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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 ninth Grocery Challenge of 2012 EEEEEKKKKK!!!!, 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 August budget, then keep on posting in the:
    August 2012 Grocery Challenge oops at my typo

    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 #7 #8 & #9 on this thread (the list is growing!!!!!)

    For everyones totals, see post #10 on this thread

    I hope everyone has a great month!

    Last edited by zippychick; 22-08-2012 at 12:00 PM.
    A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men
    Norn Iron club member #380

Page 5
  • Rachel021967
    Please can you put me down as 640 for 2 cats, 2 Adults, 2 teenagers and a 7 year old.
  • sjprmc01
    49.14 spent in Mr A's I got LOADS of stuff though and fridge, freezer and cupboards are rammed full of stuff!

    I'm dieting so shouldn't be eating as much, lol! And I've made a list of shops value products to either buy again if liked, or revert back to my usual if not! I have all the 4 major s/m's close-by so will be attempting to try all the ranges this month.

    Only thing I should need to go up for in the next week-2 weeks (I know I will not be able to avoid the sm THAT long) is fresh fruit n veg and bread n milk! (oh and possibly yogurts! I did try to get OH to get yogs (he eats about 3 a day! But he was being funny about it)
    Last edited by sjprmc01; 24-08-2012 at 8:31 PM.
    No more unnecessary toiletries Feb 2014 INS: 24 UU: 13. Mar 2014. INS: lost count, naughty step for me! UU: 8
  • budget babe
    Budgie is pondering, yes its always a worry.

    But do many of you on here make your own bread? I am just wondering if its worth investing in a bread maker?

    Mr Budgie tends to eat alot of bread and its the nipping to the shops where you then add other bits to your basket that tend to add up.

    I am actually giving myself a headache with all this mse stuff. Though I have to say Thank you to Zippy Chick for the receipe index, it makes some good reading.

    I definitely need to get on board with this meal planning and I have made a good start today, just need to build on that.

    Though I have had 3 dizzy spells today, took my blood pressure and it was 115 over 63 which is very very low for Budgie, I am wondering now that I am not working in such a stressful environment if I can reduce the tablets I take, (3 a day). When I first had problems it was 220 over 150 mega mega high. and all down to stress.

    I have a scheduled appointment next week with the nurse to do a BP check so will go from there. Though if it has dropped through not being at work then I feel cross that I stayed for 9 years, I have been on tablets for 8 and only had problems when I started said job.

    Sorry for going off topic. Though I did warn everyone that I can go on a bit.

    I mean well though if thats any help?

    I have decided to get my head around this thread before popping back to flylady. I am work in progress.

    Have a good wekend everyone
    Budgie xxxxxxxxxx
    Cherish the ones you love and travel back on the road that brings you home
    "What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us" Ralph Waldo Emerson
    • PennyGrabber
    • By PennyGrabber 24th Aug 12, 8:29 PM
    • 1,268 Posts
    • 22,438 Thanks
    I love my bread maker. I used to have a cookworks one that made quite heavy bread, but I saved up for a panny and I love it!! Like you say, of that's all you need, better to bake than to spend! You can buy/create lovely flavours too, my fave is cheese and onion bread. Absolutely selfish when toasted!


    ETA oops! That was meant to say delish! That's the phone trying to be clever... !
    Last edited by PennyGrabber; 31-08-2012 at 7:40 PM.
    Grocery challenge for family of three - me, dd(12) and ds(11), feeding dp 2 or 3 x a week too. Only food, not toiletries. Jan 87.97/100 Feb 0/100
    Frugal 2018 needed! Saving and NOT spending
  • jules217
    Hi Everyone

    I stocked up on cleaning products and nappies for my daughter today in Lidl, so spent 28.32. Also needed to get some odds and ends in Mr T's so spent another 7.65.

    I tend to do my weekly shop online, and that is ordered to arrive tomorrow.

    GC Sept 35.97/280
    • Caterina
    • By Caterina 24th Aug 12, 9:24 PM
    • 5,813 Posts
    • 40,382 Thanks
    Please put me down for 175 for September.......can't seem to do red or change font size, sorry.

    Sincere thanks for all hard work.

    Originally posted by meanmarie
    Hey doll, great to see you! Want to pop into London this October for a visit? Check the OS meet up, it would be great to see you again! Or Sardinia in Sept? I I'll be there 6th to 16th Sept! (Sorry to post out of context, just very excited to see an old friend!)
    Finally I'm an OAP and can travel free (in London at least!).
    • Suffolk lass
    • By Suffolk lass 24th Aug 12, 9:52 PM
    • 3,310 Posts
    • 29,414 Thanks
    Suffolk lass
    antibacterial and degreasing sprays
    A natural antibacterial spray is water and essential oils

    • 1 mug water
    • 5 drops orange essential oil
    • 3 drops lavender essential oil
    • 2 drops eucalyptus essential oil
    • 2 drops tea tree oil
    1. Add all ingredients to a spray bottle.
    2. Shake well before use.
    3. Spray on countertops and other hard surfaces and let air-dry.
    4. Store in a cool, dark place.
    The essential oils are all anti-infection, antiseptic, anti-viral, lavender is also antibacterial and eucalypus and tea tree are all the above plus anti-fungal.

    I also make my own degreasing spray which is a combination of 1 part white vinegar, 1 part washing up liquid, 6 parts water and something you like the smell of - I last used the remnants of a febreze spray when there is so little left you can't spray it any more but more normally some lemon extract (2-3 drops) to cover the vinegar. I re-use an old shower spray bottle and it keeps for ages under the sink.

    I also have a bottle of white vinegar that I keep under the sink too and I de-furr the kettle periodically and just tea-strain it back into a jug and re-use it about ten times until it stays cloudy.
    Last edited by Suffolk lass; 04-11-2012 at 6:50 AM. Reason: typo
    Save 12k in 2019 - #68 target is 7k 8,766.30 after Sep
    OS Grocery Challenge 2019 target 3k - 57.28% spent after Sep
    Mortgage Free Wannabes 2019 #37 108.23% 43,292.24 including Sep - reducing now to avoid fees
    MFIT T5 target to clear our mortgage completely (59,998) Q2 30,085 or 50.14% paid
    My DFD is here
  • rosieben
    Suffolk lass, I've added your Antibacterial spray and Degreasing spray to the front page index, I've started a new section 'Miscellaneous Non-Food'
    ... don't throw the string away. You always need string!

    C.R.A.P.R.O.L.L.Z Head Sharpener
  • KatyReed+5
    Hi, my 3rd attempt at GC, 350 i will be uner this month, i will be under this month, Ha ha, here's to hoping.

    I would like to be put in for this is for food, for me this covers anything we consume over the month including eating out etc. I also allocate 75 for household spends, which for me is anything that's not consumable.

    June 0.00 GC / 200.00

    Family of 4 : 1 adult 3 kids ages 3,4 & 5.
    • robberbutton
    • By robberbutton 25th Aug 12, 8:44 AM
    • 681 Posts
    • 1,509 Thanks
    Hi, I'd like to join the GC please. We are 2 adults and 3 children age 6 and under (who don't seem to eat a huge amount!). Our online shop is about 75 (inc delivery) a week, which I don't think is too bad (am happy to get it under though). There's also 34 a month fruit bag from a local scheme. BUT we also top up quite a lot during the week, which I haven't been keeping track of. So although I have in my head a monthly budget/spend of 334, realistically it will be quite a bit higher.
    Go to the ant, thou sluggard
    • Suffolk lass
    • By Suffolk lass 25th Aug 12, 8:55 AM
    • 3,310 Posts
    • 29,414 Thanks
    Suffolk lass
    Rosieben - your signature made us laugh out loud
    Save 12k in 2019 - #68 target is 7k 8,766.30 after Sep
    OS Grocery Challenge 2019 target 3k - 57.28% spent after Sep
    Mortgage Free Wannabes 2019 #37 108.23% 43,292.24 including Sep - reducing now to avoid fees
    MFIT T5 target to clear our mortgage completely (59,998) Q2 30,085 or 50.14% paid
    My DFD is here
  • KatyReed+5
    Hi guys just been going through my coupns and i've still got a 12 off a 60 online shop for Sainsburys if anyone wants it.

    Katy, X
    June 0.00 GC / 200.00

    Family of 4 : 1 adult 3 kids ages 3,4 & 5.
    • MissOrganised1972
    • By MissOrganised1972 25th Aug 12, 9:04 AM
    • 174 Posts
    • 3,644 Thanks
    Today will be a NSD. That was planned but I have been dealt 2 bonuses!

    1. We're visiting father in law this afternoon & he has offered to feed DDs so that's 1 steak I can leave in the freezer for another day.

    2. My Dad has invited us out for dinner tomorrow AND offered to pay! Turkey joint will also get to stay in the freezer.

    That's 1 & a bit dinners saved!

    Today's meal plan is steak, salad & saut! potatoes for DH & I. I will probably make us a lovely pepper sauce to go with it with the Creme fraiche leftover from kid's dinner last night.

    Have a great weekend all
    2017 GC O-93.46/160; S-136.26/160; A-130.55/160; J-47.12/160;
    J-106.63/190; M-70.29/160; A-197.88/180; M-219.35/180; F-294.14/160; J-168.67/160
    2016 GC 2322.39/2285; GC-2012-2015 - 9789.91/7773!
    for 2 adults & 2 kids (13 & 11) for all food,toiletries,cleaners etc

    • WantToBeSE
    • By WantToBeSE 25th Aug 12, 9:21 AM
    • 6,795 Posts
    • 30,577 Thanks
    Hi guys just been going through my coupns and i've still got a 12 off a 60 online shop for Sainsburys if anyone wants it.

    Katy, X
    Originally posted by KatyReed+5
    I wish Sainsburys delivered here, we only have delivery options of Tesco or Asda.
    10k of Debt

    Debt Free Diary
    • WantToBeSE
    • By WantToBeSE 25th Aug 12, 9:24 AM
    • 6,795 Posts
    • 30,577 Thanks
    Had lunch at my sisters yesterday, so thats one free meal

    Need to pop to the sm and get some fruit today, but dont want to spend more than 10.
    10k of Debt

    Debt Free Diary
    • liz-paul
    • By liz-paul 25th Aug 12, 9:50 AM
    • 895 Posts
    • 4,806 Thanks
    Hi, can I be put down for 450 this month please? I am hoping to bring it in under that but 450 is my max budget. It is for 2 adults, 2 kids (6 & 3) and includes food shopping, household/cleaning products, milk money for DS1 (15p a day paid termly) & snack money for DS2 (3 per week). It might include the cost of takeaways as well but tbh we're not really eating takeaways at the mo. Any spare budget leftover will go towards our holiday fund or towards a party we're having next month....
    1% at a time no. 40. 8000 (For dream family holiday) 94/100
    MFW 2013 no. 62 10,000/10,000
    MFW 2014 no 62 8000/7000
    • lollyfin
    • By lollyfin 25th Aug 12, 10:00 AM
    • 299 Posts
    • 4,060 Thanks
    Hi all I was wondering if anyone had a fool proof dumpling recipe as I use them to pad out meals. I have tried to make them from scratch before but they ended up like lumps of lead so I have been using tesco mix but am sure making them myself will work out cheaper.
    My thanks button is not working at the mo for some reason so if you can help thank you!!! and I will thank you properly when it works
    and thanks suffolk lass for the cleaning sprays!
    • Suffolk lass
    • By Suffolk lass 25th Aug 12, 10:41 AM
    • 3,310 Posts
    • 29,414 Thanks
    Suffolk lass
    foolproof dumplings - try JJ's Herby Cheese bread
    Hi all I was wondering if anyone had a fool proof dumpling recipe as I use them to pad out meals. I have tried to make them from scratch before but they ended up like lumps of lead so I have been using tesco mix but am sure making them myself will work out cheaper.
    My thanks button is not working at the mo for some reason so if you can help thank you!!! and I will thank you properly when it works
    and thanks suffolk lass for the cleaning sprays!
    Originally posted by lollyfin
    lollyfin - Try JJ's Herby Cheese Bread - under Bread in post 8 on page 1 or here
    Jumblejack is one of our most frugal adaptive members and this is brilliant - as are her 2 minute microwave puds (but don't check these out if you are watching your waistline !!).
    Good luck
    Save 12k in 2019 - #68 target is 7k 8,766.30 after Sep
    OS Grocery Challenge 2019 target 3k - 57.28% spent after Sep
    Mortgage Free Wannabes 2019 #37 108.23% 43,292.24 including Sep - reducing now to avoid fees
    MFIT T5 target to clear our mortgage completely (59,998) Q2 30,085 or 50.14% paid
    My DFD is here
    • EverTheOptimist
    • By EverTheOptimist 25th Aug 12, 11:53 AM
    • 2,679 Posts
    • 15,754 Thanks
    Afternoon everyone.

    Well after sticking with a budget and this challenge for 7 - 8 months, i lost track this month, due to being on leave from work and hubby being here.

    But i would like to come back for September, month starts on 29th August until 28th Sept.

    Going to set 200 again, hubby goes away in less than 2 weeks, for 6 - 7 months, so will reduce budget then, really need to save money whilst he is away. I am also planning on trying some of the recipes on the first page, i'll test them on me first and then on him when he gets back.

    But i think the next two weeks will be a bit spendy and us enjoying ourselves before he goes. Will try and keep up with the thread, but may not post loads.
    SPC 12 #005 Target 200 /
    • lollyfin
    • By lollyfin 25th Aug 12, 12:03 PM
    • 299 Posts
    • 4,060 Thanks
    Thanks for that suffolk lass ....and I had to go and look for the puds yummmmmm they will be great for soup and pud nights
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