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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 tenth Grocery Challenge of 2012 EEEEEKKKKK!!!!, Terrifying how quickly the year has flown in!

    If your new month starts early feel free to join this thread, or if you're still working on your September budget, then keep on posting in the:
    September 2012 Grocery Challenge

    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; 21-09-2012 at 4:34 PM.
    A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men
    Norn Iron club member #380

Page 4
    • Winchelsea
    • By Winchelsea 23rd Sep 12, 3:38 PM
    • 691 Posts
    • 9,316 Thanks
    I was MIA for ages, but would like to be included in October's list please.
    I've decided that a weekly challenge suits me best.
    So, can you put me down for £7 a week please? This runs from Friday to Thursday each week..

    This doesn't seem doable - until you see my storecupboard that is! I've had a couple of weeks' practice, and have managed to keep to it, feeding myself and the cat. I don't include cleaning products etc, only actual food.

    Yesterday I spent my £7 plus the £2.50 or so that was left over from last week. I mainly bought fresh veg, fruit and milk, and a couple of tins of cat food (she eats mostly dried). Got a packet of butter beans, which are now soaking, to be cooked later and divided into portion-sized packs for the freezer. Last week I cooked chick peas and made enough falafel for nine meals - have had it twice this week. My freezer's full of goodies like this. When I make my bread I slice it once cool, and put it into 2-slice packs, again for the freezer.

    All this stretches the budget - and I do eat healthy and tasty meals. I've been a veggie for 34 years, and know this also helps with the finances.

    Thanks again for organising the challenge - and good luck to everyone!
    Keeping three cats, the car and myself on a small budget, and enjoying life while we're at it!
    • MalmesburyMagic
    • By MalmesburyMagic 23rd Sep 12, 4:45 PM
    • 10 Posts
    • 53 Thanks
    Hello! Can I join the October 2012 Grocery Challenge?

    £240 for me please - many thanks
    Barclaycard £tbc
    Santander £tbc
    Simply Be £tbc
    Evans £tbc
    • pinkypig
    • By pinkypig 23rd Sep 12, 4:46 PM
    • 1,571 Posts
    • 12,082 Thanks
    Hi everyone. Have looked at this thread for ages and would love to join. We are a family of four with a cat. Can you put us down for £250 for October please. Looking forward to getting started

    PP xx
  • helen jelly
    Hi everyone

    Coxy - well done on getting the lists sorted - I completely missed Zippy's message, sorry

    Rosieben - thank you so much for the recipes on the front page

    Zippy - sorry I missed the message at the start but Coxy was brill and sorted it out

    Coxy - can you ut me down for £75 a week please - this won't change so if its easier for you just keep it on the list
    all the time and I'll repost if it should change [not much hope of that]

    I've completely lost the plot recently with the shopping budget [we've got a new allotment so we've spent every spare moment there] so I really need to get it all back under control and start some batch cooking and being mean with money lol, otherwise DH will continue to spend like there's no tomorrow!!

    Thank you everyone for all your support whilst I helped out

    Projects made for craft fair - 40
    1st fair on 13/4/14
    • zippychick
    • By zippychick 23rd Sep 12, 5:01 PM
    • 9,343 Posts
    • 17,889 Thanks
    Coxy - thank you for updating your list as requested, It's all perfect now. Thanks again for volunteering to help

    A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men
    Norn Iron club member #380

    • WantToBeSE
    • By WantToBeSE 23rd Sep 12, 5:59 PM
    • 6,795 Posts
    • 30,577 Thanks
    Just an update on my attempt at a cheap kedgeree. It was LOVELY! Me and the kids all loved it, and it was dead cheap!
    I just made up the golden vegetable flavour rice and added a large spoonful of curry powder (mild).
    Ovenbaked 4 large smoked haddock fillets which i bought ages ago from lidl, flaked them and added to the rice, then boiled 2 large eggs and chopped them up and added them to the rice as well.
    chopped up some baby plum tomatoes and peppers, and hey presto, a dead cheap dinner!
    £10k of Debt

    Debt Free Diary
    • craigywv
    • By craigywv 23rd Sep 12, 6:00 PM
    • 1,976 Posts
    • 27,825 Thanks
    Hi can i pls be put down for £180 finished just under for sept but want few things this month towards christmas good luck everyone xxxxxx
    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!!.
    • chirpychick
    • By chirpychick 23rd Sep 12, 6:38 PM
    • 968 Posts
    • 8,708 Thanks
    Please may I join in?

    We have £100
    this is for 2 adults (and I am 7.5 months pregnant so extra hungry right now)!

    Included in our budget is all cleaning products and toiletries but not pet food.

    Our food spending has been a bit ridiculous lately and we desperately need to get it under control and we need to stock up a bit rather than use up as I want to have nicely stocked cupboards and freezer for when the baby comes.
    Everything is always better after a cup of tea
  • rosieben
    WantToBeSE, I've added your Kedgeree 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
  • missmucksmum
    My month (5weeks) started on friday so I would like to report 3 no spend days I have made my own bread today and used up some fridge stuff instead of throwing things away so need to pop to Aldi tomorrow but I have a list and I am going to be good
    January Grocery Challenge £203.50/£200
    February Grocery Challenge £59.20/£200
    • Allypops
    • By Allypops 23rd Sep 12, 7:13 PM
    • 243 Posts
    • 1,211 Thanks
    Hi all,
    Last month I tried to go from £450 to £350 and I think it was too big a drop iin one go. September's grocery total finally came in at £425. So the new plan is to cut back in stages. This month I am going to try to come in at £25 less than last month. So this month's target is :


    Last edited by Allypops; 24-09-2012 at 2:49 PM. Reason: forgot to say budget is for 2 adults/2children
    Married with 2 children
    SPC5 # 1837- -
    DMP started April 2011 34.5% paid £78800
    DFD: June 2019 DFW Long hauler #286
    • WantToBeSE
    • By WantToBeSE 23rd Sep 12, 7:21 PM
    • 6,795 Posts
    • 30,577 Thanks
    WantToBeSE, I've added your Kedgeree to the recipe index
    Originally posted by rosieben
    oooh, i feel famous!! AND you spelled it correctly, which i failed to do, LOL!!
    £10k of Debt

    Debt Free Diary
    • lovelife79
    • By lovelife79 23rd Sep 12, 8:00 PM
    • 116 Posts
    • 1,298 Thanks
    Thank you Meg, it wasnt as hard to save as i thought it would be, just had to be really strict with myself and make sure i "needed" stuff rather than just "wanted"it!!!

    my challenge starts on payday which is this thurs 27 sept, so big shop and cook out to refill freezers awaits me!!
    • missyv30
    • By missyv30 23rd Sep 12, 8:01 PM
    • 185 Posts
    • 1,389 Thanks
    Hi can i join please can i have £300 for october

    Debt as of Jan 17 £32990.71:
    • Coxy11
    • By Coxy11 23rd Sep 12, 8:35 PM
    • 2,322 Posts
    • 27,347 Thanks
    Hi everyone, and a big welcome to all the newbies

    Budgets done to here

    Good luck for October everyone
    Cross-stitch WIP: Pretty Little London by Satsuma Street
    • Sequeena
    • By Sequeena 24th Sep 12, 3:37 AM
    • 4,261 Posts
    • 18,097 Thanks
    This will be my first month doing the grocery challenge and I'm a little nervous. I truly don't know how much we spend. I may be a little optimistic but I will try for £200 starting on October 5th.

    This will be for 2 adults, a 1 year old, 3 dogs and 2 cats. Not including nappies as I have a stockpile and my son now drinks cows milk or water so that's saved on formula costs.

    I do as much YS shopping as I can (it helps that my OH is management for a major supermarket) and I cook from scratch as much as I can. I hope to start using more coupons to bring costs down even further and no need for jars as my son eats the same food as us.
    Wife and mother
    Grocery budget
    April week 1 - £42.78 | week 2 - £53.05
    24lbs in 12 weeks 15/24
    • Businessgirl
    • By Businessgirl 24th Sep 12, 8:10 AM
    • 73 Posts
    • 584 Thanks

    This is my first month doing this...but its bound to be a tight month (first month back at work in a year and not a full months salary PLUS just moved so rent etc...).

    I'm single, and looking at everyone else think my budget is very high - but I am new to this and don't eat any grains or legumes at all (no wheat, rice, beans, name it really!), only limited dairy and no prepared foods...they all basically have hidden 'nasties' for me - so bulking out my foods happens in the form of veg....which is more expensive than pasta or rice!!

    My budget (25th to 25th) is going to be... £120

    My little freezer at the top of my little fridge is horrible, so I'm looking at buying a mini freezer seperately next month so I can batch cook and freeze...(a definite need in my life!). I think it will save me heaps long term as at the minute I can't bulk cook and freeze anything. Plus I could fit an ice cream maker in there next summer! Mwahahahahahaha!

    So, today is taking stock and writing lists day for me! Wish me luck!
    • Businessgirl
    • By Businessgirl 24th Sep 12, 8:13 AM
    • 73 Posts
    • 584 Thanks
    chirpychick...I think £100 for two of you is rather I have a lot to learn!
    • liz-paul
    • By liz-paul 24th Sep 12, 10:28 AM
    • 895 Posts
    • 4,806 Thanks
    Hi I am still no September but I didn't want to get left behind! Can you me in at £450 again please? Sorry about the weird font there!!

    Not sure how this month will work as myself and 2 boys will be away for a couple of days end of this month and start of next. I will still have to shop for OH and hope he doesn't go mad..... And we'll have to eat while away. Guess I'll see. Staying with my Dad so he'll pay for some stuff while away but I don't want to sponge!
    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
    • tessie bear
    • By tessie bear 24th Sep 12, 10:57 AM
    • 4,361 Posts
    • 30,013 Thanks
    tessie bear is tipping it down here and cold...i have just had a look through the soup cook book i have might try and make a few

    we have lamb for tea and a steamed pudding which seems to suit the weather...i am going to make 2 casseroles in the double sc tomorrow and eat one and freeze one...also got a marrow to use up so will bake some of that with some mince and turn the rest into soup i think

    need to go shopping tomorrow as dont have much in the way of fruit or veg or milk so need to sort that out

    take care tess
    onwards and upwards
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