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  • FIRST POST
    • zippychick
    • By zippychick 4th Jun 11, 11:19 AM
    • 9,343Posts
    • 17,889Thanks
    zippychick
    • #1
    • 4th Jun 11, 11:19 AM
    4th Jun 11 at 11:19 AM
    Hi everyone,

    Welcome to the 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 competition....it's designed to take you and your grocery spending to a level you are happy with.

    If you are new to the challenge I have quoted the advice from Galtizz below which will help you get started.

    Please post into this thread for help and advice and support at any time. Good luck to everyone taking part!

    I have said this before, but for all the newbies to the challenge;

    For the first month I took a guess at the budget but I really had no idea how much I was spending.

    I found the best thing is to have a guess the first month but SAVE ALL OF YOUR RECEIPTS (and yes, that does include the ones from the local shop when you run out of milk ), then at the end of the month add them all up and have a look if you were on budget, if not, it doesn't matter because your budget was a guess. For the next month you can use the total of your receipts and take a bit off to get a realistic budget, just shave off as much as you think you can, it could be 1 a week or 20 a week.

    If you are currently spending 200 a month don't suddenly drop it to 100 - you'll never do it but if you cut 20 a month off for a few months you'll get there eventually without feeling you're missing out on anything.

    You might think you've done everything you can in the first month but someone always comes up with a new idea and, if you try it you often find you save a bit more (unless you are SarahSaver who is an expert at this and could only save more if she turned her back garden into a paddy field and lived on rice ) In the first month I thought, I'm planning meals, I couldn't possibly save any more, but then I started double cooking and freezing, and making soup instead of buying it in tins.

    I've been doing this since Feb but only saved ALL of my receipts last month, it has given me a much better idea of where it is all going. Budget for next month is 80 for 2 of us, I'll start on 30/4. I could probably save more, by eating different foods but I can afford to live on 80, I have saved a lot of money since Feb. and I don't waste food or money any more. So I'm happy with my budget.
    By request, here is Spiggles wonderful helpful post

    We all have different budgets that suit our households. The most important thing to remember is that you set yours according to your needs and finances. It can take time to get to where you want to be too so don't knock yourself out if you go over in the first few months. We are here to support each other and it is not a competition.

    I thought it might help to outline where we've come from and the top tips I've learned.

    When we started in March 2010 we had spent in excess of 600 in the previous month. This had to stop, (there's only me and him and our two beautiful black cats) something which thankfully my OH completely agreed with so I have been lucky that he has been on board from the start. He gave me his debit card voluntarily and I still keep hold of it until he needs to get something for the home. At the same time we set up a system of pocket money (pm) at 15 each per week which doesn't count towards the GC and which we can each spend as we wish with no comebacks or complaints. OH predominantly uses his pm on his beer and I ferret mine away mostly.

    The next step was to set up my own spreadsheet which is absolutely simple onto which I put all spends so that I have a continuous running total for the month and for the year. We initially set our budget at 280 per month and brought it down to 240 where it resides for most of the year it is occasionally increased to allow for extras e.g. Christmas to 260.

    The important 'tools' we found greatly helped and continue to do so now are:

    Stocktake cupboards, fridge, freezer - make lists and ensure that the older products get used up first. You'll be amazed at what you find squirrelled away and it will help with your shopping list as you'll realise that you don't actually need so much.

    Before you go shopping check staples - running out of milk, bread, butter, etc often leads to going into a shop for one thing and coming out 20 lighter. Always check these and if they'll run out tomorrow buy them the same time as getting other things.

    Always make a shopping list and stick to it - the supermarkets (sm) try every which way to get us to spend so having a list and strong resolve is the only way to beat them.

    Keep every receipt - and then note it down on your spreadsheet/spend diary so that you always know where you are.

    When tempted, ask yourself do you NEED it or just WANT it - now this advice goes with two things. Firstly, the things you see in store when shopping that APPEAR to be bargains - if you hadn't planned spending the money then its not a bargain. Secondly, the sm send us loads of vouchers for X off a spend of XX - if you had no NEED to spend XX then have you SAVED anything???

    Use my supermarket to compare prices (limited to four of the biggies) - The site may be used to actually do an online shop at whichever of the big four offers the best value or, if you have the time and sm availability, to make up lists for visiting each of the stores so that you can purchase all you need at different stores thus getting the best possible value. (I'd add, do a 'shop' virtually on this site and take the list you create on it with you, whichever one you shop at, it will help keep target prices in your head and allow you to spot bargains. MrM is not included but you can do a virtual list on their website so you know what you're going to be spending.)

    Always have a list - this is just as important when shopping online as shopping on foot.

    Use Approved Foods online (with a list!) - if you don't mind out of date things (ood) or you can search for only in date items. The only drawback is storing the goods as far as I can tell. Oh, and watch the delivery as it's done on a scaled charge for weight so keep an eye on it. You can of course do an AF order with friends, family, colleagues or like minded neighbours. Other GCers use Big Br*nds 4 Less too.

    Invest in a breadmaker - we have saved so much by making our own bread. The prices in the shops are extortionate for bread these days. There's loads of advice on this thread and others in the forum on this.

    Use the recipe lists - always posted at the front of a new thread. There are fantastic, tasty, healthy and economical recipes to use on them and there are a number of other threads on the forum such as Weezl's that will help you to eat well on a budget.

    Shop locally - the local greengrocer (or preferably market but I don't have one ) is usually cheaper as an option for fruit and veg (f&v) than the sm. Often the prices may look the same but when you look at the quantity for the same price the greengrocer will be cheaper. The same goes for the local butcher. Often you will have far more variety of meat available, advice on how to cook a particular meat can be offered and there is (for me at least) no comparison in terms of quality. We buy our huge FR eggs there and I'm yet to find an equivalent FR egg in a sm at the same or lower price. Obvioulsy if you have your own chicks/know someone who has chicks you can get them even cheaper again.

    Grow your own - it's quite simple to grow some f&v at home even if it's only in pots on the patio. There are also supportive threads on the forum for this.

    Cook your own - making meals at home from ingredients is far more economical, often tastes better than shop bought and is probably far better healthwise.

    Meal Plan - this is something that others can advise on as we don't do it. I have a tremendous capacity for eating the same food over many days but presented in slightly different form. For example, we could buy 7 worth of brisket from the butchers and eat it as pot roast for a couple of days, sliced for sarnies, sliced with a salad, chucked into a casserole or shredded up and fried as crispy beef.

    Don't waste food - either only make what you need or use any leftovers for other meals/creations or freeze it for another day.

    Withdraw the cash you want to spend - and keep it in a separate purse. This can be particularly effective as you have the money in front of you reducing rather than spending with plastic which is so easy to lose track of. Very useful when you first start out.

    Don't go to the shops to browse - this can only lead to pain and hardship!!!

    Keep posting and reading the thread - there really is no better supportive, wise and inspirational place to be! I think I saw that somebody mentioned forgetting to read/post. I get around this by using the Advanced button to post, below the window where your text is displayed you will see Additional Options. In the Thread Subscription box use the dropdown to select either instant email notification (this is what I use) or daily email notification before you submit your latest post. Then you will get an email into your inbox from which you can click to the thread to see what others are saying.

    Always remember the sm is not your friend - it wants to profit from you and take as much of your money as it can coerce out of you!

    So, there you go as a starting point. Others on here will offer tremendous advice on meal planning. And don't forget, the only silly question is the one you didn't ask!

    See you all later,
    Spigs
    For quidelines on posting in this thread please read the second post in this thread.

    For the Grocery challenge Recipe Index please see posts #3, #4, #5 #6 #7 #8 & #9 on this thread (the list is growing!!!!!)

    For everyones totals, see post #10 on this thread

    I hope everyone has a great month!

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

Page 12
    • Suffolk lass
    • By Suffolk lass 1st Nov 12, 9:06 AM
    • 2,870 Posts
    • 27,207 Thanks
    Suffolk lass
    Just been on the printable coupons thread and successfully printed MOC for some Kelloggs products . If anyone wants to browse that thread it's here. I suggest you check the last page as well as the first one as a number of coupons have now expired and are just being reported this morning (Colgate Total is one example ).

    I just caught up on here and I must just comment on Save Dosh's weight loss in your signature - that is awesome - over 4 stone

    Also Bluegreen143 - I love your strategies for reducing your budget further

    fedupandskint - your debt clearance work is really starting to show - keep it up and well done!

    Make-it-3 - loving the eyeball pasta in October thread

    lostcause82 - you and me both - same budget, same spend so far. I plan to reduce the amount of meat in my freezer to help reduce this month's spends. I've got 4 more weekends to shop this month (get paid on 30th so that is cutover day) and I'm going to try for 45 each week.

    I will go back to writing "veg (3)" instead of specifying what and I will just buy F&V that is on offer or cheapest. We will eat two veggie meals in the week - one based around baked potatoes and salad and one around pasta or curry. It will be porridge instead of bacon and egg at the weekend for breakfast and when I can make room in the freezer, I'm going to make some Mary Berry Dairy Ice-cream ready for Christmas.

    Good luck everyone (and welcome newbies!)
    SL

    PS I love the way MrsCD always puts positive little comments against the posts so I thought I would too!
    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
    • icontinuetodream
    • By icontinuetodream 1st Nov 12, 9:15 AM
    • 985 Posts
    • 6,606 Thanks
    icontinuetodream
    No spends yet, first day of the challenge for me today. My Mum has given me a big bag of veg and a big bag of fruit that she picks up through a healthy eating scheme the council does, they are 2 each for a bag and really good value! I do now have a lot of veg that needs using up so I'll have to make some soup at the weekend if I can find time. I'm thinking a pumpkin & sweet potato soup, potato and leek soup and cabbage?

    Anyone else have any cabbage recipe ideas? I've been having it just finely sliced and fried lightly as a side dish which I like but it can get boring. I have about 3/4 of a whole white cabbage to use up and also a curly cabbage to use up.
    Originally posted by afeitar
    Here you go.....

    Braised Cabbage with Red Beans & Rice


    2tbs olive oil
    1 onion chopped
    1 carrot chopped
    green cabbage (or white!!)
    1 litre veg stock
    4oz arborio rice
    1 tin drained kidney beans
    salt & pepper to taste


    Method

    1. In a large stockpot, heat oil over medium low heat. Add onion and carrot, cook until softened (about 10 minutes)
    2. Add cabbage and about of the stock, stir to combine. Cover and cook on med-low heat for 20 minutes, stirring a few times
    3. Add remaining stock and bring to a boil over high heat
    4. Add rice, salt and pepper. Reduce heat to med-low and cook for 15-20 mins until rice is tender
    5. Add beans and cook, uncovered for approx 5 mins until heated through stir occasionally.
    Lush....I eat it with cranberry sauce on the side!
    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
    • Suffolk lass
    • By Suffolk lass 1st Nov 12, 9:16 AM
    • 2,870 Posts
    • 27,207 Thanks
    Suffolk lass
    Has anyone noticed their local T$co starting to withdraw certain Value ranges? For a while ours stopped selling value low fat yoghurts completely and filled their usual spot with a more expensive own brand. We simply stopped buying snack yoghurts. A few weeks later they returned.
    The same thing has happened with Value crisps, an unnecessary unhealthy luxury. They just disappeared. We switched to occasionally buying crisps on decent special offers. The value ones haven't returned...

    Same has happened for certain value cheeses, cupboard items etc. Some have returned, some haven't.

    Have you noticed this?
    Our theory is that T$co are testing to see if people are willing to move up a brand or if they only buy the item because its affordable. Maybe we are imagining it though!
    Originally posted by CompBunny
    Welcome back CompBunny - you're not imagining it; they are rebranding to a more upmarket version - these articles refer here and here. Having started to use coupons recently I along with most of us on here, I suspect, am past being embarrassed. It is about whether we can afford our shopping. An example is value brand tinned tomatoes; having scrutised the tin and found exactly the same percentage of tomatoes between value and organic premium brands with pretty pictures of tomatoes!
    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
    • Suffolk lass
    • By Suffolk lass 1st Nov 12, 9:20 AM
    • 2,870 Posts
    • 27,207 Thanks
    Suffolk lass
    18.70 on tuesday for me....dog food and a few other bits for dd
    Originally posted by icontinuetodream
    does she like dog food then?
    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
    • LannyLee
    • By LannyLee 1st Nov 12, 9:20 AM
    • 184 Posts
    • 2,958 Thanks
    LannyLee
    Woke this morning to find that it is a typical November day, miserable & pouring with rain so no morning walk for me & the LO, on the plus side it means a NSD () as don't want to drown for the sake of buying something I don't really need!

    p.s

    White Rabbit, White Rabbit, White Rabbit.

    Pinch Punch for the 1st of the Month
    • icontinuetodream
    • By icontinuetodream 1st Nov 12, 9:28 AM
    • 985 Posts
    • 6,606 Thanks
    icontinuetodream
    does she like dog food then?
    Originally posted by Suffolk lass
    OOPS!!!! Times are hard, but not that bad!!
    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
  • CompBunny
    Welcome back CompBunny - you're not imagining it; they are rebranding to a more upmarket version - these articles refer here and here. Having started to use coupons recently I along with most of us on here, I suspect, am past being embarrassed. It is about whether we can afford our shopping. An example is value brand tinned tomatoes; having scrutised the tin and found exactly the same percentage of tomatoes between value and organic premium brands with pretty pictures of tomatoes!
    Originally posted by Suffolk lass
    Thanks Suffolk lass Nice to see loads of familiar faces still GC-ing !

    The bizarre thing is, all of the stuff that is now missing has been on the shelf re-released as "Everyday Value" already since the rebrand, which is why I'm concerned they might have withdrawn it or even worse using our store as a "test store" to see if people will move up a brand!

    I agree about the being past embarrassment!!!! Coupons are a good idea, must ask OH to get some more ink in our printer so we can jump on that idea too
    GC2012: Nov 130.52/125
    GC2011:Sept:215
    Oct:123.98Nov:120Dec:138Feb:94.72

    Quit smoking 10am 17/02/11 - 4315 saved as of Nov'12

    Engaged to my best friend 08/2012

    • flubberyzing
    • By flubberyzing 1st Nov 12, 10:15 AM
    • 1,251 Posts
    • 8,443 Thanks
    flubberyzing
    My first grocery spend of the month!
    10.42 in Tescos and 2.58 in Aldi.
    In Tesco's I just happened to be looking at the reduced meat at the right moment to be there when a shelf-stacker put in a load of organic beef meatballs (15 balls per pack) with a 50% saving. Knowing I was short of freezer space, I only got 2 packs! Pleased though, because that's like 6 meals worth for me.
    The money I spent on those though, comes out of another budget, as I do bulk-buys out of my "special" version of the second purse.
    Because it's fun to have money!
    42.12/70 June GC
    January-May 2019 = 291.53/350

  • lemmings1986
    Well today is the first day of November and the start of my first GC in a long time. No spends planned for today as I need to rest - M.E is good for the GC as the less you leave the house the less you can spend!

    Has anyone noticed their local T$co starting to withdraw certain Value ranges? For a while ours stopped selling value low fat yoghurts completely and filled their usual spot with a more expensive own brand. We simply stopped buying snack yoghurts. A few weeks later they returned.
    The same thing has happened with Value crisps, an unnecessary unhealthy luxury. They just disappeared. We switched to occasionally buying crisps on decent special offers. The value ones haven't returned...

    Same has happened for certain value cheeses, cupboard items etc. Some have returned, some haven't.

    Have you noticed this?
    Our theory is that T$co are testing to see if people are willing to move up a brand or if they only buy the item because its affordable. Maybe we are imagining it though!
    Originally posted by CompBunny
    hi comp bunny i noticed this when i was shopping today,i wanted some value crisps and theyve stopped selling them so didnt buy any as i didnt want to spend loads. crisps are soo exspensive.
    VSP#17 2.34
    debt free 26/10/2012
  • lemmings1986
    hi all well low spend to report 1.65
    2x digestive chocolate biscuits for ohs packup 46p
    1x cream crackers 24p
    1 x tub of butter 75p i normally buy clover but everythings so expensive and am trying to cut back on everything so bought the value one hopefully it will taste ok
    am planning a nsd tomorrow,house to decorate and ebaying so should have 5.35 left of this weeks budget so will put whatevers left in savings pot
    VSP#17 2.34
    debt free 26/10/2012
    • fedupandskint
    • By fedupandskint 1st Nov 12, 10:34 AM
    • 10,351 Posts
    • 97,525 Thanks
    fedupandskint
    Suffolk lass - Thanks for noticing about the debt reduction - I'm working hard on this after sticking my head in the sand about it for years, hence why I've rejoined the GC to help me out!

    As I'm off work with a very nasty virus I've just spent some time looking for some cheap recipes and have written quite a few up and only added a couple of things to my shopping list for the week ahead showing me I have a lot of things in already to use up and only need a few staples. Trying out a vegetable lasagne at the weekend with more veg!
    final unsecured debt to repay currently 8333
    Proud to be Dealing With my Debt
    DFW Nerd 1154 Long Haul 155
    • gien
    • By gien 1st Nov 12, 11:08 AM
    • 1,645 Posts
    • 15,703 Thanks
    gien
    A spend for a litre of milk - 1.20€. I can get it for half that price at Ald* but I was passing a shop and just popped in.

    My big grocery shop will be tomorrow but I'm amazed at how much I have left from last week. I've been much more imaginative with meals and making things stretch. I certainly haven't felt deprived though!
    Trying to keep in budget.

    2270
  • optimistic-mummy
    hi everyone can i join you again please. i came in under budget for october so would like to aim for 200 for the month again please.
  • 1step-at-a-time
    I came under budget for October (200) but can I be added for 250 please? The freezer is now empty so am going to be bargain hunting to restock it and we have lots of visitors this month and large meals to make upping the budget a little :-)

    • Billie-jo
    • By Billie-jo 1st Nov 12, 11:41 AM
    • 1,221 Posts
    • 15,892 Thanks
    Billie-jo
    Anyone else have any cabbage recipe ideas? I've been having it just finely sliced and fried lightly as a side dish which I like but it can get boring. I have about 3/4 of a whole white cabbage to use up and also a curly cabbage to use up.
    Originally posted by afeitar
    One of the things I do with curly cabbage is to - Cook some minced meat with some onions, carrots, leeks or whatever other veg you have and use this to fill the curly cabbage leaves with or use mushrooms, onions and pancetta. Far nicer than it sounds. Could just be filled with veg for none meat eaters, mushrooms, onions and some cheese is nice and perhaps a few nuts.

    NSD today here hope its the first of many. Really want to make it on or under budget after Octobers disasterous results.
    Good luck to everyone on keeping the purses shut and hello to all the new people and those who have returned.
    [COLOR="Purple"][B] MARCH 62.38/250 [B][COLOR="Purple"]
    • meg72
    • By meg72 1st Nov 12, 12:11 PM
    • 5,082 Posts
    • 46,072 Thanks
    meg72
    My new month starts tomorrow - aiming for 100 again, and I'm going to look out a tub to store all my receipts in this month! I have plenty food in atm, so will start the month off running down the freezer, as I could really use the space! And also, after the stress of a week I've had, I think this weeks food budget would be better spent on wine.
    Originally posted by minicooper272
    This had me giggling, I was only just thinking the same thing myself.

    Theres quite a disturbing rumour going round my way, that out little bungalows may be affected by redevlopment, EEEK the thought of having to pack and move . so thinking I will start now just in case, use up my stocks and buy Brandy, I am so hoping this is just a rumour as already had to relocate once before because of redevlopment, really dont want it again,
    Slimming World at target
    • pinkypig
    • By pinkypig 1st Nov 12, 12:28 PM
    • 1,519 Posts
    • 11,773 Thanks
    pinkypig
    Brought my weekly shop forward to today as I had vouchers and coupons that expire today. Stuck to my list apart from a load of YS meat which I never seem to see but today there was loads. Total spend is over 117 and I have nearly three weeks until pay day
    looking on the bright side the pantry and freezer are absolutely rammed so I am starting my Fiscal Fast today and will not be going near a shop for at least a week and longer than that if I can manage it.

    Hope everyone else is doing better than me! 200 is looking very ambitious
    MFW 2018 #157 Target 15,000

    23,095.71/15,000
    • camNolliesMUMMY
    • By camNolliesMUMMY 1st Nov 12, 12:45 PM
    • 893 Posts
    • 4,464 Thanks
    camNolliesMUMMY
    Hi please out me down for a 51 spend, 1 off target but close enough for my weekly budget.
    Ds2 born 3/4/12 8lbs 8.5
    Ds1 born 28/4/07 9lb 8
    Frugal, thrifty, tight mum & wife and proud of it lol

    Make money for Xmas challenge 2014 0/270
    • meg72
    • By meg72 1st Nov 12, 1:02 PM
    • 5,082 Posts
    • 46,072 Thanks
    meg72
    Brought my weekly shop forward to today as I had vouchers and coupons that expire today. Stuck to my list apart from a load of YS meat which I never seem to see but today there was loads. Total spend is over 117 and I have nearly three weeks until pay day
    looking on the bright side the pantry and freezer are absolutely rammed so I am starting my Fiscal Fast today and will not be going near a shop for at least a week and longer than that if I can manage it.

    Hope everyone else is doing better than me! 200 is looking very ambitious
    Originally posted by pinkypig
    I think you really have to buy good YS if you find them, it may mean going over now but will pay off eventually, Three weeks to payday does seem a long time but if you stick to your fiscal fast as long as you can I bet you come in under, You are doing well.
    Slimming World at target
    • quintwins
    • By quintwins 1st Nov 12, 1:10 PM
    • 5,003 Posts
    • 29,347 Thanks
    quintwins
    Fist day on nov today is acually a nsd however i did have a few spends yesterday so 3.68 added. Going to do a big shop tomorrow as i have lots of vouchers to use
    DFW 7632/28996 26.3%
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