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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 22
    • Soworried
    • By Soworried 2nd Sep 12, 12:35 PM
    • 2,144 Posts
    • 19,932 Thanks
    JJ, you really are a marvel.
    One step must start each journey
    One word must start each prayer
    One hope will raise our spirits
    One touch can show you care
    • tentickles666
    • By tentickles666 2nd Sep 12, 12:46 PM
    • 819 Posts
    • 1,157 Thanks
    If you remove elders with a fork it's a bit quicker I got elders for the animals will go back and get some for us later on, too many tutting dig walkers in the afternoons lol
    • MissOrganised1972
    • By MissOrganised1972 2nd Sep 12, 1:29 PM
    • 174 Posts
    • 3,644 Thanks
    I am very pleased with myself. For my batch cooking I'd planned today, I decided to make as many dinners as possible from one 800g pack of minced beef. It did mean I had to break my original plan of a NSD because I needed beans but i managed to make:-

    2 large Cottage Pies (each should serve 4 adults).
    2 bolognaise (each serving 2 adults & 2 kids)
    2 chillis (each serving 2 adults)

    here goes with the details of what I did.

    I chopped 3 onions & 3 garlic cloves & cooked them in my biggest pan, in some oil (I meant to add more garlic but only realised, as I type this, that I forgot to go & get another bulb of garlic out). I probably would have gone for about 6 cloves.

    Next I added the 800g of mince & fried til the meat was all brown. I added 6 handfuls of red lentils, 2 beef oxo cubes, 2 handfuls of porridge oats & a small cup of water (reckon I could have managed without the water). Next I added 6x400g tins of chopped tomatoes, a large glass of red wine & black pepper & cooked it all for about 10 minutes. Then I started to split it to make the different meals.

    Cottage pie-I put, into another saucepan, about 8 mushrooms chopped really small & cooked them in a little bit of butter. Then I added enough meat mixture to make it look enough for 2 Cottage Pies (I got the dish out that I normally use so that I could estimate visually). I added 2 handfuls of frozen peas, a really big dash of Worcester Sauce, 2 squirts (about 2tbs) of tomato pur!e, a chicken oxo cube, some dried thyme & dried rosemary. I halved the mixture. I have topped one half with cheesy mash for tonight's tea (which will spend about 1/2 hour in oven) & the other half will be frozen (labelled up) ready for another day & I will only need to do the potatoes.

    Next, I added the remainder of the tube of tomato pur!e into the remaining meat mixture. Then.......

    Spaghetti bolognaise-in a clean pan, I fried 2 leftover rashers of bacon, chopped up small, with some oil & dried rosemary. I added some dried oregano & enough meat mixture for 2 family portions (we are 2 adults & 2 kids). That has now been transferred to a casserole dish, ready to spend 1 1/2 hours in the oven, when I have it on later for the cottage pie.

    Chilli con Carne- finally I have added a tin of kidney beans, 1 tsp of ground cumin, 1/2 tsp of chilli powder (could add more, but I only had hot chilli powder in) & a light sprinkle of cinnamon & will also cook this in the oven for 1 1/2 hours, later, when it's on. I have made a bit of a boo boo because maybe should have added beans 30mins before finished cooking. Hopefully will be ok! DDs don't eat chilli so there's enough for DH & I for 2 meals each!

    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 2nd Sep 12, 2:11 PM
    • 6,778 Posts
    • 30,548 Thanks
    MissOrganised- you have truly lived up to your username!! I am impressed!
    3/6 month emergency fund challenge #20
    PODBX17 #122

    Debt Free Diary

    Total debt:
    14/01/2017 6247.89
    24/02/17 5623.17

    Estimated DFD Jan 2018
    • liz-paul
    • By liz-paul 2nd Sep 12, 2:25 PM
    • 895 Posts
    • 4,806 Thanks
    Just wondering 2 things:
    1. What do you do to get your alcohol bill down? I'm not a huge drinker but I probably share 1-2 bottles of wine with OH at weekends and he has a couple of beers most nights. I usually buy booze from supermarket, OH accepts whatever is cheapest and occasionally I buy him something he likes! I buy wine on offer usually for about a fiver a bottle. I would rather drink nothing than drink something I don't like so don't tend to buy the cheapest ones. Am I missing any tricks?
    2. Do I need to report each spend I make on here or can I keep track at home and just record my total at the end of the 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
    • Hiddenidenity
    • By Hiddenidenity 2nd Sep 12, 3:04 PM
    • 5,213 Posts
    • 26,759 Thanks
    It worked for me, I have been stopped for almost 6 months now.
    This and a handheld gadget called a tangle. It is a piece of plastic that moves in all weird directions. It kept my hands busy. I am happy to post this on to any one that would like it.
    Good luck and report in how many each day. If one day you don't drop by one then just make sure you do the next day.
    Originally posted by Soworried
    Wow well done I will definatly be giving it as go I hope I can say I've been smokefree for X amount of months one day.

    If you would like to think about quitting, you can get a free 'Quit kit':

    No pressure though, i dont mean to come across as a 'no smoking nazi'!
    Originally posted by WantToBeSE
    Thank you and you dont come across like that
    • WantToBeSE
    • By WantToBeSE 2nd Sep 12, 3:10 PM
    • 6,778 Posts
    • 30,548 Thanks
    Thanks HiddenIdentity, glad to hear it.
    i have just passed my 2 year anniversary of being smoke free, and i love being a non-smoker (or is it ex-smoker?)!

    Have had a NSD today, finally!
    Also, i found my old nectar card that i used to use, but its been about 2 years since i used it!
    I called up the nectar helpline and they told me the card had been deleated, and the points i had on it, deleated. So i asked them to send me a new card and put the points back on..and they did! So i have 1903 points on my new nectar card when it arrives.
    Does anyone know how much that actually is to spend in store?
    3/6 month emergency fund challenge #20
    PODBX17 #122

    Debt Free Diary

    Total debt:
    14/01/2017 6247.89
    24/02/17 5623.17

    Estimated DFD Jan 2018
    • Mrs Money Penny
    • By Mrs Money Penny 2nd Sep 12, 3:35 PM
    • 728 Posts
    • 6,332 Thanks
    Mrs Money Penny
    Hi Could you put me down for 400 for September please.
    MFIT Challenge save 40k
    48828.05/46842.89/-1985.16Mortgage neutral 03/19
    • suzybloo
    • By suzybloo 2nd Sep 12, 3:54 PM
    • 1,079 Posts
    • 8,715 Thanks
    Afternoon folks after a NSD yesterday, I had intended today to be one too, but hubby suggested taking DGS to the seaside today so have spent 10.46 in MacDonalds and was another 1.50 for the wee seaside bus and another 1.50 for the seaside train, so will increase my spends by another 13.50 - my budget is for everything - not just grocery. At the moment I have leeks drying in the dehydrator - got 4 leeks from tesco for 40p, and dont have an inch to spare in the freezer so anything else will need to be dehydrated and put into jars. With going to MacDonalds this afternoon hubby is not wanting any tea so the steak pie which was earmarked for tonight will now do tomorrow. Aiming for 3 NSD's this week - Tues, Wed and Thurs, fingers crossed it happens!
    Every days a School day!
    • Save Dosh
    • By Save Dosh 2nd Sep 12, 4:13 PM
    • 1,314 Posts
    • 15,703 Thanks
    Save Dosh
    I have had 2 no spend days. I am very well stocked up, so i am going to meal plan in a minute for the next 10 days and hopefully just buy some salad stuff and a bit of veg.

    With regard to the people wanting to quit smoking, To quit smoking you have to REALLY want to. I tried tons of times to quit, but had the mindset of "i wonder how long i will last this time". I finally quit, after a parents evening when the head teacher stopped me and said she found my daughters prayer really touching (what prayer??). She had written a prayer, as had all the kids. Hers was asking god "please please please god, please make my mum not smoke, please god please shes going to die and i will be sad. I cried all the way home, went out in the back garden and had a cigarette cried some more at the fact that i was smoking and just decided I could never smoke again, and live with my conscience. I set a stop date, stopped visitors smoking in my garden, stayed away from social scenes till i was strong enough. A book by Alan Carr, "you Can Stop Smoking" really is amazing and helped and i have never smoked since - that was 12 years this month and apart from the first 3 or 4 months, i have never looked back or wanted to smoke. it is challenging at first, but if you say never again, it becomes easier, one of the best decisions of my life. Good luck to anyone deciding to do this
    April GC - Food 37.40/80 - Alcohol 14.50/20
    Bulk Funds - Food 0
    - Alcohol 0
    Save 12k in 2019 1,300/5,000 - #155
    • pixiedust09
    • By pixiedust09 2nd Sep 12, 4:50 PM
    • 259 Posts
    • 3,126 Thanks
    Hi peeps. Today was my first grocery shop of september and I managed to spend 56.01 in sainsbugs, but did have OH with me who put sweets in the trolly. Can't be too mad though as I also put a bottle of cava in. Then popped to the veg shop for veggies, apples and eggs and spent 9.56. Need to do a comparison online and see if the veggie shop or the supermarket works out cheaper. So today a grand total of 65.57. Will update sig in a bit.
    MFW 142- Oct 1999 55,0000, Jul 2013 27,593.17 Oct 2013 26,531, Dec 2014 22,600, Dec 2015 20,190, Jan 2016 19,944.19 Mar 2017 16,944.76 Decluttered 207/2018
    Smile it confuses people
  • happy chick
    Thanks Save Dosh I'm the other side of town to green lanes. Markets would be a good idea but I get carried away with food shopping so getting delivery is strategic - if I can keep out of the supermarket/market, I won't spend as much. I'm a little and often shopper which means 10 a time, a few times a week when all I had gone in for was milk!! (I'm sure there are lots of us on here who are the same!)

    So far it seems to be working so will carry on avoiding for a while longer and see how it pans out!

    Hippychick you are still under budget. 17 sounds really expensive for fruit & veg, I notice you live in London, there are tons of cheap places for fruit & veg. I would highly recommend Green Lanes in North London, if you live anywhere near - or you could try the Aldi 6 if you have one near - good luck
    Originally posted by Save Dosh
    GC: Jan 118.67/175

    Owed to Mum -
    Overdraft -
    Total -

    • debbym
    • By debbym 2nd Sep 12, 4:58 PM
    • 460 Posts
    • 2,747 Thanks
    Late posting for the beginning of this month - how can we have 22 pages already? Please put me down for 450 again. Last month was saved by the storecupboard; have to restock the freezer this month so we shall see.
    • Caterina
    • By Caterina 2nd Sep 12, 6:11 PM
    • 5,793 Posts
    • 40,217 Thanks
    Hi all

    I am stopping the GC for September, too complicated with holidays, kids going one place, me another, DH another (joining me in Italy for part of the time) and I just don't have the time and patience to follow it all up. See you all on the October challenge though!
    Finally I'm an OAP and can travel free (in London at least!).
    • lollyfin
    • By lollyfin 2nd Sep 12, 6:23 PM
    • 299 Posts
    • 4,060 Thanks
    Went away for the night yesterday, we had a great time and our spends were only 22.42. Have updated my sig and am now thinking I need a lot of no spend days!!
    konMarie and fabbing all the way
    Weight loss challenge starting 11st loss in November 4lb
    • Suffolk lass
    • By Suffolk lass 2nd Sep 12, 6:28 PM
    • 2,901 Posts
    • 27,355 Thanks
    Suffolk lass
    Foraged a few of these apple like rose hips yesterday along with a full carrier bag of gorgeous elderberries:

    Originally posted by jumblejack
    JJ I'm 99% sure they aren't rosehips - they look like Japanese quince from the bush they are on there's a web image here. They are very nice when cooked. There's an image of rose hips on this page here. Mine aren't red yet.

    Still look gorgeous!
    MFIT T5 target to clear our mortgage completely (59,998) Q1 26,828 or 44.71% paid - Mortgage Free Wannabes 2019 #37 29,215.99 after May
    Save 12k in 2019 - #68 target is 7k 4,998.99 or 71.41% after May
    OS Grocery Challenge 2019 target is 3k - 36.16% spent so far, after May
    My DFD is here
    • Suffolk lass
    • By Suffolk lass 2nd Sep 12, 6:36 PM
    • 2,901 Posts
    • 27,355 Thanks
    Suffolk lass
    Also, i found my old nectar card that i used to use, but its been about 2 years since i used it!
    I called up the nectar helpline and they told me the card had been deleated, and the points i had on it, deleated. So i asked them to send me a new card and put the points back on..and they did! So i have 1903 points on my new nectar card when it arrives.
    Does anyone know how much that actually is to spend in store?
    Originally posted by WantToBeSE
    According to my Sainsbugs receipt I have 2925 which is 14.52 so I would estimate 5 per thousand

    MFIT T5 target to clear our mortgage completely (59,998) Q1 26,828 or 44.71% paid - Mortgage Free Wannabes 2019 #37 29,215.99 after May
    Save 12k in 2019 - #68 target is 7k 4,998.99 or 71.41% after May
    OS Grocery Challenge 2019 target is 3k - 36.16% spent so far, after May
    My DFD is here
  • happy chick
    If you need to alkalise the body then this blog might give you some recipe ideas:

    I've got no idea if it's the right type of thing so just ignore me if not!!

    Well ... not been on here for a while. Just recovered from a gout attack - my second in a month.

    Have to make lots of changes to my diet, which makes meal planning more important than ever. It also seems that alcohol is a trigger for me.

    On the upside, it means that meal planning must take on two new dimensions; one, it must gradually alkalize the body, and two, it must gradually reduce calorie count until a stable uric acid level (lower than a certain level) is attained. After that, about a three to four month process, more flexibility is permitted. It will make the list-making absolutely essential. More importantly, it will mean purchasing fresh fruit and vegetables three times a week to take advantage of their nutrient value (especially those that have travelled long distances).

    I thought the challenge of this site tough enough, without the additional behavioural straight-jacket of abstemiousness thrown in. I have a hot cup of tea in my hand, England beating S Africa in the cricket one day internationals and an episode of Lewis I haven't seen before recorded. So it isn't all bad news.

    Hope everyone else is is bounding about as a roe deer in the Spring, he adds, mind wandering down memory lane,
    Originally posted by In_it_not_to_giveitaway
    GC: Jan 118.67/175

    Owed to Mum -
    Overdraft -
    Total -

    • quintwins
    • By quintwins 2nd Sep 12, 7:14 PM
    • 5,003 Posts
    • 29,347 Thanks
    hi all

    We don't really drink maybe a few beers at a bbq, i havent drank in years being pregnant put me out of the notion, same goes for smoking, i tried to quit many times as soon as i found out i was preg i quit that day it was hard but theres no better motivation than the baby growing inside you (or in my case 2 babies) that was over 6 years ago and i don't even get cravings now and i like teh fact i'm not wasting money.

    6 spent on a few bits in the filling station.
    DFW 7632/28996 26.3%
    • Save Dosh
    • By Save Dosh 2nd Sep 12, 7:19 PM
    • 1,314 Posts
    • 15,703 Thanks
    Save Dosh
    JJ I'm 99% sure they aren't rosehips - they look like Japanese quince from the bush they are on there's a web image here. They are very nice when cooked. There's an image of rose hips on this page here. Mine aren't red yet.

    Still look gorgeous!
    Originally posted by Suffolk lass
    Or, they could be crab apples
    April GC - Food 37.40/80 - Alcohol 14.50/20
    Bulk Funds - Food 0
    - Alcohol 0
    Save 12k in 2019 1,300/5,000 - #155
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