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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 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 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; 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 18
    • bargain hunter
    • By bargain hunter 31st Jan 13, 6:22 PM
    • 542 Posts
    • 1,184 Thanks
    bargain hunter
    Went to Mr T's today -first 'actual' supermarket shop of 2013 and I was very good Stuck to my list and only a couple of non-essentials found their way into my trolley. As I had a 7 off 50 till spit managed to spend 44 which is great for me !! This forum works I WILL NOT BUY UNNECESSARY GROCERIES !

    Have updated sigy - got 5 voucher for aldi out paper today so will keep that for next week. I'm getting the hang of this thanks to all you lovely people and the fab tips.
    . FEB GC 255.82240
    MAR GC 230.46/ 240
    APRIL GC 237.84/ 230
    MAY GC 296.10/ 270 (5 week month !)
    • MrsCD
    • By MrsCD 31st Jan 13, 6:33 PM
    • 745 Posts
    • 11,241 Thanks
    MrsCD
    Just catching up with all the posts! It's taken me over half an hour to catch up!!
    Anyhow, now I'm up to date, I'm back in for Feb starting tomorrow. Thanks Coxy for putting me on the list a few days ago.

    It's good to see Florenceem back Hello again, we've missed you and your lovely photos.

    Tonight, I made soda bread and veggie broth - yummy.

    Soda bread

    Heat oven to 220C

    225g plain flour
    half teaspoon bicarb
    half teaspoon salt - I didn't put that much in
    half teaspoon sugar
    150ml plain yogurt
    100ml milk - add a bit at a time - you may need more or less, depending on your flour

    Mix the dry together, mix the wet together, then mix all together. As easy as that! Work quickly and don't overwork the mixture. Gather the mixture into a ball, put onto a floured work bench, shape into a flattened round shape and transfer to a baking sheet. Cut a deep cross over the top and bake for about 30 minutes. When cooked, knock on the bottom of the loaf - it should sound hollow.

    - edited to say that this is adapted from a recipe in the Adsa magazine.

    This was served (spread with 'butter') with my

    Lentil veggie broth

    Potatoes, chopped into small chunks
    Onions, chopped
    Carrots, chopped however you wish
    Veg stock mixed in water - enough to cover all the veg
    A good couple of handfuls of red lentils

    Boil until cooked. The potatoes and lentils go a bit mushy to make the broth thicker.

    Not sure about cost, but couldn't have been that much.

    NB. Oven still hot for making cakes after tea!

    Now my freezer is stocked to bursting (again) I'm hoping I won't need to buy too much for a few weeks.
    Last edited by MrsCD; 31-01-2013 at 6:40 PM.
    • JIL
    • By JIL 31st Jan 13, 6:48 PM
    • 4,258 Posts
    • 23,451 Thanks
    JIL
    Lentil veggie broth

    Potatoes, chopped into small chunks
    Onions, chopped
    Carrots, chopped however you wish
    Veg stock mixed in water - enough to cover all the veg
    A good couple of handfuls of red lentils

    Boil until cooked. The potatoes and lentils go a bit mushy to make the broth thicker.

    Not sure about cost, but couldn't have been that much.

    NB. Oven still hot for making cakes after tea!

    Now my freezer is stocked to bursting (again) I'm hoping I won't need to buy too much for a few weeks.
    Originally posted by MrsCD
    Can I just recommend using knorr ham stock cubes for this? i can now only find them for sale locally in Asd@ but what a fantastic flavour it gives to soup. Its like a rich gammony flavour you get from boiling a ham hock for ages.

    http://www.mysupermarket.co.uk/tesco-price-comparison/stock_sauce_mix_and_gravy/knorr_stock_cubes_ham_8x10g.html
    • ^!$&
    • By ^!$& 31st Jan 13, 6:55 PM
    • 1,908 Posts
    • 2,682 Thanks
    ^!$&
    Ok my Feb budget is 90
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 31st Jan 13, 7:08 PM
    • 3,984 Posts
    • 52,562 Thanks
    Florenceem
    Thursday.
    NSD.
    Usual brekkie. I found a lingering Breaka... bar in the cupboard - that was my elevenses with a cuppa. Lunch was poached egg on HM bread toasted and a satsuma. I think that is the last satsumas I am buying this season - definitely past their best now.
    I had a slice of HM syrup cake with a cup of tea mid afternoon.
    Dinner - chicken thigh, HM wedges and salad - grated carrot, red onion, celery and yellow pepper. Enough salad left for Mr F's lunch tomorrow.

    15 in 2015 1/15
    • craigywv
    • By craigywv 31st Jan 13, 7:25 PM
    • 1,976 Posts
    • 27,825 Thanks
    craigywv
    FLO, is that a batter you have put on thechicken it looks like KFC whats the recipe pls 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!!.
    • lbnblbnb
    • By lbnblbnb 31st Jan 13, 7:43 PM
    • 564 Posts
    • 5,881 Thanks
    lbnblbnb
    Meal planned tonight as we get our veg box on a Thursday.
    F: pizza (homemade base, sauce, etc)
    S: celeriac and potato bake with leek and mushroom roll (from Christmas, freezer)
    S: spiced swede cakes and veg curry
    M: veg chilli (poss in slow cooker)
    Tu: happy cow burgers
    W: baked leek and rice risotto thing

    Other: jellies for kids, mincemeat plait and ice cream from freezer, frozen stollen for OH.
    Off to run list through my supermarket and sub ingredients to get the cost down as low as possible.
    Grocery Challenge (2 adults 2 kids)
    19th June -18th July 91:15/150 61%

    Save 12,000 in 2013 No. 188 7382/12,000 62%
    2013 Frugal Living Challenge
    Debt free October 2012
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 31st Jan 13, 7:51 PM
    • 3,984 Posts
    • 52,562 Thanks
    Florenceem
    FLO, is that a batter you have put on thechicken it looks like KFC whats the recipe pls xxx
    Originally posted by craigywv
    Not a batter - coating - chicken still had skin on. Just mix flour + seasonings of choice. Dip chicken piece in beaten egg and then in flour mix - repeat to get a good coating. Then cook in oven - I cover with foil so the chicken is cooked through then remove foil to crisp off. Some people fry chicken a bit first then finish in oven. I don't bother with that bit.
    15 in 2015 1/15
    • slscarborough
    • By slscarborough 31st Jan 13, 7:59 PM
    • 847 Posts
    • 1,934 Thanks
    slscarborough
    Can you please put me down for 340 this month x
  • Verityemilia
    Another spend - 1.85

    45.55 / 50

    Arghhhhh - under budget though
    Seal pot challenge no 7- # 331 Saved 140 SPC - Target 30
    Grocery challenge - 100 a week
    Weekly Spend Challenge - 40
    • lizalloareds
    • By lizalloareds 31st Jan 13, 8:11 PM
    • 1,808 Posts
    • 17,414 Thanks
    lizalloareds
    going to stick with 70 a week even though I have been over the last 2 weeks, must try harder!
    September GC 30th aug-4th Oct 332.74/375 NSD 3
    Gc Jan 234.85/200 Feb 298.92/280March 298.42/280 April 270.49/280 May Gc 351.08/350 June 300.06/280 July 256.15/240
    Aug 318.74/280
  • kobrakai
    200 for me again this month!
    2 Savers Club 2014 #38 | 20p Savers Club 2014 #37 | 50p Savers Club 2014 #29
    365 in 365 days #89 9/365 | DFBX2014 challenge #023 70/6500
    Weekly Saving Challenge 2014 #30 6/1378
    Save 12k in 2014 #159 80.62/2000
    • Mumof2
    • By Mumof2 31st Jan 13, 8:23 PM
    • 2,683 Posts
    • 40,984 Thanks
    Mumof2
    Hi there, please can you put me down for the February challenge for 280. Many thanks.
    Flymarkeeteer: 168 and counting
    • XSpender
    • By XSpender 31st Jan 13, 8:52 PM
    • 3,346 Posts
    • 34,469 Thanks
    XSpender
    My total is now 243.31 out of 400 with 11 days to go. This includes the Chinese takeaway we had for tea. For once we had planned this is what we would have for tea and I don't feel guilty having it at all. I have also added in the 2 mirrors I bought and the GF bread rolls. I enjoyed these rolls from mr s so got 2 packs to split and put in the freezer as when I went earlier in the week they didn't have any. I haven't managed to get any YS GF bread recently.

    I got 2 papers for the Ald1 vouchers today and will use one on Saturday morning and one next Thursday. It will mean doing my weekly shop a day or so earlier next week but that won't cause me any problems I don't think. I haven't shopped at ald1 for ages but do like it so it will make a nice change to mr s.

    I can get a gift card from work for mr s that gives 5% off. So if I buy 100 I get 105. Does anyone else get these through a work scheme and do you think they are worth it? Mr s is my closest shop and I use it quite a bit.
  • *stargirl*
    My total is now 243.31 out of 400 with 11 days to go. This includes the Chinese takeaway we had for tea. For once we had planned this is what we would have for tea and I don't feel guilty having it at all. I have also added in the 2 mirrors I bought and the GF bread rolls. I enjoyed these rolls from mr s so got 2 packs to split and put in the freezer as when I went earlier in the week they didn't have any. I haven't managed to get any YS GF bread recently.

    I got 2 papers for the Ald1 vouchers today and will use one on Saturday morning and one next Thursday. It will mean doing my weekly shop a day or so earlier next week but that won't cause me any problems I don't think. I haven't shopped at ald1 for ages but do like it so it will make a nice change to mr s.

    I can get a gift card from work for mr s that gives 5% off. So if I buy 100 I get 105. Does anyone else get these through a work scheme and do you think they are worth it? Mr s is my closest shop and I use it quite a bit.
    Originally posted by XSpender
    we have a similar scheme at work called the rewards gateway, is yours the same one?
    with ours you order how much you want on your voucher, say 100 and they only charge you 95.

    i think it would work much better if you could just have a card that gives you 5% off at the tilll.
    i dont use them as i use a veg market and butcher. when i do use supermarkets i like to shop around depending on deals and i think it would be quite limiting.
    you can get the love to shop one with an 8% discount so i am topping it up every pay day saving for Xmas.
    if you have the same site as us, you can also do all your cash back through it. if you get some cash back for a purchase, switching provider etc, you can just transfer the balance on to your card.

    anyway back on topic i spent 1 on yogurts for my little girl today, got home and they're flipping jelly. oh dear, hope she likes it.
    Feb grocery challenge- 71.25/130
    • Bluegreen143
    • By Bluegreen143 31st Jan 13, 9:14 PM
    • 1,101 Posts
    • 12,692 Thanks
    Bluegreen143
    sheeppappar, your Spaghetti Carbonara recipe has been added to the index
    Married 1 March 2014 DS born 06/12/15

    Debts
    CC - 2,182.17/2,182.17
    Family loan 1 - 1,680/1,680
    Family loan 2 - 3,500/5,000
    • Bluegreen143
    • By Bluegreen143 31st Jan 13, 9:19 PM
    • 1,101 Posts
    • 12,692 Thanks
    Bluegreen143
    MrsCD, your Soda Bread and Lentil Veggie Broth recipes have been added to the index
    Married 1 March 2014 DS born 06/12/15

    Debts
    CC - 2,182.17/2,182.17
    Family loan 1 - 1,680/1,680
    Family loan 2 - 3,500/5,000
    • Bluegreen143
    • By Bluegreen143 31st Jan 13, 9:23 PM
    • 1,101 Posts
    • 12,692 Thanks
    Bluegreen143
    Well finished January only a couple of over budget and feeling confident about February - it makes a big difference that OH is now fully on board.

    Made a very frugal and healthy dinner of a veggie casserole (had carrots, parsnips, mushrooms and onions) with herby cheese dumplings and a massive pile of cabbage - got a portion left for lunch tomorrow, too:



    Also used up some stale cornflakes (OH got bored of them halfway through the pack and I don't like them) to make cornflake cakes for snacks this weekend:



    Starting the new month off well, hopefully
    Married 1 March 2014 DS born 06/12/15

    Debts
    CC - 2,182.17/2,182.17
    Family loan 1 - 1,680/1,680
    Family loan 2 - 3,500/5,000
    • Allypops
    • By Allypops 31st Jan 13, 10:13 PM
    • 243 Posts
    • 1,211 Thanks
    Allypops
    Went a bit off course in January but back for a fresh start for February.

    I have a budget of 400 again for 2 adults and 2 children (under 10s).

    Thank you
    Allypops
    Married with 2 children
    SPC5 # 1837- -
    DMP started April 2011 34.5% paid 78800
    DFD: June 2019 DFW Long hauler #286
    • MavisTheMaven
    • By MavisTheMaven 1st Feb 13, 6:34 AM
    • 50 Posts
    • 129 Thanks
    MavisTheMaven
    Put me on the list for 140!
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