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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 third 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:
    February 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; 20-02-2013 at 7:57 AM.
    A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men
    Norn Iron club member #380

Page 10
  • sheeppappar
    we have been doing SW for 2 weeks but haven't budgeted this as I am moving my GC budget back in line with my paydays for easier budgeting.

    I made the SW Spanish rice with chicken and chorizo recipe from the recipe index on Tuesday and it was gorgeous. It is likely to remain on meal plans for sometime
    :
    Originally posted by XSpender
    Sounds lush i will have to try it as i'm doing ww-- have you tried the sw quiche with no pastry?

    6 free range eggs from local grocer 1
    300g cottage cheese - tssco ev one is 59p

    Beat eggs and cheese together.. add in whatever ingredients you want in it (ham, peppers, toms, onion, leftovers ).. then tip into flan dish and oven at 190 till it looks ready. if you slice up a tomato and put on the top before baking it looks like real quiche.. makes 6 decent sized slices @ 27p each (before the extra ingredients)
    Fab for packed lunch or for tea with salad/baked spuds or whatever.

    xx
    CC1 7,944.10
    CC2 2,680.03
    CC3 1,020.88
    • loveasale
    • By loveasale 28th Feb 13, 11:51 AM
    • 444 Posts
    • 2,903 Thanks
    loveasale
    Have up'ed my target to 200.
    I think I need a few basics and freezer things to start me off!
    Hope to better than Febs epic fail
    I will never be rich but I'm happy
    • raphanius
    • By raphanius 28th Feb 13, 12:07 PM
    • 1,269 Posts
    • 6,633 Thanks
    raphanius
    Put me down for 200 again

    i was under in January and over in February but i don't want to increase my budget as a reaction to February's spending.
    Wins: 2008: 606.10 2009: 806.24 2010: 713.47 2011: 328.32

    • bargainbetty
    • By bargainbetty 28th Feb 13, 12:10 PM
    • 3,105 Posts
    • 7,156 Thanks
    bargainbetty
    I'd like to join in this challenge, if I may? I'm interested to see how much I could save if I stopped wasting money on foods I won't get around to eating, or defrosting something for dinner and then getting a takeaway instead.

    I'm on my own, but I've got no clue what I have in the cupboards or freezer as yet. I've got a two bed roomed flat to keep clean, and will include household stuff (loo rolls, toiletries etc) into this.

    I'm aware that this is high for one person, but I'm starting out blind on this one. 200.
    Some days, it's just not worth chewing through the leather straps....
    LB moment - March 2006. DFD - 1 June 2012!!! DEBT FREE!
    MFW - Joined May 2012, aiming to cut the mortgage by an extra two months every year. (Overpaid 3000 so far)
    , only 11 years to go.

    • XSpender
    • By XSpender 28th Feb 13, 12:50 PM
    • 3,343 Posts
    • 34,435 Thanks
    XSpender
    Sounds lush i will have to try it as i'm doing ww-- have you tried the sw quiche with no pastry?

    6 free range eggs from local grocer 1
    300g cottage cheese - tssco ev one is 59p

    Beat eggs and cheese together.. add in whatever ingredients you want in it (ham, peppers, toms, onion, leftovers ).. then tip into flan dish and oven at 190 till it looks ready. if you slice up a tomato and put on the top before baking it looks like real quiche.. makes 6 decent sized slices @ 27p each (before the extra ingredients)
    Fab for packed lunch or for tea with salad/baked spuds or whatever.

    xx
    Originally posted by sheeppappar
    That sounds lovely. I love quiche but having to go GF last year I havent had it much as gluten free pastry is a nightmare to make. It will suit DH on his SW and me being GF.

    Thanks
    • Tales17
    • By Tales17 28th Feb 13, 1:49 PM
    • 251 Posts
    • 2,496 Thanks
    Tales17
    Try again this month please, 500
    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%)
  • optimistic-mummy
    hi everyone. ive just worked out how much i have spent since the begining of the year ..... and was very shocked at the amount (see sig) ...

    to stay on my 3000 yearly target i have 57 p/wk left for the rest of the year, so i seriously need to do a stock take, buy a wipeboard (to write on when we run out of something). start meal planning and stick to a list. i have enough cleaning products and toiletries for the next month or more (only thing i am short on is female product IYKWIM) so its just groceries there are 3 of us .... pets are sorted for the next month also so its just meals for us. right i think i better get cracking. starting with checking the bank balance and ordering a wipe board .... any other tips would be much appreciated i feel so upset that i haven't took control of my grocery spends
    200 weeks 25,000.00 / 700
    • Billie-jo
    • By Billie-jo 28th Feb 13, 3:39 PM
    • 1,221 Posts
    • 15,892 Thanks
    Billie-jo
    Just finished Feb challenge today and came in under budget 175.70/250 so well pleased have reduced the March budget by just 10 as its also Mum's birthday and Mothers day and the plan is to buy her presents from the GC budget.

    Hello and welcome to all the new members who have joined us. Hope you manage to reduce your budgets.

    Here we go then for March Let the battle commence > > > but please supermarkets no steep price hikes. Good luck everyone.
    [COLOR="Purple"][B] MARCH 62.38/250 [B][COLOR="Purple"]
    • wmf
    • By wmf 28th Feb 13, 3:54 PM
    • 1,800 Posts
    • 21,646 Thanks
    wmf
    Hi - can I be included 150 please?

    Many thanks
    W
  • spinme307
    I'm really pleased to report 3 nsd's so far this week...I'm a very happy bunny and feeling so much better when things are under control.
    March Grocery Challenge 250.00
    Spent 75.44
    Remaining 174.56
    • liz-paul
    • By liz-paul 28th Feb 13, 4:12 PM
    • 895 Posts
    • 4,806 Thanks
    liz-paul
    400 please for March!
    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
    • meg72
    • By meg72 28th Feb 13, 4:29 PM
    • 5,082 Posts
    • 46,072 Thanks
    meg72
    hi everyone. ive just worked out how much i have spent since the begining of the year ..... and was very shocked at the amount (see sig) ...

    to stay on my 3000 yearly target i have 57 p/wk left for the rest of the year, so i seriously need to do a stock take, buy a wipeboard (to write on when we run out of something). start meal planning and stick to a list. i have enough cleaning products and toiletries for the next month or more (only thing i am short on is female product IYKWIM) so its just groceries there are 3 of us .... pets are sorted for the next month also so its just meals for us. right i think i better get cracking. starting with checking the bank balance and ordering a wipe board .... any other tips would be much appreciated i feel so upset that i haven't took control of my grocery spends
    Originally posted by optimistic-mummy
    Forget the 3000 a year, it sounds so huge, Its 60.00 a week for 3 of you, only 20.00 each, 2.85 a day thats pretty good going in my book.
    Last edited by meg72; 01-03-2013 at 9:45 AM.
    Slimming World at target
    • meg72
    • By meg72 28th Feb 13, 4:57 PM
    • 5,082 Posts
    • 46,072 Thanks
    meg72
    Hi all!

    Made the effort last night to stock-take the cupboards, fridge and freezer then planned the menu for next week and wrote up a shopping list. There's virtually enough meals in to last us til a week-Saturday and after a rather large stock-up shop last week, we only really need bread, cheese and veg though will need to buy some butty stuff midweek so hoping to spend way under my 50 budget. May even treat us to a bottle of wine for Saturday night.
    Originally posted by his missus
    Well done you, do treat yourself to a bottle of wine, We need treats to make it worthwhile and givr incentive to carry on.
    Slimming World at target
    • Mumof2
    • By Mumof2 28th Feb 13, 5:07 PM
    • 2,683 Posts
    • 40,984 Thanks
    Mumof2
    Hi, please can you put me down for 300 this month. Went 15 over for February so not bad at all (lowered budget to 280 - a bit too tight!). Many thanks

    March budget: 300
    Flymarkeeteer: 168 and counting
    • meg72
    • By meg72 28th Feb 13, 5:10 PM
    • 5,082 Posts
    • 46,072 Thanks
    meg72
    well done to mum making nice things for her son...very heart warming i have been doing similar for my son as he is doing exams

    right i havent started march but am worried it is going to be expensive as i have a practically empty freezer and need to do a meat shop at costco...not cheap but nice quality i find...i am going on sat all being well so will limp in and report the damage then

    i wondered if it would be useful to say abit about our budgets and what they cover to get the grey matter of other posters pumping ?? i know its not a competition but might be useful ???

    i will start but dont worry if everyone else doesnt think its helpful....i make 7 packed lunches a week , 6 evening meals, 7 breakfasts and saturday lunch at home for 2 adults and 2 kids....both kids quite particular littlest is auty so cant talk him round if he doesnt want something he doesnt eat it...other ds 13 excellent at eating healthy stuff fruit/veg/salad/ but has a few dislikes and a dh who will not eat any fish and me who doesnt eat egg white

    money spent can be seen in my sig

    blimey we all sound barking

    take care tessa
    Originally posted by tessie bear
    No Tess we are not barking, we are sensible in that we plan, shop around for the best value.

    OK my budget is only for me, 7 breakfasts, 7 lunches and
    . 7 dinners, hopefully coming in at 20.00 a week or less
    Slimming World at target
    • Kitchenbunny
    • By Kitchenbunny 28th Feb 13, 5:10 PM
    • 1,860 Posts
    • 20,252 Thanks
    Kitchenbunny
    Evening! Kitchenbunny reporting in for the March thread - the annual total is still at 1,800, with 1,464.39 remaining. Hoping to only spend 160 this month, but we'll see.

    KB xx

    • K9sandFelines
    • By K9sandFelines 28th Feb 13, 5:41 PM
    • 2,113 Posts
    • 18,217 Thanks
    K9sandFelines
    Hope you both see this, as can't double quote :

    becs xxx I would on a normal week when not stocked up, but i always seem to have just done so when this voucher comes out. I might be able to top up with fruit and veg and non-perishables possibly, all depends on Dad and if he needs to go.

    Xspender, that would be great thanks. Whenever you have a chance, i'm all sorted with meal plan for next week or so. So i'm good for a while
    Last edited by K9sandFelines; 28-02-2013 at 5:44 PM.
    GC 2017 3,434.09 GC 2018 2,250.95 GC 2019 Jan 268.24/200 Feb 158.01/200 Mar 220.05/200 April (moving) May (adjusting 270.73), Jun 72.43/280
    ~ Still learning the art of frugality ~
    • JackieO
    • By JackieO 28th Feb 13, 5:57 PM
    • 16,738 Posts
    • 143,403 Thanks
    JackieO
    As I have been quite happy with February's budget (I even have a little left over) I am going again for 60.00 for March
    Quot Libros,Quam Breve Tempus.
    • mildredalien
    • By mildredalien 28th Feb 13, 6:35 PM
    • 1,016 Posts
    • 2,198 Thanks
    mildredalien
    Signing up for 200 again this month!

    [B]Savings target: 25000/25000


    • rowsew
    • By rowsew 28th Feb 13, 7:06 PM
    • 168 Posts
    • 953 Thanks
    rowsew
    Aaargh, pg 11 already! Please put me down for 220 this month, we have a birthday for Thing 1 to cover.
    2 savers club (no. 153) 20
    GC 2013 Jan 223.48/150, Feb 241.45/200, Mar 244.24/220, Apr 215.85/215, May 0/210
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