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  • FIRST POST
    • zippychick
    • By zippychick 4th Jun 11, 11:19 AM
    • 9,343Posts
    • 17,889Thanks
    zippychick
    • #1
    • 4th Jun 11, 11:19 AM
    4th Jun 11 at 11:19 AM
    Hi everyone,

    Welcome to the 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 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 #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!

    Zip
    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 12
  • KatyReed+5
    Just gone over my last few days spends and my household spends are 74.52.

    And my grocery spends are 177.42.

    Back to school on Wednesday so will have to get some packed lunch things before then.

    Hope everyone is well.

    Katy, X
    June 0.00 GC / 200.00

    Family of 4 : 1 adult 3 kids ages 3,4 & 5.
    • jennypennysaver
    • By jennypennysaver 29th Aug 12, 1:51 PM
    • 65 Posts
    • 1,123 Thanks
    jennypennysaver
    Technically I am still in August, GC-wise, today, and need to go to pick up a few basics in Lidl. Can anyone recommend their tea bags? Are they good quality (e.g. good flavour, not dusty)? Thank you.
    Originally posted by Caterina
    Their Earl Grey teabags are nice
    June 2015 Grocery Challenge [/B]126.38/360
    "Sealed Pot Challenge" ~ 8 (2015) - No 480 12.60
    • XSpender
    • By XSpender 29th Aug 12, 2:19 PM
    • 3,348 Posts
    • 34,483 Thanks
    XSpender
    My favourite ginger cake recipe worked well with GF flour so I have bunged it in the freezer and will put it in the cool bag still frozen to take on holiday on Saturday.

    DH asked me if we had run out of lunch things today as I had padded out his lunch box with a few odd bits. It wasn't so much run out as I don't know what to put in. He has either sandwiches/Ald1 ready meal/jacket/HM chilli and 3 fruit. He says he doesn't want chocolate biscuits because he wants to lose weight and the yogurts I put in he never eats or gives them away and if I buy crisps he scoffs a 12 pack in 3 or 4 days He doesn't really like sweet things so I am at a loss really. Any healthy ideas please ????

    I think if he ate breakfast he wouldn't be so hungry during the day.

    Spent some money on a last few holiday bits yesterday but one of the receipts is at home so will add it to my total then. I haven't got a budget for this month as we are on holiday most of the month but still want to track my spending.

    Discussed my idea of increasing our personal spends with DH to cover alcohol spends and he was up for this. I feel that by doing this I can concentrate on reducing the food element of our spends and not feel sabatogaged by a hefty beer bill every month.

    Sorry for the waffle....
  • jumblejack


    Tonight's offering is a tidy up curry. Lots of bits n bobs in the salad drawer so I've bunged em in a curry to use em up. Tastes pretty good
    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 29th Aug 12, 3:37 PM
    • 5,809 Posts
    • 40,357 Thanks
    Caterina
    Thanks for the replies re. L!dl tea, in the end they were selling Tetley 120 bags for the price of 80, which was nearly the same cost of their own, this is before I read your posts, now that I have the recommendations I shall go back next time with more trust and get their own.

    Back from a shopping trip to market (tomatoes, 2), Sainsbugs (2 for 1 mature cheddar and a pack of skimmed milk powder for my yogurt, 5) and then later a visit to Waitr0se for any YS item, there I hit the butter jackpot, 25 packets of 250g butter for 29 p each, down from 1.55, fancy farmhouse butter. Stocked up the freezer, then got a few more bits and pieces, total 19.

    Going to update signature now, tomorrow is going to be a near NSD except for a planned spend of 4 as I am going to eat out at a cafe with a friend, to go and see a (free preview) film.

    Happy GC everybody!
    Finally I'm an OAP and can travel free (in London at least!).
    • Nicki_Sue
    • By Nicki_Sue 29th Aug 12, 3:54 PM
    • 1,216 Posts
    • 7,408 Thanks
    Nicki_Sue
    My September starts tomorrow - 400 over 4 weeks / 100 a week is my target - this my first full month GC so should be an education.
    More than happy to move in with @JumbleJack and share my budget? Your food pics are divine!
    11 YEARS ON MSE!

    JANUARY 10 A DAY: 0/310
  • jumblejack
    My September starts tomorrow - 400 over 4 weeks / 100 a week is my target - this my first full month GC so should be an education.
    More than happy to move in with @JumbleJack and share my budget? Your food pics are divine!
    Originally posted by Nicki_Sue
    Hehe. Boy, to think of what we could cook up with a combined budget of 130 A WEEK!!!!

    Keep your eyes peeled for coupons and whoopsies. These will REALLY being your grocery spend down. You've done pretty well for a trial run!!


    Missy moo, your coleslaw variation sounds lush
    I bet that will go down a storm.
    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 29th Aug 12, 4:08 PM
    • 1,216 Posts
    • 7,408 Thanks
    Nicki_Sue
    @jumblejack - "We"? I was just planning on enjoy the fruits of your labours
    I'm pleased with my first week, especially I have no oven at the moment which makes roasting / baking and some batch cooking a pain but getting there.
    11 YEARS ON MSE!

    JANUARY 10 A DAY: 0/310
    • postcode
    • By postcode 29th Aug 12, 4:19 PM
    • 159 Posts
    • 2,735 Thanks
    postcode
    Hiya, newbie to the GC here. My aim is to spend 80 a month for all groceries + toiletries and household cleaners. Last month I spent 96 on these things, but I may have missed a couple of receipts from trips to Boots or Superdrug, so it may not be entirely accurate.

    Things I already do: Check the reduced to clear section of the supermarket whenever I go in, if anything I was going to buy is cheaper there then it comes home with me; keep leftovers for lunches or freezed for days when I don't feel like cooking; occasional "meal plan", not really a weekly or monthly thing, just when cooking I keep a list of how many meals I think I'll get out of whatever it is I'm cooking; buy many supermarket-brand items, especially store cupboard (pasta, rice, tinned tomatoes, tinned mushrooms, milk [UHT], cookies, salted snacks). I've never ordered a take-away meal since I've been living on my own, but very occasionally do go out to eat (once or twice a month, generally for lunch time).

    I do like to cook dinner for friends to come over for, that's usually something with minced meat (lasagna, bolognese, meatloaf) and usually ends up being a spur-of-the-moment thing.

    I live alone, have a normal-sized fridge/freezer and prefer home-cooked food to frozen or ready-meal type stuff. On the other hand I absolutely cannot live without my salty snacks: crisps, pretzels, peanuts, pistachios, salted crackers, anything to keep the salt levels high (I know, I know, bad for the blood pressure....)

    Looking forward to seeing how this goes. Think being on this thread will keep me a bit more focused...
  • budget babe
    So far I have spent:
    1 - 35,74 (Approved Food)
    2 - 19,30 (The Cooperative Food).

    I am obsessively keeping a spending diary this month and I am keeping all receipts.

    Lets see how Budgie does this month? I have to get my spending down but get this I have finished work 7 weeks today and I have been having dizzy spells I went to the Dr's yesterday and my blood pressure is now going too low. So I have dropped a tablet so I am now on 2 instead of 3, I am really chuffed.

    Just goes to show its not worth staying in a stressful job when your health suffers.

    Big hugs to everyone (()).
    Budgie xxx
    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
    • mossy
    • By mossy 29th Aug 12, 4:37 PM
    • 1,142 Posts
    • 8,199 Thanks
    mossy
    Hi there, I put my shopping budget up to 200 a few months ago because I just couldn't seem to stick to the previous budget, but I still go over it!! This month I have 170 to spend on food, so my target is to keep to it!!!

    I'm also trying to loose weight which involves more protein and less carbs which makes the shopping automatically more expensive!

    Will have to keep my eye out for whoopsies!!

    Ironically we're getting a Chinese take out for tea tonight....oh the shame, lol!! In my defence I have been catering for a group of techies for the last five days and can't bare the thought of cooking anything!! As penance tomorrow I will meal plan for next month.

    Oops, I meant to say that budget is for 2 adults and 1 child
    Last edited by mossy; 29-08-2012 at 6:34 PM.
    Saving for Disney again ...to big a target to face up to yet!
    Emergency Fund Savings - #148 - 10/1000 1%
    #083 SPC6 63 - SPC7 90 - SPC8 63 - SPC9 54 - SPC10 26 - SPC12
    • Lulabelle06
    • By Lulabelle06 29th Aug 12, 4:50 PM
    • 39 Posts
    • 573 Thanks
    Lulabelle06
    Right I tried this once before and failed miserably but after spending on average 70 a week on food for only two people (not including meals out etc) I desperately need to do this! Can I be put down for 350 in September including all meals out please? Thats from the 1st of the month
    • fozziebeartoo
    • By fozziebeartoo 29th Aug 12, 5:20 PM
    • 1,564 Posts
    • 12,675 Thanks
    fozziebeartoo
    I have lost track for the last 2 months....oops

    Aiming for 300 again in September.

    And failing meeting my target, I will be happy if I can just keep tracking right through September!

    Can anyone remember if they sell mixed spice (or any spices) in Lidl????

    I know their herbs are good and cheap, but need mixed spice for my Weetabix cake......

    And if I go to Sainsbugs (which definitely sells it) I will struggle to just buy that......I am much more restrained if I just go to Lidl.
    • lizzie_b
    • By lizzie_b 29th Aug 12, 5:29 PM
    • 524 Posts
    • 1,128 Thanks
    lizzie_b
    Today I am happy to report a complete NSD :-)
    I have adjusted my budget slightly though to 130 as I think a 50 drop from last month is a bit too far.
    Think I'll find it easier to go gradually so will try for the 100 next month and maybe even 80 for November as we're away at Disney for a week EEEKKKKK!!!
    xxxx
    Little Monkey Born 26.08.14
    • WantToBeSE
    • By WantToBeSE 29th Aug 12, 5:51 PM
    • 6,793 Posts
    • 30,570 Thanks
    WantToBeSE
    Juat updated my signature.
    Was really impressed with the lunch that i managed to produce out of 'thin air' (i.e. what i already have in the cupboards) today, pizza pinwheels.

    The kids went mad for them! The recipe i have is enough to make 12 and we all had 2 each, so there is 6 left for another day. Have been meaning to make them for ages, and am really glad i did
    10k of Debt

    Debt Free Diary https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=6026621
    • lollyfin
    • By lollyfin 29th Aug 12, 6:15 PM
    • 299 Posts
    • 4,060 Thanks
    lollyfin
    My GC doesnt start until the 31st but I have spent the last week frantically planning and now have a meal plan and shopping lists for two months that i might just rotate and change the odd thing on for the rest of the year (saving me a lot of whats for dinner aggro!). I have also been checking out prices in the shops I have available and think I have worked out whats best to buy where, I do need to find nice sausages that dont cost a fortune tho.
    So Friday I am going to do a big shop and get most of what we are going to need for the month and then decide on a tiny amount of cash to keep in my purse just in case I have forgotten something important or have got my quantities wrong and run out of something...both those things I might easily do!
    I would love your pizza pinwheels recipe WantToBeSE it sounds like the kind of thing my kids would love
    konMarie and fabbing all the way
    Weight loss challenge starting 11st loss in November 4lb
    • craigywv
    • By craigywv 29th Aug 12, 6:20 PM
    • 1,976 Posts
    • 27,825 Thanks
    craigywv
    hi all could someone please tell me do i cook sausages before i pour over yorkshire pudding mix for toad in the hole, i have never made this but hear you all talking about it and would love to try it thank-you.
    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!!.
    • b_girl
    • By b_girl 29th Aug 12, 6:22 PM
    • 261 Posts
    • 1,135 Thanks
    b_girl
    Done my first shop of the month coming in at 36.88 at aldi. I saved 7.45 by using the coupons from the daily mirror newspaper so very pleased. Managed to stock up on all the tinned goods, cheese, cereals and toiletries for the month too

    Trying to live a good life on little money
    • WantToBeSE
    • By WantToBeSE 29th Aug 12, 6:34 PM
    • 6,793 Posts
    • 30,570 Thanks
    WantToBeSE
    My GC doesnt start until the 31st but I have spent the last week frantically planning and now have a meal plan and shopping lists for two months that i might just rotate and change the odd thing on for the rest of the year (saving me a lot of whats for dinner aggro!). I have also been checking out prices in the shops I have available and think I have worked out whats best to buy where, I do need to find nice sausages that dont cost a fortune tho.
    So Friday I am going to do a big shop and get most of what we are going to need for the month and then decide on a tiny amount of cash to keep in my purse just in case I have forgotten something important or have got my quantities wrong and run out of something...both those things I might easily do!
    I would love your pizza pinwheels recipe WantToBeSE it sounds like the kind of thing my kids would love
    Originally posted by lollyfin
    Pizza wheels

    (Either make your 0wn puff pastry, or do what i did and buy the pre-rolled puff pastry )

    Ingredients:
    puff pastry
    6tbsp pasta sauce ( i normally save some from when i have made my own pasta sauce the night before for dinner)
    100g sliced ham (wafer thin is best)
    100g grated cheese
    1 beaten egg
    1tsp dried herbs

    1- Put oven on 180c. Unroll pastry onto floured surface, roll out to the size of about 40x32cm. Spread the pasta sauce over it, leaving a small border around the edges. Scatter the ham and cheese over it.

    2-Starting at one end (starting from the shorter end,if there is one, is easier), roll up the pastry as tightly as possible. Then chill in the fridge for 10-15mins.

    3- Using a sharp knife, cut the roll into 12 equally sized pieces, lay them on baking trays, brushh with beaten egg, sprinkle over herbs.

    Bake for 12-15mins

    They are morish- beware
    Last edited by WantToBeSE; 29-08-2012 at 7:10 PM.
    10k of Debt

    Debt Free Diary https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=6026621
    • lollyfin
    • By lollyfin 29th Aug 12, 6:45 PM
    • 299 Posts
    • 4,060 Thanks
    lollyfin
    Thank you so much for that WantToBeSE, my thanks button is still not working sorry
    konMarie and fabbing all the way
    Weight loss challenge starting 11st loss in November 4lb
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