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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 sixth Grocery Challenge of 2013

    If your new month starts early feel free to join this thread, or if you're still working on your May budget, then keep on posting in the:
    May 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 2:55 PM.
    A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men
    Norn Iron club member #380

Page 16
    • Nelly11
    • By Nelly11 5th Jun 13, 2:09 PM
    • 190 Posts
    • 1,392 Thanks
    Tesco Teabags 0.27
    Tesco longlife milk 0.53
    minus a coupon of 0.34

    total of 46p spent today!
    Barclay card £4,024/£0 0%interest
    HMRC £3,456/£0 0% interest
    Blackhorse £2763/£0 0% interest
    HMRC2 £397/£0 0% interest
    Credit card £1400/£0 29% interest
    Save all loose change 2018 total =
    • K9sandFelines
    • By K9sandFelines 5th Jun 13, 2:42 PM
    • 2,113 Posts
    • 18,219 Thanks
    K9- would you let me know about the toilet rolls please? I have been using the asda smartprice ones, but i hate them. It's like scratching my bum with sandpaper! and it all breaks up
    Originally posted by WantToBeSE
    They are £5 like before, and offer ends 24 June. I am going to aim to save £10 out of the budget this month and stock up so that it will see me through most of July and summer holidays
    Ps Another NSD for me (which makes it now three in a row). Hoping for one tomorrow too.

    Will update sig later.
    Last edited by K9sandFelines; 05-06-2013 at 2:44 PM.
    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 ~
    • lizalloareds
    • By lizalloareds 5th Jun 13, 2:49 PM
    • 1,808 Posts
    • 17,414 Thanks
    spends today
    £1.25 Mr T
    £1 Iceld
    79p Ald*
    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
    • Ciaerda
    • By Ciaerda 5th Jun 13, 2:51 PM
    • 60 Posts
    • 325 Thanks
    I do have a nice pasta bake recipe with courgettes, feta and sun dried toms that I could have used it in if I had remembered it was there[/QUOTE]

    That sounds lovely, have you a recipe, I normally use the feta to make a feta and roast pepper pesto that I use to stuff chicken breasts with, but I only ever need a little bit and my boys don't like it on its own

    Thank you meg72 the amount that I have thrown away is awful when you think about it.
    • january_23
    • By january_23 5th Jun 13, 3:14 PM
    • 172 Posts
    • 1,427 Thanks
    Our June started on the 1st. Can you put us down for £200 for the month please. Just OH and me for food, toiletries, cleaning etc.

    We have already spent £43.01.

    Last edited by january_23; 05-06-2013 at 4:47 PM.
    2 adults groceries: June £35.79/£200
    # 3 - Saving for Xmas 2015 £1 a day. £122/£365
    TTC #1 since 06/08/12
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 5th Jun 13, 4:01 PM
    • 3,984 Posts
    • 52,562 Thanks
    Spend of £2.13 today. I got 2 bags of the red onions in Al.. before the Super Saver changes.
    15 in 2015 1/15
    • Elimum
    • By Elimum 5th Jun 13, 4:33 PM
    • 15 Posts
    • 100 Thanks
    So far my June spending has been:
    61£ish at MrT for staples (but 3£ were for an e-book case as present for father's day, so actually 58£ish grocery)
    11£ at the marked for:strawberries, cherries, bananas, onions, garlic, carrots, lemons, tomatoes and a nice hm jam, BUT walking there hubby found a 5£ note so the actual spending from our pocket it's been 6£
    All this spent on Saturday, so also 4NSD in a row so far
    GC June 69£/300£
    Last edited by Elimum; 05-06-2013 at 4:36 PM.
    GC June £75.60/£300
    • pinkypig
    • By pinkypig 5th Jun 13, 5:08 PM
    • 1,519 Posts
    • 11,773 Thanks
    Did our second big shop of the month to use up our 2nd Mirror voucher. I wrote a list and worked out exactly how much juice, coffee, dried goods, frozen stuff ect that we needed to get to the end of the month based on my meal plan and what we already have. Total spend after vouchers was £37.24 which put us on track to come in on budget.
    Two more weeks until pay day and we should only need small top ups of fresh stuff.
    This approach does take a bit of forward planning but it seems to be working for us and it means that we can £10 off our monthly shop using the Mirror vouchers.

    Hope everyone is doing OK.

    PP xx
    MFW 2018 #157 Target £15,000

    • Billie-jo
    • By Billie-jo 5th Jun 13, 5:12 PM
    • 1,221 Posts
    • 15,892 Thanks
    Another NSD here and for tea we are having cheese & potato pie and am using up the last 2 rashers of bacon in it and also 2 sausages that were left over, onions and last few tomatoes. Only fruit & veg we have in are onions, 1/4 of a cabbage, 3-4 small carrots,1/2 lettuce and 2 satsumas so a top up tomorrow is a must. Still its nice to see fridge empty now and again and no waste at all.
    May also call in c**p and see about these toilet rolls someone mentioned - thanks.
    Menu's done for another week and will do shopping list as soon as have eaten tea.
    [COLOR="Purple"][B] MARCH £62.38/250 [B][COLOR="Purple"]
    • smokies
    • By smokies 5th Jun 13, 5:21 PM
    • 137 Posts
    • 1,314 Thanks
    really annoyed with ones self, forgot to sort out my lunch for today last night, woke up late this morning so ended up buying lunch at work.

    On a good note I did cycle to work again, thus not using the car and saving petrol.

    Hope everyone is have a great day xxx
    Sell £750.00
    Jan-feb-march - 150.00

    • K9sandFelines
    • By K9sandFelines 5th Jun 13, 6:57 PM
    • 2,113 Posts
    • 18,219 Thanks
    It was I :)
    May also call in c**p and see about these toilet rolls someone mentioned - thanks .
    Originally posted by Billie-jo
    I hope it's a national deal after all this!
    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 ~
    • MrsCautious
    • By MrsCautious 5th Jun 13, 7:23 PM
    • 1,161 Posts
    • 13,728 Thanks
    Spent £5 in Sainsbury last night after making urgent dash to pharmacy for pain relief -- nothing serious and cost not included in GC!

    Bought YS bread - 2 loaves at 19p each, plus a YS Pizza Express pizza, some onions, sausage rolls, something else I can't remember (sorry - not very helpful there!)

    Tonight cooked YS shish kebabs in wraps with salad, Approved Foods salsa (use by 2016 so that was good for AF I think ) and hm wedges which I dusted in Indian spices, plus mushrooms and onions.

    Somehow after deciding I was aiming for £45 a week, I've spent £80 in the first days of June, but touch wood we are stocked up with what I'd consider for us an unusually eclectic mix of tasty things to keep me from doing much more damage. I do tend to stock up a bit in the first week, honest

    Also I've listed my first ever items on eBay, am doing a car boot for the first time on Sunday and got £80 cashback yesterday through Top Cashback after switching my daughters' phones to a deal that was already half the cost of the old one.

    I'm going to try to really focus and come in at under £180, I know we can do it, and I've told my girls there's no eating out or new clothes this month, we all have to continue to learn about budgeting.

    NSD today, get in.
    Last edited by MrsCautious; 05-06-2013 at 7:26 PM.
  • she who can not cook
    really annoyed with ones self, forgot to sort out my lunch for today last night, woke up late this morning so ended up buying lunch at work.

    On a good note I did cycle to work again, thus not using the car and saving petrol.

    Hope everyone is have a great day xxx
    Originally posted by smokies
    On my day off i do a different soup and freeze it. With the weekend meals i freeze some leftovers in plastic containers. I get out my frozen lunch out in the morning i was late the other day my alarm was silenced opps but i grabbed a plastic container and ran out of the house
    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
    • NickJW
    • By NickJW 5th Jun 13, 8:30 PM
    • 678 Posts
    • 13,646 Thanks
    NickJW - you always have such exciting tea!
    Originally posted by sheeppappar

    Thank you sheepappar My meals are usually simpler because I have a budget per meal, but my housemate cooks what he wants (and pays for it). I have to try harder to keep up doing nice meals on a budget

    So my meals for Thursday and Friday will be Pasta with aubergine, roasted tomatoes, tuna and basil and HM Chicken Chow Mein (first time trying to cook this) - not sure yet which way around.

    I've decided on both recipes because that's what needs using up, and I get a bit panicky when there are too many things in the fridge. I'm definitely not a hoarder - I hate waste! Lol
    Grocery Challenge 14 Jan 14 £46.05/£130

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

    DFD 1st March 2011
    • meanmarie
    • By meanmarie 5th Jun 13, 9:11 PM
    • 5,093 Posts
    • 49,556 Thanks
    First spend of the month today....€12.73 between Aldi and Polish shop, its the only place I can get fresh yeast, which I prefer for bread.

    Weight 08 February 86kg
    • Cekaelta
    • By Cekaelta 5th Jun 13, 9:24 PM
    • 17 Posts
    • 138 Thanks
    So our first big shop of the month has been done. I sent the other half to do it on his day off, always a bit risky as he is definitely less controlled with spending than me, but how else is he going to learn! And he did have a list based on a meal plan I sorted and he mostly stuck to it so he's spent just over £60 at Mr T, more than I would have but very good for him so I'm impressed! Hoping we can push this shop to last about 2 weeks with a just a small top up for packed lunches and fresh veg, fingers crossed. To think a few months ago we were managing to spend about £80 a week=I love the grocery challenge!
    • Bluegreen143
    • By Bluegreen143 5th Jun 13, 9:40 PM
    • 1,101 Posts
    • 12,692 Thanks
    Small spend of 97p on the 2 lite Mead*w P*rk milk in Mr M's.

    Have copied the below over from the blog as I think it's such good moneysaving you guys might be interested . I'm feeling very smug which is sad but I love how much I saved with this:

    I needed pickled ginger so I had to go to Mr S. Standing there, I really looked at the price for the first time and realised that a) it’s a total rip-off and b) that there must be a way to make it myself, so I put the packet down. It was 110g, and cost £2.75 .

    You can buy a 190g jar in Mr A for £1.63 (I found out online). However, the Mr S ginger is all-natural and organic, while the Asda version has two E-numbers instead of vinegar and three in place of the sugar

    The recipe below makes costs only 32p , which is under 1/8th of the price of the packet, as it's roughly the same amount - so good too! One trick is apparently that it’s best to use young, fresh ginger, which is less fibrous and also goes an attractive pale pink when pickled. If it stays yellow (like mine), it’ll still be good but your ginger wasn’t as young.

    Pickled ginger (makes the equivalent of one of those packets Mr S sell) 32p
    • Around 50g fresh root ginger, as fresh as possible, peeled 11p (Mr A)
    • 3 tbsp rice vinegar 17p (98p / 250ml, Mr A)
    • 2 tbsp sugar 4p (£1.74 / 2kg, Mr A)

    Slice the ginger into the finest possible slices. By far the easiest way to do this is by using a mandoline (as featured in Monday’s post on my favourite kitchen tools), but failing that, you can use a good, sharp vegetable peeler. If you need to, use your sharpest knife, but you won’t get the slices as thin. (If you really like pickled ginger and want to make it a lot, buy a mandoline, they are cheap and very useful).

    Arrange the slices on a large plate or board and sprinkle salt all over them. Leave them for about an hour.

    When you come back to them, they will be quite wet, as the salt draws the moisture out. Using kitchen roll (preferably) or a very clean non-fluffy tea towel, dry the slices and pack them into a small, sterilised jar.

    Heat the vinegar and sugar in a small pan until the mixture is hot and the sugar has dissolved. Pour over the salted ginger slices and put the lid on the jar. Leave to cool and store in the fridge for a few days before using.
    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
  • tinycrush
    Can I ask some advice?
    I put on my SOA that I planned to budget £40 a week (£160 a month) on groceries for 3 of us, myself, OH and 18yr old daughter, and was told that this was unlikely to be realistic or true.
    But, that is the budget I want to aim for... am I being unrealistic?
    I intend to make from scratch, eat a lot of soups, use my storecupboard and freezer, and grow own salad and some veggies.
    • MrsCautious
    • By MrsCautious 6th Jun 13, 4:04 AM
    • 1,161 Posts
    • 13,728 Thanks
    Can I ask some advice?
    I put on my SOA that I planned to budget £40 a week (£160 a month) on groceries for 3 of us, myself, OH and 18yr old daughter, and was told that this was unlikely to be realistic or true.
    But, that is the budget I want to aim for... am I being unrealistic?
    I intend to make from scratch, eat a lot of soups, use my storecupboard and freezer, and grow own salad and some veggies.
    Originally posted by tinycrush

    This is my 3rd attempt at responding, fingers crossed. Yes I think it's eminently doable but bucket loads of planning and determination needed, sounds like you have that, good luck xxx

    Personally I'd need to incorporate a fair amount of what I'd consider treats to avoid me thinking I was depriving myself and ending up in a cycle of that followed by splurging, I think.

    In case this is of use I can tell you I personally have found £200 a month for 3 people plus dog (two 14 and me) relatively easy, I haven't managed to come in under £180 yet but this has been due to things I can't control. Everyone has different things happening in their lives to influence spending but I would be confident of spending just £40 a week if this was borne out of real necessity and I'd start by cutting down even further than I have with certain items, including some cleaning products and toiletries being avoided all together.

    Other things I'd consider about how realistic it is would be how much of a difference it is to what you're currently spending and what you can do to reduce any negative impact of the change being met with antipathy in your family, plus how long you are planning to do it for, a short term what many would consider a drastically low spend could be a lot easier to palate with a goal everyone can see is needed in sight so if it was me, I'd sit my family down to get their understanding and cooperation.

    Making the most of YS food has made the biggest difference to me.
    Good luck, just my thoughts, hope something I've said may be helpful.
    Last edited by MrsCautious; 06-06-2013 at 4:36 AM.
    • hattifattener
    • By hattifattener 6th Jun 13, 5:33 AM
    • 147 Posts
    • 1,407 Thanks
    Thankyou blue green - I might try that. I don't use pickled ginger much, but little jars might be nice for foodie friends and family nearer Christmas (I have some tiny jars that are no use to man nor beast hanging around!)
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