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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 eleventh 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:
    October 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; 22-10-2012 at 1:33 PM.
    A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men
    Norn Iron club member #380

Page 7
    • bossymoo
    • By bossymoo 27th Oct 12, 2:07 PM
    • 6,817 Posts
    • 87,056 Thanks
    Few nsd's here. Might need milk and a few fridge bits on Monday. Then hopefully we'll manage another week... Have loads in freezer, it's just work lunches I struggle with. Don't get why it's such a big deal as I only go into the office 2 days a week.

    Away with the fairies
    • Winchelsea
    • By Winchelsea 27th Oct 12, 3:19 PM
    • 691 Posts
    • 9,316 Thanks
    Thanks zippychick for getting us on track again.

    Can I stick to 7 a week again please?

    Good luck everyone - happy and healthy eating!
    Keeping three cats, the car and myself on a small budget, and enjoying life while we're at it!
    • Kitchenbunny
    • By Kitchenbunny 27th Oct 12, 5:02 PM
    • 1,861 Posts
    • 20,260 Thanks
    Afternoon, everyone. I've really got to get back into this. I'm going to put our budget at 180 and hope I can stay under it. Things have been hectic but I need to get a grip and get organised. Hope you don't mind!

    KB xx

    • allie23
    • By allie23 27th Oct 12, 6:47 PM
    • 1,343 Posts
    • 14,647 Thanks
    Hi folks please put me down for 150 again this month.

    I have already spent 60 of this today but am determined the food we bought will last at 2 weeks. The change for me is being back at work during the day and having to think about what to take with me both for lunch and break time snacks.

    I have settled on soup for the start of the week and then baked potatoes and cheese later in the week. There is enough stuff to make shed loads of soup so I will freeze some for next week. Snack wise it will be fruit and youghurt.
    February 2019 Grocery Challenge
    Frugal Living Challenge 2019
    Save 12k in 2019 - Challenger No 69 - 13,310/40,000
    • WantToBeSE
    • By WantToBeSE 27th Oct 12, 9:27 PM
    • 6,795 Posts
    • 30,577 Thanks
    Thanks SL for the idea, that sounds lovly, i'll pop it onto my list of baking things to try out
    10k of Debt

    Debt Free Diary
    • MrsCD
    • By MrsCD 27th Oct 12, 10:33 PM
    • 753 Posts
    • 11,263 Thanks
    hi please can i join the thread for november.
    my cupboards and freezers are quite full so i am aiming for 50 for the month as i dont need anything and am planning to make bread so i will just need bits and bobs.
    there is just 2 adults and i think i have easily got 3 weeks worth of meals.
    i am currently 22 weeks pregnant so ideally need to keep track of spending as i will be losing a bit of money when i go on maternity.on a good note i am officially debt free today and would like to keep it that way so the extra money i am planning to save for when baby arrives,we are also doing the house up and i think posting on here and reading other posts will help.we was going to celebrate with a takeaway but am going to use stuff in the freezer and do pizza,garlic bread and other nibbles and instead of renting a film we have sold some old ones and used the credit to get some more so hasnt really cost anything.
    Originally posted by lemmings1986
    Well done

    I also have raisin flapjacks in the oven. My house smells lovely!
    Trying my hardest not to spend any money at all, so am trying to find cheap, easy to make savoury snacks, if anyone has any good suggestions/recommendations?
    Originally posted by WantToBeSE
    Pastry straws - leftover pastry from HM quiches/mince pies (any non-sweet type) spread with Marmite if you like it, brush with milk or egg if you don't - and sprinkled with a little grated cheese, cut into 1cm wide lengths then cooked until golden. You can twist them before cooking if you want them to look prettier!
    • icontinuetodream
    • By icontinuetodream 28th Oct 12, 6:02 AM
    • 985 Posts
    • 6,606 Thanks
    Hi, can you put me down for 150 this month please I have done this challenge previously but have been off the boards for a while so looking forward to starting again!!
    Mortgage 12.12.12 55842 12.12.13 42716 14.12.14 28837 13.12.15 25913
    Mortgage OP 50/600 House Fund 420/5000
    • Kitchenbunny
    • By Kitchenbunny 28th Oct 12, 6:46 AM
    • 1,861 Posts
    • 20,260 Thanks
    Well, I might have to have my first spend of the Challenge today - we need milk and DH wants some bananas for his lunches next week so we'll have to see. Might have to pop across to Mr T later. As long as I can stick to the list it'll be OK. As of now, the mealplan is set up on my spreadsheet and looks appetising enough to keep us interested!

    Today we're having roast beef with all the trimmings, hopefully with LOTS of leftovers to make into other things in the week. Hope everyone has a lovely Sunday.

    KB xx

    • WantToBeSE
    • By WantToBeSE 28th Oct 12, 6:48 AM
    • 6,795 Posts
    • 30,577 Thanks
    Pastry straws - leftover pastry from HM quiches/mince pies (any non-sweet type) spread with Marmite if you like it, brush with milk or egg if you don't - and sprinkled with a little grated cheese, cut into 1cm wide lengths then cooked until golden. You can twist them before cooking if you want them to look prettier!
    Originally posted by MrsCD
    Many thanks Mrs CD, i'll pop those on my list as well
    10k of Debt

    Debt Free Diary
  • rosieben
    MrsCD, I've added your Pastry Straws 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
  • lemmings1986
    hi all well i managed not to buy any food yesterday which is a huge achievement for me and arnt planning on going out today too cold so another nsd .so budget still intact.
    plan for today make cheese and onion pastys for oh packup tomorrow
    make some cheese straws thanks for the recipe mrs cd
    and some more cupcakes as the other ones got eaten
    and cook sunday dinner
    hope every1 has a good day
    VSP#17 2.34
    debt free 26/10/2012
    • WantToBeSE
    • By WantToBeSE 28th Oct 12, 8:30 AM
    • 6,795 Posts
    • 30,577 Thanks
    Batch cooking has always seemed like too much hassle to me, but i started it a few weeks ago, and so far i have Chilli, lasagna, spag bol and kedgeree in the freezer.
    I am DEFINITELY seeing the advantage this morning, i have just taken a lasagna out of the freezer for tonights dinner No cooking for me this evening!!
    10k of Debt

    Debt Free Diary
    • medsdemon
    • By medsdemon 28th Oct 12, 8:57 AM
    • 751 Posts
    • 6,133 Thanks
    Can you please put me down for 200. That's from today to the 28th and for all groceries, household cleaning & toiletries...and the odd bottle of wine!!Trying to get back on track and be more organised with meal planning etc again. Have pretty empty cupboards so will be a challenge.

    I am planning a shop today or tomorrow at Mr S as have a 6 off 30 voucher. I will see.

    I would like to get back into batch cooking and baking so will be stocking up on ingredients for this
    Grocery challenge October: 228.28/250.00 NSD 4 ( not completed)
    Grocery challenge November : 291.65/300.00 NSD 10
    Grocery challenge December : 0/240.00 NSD
    • cornishchick
    • By cornishchick 28th Oct 12, 11:08 AM
    • 584 Posts
    • 5,873 Thanks
    keeping to my promise to do better this month of keeping track of spends...
    sticking to the oct food/house hold stuff budget of 200 for the month.

    I have a note book, and a pot to put the reciepts in..
    live, love,laugh.
    living on my memories, trying to make new ones.
    "Sealed Pot Challenge 5" #1841 now I have a sealed tin, anyone got a tin opener?
    C.R.A.P.R.O.L.L.Z #43 cornishchick - laughing first aider and coffee monitor.
    • Kitchenbunny
    • By Kitchenbunny 28th Oct 12, 11:35 AM
    • 1,861 Posts
    • 20,260 Thanks
    Well, the best laid plans of mice ... I've just been to the supermarket and bought cheap ice cream, bananas and a pint of milk and spent 2.60. That's my limit for today, I hope! Now snuggled up on the sofa, DH watching the F1, and me trying to tweak our mealplan to make it a bit cheaper.

    KB xx

    • smartcat04
    • By smartcat04 28th Oct 12, 12:15 PM
    • 612 Posts
    • 1,821 Thanks
    I'm going to go for 200 again this month. This is from the 26th which was payday. We failed miserably this month with me popping to the Costa at work for lunch too many times rather than taking a pack up and too many takeaways.
    First spend of the month was an Aldi trip where I spent 72 which should last a couple of weeks bar milk and bread. Did include a few bits to put away for xmas like crackers and stollen bites.
    April 5 a day challenge- 15.05/150
    • medsdemon
    • By medsdemon 28th Oct 12, 12:39 PM
    • 751 Posts
    • 6,133 Thanks
    Well that was my first shop of the month done. Spent 37.90 and bought everything to feed us this week apart from a milk top-up sometime midweek when we run out.

    Meals planned: Thai Green curry noodle soup, sausage and bean cobbler and broccoli, chilli and rice, lentil shepherds pie, fishfingers/gf alternative and chips and baked beans, spicy lentil soup. Will bake the lemon and rosemary cake this afternoon from Nigel Slaters prog this week and have soup, porridge or leftovers for lunches.. i am out on weds, friday and sunday evenings but will be one of the basic meals for dd to prepare herself.
    Grocery challenge October: 228.28/250.00 NSD 4 ( not completed)
    Grocery challenge November : 291.65/300.00 NSD 10
    Grocery challenge December : 0/240.00 NSD
    • WantToBeSE
    • By WantToBeSE 28th Oct 12, 1:21 PM
    • 6,795 Posts
    • 30,577 Thanks
    Popped into T to get some sugar and milk, and got some great reduced bits. Have now learnt that 3pm-3.10pm on a Sunday is the best time to get some great reduction in my local T

    I coudl have got LOADS of great reduced bits, but i have no space in my freezer, and the kids are away with their dad tomorrow-Wednesday evening. Its not a bargain if you dont need it!!

    I am on a mission to get as much of my Christmas menu reduced as possible, so picked up some 'The Finest' carrots (was 2.25, now 25p), and froze them (to have marinaded in OJ and honey), to go with the YS sausages i picked up last week (were 2.69, now 59p) which will be soy and cranberry glazed
    10k of Debt

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    • Coxy11
    • By Coxy11 28th Oct 12, 2:43 PM
    • 2,322 Posts
    • 27,347 Thanks
    Budgets done to here

    Suffolk Lass - thanks for highlighting the figures when others can't - much appreciated

    I'm still on my October GC but will see you over here from Wednesday onwards.

    Cross-stitch WIP: Pretty Little London by Satsuma Street
    • theatregirl4
    • By theatregirl4 28th Oct 12, 2:49 PM
    • 1,110 Posts
    • 7,033 Thanks
    Did what I hope will be a monthly shop today with DM, freezers and cupboards are back to full after running down everything last month.

    Sub total was 161 but managed to knock that back with coupons and special savings/bulk buys.

    Also the very nice man at the clearance aisle for the frozen section was there and I asked him when he was going to do second y/s reductions and he was just about to do them - so got several things half price!!!
    Got 3 frozen cod and chip portions, 1 large cheese and bacon pasta which I have separated into three portions and frozen, 1 large chili con carne which was separated into two portions and frozen (one of which I will have tomorrow), so that will see me through for 2-3 weeks. also got a lovely apple and blackberry pie half price!

    So total spend 146.23

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