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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 53
    • liz-paul
    • By liz-paul 24th Sep 12, 4:47 PM
    • 895 Posts
    • 4,806 Thanks
    Glad I won't be totally alone

    Reckon my tuna pasta bake tonight cost about £2.50 for the whole thing! Will do 2 adults, 2 kids and maybe leftovers..... I think that is quite good.
    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
    • Suffolk lass
    • By Suffolk lass 24th Sep 12, 5:02 PM
    • 2,897 Posts
    • 27,347 Thanks
    Suffolk lass
    Im here until 30th too.

    Weekly shop in Asda on Saturday with spends of £37.72, but that did include ingredients for Waffle berry pie to take to my mums for sunday dinner.

    Also went out for a meal Saturday but only for pub grub so small spend of £12.98.

    I have been trying a few drink free weeks. I don't usually drink in the week but last weekend I didnt drink and also didn't drink fri or sunday this week and only had 3 small vodkas on Saturday (and when i say small i mean super small not even single pub measures) I am mainly doing this as a little challenge for weight loss reasons but also seems to have saved me quite alot of money! And I lost 3.5lbs last week so bonus!!

    Got excited thinking that month had finished but forgot I have another shop this month!

    Hope everyone is doing well!
    Originally posted by Lulabelle06
    Waffle Berry Pie sounds interesting. Please could you elaborate or even post the recipe?

    ps although my month may end on Friday (DH's pay day) I won't desert September until we all finish as my slighly obsessive characteristics mean I like to read them all!
    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
    • NickJW
    • By NickJW 24th Sep 12, 5:22 PM
    • 678 Posts
    • 13,646 Thanks
    Another one here to the very end!

    Reporting a spend of £5.30 in Mr S today
    Grocery Challenge 14 Jan 14 £46.05/£130

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

    DFD 1st March 2011
    • Nicky Noo Na
    • By Nicky Noo Na 24th Sep 12, 7:21 PM
    • 760 Posts
    • 6,713 Thanks
    Nicky Noo Na
    I'm here till the bitter end too as we organise our household bills calendar monthly.

    £2.50 spent tonight on milk and yogs which I forgot at the weekend - d'oh!

    Hoping thats it till the weekend.......

    • mossy
    • By mossy 24th Sep 12, 9:06 PM
    • 1,142 Posts
    • 8,199 Thanks
    So I had a sudden realisation that as soon as we started to get paid on the 20th of the month I inevitably started to spend some of next months budget from the 20th to the end of the month. So now, seeings as our main wages are paid around the 20th I'm going to run our budget for October from the 20th.

    I should say I know that seems obvious but it's only since April this year that DH has had a couple of his main contracts that have paid on the 20th and 24th, before that he would be paid randomly throughout the month depending on what we'd invoiced and so I always saved it up and transferred it (paid ourselves) at the beginning of each month.

    Now I need to work through the receipts to match up recent buys, although I'm currently dying from man flu so hopefully will have it done by the end of the week!
    Last edited by mossy; 24-09-2012 at 9:08 PM.
    Saving for Disney again 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
    • Honey Bear
    • By Honey Bear 24th Sep 12, 9:27 PM
    • 5,700 Posts
    • 55,940 Thanks
    Honey Bear
    I'm here until the bitter end as well, but I'm really, really hoping I don't have to spend another penny as I'm £0.33 over already.

    In fact, I've spent another £8, but I told OH that he couldn't have those five jars of super extra special homemade jam we bought from a roadside cottage until Christmas, so they will be allocated to Christmas (or even Gifts) on my spreadsheet and don't count as Groceries, at all (ahem).

    I have every intention of cutting October's budget by another £1 a week, and realise that sticking to a budget is simply, in my case, a matter of self-discipline. I'm also totally incapable of sticking to the idea of the second purse system, so I know that I've stocked up on flour this month and if I really had to argue the case I could kid myself that didn't come out of September's budget. But it is all money spent, and I need to manage what I have rather than let my innate excessive spending habits run my life.

    I've hidden the jams away, but in the process I've also realised I hid the second bottle of extra special whiskey I bought OH last year when it was available and on special offer (unheard of with this particular brand), and now I can't remember where!
    Keeping it AF
    • MrsCD
    • By MrsCD 24th Sep 12, 9:30 PM
    • 745 Posts
    • 11,241 Thanks
    Hello again I've been awol for a couple of weeks, but we had a fantastic time in Austria My GC is all up in the air so I'm writing off September and I'll start again in October with a clean sheet

    I will never get through all the posts, so sorry if I've missed out on anything important and ask you to explain what's happened!

    Hello to all newbies, and hope everything's going well for everyone.
    • minicooper272
    • By minicooper272 24th Sep 12, 10:00 PM
    • 2,127 Posts
    • 16,678 Thanks
    I spent £11.53 in Aldies the other day, bringing my total 1/2 month spend to £33.36/50. I should have more than enough food to get me to the end of the month now, and will refrain from visiting the work canteen if I can help it!

    Do people include meals out in their monthly grocery spends? As it's something I'm not sure whether to include or not....
    • flubberyzing
    • By flubberyzing 25th Sep 12, 7:52 AM
    • 1,254 Posts
    • 8,460 Thanks
    However many times I read the "second purse" thread, I still don't really get it! LOL
    Because it's fun to have money!
    £58.60/£70 June GC
    January-May 2019 = £291.53/£350

    • flubberyzing
    • By flubberyzing 25th Sep 12, 7:53 AM
    • 1,254 Posts
    • 8,460 Thanks

    Do people include meals out in their monthly grocery spends? As it's something I'm not sure whether to include or not....
    Originally posted by minicooper272
    Personally, I don't. But then again, one meal out might cost £20 just for me, and that's a big percentage of my £50 budget!
    Because it's fun to have money!
    £58.60/£70 June GC
    January-May 2019 = £291.53/£350

  • rosieben
    Do people include meals out in their monthly grocery spends? As it's something I'm not sure whether to include or not....
    Originally posted by minicooper272
    some people do include it, and some have a separate 'entertainment' budget; its up to you what you include, do whatever suits you best
    ... don't throw the string away. You always need string!

    C.R.A.P.R.O.L.L.Z Head Sharpener
    • Lulabelle06
    • By Lulabelle06 25th Sep 12, 9:16 AM
    • 39 Posts
    • 573 Thanks
    Waffle Berry Pie
    [QUOTE=Suffolk lass;56071421]Waffle Berry Pie sounds interesting. Please could you elaborate or even post the recipe?

    Not sure where the recipe originates from so I can't take credit but my OH got it from a woman in his work and I have made a few changes. Its super easy and great for sundays as we pop it in oven while eating and then its ready when weve finished.

    1 pack of waffles
    200g of white choclate
    400g frozen raspberries
    1 oz caster sugar
    1tblsp s/r flour (not sure if it actually needs to be S/R but thats what i used!)
    300ml creme fraiche
    4 eggs.

    Chop waffles into bitesize pieces and layer half in the bottom of a casserole.

    Chop white choc into small chunks and sprinkle half over top

    put half rasperries in aswell and then repeat.

    Mix creme fraiche, sugar, flour and eggs until smooth then pour over top. I usually leave it stand for about 5-10 mins so it can seep through.

    Bake in oven on 180 for fan ovens for 30-35 mins (centre should be set) and then serve straight away dusted with icing sugar and with a scoop of ice cream or on its own.

    Sounds a bit strange but it is really yummy! Get whinged at by my sister if I dont make often enough!
  • rosieben
    Lulabelle, I've added your Waffle Berry Pie recipe to the index on the October thread.
    ... don't throw the string away. You always need string!

    C.R.A.P.R.O.L.L.Z Head Sharpener
    • TheThriftyScrumpers
    • By TheThriftyScrumpers 25th Sep 12, 12:14 PM
    • 272 Posts
    • 5,359 Thanks
    I have been reading and not posting, sorry. Will try harder in October. I am here until the end of September too.

    The waffle berry pudding is a pampered chef recipe. It's really nice. I always use a pampered chef recipe to make brownies. You melt the butter and stir in the other ingredients so it is quick and easy. Mmmmm all this pudding talk is making me hungry.

    I bought DH the Lorraine pascal cookery book and I would really recommend it. It is full of recipes that I would actually make and they don't need loads of ingredients. Last night we had sweet and sour pork balls with peanut rice (made using sausages) it was soooo nice and not expensive to make either.

    Off to add up spends. Smoked haddock (ys of course!) defrosting for dinner.

    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
    • Save Dosh
    • By Save Dosh 25th Sep 12, 1:15 PM
    • 1,314 Posts
    • 15,703 Thanks
    Save Dosh
    Hi everyone, been MIA a while. My daughter has been having a friend staying for the last month/5 weeks, so it has really pushed the budget, plus i bought loads of extras for my daughter to stock her up, as she left for Uni Friday. She phoned me up nearly in tears, saying she had spent £13 in tesco, but didn't really have any meals to eat so ended up buying a takeaway - i tried teaching her, but she did not want to know, now shes asked for a shopping list and menu, so i will do that for her. Maybe i should start off a thread and get some wonderful ideas from you clever people. She wants to spend £15 to start with, as she needs to reign it in, rising to £20, which is really doable, but being a student sharing a kitchen, she just wants quick and easy at the mo. Anyway, i might do that, as it might encourage her to EAT. p.s. she has kindly left me her friend to provide for (thanks for that), whom i barely know, so not a happy bunny. Anyway im opting out of September and will join October on 1st. See you there
    Last edited by Save Dosh; 25-09-2012 at 1:20 PM.
    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
  • sneakyspender
    Final spends of the month were £27 L%&* and £26 MrM, also £17 butchers. So total for september£251 I think. Which is £50 under. I am not including toilitries in october. We were lucky with all the apples and blackberrys we got for free in september I think next month will be harderCOLOR="black"][/COLOR] or house hold at the moment. Would like to try for[COdLOR="black"][/COLOR]£275 in october.Sorry my phone wont let me do red.
    GC July 345/325Aug GC 297.50/300 GC Sept £251/300
    GC Oct 235/275 Nov GC £72/250
    NSD 5/30
    My month runs 22nd -22nd
  • sneakyspender
    Sorry my phone is really playing up. Was trying to say I will go for £275 in 9october.Which will be harder I think as fewer apples and blackberries around. I am not including toiletries or household at the moment
    GC July 345/325Aug GC 297.50/300 GC Sept £251/300
    GC Oct 235/275 Nov GC £72/250
    NSD 5/30
    My month runs 22nd -22nd
  • rosieben
    Sorry my phone is really playing up. Was trying to say I will go for £275 in 9october.Which will be harder I think as fewer apples and blackberries around. I am not including toiletries or household at the moment
    Originally posted by sneakyspender
    I've put you in red so Coxy will see you, ss
    ... don't throw the string away. You always need string!

    C.R.A.P.R.O.L.L.Z Head Sharpener
    • Coxy11
    • By Coxy11 25th Sep 12, 7:01 PM
    • 2,295 Posts
    • 27,317 Thanks
    Thank you rosieben

    No GC spends today although used a few bits from my second purse which I will tot up and settle up at the end of the week.

    Had some rubbish news today regarding my best friend in the whole wide world who I've known for 40 years and love to pieces. Feeling very low tonight. Sorry - not GC-related I know, but sometimes, just sometimes your faith gets tested to the absolute limits
    Cross-stitch WIP #1: Collecting Shells by Nancy Cole
    Cross-stitch WIP #2: Pretty Little London by Satsuma Street
    • EverTheOptimist
    • By EverTheOptimist 25th Sep 12, 8:10 PM
    • 2,655 Posts
    • 15,729 Thanks
    So sorry to hear of your sadness Coxy. Thinking of you. xxx
    DEBT: Loan £6000 Bank of mum and dad £13000
    SPC 12 #005 Target £200 /
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