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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 36
    • Coxy11
    • By Coxy11 14th Oct 12, 10:35 AM
    • 2,323 Posts
    • 27,347 Thanks
    Morning campers - is this the right place for a Sunday morning rant?!

    I worked yesterday so left DH in charge of dinner. I had defrosted a pack of DR shin of beef to slow cook and already had a MrT fresh veg soup mix (carrot, swede, leek etc.) to add - no everyday value casserole veg on the shelf, so thinking they are phasing that out? - but he still went to Sainsbugs and bought button mushrooms (which the children hate), tomato puree, a range of herbs, various stock cubes, a savoy cabbage (when we already have one in the fridge) - you get the picture Anyway the upshot is that I have an additional £12 to add to my total. Not a happy bunny.

    To make matters worse, a friend invited us round for a takeaway last night, so the 3 children plus DS1's friend were the only ones to eat DHs masterpiece....and he forgot to cook the cabbage..... Thankfully the £20 for the takeaway is from another budget, so every cloud......

    Need to meal plan for this coming week. Have a lot of frozen meat so I'm hoping to only have to buy some fresh bits and pieces - and definitely no more cabbage

    Have a good day everyone.
    Cross-stitch WIP: Pretty Maids in a Row
    • Sequeena
    • By Sequeena 14th Oct 12, 11:03 AM
    • 4,261 Posts
    • 18,097 Thanks
    I've not spent anything for days but today I have to go buy some fresh stuff. Very happy though, think I may make it to November 2nd UNDER BUDGET!
    Wife and mother
    Grocery budget
    April week 1 - £42.78 | week 2 - £53.05
    24lbs in 12 weeks 15/24
    • Pearla*Merle
    • By Pearla*Merle 14th Oct 12, 12:11 PM
    • 1,589 Posts
    • 9,401 Thanks
    Gosh, completely behind now after a hectic week & a bit. Going to have to guesstimate the spends over this time, reckon it's around £55 on variety of little shops. We've done quite well at making a dent in the old stock cupboard, which has minimised any big buys for meals, and that spending has mostly been on replenishing my herbs & spices, some stocking up on beans & tortillas (random, but they were cheap in Tesko last week) and some extra goodies for feeding visitors last weekend.

    Seem to be doing ok-ish with the budget so far, but I think a major freezer shop is due soon, it's looking decidedly empty of anything useful in there. Need to figure out a meal plan for this week, so some rooting through the cupboards is on the cards for today methinks.
    a penny picker upper. every penny's a prisoner!
    £26.65 til OnePoll payout! Round six! | Save £9400/£15,000
    Normality is a paved road; it's comfortable to walk, but no flowers grow on it.
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  • Spending Vs Saving
    Bit of a stock up today, and the first one in what seems like an age. Have bought more laundry cleaning stuff as the stuff i bought on offer in December last year now seems to be running low At least it don't go off!

    Also bought a large pack of chicken thighs and mince which as a single person will take a while to get thru once i batch cook these and fill them out with veg etc.

    So my grand spend of £25.48 to be added to my signature.

    Was shocked...... last week in Mr T lemon curd 22p m today 50p for their value range equivelant, value rice pudding is also double the cost in mr m
    Consolidated and under control 42 payments to go.
    ; ): o
    Aim: 35 and Debtfree
  • lostcause82
    Well have had a chat to my partner and we are going to give this a go. We will officially start on November's thread, but our month start is 21st of the month so once the new thread is up will put on there. We are going to start today making stuff up for the freezer though. We are going to make up some bolognese and put it in freezer bags so we can just lift it out the freezer on the morning ready for when we get home from work. Also have some lamb already so will make a casserole. Also get some jacket potatoes, cottage cheese and eggs so can have slimming world quiche and spuds for tea for a cheap meal. Hopefully will lose a bit weight too as will not be eating as much rubbish!
  • brokemedic
    Well, I went off to Ald's to get some stuff.. Didn't have the medicines I needed so had to head off to Asdf afterwards.. Anyway total spend was £15 so am hoping that I don't spend any money for the next 10 days that I am at work. Anyway, was quite impressed at Ald's.. carrots for 36p!!! the same bag would have cost double that anywhere else, if not treble... So, fruit and veg will now be purchased there before I even head to Asdf..

    Just a silly question that I am hoping someone will answer.. I saw a few branded products that were well below the prices that they are sold at in the other supermarkets.. Are they for real and if yes, how can they afford to sell them so cheaply.. Sorry, if it's a daft question with an obvious answer

    off to update my signature with amount so far
    One debt in 100 days £384/1264(£865 left)
    Pay all your debt off by xmas 2014 £276/18864
    NSD 4 and 4 in a row
    • Suffolk lass
    • By Suffolk lass 14th Oct 12, 12:46 PM
    • 3,310 Posts
    • 29,414 Thanks
    Suffolk lass
    Morning campers - is this the right place for a Sunday morning rant?!

    Originally posted by Coxy11
    Oh Yes... Almost as good as Ranters Anonymous
    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
  • fjell
    I've been doing pretty well keeping to one shop per week and not venturing near any supermarkets in between. However, getting home late on Friday night I caved in to an easy dinner of tesco's fresh pasta and sauce. On the plus side, this stopped me from spending over a tenner at dominos, so could be worse!

    A £14.76 shop in sains today ought to last the week, and includes some stuff for a roast this afternoon. Unfortunately it has to be a vege roast, and in my experience, nuts don't stretch like chicken...

    I was pretty pleased with some posh bloomer bread reduced right down and 3 decent size trout fillets for £2.50. I seem to be averaging £15 a week so far, which I'm really happy with, although I haven't had to buy any laundry or cleaning products this month and those things sure do add up.
    GC Oct: £71.22/£80 = £8.78 left
  • Taranaman
    Not doing as well as most on here, so here goes...

    The triple points voucher was burning a hole in my wallet and I succumbed. The groceries part of my bill came to £78.88 (not counting the Christmas presents only food and drink) leaving me with less than £30 to the end of the month.

    My penance today was to do a food inventory and my cupboards, fridge and freezer have enough food for 31 evening meals for two, 16 lunches and 24 breakfasts. And that's without thinking. With a bit of creativity, it could probably stretch to more than that.

    Will try and limit my spends to milk and fresh veg to the end of the month and will reduce next month's budget to £300 less any overspend for October.

    And I have no more vouchers to lead me astray!
    January GC 299/300
    February GC 295/270
    March GC 92/243 then lost the plot and stopped recording for two months and went way over
    May GC 372/250 still looking for the plot
    June GC 118/250
    • liz-paul
    • By liz-paul 14th Oct 12, 4:03 PM
    • 895 Posts
    • 4,806 Thanks
    Well I have about £165 to last until the 31st which should be fine but doubt I'll finish much under budget this month

    That has to cover some regular groceries, beer for OH, party food & drink for our Halloween party, food for OH while I'm away and food for me and DSs for first 2 days on hols (exc eating out). Having said that my Dad will prob pay for most food while I'm away (visiting him) but I'd rather not count on it as I don't want to be a sponger. If it wasn't for buying booze for OH & our party I could prob manage the rest of it on £100 but I guess I'll see how it all goes. Lasagne tonight anyway.
    1% at a time no. 40. £8000 (For dream family holiday) 94/100
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    MFW 2014 no 62 £8000/£7000
    • meg72
    • By meg72 14th Oct 12, 4:12 PM
    • 5,082 Posts
    • 46,072 Thanks
    Small spend of 5.00 in Lidl yesterday, stocked up on half price, 44p Thai
    red and green curry sauce, also got butternut squash, beetroot, spring onions mozzarella and 2 jars dried basil, and lemons, a lot for my 5.00 I thought.
    Last edited by meg72; 14-10-2012 at 4:14 PM. Reason: typo
    Slimming World at target
  • katholicos
    No grocery spends today. Made a peanut butter tray bake. Mega sickly and so far i only licked the spoon!

    1 jar peanut butter

    4 cups of icing sugar

    1 cup butter. Melted

    1 pkt of digestives. Made into fine breadcrumbs

    Mix the whole lot together.

    Push into a greased/lined baking tray. Cover with melted chocolate. Refridgerate for an hour before serving.

    in other news....
    Just had a very simple meal of brie, new potatoes, salad for tea.
  • rosieben
    ... Made a peanut butter tray bake. ...
    Originally posted by katholicos
    I've added it to the recipe list
    ... don't throw the string away. You always need string!

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    • Nicky Noo Na
    • By Nicky Noo Na 14th Oct 12, 6:34 PM
    • 760 Posts
    • 6,713 Thanks
    Nicky Noo Na
    £25.54 in MrA on a weekly shop for the two of us - not bad but there was no meat so next week may be more! Not bad for half way through the month though. Well done to everyone on all the bargains and batch cooking!

    • vanoonoo
    • By vanoonoo 14th Oct 12, 7:12 PM
    • 1,860 Posts
    • 7,742 Thanks
    ok so today we ventured to c0stc0 for the first time ever (only been to m'kr0 in terms of wholesaler places previously). and then had to pop to tesco as well. grrrrrr! however I was REALLY good and stuck to our list! whooooohoooooo! so groceries in costc0 round up to £20 and £10 in tesco because I have had to go back to their own brand non bio tabs as I cant stand the smell of non bio almat from aldi - booooooO! plus husband wanted MORE BREAD this is three times this week we have bought bread! and I needed some sinus tablets cos i have a god awful cold. off to update my sig. seriously worrying about coming in on budget this month now
    • Bluegreen143
    • By Bluegreen143 14th Oct 12, 7:41 PM
    • 1,108 Posts
    • 12,739 Thanks
    Hello and welcome to anyone new - this is such a fantastic thread!

    Well I spent £1 yesterday in £land on two packs of face wipes and £24.87 today in Mr M. Got milk, value butter, spreadable butter, mince, saver's cheese, bananas, peanuts, saver's mushrooms, veg stock cubes, pot noodle, caster sugar, tampons, apples, double cream, gravy granules, peppers, savers stir fry pack, 2 multipacks of crisps (on offer), sliced greens, living coriander, 2 packs of salad. Still need to get coke (couldn't carry it back on the bus) and forgot spray cleaner.

    Had a productive day today - made soup with a YS cubed root veg pack (10p!)and an onion, blended up some stock, honey & thyme. Gave some to OH as a snack and have three tubs in the freezer of the cheapest soup on the world Also made pizza sauce (also for the freezer) with some passata languishing in the fridge, and whizzed up some dried-up bread for my breadcrumb bag in the freezer, which has been getting sadly depleted since I've got so good at not wasting bread

    Tried to make mince pasties for dinner but the pastry wasn't holding the filling well so turned it into a pie instead:

    It was OK but not enough gravy and needed more seasoning. Just off to make a filling for a turkey pie using the YS turkey breast I got the other day
    Married 1 March 2014 DS born 06 Dec 2014 DD born 14 Dec 2018
    • elsiepac
    • By elsiepac 14th Oct 12, 8:18 PM
    • 1,776 Posts
    • 12,849 Thanks
    Veggie Burrito
    Hi everyone

    I'm not doing the challenge this month as I'm living off what's in now, but I'll start again from November.

    Just had to share my random tea with you which I'm calling veggie burrito's:

    1/2 red onion
    1 red pepper
    2 tomatoes
    1 red or green chilli

    Saute above in 2 tbsps oil

    Add Cajun (or your preference) seasoning

    When nearly done, crack in 2 small or 1 large eggs and mix in

    Add some cheese - maybe 30g

    Get 1 large or 2 small wraps and nuke for 20 seconds to warm them up

    When eggs are done, mixture will be pinky - just divide between wraps in a line in the centre, sprinkle a bit more cheese over, roll up neatly and enjoy!

    Very satisfying and a bit different!


    PS - just occured to me this is basically huevos rancheros in a wrap...huh guess I didn't invent it!
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  • rosieben
    ... veggie burrito's ...[/FONT]
    by elsiepac;56530217[FONT=Century Gothic
    just added it to the recipe index
    ... don't throw the string away. You always need string!

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    • hannah:-)
    • By hannah:-) 14th Oct 12, 9:41 PM
    • 243 Posts
    • 1,596 Thanks
    Had quite a virtuous weekend spending wise, but then my dog collapsed and had to get emergency appointment at the vet. She's staying overnight, but they still don't know what's wrong. Bill is at £500 so far :-s
    Official DFW nerd 187 Highest debt Oct 06 £23,319 Cleared end 09.
    Student again now and trying to fight the debts that are creeping up again
    • Sequeena
    • By Sequeena 14th Oct 12, 10:21 PM
    • 4,261 Posts
    • 18,097 Thanks
    £10.81 spent today.

    From morrisons;
    - 6 pints whole milk
    - dog food
    - 2 Braeburn apples
    - 6 bananas
    - top to toe wash for my son
    - tin of cat food

    From lidl;
    - 12 boxes mini snack raisins
    - 1 can Pepsi (forgot my squash grr)
    - bread
    - chocolate
    - pretzels
    - half price turkey breasts.

    I should have enough in to last the week but will need pet food and possibly milk.
    Wife and mother
    Grocery budget
    April week 1 - £42.78 | week 2 - £53.05
    24lbs in 12 weeks 15/24
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