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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 41
    • SpendingSensible
    • By SpendingSensible 17th Mar 13, 8:59 PM
    • 51 Posts
    • 809 Thanks
    My weekend shop yesterday was £56.02, but I did have a NSD on Friday and another one today. Have reached my goal for NSD this month, so will see how much more I can achieve

    The big shop included quite a lot of meat from the farmshop, plus some "nice" things because of our visitors.

    We had sausage and mash for dinner yesterday and today a lamb roast, very delish. Tomorrow will be a going out day, so probably more expensive but from a different budget. I hope the weather will be better than today.

    Have updated signature, now off to read how everybody else is doing. Am finding it very interesting and helpful how others are dealing with the GC!

    Thanks and have a good week!
    • SpendingSensible
    • By SpendingSensible 17th Mar 13, 9:02 PM
    • 51 Posts
    • 809 Thanks

    Hope everyone has had a fab weekend. We are very happy in this house about the rugby results
    Yep we are welsh but they did thoroughly deserve the win & I've never seen so many people around here genuinely happy today
    My step-dad is English & the best part of the day was my dd 7 saying 'grandad will be crying in his beer, mum'

    BE x
    Originally posted by brighteyes1987
    We also had a very happy house, it was an amazing win but definitely deserving. Our visitors are not familiar with rugby, but even they got caught up in the game and were cheering alongside us.
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 17th Mar 13, 9:43 PM
    • 3,984 Posts
    • 52,562 Thanks
    For dinner we had HM mince pie with roast potatoes, roast parsnip, asparagus, carrot, leek, onion, white cabbage and gravy.

    15 in 2015 1/15
    • Tales17
    • By Tales17 17th Mar 13, 9:55 PM
    • 251 Posts
    • 2,496 Thanks
    Hello all!

    Not been around for a while, been super busy and then away staying with family. Trashing the budget again I think as already nearly 3/4 of the way through it but over £100 is an online meat delivery which will arrive later this week and we should be sorted for a couple of months with that!

    We have also bought an extra freezer for the garage so we can cook up bigger batches of food at weekends and freeze more so we have lovely homemade meals midweek without much effort!!

    Also picked up our Panasonic breadmaker just before we went away so looking forward to starting to use that soon, with some savings there I hope!!
    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%)
    • threepenny bit
    • By threepenny bit 18th Mar 13, 12:20 AM
    • 222 Posts
    • 1,832 Thanks
    threepenny bit
    $20 spent on milk and medical supplies - gauze and wound dressing melolin, sweets, a packet of biscuits, and some lime cordial
    Last edited by threepenny bit; 18-03-2013 at 12:23 AM.
    Fashion on a ration 5/66 used.

    Save $2019 in my savings account during 2019 - 37/2019
    Work on selling items and decluttering
  • Tenyearstogo
    I forgot to take the meat out of the freezer yesterday so sent hubby up to the shop to buy some more. There was no decent meat there so he spent £2 on chicken nuggets.
    • cw18
    • By cw18 18th Mar 13, 8:48 AM
    • 8,045 Posts
    • 85,988 Thanks
    Trip to Costc0 yesterday saw me spending a whopping £54.86 on groceries (and more besides on a birthday present, some cleaning liquid and a cookery book), which is more than I'd spent in the first 16 days of the month Grocery spends now at £103.03 from a budget of £211.50.

    And I still need to go shopping for veg (apart from potatoes, as I picked up a 5kg bag of those at Costc0) and salad items !!!!

    On the upside I have 4kg of minced scotch beef, which I can make into between 30 and 40 servings depending on what I turn it into. I'm going to split it into 400g bags and put it into the freezer, with the possibility of using 1 or 2 to make meals later this month - but with portions of meals going back into the freezer when I do. I also got 1.5kg of grated mozzeralla that I use to turn pitta breads into snack meal pizzas (I have a supply of wholemeal ones in the house already). I have some grated mature cheddar in the freezer needs using up, so I may defrost some of that to mix with some of the mozzerella and then put the rest of the mozzerella into the freezer for another month......

    Then I picked up some eggs, vanilla extract and plain chocolate chips for doing some baking (£12.57 I didn't need to spend), some snack bars for when OH and I take my GDs to the Lakes early next month (another £7.69), and some hot cross buns (pure indulgence at £2.69 for 12, but they are nice )

    Next trip to Costc0 will be 7th April - last day of the offers that started today, and the day before we take GDs away so that we can pick up the last bits we need for that trip.
    • tessie bear
    • By tessie bear 18th Mar 13, 9:21 AM
    • 4,320 Posts
    • 29,747 Thanks
    tessie bear
    cw18 can second the niceness of the costco hot x buns...i buy a lot of meat from costco and find it to be very nice quality but not cheap at all

    i am off to make a stew in a bit and a quiche all so need to sort out veg for tea...really trying to stay out of the shops this week as some what over spent and want to use what we have in

    right need to get a wiggle on have a nice day
    onwards and upwards
    • his missus
    • By his missus 18th Mar 13, 10:33 AM
    • 3,221 Posts
    • 19,762 Thanks
    his missus
    Morning all,

    Spent £20 at the butchers, £4 at fruit n veg stall and £19 in HB. Total spent = £43.

    £222/£200 eek!!

    • MrsCautious
    • By MrsCautious 18th Mar 13, 10:36 AM
    • 1,161 Posts
    • 13,728 Thanks
    I wasn't going to spend anything today as I'd hoped to avoid shopping for any bits until at least tomorrow. But here I am sat in a garage, just about to have my car checked out (ouch) after it was making weird noises over the weekend, better safe than sorry.

    So I took the opportunity to have a look in the nearby 99p Store and bought two packets of Jaffa Cakes which should have been £2.59 for 99p, plus 60 sandwich bags and a box of Jordan's porridge oats which will work out a lot cheaper than my daughter's usual Ready Brek which she had ran out of. Then I bought 4 pints of skim milk for £1 from Iceland (um never been in there much before, noticed they have six pieces of white fish for £3, must go back, what an exciting life I lead! )

    Cheers all, sausage style shepherds pie for us tonight x
    • MrsCautious
    • By MrsCautious 18th Mar 13, 11:09 AM
    • 1,161 Posts
    • 13,728 Thanks
    By the way, I have started looking at my shopping once it is in my basket/trolley and putting some stuff back before I go through the check out. I buy far too many sugary snacks and these get well pruned before I pay, can't help feeling a bit obsessive doing this but I think I'm glad overall. My car's going to cost £190 just for the parts, so I'm glad I put £3 worth of stuff back today.

    Hurrah I am now a money saving stalwart, this seems apt as I found a foreign coin on the floor of my car and put it in a parking machine this morning, whoops.
    • ikkle87
    • By ikkle87 18th Mar 13, 11:50 AM
    • 8,284 Posts
    • 179,660 Thanks
    Really chuffed with myself today. Did my first online T*sco order which got delivered today. It cost £45.69 but had 240 nappies in which don't come out of the grocery budget.

    The nappies cost £33.32, so £12.37 spent on a tin of formula (£8.87) a chicken, 2 pork crackling joints and a duck joint. Will get at least 2 meals out of each joint and at 87.5p each I'm well chuffed with that

    Will be calling this month quits on Thursday as we get paid on Friday so will start a new month then but I think we've done quite well with the challenge this month x
    You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.

    xx Mama to a gorgeous Cranio Baby xx
    • tessie bear
    • By tessie bear 18th Mar 13, 11:52 AM
    • 4,320 Posts
    • 29,747 Thanks
    tessie bear
    hello again just needed to pop on and share this....i got a piece of gammon from sainsbobs ys to £1.99....i thought it wasnt very big but for that price would do us dinner i cooked it on sunday morning in the sc and we have had from it;
    gammon/mash/veg dinner for 4
    x2 rounds of sarnies for ds packup
    a quiche for 4 peoples tea (tomorrow)
    pea and ham soup for 2

    so 12 meals for £1.99 and really nice tasting...the gammon was in the 3 for a tenner meat so i might buy some more of that because at full price it is a bargain at less than 20p a portion


    onwards and upwards
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 18th Mar 13, 12:10 PM
    • 3,984 Posts
    • 52,562 Thanks
    Really chuffed with myself today. Did my first online T*sco order which got delivered today. It cost £45.69 but had 240 nappies in which don't come out of the grocery budget.

    The nappies cost £33.32, so £12.37 spent on a tin of formula (£8.87) a chicken, 2 pork crackling joints and a duck joint. Will get at least 2 meals out of each joint and at 87.5p each I'm well chuffed with that

    Will be calling this month quits on Thursday as we get paid on Friday so will start a new month then but I think we've done quite well with the challenge this month x
    Originally posted by ikkle87
    I find it staggering - the amount spent on nappies. I had 6 children and used terry towelling nappies. They lasted me for more than one baby and then became cleaning cloths.
    15 in 2015 1/15
    • ikkle87
    • By ikkle87 18th Mar 13, 12:25 PM
    • 8,284 Posts
    • 179,660 Thanks
    I find it staggering - the amount spent on nappies. I had 6 children and used terry towelling nappies. They lasted me for more than one baby and then became cleaning cloths.
    Originally posted by Florenceem
    I know, it is a lot, we were originally going to use reusables but due to my LO needing to be in and out of hospital reusables aren't really pheasable.
    You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.

    xx Mama to a gorgeous Cranio Baby xx
    • K9sandFelines
    • By K9sandFelines 18th Mar 13, 12:47 PM
    • 2,113 Posts
    • 18,217 Thanks
    Crashed and burned

    I'm now over budget, having just had shopping delivered from Mr T for £41.01 ( it had to be at least £40 to qualify for the delivery saver, which i made a mess of last week)!
    Anyway, i have sat and done an inventory of the freezer, and rejigged it. Used a spare calendar to write OOD from fridge (and will do inventory of there tomorrow), and i really hope now i can stay away from the shops unless it's an absolute dire emergency; as we really do have enough food!
    Last edited by K9sandFelines; 18-03-2013 at 12:56 PM. Reason: typos
    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 ~
    • meg72
    • By meg72 18th Mar 13, 2:20 PM
    • 5,082 Posts
    • 46,072 Thanks
    I find it staggering - the amount spent on nappies. I had 6 children and used terry towelling nappies. They lasted me for more than one baby and then became cleaning cloths.
    Originally posted by Florenceem
    Iused terry towels for my 2 as well but Ireally do wonder if they were really money saing bearing in mind the cost of a boil wash etc not to mention the time. I think also that baby is probably more comfortablefor longer with disposables.

    Maybe though I amjust jealous that I never had the choice
    Slimming World at target
    • brighteyes1987
    • By brighteyes1987 18th Mar 13, 6:41 PM
    • 167 Posts
    • 1,751 Thanks
    Evening all,

    NSD here

    We had pork chops, savoury rice & roasted veg/peppers for dinner.

    Have meal planned until the end of the month & according 2 that & my shopping list, I should make it under budget.
    Time will tell

    Hope everyone is ok.

    BE x
    March grocery challenge 147.28 / 150.00

    April grocery challenge 60.36 / 150.00
    • Bluegreen143
    • By Bluegreen143 18th Mar 13, 7:18 PM
    • 1,101 Posts
    • 12,692 Thanks
    No spend day today, but had a Mr A delivery yesterday that cost £54.76:

    Gala apples 6 pack - £1.25
    Smartprice chopped tomatoes x3 - 93p
    McCoys crisps 6 pack - £1
    Asda toothpaste - 39p
    Sanex deodorant - £2
    Toilet roll 16 pack - £6.00
    Smartprice cistern blocks 2 pack 30p
    Asda floor cleaner - £1
    Smartprice pasta shapes - 30p
    Smartprice bourbons - 23p
    Granulated sugar - 88p
    Asda tuna in brine - 97p
    Asda couscous - 68p
    Dried oregano 25g - 92p
    Whole black peppercorns 200g - £2.38
    Smartprice individual orange juices 3 pack - 45p
    Smartprice bran flakes - 88p
    Asda babyleaf salad x3 - £2.00
    Free range whole chicken 1.7kg - £6.77
    Asda halloumi - £2.00
    Asda ham 125g - £1
    Country life spreadable butter - £2.00
    Smartprice salted butter - 98p
    Creme fraiche 300ml - £1.10
    Whole milk 4 pints - £1.00
    Smartprice natural yoghurt 500g - 45p
    Smartprice mushrooms - £1.49
    Smartprice mixed peppers - £1.77
    Asda fresh tomatoes 750g - 1.00
    Loose bananas x6 - 65p
    Loose courgettes x3 - £1.01
    Green beans 240g - £1.00
    Smartprice frozen sweetcorn - 98p
    Smartprice white loaf - 50p
    Asda cola x8 - £4.30
    Smartprice cat litter x2 - £3.20
    Face wipes 60 pack - £1.00
    Delivery - £0 (was £5 but we had a £5 voucher which I used to pay it)

    Forgot to get washing up liquid and mayo, also need to get value cocoa pops, which Mr A don't seem to do, so I'll need to pop into Mr M tomorrow on the way home from work.

    Had a day annual leave today (just needed to use it before the end of the holiday year) so made six portions of veg chilli (two for dinner on Thursday, the other four for the freezer) and four portions of mushroom stroganoff, half of which we had tonight with sauteed potatoes and green veg. Was delicious!

    Recipe below (will add to index as well):

    Mushroom Stroganoff (serves 4)

    750g mushrooms (any kind works, it's nice to have a mix of chestnut, portobello etc, this time however I used a whole pack of smartprice ones), wiped clean and halved or quartered
    2 onions, sliced into half rings
    1/2 pint alcohol (Madeira is traditional but didn't have any left; white wine, sherry or cider will work too - I used the end of a bottle of Cava that had gone flat)
    200ml crème fraîche
    a couple of dashes nutmeg
    1 heaped tsp whole grain mustard
    15-20g dried porcini or mixed mushrooms
    butter and olive oil, to fry
    1 tsp sugar (optional; not necessary when using Madeira)
    Heat the wine or cider in a small saucepan until nearly boiling, add the dried mushrooms and turn the heat off. Leave to rehydrate.

    Meanwhile, heat a small pat of butter and a dash of olive oil in a large high sided frying pan, then add the onions and fry until soft and a little browned on some edges. Remove from the pan, add a little more oil and butter, then add half the mushrooms and keep frying until soft and browned. You’ll find you need to keep adding more oil as the pan dries out.

    Remove the first batch from the pan, top up the butter and oil, and fry like the first batch. Use a slotted spoon to lift the dried mushrooms out of the alcohol and slice. Add back in all the mushrooms and onions to the frying pan, along with the sliced dried mushrooms, cider, nutmeg and alcohol. If you use a dry white wine or cider instead of the sweeter Madeira, you’ll get better results by adding a teaspoon or so of sugar at this point.

    Let the mixture bubble away at a medium-low heat for around 20 minutes, until the mushrooms are all tender. Take off the heat, add in the crème fraîche and stir until combined. Serve with rice (or potatoes, as I did tonight) and salad or green vegetables.
    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
    • Nicky Noo Na
    • By Nicky Noo Na 18th Mar 13, 7:18 PM
    • 760 Posts
    • 6,713 Thanks
    Nicky Noo Na
    Hello everyone

    Sorry for the delay with checking in, we've had guests all weekend. NSD today and I was very proud of the delicious Sunday lunch I made - twice cooked pork belly (very cheap and totally delicious) for main and then my mum's fantastic no-bake key lime pie which always goes down a treat - everyone had a lovely time and now just meal planning for next week

    Hope you're all having relaxing Sundays x
    Originally posted by becsxxx
    Any chance you can share the recipes for the belly pork and key lime pie pretty please???

    No more money spent on groceries yet (since Sat) so happy so far. Just had a lovely lamb curry that was planned for last night but ended up at work so one less meal to cook this week, hurrah.

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