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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 33
  • KatyReed+5
    Few spends today.
    £3.30 - Sandwiches from the local bakery in town.
    £14.35 - Treat dinner for the kids from Sainsburys as the big girls are here
    £5.03 - Sainsburys.
    £8.29 - Co-oops.

    Also £22.54 on christmas things to stash away, but not counted as not part of GC.

    Bringing the total to £314.35.

    Katy, X
    June £0.00 GC / £200.00

    Family of 4 : 1 adult 3 kids ages 3,4 & 5.
    • EverTheOptimist
    • By EverTheOptimist 7th Sep 12, 7:52 PM
    • 2,677 Posts
    • 15,752 Thanks
    Another spend today, £22.46, didnt really get that much, salad bits, jacket potatoes, veg for bunny, fruit, but will do me over the weekend, and the fruit into next week for work.

    Need to get meal planning over the weekend, to get on top of these random and very regular spends. Have also reduced my budget to £150 from £200.

    Have a good weekend everyone.
    SPC 12 #005 Target £200 /
    • TheThriftyScrumpers
    • By TheThriftyScrumpers 7th Sep 12, 7:54 PM
    • 272 Posts
    • 5,359 Thanks

    I hope everyone has had a good week. We have a £land that has recently opened nearby and I popped in the other day and was very impressed with the branded food offers they had. It might be worth popping in if you have a store nearby. I got walkers crisps bags of 5 (three for £2), caburys fingers (3 for £2) and ww bits.

    DD and DS are happy as we have set up a stall selling apples and they get to keep the cash. There is great excitement when they go to check if we have had any sales

    BBQ planned for tomorrow and probably Sunday as the forecast looks good. Plenty of meat in freezer so no need to spend.

    NickJW enjoy tomorrow and your holiday of course.
    GC Mar 11 £437.08Apr 11 £459.26 May 11 £485.52 June 11 £423.79July 11 £409.22 Aug 11 £250.10Sept 11 £396.14Oct 11 £382.37Nov 11 £372.55Dec 11 £332.29 Jan 12 £375.19:Feb 12 £349.58Mar 12 £279.66Apr 12 £249.12May 12 £337.66/Jun 12 £362.58/Jul 12 £317.03/Aug 12 £354.02/Sept £439.72/Oct 12 £210.16
    • Coxy11
    • By Coxy11 7th Sep 12, 8:20 PM
    • 2,322 Posts
    • 27,347 Thanks
    Hi everyone,

    Small spend of £6.75 in A!di today. Popped in on the way back from Mums - we went to a crafting show at G!ow, B!uewater. Too many goodies

    Dinner tonight was DR marinated pork steaks, cut into strips and pan fried. Rolled them in a tortilla wrap with some soured cream. We had this with a mixed salad, tortilla chips and some houmous. Nommy nommy nommy. This was an excellent quick tea as DD and DS2 were back late from the paralympics. They had a great day by all accounts

    NickJW - can't believe you are going on holiday on my birthday (stomps off, muttering......)...but have a great time
    Cross-stitch WIP: Pretty Maids in a Row
    • CupOfChai
    • By CupOfChai 7th Sep 12, 8:29 PM
    • 1,319 Posts
    • 7,295 Thanks
    Hello all, just been and got some bits for OH for next week while I'm away which came to £7.33. Don't think he'll need anything else but if he does he knows where the shop is!
    • NickJW
    • By NickJW 7th Sep 12, 9:28 PM
    • 678 Posts
    • 13,646 Thanks
    NickJW enjoy tomorrow and your holiday of course.
    Originally posted by TheThriftyScrumpers
    NickJW - can't believe you are going on holiday on my birthday (stomps off, muttering......)...but have a great time
    Originally posted by Coxy11
    Thank you both! And Happy birthday on Monday Coxy!
    Grocery Challenge 14 Jan 14 £46.05/£130

    Grocery Challenge 13 -spent £1453.06
    Grocery Challenge 12 -spent £1565.51

    DFD 1st March 2011
    • Baileys Babe
    • By Baileys Babe 7th Sep 12, 11:14 PM
    • 2,590 Posts
    • 13,547 Thanks
    Baileys Babe
    Day 12 of our September GC and our first spend. I've bought lots of stuff for stocking up, but I'm including it in this months challenge as we often do this. I've spent a whopping £167.22, as long as the children only eat a reasonable amount of fruit a day I'm hoping not to shop again for at least a week.
    • lollyfin
    • By lollyfin 8th Sep 12, 7:17 AM
    • 299 Posts
    • 4,060 Thanks
    I spent no money yesterday!!! Just because I never left the house but still woohoo.
    I think I might just have to stay in for the rest of the month. I also made bread yesterday for the first time in years and it turned out ok so I dont have the excuse of popping out for a loaf I can make it instead. I just need to figure out the milk and may never have to shop again, well few weeks anyway
    konMarie and fabbing all the way
    Weight loss challenge starting 11st loss in November 4lb
    • jedi82
    • By jedi82 8th Sep 12, 8:10 AM
    • 406 Posts
    • 3,548 Thanks
    Morning all,

    £124.25 spent in MrM but had £5 off so £119.25 but still . We are going as a family on a fri after DH gets home from work and I always thought I spent more cos he put extra stuff in the trolley but I have come to realise it is actually me being more lax because he is there. Mantra: Got to reign it in!!!

    On the plus side, I have absolutely rammed cupboards so still hoping to reach our target and then look to reduce it in Oct cos it needs to start coming down.

    One thing I am finding expensive is granola. I really don't like raisins or sultanas in food and the only granola I can find is Jordans Super Berry which is £4.19 but is really tasty. Does anyone know of an alternative without raisins etc? This wholefood diet is proving expensive but on the plus side I am under 11 stone for the first time in years!

    Have a good day all, sun is shining here so going to make the most of it and go to the beach before work tonight

    Jedi x
    Finally getting my life on track. Onwards and upwards.
    BSC No 327
    GC Jan £336.91/£450
    GC Feb £0/£400
  • she who can not cook
    back from asda this morning said to the guy Are you a 24hour no we open at six.... i was there at 7.20 nice a quite spent 5.11
    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
    • lollyfin
    • By lollyfin 8th Sep 12, 8:28 AM
    • 299 Posts
    • 4,060 Thanks
    Have you tried making your own Jedi I have seen recipes on here for granola, sorry cant do links but I think its just bung in what you like mix with honey, butter or syrup and bake in the oven for about half an hour. Or you could always do what me and my kids do which is spend a wee mo picking the bits out you dont like. Could save you a small fortune
    konMarie and fabbing all the way
    Weight loss challenge starting 11st loss in November 4lb
    • Suffolk lass
    • By Suffolk lass 8th Sep 12, 8:31 AM
    • 3,305 Posts
    • 29,392 Thanks
    Suffolk lass
    One thing I am finding expensive is granola. I really don't like raisins or sultanas in food and the only granola I can find is Jordans Super Berry which is £4.19 but is really tasty. Does anyone know of an alternative without raisins etc? This wholefood diet is proving expensive but on the plus side I am under 11 stone for the first time in years!

    Jedi x
    Originally posted by jedi82
    You could make your own... Here's a recipe I have adapted for my tastes - I add pecan nuts instead of one of the fruits usually these days

    Home-made granola (Sarah Chase’s recipe adapted by Ina Garten and now Suffolk lass)
    4 cups old-fashioned porridge oats (rough oats are better)
    2 cups sweetened shredded coconut (I use more like 1 cup or it is too sweet for me)
    2 cups sliced almonds
    ¾ cup vegetable oil
    ½ cup runny honey
    A total of 4 ½ cups of dried fruit to your choice (I would suggest 4 kinds though and usually what is in the store cupboard or on offer) – the original recipe suggests:
    1½ cups small diced dried apricots
    1 cup small diced dried figs
    1 cup dried cherries
    1 cup dried cranberries
    And 1 cup roasted, unsalted cashews or other nuts of your choice
    Preheat the oven to moderate 350 degrees F.
    Toss the oats, coconut, and almonds together in a large bowl. Whisk together the oil and honey in a small bowl. Pour the liquids over the oat mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until all the oats and nuts are coated. Pour onto a large baking sheet.
    Bake; stirring occasionally with a spatula, until the mixture turns a nice, even, golden brown, about 45 minutes.
    Remove the granola from the oven and allow to cool, stirring occasionally.
    Add the dried fruit and nuts. Store the cooled granola in an airtight container. You can pad it out with a few uncooked oats if you don’t go too mad.

    Lollyfin - great minds...
    Last edited by Suffolk lass; 08-09-2012 at 8:33 AM. Reason: snap!
    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
  • happy chick
    Veggies were delivered yesterday. Other than a quick trip to the co-op for some sausages, I've been supermarket free all week! Small spends on 2 coffees and a breakfast panini yesterday (perfectly acceptable after working a 60 hour week!) and thats it. I'm up to £157.46 for the month. Will hopefully be within budget for the the first time ever this month!!!!!
    GC: Jan £118.67/£175

    Owed to Mum -
    Overdraft -
    Total -

    • bossymoo
    • By bossymoo 8th Sep 12, 9:54 AM
    • 6,817 Posts
    • 87,056 Thanks
    Hi all am back from holidays, with a spend at Mr S this morning of £83.50 almost half my budget! Yowsers!

    Still, I accidentally put twice the usual milk in the trolley (craven dale offer, so will keep and get used) and it includes meat ( offers too) and 4 packs of nappies and a 9-pack of huggies wipes.

    We have a well stocked cupboard so all that remains is for me to actually use it and stop "nipping out" for cooked meats etc because it's easier...

    My plan now is no spend until next Friday, and hopefully then only a few bits of fresh veg from the market.


    Eta we didn't use all our holiday money, and should have about £80 to change back, I think

    Away with the fairies
    • WantToBeSE
    • By WantToBeSE 8th Sep 12, 10:05 AM
    • 6,795 Posts
    • 30,577 Thanks
    Morning all

    Another £40 spend yesterday at Mr T, but i think we got everything we needed for the week.
    Its certainly easier now that the kids are back at school!

    Those with kids at school- if they have a cooked meal at school, do you cook for them in the evening too? My kids get FSM (free school meals), so get a hot meal everyday at school, yet i always cook in the evening too, as a matter of habit more than anything.
    £10k of Debt

    Debt Free Diary
    • Lulabelle06
    • By Lulabelle06 8th Sep 12, 10:17 AM
    • 39 Posts
    • 573 Thanks
    Asda last night for pizza and full fat coke for my sisters fussy boyfriend! Also grabbed some milk and a birthday card as I am off out for a friends birthday tonight. That is from a different budget so wont be spending money tonight. I forgot my receipt but remember it was 12 something. So as penalty I have updated my signature by £13. Looking forward to no cooking tonight and OH has left over pizza to eat . Think I can get away with not really buying meat this week, so that should mean hopefully a cheaper shop. Hope everyones having a lovely weekend enjoying the sunshine...I'm in work! x
    • MrsCD
    • By MrsCD 8th Sep 12, 10:20 AM
    • 753 Posts
    • 11,263 Thanks
    Just a quick hello and to report that I've spent £65.92 this week. I also bought some things for the storecupboard, but I will add these to my weekly spends when I use them.
    I must be getting better at this because I haven't had a voucher from Mr A's GC for a few weeks now
    • Save Dosh
    • By Save Dosh 8th Sep 12, 10:25 AM
    • 1,329 Posts
    • 15,828 Thanks
    Save Dosh
    wantToBeSE I always used to cook for mine of an evening, as i never really knew what they had eaten in the day and they used to be starving, as lunch was around 12pm and our dinner at home was 5pm and they also had a little snack and drinking chocolate b4 they went to bed - my kids had hugh appetites, but they are also individual, so your kids might be small eaters. Well i am intending on having a no spend w/end (hopefully). Have a nice day everyone.
    Last edited by Save Dosh; 08-09-2012 at 10:27 AM.
    August GC - Food £55.56/£80 Alcohol £17.24/£20
    Bulk Funds - Food £19.73
    Save 12k in 2019 £1,300/£5,000 - #155
    • WantToBeSE
    • By WantToBeSE 8th Sep 12, 10:39 AM
    • 6,795 Posts
    • 30,577 Thanks
    Thanks Save Dosh- My kids are huge eaters too, so i dont think i could get away with giving them just sandwiches for dinner. Oh well, never mind, just a thought. My 8 yr old eats more than i do!
    £10k of Debt

    Debt Free Diary
    • Save Dosh
    • By Save Dosh 8th Sep 12, 11:35 AM
    • 1,329 Posts
    • 15,828 Thanks
    Save Dosh
    wantToBeSE - I don't personally think meals for kids have to be some cordon bleu affair - unless you want to. if its a time thing, you could always batch cook, then its just a case of reheating, if its a cost thing, my two sometimes had jacket potatoes (microwave style lol), beans on wholemeal toast and something my friend showed me, which she called a tuna melt, which was toast with tuna (could substitute for sardines), topped with cheese and then grilled, which I did usually with salad and is very tasty, wraps with pre cooked meat and salad, which are versions of posh sarnies. im sure your kids love whatever you give them.
    Last edited by Save Dosh; 08-09-2012 at 11:38 AM.
    August GC - Food £55.56/£80 Alcohol £17.24/£20
    Bulk Funds - Food £19.73
    Save 12k in 2019 £1,300/£5,000 - #155
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