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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 final Grocery Challenge of 2012 EEEEEKKKKK!!!!, Terrifying how quickly the year has flown in! I genuinely am in shock it's december grocery challenge.

    Hope you all have a happy poposturus prosperous Christmas and new year. Here's to 2013!!!

    If your new month starts early feel free to join this thread, or if you're still working on your November budget, then keep on posting in the:
    November 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; 18-11-2012 at 2:53 PM.
    A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men
    Norn Iron club member #380

Page 13
    • theatregirl4
    • By theatregirl4 1st Dec 12, 10:37 PM
    • 1,109 Posts
    • 7,033 Thanks
    Evening all

    Quick post, like I said previously I havent been keeping up with this thread due to being ill since Wednesday, but think we've spent about £21 over the last 5-6 days on various little shops. Sig has been updated so all is good for the time being

    • GreyhoundAngel
    • By GreyhoundAngel 1st Dec 12, 11:29 PM
    • 825 Posts
    • 3,757 Thanks
    Can't believe I've already spent £50 odd of my budget, and don't seem to have got that much for it

    Some of it will last over a longish period (ie herbs etc), but really will need to try to better.

    Angel x
    ~ On the Road to Making Dreams Happen ~
    January £10 a Day Challenge £ 0.00 / £750 - (Running Total £1,512.11)
    52 Week Challenge £ 0.00 / £1,378

    Debt Owed £23,200 / £19,251 - Mtge Owed Bal £140,000 / £130,940 - Total Debt Balance Owed : £163,200 / £150,191
    • flubberyzing
    • By flubberyzing 2nd Dec 12, 9:39 AM
    • 1,254 Posts
    • 8,455 Thanks
    My first spend of the month, £14.70 from Tesco. Spent a £10 of frozen food reward voucher, which I'm not counting. So feel like I got a lot for my money!

    Also got a YS quiche and some YS potato croquettes. Will have half today and half tomorrow. Use by date is today, but I don't think any harm will come from going one day over and cooking everything well.
    Because it's fun to have money!
    £56.16/£70 June GC
    January-May 2019 = £291.53/£350

    • Bluegreen143
    • By Bluegreen143 2nd Dec 12, 9:56 AM
    • 1,101 Posts
    • 12,692 Thanks
    Bluegreen143 That looks really good, very well balanced and interesting - how do you do your satay sauce/marinade?

    I spent £42.02 in Azbos and have a £1.69 APG and a £5 off £40 so I'm happy.

    Waiting for the rice to have with our curry. Have a good evening everyone

    Originally posted by Suffolk lass
    My recipe is adapted from Jamie's 30 minute meals (I haven't got the book, just looked it up online):

    1 red pepper, chopped into large pieces
    1/2 yellow pepper, chopped into large pieces
    1 small courgette, cut into thick rounds
    Handful of button mushrooms, halved if big
    Good sprinkling of cayenne pepper
    Good sprinkling of Thai 7 spice (can use any spice really)
    Half bag of mixed salad leaves
    Half an onion, grated
    Juice of half a lime
    4 pitta breads
    2 chicken breasts, cut into chunks

    For the chicken marinade
    1 handful fresh coriander
    1/2 fresh red chilli, deseeded
    1 clove garlic
    2 tsp smooth peanut butter (you're supposed to use crunchy but I only had smooth)
    Glug of soy sauce to taste
    Small piece of fresh ginger, peeled
    Zest and juice of 1 lime

    Looks like a lot of ingredients but is simple!

    Whiz marinade in food processor til combined and marinade the chicken in it for as long as you'd like.

    Preheat oven to 200C, toss veggies in vegetable oil, the cayenne pepper and 7 spice, then pop in oven for around 25 minutes. thread the chicken on skewers (or just put on a baking tray).

    After about 5 minutes, put the chicken in covered in foil. Take the foil off 5 minutes before the end (I forgot this step).

    Meanwhile toss the salad and grated onion in a dressing made of lime juice and olive oil. Pop the pitta breads in the oven for the last 60 seconds to warm through.

    Serve the chicken on the bed of veggies with salad and pitta breads. Yum

    Serves two - and you get more chicken than the picture shows, I only had one skewer and gave two to OH as I wasn't that hungry and shouldn't eat the same size portions as him anyway!
    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
    • CRANKY40
    • By CRANKY40 2nd Dec 12, 10:35 AM
    • 3,286 Posts
    • 36,165 Thanks
    Got a little money coming in at long last in the way of bereavement benefit. Still waiting for hubbys private pension to come through. Going very careful meanwhile.
    Originally posted by angelatgraceland
    Keep an eye on this as it's taxable. A few of my friends were surprised to receive a tax bill at the end of the financial year. If you're not earning then you may be OK, but if you are you can ring the tax office and have the extra tax taken from your wages to prevent the tax bill.

    Sorry folks, not food related but very definitely budget related.
  • she who can not cook
    Also got a YS quiche and some YS potato croquettes. Will have half today and half tomorrow. Use by date is today, but I don't think any harm will come from going one day over and cooking everything well.
    Originally posted by flubberyzing
    nah i am working thru my AF and BBFL stock of scone mixes, carrot /farmhouse muffins and pizza swirls and dough ball ect ect
    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
    • Need2bthrifty
    • By Need2bthrifty 2nd Dec 12, 12:27 PM
    • 1,139 Posts
    • 9,695 Thanks
    I think I can safely say that I am going to be well over my budget this month and this is only the start of wk 2 of 5, I just popped out to MrT really only to get eggs and bread, but noticed the 2 for £2 offer on Lurpak butter, then in the world foods aisle a 2kg bag of red lentils down to £2 and packs of chapattis down to 59p – so a total spend of £8.47 to declare…….ho hum
    Grocery Challenge Annual Budget = £1000/808.07 left at end of Mar
    Jan - £56.26, Feb - £65.84, Mar - £69.83
    Apr - £14.76/£70.00
    • mildredalien
    • By mildredalien 2nd Dec 12, 12:46 PM
    • 1,016 Posts
    • 2,198 Thanks
    Ended up shopping today instead of tomorrow - £46.45 which included kitty food and litter to last at least a month, some toiletries that should last me a while and yellow sticker meat. I've got a pretty well stocked fridge and freezer now so I'm hoping I can stretch this out for over a week! Determined to use up what I have this month!

    [B]Savings target: £25000/£25000

  • pinchingpenny
    Afternoon all, a few spends to report this weekend. Relatively speaking quite a bit spent in the first few days of the month but it's all things I eat all the time and should last me a while.

    The storecupboard items I didn't need at all but it's good to have around- I bought some value pasta even though I have plenty of pasta in already but that's Napolina bought at a good price so it would be nice to save that for any visitors or mix it with the cheaper stuff! I also bought some Rye flour as I've decided to have a bash at making some sourdough bread (picked up many tips already from other threads!) The cheapest proper old fashioned sourdough (i.e. no added nasties!) I've found is £1.85 in waitrose and I think if this works I should be able to do it for 30-40p per loaf. And I do have a fussy tummy so prefer to avoid the usual breads in the supermarkets.

    There were also some good YS deals on meat today so I got a couple of packs- I honestly think these can last me most of the month, I'm just a bit concerned about storing them- we only have 1 and a half proper freezer drawers between 4 of us plus the ice compartment in the top and I'm pretty sure you're not supposed to keep meat in there!
    Signature updated with the totals
    Nov Groceries: approx £90
    Dec GC: £31.93/£60 Jan GC: £33.55/£45 Feb GC: £0/£45
    Pot: Dec 195/ Jan 147/ Feb 114/ Mar 43
    Total: 499
    • Flat Eric
    • By Flat Eric 2nd Dec 12, 1:03 PM
    • 3,985 Posts
    • 24,039 Thanks
    Flat Eric
    I had my first shop of the month today although I can't post any details as no receipt was delivered

    I'm intending to limit my visits to the shops and simply have my home delivery shop each week. Ideally I would like to be able to create a basket for each week so that I can add my usual items (bread/milk/fruit) and then add items specific to that week depending on what I'm cooking but I'm not sure how best to do this especially as I tend to start my shopping in my supermarket so that I can get the cashback/can see the offers/see what might be a better buy.

    Does anyone have any ideas? thanks in advance

    • lottie3000
    • By lottie3000 2nd Dec 12, 1:39 PM
    • 429 Posts
    • 1,875 Thanks
    Expensive spend at the butchers but meat looks lovely and I think it'll go quite a long way. Full freezer now. £62.49
    • minicooper272
    • By minicooper272 2nd Dec 12, 3:46 PM
    • 2,127 Posts
    • 16,678 Thanks
    Came in 20p over my £10 budget this week. Though that was because I bought some loose veggies - bought them loose because I thought I'd save money instead of buying a big bag, but it only came in 16p cheaper, and I got half the amount of potatoes - not amused!

    I also bought an advent calendar and a little bag of Christmas chocolates, but decided those should come from a different budget. So I'm doing alright so far this month, and only 2 more shops to Christmas!
    • mossy
    • By mossy 2nd Dec 12, 4:13 PM
    • 1,142 Posts
    • 8,199 Thanks
    Nipped in to Lid! today to pick up some apricot jam, MIL make a Christmas cake for DH but I need to ice it etc! Also got some gammon for lunch. I really really need to sort out a meal plan that is of course if I can get off MSE for long enough lol!!
    Saving for Disney again big a target to face up to yet!
    Emergency Fund Savings - #148 - £10/£1000 1%
    #083 SPC6 £63 - SPC7 £90 - SPC8 £63 - SPC9 £54 - SPC10 £26 - SPC12
    • pamsdish
    • By pamsdish 2nd Dec 12, 4:32 PM
    • 1,251 Posts
    • 7,879 Thanks
    went into Town for some cards,3-20,really must get another 2 b`day cards still, always mean to get these earlier in the year as so little choice now,bought a new curtain rail 8-99, called at B&M only 4 pounds there, then called at Aldi for some bread,2 Stollen,cranberries mustard,2 lasagne ,bacon peas,chicken leg,coffee tomatoes, garlic sausage and then fancied a bottle of advocaat ,total 20-26
    Altogether totals 32-50 ish ,that should be it till I go to my friends till New Year.
    2018 £2285/£2149
    2019 £2000=£1071-£15=£1056-£11=£1045-£6=£1039-£20=£1019-£59=£960-£59=£901
    • Pernicious
    • By Pernicious 2nd Dec 12, 4:36 PM
    • 1,786 Posts
    • 8,895 Thanks
    The mini challenges are in some ways the most important in reducing your spending. it is these little extras which drain your account! Could you set aside a day a week for treats? Like maybe the oven pizza? The takeaway once a month maybe on payday so you have to wait for it? This would teach you to regulate these items without depriving yourself. You would have something to look forward to and it could all be a part of a greater meal plan!
    Originally posted by angelatgraceland
    Very true, if it wasn't for the takeaways I would be in budget for my previous attempts at £150! The one day a week is a nice idea but the trouble is when I have a stressful day I completely cave! Sadly this happens quite regularly & DH doesn't need persuading. I will hopefully just shame myself into only having 1 a month through this thread, I am relying on your judgements people

    Made a lovely dinner last night - chicken satay with salad, roasted veg and pittas:

    Originally posted by Bluegreen143

    Mmm, that looks delicious!
    Debt at July 2012: £12,862.57
    Current Debt: £0
    100% paid off!
    Savings Goal for November 2016: £5000
    Current Savings: £1176.24
    23.52% Saved!
    • Tiglath
    • By Tiglath 2nd Dec 12, 6:05 PM
    • 3,570 Posts
    • 11,681 Thanks
    Doing well here - £101/£180 and just staples, veg + Christmas dessert left to buy until payday on the 19th when my January 2013 budget starts. Huge amount of food in freezers and pantry still (probably enough meat to last 2 months) - I feel like one of those apocalyptic 'preppers.'
    "Save £12k in 2019" #120 - £51.653.08/£60k
    • Bluegreen143
    • By Bluegreen143 2nd Dec 12, 6:29 PM
    • 1,101 Posts
    • 12,692 Thanks
    Just did my first shop of the week, went to Mr M in person instead of getting a Mr A/T delivery and totally misjudged how heavy the list would be - had to get a taxi back

    Spent £44.13 + £3.50 on the taxi, which was a bit more than planned but still within budget. Meant to go to Mr W as well to pick up organic pork but ended up not having time so got a chicken instead, everything else was on the list:

    Savers plain flour 60p
    Savers bran flakes 97p
    Pepsi x1 £1 (will need more later in the week)
    4 pints milk £1.49
    Savers frozen sweetcorn £1
    Whole free range chicken £9.38
    Savers mayonnaise 48p
    6 bananas 90p
    Cheddar £2
    Cauliflower 97p
    Savers onions 75p
    Savers coco pops 83p
    Savers feta 75p
    Broccoli 69p
    Pistachios £2.84
    Red onions x2 24p
    Chickpeas x3 £1
    Butternut squash £1
    Paprika 95p
    Green beans £1
    Ham £1
    Pizza £1
    Savers butter £1
    Aubergine £1
    Savers cling film 60p
    Icing sugar £1.89
    Toilet roll x2 £3
    Pak choi 50p
    Salad x2 £2
    Spinach £1.30
    Savers white bread 50p
    Free range eggs £1.50
    Taxi home £3.50

    Roasted the legs of the chicken for dinner with some mash, savers yorkies (normally make my own but OH bought them ages ago), carrots, green beans and HM gravy. Lovely! Have dissected and frozen the rest of the chicken for next week.
    Last edited by Bluegreen143; 02-12-2012 at 6:32 PM.
    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
    • XSpender
    • By XSpender 2nd Dec 12, 7:24 PM
    • 3,341 Posts
    • 34,424 Thanks
    I forgot to get coffee for DH yesterday so picked some up at m&S when out Christmas shopping. Also bought some cider and a GF cake as I have been so busy this week I haven't baked anything. DS keeps asking for chocolate cake so will try and find the time to do that and make another 2 Christmas cakes for gifts.

    Is it too late to make a Christmas cake?

    Had lunch out today and still stuffed so DH is making the chicken I defrosted into curry for tea tomorrow and a couple of lunches for me and the turkey into a super hot curry for himself. I had thought both were chicken but one packet turned out to be turkey escallopes. Must remember to use labels

    We have tons of food in so I have told DH that I am going to only do a basics shop next week for bread, fruit, booze (it's a basic in our house), milk and a few bits. I will cancel the veg box due Friday too.

    Will then do a decent shop for the Christmas bits and enough to last us into the new year. It will make this month a lot longer but I will still aim for the same budget even though it is going to be very tight.:
    • redbooties
    • By redbooties 2nd Dec 12, 7:39 PM
    • 136 Posts
    • 1,472 Thanks
    I'd like to join this thread too please, my budget will be £400 for December, that's for 3 adults, 1 child, 2 large dogs and 1 cat.
    • DanielleNic87
    • By DanielleNic87 2nd Dec 12, 7:41 PM
    • 1,038 Posts
    • 13,314 Thanks
    Went to T's today with the OH. HUGE mistake

    £32 spent on nothing really. Only need things for our pizza toppings nearer the time (this is what we are having on christmas day ).

    Still hoping to come under on the budget.

    Annual GC 2017 £1634.61/£2200
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