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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 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'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; 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 11
    • Eyebright
    • By Eyebright 30th Mar 13, 12:52 PM
    • 869 Posts
    • 4,732 Thanks
    Spent 12 in the butchers today and 1 in the greengrocers. May be making a quick trip to Mr M's later as well for a couple of bits we need for dinner tomorrow.

    Off to update sig now...
    • Guineapigsqueaks
    • By Guineapigsqueaks 30th Mar 13, 1:01 PM
    • 302 Posts
    • 3,079 Thanks
    Been to Mr T
    Afternoon All

    Been to Mr T to do a stock up with my 5 off 40 coupon and to get another such coupon for next week as that promotion ends tomorrow I think. Spend after coupons of 37.75.

    I had been online last night and done myself a list. Also remembered to actually take the list with me this time, so I knew what I would spend and what deals I wanted. This really works for me with Mr T shop as I don't get tempted by anything else. Did shop and scan again, I am converted, much easier than using my calculator.

    Best deal was 2 packets of Weetos for DS and DD, price drop anyway to 2 a packet then had Clubcard bonus coupon for 90p off two packets, so 1.55 a pack. Also bought bits I didn't have to make Apple and Berry Oaty Crumble for family dinner tomorrow and a few flowers for Mum who is hosting.

    On way home, called at local pet food store, stocked up on 6 bags of hay for Guineas and big bag of sunflower hearts for garden birds, total 11.19. These are included in my grocery budget.

    Will update signature. Right, I can avoid my ironing basket no longer . Guineapigsqueaks x

    Keep Smiling
    • Bluegreen143
    • By Bluegreen143 30th Mar 13, 2:06 PM
    • 1,108 Posts
    • 12,739 Thanks
    Meant to pop on last night to say another no spend day - need a few more of those!

    Made green lentil, spinach and mushroom lasagne last night (new concept I was trying out) and it was really tasty two portions in the freezer for next week as well.

    Married 1 March 2014 DS born 06 Dec 2014 DD born 14 Dec 2018
    • BAGGY
    • By BAGGY 30th Mar 13, 3:06 PM
    • 483 Posts
    • 1,199 Thanks
    I spent 20 in Aldi yesterday. All their xmas biscuits were reduced. Foxes favorite tins and boxes to less than 1. I bought six as I am taking my cubs away in 4 weeks and we always get biccies for camp. Also Panatone for 29p. I luurve toasted panatone!
    • XSpender
    • By XSpender 30th Mar 13, 3:11 PM
    • 3,406 Posts
    • 34,882 Thanks
    Visited mr s this morning and spent around 77 after using 22.50 of n3ctar points. This was more than I was planning and includes a t- shirt for DS that will need to be deducted.

    It was more than planned as I took advantage of offers on my favourite rose wine, GF crisps, GF cereal and GF oatcakes that I have instead of bread with soup or ham and cheese and a GF curry sauce for me for tonight as already have one in cupboard for DH as we don't like the same amount of heat in a curry and he doesn't need to be GF like me.

    There wasn't a single chocolate egg in mr s so I bought DH some yorkie bars and giant yorkie buttons instead. More chocolate and less packaging too.

    I won a large min egg egg a couple of weeks ago and it had 2 big bags of mini eggs in so I have converted the egg and one pack of eggs into 14 chocolate cornflake nests for DS for Easter.

    Bought some cream and defrosted some raspberries and plan to make either individual raspberry pavlovas (have nests in already) or a chocolate cake filled with cream and rasps. DH hasn't a preference for either so I might do the pavlovas which will leave cream over to have with scones and jam as part of a cram tea for tea on Sunday as we won't be massively hungry after our lunch of lamb with all the trimmings
    October Grocery Challenge - 122.00/220
    • K9sandFelines
    • By K9sandFelines 30th Mar 13, 3:52 PM
    • 2,127 Posts
    • 18,279 Thanks
    Officially over here now!
    I've added 4.00 spent on Quorn products today that are cheaper in FF. I would have bought these from SM anyway, so will amend online basket.

    Also split AF and Cloud 9 order between last month and this month as hardly anything has been used. Really want to crack this, this month! Will not be including pet food this time, so i am hoping to come well under, although not sure if this is doable as DD is eating me out of house and home so far and she only broke up on Weds.

    Happy Easter all
    Last edited by K9sandFelines; 30-03-2013 at 4:42 PM. Reason: Error
    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 ~
    • lushlifesaver
    • By lushlifesaver 30th Mar 13, 4:07 PM
    • 2,312 Posts
    • 18,637 Thanks
    Spends today:
    Doglet: 11.48
    General groceries: 4.14

    Total spends today: 15.62

    Total spends so far: 35.38

    Doglet spends were just a shimmy (1.48) over the 10 I wanted to go for but I got him two months worth of food (on offer 6.99 per bag or two for 11.00) and a few treats in the pick'n'mix (the 0.48). I saw the offer on dog food was to continue until June so at the end of May we are going to get six bags (!) which will be 33.00 and that will last us until the end of the year then (all dated 2014).

    Roughly broken up the 100.00 budget should average out at 25.00 per week and what I have chosen to do is load 50.00 on to my O2 wallet card each fortnight now. So whilst we are a fair chunk through that it should be ok as we will only need bread and milk (due to the pack size I buy) during the next week.

    Have been researching prices in Denmark/Copenhagen and oh my is it pricey! We will have to supply lunch and dinner on the Thursday (although bf and I will probably skip lunch and just eat an evening meal or we will share something little - I may get us a Boots meal deal using my points before we get on the plane or something). We will also need to provide our own lunches on the Monday so we will fill up at breakfast in the hotel and power on through until we land back in the UK!

    The week after we are in Copenhagen bf is off for 3 days or so to a GB camp so budget will only have to feed me so I will go for a zero spend whilst he is away! Most of my payments go out this next week and then I don't plan on buying anything except a couple of polo shirts for the rest of the month so I should be fine

    Getting my hair done tomorrow - would usually pass bf's mum 20 for doing it but as she is doing mine and his he is paying for them to come to tea with us instead - win!

    Right, time to meal plan properly for this week and then crack on with my assignment!
    Perfect Princess born 26/03/14 <3
    • sweetilemon
    • By sweetilemon 30th Mar 13, 6:43 PM
    • 2,131 Posts
    • 2,724 Thanks
    I've just done the weeks shop in sainsburys for 2 adults + cat. 42 for the week inc breakfast lunch & dinners although caved and got a takeaway for tonight & wine then a treat dinner for easte sunday ( chicken sweet & sour in the morrisons takeaway section) total 32! This is how my budget gets blown! It was all going so well too. Will be better as of next more unecessary spending! I promise myself!
    • CherryPie
    • By CherryPie 30th Mar 13, 6:47 PM
    • 427 Posts
    • 5,349 Thanks
    Made green lentil, spinach and mushroom lasagne last night (new concept I was trying out) and it was really tasty two portions in the freezer for next week as well.

    Originally posted by Bluegreen143
    Thanks for this, but you know what I'm gonna ask! Any chance of a recipe? You are making my new veggie status very easy and very very tasty!!

    Just popping on to add my first April spend of a whopping 30.86 My budget is only 100 for the month. But that includes lots of store cupboard stuff. Have now got lots of new recipes to try, including a pot of pea & mint soup which is in the SC as we speak

    Good luck for April everyone

    Last edited by CherryPie; 30-03-2013 at 6:50 PM.
    My name is CherryPie and I'm addicted to grocery shopping!!

    Grocery Challenge

    Feb 2016 - 46.73 / 100.00
    • Bluegreen143
    • By Bluegreen143 30th Mar 13, 7:28 PM
    • 1,108 Posts
    • 12,739 Thanks
    Thanks for this, but you know what I'm gonna ask! Any chance of a recipe? You are making my new veggie status very easy and very very tasty!!
    Originally posted by CherryPie
    No problem CherryPie. Though I'm not a veggie now, I was for four and a half years and still eat veggie food most of the time! It's easy once you start getting into the habit

    Lentil, mushroom and spinach lasagne (Serves four)

    pack lasagne sheets
    20-30g parmesan or similar (can use cheddar instead for a different flavour), grated

    For the tomato layer:

    2 tins chopped tomatoes
    2 small onions or 1 medium one, chopped
    3 cloves garlic, crushed
    125g green-brown lentils
    bag spinach, washed if necessary
    250g mushrooms, sliced thinly
    1 tbsp dried oregano (can also add thyme or basil, or substitute for fresh herbs if you have any, the more the better really)
    1 glass red wine (optional; add some sugar to taste if you use this)

    For the white layer:

    20g butter
    20g cornflour (I don’t usually weigh these but measure by eye as doesn’t need to be exact)
    225-250ml milk (again, just do this by eye)
    1 tsp wholegrain mustard

    Pop the lentils on to boil (don’t salt the water) in a small saucepan, cooking according to packet directions (I think mine say 25 minutes or so). Meanwhile, heat a little vegetable oil in a large high-sided frying pan and gently fry the onions for a few minutes. Add the mushrooms and continue cooking until mostly wilted down. For the last 30 seconds, add the garlic and mix round.

    Add the red wine and sugar, if using, and the chopped tomatoes and oregano. Allow to simmer away for 20 minutes or so to reduce down. Season and taste – you might need to add more sugar or salt here. Once the lentils are cooked, drain and add to the sauce, and then add the spinach and cook until wilted.

    As the red layer simmers, make the white layer by melting the butter in a small pan, taking off the heat and mixing in the flour to a smooth paste, and adding the milk and whisking in. Put back on to a medium heat and cook, whisking well, for a few minutes until the sauce has thickened. Add the mustard and take off the heat. Preheat the oven to 200C.

    Layer the sauces and lasagne sheets in a baking dish – you might need more or less sheets depending on the size and shape of the dish and how you layer it. I put half the red sauce in the bottom, follow by a layer of sheets, then a layer of white sauce, then another layer of sheets, then the rest of the red sauce, then sheets, then the rest of the white sauce. Top with cheese and oven cook for around 35 minutes.

    Married 1 March 2014 DS born 06 Dec 2014 DD born 14 Dec 2018
    • ikkle87
    • By ikkle87 30th Mar 13, 7:36 PM
    • 8,297 Posts
    • 179,884 Thanks
    20.54 spent today in Mr M's as bubba's formula is nearly out so needed another tin, also bought some oats to make savoury flapjacks tomorrow so hope they work. This will be our last spend until the 9th 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
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 30th Mar 13, 8:03 PM
    • 3,996 Posts
    • 52,590 Thanks
    The first week of my April GC is over tomorrow. Having a really good week - spending - just 1 on milk! Next spend will be on milk - got everything else we need.
    We have so much stock in - need to run it down before the house renovations.
    We had bits from the freezer for a quick dinner - prawn curry, basmati rice and garlic/coriander naan bread.
    Having TITH tomorrow with roast potatoes, roast parsnip, roasted orange pepper, beetroot, white onions and red onions.
    I have written out next week's meal plan.

    15 in 2015 1/15
    • Eyebright
    • By Eyebright 30th Mar 13, 8:17 PM
    • 869 Posts
    • 4,732 Thanks
    Another spend today of 12.60 in Mr. M's for the last few bits I needed for dinner and dessert tomorrow. Next weeks shop is going to have to be a frugal one if I stand any chance of coming in on budget!
    I'm going to do a meal plan tomorrow to organise myself then do an online order to ensure I only buy what is on my list. Too tempting if I'm physically in the SM!!!
    • Smoosh
    • By Smoosh 30th Mar 13, 9:00 PM
    • 1,081 Posts
    • 12,626 Thanks
    Not starting my April budget until it's officially April, but I will aim for 100 again. As usual, to include household items as well as groceries for 2 people + a cat
    • Nicky Noo Na
    • By Nicky Noo Na 30th Mar 13, 9:43 PM
    • 760 Posts
    • 6,713 Thanks
    Nicky Noo Na
    5.24 on some toiletries. Big shop on Monday to come!

    • JIL
    • By JIL 31st Mar 13, 2:13 AM
    • 4,945 Posts
    • 25,059 Thanks
    Heres a link to a very tasty vege ragu. Theres also some other really good recipes on it.
    • BeckyC2be
    • By BeckyC2be 31st Mar 13, 6:36 AM
    • 171 Posts
    • 455 Thanks
    Did a 'big' shop yesterday in Asda, normally shop at Mr T's but my mum fancied Asda and she used her petrol so I went there. I spent 20.36 and seemed to get an awful lot, including a couple of weeks cats food and litter (and a couple of packs of biscuits )

    I'll put it as my sig when I figure out how!
  • JayJay14
    If you haven't seen it This is a lovely down to earth blog with easy vegie recipes.
    • Coxy11
    • By Coxy11 31st Mar 13, 7:51 AM
    • 2,322 Posts
    • 27,347 Thanks
    Morning everyone!

    Happy Easter to you all

    Budgets done to here

    Welcome to:
    bmma and getting-sorted-sarah

    Cross-stitch WIP: Pretty Little London by Satsuma Street
    • Wentthedaywell?
    • By Wentthedaywell? 31st Mar 13, 8:32 AM
    • 527 Posts
    • 2,983 Thanks
    Hello everyone! Is it too late for me to join please? My finiancial year starts April 1st and I've just totalled my 2012-13 spends and was shocked to see the biggest expense by far was on groceries. I want to try reduce this by a third this year.

    I want to try live on 130 pm which should be plenty for a single person. I know some months will more expensive if I've done a freezer shop etc, so i'm aiming for an annual total of 1600.

    Cutting down on grocery spend is a key strategy to reach my saving and mortgage-free targets and I'm looking forward to getting valuable tips from you clever people on this thread!
    Save 15k in 2019 # 4: September 18,000 (120% )
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