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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 45
    • Sue14
    • By Sue14 16th Sep 12, 6:27 PM
    • 899 Posts
    • 10,894 Thanks
    Sue14
    a tub of celebrations for xmas (that OH has already opened )
    Originally posted by pixiedust09
    We bought a tin of roses last week, with the proviso that they were not to be opened until Christmas, and I hid them in the spare room as soon as we got home so we're not tempted, as once opened they will be gone!

    I'm going for £130 again this month, and so far have spent a total of £68.73.
    Weight loss challenge 3/10lbs
    Total weight loss 21lbs

    • GreenFairy
    • By GreenFairy 16th Sep 12, 6:49 PM
    • 301 Posts
    • 3,786 Thanks
    GreenFairy
    Spent €26 at the market yesterday and have meat for the week and a fridge bursting with fruit and veg. Going to put the stew ingredients (minus liquid) in the slow cooker liner this evening and leave it in the fridge. Can just pop it on before I leave the house in the morning. Won't have to cook until Wednesday then, apart from a new loaf
    Feb GC €253.11/€400
    Jan GC €203.37/€400
    • Make-it-3
    • By Make-it-3 16th Sep 12, 7:13 PM
    • 1,550 Posts
    • 7,040 Thanks
    Make-it-3
    A modest £27.24 weekly shop today, till I got home and realised I'd forgotten a couple of expensive items and that I hadn't checked the cupboards very well because we have only 5 teabags left, no olive oil and no sunflower oil. I'm having to cook tonight's dinner with the posh extra virgin stuff we bought on holiday.

    Another trip to MrS looks on the cards for tomorrow. Till then spends stand at £160.71/£200 very poor show for mid-month.
    We Made-it-3 on 28/01/11 with birth of our gorgeous DD.
  • Mrs Addicted to Spending
    Spent €26 at the market yesterday and have meat for the week and a fridge bursting with fruit and veg. Going to put the stew ingredients (minus liquid) in the slow cooker liner this evening and leave it in the fridge. Can just pop it on before I leave the house in the morning. Won't have to cook until Wednesday then, apart from a new loaf
    Originally posted by GreenFairy
    This may be a thick question but I'm thinking of getting a slow cooker - do you have to heat the ingredients up before you put them on or can you put them in cold?


    Result today - Sainsbugs have had special offer on De1 mont£ orange juice for £1 a carton for a couple of weeks. They still had sign up today so I bought some but when I got home I noticed they'd charged full price £1.65 . I went back (luckily it's very local) and they gave me the extra back so for 4 cartons it was £2.60 .
    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
    • Save Dosh
    • By Save Dosh 16th Sep 12, 7:53 PM
    • 1,314 Posts
    • 15,703 Thanks
    Save Dosh
    This may be a thick question but I'm thinking of getting a slow cooker - do you have to heat the ingredients up before you put them on or can you put them in cold?
    Originally posted by Mrs Addicted to Spending
    You just bung everything in cold/raw, meat, veg etc. and let it do its thing.
    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
    • Bluegreen143
    • By Bluegreen143 16th Sep 12, 8:23 PM
    • 1,101 Posts
    • 12,692 Thanks
    Bluegreen143
    Well I've been away - went to visit a friend on Friday straight after work and didn't get back until quite late on Saturday. OH had spent £4.80 on milk, bread, cheese and bleach. Made me a delicious chilli for dinner so was happy

    No grocery spends today and made a lovely chicken dish with chicken breasts from the freezer:



    Used up sprouting potatoes to make the roasties plus a slightly questionable half bag of greens, and the sauce was made with a quarter bottle of red wine left over from weeks ago and half a tin of tomatoes left over. Very frugal and good as I'm trying to use up fridge stuff before I go on holiday on Thursday
    Married 1 March 2014 DS born 06/12/15

    Debts
    CC - £2,182.17/£2,182.17
    Family loan 1 - £1,680/£1,680
    Family loan 2 - £3,500/£5,000
    • Bluegreen143
    • By Bluegreen143 16th Sep 12, 9:15 PM
    • 1,101 Posts
    • 12,692 Thanks
    Bluegreen143
    Made a chocolate mug cake for dessert as I had eggs to use up! Using up leftovers doesn't have to be a chore

    The simplest dessert ever - I just put an egg, 4 tablespoons of sugar (recipe calls for icing but I used caster to no ill effects) and 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder in each mug and mixed up, microwaved the mugs on full power for 1 min 50 s (I like it a bit gooey, do it for 10-20s more if you don't) then served them with big dollops of icecream on top. Surprisingly cakey texture for not having any flour in them, the first time I had them I expected them to be more moussey.
    Married 1 March 2014 DS born 06/12/15

    Debts
    CC - £2,182.17/£2,182.17
    Family loan 1 - £1,680/£1,680
    Family loan 2 - £3,500/£5,000
    • Nicky Noo Na
    • By Nicky Noo Na 16th Sep 12, 9:43 PM
    • 760 Posts
    • 6,713 Thanks
    Nicky Noo Na
    Spent £8.42 on fruit and milk for the week but had £4 coupon so just £4.42 to add to total - hoping to stay clear of the shops till next weekend!

  • rosieben
    Bluegreen, I've added your Chocolate mug cake to the recipe index
    ... don't throw the string away. You always need string!

    C.R.A.P.R.O.L.L.Z Head Sharpener
    • PennyGrabber
    • By PennyGrabber 16th Sep 12, 11:01 PM
    • 1,268 Posts
    • 22,438 Thanks
    PennyGrabber
    I went to the green one and did my week's shopping for just over £16. Most notably though, I didn't do any stocking up. I bought a couple of extra fruits, like they had pineapples for £1, so I treated myself. I need to really work hard now on sorting out my compulsive behaviour, although I'm sure that's for another thread!! I just can't stop buying deals and bargains! I know others have this problem too, but for me it's now entered the ridiculous.

    Still, today was a small step in the right direction, and I'm aiming for a six-day frugal fast now...

    Ch had sausage casserole for dinner and I had lentil bolognese. I don't normally cook different things, but I wanted to try the lentil recipe, and good job I did as ds tried and had to spit it out!! Oh well, nothing ventured nothing gained.

    Night all,

    PG x
    Grocery challenge for family of three - me, dd(12) and ds(11), feeding dp 2 or 3 x a week too. Only food, not toiletries. Jan £87.97/£100 Feb £0/£100
    Frugal 2018 needed! Saving and NOT spending
    • robberbutton
    • By robberbutton 16th Sep 12, 11:03 PM
    • 680 Posts
    • 1,506 Thanks
    robberbutton
    Thanks for the 5-week-month answers. Like the idea of having a store cupboard week - that would be the simplest answer for me at the moment. Putting money aside I can see working too, but I have so many accounts at the moment for different things, not sure would cope with adding more!

    Thanks again
    Go to the ant, thou sluggard
    • little_miss_moneysaver
    • By little_miss_moneysaver 17th Sep 12, 2:04 AM
    • 1,229 Posts
    • 7,653 Thanks
    little_miss_moneysaver
    Hello everyone!

    Hope everyone is ok. Sorry I've been AWOL. My baby came just over three weeks early so have been a bit occupied! Bit dramatic but we're both doing well. Time for me to get back on track now. This month was a bit all over the place. Eagerly looking forward to the October challenge. Have £20 for this week (end of the month), but not really needing much so should be ok. Hoping my months of stockpiling will keep us going through the next year.

    Must do a meal plan for this week at a more human hour too!

    LMM
    Baby boy arrived 22nd August 2012
    Second menace arrived safely 13th February 2014
    Debt Free Wannabee 2015
    • mossy
    • By mossy 17th Sep 12, 6:24 AM
    • 1,142 Posts
    • 8,199 Thanks
    mossy
    Aww congratulations on the arrive of your little boy!! How exciting!! I'm sure I felt like a zombie for the first six months so I am seriously impressed that you're thinking of meal planning!! x
    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
    • meg72
    • By meg72 17th Sep 12, 8:49 AM
    • 5,082 Posts
    • 46,072 Thanks
    meg72
    Congratulations littlemiss on your new baby boy,
    Slimming World at target
    • peony40
    • By peony40 17th Sep 12, 10:02 AM
    • 489 Posts
    • 6,389 Thanks
    peony40
    Congratulations Little Miss on the birth of your son.

    Hello All, I have been reading your posts but things have been busy here with both 'Mums' being in different hospitals so I haven't had chance to think straight and post.

    Well, I have blown my budget which I did set much lower than normal due to a very high overspend during August. So for the rest of the month I am going to attempt to live from the pantry/freezer as much as possible and minimise further spending.

    So plans for today is to menu plan for the rest of the month and incorporate some new recipes.
    January 2019 GC: £67.88/250.00 (182.12)
    2019 Frugal Living Challenge
    2019 Sealed Pot Challenge 107
    2019 Make Do Mend & Minimise
    A Simpler Life 2019
    • Possession
    • By Possession 17th Sep 12, 10:18 AM
    • 3,140 Posts
    • 41,491 Thanks
    Possession
    Third NSD in a row for us, but I do have a delivery coming tomorrow which (hopefully) should be the last main spend of the month.

    • PennyGrabber
    • By PennyGrabber 17th Sep 12, 10:34 AM
    • 1,268 Posts
    • 22,438 Thanks
    PennyGrabber
    Congrats Little Miss M!! My most vivid memory of food from that time was always having my dinner cold, as baby would cry just as I sat down to eat!!

    Nsd so far today, as day 1 of my six day frugal fast...

    Have spent the morning dropping the children to school, then I've been mega sorting. For the last year, my bedroom has been the dumping ground. You know, someone's coming over and you need to hide the clutter!! Set my timer for an hour, and now I can see the carpet; turns out it's blue! Sorting out is good for me, as it keeps me out of the supermarket!

    Have a good day all

    PG x
    Grocery challenge for family of three - me, dd(12) and ds(11), feeding dp 2 or 3 x a week too. Only food, not toiletries. Jan £87.97/£100 Feb £0/£100
    Frugal 2018 needed! Saving and NOT spending
    • MoonJelly
    • By MoonJelly 17th Sep 12, 10:52 AM
    • 324 Posts
    • 1,923 Thanks
    MoonJelly
    Uhmmmm.......A bit crossed with Tesco this week. I do my shoping online so I cannot see the veg and meat with my own eyes. I bought some minced lamb which was so greasy (yes, it is the value range but...) and plastic smelling that I could not serve it. I had to throw it away because there was no way I was going to serve it to my kid or even eat it myself. So far mince has been a way of getting read meat without having to opt for the pricier cuts. Should I complain to Tesco or chuck it to experience and no buy value range meat again?
    .................................................. ............................
    NW: £5014.49/£4000/£745
    BC: £4308/£2500
    Loan: Co-op: £3777.23 /
    £3387.23
    £2900/PAID
    Challenge: debt-free by Christmas 2017
  • jumblejack
    Don't try the APG shopping lost today as the shampoo 3for2 offer is ending at Waitrose.

    If anyone wants a tester shopping list to try, give me a shout.

    Every moment is a gift. That's why we call it the present.!
    Grocery Spend Weekly Challenge (Sat-Fri):£30.50/£40
  • rosieben
    Uhmmmm.......A bit crossed with Tesco this week. I do my shoping online so I cannot see the veg and meat with my own eyes. I bought some minced lamb which was so greasy (yes, it is the value range but...) and plastic smelling that I could not serve it. I had to throw it away because there was no way I was going to serve it to my kid or even eat it myself. So far mince has been a way of getting read meat without having to opt for the pricier cuts. Should I complain to Tesco or chuck it to experience and no buy value range meat again?
    Originally posted by MoonJelly
    I would definitely complain MJ, value products should still be fit to eat and sounds like that wasn't
    ... don't throw the string away. You always need string!

    C.R.A.P.R.O.L.L.Z Head Sharpener
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