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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 fourth Grocery Challenge of 2013

    If your new month starts early feel free to join this thread, or if you're still working on your March budget, then keep on posting in the:
    March 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; 24-03-2013 at 10:36 AM.
    A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men
    Norn Iron club member #380

Page 8
    • Sun Addict
    • By Sun Addict 28th Mar 13, 2:10 PM
    • 7,253 Posts
    • 53,531 Thanks
    Sun Addict
    Please put me down for 340 for April. Will try very hard this time as March was so unsuccessful!
    Virtual Sealed Pot 2019 317.17
    Emergency Fund 3260/10,000
    • lizalloareds
    • By lizalloareds 28th Mar 13, 2:45 PM
    • 1,808 Posts
    • 17,414 Thanks
    lizalloareds
    first spends for April
    1 pland
    89p FF
    36.19 Aldi
    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
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 28th Mar 13, 2:49 PM
    • 3,984 Posts
    • 52,562 Thanks
    Florenceem
    Please put me down for 340 for April. Will try very hard this time as March was so unsuccessful!
    Originally posted by Sun Addict
    Where did you go wrong?
    15 in 2015 1/15
    • Determined diva
    • By Determined diva 28th Mar 13, 2:59 PM
    • 645 Posts
    • 2,848 Thanks
    Determined diva
    Hi all

    Please can I join?

    100 for me please

    DDx
    Started again 25th December 2017
    Current tracking - 2,338.18/ 18,282.25 to pay off. (14.04.18)
    • BeckyC2be
    • By BeckyC2be 28th Mar 13, 3:00 PM
    • 171 Posts
    • 454 Thanks
    BeckyC2be
    Can I join this month please, it will be my first time. Only two of us in the house and two kittys. Aiming for about 50. I know this sounds really low, but the cupboards are full, cleaning cupboards full and will not need any toiletries, toilet roll etc.

    Going to keep it in a separate purse and see how well we do.

    Do have extra monies in case, but saving up as it's tax and mot month!
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 28th Mar 13, 3:04 PM
    • 3,984 Posts
    • 52,562 Thanks
    Florenceem
    Can I join this month please, it will be my first time. Only two of us in the house and two kittys. Aiming for about 50. I know this sounds really low, but the cupboards are full, cleaning cupboards full and will not need any toiletries, toilet roll etc.

    Going to keep it in a separate purse and see how well we do.

    Do have extra monies in case, but saving up as it's tax and mot month!
    Originally posted by BeckyC2be
    How are fridge and freezer?
    15 in 2015 1/15
    • Guineapigsqueaks
    • By Guineapigsqueaks 28th Mar 13, 4:08 PM
    • 302 Posts
    • 3,052 Thanks
    Guineapigsqueaks
    First Spend for April
    Afternoon all

    First spend of April GC for me, nipped to Ald* for quick stock up of basics like milk, bread, fruit juice, etc. plus some specific bits, notably the leeks and onions on Supersix for batch of soup I will make, carrots on Supersix for guinea pigs, 3 x breaded mini chicken fillets which are 50p off at moment and DS and DD love them and Ultimate chipolata sausages which are nicer than other SM premium sausages and much cheaper. Also, stocked up on Q10 face cream for me, 1.49 a tube and you can't beat it .

    Anyway, that's 29.97/300 spent.

    I will probably still have a stock up shop at Mr T over this weekend, I have a 5 off 40 voucher and think I will still get another if I go in next few days. Will go on-line and do my list before I go, check out the offers in advance.

    Went in Home B*rgains this morning for popcorn (different budget) as DS, DD and I were going to cheapy kids' film at cinema (5 for all 3 of us, very ). Resisted the 100g bags of mini eggs for 49p, now there was a challenge!

    Hope everyone is keeping warm, goodness knows what my gas consumption is this Winter!

    Guineapigsqueaks x


    Keep Smiling
    • thriftmonster
    • By thriftmonster 28th Mar 13, 4:13 PM
    • 1,649 Posts
    • 7,956 Thanks
    thriftmonster
    8.82 in B&M yesterday - but includes a litre of olive oil and 4 tins of tuna (Princes) for 3.69 which is the best I've seen anywhere atm. Had to do a shop in Tesco today but kept it to 20.22 which is a miracle for me as I can easily drop 60 in there without trying. Going to a bring and share meal at church tonight - bringing two "different" salads for 20 - sweet potato, fig and goats cheese (Ottolenghi - Jerusalem book and not too bad as it's mostly roasted sweet potato) and a cucumber, dill and yoghurt salad. Invited to friends tomorrow night but they've only asked for HM bread - so that's easily achieved from the storecupboard. Oh yes and 4.40 on duck eggs to dye for the weekend as it's impossible to find white shelled eggs round here - but some of those will be gifts as well.
    the princess jumped from the tower & she learned that she could fly all along. she never needed those wings.
    Amanda Lovelace, The Princess Saves Herself in this One
    • Coxy11
    • By Coxy11 28th Mar 13, 5:44 PM
    • 2,295 Posts
    • 27,317 Thanks
    Coxy11
    Hi everyone,

    Budgets done to here

    Welcome/welcome back to:
    barneydee, nannygladys, goldopals and BeckyC2be

    Coxy
    Cross-stitch WIP #1: Collecting Shells by Nancy Cole
    Cross-stitch WIP #2: Pretty Little London by Satsuma Street
    • bargain hunter
    • By bargain hunter 28th Mar 13, 6:00 PM
    • 542 Posts
    • 1,184 Thanks
    bargain hunter
    Hi -Payday today for us so declared total for march and teetered over here

    Can I go for 230.00 for April Please ?

    Might be hard with it being Easter hols but ...........
    . FEB GC 255.82240
    MAR GC 230.46/ 240
    APRIL GC 237.84/ 230
    MAY GC 296.10/ 270 (5 week month !)
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 28th Mar 13, 6:10 PM
    • 3,984 Posts
    • 52,562 Thanks
    Florenceem
    Marge question.
    Has anyone on here used As.. soft marge for baking or buttercream? I think it was the one reccommended at the cake decorating evening this week.
    The price is a lot better than using butter. I love the taste of butter in cakes but 1 a pack makes home baking less MSE. Not that I would ever buy cakes.
    15 in 2015 1/15
    • ImDoingItForMe
    • By ImDoingItForMe 28th Mar 13, 6:23 PM
    • 870 Posts
    • 4,795 Thanks
    ImDoingItForMe
    Hi, ive just updated my signature, I spent 4.57 today (well a bit more but im not including a bottle of alcohol i bought on offer, as thats come out of my social life spends for the month ) Managed to get back to buying a Ys loaf of bread, and some other things also used coupons too. Now ive got a coupon for 5 off a 40 shop for next week, not sure i will use it as i dont spend that much, Im thinking of maybe getting a few bits for my home, ie kitchen bits or bedding or some more cheap alcohol for xmas .
    Last edited by ImDoingItForMe; 28-03-2013 at 6:35 PM.
    • pinkypig
    • By pinkypig 28th Mar 13, 6:25 PM
    • 1,519 Posts
    • 11,773 Thanks
    pinkypig
    Used my final Aldi voucher to stock up on meat for the freezer plus the usual weekly fresh stuff. Got a leg of lamb, a large joint of beef and 2 gammon joints (got the 1.3 kg ones as the were down to 3.99 which worked out cheaper than the special offer on large gammon joints). Spent 40.23 after vouchers but it will be really nice to have some lovely roast dinners

    Have a good Easter weekend everyone.

    PP xx
    MFW 2018 #157 Target 15,000

    23,095.71/15,000
    • XSpender
    • By XSpender 28th Mar 13, 7:04 PM
    • 3,346 Posts
    • 34,469 Thanks
    XSpender
    I did a list for my weekend shop and TBH I don't really need much more than the basic bread, milk and fruit for next week and some cream to make a cake for Sunday's desert. I have given myself a talking to as I had planned to go to mr t and use some vouchers but I would be spending a fortune on stuff just to hit the minimum spend.

    Instead I will buy my short list in mr s using 23 ish of n3ctar points and buy 6 bottles of wine from M&S as they have 25% off until Saturday and stock some of our favourites.

    I did a big shop in mr t last week and I have all the meat still not used and some other bits too.

    15 spent in M&S tonight on wine, lemonade, pizza and some sweeties. Managed to stop myself buying a gorgeous plain chocolate egg as it was a tenner
    • BeckyC2be
    • By BeckyC2be 28th Mar 13, 7:32 PM
    • 171 Posts
    • 454 Thanks
    BeckyC2be
    How are fridge and freezer?
    Originally posted by Florenceem
    Freezer's pretty good. Few portions of spag bol and chili. Also got a fair few processed chicken bits, what we've been putting off eating! Fridge is a bit bare but I use coffee whitener instead of milk so that will help!

    I'm actually really looking forward to really trying to budget and cut down
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 28th Mar 13, 7:33 PM
    • 3,984 Posts
    • 52,562 Thanks
    Florenceem
    Thursday.
    Spend of 1 on milk today.
    For dinner we had pizza with HM wedges and roasted veggies - red onions, white onion, mushrooms, red pepper & orange peppers.

    15 in 2015 1/15
    • BeckyC2be
    • By BeckyC2be 28th Mar 13, 7:36 PM
    • 171 Posts
    • 454 Thanks
    BeckyC2be
    8.82 in B&M yesterday - but includes a litre of olive oil and 4 tins of tuna (Princes) for 3.69 which is the best I've seen anywhere atm. Had to do a shop in Tesco today but kept it to 20.22 which is a miracle for me as I can easily drop 60 in there without trying. Going to a bring and share meal at church tonight - bringing two "different" salads for 20 - sweet potato, fig and goats cheese (Ottolenghi - Jerusalem book and not too bad as it's mostly roasted sweet potato) and a cucumber, dill and yoghurt salad. Invited to friends tomorrow night but they've only asked for HM bread - so that's easily achieved from the storecupboard. Oh yes and 4.40 on duck eggs to dye for the weekend as it's impossible to find white shelled eggs round here - but some of those will be gifts as well.
    Originally posted by thriftmonster
    Don't know if you have a poundstretchers near you, but they have John West tuna - 4 tins for 3 at the minute. Hope that helps somebody.
    • nannygladys
    • By nannygladys 28th Mar 13, 8:18 PM
    • 1,264 Posts
    • 13,697 Thanks
    nannygladys
    Hi all, did a freezer inventory (sounds grand!!) and I have 8 HM ready meals and 8 portions of fish, and bags of veggie sos, mince, pieces and burgers, so really I have enough in to manage all main meals in April - not I always have quite a bit left as although I meal plan and make/freeze meals I dont always fancy them and end up having something on toast or pizza or something, anyway my cupboards also look quite healthy so by rights I shouldnt have too much to buy, just fresh veg, fruit and milk, I even have enough stuff to make bread with as well, trouble is it doesnt work out like that so hoping this challange will make me think more about meals and hopefully have some money leftover at the end of the month
    nannyg
    • NickJW
    • By NickJW 28th Mar 13, 8:33 PM
    • 678 Posts
    • 13,646 Thanks
    NickJW
    Hi Nick, they are on F/book if you are on there- full name Cloud 9 Bargains. They do catering size packs of cleaning stuff in 5l containers. They deliver to your door depending on where you live. If you're still interested and can't find them I'll pm you a link later (as on my phone at the mo).
    Originally posted by K9sandFelines
    Ah thanks! I'll have a look at them I didn't know if it was a code for something (as we say Mr T, Sainsbugs etc).
    Grocery Challenge 14 Jan 14 46.05/130

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

    DFD 1st March 2011
    • Bluegreen143
    • By Bluegreen143 28th Mar 13, 9:25 PM
    • 1,101 Posts
    • 12,692 Thanks
    Bluegreen143
    Small spends today - 1.29 on a bag of spinach and 89p on two pints of milk at Mr M.

    OH was meeting a friend after work and ended up getting a chippy (paid for it himself) so instead of getting the planned mushroom stroganoff out of the freezer, I invented a gorgeous mackerel and pea pasta dish:

    1 tin mackerel in oil (think this was 69p from A*di)
    75g pasta (value penne, 5p)
    80g frozen peas (value, 8p)
    1 tbsp capers, roughly chopped (12p or so)
    1 clove garlic, crushed (3p)

    Roughly 97p for the meal, not including the parmesan.

    Cook the pasta in salted water, adding the peas a couple of minutes before the end. Drain when cooked and return the empty pan to a low heat, tipping a little of the mackerel oil in. Add the garlic, cook for 20 seconds and tip in the mackerel and capers, breaking up the fish a bit for another 20 seconds.

    Toss through the pasta, season with lots of black pepper, and serve with grated parmesan if desired. So tasty!



    Will add to the index.
    Last edited by Bluegreen143; 28-03-2013 at 9:34 PM.
    Married 1 March 2014 DS born 06/12/15

    Debts
    CC - 2,182.17/2,182.17
    Family loan 1 - 1,680/1,680
    Family loan 2 - 3,500/5,000
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