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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 27
    • K9sandFelines
    • By K9sandFelines 13th May 13, 9:10 PM
    • 2,113 Posts
    • 18,219 Thanks
    Leek and butterbeans recipe
    You read my mind! I have a packet of orzo sat on the shelf and leeks in the veg box. When you get a chance, thank you!
    Originally posted by lbnblbnb
    It's a SW recipe, so substitute the fry light with whatever cooking oil/spray you use; and full fat versions for half / low fat where applicable.I've also never had sherry in so always omitted it; and you can serve with any pasta. I've had tagliatelle, but just prefer orzo

    • 225g leeks, sliced
    • 156g mushrooms, sliced
    • 1 garlic clove, crushed
    • 1 tsp paprika
    • 142ml vegetable stock
    • 420g canned butter beans, drained and rinsed
    • 100ml half fat creme fraiche (8.5 syns)
    • 1 tbsp cornflour (3.5 syns)
    • 2 tbsp dry sherry (2 syns)
    • salt & pepper
    • Fry light
    • 2 tbsp chopped parsley, to serve
    Spray large saucepan with fry light - add leeks, mushrooms and garlic. Cook for 5 mins until soft. Stir in paprika, cook for 1 minute. Add stock, and bring to boil. Cover and simmer for 5 mins, then stir in butter beans and creme fraiche. Mix cornflour into sherry, add to pan. Cook, stirring, until sauce thickens. Season to taste and scatter with chopped parsley to serve.

    I put about two cupfuls of orzo in.

    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 ~
    • becsxxx
    • By becsxxx 13th May 13, 9:30 PM
    • 792 Posts
    • 15,903 Thanks
    30.24 in total today between Ald1 and Mr S.

    Nervous about how we'll do for the rest of the month!
  • sugarwalsh
    You have turned me into a YS freak.
    May GC - 100 per week
    Week 1 - 120/100 , Week 2 110/100, Week 3 110/100, Week 4 50/100Week 5

    DFW - March '13 - c/c 5600, April 4500, May 2500
  • sheeppappar
    just updated my signature.. had another shopping weekend in iceland with most of the rest of my vouchers but have also picked up some bits and bobs in other supermarkets (coop and sains close to where i live so not very cheap!)
    i found iceland cheap for some things but lots of items in packets "helpfully" priced at a round 1 or 2 which you can get for much cheaper elsewhere..not surprising i suppose but i won't be going back once i've used all my vouchers up

    keep it up everyone
    CC1 7,944.10
    CC2 2,680.03
    CC3 1,020.88
    • MrsCautious
    • By MrsCautious 14th May 13, 8:16 AM
    • 1,161 Posts
    • 13,728 Thanks
    You have turned me into a YS freak.
    Originally posted by sugarwalsh
    You love it and you know it

    Good luck Meg72, I hope you get some peace of mind and things improve quickly for you.

    I've spent 14.50 on groceries since last updating -- fridge, freezer and cupboards are well stocked so am meal planning for a couple of weeks and confident of not spending too much now before May is out, still think my reduced target of 180 is doable.

    Roast chicken dinner tonight with 9p YS Basics stuffing and hm Yorkshires.

    I don't know if anyone is interested in further boosting nectar points but I have only just found nectar canvass which may be worth a go -- 120 points a time for answering surveys. I got bored answering a pre-survey questionnaire but would like to give it another shot and stick with it, see how much I can get off. I may save up points until I have enough for a free weekly shop instead of taking off 10 each month, decisions decisions, rock and roll.
    Last edited by MrsCautious; 14-05-2013 at 8:23 AM.
    • WantToBeSE
    • By WantToBeSE 14th May 13, 9:21 AM
    • 6,778 Posts
    • 30,548 Thanks
    Meg- i hope it all goes well for you this morning, good luck

    Thanks Florenceem, bluegreen and others who gave me ideas of what to do with leftover red cabbage, i think i'll braise it as that sounds lovely!

    I have donw my weekly shop from Asda this week, to be delivered as i had a free delivery coupon from them and petrol costs about 6 to get to my nearest Asda
    But wont count that until Friday, as that's when it'll be deducted from my account. It came to 58.78, which is the closest i have come to my 60 weekly budget so far this month! However, i did stock up on some lentils and beans

    Have a great day everyone!
    3/6 month emergency fund challenge #20
    PODBX17 #122

    Debt Free Diary

    Total debt:
    14/01/2017 6247.89
    24/02/17 5623.17

    Estimated DFD Jan 2018
  • sugarwalsh
    Mrscautious, you are right, I do love it!

    Yesterday I went around 4 shops looking for YS bargains! 2 are close to studentsville - won't bother with those again as the students had snapped up all the bargains! I did get some reduced stuff in M and S! Well, it doens't all have to be 'cheap and cheerful', does it? Off to Aldi this morning to purchase items on shopping list, hope I can stick to below budget this week to even out the last two weeks overspends.
    May GC - 100 per week
    Week 1 - 120/100 , Week 2 110/100, Week 3 110/100, Week 4 50/100Week 5

    DFW - March '13 - c/c 5600, April 4500, May 2500
    • Bluegreen143
    • By Bluegreen143 14th May 13, 10:29 AM
    • 1,101 Posts
    • 12,692 Thanks
    K9sandFelines - your delicious-sounding Leek & Butterbean Orzo recipe has been added to the recipe 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
    • MrsCautious
    • By MrsCautious 14th May 13, 10:40 AM
    • 1,161 Posts
    • 13,728 Thanks
    Mrscautious, you are right, I do love it!

    I did get some reduced stuff in M and S! Well, it doens't all have to be 'cheap and cheerful', does it?.
    Originally posted by sugarwalsh
    I might go and have a look -- only one near us is at a motorway service station. Was really impressed with reduced meat at Waitrose, nearest one of those is about 12 miles.

    Meal plan for a week:

    Tonight: Roast chicken

    Weds: fish pie or cod in Indian spices with hm wedges/veg

    Thurs: Bacon/mushroom/pepper omelette or bacon, beans on toast.

    Fri: Just me so toast or something out of the freezer

    Sat: YS chilli beef kebabs, salad, spicy rice, wraps, mushrooms, peppers etc

    Sun: duck leg in orange sauce, baked potato, veg

    Mon: turkey or salmon with pasta with hm mushroom sauce

    Tues: Cottage pie, also make chilli and veggie chilli to freeze

    I have most of this in so happy days.

    Lunches are chicken skewers/salad/hm soup/leftovers/cooked meat salad sandwich and fruit.

    I'm losing weight and still have a long way to go. m going to cut my carbohydrates. x
  • sugarwalsh
    I too am losing weight. I'm on the 5:2 diet, which immeadiately cuts food bills 2 days a week!
    May GC - 100 per week
    Week 1 - 120/100 , Week 2 110/100, Week 3 110/100, Week 4 50/100Week 5

    DFW - March '13 - c/c 5600, April 4500, May 2500
    • budgeteer
    • By budgeteer 14th May 13, 12:49 PM
    • 682 Posts
    • 4,308 Thanks
    Very very pleased to have seen a great improvement this month. It's mainly due to stricter menu planning and focus. Out of my budget of 180, I've only spent 44 and its already the 14th. This is surprising as I thought that there wasn't much I could shave off.

    We are eating well and enjoying our meals more. They are certainly healthier so I've lost a couple of pounds in weight without trying.

    I've also found that just setting the table at tea-time with tablecloth, etc makes us feel positively extravagant

    It makes me happy to think that I can do the 'prudent wife' bit for my hard-working hubby

    Hope everyone is on track and enjoying GC in May
    • lizalloareds
    • By lizalloareds 14th May 13, 1:08 PM
    • 1,808 Posts
    • 17,414 Thanks
    spends today 5.65

    2.26 Mr T
    1.39 FF
    2 Icelan*

    sig updated
    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
    • hex2
    • By hex2 14th May 13, 6:24 PM
    • 4,722 Posts
    • 80,174 Thanks
    Spends today
    2 on 2 x 2l 1% milk
    96p on 120g haslet for boy 1 sandwiches for the rest of the week
    5.76 on F&V (carrots, cucumber, onions, apples, broccoli and celery), pasta, toast bread and peanuts (for faddy boy 2 protein) in Aldi, super 6 have changed which makes potatoes expensive.

    Tonight I scraped the chicken carcass, froze 4 tiny bags of scraps for pizza and then used the last dregs for pasta bake with the crispy cooking bacon from yesterday - passata, onion and celery for the bottom half, white sauce and some cheddar crumbs for the top half. Last bit for my work lunch tomorrow. I hate pasta but this was ok.

    Stock made in the pressure cooker with the carcass and one from the freezer. Into the freezer for another day. I sometimes wonder if it is worth it when basic stock cubes are 15p/10.

    All the buns are gone but tonight I am too tired to bake, let them eat basic bourbons for the time being. Cake service will resume tomorrow.

    Mrs Cautious have you tried nectar adpoints?
    250 points free for signing up and then up to 250 points per week for watching adverts, paid on a Monday morning for the previous week. Mixed feelings, always pays out but not many adverts to watch
    Last edited by hex2; 14-05-2013 at 6:31 PM.
    'If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need' Marcus Tullius Cicero
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 14th May 13, 6:50 PM
    • 3,984 Posts
    • 52,562 Thanks
    Another NSD here with no kitchen.
    15 in 2015 1/15
    • AimingForBetter
    • By AimingForBetter 14th May 13, 7:04 PM
    • 182 Posts
    • 2,316 Thanks
    Evening all

    Managed to do the biggish shop today in Sains, bought a lot of normal purchases which were on offer so am now stocked up on meat and store cupboard stuff which will last well into next month.

    Spent 145.81 today so total now stands at 300.01, may have to venture somewhere for a few bits which I couldn't get today but nothing desperate.

    Absolutely creamcrackered now so off to bed shortly, catch up with you all soon.

    • Wentthedaywell?
    • By Wentthedaywell? 14th May 13, 7:16 PM
    • 522 Posts
    • 2,952 Thanks
    Everyone is doing so well, I'll full of admiration for your prowess.

    I'm struggling to stay on budget of 130 a month (just for me, and this doesn't include petrol). I hardly drink, am not a huge meat eater, have been using store cupboard and freezer contents, haven't bought detergent/shampoo etc, have been assiduously using leftovers. But I was over budget last month and over half of this month's' blown already!

    It's a big improvement of the 200+ I was spending but I am genuinely surprised that I need to spend that much. I suppose it's only 4ish a day and there's not the economies of scale of a larger household so perhaps it's not too bad.
    Save 15k in 2019 # 4 May 11,000 (73%)
    • MrsCautious
    • By MrsCautious 14th May 13, 7:29 PM
    • 1,161 Posts
    • 13,728 Thanks

    Mrs Cautious have you tried nectar adpoints?
    250 points free for signing up and then up to 250 points per week for watching adverts, paid on a Monday morning for the previous week. Mixed feelings, always pays out but not many adverts to watch
    Originally posted by hex2
    Thank you, I'm doing it with the sound down and trying to think of it in terms of what I would have had to have spent to get the same points rather than how much points actually available are worth, I'm finding it worthwhile overall I think, I have some points from eBay and from e-shops to add and a tiddly amount from nectar search. I got a nectar credit card to pay off in full each month and this has added a fair few, just wish I could use it in Aldi xx
    • NickJW
    • By NickJW 14th May 13, 7:30 PM
    • 678 Posts
    • 13,646 Thanks
    Hello all!

    Delivery from Mr T came today - came to 17.06 after delivery, despite me originally ordering 30 odd. 5 deducted because of a bottle of wine, which is under entertainment spends (trying to save a bit of money by staying in some weekends rather than going out).

    But...the main reason why it was lower is because they didn't deliver cod fillets or chicken breasts because they weren't available and there were no suitable replacements...hmmm.
    So I only got 2 packs of turkey breasts for meat meals. I've got 2 cooking days this week left (my housemate cook the other ones), so will either need to book another delivery next Tuesday or go to the supermarket on Saturday.

    Also spent 59p in the corner shop and 2.61 in Mr T yesterday.

    Hope everyone is well.
    Grocery Challenge 14 Jan 14 46.05/130

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

    DFD 1st March 2011
    • MrsCautious
    • By MrsCautious 14th May 13, 7:33 PM
    • 1,161 Posts
    • 13,728 Thanks
    Everyone is doing so well, I'll full of admiration for your prowess.

    I'm struggling to stay on budget of 130 a month (just for me, and this doesn't include petrol). I hardly drink, am not a huge meat eater, have been using store cupboard and freezer contents, haven't bought detergent/shampoo etc, have been assiduously using leftovers. But I was over budget last month and over half of this month's' blown already!

    It's a big improvement of the 200+ I was spending but I am genuinely surprised that I need to spend that much. I suppose it's only 4ish a day and there's not the economies of scale of a larger household so perhaps it's not too bad.
    Originally posted by Wentthedaywell?

    Sounds brilliant to me, I think you should give yourself a massive pat on the back. I'm going to try and bumble along at 180/200 as long as I can for the 3 of us, I think 4 a day for one person is remarkable, go you xx
    • SpendingSensible
    • By SpendingSensible 14th May 13, 7:34 PM
    • 51 Posts
    • 809 Thanks
    Hmm, had written my post but failed to submit, so will have to do it again.

    Reporting back in after a lovely long weekend in Kent. We had a fabulous time, good dinners at local pub and lovely B&B (with amazing cooked breakfasts including eggs from own hens, beautifully yellow yolks).

    It was quite a shock to go back to work mode again, and yoghurt for breakfast....

    Anyway, not much meal planning going on yet, but sausages, bacon and eggs will feature, all bought at various farm shops. Tonight's dinner was courgette frittata.

    Various spends (most of our spends was holiday budget, so I've counted 2 NSD's on GC) at farm shops, food festival and supermarket total up to just over 45, so we're plenty on track for this month's budget.

    Am now off to catch up on how everybody is doing
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