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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 12
    • tessie bear
    • By tessie bear 31st Mar 13, 9:15 AM
    • 4,361 Posts
    • 30,013 Thanks
    tessie bear
    happy easter i do hope noone was forgotten by the easter bunny...he dropped a fair bit off here....we are going out for lunch but i hope everyone cooking has sucess with it

    tata tessa
    onwards and upwards
    • lizziebabe
    • By lizziebabe 31st Mar 13, 9:33 AM
    • 1,090 Posts
    • 4,388 Thanks
    Ok so I was hopeless in March

    Please put me down for £125 for APRIL.

    I must start planning more and do better.

    Wishing everyone a Happy Easter
    • tatabubbly
    • By tatabubbly 31st Mar 13, 10:37 AM
    • 905 Posts
    • 6,077 Thanks
    Hey! Been missing the last few challenges but could you put me down for €100?? Drastically need to cut down on expenditure in our house due to huge bills! :O
    094 Sealed pot member! (7) €185 (8) €138 (9) €€250
    Saving for our first home!
    • meg72
    • By meg72 31st Mar 13, 10:39 AM
    • 5,082 Posts
    • 46,072 Thanks
    Well snow is disappearing and the pavements are fairly clear but cant go shopping as stores closed. I am just writing a list of what I need and plan to shop tommorow, cant wait as havent been out for a couple of weeks.
    Slimming World at target
  • MissE001
    Thanks for the thread Zippy! I managed to stay within budget in my first month's GC - very pleased and hoping that it's sustainable. March spends £156.07/£180

    Pledging £180 again for April to include petrol as well as groceries. That's for 2 grown-up children and spend lots of time out and about and not always around for dinner which can make it hard to budget. Watch this space
    SPC Member #112 Save £2k in 2014 # 160
    • SilverBird
    • By SilverBird 31st Mar 13, 11:49 AM
    • 251 Posts
    • 2,107 Thanks
    Budget for April's GC is £300.
    #Life isn't about waiting for the storms to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain #We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us #If you focus on what you have left behind, you will never see what lies ahead - Gusteau/Ratatouille
    GC 2018: £2,104.01/£2,160 total spend
    • JIL
    • By JIL 31st Mar 13, 12:53 PM
    • 4,945 Posts
    • 25,059 Thanks
    Sorry tried to put my months £210 on last night but I was on my phone and could not work out how to change colour or size, and it was late!!
    A big thank you to all who keep the thread going.

    I need to reign myself in, I have cancelled next weeks on line delivery and will just take £10 out of the bank to buy milk, bread and fruit and veg from L1dl. I need to remind myself just because its a bargain does not mean I need to buy it!!
    • JIL
    • By JIL 31st Mar 13, 1:02 PM
    • 4,945 Posts
    • 25,059 Thanks
    If you haven't seen it This is a lovely down to earth blog with easy vegie recipes.
    Originally posted by JayJay14
    I just wanted to say thank you for the blog. Although I have not eaten meat for over 20 years and have even done a vege cookery and nutrition course, its always good to get new ideas, and there are a lot on there.

    Happy Easter All.
    • thriftmonster
    • By thriftmonster 31st Mar 13, 1:30 PM
    • 1,656 Posts
    • 8,014 Thanks
    Don't know if this is of any use to anyone but this is what I spent Good Friday developing chez TM.

    GF Focaccia

    9oz Doves Farm GF white bread flour
    3oz gram flour
    1 tsp salt
    2 heaped tsp dried yeast
    1 egg
    1 tbsp olive oil
    about 14floz milk and water

    Mix to a thick batter. Turn into a greased 10" by 7" tin. Let it rise uncovered till doubled in size. Bake at 190C for 30 mins. Brush with a little more oil and bake for another 5-10 mins.

    Savoury: Add garlic powder and onion powder to the batter. Press olives (gently ) in to the batter before baking. Soften a sliced red onion in a little oil. After 15 mins baking spread the onion on top of the focaccia. Continue with the recipe. Sprinkle with cheese for the last 5 mins if wanted.

    Hot cross buns: Add cinnamon, mixed spice, orange zest and mixed dried fruit to the batter. After 30 mins baking brush with apricot jam and continue. Cut into 15 squares.

    The flavoured ones are nicer than the plain - but I'm really happy with the results for GF bread that works out cheaper than buying it from the SM. I cut the plain one into 6 larger rectangles and split them like rolls. It might need a little more salt - but I was worried about holding the yeast back.
    “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
  • Josslette
    Hi everyone,
    I've been a bit hopeless the last couple of months and more and more of my disposable income has been being spent on random food! This shouldn't be happening due to last month OH decided to up his contribution to the food budget so we now have £245 per month to play with which should be more than enough!

    Please can I be put down for
    £245 for April?

    I will do my budget from 1st April til 30th with me getting paid every thursday and OH getting paid on 15th of the month.

    Will work out a meal plan for this week and post it here.
    Last edited by Josslette; 31-03-2013 at 3:40 PM.
    September Grocery Challenge £0/£225
    • bigmaz
    • By bigmaz 31st Mar 13, 3:54 PM
    • 1,174 Posts
    • 1,069 Thanks
    I'd never thought of doing that! What a good idea, thanks bigmaz!
    Originally posted by WantToBeSE
    It worked a treat when we done it over the past few weeks, so thought we would try it for the whole month.

    Here the meat drawer in the freezer, split into freezer bags, hehe. one for each day.

    • cattysmum
    • By cattysmum 31st Mar 13, 3:55 PM
    • 1,256 Posts
    • 21,417 Thanks
    Afternoon all, after what I thought was going to be an on target month in March, I fell during the last week and ended up going over budget by about £30 so this month am going back to a Budget of £200. Just going to look for a Lemon drizzle cake recipe as I have grandkids down for a few days and was going to go for a walk in local woodlands but it is so cold decided to do some baking instead. Thanks to board admin for keeping us all up to date and good luck everyone for this months challenge.
    [B]SPC No. 295 - SPC No10 target £350
    SPC 2014 £150/SPC 2015 £256SPC 2016 £324
    Saving for Florida 2018
    Matched betting toe dipper.
    • liz-paul
    • By liz-paul 31st Mar 13, 4:21 PM
    • 895 Posts
    • 4,806 Thanks
    Cattysmum - I made the lemon drizzle cake from the recipe index today and I must say it was delish!!!!
    1% at a time no. 40. £8000 (For dream family holiday) 94/100
    MFW 2013 no. 62 £10,000/£10,000
    MFW 2014 no 62 £8000/£7000
    • Kitchenbunny
    • By Kitchenbunny 31st Mar 13, 4:40 PM
    • 1,861 Posts
    • 20,260 Thanks
    OK, so after a fairly spendy month of March, I'm now in the April Grocery Challenge. There's £1,291.18 for the rest of the year and I'd better be fairly frugal now. Main shop is Tuesday though Mr KB may want some bananas tomorrow so you never know, may hit the shops.

    Hope not! I don't like Bank Holiday queues.

    KB xx

    • mummyyof5
    • By mummyyof5 31st Mar 13, 5:30 PM
    • 1,839 Posts
    • 39,830 Thanks
    Quick question for all you very clever people on here...want to glaze some veg..carrots part of a meal for my mums birthday..but she is allergic to honey ..Is there anything else I could use??
    Feeding 6 Adults 1 Teen a 8 year old with hollow legs and a very fussy 5 year old. Also 3 cats and 3 fishies
    To include all Food,Toiletries and Petfood.
  • JayJay14
    Maple syrup.
    • katep23
    • By katep23 31st Mar 13, 6:12 PM
    • 1,370 Posts
    • 9,570 Thanks
    Spent £50 yesterday in Al*i's and Mr M's - stocked up on Super 6 offers and then got the last few bits in Mr M's but that was all out of March's money. April budget starts tomorrow.

    I had 2 of the 3 Mr M's Easter vouchers and managed to pick up the third, only to discover I had misplaced the first 2. Turned the house upside down but couldn't find them anywhere.

    As predicted, they have turned up today, after the offer closed! In the tupperware cupboard, mixed in with all the lids of course...

    Have emailed Morrisons in the vain hope they will give me a £10 voucher anyway but not holding my breath.
    Last edited by katep23; 31-03-2013 at 7:01 PM.
  • she who can not cook
    [QUOTE=JIL;60331073]Sorry tried to put my months

    I need to reign myself in, I have cancelled next weeks on line delivery and will just take £10 out of the bank to buy milk, bread and fruit and veg from L1dl. I need to remind myself just because its a bargain does not mean I need to buy it!![/QUOTE

    I am so guity of this especially if you
    Put a yellow sticker on it
    Gc 2013 +26 -5. -4 -7 -14 -15 -10.-8.20 +15p+30+5.80 Dec +9 GROCERY challenge 2014 Jan -2Feb -3 March -1.50 April +5.40 May +4.90 June -3.July 16.50/85

    God bless my sweet "old man" Goldie that died in the early hours of 27 th March please see him on my avatar
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 31st Mar 13, 6:44 PM
    • 3,996 Posts
    • 52,590 Thanks
    NSD here - 6/7 this week. No spending planned for tomorrow. I want to save as much as I can for the house renovations.
    We had TITH with roast potatoes, roast parsnip, cabbage, onion and gravy for dinner.

    15 in 2015 1/15
    • CherryPie
    • By CherryPie 31st Mar 13, 7:02 PM
    • 427 Posts
    • 5,349 Thanks
    Heres a link to a very tasty vege ragu. Theres also some other really good recipes on it.
    Originally posted by JIL
    If you haven't seen it This is a lovely down to earth blog with easy vegie recipes.
    Originally posted by JayJay14
    Thanks! This will certainly keep me busy over the next few weeks.

    A wee spend of 3.49 today on naughty pizza & chocolate (was having a bad day )

    My name is CherryPie and I'm addicted to grocery shopping!!

    Grocery Challenge

    Feb 2016 - £46.73 / £100.00
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