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@.

    • 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 7
  • she who can not cook
    I would cut in in half scoop the middle out mix with some tuna mayo and top with some grated cheese and put back in the oven or microwave? or you could replace the tuna mayo with chopped up bacon or ham OR just sprinkly some water on the jacket wrap in foil and put in the oven for about 15 mins to warm thru again, the water helps to stop it drying out so much x
    Originally posted by missmucksmum
    one of the many things i should not be having on my diet mmmmmmm baked pots mmmmmmm bacon
    Gc 2013 +26 -5. -4 -7 -14 -15 -10.-8.20 +15p+30+5.80 Dec +9 GROCERY challenge 2014 Jan -2Feb -3 March -1.50 April +5.40 May +4.90 June -3.July 16.50/85

    God bless my sweet "old man" Goldie that died in the early hours of 27 th March please see him on my avatar
  • missmucksmum
    one of the many things i should not be having on my diet mmmmmmm baked pots mmmmmmm bacon
    Originally posted by she who can not cook
    Just had bacon butties and a cup of tea with 2 sugars the 5 yr old wanted it so rude not to join him
    January Grocery Challenge 203.50/200
    February Grocery Challenge 59.20/200
    • jennypennysaver
    • By jennypennysaver 26th Aug 12, 1:08 PM
    • 65 Posts
    • 1,123 Thanks
    Just popping in to update my sig as spent another 16.16 on Fri evening on groceries but still being very good and not buying anything we don't need (yet).

    Having a freezer meal for Sunday lunch today (bit of a mis-match of whoops pork with some kind of stuffing and 1 pack of 'buy 3 packs for 10' steaks, & potatoes plus using up some very tasting looking old veg from the fridge . Unfortunately freezer, fridge & cupboards all starting to look a bit bare. 2 of the kids are away this week and not sure yet what #3 is doing but it's looking like it might just be me & OH for most of the week so we should manage quite a cheap week. But back to normal next weekend then back to school a few days after so I'd better start meal planning.

    Tell you what I must share with you my frugal friends, and forgive me if you already know this or it's already in the recipe list, but discovered a Jam!e recipe for pancakes... 1 egg, 1 cup of milk, 1 cup of flour (plain flour will give you crepe-style pancakes, SR will give you scotch pancakes) and a pinch of salt. Just give 'em a good whisk and away you go!! I get 17 pancakes out of this mix for literally pence. The kids love them for supper and then there are some left for breakfast too. I will never buy them again. Considering how much cereal, bread and milk our lot go through this saves us a lot of money on suppers/breakfasts
    June 2015 Grocery Challenge [/B]126.38/360
    "Sealed Pot Challenge" ~ 8 (2015) - No 480 12.60
    • p-pincher
    • By p-pincher 26th Aug 12, 2:11 PM
    • 725 Posts
    • 3,631 Thanks
    Hi everyone

    Made the first spends out of my September budget. Spent exactly 90, 59 at aldi and 31 at tesco. I used my 5 0ff coupon at Aldi and some of the other vouchers so ended up with about 70's worth of food. Have a nice big stock of food at the minute. I have another Aldi voucher ( spend 35 get 5 off ) that last till next Thursday so will weigh up in the week if i need to use it. I suppose i could do a stock up meat for the freezer.

    Cant wait to get paid so I can draw the cash out of the bank to put in my shopping purse, i like to actually have the cash because I find it really focuses my mind. Still need some fruit and want to nip to Heron or Iceland to stock up on Frozen veg. Out for dinner tomorrow for DH birthday but thats out of another budget and my sister is bringing chicken for diner today so just need to provide the veg. Have fun everyone x
    March 2014 Grocery challenge 250.00
    • WantToBeSE
    • By WantToBeSE 26th Aug 12, 2:34 PM
    • 6,795 Posts
    • 30,577 Thanks
    Thanks missmucksmum, really sounds lovely, but am on a diet, so will sprinkle some water on and reheat. WOuld i just chuck it in the oven at 180 for 30mins or so?
    10k of Debt

    Debt Free Diary
  • missmucksmum
    I would say more 15 mins in a preheated oven just stick a knife into check and if the tip of the knife which has been in the middle of the potatoes is hot then its done if cold then not heated all the way ( you could always nuke in the microwave for 1 and a half mins if your not fussed about the skin x
    January Grocery Challenge 203.50/200
    February Grocery Challenge 59.20/200
  • jumblejack
    I just wanted to share that my elderflower champagne is top notch

    I am sterilising my shiny new 1ltr swing top bottles from ikea ready for transferring my HM nectar into for gifting.

    I am trying some now and it is quite alcoholic despite claims that it isn't.

    I don't generally drink due to the effect it has on me. I feel flushed and tired and woozy even after a spritzer and I am experiencing this now with just a few sips.

    It IS very pleasant though, hic
    Every moment is a gift. That's why we call it the present.!
    Grocery Spend Weekly Challenge (Sat-Fri):30.50/40
    • Caterina
    • By Caterina 26th Aug 12, 4:16 PM
    • 5,813 Posts
    • 40,380 Thanks
    So far I am on a "low spend" weekend rather than a NSW/end as planned.

    I gave a small sum of money as a gift to a kind young friend who fixed my bike, then this morning I went (on said bike!) to the Farmers Market to get some apples for the week - even though I was meaning not to spend.

    I feel ok with this because:

    1 - I really wanted to give a little gift to the lad who did me a favour and apart from anything else he used his own oil and lubricant on the chain

    2 - It makes sense to get the apples from the Farmers Market rather than the shops, they are cheaper, organic, local and delicious, new season's ones just out!

    So, still feeling ok about minute amount of spend during the supposed NSW/end.
    Finally I'm an OAP and can travel free (in London at least!).
    • savesummore
    • By savesummore 26th Aug 12, 4:29 PM
    • 943 Posts
    • 11,411 Thanks
    Oh dear.........another 35 spent on a meal out today!!

    I have updated signature

    To be fair its OH Bday tomorrow and bank hols wkend so it is nice to go out and have a treat- I will just have to really really tighten my belt this month, grit my teeth and plan plan plan to get to with my target

    Wish me luck (im gonna flaming need it )
    O/S weight loss 2.5 /10lbs (11st 8.0- 08.02)
    • XSpender
    • By XSpender 26th Aug 12, 4:54 PM
    • 3,406 Posts
    • 34,882 Thanks
    NSD today. I have been having a sort out day and have cleared out a lot of boxes and baskets. I have also made some GF choc buns and have a GF version of my favourite non GF ginger cake recipe in the oven as I type. I have shared one of the buns with my 2 year old, quality testing of course, who said 'mmmmm,nice' so I think they passed the test

    The cake and buns are going to be frozen until next weekend as they are for our caravan holiday.

    Defrosted a gammon joint with parsley sauce this morning but DH has had an invite to the pub this afternoon so I will stick it in the fridge and cook it tomorrow. He won't fancy it later and can have the other half of his lunchtime chilli when he gets in. I will have something from the freezer.

    DH and I have decided that we need to make more of an effort to meet up with our friends, on our own and as a couple so I need to find some extra funds to finance this. We over spend every month on the GC and if I could just hit my target we would have the extra s for our personal spends/entertainment budget. I am debating increasing our personal spends but out of this we will have to buy any wine or beers we want out of this as DHs beers can really stretch my budget. Just need to convince DH
    October Grocery Challenge - 122.00/220
  • rosieben
    jennypennysaver, I've added your Pancakes recipe to the front page list
    ... don't throw the string away. You always need string!

    C.R.A.P.R.O.L.L.Z Head Sharpener
  • sjprmc01
    Reporting a spend of 5.57 on rolls, bread and fruit, done by OH today! He was instructed not to stray from his list!

    Also 1.30 on 2 packs of bagels I forgot to add the other day
    No more unnecessary toiletries Feb 2014 INS: 24 UU: 13. Mar 2014. INS: lost count, naughty step for me! UU: 8
    • nicknack
    • By nicknack 26th Aug 12, 7:27 PM
    • 89 Posts
    • 1,861 Thanks
    Reporting a total of 234.61 for August so over budget by 34.61. Boo. I'll go for 200 again for September though and try harder......x

  • KissyKissyKaren41
    Hiyas all im joining again and maybe just maybe i will just actually get to the blooming end this time.... from 31st aug-28th sept and hoping for change from 275 this time... going to turkey for 2 weeks beginning of october so its a cut down n save month for us, have a fab bank hol everyone... sadly im working.
    LOST 7ST 1/2LB July-groc chal 209/300
    POALYDBX2012 #342 2192.00/2842 1 debt vs 100 days 9...10/123 8/11 NSD in July..
  • Mrs Addicted to Spending
    I just wanted to share that my elderflower champagne is top notch

    I am sterilising my shiny new 1ltr swing top bottles from ikea ready for transferring my HM nectar into for gifting.

    I am trying some now and it is quite alcoholic despite claims that it isn't.

    I don't generally drink due to the effect it has on me. I feel flushed and tired and woozy even after a spritzer and I am experiencing this now with just a few sips.

    It IS very pleasant though, hic
    Originally posted by jumblejack
    I'm like this with alcohol too - I can manage about half a glass of wine and that's it - and I feel drunk after that . Any more than that and I'm literally asleep within 20 mins (not good if I'm out ).

    Had lancashire hot pot for tea - nom, nom , and there was none left so the rest of the family must have liked it too! Will def. be making that again.
    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
  • sjprmc01
    Oopsie! Another 5.01 spent as I 'chummed' my frien to the 24hr Mr A.

    I need to stop this, I've spent nearly a third of the budget and it's not actually reached Sept yet!
    No more unnecessary toiletries Feb 2014 INS: 24 UU: 13. Mar 2014. INS: lost count, naughty step for me! UU: 8
  • missmucksmum
    50p spent on a pack of sweets yesterday to keep the kids happy at a wedding church service, and 3 spent today on 2lt of pepsi, a big bag of haribo and a big bar of galaxy to watch beauty and the beast with, so I technically have 1 left this week enough to get a 2 litre of milk from the local shop as only have 3 litres left, I dont intend to spend the 50 a week like I am doing but at least i am keeping track of little extras now
    January Grocery Challenge 203.50/200
    February Grocery Challenge 59.20/200
    • MissOrganised1972
    • By MissOrganised1972 26th Aug 12, 10:07 PM
    • 174 Posts
    • 3,644 Thanks
    NSD as planned today. Dad invited us out for lovely Sunday dinner-and paid!

    We were all too full from eating out lunch time to eat any tea!

    Tomorrow we are meeting friends for the bank holiday. I have planned sweet & sour chicken for tea & so I have got the chicken out of the freezer this evening. I will chop up all the ingredients in the morning, ready. That way we will not be tempted to eat out, should friends invite us!
    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

    • MoneyQueen
    • By MoneyQueen 26th Aug 12, 10:35 PM
    • 907 Posts
    • 4,205 Thanks
    We did the weekly shop in Wholefoods on Friday to buy fresh fruits and vegetables for the week. Total spend: 17.22
    They didn't have organic eggs in stock, so had to buy eggs and carrots from Lidl: Spend: 5.88

    Total for the month till now is 33.63. I have updated my signature.
    • cowboymum
    • By cowboymum 27th Aug 12, 6:34 AM
    • 234 Posts
    • 3,211 Thanks
    [QUOTE=she who can not cook;55392295]
    Right here goes! Trying second
    Finding it a bit difficult as I am between credit card and using debit card / cash, so not sure what I've paid and what I haven't. Plan for that is to pay of credit card as I go, rather than leaving it to end of month when it has to be paid.

    i am in favour of the cash envelope method for a number of reasons
    1. it makes you use your mind along with the fear of embrassment at the checkout that definatly makes you think "do i need that" makes you budget cos when the money has gone its gone
    3. but you can gig money around the env's if you see a good bargain i go shopping every day , walking home from work(exercise) i go passed aldi iceland and check out the reduced
    Originally posted by cowboymum
    Thanks for this - I have tried the cash envelopes before but it didn't work so well. We mostly do sm home deliveries and found we would pay by card, intending to pay the money back into the account which normally didn't happen! Now what I do is transfer grocery money into a separate account, and transfer money out of that account either to credit card or current account. Its almost working!

    I also had a big chat with OH last night - I do all the financial stuff and so gave him a bit of a run down about where we are (currently no savings for home insurance (due Nov), Christmas or holiday in October) so he is fully on board now. I just don't think he had any clue as to how much we are spending on nothing really. Sorry to waffle on!
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

550Posts Today

5,718Users online

Martin's Twitter