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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 17
    • Bikingbint
    • By Bikingbint 31st Jan 13, 10:59 AM
    • 51 Posts
    • 1,131 Thanks
    I used to have a food slicer years ago - manual - don't know what happened to it. Got an idea it was left behind when I moved.
    I see Lakel... have an electric slicer cheaper than this one - anyone got it please?
    Originally posted by Florenceem
    I have the lakel.. slicer and I love it, it can be a bit of a pain in the .... to clean but if you have a dishwasher I believe that it can go in there. It slices wafer thin, which is good as that is how I like my meat sliced, but is very adjustable. I understand that you can use it on bread so it can also slice quite thickly if required.
    • peony40
    • By peony40 31st Jan 13, 11:04 AM
    • 489 Posts
    • 6,389 Thanks
    I had to pop to the local shops to collect a prescription so decided to start February's shop early. I went into the Co** and spent 33.07 which leaves 6.93 until the 8th Feb.

    I took advantage of the special offers and doubled up on items that I know I use weekly, so if I have planned correctly I should need to spend less next week. (fingers crossed please!)

    It's good to be back and being focussed again.
    Originally posted by peony40
    My goodness I have been getting in a muddle with figures I never was any good at maths and now coupled with fibro fog and peri-menopause I don't stand a chance

    Right, after numerous workings out, I have decided to work on a fortnightly budget as this will cover the items that I tend to double up on to take advantage of special offers.

    So I now have 19.56 left for week 1, and 27.37 left for week 2. (I have a separate purse with separate compartments for each week together with a post-it to remind me what I am trying to do!)

    Now off to freeze week 2 items or hide them from hubby so that they don't get used up in week 1. Phew!

    I'm having a NSD today.

    Wishing you all a nice day.
    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
  • sheeppappar
    I was looking through the freezer tonight and we have a pack of bacon, there are two of us and I wondered if you guys have any meal ideas for us?
    Also once the bacon is defrosted will it keep in the fridge for a day or so?
    Thanks in advance!
    Originally posted by kjgkgj
    Yes I would say the bacon will be fine.
    If you have eggs and a bit of parmesan then you could make this: bulk up with mushrooms, onions if you have them.. leave the wine out if you don't have it. Pasta is about 35p for a supermarket value bag of about 500g so the expensive item would be parmesan if you have to buy it.

    Spaghetti alla carbonara

    This makes a really light spaghetti carbonara.. nice and tasty but don’t expect loads of sauce!

    Serves 2
    75g bacon, chopped into small pieces
    1 garlic clove, peeled and halved
    3 eggs
    2 tbsp dry white wine
    80g fresh parmesan cheese, grated
    Salt and pepper
    150g dried spaghetti or pasta (allows 75g each)

    Cook the bacon and garlic in a non-stick pan over a medium heat for 3-4 mins until the bacon is cooked. Turn off the heat and discard the garlic .
    Meanwhile, in a bowl, beat the eggs with the parsley, wine and half the cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
    Cook the pasta in a large pan of boiling salted water.
    When the pasta is cooked, gently reheat the bacon in its pan. Drain the spaghetti thoroughly, then return to the pasta pan. Immediately add the egg mixture with the bacon.
    Take the pan off the heat and toss well – the eggs will cook in the residual heat to form a light creamy sauce. Add the rest of the cheese, toss lightly and serve.

    Or just chop the bacon up, fry with whatever veg you have, add tin of toms (about 31p) and whatever dried herbs are lurking in your cupboard.. and the aforementioned value pasta..

    Or bacon and scrambled eggs on toast nom nom.

    Totally loving the idea of breaking the monthly spend down into weeks too lushlifesaver.. I am off to update my spreadsheet now as should make things easier to control..

    NSD today lalala! have a good day x
    Last edited by sheeppappar; 31-01-2013 at 11:29 AM. Reason: not very good at doing a quote!!
    CC1 7,944.10
    CC2 2,680.03
    CC3 1,020.88
  • thewestfive
    Hello just migrated from the January thread.

    Can I be put down for 350 please.

    This is to include all food, cleaning, toiletries and anything else that might crop up like medicines, light bulbs, batteries and such like.

    This is 50 less than January's target which came in at 274.42/400.

    February is a shorter month, however we have less food in cupboard and freezer this month.

    I have an ASDA delivery due this evening for the start of my February challenge - ouch a whopping 201.13, however I have stocked cupboards up and shouldn't run out of much throughout Feb. Hopefully only need to buy bread and milk and veggies.
    January Grocery Challenge 274.42/400

    Feeding 2 Adults and DD 20, DS1 19 & DS2 13
  • elizabunny
    I will need to have another small shop today for some salad items and bin bags -ooops forgot them yesterday.

    Chicken and veggies for dinner tonight
    Sealed Pot Challenge 7 Member 022
    5:2 Diet started 28/1/2013 only 13lbs lost due to Xmas 2013 blip.
    • craigywv
    • By craigywv 31st Jan 13, 12:17 PM
    • 1,976 Posts
    • 27,825 Thanks
    hi all mr t shop yesterday of 12.33 and 22.19 for sainsbobs but had a 10 money card for here so really 12.19. got everything f&v milk, meat shouldnt need anything for a while now. got a pork shoulder joint from 6.49 down to 2.20 so have cooked and sliced for dinner tonight any leftovers will be marinated and made into GOK/FLO recipe for fried rice yummy for tomorrow nights tea with some curry sauce. what a jump in prices in mr t value tea bags up to 36 p i think or something like that also basically over price hike..............its gettin scary. xxx
    C.R.A.P.R.O.L.L.Z #7 member N.I splinter-group co-ordinater I dont suffer from insanity....I enjoy every minute of it!!.
    • frankerooney
    • By frankerooney 31st Jan 13, 12:17 PM
    • 166 Posts
    • 3,429 Thanks
    Last month didn't go too badly for us. I'm sure I spent within budget. It's just DH's little treats that sent us over .

    This month is shorter but we're away self catering for a week so I will be cooking less from scratch for a few days.

    So 350 again for me please. Thank you!
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 31st Jan 13, 12:23 PM
    • 3,984 Posts
    • 52,562 Thanks
    I have the lakel.. slicer and I love it, it can be a bit of a pain in the .... to clean but if you have a dishwasher I believe that it can go in there. It slices wafer thin, which is good as that is how I like my meat sliced, but is very adjustable. I understand that you can use it on bread so it can also slice quite thickly if required.
    Originally posted by Bikingbint
    Thanks - I am not decided about getting a slicer yet. Case of - do I need it - can I do without it.
    15 in 2015 1/15
    • Billie-jo
    • By Billie-jo 31st Jan 13, 12:23 PM
    • 1,221 Posts
    • 15,892 Thanks
    Joining you here now after last shop today and with careful use of a 5 voucher managed to just come in under budget by 2.94
    Will be ordering some meat possibly next week from a local catering butchers but include the cost when and as we use it.
    Already set my budget in an earlier post.

    Wishing good luck to everyone.
    [COLOR="Purple"][B] MARCH 62.38/250 [B][COLOR="Purple"]
    • jedi82
    • By jedi82 31st Jan 13, 12:36 PM
    • 406 Posts
    • 3,548 Thanks
    Hi, just reporting a spend of 10.79 so far this week on bread/cheese/milk from local shop. Car is broken so need to wait til tomorrow to do a shop....

    Just made a batch of twinks after DD2 came out of playgroup and announced that this afternoon she wants to make 'Nobby Hobs'. Made me giggle

    No more spends planned til tomorrow.
    Jedi x
    Finally getting my life on track. Onwards and upwards.
    BSC No 327
    GC Jan 336.91/450
    GC Feb 0/400
    Afternoon all,
    Went to Asd@, then Ald! this morning and spent 50.39. This should do for next week, just need to top up on meat from the butchers, f&v and some bread. Going around Asd@ I found quite a few lines were cheaper than MrT, but I won`t be doing this as a weekly shop, as the petrol used to get there, uses up any savings I would have made. But I will be going a bit more frequently from now on.

    I`ve meal planned for the whole of February, so next week will go something like this:

    Fri: Shephards pie & veg
    Sat: Chilli con carne from leftover mince
    Sun: Roast Chicken, veg and trimmings
    Mon: Chicken left over from sunday, mash, veg
    Tue: Jacket, Baked beans & salad
    Wed: Fish, cous cous/rice, peas & carrots combo
    Thu: Burgers butchers own, wedges, baked beans, salad.

    Saturdays are usually movie night for the family, so have already brought some popping corn, which is much cheaper and proberly healthier than shop brought ready made popcorn. I will proberly add sugar though, as we all have a sweet tooth.
    Grocery Challenge 2013: July week 1 90/87.41
    week 2 90.00/118.38 week 3 90/60.54week4 90/79.90 week5 45/00
    End of mortgage april 2030
    Mortgage overpayment from june 2013 aiming for 400 a month: 451
    Emergency fund 2013 from june 70
    • Sun Addict
    • By Sun Addict 31st Jan 13, 3:16 PM
    • 7,223 Posts
    • 53,232 Thanks
    Sun Addict
    Hi zippychick - please could I join this challenge. My budget for February is 330.

    Virtual Sealed Pot 2019 317.17
    Emergency Fund 3260/10,000
    • Kitchenbunny
    • By Kitchenbunny 31st Jan 13, 4:05 PM
    • 1,860 Posts
    • 20,252 Thanks
    Good evening, Kitchenbunny reporting in for the February Grocery Challenge thread It was my last day today on the January thread, and as I managed an NSD it's time for me to move here. I'm now sitting down with a cup of tea and a notepad, working out what meals to have next week and writing my shopping list - first for the weekend bits and bobs and then for the main shop on Monday.

    My annual total so far stands at 165.42 spent out of 1800 - that's 1634.58 remaining. If I can manage to spend under 150 for this month, I'll be very happy indeed.

    It'll either be toad in the hole tonight, or sausages on giant Yorkshire Puds with gravy and veggies (instead of with beans). I'll let Mr KB decide when he gets in.

    Bring on the GC!

    KB xx

  • Boodle
    Hi can we please be added for 100 for the month?

    Thank you
    Love and compassion to all x
    • craigywv
    • By craigywv 31st Jan 13, 4:58 PM
    • 1,976 Posts
    • 27,825 Thanks
    FLO...i have a cookworks slicer i got it of fleabay from a man who reconditions them ,it cost me ten pounds and has paid for itself a hundred fold,i know a lot of peeps dont likecookworks but i cant fault it. it slices bread and meats well thats all i use it for it wont do the wafer thin stuff but can slice thin
    C.R.A.P.R.O.L.L.Z #7 member N.I splinter-group co-ordinater I dont suffer from insanity....I enjoy every minute of it!!.
    • VanyaHargreeves
    • By VanyaHargreeves 31st Jan 13, 4:58 PM
    • 909 Posts
    • 780 Thanks
    Going to go for 120 for February, please!
    Undergrad law student. Take my advice with a pinch of salt!
    • mrs-moneypenny
    • By mrs-moneypenny 31st Jan 13, 5:01 PM
    • 15,518 Posts
    • 198,189 Thanks
    just spent 10.40 on rtc veg and fruit, rtc bagels and some soya milk that is on offer.
    might nip back later when its rtc even more and get more bagels for the freezer if there are any left

    veggie mince casserole with mash and cabbage tonight
    Last edited by mrs-moneypenny; 31-01-2013 at 5:06 PM.
    SPC~12 ot 124

    In a world that has decided that it's going to lose its mind, be more kind my friend, try to Be More Kind
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 31st Jan 13, 5:22 PM
    • 3,984 Posts
    • 52,562 Thanks
    FLO...i have a cookworks slicer i got it of fleabay from a man who reconditions them ,it cost me ten pounds and has paid for itself a hundred fold,i know a lot of peeps dont likecookworks but i cant fault it. it slices bread and meats well thats all i use it for it wont do the wafer thin stuff but can slice thin
    Originally posted by craigywv
    Thanks - still thinking.
    15 in 2015 1/15
  • Le Foot
    O.K., My first week of Feb looks really bad!! (not even Feb yet) Spent 136.38 of my 350 declared (estimated) budget. Hopefully the next 3 weeks will be low spend. There was a lot of 'stock' items and frozen foods this week that should last the month...but all I can do is try my best.
    Feb. G.C. From Jan 26th 350.00
    First month..pure guess!! Wk. 1 136.38 balance 213.62. Wk.2 108.10p balance 105.52
  • Waywardbird
    Aiming for 100 again this month. Shopping has already been ordered for tomorrow. Ill be spending my weekend batch cooking
    February - TLW #16 2/16
    Save 12k 2014 #134 - 614.81/3000
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