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 eighth Grocery Challenge of 2012 Holy majoly, where has the year gone?!?!?!?!!?

    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:
    July 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 #6 and #7 on this thread.

    For everyones totals, see post #8 on this thread

    I hope everyone has a great month!

    Zip
    Last edited by zippychick; 22-07-2012 at 11:49 AM.
    A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men
    Norn Iron club member #380

Page 35
  • KatyReed+5
    Well done quintwins i would be proud to come home with that haul, and worth blowing your budget for,

    X
    June £0.00 GC / £200.00

    Family of 4 : 1 adult 3 kids ages 3,4 & 5.
    • Caterina
    • By Caterina 16th Aug 12, 6:44 AM
    • 5,813 Posts
    • 40,382 Thanks
    Caterina
    Am seeing a friend for lunch today, should I record the food expense as grocery or as entertainment (meaning it does not affect the GC)? Thank you for advice! Also, the food will be paid by my morning babysit, not by the family resources.
    Finally I'm an OAP and can travel free (in London at least!).
  • jumblejack
    Nice haul QT!!!!

    Next weeks spend will be lowered with a good stock like that!!!
    Every moment is a gift. That's why we call it the present.!
    Grocery Spend Weekly Challenge (Sat-Fri):£30.50/£40
    • Soworried
    • By Soworried 16th Aug 12, 7:30 AM
    • 2,150 Posts
    • 19,990 Thanks
    Soworried
    Morning
    Breakfast will be cereal, we still have 9 boxes left off the recent vouchers.
    Lunch will be YS salad with some left over chicken and coleslaw.
    Dinner will be some thing quick or a meal out. It all depends on my neices exam results. I feel sick for her. I text her first thing and she has been awake since 2am.

    I am hoping for a no spend day today but I have an order to pick up at MrA. If they have any of the 40p shaving gel left then I will have to bring it home with me.

    I hope everyone is well. x

    Good luck to anyone getting results today.
    £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
    • jasmin10
    • By jasmin10 16th Aug 12, 7:34 AM
    • 895 Posts
    • 1,720 Thanks
    jasmin10
    Jasmin10 - Hope everything went ok at the hospital today.
    Originally posted by MrsCD
    .

    I was really touched with you thinking about me in your post - it really meant a lot to me - thank you so much. it was ok, lots of waiting and standing around. It was a pre-op ready for an op on 11th, I really cant wait. In 2010 a m/c twins and then another later that year. As you can see tho I then went on to have a successful pg and had DD number 2 on Boxing Day. They have now put it all down to Endometriosis and having a laparoscopy to laser it all and sterilisation at the same time - will be so glad when it's all over as the pain of the last two yrs (mental and physical) can have a line drawn under it.


    how about making some crumble mix ready to use and freezing it to use with your fruit - just take out what you need each time.
    Originally posted by MrsCD
    Spendid idea, dont know why I never thought of that as I do this with breadcrumbs I make from the end of a loaf.

    Kitchenbunny - wow that was a fantastic shop.


    Oh my goodness, I really know how to do it don't I lol. My beloved MR BM has finally given up the ghost (had it donkeys), so contemplated getting another. then my roving eye turned towarded the Panasonics - eeek. Long and short DH set to treat myself as I have been doing so well saving us some money and working so hard at it. Also the fact that when his shifts change again we will have even less money to go round, so might as well indulge while I can. So this week I am the proud owner of a panasonic SD2501wxc or whatever that bit is. It is really really nice but miss my MR, guess I will get used to it as everyone raves about them on mse.

    So GC wise I have £4 odd until 27th. I need to get today 4 tins tuna for DH (£2.08) and some mince at £2.49. I'm now trying to stretch the washing powder but will see. Dont get me wrong if push comes to shove I have money to get a few extras, but it defeats the object of the GC and saving as much money as we can to get the things we need, sofa, car, and hopefully a holiday and once we have achieved this to hurry and start making op again on the mortgage and build up the savings.

    Gosh so much isnt there.

    Just want 28th (payday) to hurry so that I can start afresh and build up my 'float' again (money left over from each shop). Will also be able to go out with DD's once we've been paid - planning on going to the seaside

    Anyhow, hope you all have a lovely day.
    Last edited by jasmin10; 16-08-2012 at 7:38 AM.
    [I]TopCashback £1792.63
    My Little World
  • rosieben
    Am seeing a friend for lunch today, should I record the food expense as grocery or as entertainment (meaning it does not affect the GC)? Thank you for advice! Also, the food will be paid by my morning babysit, not by the family resources.
    Originally posted by Caterina
    Caterina I think I'd take it out of the 'Entertainment budget' especially as you're paying with babysit money (I presume you use that money for other things than GC usually?)

    kitchenbunny, hope all is well with you and yours, see you in Sept.

    quintwins, what a haul, well done you
    ... don't throw the string away. You always need string!

    C.R.A.P.R.O.L.L.Z Head Sharpener
    • pajama
    • By pajama 16th Aug 12, 9:53 AM
    • 103 Posts
    • 1,586 Thanks
    pajama
    quintwins Wow what a great shop you had. Well done you.

    If I lived by myself, the GC would be a doddle! As it is, I don't, so am finding it difficult with teenagers moaning there's nothing to eat in the house. I tell them we have plenty and they just need to use a little imagination to create some tasty snacks and lunches but they are too lazy.

    So further spends in Aldi £7.10, Sainsbugs £4.60, Morrisons £4.29 and £5.00 on a 12.5kg sack of spuds at the farm shop. I've noticed the sacks of new season spuds are getting more expensive I've already updated my signature.
    Grocery Challenge - Sept £205.56/£350.00



    • Bluegreen143
    • By Bluegreen143 16th Aug 12, 10:59 AM
    • 1,108 Posts
    • 12,739 Thanks
    Bluegreen143
    On a train to London for a surprise birthday trip!! Thought I had a no spend day yesterday but OH informs me he spent around £10 and the receipt is waiting at home lol. I'll update after I'm home on Sunday! Will be NSDs til then as my lovely OH is paying for this trip! So excited. and see you all on Sunday!
    Married 1 March 2014 DS born 06 Dec 2014 DD born 14 Dec 2018
    • Billie-jo
    • By Billie-jo 16th Aug 12, 11:19 AM
    • 1,221 Posts
    • 15,892 Thanks
    Billie-jo
    Have spent £7.20 on fish & chips (naughty but its too late now) plus shopping in Aldi so total now at £82.59 Some of their veg doesn’t seem to last so will need some of that at weekend and also tomorrow we are going to a Chinese warehouse so will hopefully stock up a few more things. I am really after some of their king prawns depending on price. Anyone know what’s reasonable for a kilo?

    Had a large pack of mushrooms that needed using so made some soup with them and put the rest in some ragu sauce for lasagne which we had for tea yesterday and there has gone one in the freezer. Did the one from The Hairy Bikers (without pasta) Very nice and didn’t miss the pasta at all.
    We have one of the grand children here for 3 days this week so got him to help with the soup, he said it was lovely which was surprising as at he doesn’t usually like mushroom soup - probably helped that he did some of it himself. Have just turned a chunk of stale bread into breadcrumbs as well for later.

    MUShROOM SOUP

    Oil

    Knob butter

    250-300g mushrooms - finely chopped

    1 onion - diced

    Broccoli stalks if you have them - chopped

    ¼ tsp ginger - grated - optional

    ¼ tsp celery seeds - optional

    1 clove garlic - crushed

    Chicken or vegetable stock - fresh or from a cube

    Milk

    Slowly sweat everything except for the liquids in the oil and butter - for 15-20 mins

    Add the stock and some milk and heat. I now bend it but its up to how you like it and you can add cream but I didn’t have any in and was not going to buy some. Serve with crusty bread or croutons. If the soup is a bit thin then thicken with cornflour and milk.

    DO NOT do as I did and drop the celery seeds or you will be cleaning up for a week!

    Well done QUINTWINS on your shop. Have never seen reductions like that in any of our shops.
    Last edited by Billie-jo; 16-08-2012 at 1:30 PM. Reason: Spelling!
    [COLOR="Purple"][B] MARCH £62.38/250 [B][COLOR="Purple"]
    • Save Dosh
    • By Save Dosh 16th Aug 12, 11:49 AM
    • 1,329 Posts
    • 15,828 Thanks
    Save Dosh
    Debt Free Soon I tend to do an online stock up on essentials and whats on offer, like the 4p tins of mushy peas in tesco, and then do the odd YS run and when i find something i use all the time, i do a big stock up of it
    Quintwins agree that is well worth going over budget for, as you will no doubt come under next time
    Craigywv you could try making raspberry liquor for xmas, there are a few different ways, but it is so easy
    August GC - Food £55.56/£80 Alcohol £17.24/£20
    Bulk Funds - Food £19.73
    -
    Save 12k in 2019 £1,300/£5,000 - #155
  • rosieben
    Billie-jo, I've added your Mushroom Soup to the recipe index
    ... don't throw the string away. You always need string!

    C.R.A.P.R.O.L.L.Z Head Sharpener
    • quintwins
    • By quintwins 16th Aug 12, 1:41 PM
    • 5,058 Posts
    • 29,575 Thanks
    quintwins
    Afternoon all, you are right i should come in under budget and it is a very reduced budget compared to my normal one, i never do well with a reduced budget lol.

    £1.95 spend on doughtnuts today, i also got a box of rocket lollys, a box of 40 ice pops, a packet fo kitkats and some cars juice for the kids but mil paid for it.
    OCT GC £196.12/£200
    • GreenFairy
    • By GreenFairy 16th Aug 12, 3:46 PM
    • 301 Posts
    • 3,786 Thanks
    GreenFairy
    Thought I was very clever today ordering a box of loo roll and getting stocked up on eco cleaning stuff and oats, but now that I've done my sums I've got €14 left in the budget for each of the last two farmers markets this month and nothing else. Bum.

    It has been such a spendy month with all the visitors and dinners. I would be annoyed, but I've had a great few weeks and it was worth every penny
    Feb GC €253.11/€400
    Jan GC €203.37/€400
  • jumblejack
    Thought I was very clever today ordering a box of loo roll and getting stocked up on eco cleaning stuff and oats, but now that I've done my sums I've got €14 left in the budget for each of the last two farmers markets this month and nothing else. Bum.

    It has been such a spendy month with all the visitors and dinners. I would be annoyed, but I've had a great few weeks and it was worth every penny
    Originally posted by GreenFairy
    Good for you

    Imagine how expensive it would have been to go out for a meal with your friends instead of entertaining them

    We are going far afield tomorrow on a Field Trip and friends if ours have asked us to join them afterwards for a Chinese buffet. Only problem is, it would cost us nearly 2 weeks of shopping money so I have had to decline!

    I so much prefer being a host to guests. Much cheaper and cosier!
    Every moment is a gift. That's why we call it the present.!
    Grocery Spend Weekly Challenge (Sat-Fri):£30.50/£40
    • bossymoo
    • By bossymoo 16th Aug 12, 4:05 PM
    • 6,817 Posts
    • 87,056 Thanks
    bossymoo
    Managed an nsd here. Took tots swimming with mil who had a day pass for her health centre, so that was free. FIL had left us some money for a treat lunch, but the tots were tired and hungry and the restaurant wasn't open yet. So we went back to mil house and she made them egg and chips and me a salad. So free, and grumpy gramps got his £20 back, lol.

    Then, she told me her friends kiddies were coming for a sleepover, and maybe mine could stay too? So I've left them, she has four children staying under age of six, lol, she is a nutter! Gawd knows where they'll all sleep. DD has a travel cot, and the other three will have to share the sofa bed...

    Toyed with the idea of getting milk and coleslaw again haha told you I was addicted, but instead came home and am cooking a huge Mediterranean veg omelette in the oven, and some roasted tomatoes, so will feed me for the rest of the week...

    Will finally do a meal plan later and might pop out for a few bits in morning.
    Bossymoo

    Away with the fairies
    • Possession
    • By Possession 16th Aug 12, 4:11 PM
    • 3,140 Posts
    • 41,491 Thanks
    Possession
    2 NSDs and about time too. Don't think I've got the car tomorrow so definitely a NSD there. Did lots of baking today and the weekend project is to try to figure out a week's meal plans including packed lunches using all the mountains of food I have, Ugh, hate meal planning with a passion.

  • jumblejack
    Bossymoo, I would love you to tell us that you have MADE some coleslaw to indulge to your little hearts content with no guilt pangs whatsoever!
    Every moment is a gift. That's why we call it the present.!
    Grocery Spend Weekly Challenge (Sat-Fri):£30.50/£40
    • GreenFairy
    • By GreenFairy 16th Aug 12, 5:02 PM
    • 301 Posts
    • 3,786 Thanks
    GreenFairy

    Imagine how expensive it would have been to go out for a meal with your friends instead of entertaining them
    Originally posted by jumblejack
    Thanks
    Given how many people there were, the entire GC budget for the month could have gone on one evening out. I do still miss my posh dinners out, but I'll live without them for now. Better a good dinner at home with no debt than all the fancy dinners in the world (on credit!).
    Feb GC €253.11/€400
    Jan GC €203.37/€400
    • craigywv
    • By craigywv 16th Aug 12, 6:30 PM
    • 1,976 Posts
    • 27,825 Thanks
    craigywv
    oh dear i've blown my groceries budget but i got

    3 bags of celery for 12p each
    bag of soup veg 11p
    diced pork 80p
    finest meatballs 70p
    bbq chicken breasts 80p (i did have 2 of these in my trolley but one vanished)
    value bacon 17p
    normal bacon 22p
    4 chicken breast 44p
    tatie and leek soup 17p
    steak pie 7p
    2 blocks of cheese 9p each
    sausages 17p
    pate 22p
    finest pork and red carmelised onion sausages 80p
    coleslaw and tatie salad 10p
    4 pork chops for 9p each
    2x 2 packs finest cheese cakes for 28p each
    12 value baps 9p

    i also got full price
    3 litres of milk
    bag of carrots
    2 bottles value lemonade
    3 value cola
    value yogurts
    2 bottles of squash
    value crisps
    7.5 kg bag of spuds
    and £2 on deodrant and wipes

    and 2 boys caps half price at 50p

    my grand total is £18.46

    needless to say i'm a happy bunny


    i also met another mse'r waiting for whoopsies, so if you met someone in the big tesco store in n.i that beings with C that was prob me
    Originally posted by quintwins

    i knew u were from N.I. you said baps lol.........was it connswater?
    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!!.
    • jasmin10
    • By jasmin10 16th Aug 12, 7:32 PM
    • 895 Posts
    • 1,720 Thanks
    jasmin10
    Good for you

    Imagine how expensive it would have been to go out for a meal with your friends instead of entertaining them

    We are going far afield tomorrow on a Field Trip and friends if ours have asked us to join them afterwards for a Chinese buffet. Only problem is, it would cost us nearly 2 weeks of shopping money so I have had to decline!

    I so much prefer being a host to guests. Much cheaper and cosier!
    Originally posted by jumblejack
    thats exactly how I have been thinking things through now. Not sure if its a good or bad thing for me tho. Everytime I think of suggesting we go out or do something, I stop in my tracks whoaaaa, thats nearly a whole weeks worth of food blown in a hour or two at the most with nothing to show for it.

    Like you when friends say lets go out for coffee, I say fancy coming to mine instead and I'll make a tasty tea loaf or biscuits to go with it. I'm so paranoid about spending money on wasteful things now.

    Do think I will ever be going out for dinner again lolol
    [I]TopCashback £1792.63
    My Little World
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

1,097Posts Today

7,344Users online

Martin's Twitter