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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 11
    • meanmarie
    • By meanmarie 28th Feb 13, 8:01 PM
    • 5,135 Posts
    • 49,952 Thanks
    meanmarie
    Going to try for €170 again this month....hope it works out as have run our of several things....including tinned tomatoes!

    Marie
    Weight 08 February 86kg
    • XSpender
    • By XSpender 28th Feb 13, 8:10 PM
    • 3,406 Posts
    • 34,882 Thanks
    XSpender
    SW Friendly Coq au Vin
    As promised the SW recipe for coq au vin

    Serves 4 2.5 syncs on EE and original, 8.5 on green

    Low cal spray
    4 chicken breasts
    6 shallots peeled and halved
    6 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
    198ml/7fl oz red wine
    397ml/14fl oz chicken stock
    1/2 tsp artificial sweetener
    1 tblsp dried thyme
    Salt and pepper
    2 level tsp of gravy granules
    140g/5oz sliced mushrooms
    4 carrots peeled and chopped
    2 celery sticks sliced
    Parsley to garnish

    Brown the chicken breasts in the spray oil. Add the shallots and garlic and fry until soft then add wine, stock, sweetener, thyme and season well. Bring to the boil, add gravy granules then simmer for 20-25 mins.

    Add the mushrooms, carrots and celery and cook for another ten mins or until the veg is cooked. Scatter with parsley and serve.



    I have been to aldee and mr s tonight for the weekly shop. Did well, used the £5 off voucher and another for 50p off and spent approx £63 including 2 bottles of wine, £5 on steak for DH and a 12 pack of organic snacks for DS to put away for our hold in April. Will double check and update the total tomorrow. I will need to shop again in the week as I will need more fruit and salad.

    I received some vouchers for £13 off £90 spend in Mr T and then a load of £9 off £90. I wish they would send me smaller spends but I only tend to buy big things at mr t like Christmas shopping (a kindle for stepdad this year) and a new vacuum last week. There is a dress I have seen I like for work, I need some new work shoes and DS is growing out of all his trousers at an alarming rate so the first one may get used.
    Last edited by XSpender; 28-02-2013 at 8:19 PM.
    October Grocery Challenge - £122.00/£220
    • JIL
    • By JIL 28th Feb 13, 8:30 PM
    • 4,945 Posts
    • 25,059 Thanks
    JIL
    Please can I be put down for £280 same as last month please.

    Doing well with my 0cad0 home delivery and top up from Lid1.

    Really impressed with 0cado, I had an email from them tonight with a voucher for £21 off my next shopping. Something to do with a new distribution centre opening and other customers being offered 3 months free delivery. Most impressed as I only pay £6.99 per month delivery anyway and plan my shopping around their bargains.
    This weeks shopping will cost me £24. Whoop Whoop.
    • Guineapigsqueaks
    • By Guineapigsqueaks 28th Feb 13, 8:30 PM
    • 302 Posts
    • 3,079 Thanks
    Guineapigsqueaks
    Mid week spend
    Small spend on pocket tissues, anti-bac wipes and washing up sponges in Home B*rgains £2.14, bargain mascara in Poundl*nd (£1!) and chemical free deodorant for DD £2.99 in B*ots. All needed to keep stock levels as I'm happy with. Total £6.13. Updated total on signature.

    Got my newspaper Ald* £5 voucher today ready for next week's shop. Use some of products on bonus 30% or 50% vouchers too, Baby Bath and Wipes and Anti-ageing serum (!) so will use those.

    Will need to go to Mr T, Mr S or Mr M soon to get some bits I can't get at Ald* or bits from their value ranges that are cheaper than Ald*, like boxed tissues and bio washing liquid, plus any good deals.

    Feel focused on the challenge at this point x
    Last edited by Guineapigsqueaks; 28-02-2013 at 8:33 PM.


    Keep Smiling
    • lucylollipop
    • By lucylollipop 28th Feb 13, 8:38 PM
    • 168 Posts
    • 1,418 Thanks
    lucylollipop
    Woohoo, 1st NSD of this month done! It's always nice to get the first one out of the way, the rest seem to come easier then. I'm hoping to get through the weekend without any spends too
    *2016 - the year of the savings account!*

    GC: Jan (£300/£179.76) 8 NSD
    Diet: 60lbs this year - so far: 0.5
  • kobrakai
    £200 again for me for March - determined to keep it under £200 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
    • K9sandFelines
    • By K9sandFelines 28th Feb 13, 8:40 PM
    • 2,127 Posts
    • 18,279 Thanks
    K9sandFelines
    Thanks to Xspender
    As promised the SW recipe for coq au vin

    Serves 4 2.5 syncs on EE and original, 8.5 on green

    Low cal spray
    4 chicken breasts
    6 shallots peeled and halved
    6 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
    198ml/7fl oz red wine
    397ml/14fl oz chicken stock
    1/2 tsp artificial sweetener
    1 tblsp dried thyme
    Salt and pepper
    2 level tsp of gravy granules
    140g/5oz sliced mushrooms
    4 carrots peeled and chopped
    2 celery sticks sliced
    Parsley to garnish

    Brown the chicken breasts in the spray oil. Add the shallots and garlic and fry until soft then add wine, stock, sweetener, thyme and season well. Bring to the boil, add gravy granules then simmer for 20-25 mins.

    Add the mushrooms, carrots and celery and cook for another ten mins or until the veg is cooked. Scatter with parsley and serve.



    I have been to aldee and mr s tonight for the weekly shop. Did well, used the £5 off voucher and another for 50p off and spent approx £63 including 2 bottles of wine, £5 on steak for DH and a 12 pack of organic snacks for DS to put away for our hold in April. Will double check and update the total tomorrow. I will need to shop again in the week as I will need more fruit and salad.

    I received some vouchers for £13 off £90 spend in Mr T and then a load of £9 off £90. I wish they would send me smaller spends but I only tend to buy big things at mr t like Christmas shopping (a kindle for stepdad this year) and a new vacuum last week. There is a dress I have seen I like for work, I need some new work shoes and DS is growing out of all his trousers at an alarming rate so the first one may get used.
    Originally posted by XSpender
    Much appreciated
    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 £291.01/£280 Jul £344.31/£300 Aug £232.48/£300 Sep £320.91/£300 Oct £92.97/£300
    ~ Still learning the art of frugality ~
    • minicooper272
    • By minicooper272 28th Feb 13, 9:08 PM
    • 2,127 Posts
    • 16,678 Thanks
    minicooper272
    February was quite successful - I had £4.50 left over from my £80 budget, and I haven't even run down all my immense stock of food! £4.50 has been put to one side in case I need it this month, but if I find myself with spare money again, I will start feeding it into savings.

    March is going to be a little more difficult, I have a guest down for one weekend, and I'll be away for two weekends. I'm definitely going to run with a separate purse again though - it was so much easier than adding up all the receipts.

    Signing up for another £80 this month again please!
    • Bluegreen143
    • By Bluegreen143 28th Feb 13, 9:21 PM
    • 1,108 Posts
    • 12,739 Thanks
    Bluegreen143
    sheeppappar, your SW Crustless Quiche recipe has been added to the index
    Married 1 March 2014 DS born 06 Dec 2014 DD born 14 Dec 2018
    • Bluegreen143
    • By Bluegreen143 28th Feb 13, 9:23 PM
    • 1,108 Posts
    • 12,739 Thanks
    Bluegreen143
    XSpender, your SW coq au Vin recipe has been added to the index.

    Sounds delicious btw, think I will try it but as I'm not on SW, try it with sugar rather than sweetener etc.
    Married 1 March 2014 DS born 06 Dec 2014 DD born 14 Dec 2018
    • Bluegreen143
    • By Bluegreen143 28th Feb 13, 9:35 PM
    • 1,108 Posts
    • 12,739 Thanks
    Bluegreen143
    That's me done with February!

    For whoever was asking about what our budget covers, mine is breakfast everyday for 2 adults (usually cereal but sometimes bacon rolls for OH or milkshakes for me at the w/e); packed lunches for both of us during the week (HM soup with HM bread for me, sandwiches and crisps for OH) and sometimes lunch at the weekend; dinners at home usually 7 nights except for the odd night we're out for dinner; snacks are fruit for me, crisps and value biscuits for OH, plus the odd bit of home baking, sometimes he likes hummous, tinned fruit or olives. Also toiletries, cleaning stuff/household stuff and food and litter for our spoilt cat!

    Have done next week's meal plan:
    • Meat lasagne with garlic bread prefer veggie lasagne but OH is making it so can't complain, have garlic bread already
    • Roast chicken legs with stuffing, veg, roasties and gravy chicken legs from freezer, veg in already
    • Burger for OH, fishcakes for me, with salad and chips all in freezer, meant to have this week but got invited out for dinner tomorrow
    • HM pitta breads with HM hummous, couscous, salad and roasted veg
    • Roasted vegetable arrabiata with salad OH making this as it's his speciality - have most ingredients in
    • Black-eyed bean curry, stir-fried spicy cabbage and rice
    • Veg and cheese pasties with beans a new recipe

    Hopefully have a couple of NSDs until Mr A delivery on Sunday as going to a friend's for dinner tomorrow and getting taken out for dinner on Saturday!
    Married 1 March 2014 DS born 06 Dec 2014 DD born 14 Dec 2018
    • SpendingSensible
    • By SpendingSensible 28th Feb 13, 9:35 PM
    • 51 Posts
    • 809 Thanks
    SpendingSensible
    Today £4.50 on a few items which brings my Feb total to almost £423 so I guess £400 should be realistic for March.
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 28th Feb 13, 9:52 PM
    • 3,996 Posts
    • 52,590 Thanks
    Florenceem
    Thursday.
    NSD here.
    We had HM wedges, gammon and HM coleslaw for dinner. MR F is away on business tomorrow so will eat out. I made extra wedges so I can have a quick meal.
    While oven was on - made Cinnamon and Raisin Muffins.



    15 in 2015 1/15
  • Michelle63x
    Right Im going to join in and set my budget at £400 for March. I know this might seem high but I want to make sure I can stick within it and if I keep all my receipts it will show me exactly where my money is going. Really intrigued as to how this works out!
  • Michelle63x
    Thats £400 for me please - wow that seems a lot....
    • Frogletina
    • By Frogletina 28th Feb 13, 11:57 PM
    • 3,205 Posts
    • 11,595 Thanks
    Frogletina
    Going slightly lower this month - £60

    Please can I ask that my name is corrected on list - thanks in advance
    Not Rachmaninov
    But Nyman
    The heart asks for pleasure first
    SPC 8 #441 £1567.31 SPC 9 #441 £1014.64 SPC 10 #441 £1164.13 SPC 11 #441 £1598.15 SPC 12 #63
  • optimistic-mummy
    Forget the 3000 a year, it sounds so huge, Its 60.00 a month for 3 of you, only 20.00 each, 2.85 a day thats pretty good going in my book.
    Originally posted by meg72
    just under £60 a week for 3 of us ....

    but i must confess i spend a fortune on cleaning products .... im always cleaning and tidying turn my back and something else needs cleaning or tidying .... ive brought some stardrops stuff to try to try and cut the cost of this BUT
    confession #2 i like using antibacterial spray (i buy asdas one not dettol anymore) i suppose it makes me feel safe ... and that things are properly clean
    confession #3 most of my last shop was toiletries and cleaning stuff i dont even know what i have and what i dont have

    i seriously need to gain control.... i like feeling in control household wise, cleaning and knowing where everything is and budget wise. money wise DP always asks me if we need the money for something and leaves all the spending to me don't think he even knows our income

    housework wise, im the one that gives DP a kick up the a@* when something needs to be done that i can't do and im the one that both DP and LO want something and can't find it or can't remember where they put it ... and remarkably like most mums i know where it is without looking and can always find it even when they can't
    200 weeks £25,000.00 / £700
  • Debtbusterintraining
    £300for me again this month,thanks.
    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
    • Determined diva
    • By Determined diva 1st Mar 13, 8:23 AM
    • 648 Posts
    • 2,858 Thanks
    Determined diva
    Hi everyone

    Could you count me in for £100 please? Thanks
    Started again 25th December 2017
    Current tracking - £2,338.18/ £18,282.25 to pay off. (14.04.18)
    • pinkypig
    • By pinkypig 1st Mar 13, 9:13 AM
    • 1,571 Posts
    • 12,082 Thanks
    pinkypig
    First spend of our March budget to report. £1.79 on two packs of four kitchen roll in £stretcher. Rolls are quite a decent size and the quality is also good. 99p for one pack or two for £1.79 so a bargain too

    Planning on doing two top up shops (today and ext Thursday) to use my two Aldi vouchers from the Mirror. After that it should (!) be just top ups of fresh stuff.

    Have a good day.

    PP xx
    MFW 2018 #157 Target £15,000

    £23,095.71/£15,000
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