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    • zippychick
    • By zippychick 4th Jun 11, 12:19 PM
    • 9,343Posts
    • 17,880Thanks
    • #1
    • 4th Jun 11, 12:19 PM
    4th Jun 11 at 12:19 PM
    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 2:22 PM.
    I'm a Board Guide of Old Style MoneySaving, The Northern Ireland board,How Much Have you Saved? and Martin's Blogs.
    This means I'm a volunteer to help the boards run smoothly and can move and merge posts there. However, do remember that Board Guides don't read every post. If you spot an inappropriate or illegal post then please report it to It is not part of my role to deal with reportable posts. Any views are mine and are not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.
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Page 22
    • ImDoingItForMe
    • By ImDoingItForMe 2nd Feb 13, 11:07 AM
    • 866 Posts
    • 4,793 Thanks
    Just popped in to update my signature. Ive had a very good week with YS products. Ive spent 11.64 this week. Got washing powder reduced to half price, then a DTD refund due to them overcharging me. Free milk courtesy of free milk friday, reduced steak x 2, reduced lenor with coupons as well as reduced alpro, and rice milk with coupons again, YS bread, cress, diet coke (8cans for 94p), YS stirfry. Too many bargains this week to mention. I found light brown sugar in HB for 99p which was good as i was going to pay 1.60 in Mr As as this was the cheapest ide seen it. Theres only me so this will keep me going for a few weeks. I will only need bread, yoghurts and fruit ( i never seem to find YS fruit, only the prepacked ones, which are expensive in the first place).
    Last edited by ImDoingItForMe; 02-02-2013 at 11:28 AM.
    • cw18
    • By cw18 2nd Feb 13, 11:12 AM
    • 7,950 Posts
    • 85,207 Thanks
    First grocery shops of the month were done yesterday - spent 21.73, which shocked me when I added it up this morning a I don't seem to have got very much for it

    From B'n'M I got two boxes of Muesli (I discovered after they were scanned these were on a '2 for' offer I hadn't seen signage for - saving me 58p ) which equate to breakfast for about 4 weeks even if I don't have something else for a change.

    From Mr T I got 3x2 litres of (filtered) milk for DS which should keep him going for the week, two 500g tubs of soya spread (for me, I'm currently trying to exclude dairy from my diet), 2x500g of organic minced beef, 2xtwin packs of garlic baguettes (all the items mentioned up to now being on multi-buy offers), a half dozen eggs, a loaf of bread, some breaded ham for sandwiches, and 1 litre whoopsied apple juice.

    Will have to go back to the shops on Monday for fruit and veg for the week, but can't think of a single thing I should need before then. I shouldn't need meat as I have loads of boneless chicken thighs in the freezer from a C0stco trip last month, and will only be using one pack of mince this weekend (plus I have chops, sausages, burgers and various other cuts of meat - and a fair amount of fish - in the freezers). I don't actually have space in my freezers for anything else, so shouldn't be tempted by any meat offers/whoopsies - and I think that may be what keeps me under budget this month
    Last edited by cw18; 02-02-2013 at 12:40 PM.
    Sell 1000 : 0.00 Crazy Clothes : 0.00
    Toiletries : 0 IN; 5 UU; 0 TA; 0 GA
    Groceries : Apr 109.36 / 100 Mar 99.55 / 100.Feb 85.02 / 80.Jan 112.15 / 130. Annual 406.08 / 1200

    • lushlifesaver
    • By lushlifesaver 2nd Feb 13, 11:58 AM
    • 2,287 Posts
    • 18,450 Thanks
    13 spent in Iceland - we are now stocked up for the next 10 days or so

    That's this weeks budget spent up just about Plus our new week, in budget terms, starts today. We shouldn't need to spend anything now apart from perhaps milk depending on how much of that we use this week.
    Bf has chocolate bars and packets of his favourite crisps ,enough to last him 2 weeks minimum, and I'm all set for fruit (got myself a sneaky packet of curly wurlys too hehe). We have plenty of ham and cheese for our sandwich fillings.

    Got a new 3lt bottle of juice so that should last me a good while as bf doesn't drink it .

    So all in all I'm very happy. The fridge always looks bare this time of year as we only ever much salad etc when it's warmer so looking forward to a change in our diets around May! plus we lift out our meats etc to defrost the night before so we never have any of that in there either!

    Hope you're all feeling positive!
    Last edited by lushlifesaver; 02-02-2013 at 2:54 PM.
    Perfect Princess born 26/03/14 <3
    • pinkypig
    • By pinkypig 2nd Feb 13, 12:30 PM
    • 1,145 Posts
    • 9,509 Thanks
    Forgot yogurts, squash and dishwasher tablets so had to have a spend day after all

    Off to update sig.

    PP xx
    MFW 2018 #157 Target 15,000

    • DanielleNic87
    • By DanielleNic87 2nd Feb 13, 1:14 PM
    • 1,037 Posts
    • 13,314 Thanks
    1.50 added to the signature. Needed bread rolls and this is all they had a T's when i sent DH.

    Annual GC 2017 1634.61/2200
  • Dizzymcf
    Lemon curd (again)
    Help. Tried to make lemon curd in slow cooker but its very I had a quick look on mse and found a recipe for making ice cream using iPad died and now I can't find the recipe again. I've been looking for ages and am about to cry ... Can anyone point me in the right direction please !
    • ruby_eskimo
    • By ruby_eskimo 2nd Feb 13, 1:34 PM
    • 2,244 Posts
    • 12,554 Thanks
    This thread moves quick doesn't it!

    Just back from Sainsbury's and spent 28.33. Just needed a few fresh vegetables and some fruit, milk etc. Got some strange looks because I appeared to be buying the entire stock of courgette's to make courgette soup with! We've got lots of meat still in the freezer, which can probably carry us over to the following week as well.

    Oh and you know those vouchers that they give out saying how much cheaper your branded shop was...well next week we'll be getting the grand total of 0.01p off our shop!
    Emergency Fund - 0 / 5,000 :: Decluttering - 0 / 1095
    Sealed Pot 2018 #24 :: VSP #29 - 0:: NSD 2018 - 6 / 200 Weight Loss: 44.6 / 58lbs January GC - 109/ 200
    Engaged 9th December 2010 Married 29th October 2015
    • lbnblbnb
    • By lbnblbnb 2nd Feb 13, 1:38 PM
    • 564 Posts
    • 5,881 Thanks
    I have sat and made my price book at last. All my scrappy lists of best prices are now in a spreadsheet. Should help!

    One thing - I never looked at bags of grated cheese, in fact I rather sneered at the thought - why not grate your own? BUT in Aldi yesterday the bag of grated mature cheddar was 4.33/kg, a good price but even the grated value cheese was more expensive than blocks in Sainsbury's. is this a regular price? Why? Is it off cuts or something? Does anyone know?

    Oh the things I am now using brain space on...!
    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
    • lbnblbnb
    • By lbnblbnb 2nd Feb 13, 1:47 PM
    • 564 Posts
    • 5,881 Thanks
    Snowing here, ugh! I am taking inspiration from the Mortgage free in three blog and having a baking day. Trying to prevent the family from feeling deprived. I am going to start some of her fridge bread and make some muffins and scones. Will bake some spudatas at the same time to micro for lunches. I will also make some jellies for the kids, not very frugal but for some reason I have quite a few sachets so trying to use them up.
    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
  • dizzy lizzie
    Oops I'm a bit late adding this months challenge. I went over in January so I've decided to do this month to the 22nd, payday, rather than the end of the month.
    Can you please add me to this months challenge.
    160 again but over fewer days this time.
    Thank you and good luck to everyone for this month.
    Official DFW Nerd Club Member no:219
    In the Court Of The Crimson King
    I don't believe in the concept of hell, but if I did I would think of it as filled with people who were cruel to animals.
    Gary Larson
    • mummyyof5
    • By mummyyof5 2nd Feb 13, 2:32 PM
    • 1,839 Posts
    • 39,830 Thanks
    very small spends yesterday of 65p kitchen roll and 90p for bubble bath 1.55 to add.

    Took DS to a party this morning and was going to call in I**land on the way back but was offered a lift home...mmmm 20 mins walk to the shop then wait however long for bus versus a lift home in 5 mins...the lift won lol....looks like freezer surprise for tea then xxx
    Feeding 6 Adults 1 Teen a 8 year old with hollow legs and a very fussy 5 year old. Also 3 cats and 3 fishies
    To include all Food,Toiletries and Petfood.
  • dizzy lizzie
    ..looks like freezer surprise for tea then xxx
    Originally posted by mummyyof5
    Was watching Emmerdale the other week and Sam had made a surprise tea for his friend. She asked what the surprise was and he said the surprise was if she liked it
    I've got a craving for hash browns, grilled tomatoes, beans and toast but that would mean buying some hash browns and I'm trying to use up what we have.
    Last edited by dizzy lizzie; 02-02-2013 at 3:25 PM.
    Official DFW Nerd Club Member no:219
    In the Court Of The Crimson King
    I don't believe in the concept of hell, but if I did I would think of it as filled with people who were cruel to animals.
    Gary Larson
    • Islandmaid
    • By Islandmaid 2nd Feb 13, 3:16 PM
    • 2,516 Posts
    • 37,474 Thanks
    50 between Mr L and Mr S today, this included a dozen tins of cat food.

    I am now spening about 50% of what I used to, so thanks to all for keeping me on the straight and narrow x
    Note to self - STOP SPENDING MONEY !!

    March GC 250.00/ .00
    • Billie-jo
    • By Billie-jo 2nd Feb 13, 3:28 PM
    • 1,221 Posts
    • 15,892 Thanks
    First spends of Feb was today and total was 5.98 on carrots, bananas, paper, walnuts and crumpets.
    Have just made some cookies using a diabetic friendly recipe but although they taste lovely they are a little on the dry side so will be having them when we have a cup of tea. I think I would reduce the amount of oats in them next time but they will get eaten so no waste. Also have a loaf in the oven - first one have made for a while.
    Tomorrow we are having a roast chicken with veg etc
    also on the menu this week but no particular order we have jkt potatoes with a filling, crab cakes & chicken korma all home made.

    Dizzymcf - is this what you are after ?
    Last edited by Billie-jo; 02-02-2013 at 3:37 PM.
    [COLOR="Purple"][B] MARCH 62.38/250 [B][COLOR="Purple"]
    • lbnblbnb
    • By lbnblbnb 2nd Feb 13, 4:17 PM
    • 564 Posts
    • 5,881 Thanks
    Still snowing on and off here, but not settling. Baking done with my five year old, lovely times. His sister is out for the afternoon so just me and him. I have cleared up and hoovered (don't ask!). Trying to use up ingredients so we made prune (chopped up small) scones and white chocolate and glac! cherry muffins. Fridge bread begun too.

    I have some mixed peel left from Christmas, what can I do with it? A bit stumped.
    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
  • Waywardbird
    55.12 spent so far. 23.48 of this is a 15kg bag of dog food. Hoping it lasts the pooch 2/3 months.
    February - TLW #16 2/16
    Save 12k 2014 #134 - 614.81/3000
    • SilverBird
    • By SilverBird 2nd Feb 13, 4:45 PM
    • 244 Posts
    • 2,036 Thanks
    So far this month... 14.55 at A1di, 39.36 at Lid1 and 9.50 in hardware shop.

    Lid1 :: had a 5 off 35 voucher which reduced a spend of 44.36 down to 39.36. Also managed to get a couple of packs of the turkey steaks from their weekend offers and also some YS meat.

    Hopefully I won't need to go shopping again until next week-end.
    #Life isn't about waiting for the storms to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain #We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us #If you focus on what you have left behind, you will never see what lies ahead - Gusteau/Ratatouille
    GC: Mar 174.78/180 (415.41/2,160)
  • elizabunny
    Just popping on to report my disgraceful 68 shopping spend total for yesterday & Thursday. I have punished myself with a NSD and by standing and making a huge pot of Vegetable soup and a few other bits and bobs.

    I found 3 leeks, some horseradish and some brussel sprouts in the garden when DH was having a tidy up -so that was a bit of a bonus.

    I will not shop tomorrow!
    Sealed Pot Challenge 7 Member 022
    5:2 Diet started 28/1/2013 only 13lbs lost due to Xmas 2013 blip.
    • Bluegreen143
    • By Bluegreen143 2nd Feb 13, 4:52 PM
    • 1,061 Posts
    • 12,588 Thanks
    Help. Tried to make lemon curd in slow cooker but its very I had a quick look on mse and found a recipe for making ice cream using iPad died and now I can't find the recipe again. I've been looking for ages and am about to cry ... Can anyone point me in the right direction please !
    Originally posted by Dizzymcf
    Might be too late now, but your lemon curd will be a bit runny when it's hot, but once you pot it up and let it cool it will thicken quite a bit... so you might find it's actually OK once cooled.

    Went to Mr M for the weekly shop (a day early as busy tomorrow). Spent 36.09, which was slightly more than I'd have liked (try to keep the smaller 'in-between' shops under 30) but I was pretty happy with everything I got:

    Fruit & veg: Sweet potatoes 770g 99p; Broccoli 590g 1.48; Flat mushrooms 1.25; Chestnut mushrooms 1; Radishes 50p; Bananas x6 1.08; Red gem lettuces 1; Apples x7 1; Savers peppers 1.80; Spring onions 70p; Garlic x4 1; Pea shoots 1; Round lettuce 57p; Savers stirfry mix 50p

    Dairy & eggs: Milk 4 pints 1.49; Double cream 1.10; Free range eggs medium x6 1.48

    Meat: Sirloin steak 200g 3.32; Ham 125g 1

    General: Tinned peach 42p; Cannelini beans 50p; Black-eyed beans 50p; Coffee 1.50; 160 tea bags 3; Savers individual orange juices 45p; Bay leaves 75p; Dried sage 62p; Ground coriander 95p; White loaf 60p

    Toiletries/Household : Mouthwash 1.64; Bubble bath 1.90; Savers kitchen roll 1

    Married 1 March 2014 <3
    • january_23
    • By january_23 2nd Feb 13, 5:06 PM
    • 172 Posts
    • 1,427 Thanks
    Spent 8.76 of our 50 budget.
    41.24 left for the month.

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