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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 second Grocery Challenge of 2013

    If your new month starts early feel free to join this thread, or if you're still working on your January budget, then keep on posting in the:
    January 2013 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; 05-01-2013 at 1:22 PM.
    A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men
    Norn Iron club member #380

Page 13
    • peony40
    • By peony40 29th Jan 13, 1:12 PM
    • 489 Posts
    • 6,389 Thanks
    Hello, I'd like to try again in February! Been rather a disaster up to now I'm afraid.

    Off to menu plan for the week, I am going to try and budget weekly to see if this helps me manage, so please can I be removed from the monthly list and put on the weekly list? 40 a week please.

    Many thanks for all your help.
    Last edited by peony40; 29-01-2013 at 2:12 PM.
    January 2019 GC: 67.88/250.00 (182.12)
    2019 Frugal Living Challenge
    2019 Sealed Pot Challenge 107
    2019 Make Do Mend & Minimise
    A Simpler Life 2019
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 29th Jan 13, 2:06 PM
    • 3,984 Posts
    • 52,562 Thanks
    Usual breakfast and elevenses here. Lunch today was fried off left over roast potatoes with mushrooms - LW Al.. SS, baked beans, 1/2 slice HM bread toasted and 1/4 tin baked beans. They were Al.. baked beans pepped up with hot pepper sauce and garlic granules.
    I used the tiniest amount of oil possible in the pan.

    Mushrooms left in the 49p pack are earmarked for a stirfry.
    15 in 2015 1/15
    • missmoneysave
    • By missmoneysave 29th Jan 13, 2:10 PM
    • 175 Posts
    • 2,180 Thanks
    First spend of the month 2 on a tub of Lurpak- wanted to wait until the big shop on Sunday but I had the last scraping on a crumpet this morning so needed to get some- bonus is that nothing else found its way to the till
    • pinkypig
    • By pinkypig 29th Jan 13, 2:26 PM
    • 1,519 Posts
    • 11,773 Thanks
    Another NSD for us. YS sausages made into Toad in the hole with S6 veg. roasties and gravy for dinner.
    Really hoping for a 5 off 35 Ald* voucher in this Thursday's Mirror so that we can have a good stock up.

    Hope you've all had a good day.

    MFW 2018 #157 Target 15,000

  • elizabunny
    Another NSD for us today (apart from meds. which are not part of my GC)
    Not too sure what is for dinner tonight as I have been incapacitated all day and forbidden to move, Therefore dinner will be decided by DH who has a pack of Lamb Mince to deal with. I will probably instruct him from my position on how to create a Shepherd's Pie, and I think he can manage that. Not sure about Pud either, might just be fresh fruit.
    No groceries to get at the moment so hopefully another NSD tomorrow too.
    Sealed Pot Challenge 7 Member 022
    5:2 Diet started 28/1/2013 only 13lbs lost due to Xmas 2013 blip.
    • lottie3000
    • By lottie3000 29th Jan 13, 3:03 PM
    • 429 Posts
    • 1,875 Thanks
    Hello everyone, right i'm being quite technical with my budget this month as I'm going away at the end of Feb. Sooo, working on what I have spent in January and the amount of days that i'm here in Feb. I'm going to bite the bullet and go for 220 which i'm planning on getting suncream with too. Not sure if i'm trying to run before I can walk here but on my calculations I should manage this, wish me luck guys
    Last edited by lottie3000; 29-01-2013 at 3:36 PM.
    • JellyBox
    • By JellyBox 29th Jan 13, 3:27 PM
    • 238 Posts
    • 1,946 Thanks
    i'm planning on getting suncream with too.
    Originally posted by lottie3000
    To help you out with that - only buy own brand. Not only is it cheapest, in terms of protection it's normally the best too. The vast majority of own brand products have their 5 star UVA rating, but many (far too many) branded products get away with the EU minimum of 3 stars and give about half the protection against the long term damage. If you're not bothered by greasiness, go as cheap as you can, higher cost often just means nicer texture and smell, rarely does it actually relate to any protection benefit.

  • sheeppappar
    Hello hello please may I join?
    I kept track of all my spends in Jan to see what would be a sensible target and followed along on this board looking at your tips, and the Don't Throw Food Away board... so.. I am going to go for 250 in Feb.. includes takeaways/eating out.. there are just 2 of us and once or twice a month we have my partner's 2 kids for the weekend.. good luck everyone ! xx
    • cw18
    • By cw18 29th Jan 13, 3:56 PM
    • 8,050 Posts
    • 85,990 Thanks
    I'm in again

    My budget for February is 192.00

    That's made up of 28 days for me (at 5/day), 8 days for DS (at 3/day for main meal and brews only), 8x 2litre/4pint containers of milk for DS, and 4 days of feeding OH (at 4/day).

    It's looking like I'll also have more than 40 carried over from January, but I plan to hold on to that until May when I'll need extra for stocking up at a food festival.

    I'm hoping to carry some more over at the end of February, as I'll also need extra in April when my OH and I are taking my 3 GDs away for 5 days (self catering, but it's still extra mouths to feed - and the day we go is GD2's birthday, so she's been promised she can decide what we have for tea that night. At least it won't be fast food, as we're not staying anywhere near one of those outlets )
    • lushlifesaver
    • By lushlifesaver 29th Jan 13, 4:11 PM
    • 2,312 Posts
    • 18,637 Thanks
    Been and got the bits I listed yesterday today - bf remembered we need a birthday card for his middle brother so I was going to pick up two from the market (2 for 1) but half the stalls were missing so couldn't!

    Been and bought dog food on offer, 2 x 2kg bag for 11, and we decided to take it from this week's money.

    So that's an 18 spend today and 12 left for the week - definitely do-able

    Literally just had a phone call offering me a job I interviewed for yesterday! So much stress off our shoulders Financial stability wahoo!
    Perfect Princess born 26/03/14 <3
    • cattysmum
    • By cattysmum 29th Jan 13, 4:12 PM
    • 1,256 Posts
    • 21,417 Thanks
    My grocery budget for Feb is 150 for two adults and numerous visiting grandshildren and a wild cat. Iv dropped it by 50 as were are having a week away and that is to be paid for seperately. Hoping to have at least 10 NSDs in Feb as well. Thanks to board organisers who work hard to keep everything up to date. Good luck everyone.
    [B]SPC No. 295 - SPC No10 target 350
    SPC 2014 150/SPC 2015 256SPC 2016 324
    Saving for Florida 2018
    Matched betting toe dipper.
    • lovelife79
    • By lovelife79 29th Jan 13, 5:35 PM
    • 116 Posts
    • 1,298 Thanks
    another NSD for me
    was going to go buy odds n ends to make soup for lunches but decided to have a look in freezer first. found a couple of surprise soups so one is out defrosting for tomorrow.
    so just got to get some milk on way to work tomorrow for breakfasts.
    last wee drop of fruit loops need eaten before i start on the museli box.
  • Verityemilia
    Shopping day today

    Al** - 29.21
    Pe** at H*** - 9.99
    Lo*al - 2.75

    Total Spend 42.65

    Hopefully I don't need to spend anymore
    Seal pot challenge no 7- # 331 Saved 140 SPC - Target 30
    Grocery challenge - 100 a week
    Weekly Spend Challenge - 40
    • JackieO
    • By JackieO 29th Jan 13, 6:14 PM
    • 16,737 Posts
    • 143,397 Thanks
    No more shopping to buy this week, and tomorrow DGD is taking me out to lunch and on Saturday night my sis-in-law is treating me to dinner so I have more than enough stuff to use this week and probably into the middle of next week.Tonight I am cutting my rib eye steak from the freezer in half and having half tonight and the other bit tomorrow, more than enough for two nights dinners just for me with lots of salad and veggies
    Quot Libros,Quam Breve Tempus.
    • annem38
    • By annem38 29th Jan 13, 6:23 PM
    • 107 Posts
    • 1,637 Thanks
    hello, can you put me down for 240 for a 5 week feb, still chuffed with just coming in under budget for jan, so hoping i can shave a tiny bit more off, to me its more difficult in a 5 week month as tend to do a big shop every 4 weeks. ah well time will tell!

    btw, can anyone give me a flour tortilla/wrap recipe, sure i use to do one which was just flour and water and oil, am into my mexican cooking at the moment and have just purchased ( at 5.99 a bag ) some masa harina, as recommended by thomasina miers and it was not good, not good at all!

    thanking you in advance

    • Princess_nola1
    • By Princess_nola1 29th Jan 13, 6:48 PM
    • 154 Posts
    • 3,062 Thanks
    Right, I've finally got my head around this stuff!
    I know this is gonna be a real pain, but instead of counting my last spends, I'm gonna go from my next pay day to my following pay day. So this is from 31/01 til 28/02. So I'm scrapping my last budget and go for a maximum of 300.

    I've written out a proper monthly budget spreadsheet with annual spends, monthly direct debits, our debts, etc. so hopefully this will help. Fingers crossed anyways...
    When it's dark, look for stars. When it's raining look for rainbows.
    DFW - Tesco CC: 3149.710! Capital One CC: 2242.010! Overdraft: 283 0!
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 29th Jan 13, 7:11 PM
    • 3,984 Posts
    • 52,562 Thanks
    Tuesday contd.
    Muffin and cuppa mid afternoon.
    Dinner was Prawn Curry, Basmati Rice and Garlic/Coriander Naan Bread - all from stocks.

    15 in 2015 1/15
    • Bluegreen143
    • By Bluegreen143 29th Jan 13, 7:27 PM
    • 1,101 Posts
    • 12,692 Thanks
    So, not the best start to my first GC! We began the month with no bread, so both had to buy lunch. I got flustered and suckered in to a Meal Deal (shocking!), 3 down the drain, OH managed much better with his 1.80, but still, nearly 5 wasted on nothing.
    Originally posted by Bexim
    Know it's too late now, but for another time I make pasta salad if there's no bread, e.g. tuna mayo mixed with pasta, or pasta with salad veg dressed in lemon juice and olive oil. Couscous is also nice if you have any in as a change.

    Literally just had a phone call offering me a job I interviewed for yesterday! So much stress off our shoulders Financial stability wahoo!
    Originally posted by lushlifesaver
    Well done and congratulations

    btw, can anyone give me a flour tortilla/wrap recipe, sure i use to do one which was just flour and water and oil, am into my mexican cooking at the moment and have just purchased ( at 5.99 a bag ) some masa harina, as recommended by thomasina miers and it was not good, not good at all!
    Originally posted by annem38
    My wraps recipe:

    250g flour, for best results a 50/50 mix of plain and strong flours
    1/2 tsp salt
    2 tbsp veg oil

    Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Add the oil and rub in. Add warm water slowly (probably about 120ml). Knead very well (about 10 mins). Divide into 8 balls and leave to rest covered for 30 mins.

    Heat a frying pan or griddle to high.

    Roll the balls out as thin as you can, until it makes a round of roughly 7 inches. Slap onto the griddle, cook for around 45 seconds until puffed up, then turn and cook on the other side for around the same. Make all the tortillas the same way. HTH!

    I'll just add this to the index as well
    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
    • quintwins
    • By quintwins 29th Jan 13, 8:07 PM
    • 5,003 Posts
    • 29,347 Thanks
    I've went way over budget on jan so i'm down to 40 for feb, with the exception of 2 days when i'm away.

    I will be doing a meal plan a meal plan for the freezer, and doing the school snack money envelopes at the start of the month then whats left is what will go in my purse and not a penny more, i will try pick up whoopsie and lidl fruit but if i've no luck i have frozen berries and tinned fruit.
    DFW 7632/28996 26.3%
    • XSpender
    • By XSpender 29th Jan 13, 8:07 PM
    • 3,341 Posts
    • 34,423 Thanks

    Literally just had a phone call offering me a job I interviewed for yesterday! So much stress off our shoulders Financial stability wahoo!
    Originally posted by lushlifesaver
    Congratulations on the job offer

    Nipped to MR S for sanitary towels, basics jam, basics bread, a pack of choc bics for DH lunches and 2 YS cheese and onion rolls for a post work snack for him. Total spend 5.99 after using a coupon.

    I also have a bottle of wine and 2.60 in gr3ggs to add from the weekend. I'm not sure if I added my M&S shop from the weekend so will have to check the thread.

    Really pleased with tonight's tea. Recreated the garlic and rosemary diced pots I love from Mr T with the last of the garlic butter and made a GF sponge cake for lunches but used half of it with some warmed value jam and a carton of custard for pud. That sounds like a lot of cake but the GF flour mixes I get on prescription make cakes that do not rise much at all.

    I have also cooked 2 jacket pots while I had the oven on for our lunches tomorrow. When I was in mr s earlier I was thinking we had nothing in for lunches but after a pause in one of the aisles and a good think I realised that we do have enough in to cover lunches this week.

    College for me tomorrow so a late tea of omelette, chips and beans planned for when I get in.
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