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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 26
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 3rd Feb 13, 3:54 PM
    • 3,996 Posts
    • 52,590 Thanks
    Muffin and custard for brekkie. I had a yummy biscuit with my mid morning cup of tea - received in a Christmas present - hamper. My DS had asked - what did I want for Christmas - I didn't know - so they got a shabby chic suitcase and filled it with food goodies - I love the case more than the food. Don't get me wrong - the food was fantastic - top range goods but the suitcase - is to die for.
    Lunch - fried off leftover roast potatoes, tomato, mushrooms, 1/2 sausage, 1/4 tin baked beans on 1/2 slice HM bread toasted. Followed by mango - stuffed after that lot. Cost of meal in photo + mango - less than 50p.

    15 in 2015 1/15
    • peony40
    • By peony40 3rd Feb 13, 4:07 PM
    • 494 Posts
    • 6,433 Thanks
    Visited my parents today and passed a small T**co so popped in for items that I can't find in my local Co**, such as sweet potatoes and greek yoghurt; no brie though!

    Spent £14.01 in total, £8.63 from week 1 and £5.38 from week 2.

    Still feel like I am finding my feet, I think I will budget separately for non food items such as dishwasher tablets etc., but am still trying to work on an accurate cost.

    It's been nice to read everyone's posts and I hope to get to know you all during the month.

    Good Luck All.
    2019 Sealed Pot Challenge 107
    • ImDoingItForMe
    • By ImDoingItForMe 3rd Feb 13, 4:16 PM
    • 870 Posts
    • 4,795 Thanks
    Just updating spends. Only £1.71 today (one YS veg product, and yoghurts, nothing exciting. But im keeping on track with spends, which is good.
  • katholicos
    No spends. Vegetarian lasagne for main meals today.
    Grocery Challenge for October: £135/£200

    NSD Challenge: October 0/14
  • she who can not cook
    They were also selling carrier bags jammed full of bananas for £1 - ideal for a family but not much use to me on my own!

    I am constantly amazed at how well most of you manage on sometimes very small budgets. It makes me feel like a bit of a spendthrift.
    Originally posted by Living proof
    Not necessarily I froze a bag and get them out when I fancy a banana smoothie
    Gc 2013 +26 -5. -4 -7 -14 -15 -10.-8.20 +15p+30+5.80 Dec +9 GROCERY challenge 2014 Jan -2Feb -3 March -1.50 April +5.40 May +4.90 June -3.July 16.50/85

    God bless my sweet "old man" Goldie that died in the early hours of 27 th March please see him on my avatar
    • Baileys Babe
    • By Baileys Babe 3rd Feb 13, 4:55 PM
    • 2,593 Posts
    • 13,568 Thanks
    Baileys Babe
    First grocery spend of the month yesterday of £25.41, this should give us enough food along with the contents of the cupboards & freezers until at least the 10th.

    January I'm declaring at £416.37 over by £106.37
    Originally posted by Baileys Babe
    Having had a look at my virtual paper work and realised we had been under by £103 in December so over all not as bad as I thought. OH knows how much we overspent in January and is on board about trying to claw this overspend back and to be more disciplined in future, I'm not going to tell him just yet about my discovery as he will be less inclined to continue putting in an effort with the GC.
    • cattysmum
    • By cattysmum 3rd Feb 13, 5:03 PM
    • 1,256 Posts
    • 21,417 Thanks
    Visit to Lidl with my five pound moc spent 32.61 in real money. I have £55 in my purse and £112 in grocery bank account. Would love to be able to keep that in there. Going away for a week of sunshine next week so 7 nsds grocery wise.
    [B]SPC No. 295 - SPC No10 target £350
    SPC 2014 £150/SPC 2015 £256SPC 2016 £324
    Saving for Florida 2018
    Matched betting toe dipper.
    • Tales17
    • By Tales17 3rd Feb 13, 5:23 PM
    • 251 Posts
    • 2,496 Thanks
    Small spend on Friday at Mr T then two no spend days this weekend!

    Will plan meals for the week and assess the cupboards tomorrow, also decided to be good and stop buying so many snacks, weight is going up now the breast feeding is slowing down, can't get away with eating anything I like any more! At least the bank balance will come down with the waist! Lol!
    Grocery Challenge 2019 YTD-£820.46/£7200(11%)
    Grocery Challenge Feb - £93.10/£600(16%)
    £12k in 2019 #: Monthly Saving Accounts £500, Cashback & Competition Sites £2.59, Shopping Saving £152.09,Selling £121.26, Interest & Dividends £43.93, Surveys £0, 365 Day Penny Challenge # £103.44
    Total Saved - £923.31/£12000(8%)
    • pinkypig
    • By pinkypig 3rd Feb 13, 6:00 PM
    • 1,576 Posts
    • 12,109 Thanks
    NSD today. Went for a walk and took a picnic lunch with us. Made some muffins for lunches and snacks.
    HM burgers, wedges and salad for dinner. Hoping for no further spends until Thursday when I need to use my last Ald* voucher.

    Hope everyone has had a good weekend.
    PP xxxx
    MFW 2018 #157 Target £15,000

    • GreenFairy
    • By GreenFairy 3rd Feb 13, 6:02 PM
    • 301 Posts
    • 3,786 Thanks

    did buy some vitalite and icing sugar to experiment with (best mate is gluten free, dairy free, allergic to sulphites, n prob some other stuff that i cant remember but i said i would try make frosting wi vitalite. should be interesting!)
    Originally posted by lovelife79
    I find vitalite to be the best and most versatile of the dairy free spreads. Can use it in baking, frying and for spreading, and it makes a pretty good "butter" cream too.
    Feb GC €253.11/€400
    Jan GC €203.37/€400
    • Bluegreen143
    • By Bluegreen143 3rd Feb 13, 6:14 PM
    • 1,108 Posts
    • 12,739 Thanks
    Just made dinner - had sausage, mustard mash, cabbage and carrots with gravy.

    To whoever said about the hoisin sauce - I tried it before and it didn't taste quite right but was yummy and easy - just a case of mixing all the ingredients together. Some are quite 'speciality' so I substituted loads which might be why it tasted different - I have all the right ingredients this time. Recipe below:

    Hoisin sauce

    4 tablespoons soy sauce
    2 tablespoons black bean paste (or peanut butter)
    1 tablespoon molasses (or honey)
    2 teaspoons seasoned rice vinegar
    1 garlic clove, finely minced
    2 teaspoons sesame seed oil
    1 teaspoon chinese hot sauce
    1/8 teaspoon black pepper

    Mix together. Makes 3/4 of a cup - not sure how many servings that is

    Have added to index!
    Married 1 March 2014 DS born 06 Dec 2014 DD born 14 Dec 2018
    • tessie bear
    • By tessie bear 3rd Feb 13, 6:36 PM
    • 4,369 Posts
    • 30,042 Thanks
    tessie bear
    that cabbage looks lovely i really like the dark leaves i always ask if i can have a few stray outer leaves from the box in green grocers...been house bound today due various snifles

    we had hm pizza for lunch which was quite pleasant...i made the base in the week and froze it...then just topped with cheese herbs and tomato sauce

    right off to sort out the packups
    take care tess
    onwards and upwards
    • polkadot90
    • By polkadot90 3rd Feb 13, 6:51 PM
    • 159 Posts
    • 3,600 Thanks
    Going for my first shop at Aldi tomorrow... Hoping I'll like it and keep shopping there to bring down the food bills.
    Had a small spend today, £8.
    Trying to save up for a deposit for a mortgage....could be a while!!

    Comping since 15/06/2014 - thanks to all those who post the competitions ❤️😀
    • pinkypig
    • By pinkypig 3rd Feb 13, 7:26 PM
    • 1,576 Posts
    • 12,109 Thanks
    What about padding the mince out with tvp,and or carrots,lentils my other half never knew he was eating fake mince so speak
    Originally posted by she who can not cook
    Thanks for the tip. I'll try that. Nobody has noticed the bulk out breadcrumbs yet either

    PP xx
    MFW 2018 #157 Target £15,000

    • pinkypig
    • By pinkypig 3rd Feb 13, 7:28 PM
    • 1,576 Posts
    • 12,109 Thanks
    that cabbage looks lovely i really like the dark leaves i always ask if i can have a few stray outer leaves from the box in green grocers...been house bound today due various snifles

    we had hm pizza for lunch which was quite pleasant...i made the base in the week and froze it...then just topped with cheese herbs and tomato sauce

    right off to sort out the packups
    take care tess
    Originally posted by tessie bear
    It is on super6 this week Tessie.
    MFW 2018 #157 Target £15,000

    • bargain hunter
    • By bargain hunter 3rd Feb 13, 7:56 PM
    • 542 Posts
    • 1,184 Thanks
    bargain hunter
    Just updating signature
    £3.80 spend at Ald*s today on some flour raisins and ss, and £2.60 at f-foods on 4 litres milk and frubes for pack lunches
    That should be me til Wednesday and I've the ald* £5 voucher for then
    I'm getting the hang of this
    Got a text from one of my gf's telling me she was just doing an inventory of her fridge/freezer as I've been going on about it so much
    . FEB GC £255.82£240
    MAR GC 230.46/ £240
    APRIL GC 237.84/ £230
    MAY GC £296.10/£ 270 (5 week month !)
  • fourtoeight
    hi everybody. even though i've lurked quite a bit around, i think this is my first post.
    i'm going to try this month's GC, as my bank account has not been feeling really well lately, and my food expenses are totally to blame. I know I might be a few days late, but hey, I have not received my paycheck yet, so let's pretend one delay counteracts the other

    So I'd like to be put down to €30 for the month (cleaning products and toiletries inc)- I don't live in the UK, but I believe my budget, as previously stated, is slightly over £25

    this is only for me. also, both my cupboards and freezer are well stocked atm.

    let's see how it goes
  • Debtbusterintraining
    Well just back from Mr Ts and weekly shop came to £64.14 so I will update my ticker accordingly. Should only need bread and milk top up the rest of the week and I also forgot coconut milk which I will need for my korma later in the week too. So on track so far.
    LBM Jan 2012 £32355 now £23984.01
    GC Feb£289.64/300 Mar £284.92/300Apr £215.53/300
    £2 Savers £124/100
    NSDs Jan 9/8 Feb 6/9mar 8/9 Apr 5/9
  • elizabunny
    Beef stew and dumplings for dinner tonight. Our butcher left the beef nice and chunky and it was delicous. Just Ice cream for pud.

    Also reporting a NSD thank goodness, maybe another tomorrow
    Sealed Pot Challenge 7 Member 022
    5:2 Diet started 28/1/2013 only 13lbs lost due to Xmas 2013 blip.
  • kobrakai
    big shop for us today, total now up to £80.81 so will be very careful over the next few weeks! trying not to go over budget 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
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