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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 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'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 #6 and #7 on this thread.

    For everyones totals, see post #8 on this thread

    I hope everyone has a great month!

    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 44
    • Caterina
    • By Caterina 22nd Aug 12, 9:55 PM
    • 5,813 Posts
    • 40,382 Thanks
    Big stock up today, DH drove me to Asda for tomatoes (4 tins for 1) then to Lidl for general stock up of bits and pieces, finally to the Turkish shop where I realised I would not have needed to go to Asda as they do 4 tins for 99p! Stocked up on pasta as well as they do 3 x 400 g packs for 1, so the cupboard is full now, also got large tub of houmous and other stuff, in total I spent around 63, reflected in the signature. Very scary to think that I have only 30 to juggle with for the next weel or so.

    However, the long Bank Holiday weekend is going to be a NSW/end for me and DH so it should be fun, like a couple of weeks ago. Not too worried, got lots of stock and lots of nice fresh veg in the allotment to see us throuh the next few days until 29th August.
    Finally I'm an OAP and can travel free (in London at least!).
    • craigywv
    • By craigywv 23rd Aug 12, 5:49 AM
    • 1,976 Posts
    • 27,825 Thanks
    well thats me finished for August came in under JUST so off to update and see you in September thread xxx
    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!!.
  • jumblejack
    Glitch alert. Be quick.

    Get yourself to a Tesco express pronto. It only works in Express stores.

    Buy 2 lurpak slightly salted butters (blue packet) and the discount comes off in your favour. They should be 2 for 2 but work at 2 for 68p!!!!

    It works. I've just tried it.
    Originally posted by jumblejack
    The 34p Lurpak glitch is reported to still be working this morning.
    Every moment is a gift. That's why we call it the present.!
    Grocery Spend Weekly Challenge (Sat-Fri):30.50/40
    • Nicki_Sue
    • By Nicki_Sue 23rd Aug 12, 6:57 AM
    • 1,216 Posts
    • 7,408 Thanks
    This is my first week, starting today, that I am GC-ing before September when the training wheels comes off. I have a budget of 100 for the week and am withdrawing cash this morning and heading to Heron Foods and the grocer. We've run the freezer, cupboards and everything down so it is going to have to be a very savvy week. I do have Approved Food coming next week which will help.
    We also have no oven which means no baking etc so it should be an adventure.
    I'll not be beaten though!
    11 YEARS ON MSE!

    JANUARY 10 A DAY: 0/310
    • Soworried
    • By Soworried 23rd Aug 12, 8:05 AM
    • 2,150 Posts
    • 19,990 Thanks
    Some YS southern fried chicken has come out for dinner tonight. Also some YS waffles for breakfast, just to have a break from all the cereal. We are down to 8 boxes now.
    Lunch will be jacket potatoes with left over curry from dinner last night.

    In to the fridge went 4 packets of butter, thankyou for the glitch.

    I will be shopping today but it should be a very low spend as most of it will be paid with vouchers.

    I hope everyone has a low or no spend day.
    One step must start each journey
    One word must start each prayer
    One hope will raise our spirits
    One touch can show you care
    • Soworried
    • By Soworried 23rd Aug 12, 8:12 AM
    • 2,150 Posts
    • 19,990 Thanks
    Thankyou for the heads up about the Aldi voucher. I will buy one for me and my Mam. x
    One step must start each journey
    One word must start each prayer
    One hope will raise our spirits
    One touch can show you care
    • Nicki_Sue
    • By Nicki_Sue 23rd Aug 12, 11:38 AM
    • 1,216 Posts
    • 7,408 Thanks
    Well I have been for my first GC shop, nearly broke the pushchair as it was so laden down and only spent.... 33.55. My weekly target is no more than 100 so I'm very pleased with this as I have plenty of meals , veggies, staples and what not.

    This week is going to cost me more as I had an empty freezer and no store-cupboard to speak of (a few rough weeks have meant eating out of cupboard and basically clearing them) so I'll be adding a few bits throughout the weeks to bulk the stores back up.

    Have to say though, after reading so many GC and meal idea posts recently I'm pleased to say that the 33 I spent this morning would have easily have been 55 a few weeks ago.
    11 YEARS ON MSE!

    JANUARY 10 A DAY: 0/310
    • Coxy11
    • By Coxy11 23rd Aug 12, 11:50 AM
    • 2,323 Posts
    • 27,347 Thanks
    Have to say though, after reading so many GC and meal idea posts recently I'm pleased to say that the 33 I spent this morning would have easily have been 55 a few weeks ago.
    Originally posted by Nicki_Sue
    Well done Nicki-Sue

    Just back from Co$tco. Spent 53.80 of which 18.27 was GC, the rest from 2nd purse. Very happy to find a 500ml vanilla extract for 4.99

    I have their current offers leaflet if anyone wants to visit before 2nd Sept.

    Off to update my totals.
    Cross-stitch WIP: Pretty Maids in a Row
    • Nicki_Sue
    • By Nicki_Sue 23rd Aug 12, 12:15 PM
    • 1,216 Posts
    • 7,408 Thanks
    Thanks Coxy11!

    Is there a thread / post anywhere that explains the 2nd purse thing?
    11 YEARS ON MSE!

    JANUARY 10 A DAY: 0/310
    • Soworried
    • By Soworried 23rd Aug 12, 12:17 PM
    • 2,150 Posts
    • 19,990 Thanks
    I have just got back from MrT and they have reduced the 60pk Lincolnshire frozen cocktail sausages to just 1. This is the same price as the 26pk.
    I stocked up on them for christmas and new year.
    One step must start each journey
    One word must start each prayer
    One hope will raise our spirits
    One touch can show you care
  • rosieben
    Thanks Coxy11!

    Is there a thread / post anywhere that explains the 2nd purse thing?
    Originally posted by Nicki_Sue
    check out the front page in post #7 in this thread for Mother Ships 2nd purse system and there's also a link to a challenge thread
    ... don't throw the string away. You always need string!

    C.R.A.P.R.O.L.L.Z Head Sharpener
    • Nicki_Sue
    • By Nicki_Sue 23rd Aug 12, 1:37 PM
    • 1,216 Posts
    • 7,408 Thanks
    check out the front page in post #7 in this thread for Mother Ships 2nd purse system and there's also a link to a challenge thread
    Originally posted by rosieben
    Ah! Thank you. I scoured that but must have missed it when I got waylaid reading other threads
    11 YEARS ON MSE!

    JANUARY 10 A DAY: 0/310
  • WelshWoofer
    I'm back again after a pathetic August when my spending and the tracking of it went to pot due to being on school holidays (teacher) and going away on holiday for a week and then visiting family.

    I have no idea what I've spent and its probably over budget already so will just try to be a frugal as possible with next week's shopping and then start afresh on Sept 1st with a new budget.
    January grocery spending - 82.73/ 120
    • savesummore
    • By savesummore 23rd Aug 12, 6:05 PM
    • 943 Posts
    • 11,411 Thanks
    Well im declaring an over spend of 50 for August 350 from 300!!

    On the upside its getting less every month

    Onwards and downwards (spend wise) to September
    O/S weight loss 2.5 /10lbs (11st 8.0- 08.02)
    • Bluegreen143
    • By Bluegreen143 23rd Aug 12, 6:45 PM
    • 1,108 Posts
    • 12,739 Thanks
    Small spend today of 4.49 - meal plan was for vegetarian pasta but OH bought 400g mince and a part bake baguette on the way home as he wanted to make spag bol and garlic bread. Well who am I to complain???
    Married 1 March 2014 DS born 06 Dec 2014 DD born 14 Dec 2018
  • Long tall sally
    Declaring at 426 for August against a target of 450 per month, my first in a long, long while but not really as good as it looks as the kids were away with their Dad for & days & my partner & I were away for 2, nearly 3 days.
    Grocery aim 450pm.Spent 519 August, 584 July, 544 June, 541 May, 549 April, 517 March, 517 Feb,555 Jan, 573 Dec, 465Nov, 561Oct, 493Sept, 426Aug,496 Jul, 528Jun, 506May,498April, 558 March, 500Feb, 500 Jan, 490 Dec, 555 Nov,566 Oct, 505Sept, 450Aug, 410 July, 437 June, 491 May, 471 April, 440 March, 552Feb, 462Jan
    • MoneyQueen
    • By MoneyQueen 23rd Aug 12, 10:15 PM
    • 907 Posts
    • 4,205 Thanks
    Declaring August on 87.74. The original budget was 160 till the end of the month but as DH is paid on 23rd and I use his card for all the grocery shopping, I have decided to start with the September challenge from today so declaring August earlier than the end of the month.

    • cowboymum
    • By cowboymum 24th Aug 12, 7:00 AM
    • 234 Posts
    • 3,211 Thanks
    Hi Cowboysmum,
    can i pretty please have the recipe for plum chutney? i have a GLUT of yellow plums and so far made 35jars of plum and plum and ginger, and plum and vanilla jam! and still plenty left!

    SS x
    Originally posted by seductivesmile
    Sorry only just saw this! I found the recipe after searching the Internet for wild plum chutney. I think it was something like this;

    1.5 kg plums (stoned)
    400 g apples
    400g onions
    Couple cloves garlic
    Chutney spices (I put mine in a muslin bag and took out at end)
    500 ml malt vinegar
    400g sugar (don't quote me on that one can't remember quantity)

    Cook up onions and garlic on low for about 10 mins.
    Add plums, apples, vinegar, spices and cook for about 30mins on low
    Add sugar. When dissolved turn up heat but not too high otherwise it burns. Simmer until its thick. Put into clean jars and store in dark cool place to mature for a couple of months.

    I used balsamic vinegar as I had loads in the cupboard - don't do that as I don't think it's going to be v good.
  • Mrs Addicted to Spending
    My spend for August was 399/370 so an overspend but actually if I'd stuck with my usual 80 a week, I would have been within that spend so not too horrendous . Before I started this challenge, we were spending at least 100 per week so I'm happy with how I'm doing so far!
    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
    • Nicki_Sue
    • By Nicki_Sue 24th Aug 12, 8:06 AM
    • 1,216 Posts
    • 7,408 Thanks
    Tesco this morning for extra milk, fruit, yogurts, scones etc (really feeling the pinch of having a broken oven and not being able to bake!) which came to 9.64.
    Total to date: 43.12 / 100 (new week starts Thursday) and I have plenty in for now.

    I'm tracking on my spends on spendingdiary dot - does everyone else use a similar system?
    11 YEARS ON MSE!

    JANUARY 10 A DAY: 0/310
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