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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 27
    • MrsCD
    • By MrsCD 10th Nov 12, 10:29 PM
    • 753 Posts
    • 11,263 Thanks
    I popped in to the new Asd* and picked up a couple of things one of which was over charged but I didn't check the receipt grrr!! Anyway spent 4.69. I need to buy milk and ice cream (for desert tomorrow/guests) and THAT IS IT!! Until end of next week when I need to buy supplies to bake cupcakes for work as it's my birthday.

    Also bought lots of bits to finish off the Christmas shoe boxes but that's a different budget fortunately!!

    Originally posted by mossy
    Remember to take the receipt and the packet back when you go there again. Go to Customer services and tell them you were overcharged, they should refund you the difference and give you a gift card for 2 for their mistake.
    My shoeboxes are all finished and ready to go - just living in Mam's spare bedroom for now until we collect any strays at church!

    Forgot to say I finished the fiscal fast,all 7 days of it without spending a penny. I plan to spend the 20.00 I saved on a parcel for my local womens refuge as I`ve heard they always need little pressies for the womens and kids to brighten up Christms a bit.
    Originally posted by meg72
    What a lovely idea Meg. I wonder where my local one is....I have points on my B00ts card and they do 3 for 2 on toys etc.

    This morning in a moment of madness i paid some more debts off so savings have reduced further but i feel so much better and have worked out that i will have recouped the money in just over a year by paying the debt money into my savings so marisotta have now gone (303 they were charging me an average 10 service charge a month) and i*m* have recieved 794 (scary) but that is my bnpl dec +jan payments covered so have saved 200 in intrest payments on them alone and an extra 500 on top of my normal 70 monthly payment they charge an average 30 intrest per month so that should come down a little, will wait to see total balance when payments go through and will try my hardest to clear the rest off asap. Today will be a NSD for the GC but feel that me and the lo's need to celebrate so will be a celebration spend day .
    Originally posted by elly2
    elly2 - well done on paying some of your debt off AS for the rest, could you transfer CCards to a zero interest one? There are threads with far more knowledgeable people to give you advice on reducing payments etc. Look in the money sections.
  • katholicos
    Gone off track this past 10 days or so, havent really done any 'proper' grocery shopping, but i reckon my small spends maybe added up to about 20 during this period.

    Included are the 'goodies' i bought my son for when he stayed over to watch the dog while we were in London...also a special offer small fish and chips i treated myself to last ight, for only 2.

    Did go shopping with mum but she paid for the few things i put in the trolley, bless her, so even that didn't cost anything.

    Then after i took her home she filled me a carrier bag with veggies, packs of bacon etc to bring home.

    Lucky me!
    • NickJW
    • By NickJW 10th Nov 12, 11:27 PM
    • 678 Posts
    • 13,646 Thanks
    Our meal plan for this week is smaller as I am away for Tuesday and Wednesday evenings and is based on a minimum spend week to get back on track.

    Sat - corn on cob starter then a variation on NickJW's Prawn, celery and cashew stir-fry - I may use shallots thinly sliced instead of spring onions and add some chopped savoy cabbage and defrosted runner beans then I have everything in except mirin so will sub white wine and rice wine vinegar mixed

    Originally posted by Suffolk lass
    Was it okay? I know that I'm quite picky with foods, so if it wasn't for you I wouldn't be offended.

    Had a nice surprise yesterday - got 25 in the post for recommending a friend to T mobile - so used this towards a medium sized suitcase for holidays (would be 150 - as if anyone would spend that much - reduced to 36 - more reasonable - then 25 vouchers - so 11 - thats more like it!!! )

    Hope everyone is well. I'm really concious that this month or so will be pretty expensive - partly because of Xmas, and partly because I booked a holiday towards the end of November when I really didn't need it because I had a holiday in September anyway. It's just that I didn't take many holidays earlier this year.

    On that thought - am I the only one who finds it difficult to use up holidays? Sometimes I think I have too much, because I don't like being away from work for a whole week, so never take more than 4 work days off at a time, and then it makes it hard to use up my days and always lose some.
    Grocery Challenge 14 Jan 14 46.05/130

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

    DFD 1st March 2011
    • MrsCD
    • By MrsCD 10th Nov 12, 11:30 PM
    • 753 Posts
    • 11,263 Thanks
    Same here Nick. I'm off next week because I had too many days to carry over to next year - we can only carry 1 week's worth over.
    • NickJW
    • By NickJW 10th Nov 12, 11:44 PM
    • 678 Posts
    • 13,646 Thanks
    No problem. I just invented it as I went along, so there was a lot of tasting and adding more of this and that, so take quantities as a guide rather than gospel. Also put in what I had to use up so it is a very flexible recipe

    Asian-style salmon & squash salad
    One cooked salmon fillet (I cooked mine the night before in a foil parcel in the oven with a little mirin & soy sauce)
    A big handful of roasted butternut squash (I had roasted a whole squash earlier in the week to add to things)
    A small handful of chopped skinned peanuts
    A couple of big handfuls of salad leaves (I used half iceberg lettuce and half spinach)
    One spring onion, sliced thinly into diagonal rounds
    Two radishes, thinly sliced

    For the dressing:
    A tablespoon each of honey, soy sauce and Japanese vinegar
    a teaspoon of mirin
    one small finely chopped red chilli.

    After mixing, I tasted it and added way more honey so I'd add two tbspns to start with and just keep tasting! It was pretty hot so you might only want half a chilli

    Layer the salad in a big pasta bowl or similar - I popped the leaves in first, scattered over the radish, arranged the butternut squash in a circle and shredded the salmon over the top. Scatter with the peanuts and spring onions, then pour the dressing over.

    If you are allergic to/don't like any of the salad ingredients you could easily swap them for something else e.g. beef, duck, tofu or prawns instead of salmon, skip the peanuts or swap for cashew nuts, use mixed salad leaves from a bag, add cucumber - whatever you want
    Originally posted by Bluegreen143
    That looks so lovely! Especially since my HM got a big pack of salmon from Mr T recently - need to get him to use part of the pack for it (or if not, watch out for another cheap 10 pack to come on offer to split up and use myself! Also uses my favourite, always in condiments/spices! )
    Grocery Challenge 14 Jan 14 46.05/130

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

    DFD 1st March 2011
    • NickJW
    • By NickJW 11th Nov 12, 12:01 AM
    • 678 Posts
    • 13,646 Thanks
    Same here Nick. I'm off next week because I had too many days to carry over to next year - we can only carry 1 week's worth over.
    Originally posted by MrsCD
    I'm glad in a way that I'm not alone (but not in another - because we shouldn't feel bad taking holidays and should be able to just take them...). I'm just the sort of person who doesn't take a holiday unless it's a 'holiday'. My fault really.
    Grocery Challenge 14 Jan 14 46.05/130

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

    DFD 1st March 2011
    • donnajt
    • By donnajt 11th Nov 12, 7:37 AM
    • 1,069 Posts
    • 9,929 Thanks
    249.37 - 60 = 189.37...omg that's only for rest of month - panic over there's only 3 weeks and 2 days until December, so that's 8.22 per day or 63.12 for 3 weeks...I should be able to do that surely, house is full of food!
    Originally posted by donnajt
    Spent 13 in Tesco yesterday (and 9 on Cadburys Selection Boxes but this is Xmas Budget) which I am pleased about - as that's everything for week in hand (I hope)

    189.37 - 13 = 176.37...omg that's only for rest of month - panic over there's only 3 weeks and 2 days until December, so that's 9.28 per day or 70.54 for 2 weeks and 35.28 for 4 days...this is do-able

    I am feeling quietly confident that I can do this![/
    Slinkies 3st by summer (loss to date 10.5lbs)
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    • Suffolk lass
    • By Suffolk lass 11th Nov 12, 8:49 AM
    • 3,300 Posts
    • 29,339 Thanks
    Suffolk lass
    NickJW - It was delicious but dut to my substitutions it was a bit different to your original - I had celery, carrot, onion, runner beans and some courgette, with chilli, garlic, not enough ginger (I had less than I thought).

    And I nearly burned the cashews before managing to get everything else in! I added maybe 8 queen scallops (yum) as well as the prawns, and half the (cooked) rice to the wok to absorb the last of the sauce. Here I used rice wine vinegar instead of mirin. It was really good. Next time I get prawns on offer I shall do that again. Thank you very much.

    Save 12k in 2019 - #68 target is 7k 8,766.30 after Sep
    OS Grocery Challenge 2019 target 3k - 57.28% spent after Sep
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    • elly2
    • By elly2 11th Nov 12, 9:01 AM
    • 553 Posts
    • 5,227 Thanks
    elly2 - well done on paying some of your debt off AS for the rest, could you transfer CCards to a zero interest one? There are threads with far more knowledgeable people to give you advice on reducing payments etc. Look in the money sections.

    Morning all thankfully i only had the one CC mrs cd and i cleared that last week, the only thing left on i*m* account is a customers cooker (bnpl but she gives me the money monthly to ensure it will be paid for in time to avoid the intrest) so i dont need to make any more payments to that one. Feeling slightly rough this morning so deffo going to be a NSD here. Roast beef for dinner and may do some work on a meal plan for next week.

    • vanoonoo
    • By vanoonoo 11th Nov 12, 9:58 AM
    • 1,860 Posts
    • 7,742 Thanks
    I forgot that I got 3.00 back on something as it hadnt taken off a deal at the till so I am claiming it back on the budget! hope thats ok!
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 11th Nov 12, 11:40 AM
    • 819 Posts
    • 5,405 Thanks
    Flubberyzing, do you have young children? I shamelessly use mine as an excuse to do homemade wrapping paper every year. Even if you don't, I believe that brown kraft paper and a nice ribbon is the fashionable way to do Christmas now.

    Forgive me, GCers, for I have sinned. On Friday I had a sudden revolt against what I was experiencing as deprivation, thought sod it, and went and bought a burger meal for lunch. Second lunch, to be honest, but I'd eaten my sandwich at 10am. In my defense, I'm still breastfeeding and always ravenous. Er, and then a doughnut. It was all class, all the time, I tell you. Added to that was an emergency vegetable shop today because I suddenly decided to make chicken pad thai, and a snacks run Saturday because DH felt deprived at the lack of luxuries, and somehow my grocery spend jumped another $38 over the weekend. Oops. This is what happens when you have very young children and eating crisps and drinking wine substitutes for a real social life.

    All is not lost! I have just done a batch cook and think I can get away with a really basic shop next weekend. It'll be a cliffhanger, for sure.
    MFW diary here. 1 Feb 2017 $229,371 - MFD Feb 2043 aiming for May 2028
    14 August 2017 - Refinanced: $220,000
    January 2019 $211,580 Current MFD 31 June 2036
    • Need2bthrifty
    • By Need2bthrifty 11th Nov 12, 11:55 AM
    • 1,203 Posts
    • 10,097 Thanks
    Right thats it, enough is enough Im just back from @ldi with some fruit and veg having spent another 4.05, (red onions, sweet potatoes and conference pears 69p each, plus Brussels 1.09 and leeks 89p)

    I now dont need to spend any more on food for the next 2 weeks; I really want to use my remaining 24.16 on getting a Turkey Crown and other bits and pieces for Christmas.

    So if you see me on here posting anything other than a series of NSDs I give you all permission to slap my legs or at very least raise an eyebrow and tut, tut, tut at me.
    • kezlou
    • By kezlou 11th Nov 12, 12:04 PM
    • 3,280 Posts
    • 43,067 Thanks
    hi everyone hows it going?
    I'm doing a kind of grocery but i haven't put a figur on it eyt as i'm trying to stock up on offers for over christmas and hopefully through to february.

    Just thought i'd post a recipe up. we had this yesterday and we all enjoyed it. My partner the cheese freak was surprised at the small amount of cheese used. so thought i's share.

    Leek, Mushroom and lemon risotto

    200g chopped and sliced leeks
    200g mushrooms chopped
    2 tbsp vegetable oil
    3 cloves garlic chopped
    1 onion sliced and chopped
    2 pints of stock (i used vegetable)
    400g long grain rice
    50g Parmesan cheese
    3 tbsp lemon juice
    salt / pepper

    Fry garlic till slightly browned, then add leeks and mushrooms.
    Sprinkle some salt and pepper on them till fully cooked. Then empty them into another bowl.

    In the same pan, add about 2tbsp butter into add the onion and fry till softened.
    Add the rice and stir for about a minute then add the stock slowly till absorbed and the rice is cooked and tender.
    If not cooked just a bit more water till rice is cooked.

    Add the Parmesan cheese,seasoning and lemon juice stir then add the leek and mushrooms mixture. Heat for a few minutes then serve.

    We had the above with foccacia bread, was very moreish and filling.
  • she who can not cook
    Same here Nick. I'm off next week because I had too many days to carry over to next year - we can only carry 1 week's worth over.
    Originally posted by MrsCD
    i used to carry over a week but now we can not carry any over i am off next week for two weeks lol
    Last edited by she who can not cook; 11-11-2012 at 12:32 PM.
    Gc 2013 +26 -5. -4 -7 -14 -15 -10.-8.20 +15p+30+5.80 Dec +9 GROCERY challenge 2014 Jan -2Feb -3 March -1.50 April +5.40 May +4.90 June -3.July 16.50/85

    God bless my sweet "old man" Goldie that died in the early hours of 27 th March please see him on my avatar
    • Tiglath
    • By Tiglath 11th Nov 12, 1:37 PM
    • 3,578 Posts
    • 11,704 Thanks
    Definitely going to bust the budget this month - 17 left till the 25th for fruit/veg/milk/bread, and Mum's coming next weekend and demands things like sweets and biscuits. At least the freezers are full of meat and fish, and the pantry's well-stocked. Oh well - better luck next month

    Kezlou - that risotto sounds fab, and I'm going to make it tomorrow night.
    "Save 12k in 2019" #120 - 90,094.73/100k
    MFW -
    Mortgage when started (March 2018): 215,995
    Current mortgage (Aug 2019): 195,898.96
    Mortgage free day: April 2027
    • xxlouisexx56
    • By xxlouisexx56 11th Nov 12, 1:52 PM
    • 2,191 Posts
    • 30,133 Thanks
    8 in Iceland on Friday and 48 in tesco yesterday but that did include bits that have been out aside for Xmas
    • theatregirl4
    • By theatregirl4 11th Nov 12, 2:30 PM
    • 1,110 Posts
    • 7,033 Thanks
    Afternoon all
    Spent 60.40 in T's this morning, got a fair bit of reduced stuff and this shop should last us the final 2 weeks of Nov GC - unfortunately have gone over budget again this month.

    Next month I think I will be un-including eating out, just to see what we spend - although this month on 2 x T's shops + 1 small A's shop we have spent roughly 210 altogether.

    Will update sig shortly

    • tatabubbly
    • By tatabubbly 11th Nov 12, 3:31 PM
    • 905 Posts
    • 6,077 Thanks
    Some spends to confess : €10.51 at t€sco, 36.32 at mr.aldi and 7.50 on logs and sticks at our local shop.. Bringing my total up to a whopping €130.47! So I have €69.53 to spend until the end of the month.. Well, until the 29th as I'm away that day to my mums wedding.. It's going to be a tight one as I don't have much in the fridge/freezer. I'm on the SW diet and I always feel this pushes up our grocery bill as I eat fresh fruit and veggies..
    094 Sealed pot member! (7) 185 (8) 138 (9) 250
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    • WantToBeSE
    • By WantToBeSE 11th Nov 12, 3:55 PM
    • 6,795 Posts
    • 30,577 Thanks
    Hi everyone, can you please help.

    I am going to make the 'Basic pizza dough' from the list on the front of this thread.
    It says that you cut it into 8, and freeze what you dont want to use. So, my questions are: What do i freeze it in? just a bag, or do i need to wrap it in something?
    To defrost, i presume that i just leave it out on the side?
    10k of Debt

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  • poppy-glos
    Hi everyone, can you please help.

    I am going to make the 'Basic pizza dough' from the list on the front of this thread.
    It says that you cut it into 8, and freeze what you dont want to use. So, my questions are: What do i freeze it in? just a bag, or do i need to wrap it in something?
    To defrost, i presume that i just leave it out on the side?
    Originally posted by WantToBeSE
    i put mine into margtubs or old takeaway tubs, and yes, defrost on the side.
    nov grocery challenge, .227.69/300, 9/25 nsd: , 7 Cmo, 10 egm.
    Me, 10 yo dd, and the dog. all food and drinks, in and out, plus household shopping.
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