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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 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'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; 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 19
    • aussiemum
    • By aussiemum 3rd Mar 13, 10:56 PM
    • 69 Posts
    • 921 Thanks
    Can you please put me down for $1200 or this month thanks
    • ^!£$&
    • By ^!£$& 4th Mar 13, 6:21 AM
    • 1,908 Posts
    • 2,682 Thanks
    £32.61 spent and freezer now rather full!
    • lizalloareds
    • By lizalloareds 4th Mar 13, 6:46 AM
    • 1,808 Posts
    • 17,414 Thanks
    Spends from yesterday
    £4.79 HB
    £2.19 Mr T
    £2 PW
    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
    • tessie bear
    • By tessie bear 4th Mar 13, 8:38 AM
    • 4,324 Posts
    • 29,765 Thanks
    tessie bear
    hi....hope everyone had a nice weekend...ours was busy so could do with another weekend to get over it...right to business despite spending£147 in costco on sat had no fruit for ds or dh packups but did have toms/cucunber/lettuce so they had to just have that....need to write a shopping list for aldi tomorrow

    thinki will make some coleslaw with the veg offers (super 6) also need to do a bit of meal planning for next week and think about mothers day as have done nowt for that so far

    take care tess
    onwards and upwards
    • lushlifesaver
    • By lushlifesaver 4th Mar 13, 10:47 AM
    • 2,312 Posts
    • 18,637 Thanks
    Have to go to Sainburys on my lunch today but I am adamant that otehr than 'dailies' (bread/milk/lunch stuff) that this must be it along with the Makro shop - I have no need to go and buy as much as I am each day when on my break at work just because I end up in grocery stores!
    Will report back later with my purchases and whetehr or not I stick to just the neccessities!
    Perfect Princess born 26/03/14 <3
  • sheeppappar

    Having Za'atar chicken with salad, hummus and wraps tonight.
    Originally posted by NickJW
    Oo don't suppose you have a recipe do you? I got a jar of za'atar something or other for xmas and it's still sitting in the cupboard as I don't know what to do with it...

    Congrats suze on baby and bluegreen on engagement xx

    Spent about £30 so far of this week's £50 allowance and that should do us I think.. Maybe another £5 for topups .. so far so good.

    Hope everyone had a lovely weekend.. I am off to update sig and look for florenceem's recipe for HM wedges and also to see if I can find out what twinks are! xx
    CC1 £7,944.10
    CC2 £2,680.03
    CC3 £1,020.88
    • CupOfChai
    • By CupOfChai 4th Mar 13, 11:30 AM
    • 1,319 Posts
    • 7,295 Thanks
    Can I please be put down for £160 for March? I want to try and start doing these again, I have been keeping track myself but often find it hard to get time to come on here and post very often like a lot of you do, so I end up not bothering to post updates at all even though I'm still watching what I spend.

    And I don't have my tally to hand so I don't know exactly, but over £100 of that has already been spent. The delivery shop was big this month, I can't imagine how I spent so much! I think we ran out of a load of condiment-type stuff at the same time so had to get a lot of those, but that surely wouldn't explain it all...
    • NickJW
    • By NickJW 4th Mar 13, 12:11 PM
    • 678 Posts
    • 13,646 Thanks
    Oo don't suppose you have a recipe do you? I got a jar of za'atar something or other for xmas and it's still sitting in the cupboard as I don't know what to do with it...

    Congrats suze on baby and bluegreen on engagement xx

    Spent about £30 so far of this week's £50 allowance and that should do us I think.. Maybe another £5 for topups .. so far so good.

    Hope everyone had a lovely weekend.. I am off to update sig and look for florenceem's recipe for HM wedges and also to see if I can find out what twinks are! xx
    Originally posted by sheeppappar
    Of course, but I wouldn't so much call it a recipe. It's one of my lazy meals (I've got 4 jars of Z'atar in the cupboard, because I use it so often!)

    Za'atar chicken and salad wraps

    Cut up chicken, liberally sprinkle the Z'atar, so it's fully coated + a bit more and a good glug of olive oil - marinade for 30 minutes, or ideally overnight.
    Make some salad - I do cherry tomatoes, little gem and spring onions.
    Fry the chicken in a pan until cooked.
    Get some wraps, place a dollop of hummus on it, put some chicken and salad in them, fold, and serve

    Other uses:

    Marinated Za'atar with roasted veg

    Cut up chicken, liberally sprinkle the Z'atar, so it's fully coated + a bit more and a good glug of olive oil - marinade for 30 minutes, or ideally overnight.
    When ready to cook, heat the oven up. Cut up some veg (cherry tomatoes, red onions, courgettes etc - whatever you fancy),
    Put the chicken and veg in a roasting pan, cover with a bit more oil, and za'atar.
    Whilst cooking, put a cup of couscous (or however much you need for the people you are serving, with an equal measure of boiling water (or chicken/veg stock if you like) into a large bowl. Cover with a plate for 10 minutes or until cooked.
    Serve the chicken with the couscous when everything is ready


    Hummous and Za'atar + pitta breads

    Place hummous on a plate, drizzle with olive oil, add za'atar and eat with pitta breads.

    HTH - It's quite a versatile spice blend, so sometimes you can add it to replace anything which requires an Italian spice blend as well.
    Grocery Challenge 14 Jan 14 £46.05/£130

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

    DFD 1st March 2011
    • NickJW
    • By NickJW 4th Mar 13, 12:18 PM
    • 678 Posts
    • 13,646 Thanks
    Hmmm - more spends yesterday

    £15.96 in Mr S - Needed to get some more laundry detergent. Also got smoked salmon, wood polish, and orange juice on offer (felt a bit Vitamin C deficient yesterday).

    I knew this month was going to be pricier than last month, because so much topping up needs to be done.

    Oh well - will just have to do the best I can. Housemate is cooking butternut squash with sumac, parsley and corinader served with roasted salmon tonight.

    Had toast with Marmite for breakfast and smoked salmon sandwiches for lunch.

    Hope everyone is well.
    Grocery Challenge 14 Jan 14 £46.05/£130

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

    DFD 1st March 2011
  • sheeppappar
    thanks NickJW they look like recipes to me
    CC1 £7,944.10
    CC2 £2,680.03
    CC3 £1,020.88
    • Islandmaid
    • By Islandmaid 4th Mar 13, 12:43 PM
    • 3,109 Posts
    • 42,220 Thanks
    Hi all,

    Spent £2 today on toothpaste, an onion and a white cabbage.

    Gone 'off plan' for dinner tonight (naughty) and we,re having fakeaway KFC, HM colslaw and chips.

    Have a fab day all x
    Note to self - STOP SPENDING MONEY !!
    • MrsCautious
    • By MrsCautious 4th Mar 13, 1:27 PM
    • 1,161 Posts
    • 13,728 Thanks
    Quick thanks from me for this thread for keeping me focused, I haven't spent anything on groceries yet, planning to pop for essentials tomorrow and really hope to stick to list, I've surprised myself as to how disciplined I have been so far, never knew the sight of an unopened packet of Ryvita could be so appealing, really really need to get out more.
    • philsmum
    • By philsmum 4th Mar 13, 3:41 PM
    • 147 Posts
    • 2,206 Thanks
    Can I come back please.
    Hi. Not been on here for quite a long time, but I am now feeling much better and would love to join in again.
    Could you put me down for £50.00please.Thats per week
    Debt free from April 2012
    • lizalloareds
    • By lizalloareds 4th Mar 13, 4:00 PM
    • 1,808 Posts
    • 17,414 Thanks
    spends today
    69p Lidl
    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
    • K9sandFelines
    • By K9sandFelines 4th Mar 13, 4:10 PM
    • 2,113 Posts
    • 18,219 Thanks
    NSD today and can't update sig on phone. Can access it, but the formatting goes potty.
    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 £200.99/£280
    ~ Still learning the art of frugality ~
    • mossy
    • By mossy 4th Mar 13, 4:32 PM
    • 1,142 Posts
    • 8,199 Thanks
    Icy £4 and Lidl £6.54

    Really must get on with a meal plan now that I'm feeling a bit better.
    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
  • katholicos
    Just had to search to find out what za'atar is

    Here is a recipe to make za'atar so we can then have a go at making those yummy recipes Nick posted
    Grocery Challenge for October: £135/£200

    NSD Challenge: October 0/14
  • katholicos
    Had to pick up meds today and then we nipped mr A. I didn't spend anything. DD bought some bits and pieces, but i didn't.
    Grocery Challenge for October: £135/£200

    NSD Challenge: October 0/14
    • pinkypig
    • By pinkypig 4th Mar 13, 5:12 PM
    • 1,519 Posts
    • 11,773 Thanks
    Hi everyone. Just done an unbudgeted for AF order as they had some great deals on loads of stuff that we are getting really low on and some things we just like

    I have tried and failed to get to grips with a second purse so I have decided that as there is several months worth of rice, stock, drinks and goodies I am going to put half my total spend against March's GC and the other half against April's. I hope this is against the rules

    Total cost was £47.20 but it is a real bulk order and will last ages. Still feeling guilty though

    Hope everyone else is having more luck with their self control!

    PP xx
    MFW 2018 #157 Target £15,000

    • Kitchenbunny
    • By Kitchenbunny 4th Mar 13, 5:40 PM
    • 1,860 Posts
    • 20,252 Thanks
    Hi everyone! Just popped on to report my first spend of the March Grocery Challenge - £5.76 today in Mr T. I bought a few things from the shopping list (still need to do more but limited by how much I can fit in a small bag today) so there'll be more spends to report during the week.

    Tea tonight is going to be a nice curry (rogan josh from a jar) and rice, and I'm looking forward to it. Have a lovely evening, everyone.

    KB xx

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