? Keep at it anyway, I'm sure you'll get there and maybe one day I'll spend as little as you lol!!
    Married 1 March 2014 DS born 06 Dec 2014 DD born 14 Dec 2018
    • Soworried
    • By Soworried 16th Jul 12, 10:22 AM
    • 2,150 Posts
    • 19,990 Thanks
    Soworried
    My 200 budget is for 4 people. I do not know if it is possible yet but it is what I am aiming for.
    36/240
    5522
    One step must start each journey
    One word must start each prayer
    One hope will raise our spirits
    One touch can show you care
    • meg72
    • By meg72 16th Jul 12, 10:54 AM
    • 5,082 Posts
    • 46,072 Thanks
    meg72
    [QUOTE=sb88;54520113]I'm looking at revising my target for August!

    The last two months I have gone over 130, I have a feeling this month it will be 160.

    You all do so well with your budgets! I am not sure why I keep over running my grocery spend, so I am going to look at my recipts and see where I am spending too much. QUOTE

    It is a good idea to checkyour receipts to see where the money has gone,but have to say that 160.00 is not bad at all,
    Slimming World at target
    • mrs-moneypenny
    • By mrs-moneypenny 16th Jul 12, 11:18 AM
    • 15,518 Posts
    • 198,189 Thanks
    mrs-moneypenny
    have updated my sig with the weekend spends, shouldnt need much else this week, were eating out tomorrow night and DD2 is away for week on a job training course. trouble is i did the usual fruit and veg shop so need to make sure things get used

    did a sweet potato and leek pie yesterday turned out really nice
    peel and chop sweet pots into chunks slice leeks. lightly fry for 10 mins till softening. add a veggie oxo cube and a tub of double cream bring to boil for a few mins to reduce slightly make pastry top and bake for about 30 mins,
    SPC~12 ot 124

    In a world that has decided that it's going to lose its mind, be more kind my friend, try to Be More Kind
    • NickJW
    • By NickJW 16th Jul 12, 11:31 AM
    • 678 Posts
    • 13,646 Thanks
    NickJW
    Hmmm - quite a few spends to report from the weekend:

    50p in the corner shop on Friday on a pack of chewing gum
    3.79 on a sandwich meal deal in BoOts at Kings Cross fir the train on Saturday
    89p on some sweets for my little sister on Saturday
    13 in Mr T on Saturday
    1 on a bowl of peppers from the market on Sunday
    3 on bagels and cholla bread from Brick Lane market

    At least I'm sorted for sandwiches for work lunches this week

    Will also need to pop to Mr W tonight to get extras for dinner tonight. Have chicken thighs defrosted from the freezer.

    Will go and read through the thread to catch up
    Grocery Challenge 14 Jan 14 46.05/130

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

    DFD 1st March 2011
    • savesummore
    • By savesummore 16th Jul 12, 11:53 AM
    • 943 Posts
    • 11,411 Thanks
    savesummore
    I'm looking at revising my target for August!

    The last two months I have gone over 130, I have a feeling this month it will be 160.

    You all do so well with your budgets! I am not sure why I keep over running my grocery spend, so I am going to look at my recipts and see where I am spending too much.

    Is there anyone else with a grocery budget for 2 ?

    Had to sacrifice two chicken breasts last night, my dog has had an upset stomach and so has been on a diet of chicken and rice last night and today.
    Originally posted by sb88
    Hi Im a budgeter for 2 (plus a very fussy cat!!) This is my 2nd month and last month we spent 385 and this month will again be over my 300 target . This is all cleaning, food, toiletries, cat food and eating out but not booze) so im in awe of your budget and aiming to be like you

    I think your doing really well
    O/S weight loss 2.5 /10lbs (11st 8.0- 08.02)
  • sonastin
    I'm starting to feel a bit more positive about this month. I reckon I've got enough in to get through this week without having to go shopping. And that should leave me with 55 for groceries for our camping trip, plus ~75 in the "eating out" budget. I don't think I'll make it to the end of the month in-budget on either of them but the eating out budget was set knowing that I'd spend more in July because of the holiday & make up for it by spending less in other months. Totally expected the GC budget to be waaaaaaay over last week but I seem to have pulled it back so that it might only be a bit over. And when we're on holiday, OH sometimes pays for groceries. Although he's feeling the pinch this month so he might not. (He tried to say I should contribute to the diesel to get us there yesterday ~100. Until I said he needed to pay his share of the event entry ~90 EACH! Haven't worked out who is paying for the campsite yet!)
    • tigerfeet2006
    • By tigerfeet2006 16th Jul 12, 12:14 PM
    • 13,826 Posts
    • 29,891 Thanks
    tigerfeet2006
    I'm looking at revising my target for August!

    The last two months I have gone over 130, I have a feeling this month it will be 160.

    You all do so well with your budgets! I am not sure why I keep over running my grocery spend, so I am going to look at my recipts and see where I am spending too much.

    Is there anyone else with a grocery budget for 2 ?

    Had to sacrifice two chicken breasts last night, my dog has had an upset stomach and so has been on a diet of chicken and rice last night and today.
    Originally posted by sb88
    Maybe you have been ambitious as a starter and need to revise upwards to come downwards again. It can take time to gradually get to your target. When I started a few years back I was spending up to 700 a month on food (I couldn't even admit it was that high when I started I was that embarrassed.) That is for 5 of us. A couple of months ago I had it down to 350/380 but it has taken peserverance and learning tips as I went along.

    At the moment we are completely brassic because of the costs of relocating but I am so grateful for everything I have learnt on here as it has got me through the last few months. My budget at the moment is what I have in my purse which this week was 40 and I have spent 36 and that should last me 10 days with maybe having to top up on veg. but I am going to try and manage. I have run out of GF cereal but have made some bread as I had the ingredients in stock and they are having toast instead.
    BSCno.87
    The only stupid question is an unasked one
    Loving life as a Kernow Hippy
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