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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 23
    • WantToBeSE
    • By WantToBeSE 10th Jun 13, 11:52 AM
    • 6,778 Posts
    • 30,548 Thanks
    Thanks very much for this . I wouldn't normally buy dried red kidney beans as at the normal price they cost the same amount as value tinned ones - but at that price they're very good value so I'll try and pick some up

    Got a big Asda shop delivered so my monthly total is 146.05 got just under 40 to last and two more weekends to go. We'll see how I get on...

    Made tomato and goats cheese tart for dinner, was great, though I don't think my OH found it particularly filling (I was stuffed and really enjoyed it). Haven't costed it yet but mad emy own rough puff pastry and bought the cheapest goats cheese I could find so can't have costed that much.

    Originally posted by Bluegreen143
    Same here, i always consider the electricity costs when buying dried beans, but this is so cheap i couldn't say no

    Would you please share your recipe for puff pastry?
    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
    • malamay
    • By malamay 10th Jun 13, 1:13 PM
    • 346 Posts
    • 4,698 Thanks
    I've just been to Mr. T's for a lunchtime walk, came away with two full bags at a cost of 8.53. I had a few good vouchers from Bzz Agent for things we actually needed, and there were a few offers on through Quidco/TCB in-store apps, again for things we needed or use anyhow. So I'm quite pleased with myself! I might have to buy a few potatoes before the week is over, but that's it. (Then we're on holiday for a week, and I have a car service/MOT on my poorly car when we're back, so still will be an expensive month )
    Swagbucks Amazon gift vouchers 2014 125/250
    GC October 100.8/150 September 99.36/180 August 178.77/180 June 163.18/180 May 177.89/180 April 160.66/180 March 163.48/180 Feb 154.21/150 Jan 51.65/150
    • sefilby
    • By sefilby 10th Jun 13, 2:13 PM
    • 143 Posts
    • 1,628 Thanks
    My plan not to spend any of my non-existent budget for this week has railroaded, DD has been poorly so a nappy restock is justified Mr T spend 6ish. Will update Sig later

    Have a good day everyone x
    Christmas budget 266.38/535 15/27gifts
    Read a book a week challenge 50/52
    • pinkypig
    • By pinkypig 10th Jun 13, 3:59 PM
    • 1,519 Posts
    • 11,773 Thanks
    Hi everyone.
    A small spend to report from yesterday. Popped onto Mr T for value low fat yogurts but hit on some YS bargains which were to good to miss. Ended up with a couple of farmhouse loaves, jam doughnuts, mini doughnuts and crumpets. Total spend was 2.33.
    The only thing on this week's to buy list is bananas and a bag of salad so hopefully we'll have a cheap week.

    PP xx
    MFW 2018 #157 Target 15,000

    • MrsCautious
    • By MrsCautious 10th Jun 13, 4:18 PM
    • 1,161 Posts
    • 13,728 Thanks
    Managed NSD today, with 5.90 from Cash for Clothes and just under 1 from Top Cashback.

    Made bolognese from YS turkey which has fed 4 as girls have a friend over, have saved enough for them to have it again tomorrow.

    Wednesday, I'm planning on home made fish and chips, with parsley sauce and peas.

    Thursday will be pasta parcels with salad and garlic bread, I find one packet (about 1.80 I think) is plenty for 3 of us.

    Friday it will be just me so I will have toast I think.

    Saturday I've planned YS lamb chops with roast potatoes, veg, gravy and mint sauce.

    I baked some cookies today which we had with Co-op ice cream for pudding, with blueberries and strawberries. Other puddings this week will be fruit/yogurt, more ice cream, Mr Kipling apple pies and hope to use up some of the Sains Angel Delight style pudding from Approved Food.
    Plenty of apples and bananas, also for packed lunches.
    I'm going to ask my daughter to make flapjacks to go with her and her sister's dinners, and have chicken skewers, sausage rolls, cooked chicken and turkey tikka for their packed lunches.

    It's helpful for me to list all of this as it points out so well that I absolutely don't need to buy anything. I will need to buy or make pasta sauce, get some bread and milk, plus salad later in the week and that really should be it.

    My meals are very boring compared to you creative lot! I must say I am a bit knackered though after going back to work.
    Last edited by MrsCautious; 10-06-2013 at 4:25 PM.

    Originally posted by Bluegreen143
    This looks so yummmmmy Bluegreen.

    Another NSD for me today. Something that`s unheard of in our household at the moment. I`m hoping the milk will last until after breakfast tomorrow, i`ve even watered this down even futher, so fingers crossed. I know i`ll have to do a shop tomorrow, as we are getting very low on the essentials. I`ve a 5 coupon to use in MrT, with a 1.07 price promise coupon as well. I`ve now written out my shopping list and i`m determined to stick to it. I did a rough calculation and I think this will come to more than 40, but even if this does i`ll still be pretty pleased with it, as thinking back in the `good old days`, I would have spent well over 100 a week.
    Grocery Challenge 2013: July week 1 90/87.41
    week 2 90.00/118.38 week 3 90/60.54week4 90/79.90 week5 45/00
    End of mortgage april 2030
    Mortgage overpayment from june 2013 aiming for 400 a month: 451
    Emergency fund 2013 from june 70
    • xxlouisexx56
    • By xxlouisexx56 10th Jun 13, 7:57 PM
    • 2,191 Posts
    • 30,133 Thanks
    First shop of the month ! 13!

    5 packs of 6 crisps - 2.50 (had coupons! DP h as them for lunch and will be useful for days out in the holidays)
    YS bread - 45p
    YS cheese strings 40p
    2 Chinese ready meals 35p
    2 finest beef burgers 40p
    2 pork chops 40p
    3 x warburtons rolls 20p

    Along with humous potatoes Pepsi bananas apples and carrots. Not too bad I think !
    • lizalloareds
    • By lizalloareds 10th Jun 13, 8:06 PM
    • 1,808 Posts
    • 17,414 Thanks
    4.50 Icland
    2.68 Lid*
    1.00 Mr A
    99p Ald*

    Sun NSD

    2.89 FF
    1.00 Mr A
    2.15 Mr T
    79p Lid*
    3.67 Mr S got ys eggs and profiteroles
    Sig updated not good
    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
  • Saversal
    Well after lurking on the MFW board for a while I have finally taken the plunge to get some goals in writing. Number 1 is joining the GC challenge. I gave myself a budget of 250 for the month of June (a guess!) which after reading some of these threads is quite a lot seeing as there is only me and my 3 year old DD! This does include all food, toiletries, stuff for the garden, toys, clothes for DD and eating out. I do have another budget for petrol though. I hope that I can easily achieve my goal this month and be more realistic next month!

    So far have done a Mr S Internet shop to get free delivery and also bonus of 10 off voucher for spending 80. Did manage to get quite a bit of meat to batch cook in the slow cooker and fill the freezer (moved into a new house a month ago so it was a bit empty!) also had a few little top ups and a cheap lunch and coffee out with my Mum.

    So 10 days into the month I have spent 128.01 out of my 250 budget but have well stocked cupboards and freezer now so hope to just do fresh fruit, veg and bread top ups. Rest of budget is now in cash in a separate purse so can't spend more!

    Right - now going to make some commitments on the MFW board!
    • Bluegreen143
    • By Bluegreen143 10th Jun 13, 9:19 PM
    • 1,101 Posts
    • 12,692 Thanks
    WantToBeSE - will do the recipe for the blog in the next couple of days and coupy & paste over here once I have.

    No spends today, made a two-course "fake-away" of hot & sour soup followed by beef and veg stirfry. Very impressed by the soup which I haven't made before. Good way to make the stirfry a bit more filling and only used the end of the bag of beansprouts (which would have been gone off otherwise) and everything else was storecupboard ingredients

    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
  • joanne109
    Evening all

    I have around 5 X 2 or 4 off a 20 shop at Mr T and Mr S so planning on lots of little shops rather than 1 big one (and even then I still do lots of little shops)

    I'm shocked at how much I have spent so far this month, heaven knows how much I was spending before I was monitoring it and also buying wine

    Next week is payday (15th) so if I can stay within 250 by next Saturday morning I will be on target to be within my budget this month

    I hope everyones week starts well

    Originally posted by joanne109
    Oh dear, I went a bit wild in T*sco after work today. I spent 26 but everything was YS including a leg of lamb reduced from 19 to 9.60 - DH has agreed that on Sunday we can scrap fathers day at Cafe Rouge for a roast at home. I also bought a 3Kg unsmoked gammon joint reduced from 13 to 6 - cut it in half and popped in the freezer, should easily do 2 or 3 meals each.
    I also bought pasta 2X 500g packs for 1.50, fajitas cut down to 2 per pack and some YS veg etc. The full price cost would have been around 48.
    I also used my 2 off voucher but it wasn't signed off as 1st use so probably can claim 1st use again (and again)

    I'm getting close to end of week target of 250 (mid month) and I've put plastic in my secret drawer so I have no money to spend until payday on Friday...
    As long as I can feed the kids (and I can) what else matters?

    I need[ want some All Bran but that can wait, I have weetabix to keep me going

    • MrsCautious
    • By MrsCautious 11th Jun 13, 8:30 AM
    • 1,161 Posts
    • 13,728 Thanks
    1 on milk in Iceland. Nipped in to save me 30p as was in town.
    • tootoo
    • By tootoo 11th Jun 13, 8:31 AM
    • 671 Posts
    • 3,044 Thanks
    9 taken from my budget. My mum did come round with a bag of shopping yesterday though - so technically free food - thanks mum
    MFW.....Apr 33 Aim - Dec 26
    • K9sandFelines
    • By K9sandFelines 11th Jun 13, 8:37 AM
    • 2,113 Posts
    • 18,219 Thanks
    WantToBeSE - will do the recipe for the blog in the next couple of days and coupy & paste over here once I have.

    No spends today, made a two-course "fake-away" of hot & sour soup followed by beef and veg stirfry. Very impressed by the soup which I haven't made before. Good way to make the stirfry a bit more filling and only used the end of the bag of beansprouts (which would have been gone off otherwise) and everything else was storecupboard ingredients

    Originally posted by Bluegreen143
    Do you think the hot and sour could be thickened up to make a sauce also? I had this out of a packet made by Pataks the other day, and really enjoyed it. I wouldn't normally buy it, but wanted to just try it first. I hate sweet and sour so thought if it is anything like that, i didn't want to waste ingredients trying it myself.

    I keep forgetting to check your blog. I had it bookmarked on my laptop and it conked, just as i got the desktop fixed. So all my bookmarks are on the wrong appliance! I will bookmark now, and try and remember to actually check in from time to time

    Re this challenge ... don't need anything today, so hoping for a NSD, and three more til Saturday!
    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 ~
    • meg72
    • By meg72 11th Jun 13, 9:30 AM
    • 5,082 Posts
    • 46,072 Thanks
    Off for my eye op at 1pm, have stocked up with everything I need for the next two weeks so will not need to shop. I am quite looking forward to just popping things in microwave.
    Slimming World at target
    • xxlouisexx56
    • By xxlouisexx56 11th Jun 13, 9:53 AM
    • 2,191 Posts
    • 30,133 Thanks
    I spent another 30 last night on rtc pampers nappies. Should have been 60 at full price,

    Going out today to get some more!
    • K9sandFelines
    • By K9sandFelines 11th Jun 13, 10:27 AM
    • 2,113 Posts
    • 18,219 Thanks
    Off for my eye op at 1pm, have stocked up with everything I need for the next two weeks so will not need to shop. I am quite looking forward to just popping things in microwave.
    Originally posted by meg72
    Hope all goes well. Thinking of you x
    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 ~
    • malamay
    • By malamay 11th Jun 13, 10:53 AM
    • 346 Posts
    • 4,698 Thanks
    My car is in the shop this afternoon for a new battery - that is, if I can get it started

    I might have to cut the grocery budget for the rest of the month. We'll need milk after we come back from holiday, and a few apples or which ever fruit is cheap. We have no potatoes, only a few carrots, tins of sweetcorn and frozen beans and peas. There are also a couple of tomatoes, an onion, and fruit to last this week.

    Hubbs is away tomorrow and Thursday, so will have a packed box of snacks to take with him. He can claim for meals at least. I'll eat with the in-laws' tomorrow, as I dislike cooking for one.

    Our short holiday next week is coming at a bad time I have breakfast bars to take with us for breakfasts, and we have pre-paid 2 out of our 4 main meals (Hard Rock Cafe - found a discount online, and we would have went anyhow ). We'll manage on maybe 100-150 Euros I hope!
    Swagbucks Amazon gift vouchers 2014 125/250
    GC October 100.8/150 September 99.36/180 August 178.77/180 June 163.18/180 May 177.89/180 April 160.66/180 March 163.48/180 Feb 154.21/150 Jan 51.65/150
    • cattysmum
    • By cattysmum 11th Jun 13, 11:27 AM
    • 1,256 Posts
    • 21,417 Thanks
    Off for my eye op at 1pm, have stocked up with everything I need for the next two weeks so will not need to shop. I am quite looking forward to just popping things in microwave.
    Originally posted by meg72
    Hope all goes well for you.
    [B]SPC No. 295 - SPC No10 target 350
    SPC 2014 150/SPC 2015 256SPC 2016 324
    Saving for Florida 2018
    Matched betting toe dipper.
    • Eyebright
    • By Eyebright 11th Jun 13, 11:31 AM
    • 860 Posts
    • 4,682 Thanks
    Spend of 47.25 in Mr.T's yesterday on an online shop, taking my total to the month to 158.42. Think I'm just about on track for the month with 2 more weeks until payday.

    Realllllllly hoping I can come in under budget this month!
    DFD Feb 2018 Total debt now 12672.13 6919.63
    EFC #11 150/1000 = 15% achieved
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