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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 31
    • flubberyzing
    • By flubberyzing 14th Nov 12, 2:43 PM
    • 1,254 Posts
    • 8,458 Thanks
    A small Tesco spend of 2.71 on butter, milk and tomato ketchup. Shouldn't need anything else for a couple of days now!
    Because it's fun to have money!
    56.16/70 June GC
    January-May 2019 = 291.53/350

  • sneakyspender
    Further spend 25 in butcher (mince was 10lbs for 12.99) also bought sausages and a chicken. Going shopping tomorrow, need to do it for 20 to come in on budget
    GC July 345/325Aug GC 297.50/300 GC Sept 251/300
    GC Oct 235/275 Nov GC 72/250
    NSD 5/30
    My month runs 22nd -22nd
    • Make-it-3
    • By Make-it-3 14th Nov 12, 3:19 PM
    • 1,550 Posts
    • 7,040 Thanks
    Very inspiring CompBunny. I think OH would be more forgiving of the scrimping if I could only find the time to do this (she says with her feet up, coffee and somebody else's HM fudge cake in her hands!)
    We Made-it-3 on 28/01/11 with birth of our gorgeous DD.
  • CompBunny
    Very inspiring CompBunny. I think OH would be more forgiving of the scrimping if I could only find the time to do this (she says with her feet up, coffee and somebody else's HM fudge cake in her hands!)
    Originally posted by Make-it-3
    Somebody else's HM cake is always more satisfying Easier to eat without looking for flaws or worrying about the resultant washing up!
    I only had time to try these as I don't work or have kids (just a dog and a messy OH) and spend most of my time hardcore resting due to illness. I can't imagine how some of the ladies on here manage to be domestic goddesses with kids and/or jobs and all the other million plates they seem to spin!
    GC2012: Nov 130.52/125

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

    Engaged to my best friend 08/2012

    • postcode
    • By postcode 14th Nov 12, 3:52 PM
    • 159 Posts
    • 2,735 Thanks
    I'm afraid I will be overbudget this month. While I do have enough in the cupboards and freezer to eat till the end of the month, having had to go to the dentist and not being able to eat what I had planned to for the past few days has made a change. I'm aware that some of the things I've included in my grocery spend are not necessarily groceries (a photo frame bought for my granny is not edible in any way ) but my motto is that if I spent it whilst grocery shopping, it goes in the grocery budget.

    I don't need many more things. Mostly I need fresh veggies for soups - onions, garlic, carrots, leeks. Going to see what I can get at whoopsie time tonight, but most likely will have to pay full price. Then there's things I want but don't necessarily need - those are getting hard to resist right now.
    GC September 2012 - 49.04/80 |GC October 2012 - 50.28/80 |GC November 63.59/60 (one adult only)
    • franby64
    • By franby64 14th Nov 12, 3:56 PM
    • 894 Posts
    • 10,920 Thanks

    Angelatgraceland - I was very sorry to hear your news, take care.

    Just a few spends today on milk, bananas, broccoli, pots, eggs and bread. My total is now up to 251.04 and I've just reached that uh-oh moment when I can clearly see that the month is running away with me!
    On the plus side I do have a meal plan for the rest of Nov and if I can stick to it and not get too many extras I might make it. I've pretty well stopped buying sweet stuff now - my budget has stayed the same but I buy less stuff - sign of the times!
    Hope everybody is doing OK.
    Starting weight on 22/6 14st 00lbs. Weight on 15/2 10st 11lbs. Lost 3st 3lbs.Target 9st 12lbs. 13lbs left.
    • meg72
    • By meg72 14th Nov 12, 4:44 PM
    • 5,082 Posts
    • 46,072 Thanks
    Managed not to part with any money today despite buying 2 4pt milk..satsumas and 1 Pepsi mum gave me her 3.50 Tesco voucher...never uses them apparently(insert confused smilie???)...handed over the 45p and she wouldnt take thats a NSD for me xx
    Originally posted by mummyyof5
    God Bless Mum`s Where would we be without them.
    Slimming World at target
    • liz-paul
    • By liz-paul 14th Nov 12, 4:48 PM
    • 895 Posts
    • 4,806 Thanks
    Just going to share my meal plans as some others are - not sure how inspiring mine is though!!!!

    Last week:
    Chilli – Mon
    Fresh pasta – Tues
    Cheese & bacon bake - Weds
    Fish & chips – Thurs
    Pasta and smoked salmon – Fri
    Meatballs & spaghetti – Sat
    Pasta & prawns – Sun

    This week:
    Chicken & noodles – Mon
    Chicken ready meal & rice – Tues
    Cannelloni – Weds
    Toad in the Hole – Thurs
    Not sure about friday as it's only OH & I eating

    Burgers – Sat
    Beef casserole & apple crumble – Sun

    In no particular order for the rest of the month:

    Spaghetti bolognaise
    Shepherds pie
    Fish pie
    Macaroni cheese
    Sauasage & bean casserole
    Thanksgiving – traditional turkey or finger food buffet
    Baked potatoes
    Buffalo chicken

    Think I'm a couple of dinners short but will think of something....
    1% at a time no. 40. 8000 (For dream family holiday) 94/100
    MFW 2013 no. 62 10,000/10,000
    MFW 2014 no 62 8000/7000
    • Billie-jo
    • By Billie-jo 14th Nov 12, 6:29 PM
    • 1,221 Posts
    • 15,892 Thanks
    Small spend of 3.77 on T. Rolls, a loaf and some sauce all from B+M The load was 89p and in A!di its 99p and in Te$co is 1.30 proof that it makes sense to shop around if you can. Dont go B+M that often but will certainly remember bread when we do go. Totals looking good so far this month

    Have kept to the meal plan this week and will be doing one later tonight for the next week coming and again try to use a few things from the freezer ready for stocking up again. Then once meals are thought of will do shopping list for Friday. Will need quite a bit of fruit & veg as everything seems to have been used up except for a few carrots, onions, and a couple of apples. We get through so much especially veg but its better than what we could be eating I suppose.

    Nice to see a some people having NSD - all good for the bank balance.
    [COLOR="Purple"][B] MARCH 62.38/250 [B][COLOR="Purple"]
    • Bluegreen143
    • By Bluegreen143 14th Nov 12, 7:17 PM
    • 1,101 Posts
    • 12,692 Thanks
    Could you please let us have the recipe for this, it looks yummy!?

    Thank you
    Originally posted by katholicos
    Hi! I've actually shared this before, it's in the index and here. If you;re making it for four, this time I used two tins of beans, a whole onion and green pepper, but kept the other ingredients the same and it made four portions. Nice served with rice, plain yoghurt or the raita recipe in the link, and also some greens or something.

    For the marinaded cucumbers, chop a cucumber portion into sticks, pop in a jar and add a tablespoon of white wine vinegar, a teaspoon of sugar, a teaspoon of salt and a finely chopped red chilli. Leave in the fridge for a few hours minimum to marinade and it keeps for a week, so you can just keep snacking on them.

    [BCompBunny[/B] Lovely pictures looks tasty!

    Well I've had no spend days since I did the shopping on Sunday, yay! My meal plan has fallen apart though as I was invited to my friends' for dinner on the spur of the moment so didn't have my planned risotto yesterday - OH did eat his steak though.

    Today we were meant to have tuna baked potatoes but OH has gone out and he had a takeaway (his own money so not GC) so there was no point in heating up the oven for one - I had some leftover pie from Sunday which would have been tomorrow's lunch otherwise with asparagus and salad. Bit random but they were the veggie most needing used up and I wasn't that hungry as got a free massive lunch at a work do so no need for potatoes.
    Married 1 March 2014 DS born 06/12/15

    CC - 2,182.17/2,182.17
    Family loan 1 - 1,680/1,680
    Family loan 2 - 3,500/5,000
    • GreenFairy
    • By GreenFairy 14th Nov 12, 8:07 PM
    • 301 Posts
    • 3,786 Thanks
    HM lasagne out of the freezer for dinner, along with a few oven chips. Trying to figure out what we can have tomorrow without having to go to the shops. Have loads in but with a full belly I can't bring myself to think about more cooking
    Feb GC 253.11/400
    Jan GC 203.37/400
    • CupOfChai
    • By CupOfChai 14th Nov 12, 8:10 PM
    • 1,319 Posts
    • 7,295 Thanks
    Evening everyone, sorry I hardly ever get a chance to post in here lately. Well I'm up to 125 out of my 165 so far, have just been topping up with bread, F&V etc so hopefully if I carry on I might be able to finish the month under my target this time.
    • Coxy11
    • By Coxy11 14th Nov 12, 8:46 PM
    • 2,295 Posts
    • 27,317 Thanks
    Hi everyone,

    NSD here. Spent most of today re-organising our bedroom. Moved 3 wardrobes into the spare room which has freed up some space and have lots of bags for the charity shop

    Dinner tonight was shepherds pie made with DR lamb mince. Mmmmm so lovely. I added some bendy celery which was in the bottom of the fridge - kids didn't notice

    Seeing DM tomorrow so will no doubt pop into A!di with her - running low on F&V.

    Have a good evening everyone
    Cross-stitch WIP #1: Collecting Shells by Nancy Cole
    Cross-stitch WIP #2: Pretty Little London by Satsuma Street
    • minicooper272
    • By minicooper272 14th Nov 12, 8:47 PM
    • 2,127 Posts
    • 16,678 Thanks
    Hmm, I've been really bad at noting what I've spent so far this month- I have 3 receipts for the big shops, but I don't seem to have anything for the little top-ups and snacks in between. In two minds - do I record what I know and add on 5 for the little bits, or do I just start a new challenge for the last 2 weeks of the month? I spent 40 last weekend and banned myself from going food shopping for 2 weeks! Only, we all know that never happens!
  • she who can not cook
    ..anyone spotted any good christmas bargains yet ? or are people thinking it is too early to look ??
    take care tess
    Originally posted by tessie bear
    Yes bar humbug lol
    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
    • theatregirl4
    • By theatregirl4 14th Nov 12, 9:35 PM
    • 1,109 Posts
    • 7,033 Thanks
    another small spend - wanted to use up a leftover select a size thirst pockets coupon so popped into morries on the way to work - got the kitchen roll + a sandwich and spent 3.39.

  • rosieben
    armchairexpert, I've added your Curried chicken, potato and lentil pot pie to the index. I think I'll be trying this one myself
    ... don't throw the string away. You always need string!

    C.R.A.P.R.O.L.L.Z Head Sharpener
  • afeitar
    NSD today! Was so tempted to buy some snacks on my break but I resisted because I knew I had two tangerines to eat. I was very hungry by the time I got home (was working until 7) but my tea was ready (scouse! ) and I felt satisfied knowing I wasn't adding to the grocery total for the month.

    We were flabberghasted today watching superscrimpers at the family who spent 200 on food shopping a week AND then ate out about 3 or 4 times a week too. 200 a month would be a luxurious month for us I think! Nevermind a week.
    November Grocery Challenge = 83.47/150
    • minicooper272
    • By minicooper272 14th Nov 12, 9:45 PM
    • 2,127 Posts
    • 16,678 Thanks
    Oh poo. I decided no excuses and I added it all up for the month. So with 16 days left in the month, I have spent 81.66 of my 100 budget for the month. I thought I was sitting about the 60 mark.

    Well, it's abundantly clear where so much of my money has been going over the last year or so now!

    I won't be coming in under budget this month - I will just try to damage control. Can anyone tell me good veg in season just now? I'm thinking a good pot of soup will help bring the food bill down a bit.
  • poppy-glos
    Oh poo. I decided no excuses and I added it all up for the month. So with 16 days left in the month, I have spent 81.66 of my 100 budget for the month. I thought I was sitting about the 60 mark.

    Well, it's abundantly clear where so much of my money has been going over the last year or so now!

    I won't be coming in under budget this month - I will just try to damage control. Can anyone tell me good veg in season just now? I'm thinking a good pot of soup will help bring the food bill down a bit.
    Originally posted by minicooper272
    try mexican bean soup...

    2 tablespoons oil,
    1 onion, chopped
    1/4 teaspoon dried chilli flakes or chilli powder, or fresh chilli
    1 potato, cut into small peices
    400g tin of baked beans
    1/2 pint chicken or veg stock, or water, perhaps with stock cube
    1 tbspn brown sugar
    1 tspn. mustard
    salt and pepper

    heat oil, fry onion, add chilli, after a minute add potato and beans, and stock/water/stock cube, simmer for 15 -20 minutes, add rest of ingredients, simmer for another five minutes, either eat lumpy or puree with blender.

    this came out of a frugal cookbook years ago and i still cook it regularly. sometimes i dont put in the sugar.
    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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