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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 first Grocery Challenge of 2013

    Hope you all have a happy 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 December budget, then keep on posting in the:
    December 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; 12-12-2012 at 1:40 PM.
    A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men
    Norn Iron club member #380

Page 45
  • KatyReed+5
    For those who shop online do you think it's worth it? I have a 12 off a 60 spend online for sainsburys, which sounds great but once on the website i couldn't really think of what to order, other than a few bits i need, i did look at bulk buying tins that honestly we don't really need at the mo, and i like to pick my fruit and veg myself as i'm a bit fussy, also i have healthy start vouchers which i can use instore but not online which is a bit rubbbish. But 12 is a good amount to have off a spend, and i feel a bit silly if i don't use it, HELP.

    X
    June 0.00 GC / 200.00

    Family of 4 : 1 adult 3 kids ages 3,4 & 5.
    • tessie bear
    • By tessie bear 6th Jan 13, 7:29 AM
    • 4,361 Posts
    • 30,013 Thanks
    tessie bear
    good luck miss m mum...really hope u find something...try and stay positive
    its great its so busy on the challenge...good luck to new and old with their budgets...im off to have a cheeky look at the sales in coventry today...hopefully wont spend much

    take care tess
    onwards and upwards
  • Newbie here
    For those who shop online do you think it's worth it? I have a 12 off a 60 spend online for sainsburys, which sounds great but once on the website i couldn't really think of what to order, other than a few bits i need, i did look at bulk buying tins that honestly we don't really need at the mo, and i like to pick my fruit and veg myself as i'm a bit fussy, also i have healthy start vouchers which i can use instore but not online which is a bit rubbbish. But 12 is a good amount to have off a spend, and i feel a bit silly if i don't use it, HELP.

    X
    Originally posted by KatyReed+5
    Hi there, for me online shopping is great, I only order what I need no temptations to put things in my trolley and my shopping bill has halved because of this. My sister says the same she like to pick her fruit and veg, I'm not that bothered lol, but if it arrives bruised or not quite right they will refund you. Why not try it for one week to get your 12 off, and see if you like it.
    2013 January GC 264.27/250

    February GC 0/250


    weight loss challenge -8/14lb
    • pinkypig
    • By pinkypig 6th Jan 13, 8:45 AM
    • 1,571 Posts
    • 12,082 Thanks
    pinkypig
    Hi all,

    Been busy today (it amazes me how long simple jobs like sorting odd socks and slinging ratty old undies can actually take!) but just thought I'd check in with a couple of spends. I was exceptionally naughty yesterday and went to te$co express for no reason other than I wanted chocolate, as did DS, and spent 4.46 on chocolate and C0ke zero. Also Hubby got cleaning cloths and sponges in Ald1 for 1.68 as I've ruined about 4 this week trying to clean fancy (and very sticky) bread dough off all my bowls, surfaces and the mixer bits.

    Did the top up shop in Ald1 today too and spent 20.97. Got 2 cheese board thingies in that too (4.75 for the both) - cheese will freeze won't it? Not that I think cheese can really go off - it's already gone off milk! Only cat litter to get now.

    So I now have all but the fresh bits (fruit, milk, yogurts, etc) to keep us in meals until the 27th Jan - most are quickies using bits of freezer shrapnel or have been made and frozen. Oh, I could really use a week off at the start of every month to get organised!

    Signature has been updated. Hope you're all going well, it's lovely to read how being on the boards helps people in some way to deal with all the cr*p that life deposits on them.

    Big hugs,

    Vicky
    x
    Originally posted by VickyV

    Hi Vicky, if it helps I use those little plastic nets that oranges/onions come in to clean bread dough off the mixer bowl and attachments. They are really good and you can just chuck them when you've finished without feeling guilty

    PPxx
    MFW 2018 #157 Target 15,000

    23,095.71/15,000
  • MammaLewis
    Hi, I'm a complete newbie to all of this it was recommended to my by a friend. Is it too late to join in on the challenge? Usually, my shopping is done monthly and we waste things or buy crap we don't need and end up shopping on the day and buying the meals for that day. As you can imagine its an expensive way to shop. We're in Tesco at least 4x per week! I've started to meal plan and rather than do monthly, because of my husbands shift work I think a weekly shop and meal plan would suit us better. I'm even armed with my new slow cooker (Christmas present) so I'm really really motivated to do this!

    My budget for the week is 40 that's to feed two adults who work full time and a 19 month old toddler in full time nursery. My budget needs to cover nappies, cleaning prods, cat food and litter and bath/shower stuff etc.

    My challenge starts today!
  • KatyReed+5
    Hi there, for me online shopping is great, I only order what I need no temptations to put things in my trolley and my shopping bill has halved because of this. My sister says the same she like to pick her fruit and veg, I'm not that bothered lol, but if it arrives bruised or not quite right they will refund you. Why not try it for one week to get your 12 off, and see if you like it.
    Originally posted by Newbie here
    Thanks, i think i might, the code for 12 off lasts till the 29th, so i think i may just buy the odd fresh bits i need at the local small co-op, and then keep a list of all the cupboard and long life and heavy things i need then use it a bit later in the month, so far my list has on it nearly 96 tins and it 10 boxes of cereal, and still is no where near the 60 total.

    I have just made 5 portions of corrot and lentil soup for the freezer and cooked some very nearly out of date bacon and chopped up and put in a tub for freezing for future use.

    X

    X
    June 0.00 GC / 200.00

    Family of 4 : 1 adult 3 kids ages 3,4 & 5.
    • zafiro1984
    • By zafiro1984 6th Jan 13, 9:12 AM
    • 1,540 Posts
    • 11,692 Thanks
    zafiro1984
    Looking forward to tea today. Pheasant, the first one this year, didn't cost a penny and it's a big one. Have enough vegs and bits to do it justice.
  • Changingme
    So far this month I've spent 62.58,I have meal planned for the week,well till Thursday as freezer needs defrosting.Hopefuly can manage till Saturday with any bits left over and store cupboard stuff as Saturday is shopping day.I will then need to restock freezer with some batch cooking,meat and veg.
    Save 4500 in 2014
    • zafiro1984
    • By zafiro1984 6th Jan 13, 10:34 AM
    • 1,540 Posts
    • 11,692 Thanks
    zafiro1984
    Thanks, i think i might, the code for 12 off lasts till the 29th, so i think i may just buy the odd fresh bits i need at the local small co-op,
    Originally posted by KatyReed+5
    Why not use the coupon to buy items that are non-perishable, loo rolls, washing powder, cleaning things, and the like. You wont use any more than normal and providing you have the space to store them they wont go out of date.
    A 12 saving on 60 is 20% off but to get the best value you need to be as close to the 60 as possible. Just one other thing if you do an online shop and tick the box which doesn't allow substitutes I think they will still have to allow you your discount even if the total you pay is less than 60. I use 'mysupermarket' website all the time as I find it helps tremendously with comparisons for online shopping
  • she who can not cook

    I'd like to ask for some advice if I may - is it possible to freeze a portion of pasta? I made pasta with a homemade sauce for dinner tonight and as we're having roast tomorrow, I'd like to freeze a tub of the leftovers if it will be ok. Does anyone know how long it would last?
    Originally posted by Island_mum
    i know it's a little upon but i freeze( I think that freezing changes the textureof the pasta but i don't notice it) my left over pasta spag bol and pasta bakes. I take to work for lunch my leftovers it's a change from the usual salads i have when dieting
    Last edited by she who can not cook; 06-01-2013 at 11:00 AM.
    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
  • KatyReed+5
    Why not use the coupon to buy items that are non-perishable, loo rolls, washing powder, cleaning things, and the like. You wont use any more than normal and providing you have the space to store them they wont go out of date.
    A 12 saving on 60 is 20% off but to get the best value you need to be as close to the 60 as possible. Just one other thing if you do an online shop and tick the box which doesn't allow substitutes I think they will still have to allow you your discount even if the total you pay is less than 60. I use 'mysupermarket' website all the time as I find it helps tremendously with comparisons for online shopping
    Originally posted by zafiro1984
    That's also a good idea, need to find some good deals first, am off to sainsburys today as need some potatoes and bread may search for good deals on long life things and add them to my total

    X
    June 0.00 GC / 200.00

    Family of 4 : 1 adult 3 kids ages 3,4 & 5.
    • Nicki_Sue
    • By Nicki_Sue 6th Jan 13, 10:57 AM
    • 1,216 Posts
    • 7,408 Thanks
    Nicki_Sue
    Hi all, and a belated Happy New Year!

    My month starts on Thursday (8th) and I'm going for 100 a week, including nappies/wipes, petrol, cleaning stuffs. So 400 for the remaining 4 weeks for me please
    • Nicki_Sue
    • By Nicki_Sue 6th Jan 13, 11:01 AM
    • 1,216 Posts
    • 7,408 Thanks
    Nicki_Sue
    Have to add... popped into tesco for some new school polo shirts for the eldest and realised their iceberg lettuce is now..1.20 each. That was a shock! I'm a Lidl lady nowadays but that seems like quite a price hike!
    • DanielleNic87
    • By DanielleNic87 6th Jan 13, 11:30 AM
    • 1,038 Posts
    • 13,314 Thanks
    DanielleNic87
    Morning all

    Small spend of 6.54 spend on WKD and eggs

    Sig already updated.
    [COLOR="Magenta"]

    Annual GC 2017 1634.61/2200
    • pavlovs_dog
    • By pavlovs_dog 6th Jan 13, 11:53 AM
    • 9,831 Posts
    • 24,106 Thanks
    pavlovs_dog
    so far so good from us. We stuck to 5 out of the 7 planned meals from my last post, had meal at ILs and choose something else from stores for the 7th. Starting to see some wiggle room in the freezer

    Plan for the coming week, again in no particular order (red=from stores)

    1) sweet chilli pork with noodles and stir fry veg
    2) bean burger & cous cous stuffed peppers
    3) Sausage casserole
    4) Cheesy pasta bake or carbonara
    5) Thai red curry & rice
    6)beef stew

    22.69 for the week, a third of which was on fruit&veg. Got a few bits for my cupboard in work to help keep me out of the school canteen, which doesn't offer particularly good value for money.

    48.16 spent out of 160, currently about 30 less than what I would normally have spent on 2 weeks of shopping. If I can keep this up for another 2 weeks (which I think is manageable) I should have about 60 at the end of the month to roll over or replenish stocks
    know thyself

    Nid wy'n gofyn bywyd moethus...
    • flubberyzing
    • By flubberyzing 6th Jan 13, 12:06 PM
    • 1,270 Posts
    • 8,573 Thanks
    flubberyzing
    My first spend of the month. And only a tiny one, 1.56 on milk and mousses.
    Because it's fun to have money!
    0/70 August GC
    68.35/70 July GC
    January-June 2019 = 356.94/420

    • WantToBeSE
    • By WantToBeSE 6th Jan 13, 12:13 PM
    • 6,795 Posts
    • 30,577 Thanks
    WantToBeSE
    Have to add... popped into tesco for some new school polo shirts for the eldest and realised their iceberg lettuce is now..1.20 each. That was a shock! I'm a Lidl lady nowadays but that seems like quite a price hike!
    Originally posted by Nicki_Sue
    OMG, thats just stupid money!! I thought it was bad enough at 1, but 1.20 for just a lettuce
    I am a Lidl girl too, and i have just reminded myself why, when i saw your post!
    10k of Debt

    Debt Free Diary https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=6026621
    • WantToBeSE
    • By WantToBeSE 6th Jan 13, 12:32 PM
    • 6,795 Posts
    • 30,577 Thanks
    WantToBeSE
    Mini Sausage rolls/pigs in blankets.



    Really fancied some sausage rolls today, so i decided to make my own mini ones.
    I used a nigella idea, which is basically to cheat
    I had some of those horrible canned 'Hot Dog Frankfurters' that i bought ages ago but never ate as they seemed too 'plastic' IYKWIM?

    This is the recipe, and i can totally recommend them! They will never win any masterchef awards, but for something cheap and scrummy (and great for lunch boxes), these are perfect.

    1 packet of pre rolled puff pastry (or make 400g of your own)
    1 tin of 'plastic' sausage (tinned Frankfurter sausages)
    1 egg
    Flour (enough to Roll out pastry on surface).

    -Roll out your pastry into a rectangle approx 50cm long, 25cm wide (if you use pre rolled stuff, just roll out a bit thinner than how it comes in the packet).
    -Cut pastry rectangle into 4 equal quarters.
    -Cut each of those quarters in half, lengthways. So you end up with 8 equally sized strips.
    -Open and drain your tinned sausages. Cut each sausage in half, lengthways.
    -Beat your egg in a bowl.
    -Glaze each strip of pastry with the egg glaze.
    -Place each half of the sausage, on the left hand side of the pastry strip, and roll up. Do this for all of the sausages/pastry.
    -Cut each of the long rolled up sausages into 3 (so each 'strip' has made 3 mini sausage rolls).
    -Place on a lined baking sheet, glaze each mini sausage roll with egg wash.
    -Bake for 15-20mins at 200c.

    The cutting up of the pastry SOUNDS complicated, but its dead simple and take all of 2mins
    I also added a tiny dollop of sweet chilli dipping sauce into mie and they worked out lovely

    EDIT to say-Even if you hate those tinned sausages, as i do, you will love these, they seem to change the texture and taste of the sausage.
    Last edited by WantToBeSE; 06-01-2013 at 1:54 PM.
    10k of Debt

    Debt Free Diary https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=6026621
    • xxsally1990xx
    • By xxsally1990xx 6th Jan 13, 12:34 PM
    • 21 Posts
    • 231 Thanks
    xxsally1990xx
    just doing my online food shop ( dont have a car and need to buy heavy items i.e. washing powder), any tips u guys may have to save extra cash, already shopping through my supermarket. any online vouchers to be had at all? thanks
    Side Hustle - Ladyandthetramper.com
    • xx_Jo_xx
    • By xx_Jo_xx 6th Jan 13, 12:37 PM
    • 2,854 Posts
    • 62,609 Thanks
    xx_Jo_xx
    Hey all,

    Ive spent the day doing an inventory, portioning up meats to put in the freezer, batch cooking and portioning the rest..

    I need to do a trip to Ald! for some of the super 6 which will be on my way to a$da tomorrow, so that will me sorted for salads for lunches etc for work...

    But im pleased to report that other than some fresh bits and bobs... It looks like Im good for the month....

    All I have to do is STICK TO IT!!
    Sometimes lurking, sometimes posting, but always flying
    You are supposed to be the leading lady of your own life, for God's sake! - The Holiday
    DFW August 2013... Debt total 15,475.56 - Jan 15 11,738.66 - DEBT FREE by 2015
    Feb GC 48.02/250 (201.98)
    I will declutter my house and debts
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