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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 fifth Grocery Challenge of 2013

    If your new month starts early feel free to join this thread, or if you're still working on your April budget, then keep on posting in the:
    April 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; 02-04-2013 at 2:56 PM.
    A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men
    Norn Iron club member #380

Page 14
  • optimistic-mummy
    hi can i join you please my month starts 03/05 and ends 04/06 im budgeting 200 please. really hoping i manage to keep track to include all takeaways, food, drinks and food and drink when out ..
    200 weeks 25,000.00 / 700
    • Cheapskate
    • By Cheapskate 3rd May 13, 6:53 AM
    • 1,660 Posts
    • 20,485 Thanks
    Morning everyone

    Please can I try again? Last month started off well, but ended as an epic fail! TC have changed again, so have no choice but to stick to the budget now. Please can I go down for 400 for May? Less than April, and I know I went way over, but my head's in a better place now, and I think I should be able to do it this month. Thanks chaps/chapesses!

    Had a NSD yesterday, need to do some shopping today, but really only a few things - will only use a basket instead of a trolley so when it's heavy I have to stop, or only get what we actually NEED!

    A xo
    Feb GC 0.00/300
    Decluttering 183/2019 items this year
    • K9sandFelines
    • By K9sandFelines 3rd May 13, 9:58 AM
    • 2,113 Posts
    • 18,219 Thanks
    Definitely no NSD tomorrow, as C*-*p have a weekend BOGOF deal on their 9pack loo rolls. So will be stocking up on them. I would have normally got them from FF or Aldi, but couldn't have managed aswell as the shopping today; so for a few pennies extra, i will get these whilst on offer, as i only live ten mins away.
    Originally posted by K9sandFelines
    Just picked up my loo roll, so a 4.19 spend on 18, which should last til the end of the month. I also queried the Quorn meatballs, and they hadn't updated the shelf edge label, and so the assistant said to go back in with receipt ( which i had got after all); so i walked back again with the dog, and got a refund. So will just add 3.44 spend to my sig today.

    On a negative note, i was exhausted last night and just couldn't muster up the energy to sort tea; even a HM ready meal out of the freezer, so i caved and got a takeaway. I am not including this as something i don't normally do. We maybe have one, once every other month if that. Had a good eight hours sleep last night, and woke up with renewed vigor, and got Lentil soup on the go. Thought this might make DD feel better too as she has woke up feeling poorly today (cough and cold), but plodded into school to get her reward for being on the high achievers cloud. I have fell rather spectacularly off the SW wagon a bit lately, so i'm hoping that my blip is over, and i can now get back to eating healthily and shifting this last stone.

    Have a good day all
    Last edited by K9sandFelines; 03-05-2013 at 10:00 AM. Reason: Typos
    GC 2017 3,434.09 GC 2018 2,250.95 GC 2019 Jan 268.24/200 Feb 158.01/200 Mar 220.05/200 April (moving) May (adjusting 270.73), Jun 200.99/280
    ~ Still learning the art of frugality ~
    • Sligo
    • By Sligo 3rd May 13, 10:49 AM
    • 208 Posts
    • 1,066 Thanks
    Thanks for updating my budget!

    First week over and i've spent 146.30/750. A good start as just under the weekly 150 budget. I must do a stock check now before I go shopping 2moro!

    HM Lasagne for dinner tonight - with a layer of hidden spinach! Hopefully it will stretch to 7 as 2 extra for dinner. I'll pad it out with salad and breadrolls! Then I'm planning to sort out the fridge this evening and turn any wilted looking veg into soup for 2moro with a couple of parmesan rinds chucked in for extra flavour.

    • K9sandFelines
    • By K9sandFelines 3rd May 13, 12:55 PM
    • 2,113 Posts
    • 18,219 Thanks
    Just picked up my loo roll, so a 4.19 spend on 18, which should last til the end of the month. I also queried the Quorn meatballs, and they hadn't updated the shelf edge label, and so the assistant said to go back in with receipt ( which i had got after all); so i walked back again with the dog, and got a refund. So will just add 3.44 spend to my sig today.
    Originally posted by K9sandFelines
    Oops just realised i had already added on to sig at the cheaper price, so have added the 75p refund back on my spend for loo roll ... brain is addled!
    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 200.99/280
    ~ Still learning the art of frugality ~
    • Crowdpleaser
    • By Crowdpleaser 3rd May 13, 4:07 PM
    • 1,031 Posts
    • 11,202 Thanks
    Rubbish spend of 12.71 in sainsbobs. Needed a raincoat from there for dd1 and also needed apples, milk, bread and cheese. 2 porkpies, a French baton and a dairy milk also fell in. Grrr. Top up shop to do Sunday then its gotta last til the next big 2 weeker shop.
    Save 500 for christmas 2016 161/500
    GC March 16 252.91/300
    • EstherH
    • By EstherH 3rd May 13, 5:42 PM
    • 1,133 Posts
    • 10,268 Thanks
    Hi everyone. I have been reading through as I need to cut back on spending. Had a few big bills recently. I started writing down what i was spending on groceries last month and it came to just over 250 which is what I would aim at. However I am one week exactly into my new month and I have already spent 200. I have friends here for the weekend and still need to get a few things in the morning for that too. Obviously, I now have quite a bit stored up for the month but we get through phenomenal amounts of fresh stuff which usually adds up to about 40 a week. I shall keep reading and looking for ideas and inspiration. Esther x
    • bargain hunter
    • By bargain hunter 3rd May 13, 6:37 PM
    • 542 Posts
    • 1,184 Thanks
    bargain hunter
    Updating this weeks spend -25 at aldi and 2.20 in coop on some fair trade choc for darling niece.

    Off to update signature - will be back on target if I can stay away from shops this weekend !!!
    . FEB GC 255.82240
    MAR GC 230.46/ 240
    APRIL GC 237.84/ 230
    MAY GC 296.10/ 270 (5 week month !)
    • Billie-jo
    • By Billie-jo 3rd May 13, 8:10 PM
    • 1,221 Posts
    • 15,892 Thanks
    NSD today.
    Tea was One Pot chicken from the 'This Morning' web site. Very nice but think would cook it for a little longer next time so as to get the potatoes a bit more crisp. Some of the tomatoes and juices left and will probably end up dipping some home made bread in to it tomorrow We had it with salad and the last of the coronation chicken rice.

    [COLOR="Purple"][B] MARCH 62.38/250 [B][COLOR="Purple"]
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 3rd May 13, 8:33 PM
    • 3,984 Posts
    • 52,562 Thanks
    Spend of 1 today - Mr F got 3 Dabs for 1 at the market.
    For dinner we had undyed smoked haddock - offer at Mr Ts with HM wedges and HM coleslaw. The fish cost 93p for the two of us and it was delicious.
    I also made a Blackberry & Cherry Crumble while I was in the kitchen.

    15 in 2015 1/15
    • CocoPop06
    • By CocoPop06 3rd May 13, 8:48 PM
    • 7 Posts
    • 17 Thanks
    Can I join this for the month please? - I normally budget 150 a month, got paid last Friday and only have 80 of my budget left!! I'm determined to prove to myself I can do it on 150 or less and to stop "popping to the shop for milk" and coming out 10 lighter!!
    • Guineapigsqueaks
    • By Guineapigsqueaks 3rd May 13, 9:51 PM
    • 302 Posts
    • 3,052 Thanks
    Second Aldi Voucher Used
    Evening All

    Small spend on milk on Tuesday to report 1.59, followed by weekly shop on Thursday at Ald*, just in time to use my second 5 off 40 voucher, spent 46.02. Best buy, some limited stock of 6 x bags Twiglets 99p, bought two bags for DS packed lunches, DD and I don't like. I do get a lot for my money at Ald*. Have updated signature.

    Probably go to Mr T sometime tomorrow to get Everyday Value stuff that I need and is cheaper than Ald*/bits I can't get from Ald*. I've been AWOL for Mr T for a few weeks, so hoping might get voucher with my receipt to entice me back for next week's shop, you never know .

    Looking forward to bit of sunshine over Bank Holiday. Don't think I'll need the spf50 just yet though.

    Guineapigsqueaks x

    Keep Smiling
    • craigywv
    • By craigywv 4th May 13, 6:55 AM
    • 1,976 Posts
    • 27,825 Thanks
    hi all food pics look lovely FLO.....daft question how do you get your coleslaw cut so fine is it by hand or blender type thing, as when i blend it ,it turns intomush. thanks. spent 40.65 in mr t yesterday got a lot of store cupboard for this also. not too many ys have noticed less and less on the shelves.
    C.R.A.P.R.O.L.L.Z #7 member N.I splinter-group co-ordinater I dont suffer from insanity....I enjoy every minute of it!!.
    • storytime
    • By storytime 4th May 13, 7:29 AM
    • 331 Posts
    • 1,469 Thanks
    Hi, first shop of the month. 41.51 at Aldi and 19.50 at Mr T. This included nappies for the month for DGS and face cream for me. Sig updated.
    My secret fantasy is having 2 men....
    1 cooking and 1 cleaning.
    • sefilby
    • By sefilby 4th May 13, 8:34 AM
    • 143 Posts
    • 1,628 Thanks
    35.52 spend in Mr T on this weeks main shop (40.52 less 5 voucher)
    Going to go claim some Freebies today - b**ts snack-a-jack-things and orange juice when you get the b**ts magazine and some burgers from Ic*land with voucher from yesterdays Sunpaper and some seeds from P*undland from todays paper.

    Have a good BH wknd everyone!

    Sig updated.
    Christmas budget 266.38/535 15/27gifts
    Read a book a week challenge 50/52
    • mrs-moneypenny
    • By mrs-moneypenny 4th May 13, 10:10 AM
    • 15,518 Posts
    • 198,189 Thanks
    got this from my DS2 school newsletter, i made a couple the other night and they taste really nice expecially still warm with butter

    Malt Loaf

    1 tbsp brown sugar
    3 tbsp malt extract
    2 tbsp black treacle
    25g/1oz butter (plus extra for greasing)
    350g/12oz strong white bread flour (plus extra for flouring)
    100g/3 1/2oz strong wholemeal bread flour
    pinch salt
    14g/1/2oz fast action yeast
    225g/8oz sultanas
    250ml/9fl oz warm water
    1tbps warm honey to glaze

    1. Place sugar, malt extract, treacle and butter in pan heat gently until butter has melted and sugar has dissolved. leave to cool.
    2. Mix flours, salt, yeast and sultanas in a mixing bowl.
    3. add warm water to the cooled malt syrup mixture, and pour over dry ingredients, stir thoroughly. The mixture will be soft and sticky.
    4. Turn onto floured surface and knead gently for a few minutes to bring all ingredients together..
    5. Grease 2 1lb loaf tins and divide mixture between them. Smooth the mixture with the back of a spoon so the top is even and level. cover each with a plastic bag or cling film, leave in a warm place for a couple of hours to rise.
    6. preheat oven to 190*C/375F/Gas 5
    remove plastic and bake for 30/40 mins. If top of loaf start to brown to quickly cover with loose sheet of foil and continue baking.
    7. remove from oven and brush the top with warm honey to glaze. cool on a wire rack. slice and eat with butter.

    written exactly as was in the school newsletter.
    mine wasnt sticky it was more like a dough but has risen well and tastes nomm. but i did swap sultanas for dates as i hadnt got any of those

    been and done the main shop this morning but not fruit and veg yet. got to take off what i got for mil before totalling my spends so will do that later
    SPC~12 ot 124

    In a world that has decided that it's going to lose its mind, be more kind my friend, try to Be More Kind
    • Bluegreen143
    • By Bluegreen143 4th May 13, 10:53 AM
    • 1,101 Posts
    • 12,692 Thanks
    mrs-moneypenny, your Malt Loaf recipe has been added to the index
    Married 1 March 2014 DS born 06/12/15

    CC - 2,182.17/2,182.17
    Family loan 1 - 1,680/1,680
    Family loan 2 - 3,500/5,000
    • K9sandFelines
    • By K9sandFelines 4th May 13, 11:36 AM
    • 2,113 Posts
    • 18,219 Thanks
    Mr T delivery, now including pet food from supermarket so total after promotions and 5 off was 41.08. Got loads for my money this week.

    Off to update sig
    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 200.99/280
    ~ Still learning the art of frugality ~
    • Tales17
    • By Tales17 4th May 13, 11:46 AM
    • 251 Posts
    • 2,496 Thanks
    Been off the grid for a while, trying to keep on target this month with 550
    Grocery Challenge 2019 YTD-820.46/7200(11%)
    Grocery Challenge Feb - 93.10/600(16%)
    12k in 2019 #: Monthly Saving Accounts 500, Cashback & Competition Sites 2.59, Shopping Saving 152.09,Selling 121.26, Interest & Dividends 43.93, Surveys 0, 365 Day Penny Challenge # 103.44
    Total Saved - 923.31/12000(8%)
  • Tenyearstogo
    I'm on track to overspend. I spent 86 today but my freezer is overflowing. I don't think I need to buy much more meat this month.

    I've tried shopping at a butchers today but the meat was such good value I got excited and bought everything.

    Hoping I can balance the spending out across the month now.
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