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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 33
    • Eyebright
    • By Eyebright 11th Apr 13, 8:50 AM
    • 860 Posts
    • 4,682 Thanks
    Eyebright
    The SC is a great kitchen item to have, and I find they are really simple to use. Just chop up stuff and chuck it in with some sort of liquid, then let it simmer away for the day!

    Managed a couple of NSD days here which has made me very happy. We are away next weekend (fri, sat and sun) and I have plenty in, so I'm hoping not to do a weekly shop next week. Will devise a meal plan for the 4 days we are here and then just get any bits we might need, probably just milk and bread.
    This might just help me to stay in budget as I am dangerously close now :P
    DFD Feb 2018 Total debt now 12672.13 6919.63
    EFC #11 150/1000 = 15% achieved
    • tessie bear
    • By tessie bear 11th Apr 13, 8:57 AM
    • 4,324 Posts
    • 29,759 Thanks
    tessie bear
    hi...last day of the epic turkey today in the form of turkey fried rice, I need to prep some veg and sort out a pudding Im not sure what we are having yet

    I plan to make some rock cakes in a minute and do a meal plan and shopping list for next week, I have managed to do very little shopping this week and dont think I have spent much I will add it up later

    have a nice day tessa
    onwards and upwards
  • she who can not cook
    As someone who is also inclined to overstock on bargains Ifind it useful to make myself have a use up week every now and then. I plan a weeks menu from the freezer and cupboards and only buy absolute essentials for that week.

    I try to do this the first week of the challenge and use the savings to stock up on the last week so that I am a bit ahead for the next month.


    this works out well for me as I live alone and can please myself what I eat, much more difficult when feeding a family though, too many moans of `We havent got any ------`
    Originally posted by meg72
    This is a problem with me too i may start doing this cos like the old yellow sticker like we all do. But have to squeeze things in the freeze i will have to do the Eating out of the freezer challenge
    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
    • MrsCautious
    • By MrsCautious 11th Apr 13, 9:23 AM
    • 1,161 Posts
    • 13,728 Thanks
    MrsCautious
    hi...last day of the epic turkey today in the form of turkey fried rice, I need to prep some veg and sort out a pudding Im not sure what we are having yet

    I plan to make some rock cakes in a minute and do a meal plan and shopping list for next week, I have managed to do very little shopping this week and dont think I have spent much I will add it up later

    have a nice day tessa
    Originally posted by tessie bear
    Your post about what you have done with one turkey crown was amazing! I think I'd like to get one next time I buy meat -- did you think it would do so much for that price?

    Hey thanks for encouragement re slow cooker,Eyebright and Sheepappar

    Looks like I may not go anywhere due to nasty 'orrible painful cough and cold, I have some long life milk and some bread in the freezer so we can make do, no problem eating what's here today, my mum has given us some cooked meat and a red pepper -- bit random but she said she and my dad wouldn't eat it. I bought cheapest hot dog sausages I could find (49p a tin in Aldi) last week as well as chicken in white sauce from Sainsbury's last week -- not particularly good value or brilliant nutritionally but it's a bit of an old family favourite staple and I wanted some 'standby' lunches. So it's reasonable to expect an NSD today, about time I had another one.

    Have a lovely day everyone xx
    Last edited by MrsCautious; 11-04-2013 at 9:36 AM.
    • tessie bear
    • By tessie bear 11th Apr 13, 11:06 AM
    • 4,324 Posts
    • 29,759 Thanks
    tessie bear
    hi Mrs C i am a big fan of rubberizing food (nothing else hee hee) what i do is buy the meat such as
    a big chicken
    a ham joint
    lamb joint
    beef joint
    turkey crown
    cook it sometimes in the sc as is is a very forgiving way to cook meat and you seem to be able to get every scrap of meat off it and then set about making meals for a few days....meat shouldnt be kept for longer than 3 days which i try and bear in mind although am not too precious I then see how far i can get day wise...sometimes imake everything sometimes less . I like to have nice meat for ds packups so not only is the meat good for dinners it reduces the spend on cooked meat for his sarnies

    anyone got any other suggestions for food that can get the rubber treatment ? im open to suggestions (hee hee)

    hth
    tessa
    onwards and upwards
    • MrsCautious
    • By MrsCautious 11th Apr 13, 11:35 AM
    • 1,161 Posts
    • 13,728 Thanks
    MrsCautious
    hi Mrs C i am a big fan of rubberizing food (nothing else hee hee) what i do is buy the meat such as
    a big chicken
    a ham joint
    lamb joint
    beef joint
    turkey crown
    cook it sometimes in the sc as is is a very forgiving way to cook meat and you seem to be able to get every scrap of meat off it and then set about making meals for a few days....meat shouldnt be kept for longer than 3 days which i try and bear in mind although am not too precious I then see how far i can get day wise...sometimes imake everything sometimes less . I like to have nice meat for ds packups so not only is the meat good for dinners it reduces the spend on cooked meat for his sarnies

    anyone got any other suggestions for food that can get the rubber treatment ? im open to suggestions (hee hee)

    hth
    tessa
    Originally posted by tessie bear
    thank you -- definitely going to try this, one of my daughters says now and again she has had enough of sandwiches so I think the turkey could also be nice in a cold pasta salad or just with a summer salad and some crackers or something. I also want to start buying whole chickens rather than portions and make more meals from them. I'm not planning on buying meat for at least a week but will relish this chance to try something new.
    • lizalloareds
    • By lizalloareds 11th Apr 13, 12:17 PM
    • 1,808 Posts
    • 17,414 Thanks
    lizalloareds
    spends today
    1 Iceland
    1.07 Mr T
    2.25 Mr A
    2.44 Butchers

    having SC sausage casserole for dinner tonight using sausages from butchers
    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
  • she who can not cook
    Thanks Meg - trying to do that with the freezer this month! I'm deffo getting better, but need more work. I hate the thought of running out of food and am a real food hoarder for 'just in case' Don't know what this just in case is as the shops are open all but about 2-3 days of the year. I think I'm preparing for nuclear war/natural disaster My mum is the same and she puts it down to growing up poor.....

    Need to get it into my head that there will be other deals the next week!

    On the plus side, I've planned out some tasty meals for this month..... And I will work on using things up and only buying what we need.
    Originally posted by liz-paul
    Yes
    I am in the same boat. I went thru a time of depression a long time back after my mum died i went to the a counsellor via a gp
    I mentioned once about having full cupboards and she asked me if i ever went without food as a kid.that made me really think what i said after that.
    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
  • she who can not cook
    I'm up to about 113 now and although I went in the shop yesterday I managed not to spend anything. It's really hard not to just pop in for a look and see if there's anything reduced etc, because I have to walk past the place to get home each day! Any tips? I don't really feel comfortable with not carrying any money at all because then what if it happens that I need some money for something.
    Originally posted by CupOfChai
    Sorry no tips i am so in the same boat just can not leave the ys alone and for all this walking i am doing i should be loosing weight lol NOT
    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
    • rogue999
    • By rogue999 11th Apr 13, 4:17 PM
    • 160 Posts
    • 1,077 Thanks
    rogue999
    Took kids to cinema too see The Croods and they asked for cinema snacks for a treat - so gave in as it's half term and they've been good. Snacks cost 11.98 for the 3 of us - apart from that didn't spend anything else (cinema tickets and bus fares out of my spending money).

    Having Jacket potatoes (regular for DH and kids, sweet pot for me) with beans and/or cheese for tea. Make about 25 large oaty cookies with store cupboard ingredients this afternoon:

    225g softened butter
    225g sugar
    170g condensed milk
    200g porridge oats
    150g SR flour
    pinch of cinnamon or mixed spice
    150vg raisins (optional)

    Beat butter, sugar and condensed milk, add rest and mix together. Roll into golf ball size pieces and pop (well spaced out - I use 3 trays) on baking paper - mix is sticky, don't worry they don't have to be perfect. flatten down a little then bake for approx 15mins on 160. The paler they are the more chewy they'll be. Don't let them brown too much or they'll be hard - pale golden is good.
    • Billie-jo
    • By Billie-jo 11th Apr 13, 4:54 PM
    • 1,221 Posts
    • 15,892 Thanks
    Billie-jo
    Have managed to spend a 41.23 today however 11.99 was on a sack of potatoes although have given half of them to daughter. We had grandchildren today and they worked out how many lbs were in half a bag and then weighed them out. Kept them good and improves their math skills

    Got to take Mum to Te$co tomorrow but with a lot of luck wont spend anything as still have a couple of vouchers that need using before end of month so will see what offers are on and stock up.
    Just having soup tonight as not very hungry, however there are cheese and crackers in for later if we want.

    Tessiebear - you have done well with the turkey crown.

    Another vote for slow cookers, I think they are brilliant and have never had any problems with tough meat. We have a large sc that was brought for us as a Christmas present a few years ago.
    [COLOR="Purple"][B] MARCH 62.38/250 [B][COLOR="Purple"]
    • GreenFairy
    • By GreenFairy 11th Apr 13, 5:08 PM
    • 301 Posts
    • 3,786 Thanks
    GreenFairy
    Oh Coxy I think I'd cry...time for a new slow cooker? Don't know what I'd do without mine - it's the kind that cooks rice and all!

    €12.28 spent today. Sea salt, garlic, fresh coriander and chillis, giant cauliflower, lemons, dairy free cheese....and a sneaky packet of Oreo cookies.

    Having HM pizza and salad
    Fri: cauli and chickpea curry for the gang, with Jamie's carrot salad, rice and poppadums.
    Sat: veg satay, rice for himself, noodles for me.
    Sun: wraps or tacos - have all the bits in, just need to make refried beans.

    Will have a run through of the presses on Sunday and see what I can cobble together for the week ahead
    Feb GC 253.11/400
    Jan GC 203.37/400
    • meg72
    • By meg72 11th Apr 13, 5:45 PM
    • 5,082 Posts
    • 46,072 Thanks
    meg72
    I've updated my signature. Spent far too much because I stopped off in M&S because I fancied some Percy Pigs, picked up a few bits I needed

    What a fool!
    Originally posted by Tenyearstogo
    Please, I am just dying to know, what are Percy Pigs, nosey old sod I am.
    Slimming World at target
    • K9sandFelines
    • By K9sandFelines 11th Apr 13, 5:49 PM
    • 2,113 Posts
    • 18,217 Thanks
    K9sandFelines
    NSD ... did buy a Keep calm and Keep on saving pot in red to match my kitchen, from CS.

    Tonight's tea was Caribbean chicken, sweet potato and green beans. Going to bin the marinade and make my own in future. All i could taste was salt.

    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 ~
    • K9sandFelines
    • By K9sandFelines 11th Apr 13, 6:13 PM
    • 2,113 Posts
    • 18,217 Thanks
    K9sandFelines
    Please, I am just dying to know, what are Percy Pigs, nosey old sod I am.
    Originally posted by meg72
    Jelly sweets Meg
    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 ~
    • MrsCautious
    • By MrsCautious 11th Apr 13, 6:19 PM
    • 1,161 Posts
    • 13,728 Thanks
    MrsCautious
    For tea tonight I made defrosted YS prawns in a creamy garlic, chilli and lemon sauce with pasta, the portions weren't massive but were very much enjoyed, as the prawns cost 74p and the pasta 29p for the whole packet, which we only made a small dent in, this was a very cheap meal for 3 of us. Onion was from super six and the pepper was left over given to me by my mum. If I had gone shopping I would have added mushrooms to the sauce (with Aldi Philly-type cheese) and a fresh crunchy salad but we went without. We shared a 33p garlic bread cooked from frozen from the Co-op and used up some of a fresh lemon.
    Last edited by MrsCautious; 11-04-2013 at 6:25 PM.
    • brighteyes1987
    • By brighteyes1987 11th Apr 13, 6:41 PM
    • 167 Posts
    • 1,751 Thanks
    brighteyes1987
    Evening all,

    Small spend today 1 on mushrooms needed for dinner this evening.
    NSD yesterday though
    Sig updated.

    Had chicken chasseur, fresh veg & roasties for dinner. Really enjoyed & yet again dd7 (human dustbin that she is ) demolished the lot.

    Shopping day tomorrow. Meal plan & list has been made. If I stick to these should be a small spend week. Time will tell but budget looking ok so far this month.

    Have a great evening all.

    BE x
    March grocery challenge 147.28 / 150.00

    April grocery challenge 60.36 / 150.00
    • getting-sorted-sarah
    • By getting-sorted-sarah 11th Apr 13, 6:51 PM
    • 719 Posts
    • 3,756 Thanks
    getting-sorted-sarah
    Another NSD for me. Totally relating to those of you talking about not being about to resist bargains - that'll be why I have 9 tins of baked beans in the cupboard. I grew up without too many luxuries but there was always good food and cooking/eating was a big part of family life. I think I associate full cupboards with looking after my family, and we go without a lot but never food! Must get this under control and more proportionate though.
    • meg72
    • By meg72 11th Apr 13, 7:15 PM
    • 5,082 Posts
    • 46,072 Thanks
    meg72
    Jelly sweets Meg
    Originally posted by K9sandFelines
    Aw right thanks I was thinking it was probably to do with pigs trotters that my nan used to rave about,.apparently when she and my Grandad were courting they used to go to the 6d pictures and he would bring pigs trotters for them to slurp in the back row.
    Slimming World at target
    • lbnblbnb
    • By lbnblbnb 11th Apr 13, 7:32 PM
    • 564 Posts
    • 5,881 Thanks
    lbnblbnb
    Aw right thanks I was thinking it was probably to do with pigs trotters that my nan used to rave about,.apparently when she and my Grandad were courting they used to go to the 6d pictures and he would bring pigs trotters for them to slurp in the back row.
    Originally posted by meg72
    Wow- a bit different to the food at cinemas now!
    Grocery Challenge (2 adults 2 kids)
    19th June -18th July 91:15/150 61%

    Save 12,000 in 2013 No. 188 7382/12,000 62%
    2013 Frugal Living Challenge
    Debt free October 2012
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