Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

Welcome to the MSE Forums

We're home to a fantastic community of MoneySavers but anyone can post. Please exercise caution & report spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts/messages: click "report" or email forumteam@.

    • 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 46
    • lizalloareds
    • By lizalloareds 12th Feb 13, 7:14 PM
    • 1,808 Posts
    • 17,414 Thanks
    Spends today
    1.29 mr t
    1.44 Ald*
    60p Mr S

    sig updated
    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
    • Bluegreen143
    • By Bluegreen143 12th Feb 13, 7:55 PM
    • 1,101 Posts
    • 12,692 Thanks
    I'll just add my hugs to everyone who's had a sh***y day

    Had planned roasted veg lasagne for dinner but realised today I'd forgotten buy lasagne sheets - in a moment of inspiration I decided to make pancake cannelloni instead as I had the ingredients and it was more festive Ended up making pancake lasagne as I couldn't figure out wrapping it round the filling (they were particularly ragged crepes as my pan is rubbish and the filling still-hot roasted veg in tomato sauce which was hard to handle). Was delicious then had the leftover pancakes with nutella afterwards

    Spent 89p on 2 pints milk at Mr M, could have probably waited until tomorrow as we have enough left for breakfast, but I hate running out.
    Married 1 March 2014 DS born 06/12/15

    CC - 2,182.17/2,182.17
    Family loan 1 - 1,680/1,680
    Family loan 2 - 3,500/5,000
    • mossy
    • By mossy 12th Feb 13, 8:12 PM
    • 1,142 Posts
    • 8,199 Thanks
    Made the cardinal sin yesterday and bought a chicken thinking the 'on offer' kilo price was the price!! So annoyed with myself!!

    Ah well, resulted in an over spend. I think I'm still going to need more milk and eggs so at least 2. We're also almost out of bread although I might bake some to keep us going.

    Not great but not too bad an overspend I suppose!
    Saving for Disney again big a target to face up to yet!
    Emergency Fund Savings - #148 - 10/1000 1%
    #083 SPC6 63 - SPC7 90 - SPC8 63 - SPC9 54 - SPC10 26 - SPC12
    • Scuff
    • By Scuff 12th Feb 13, 8:18 PM
    • 521 Posts
    • 2,087 Thanks
    26.23 spent today bringing us to 177.96/200
    September 2016 GC 21.37/120
    • Tales17
    • By Tales17 12th Feb 13, 8:59 PM
    • 251 Posts
    • 2,496 Thanks
    Last message didn't seem to post for some reason so I will try again!

    Had a nsd at the weekend and a couple of small spends at the shops. Main shop tomorrow but shouldn't be too much as we have a Riverford box on Thursday and we're trying to use up food in the freezer this week!
    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%)
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 12th Feb 13, 8:59 PM
    • 3,984 Posts
    • 52,562 Thanks
    Ooo that look gorgeous, can i have the recipe please, im new to all this home baking, Thankyou. Oh edited just to ask, can you make this with golden syrup, or marmalade. Is it a basic recipe where you can add things yovue got in your store cupboard, or would you have to change the weights of the ingredients?
    Originally posted by ImDoingItForMe
    4oz margarine - I used butter. 1oz desiccated coconut.
    4oz self raising flour.
    4oz caster sugar.
    2 eggs - I used medium.
    1 small orange (or use lemon)

    Cook in 7 1/2 inch greased lined sandwich tin - I used a 6 inch tin and cooked for longer time.
    Cream marge/butter with sugar. Beat in eggs. Then beat in grated orange/lemon rind and juice. Fold in 1/2 oz coconut and flour. Put in tin and sprinkle remaining 1/2oz coconut over cake.
    Bake - centre - oven - 190 - 30 minutes or until cooked. I cooked at 180 as my oven is hot with the new fan.

    Don't know about using syrup or honey instead of sugar but lemon/orange interchangable.
    15 in 2015 1/15
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 12th Feb 13, 9:03 PM
    • 3,984 Posts
    • 52,562 Thanks
    NSD here.
    Dinner was HM garlic potato wedges with gammon, mushy peas and grated carrot/red onion in garlic mayonnaise. It was yummy.

    15 in 2015 1/15
    • NickJW
    • By NickJW 12th Feb 13, 9:23 PM
    • 678 Posts
    • 13,646 Thanks
    I thought it was just me having a stupendously rubbish <hugs> (can't find the avatar everyone else is using - the day doesn't get better! )

    Having Mackerel with a harissa and orange glaze with sweet potato mash and green beans courtesy of my house-mate. It's the first time I've tried a fresh mackerel (ie not vacuumed packed and smoked), so I hope it's nice!

    50p on a pack of chewing gum to add...

    Need to remember that tomorrow is another day
    Grocery Challenge 14 Jan 14 46.05/130

    Grocery Challenge 13 -spent 1453.06
    Grocery Challenge 12 -spent 1565.51

    DFD 1st March 2011
  • Waywardbird
    14.70 over the last few days for bits and pieces.
    February - TLW #16 2/16
    Save 12k 2014 #134 - 614.81/3000
  • katholicos
    Hi all, no further grocery spends to add yet. Didn't eat anything till this evening when i made up for it by having some stilton and tiger bread, followed by pancakes with lemon juice and sugar.

    @kitchenbunny, sorry you are having a really tough time at moment.
    Grocery Challenge for October: 135/200

    NSD Challenge: October 0/14
    • lushlifesaver
    • By lushlifesaver 13th Feb 13, 6:29 AM
    • 2,312 Posts
    • 18,637 Thanks
    todays spends:
    0.89 2pints milk
    0.78 2 packets of pancake mix
    5.38 2 packs of Belvita biscuits (pricey I know but the only way I can get bf to eat breakfast/at work)

    total 7.05 but forgot eggs so will be spending a pound or so later on some.

    So glad that the weekend comes out of a different budget (evening meals only as we will be away)! But only 12days until pay day (phew!)
    Perfect Princess born 26/03/14 <3
  • sjprmc01
    Why oh why do I always lose track mid month?

    Need to re-trace my shopping steps and tally up! Don't want to fail the challenge AGAIN!
    No more unnecessary toiletries Feb 2014 INS: 24 UU: 13. Mar 2014. INS: lost count, naughty step for me! UU: 8
    • tessie bear
    • By tessie bear 13th Feb 13, 10:13 AM
    • 4,324 Posts
    • 29,765 Thanks
    tessie bear
    hi...been baking rock buns and marinading chicken for tea...also prepping veg and pots...have been super organised and planned 3 weeks of meals to use up what is in the freezer

    this is ahead of a shop at costco next week and i dont want to tip new food on top of older frozen food so need to use it up

    its snowing here which is interesting ahead of half term...havent looked if it is settling yet

    onwards and upwards
  • Waywardbird
    18.91 today, nipped down to Sainsburys just before the road became to bad with the snow. I think i have enough in for a week or so now.
    February - TLW #16 2/16
    Save 12k 2014 #134 - 614.81/3000
    • mummyyof5
    • By mummyyof5 13th Feb 13, 10:54 AM
    • 1,839 Posts
    • 39,830 Thanks
    Another 18 to add from a couple of days and yesterday are NSDs...need to get a new curtain track tomorrow as cannot get hooks anywhere for will pick up the few bits we need while least I will if this bl***y snow goes away xx
    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.
    • lizalloareds
    • By lizalloareds 13th Feb 13, 11:03 AM
    • 1,808 Posts
    • 17,414 Thanks
    spends today
    5.60 Mr T needed veg and brown sauce for OH and its got to be H*P!
    if I hadn't bought the leg of lamb from Mr S I might have been on budget!
    got a couple of inches of snow the roads are shocking, they haven't been touched by the council
    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
    • liz-paul
    • By liz-paul 13th Feb 13, 12:28 PM
    • 895 Posts
    • 4,806 Thanks
    Got the inside of shepherds pie all cooked so just need to put half in the freezer for another day and boil/mash the potatoes for tonights one. Gonna do steamed cabbage with it and see what the kids think of that....

    And I have a heart saped choc fudge cake in the oven as we speak. Kids are going to help me ice/decorate it later and it is for OH for tomorrow (although I'm sure we'll eat some too ).

    Realised I only have 120 until the end of the month but it shouldn't be too hard....
    1% at a time no. 40. 8000 (For dream family holiday) 94/100
    MFW 2013 no. 62 10,000/10,000
    MFW 2014 no 62 8000/7000
    • Coxy11
    • By Coxy11 13th Feb 13, 12:57 PM
    • 2,295 Posts
    • 27,317 Thanks
    Hi everyone,

    Spend of 28.80 in T's although only 15 on food - F!nest Meal Deal. DH is running his scouts as usual on Thursday so we will have this on Saturday instead (BIL and newbie GF coming for dinner on Friday).

    I chose pork belly with caramelised apple, leek potato and gruyere cakes, belgian choc pots and prosecco. I know there was talk on the elite thread about the beef wellingtons and them not scanning through therefore triggering a DTD, but I didn't want to cause a scene

    Chilli and rice for tea tonight which will no doubt cause DD to sulk - and I don't even make it that spicy. Kids uh?!

    Have a good day all.
    Cross-stitch WIP #1: Collecting Shells by Nancy Cole
    Cross-stitch WIP #2: Pretty Little London by Satsuma Street
    • meg72
    • By meg72 13th Feb 13, 1:11 PM
    • 5,082 Posts
    • 46,072 Thanks
    Heavy snow so no getting out today for me. May have to consider a small online order as have DG2 staying for the weekend and need stuff for him.
    Slimming World at target
    • Billie-jo
    • By Billie-jo 13th Feb 13, 1:14 PM
    • 1,221 Posts
    • 15,892 Thanks
    Well a busy day so far trying to tidy up the small bedroom and get rid of a few things - going to be a long battle. Have a loaf rising, made some French Onions soup and added a of a box of dried mushrooms I found this morning BBD 2011 Cant see us coming to any harm eating them. We are having this soup and cheese on toast for tea - very and very tasty.

    Also have the slow cooker ready to switch on soon with the ingredients in it for rice pudding, never made this in the slow cooker before so we will see.

    Taken a couple of mince pies and sausage rolls out of the freezer that were made for Christmas. The mince pies will be eaten this afternoon with a nice cup of tea and the sausage rolls we will have tomorrow with something for lunch.

    Meal plan until next Wednesday is done and have almost finished the shopping list ready for tomorrow.

    WED - French onion soup, cheese on toast. Rice pudding.
    THUR - Crispy belly pork, roast potatoes, cabbage and apple sauce.
    FRI -Breaded fish with tomato salad.
    SAT - ?
    SUN - Beef stew with leek dumplings.
    MON - Jkt potato with filling.
    TUE - Spaghetti bolognaise & garlic bread.
    WED - Cheese & potato pie

    Doing really well so far this month with 50% of the month gone (well almost) and 24% of the budget spent.

    Hope everyone is ok and not having too many problems with the snow, its been falling all day here but roads are not too bad . . . . . . YET.
    [COLOR="Purple"][B] MARCH 62.38/250 [B][COLOR="Purple"]
Welcome to our new Forum!

Our aim is to save you money quickly and easily. We hope you like it!

Forum Team Contact us

Live Stats

3,646Posts Today

9,255Users online

Martin's Twitter
  • This is why I wrote the guide to financial abuse. It's tough to know when it's happening to you. It's also worth?

  • RT @David_Challen: Really happy @MartinSLewis is raising awareness of economic/financial abuse. My mother cleaned her cousins home for poc?

  • Has anyone successfully reclaimed PPI on behalf of a deceased relative. I'm doing a blog on how to do it, and I'd?

  • Follow Martin