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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 32
    • lizalloareds
    • By lizalloareds 17th Jun 13, 8:56 PM
    • 1,808 Posts
    • 17,414 Thanks
    NSD today
    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
    • XSpender
    • By XSpender 17th Jun 13, 9:12 PM
    • 3,406 Posts
    • 34,882 Thanks
    NSD for me too
    October Grocery Challenge - 122.00/220
    • Bluegreen143
    • By Bluegreen143 17th Jun 13, 9:20 PM
    • 1,108 Posts
    • 12,739 Thanks
    Flo - no problem - it's as follows (will add to index too)L

    Individual baked syrup sponge puddings (serves 4)

    2 eggs
    100g self-raising flour, sifted
    100g butter or marg
    100g caster sugar
    4 tbsp golden syrup

    Preheat the oven to 180C. Pour a tablespoon of golden syrup each into the bottom of four oven-safe ramekins. Beat the sugar with the eggs (I used an electric whisk but obviously you can do it by hand), add eggs one at a time and continue to beat well until smooth. Fold in the flour gently until combined.

    Spoon over the golden syrup in the ramekins and bake for 30 minutes, until golden and cooked through. To serve, I removed from the ramekins and inverted. Served with ice-cream but I suspect custard would be even better!

    Edited to say it just occurred to me that you could try making these with jam or lemon curd in place of the syrup - might try that next

    Last edited by Bluegreen143; 17-06-2013 at 9:24 PM.
    Married 1 March 2014 DS born 06 Dec 2014 DD born 14 Dec 2018
    • MrsCautious
    • By MrsCautious 18th Jun 13, 8:32 AM
    • 1,161 Posts
    • 13,728 Thanks
    Good morning all, I'm feeling the influence of the GC this morning as I have just been to Sains and bought:

    Basics washing powder 1.68
    Basics bread 50p
    Two packets dog treats @ 75p each
    4 apples 1.03

    Never tried Basics washing powder or bread so we'll see.

    PS Joanne I was agog at the vinegar in the lamb xx
    Last edited by MrsCautious; 18-06-2013 at 10:57 AM.
    • tootoo
    • By tootoo 18th Jun 13, 8:44 AM
    • 671 Posts
    • 3,044 Thanks
    8 59 to be added.
    Sorry I don't post a lot but I do read and thank
    MFW.....Apr 33 Aim - Dec 26
    • january_23
    • By january_23 18th Jun 13, 9:11 AM
    • 172 Posts
    • 1,427 Thanks
    Spent 69.23 since last update.

    2 adults groceries: June 35.79/200
    # 3 - Saving for Xmas 2015 1 a day. 122/365
    TTC #1 since 06/08/12
    • xxlouisexx56
    • By xxlouisexx56 18th Jun 13, 10:29 AM
    • 2,191 Posts
    • 30,133 Thanks
    5 this morning.
    2x coke
    1 x juice
    1x value bread sticks
    1 x peppa pig yogs
    • Sligo
    • By Sligo 18th Jun 13, 10:44 AM
    • 209 Posts
    • 1,067 Thanks
    Ha, mine do this too. Crawling through the shrubbery looking for the mystical egg mountain is hard work!
    Originally posted by hex2
    Well I searched a bit last night but still no sign! i've been told by himself to follow them when they are let out! EXCUSE ME!! DO YOU THINK I HAVE TIME TO FOLLOW HENS FOR HALF THE DAY??? - my response!

    Of course if I hadn't had to spend 2 hours chasing sheep around the field who were determined that they weren't coming in and made a fool of us running around like mad b**ches, whilst the midges ate me alive, I'd have more time! I tell ya, rural living is not what it's cracked up to be!

    P.S. I'm foreseeing a lot of lamb and mutton on the meal plans for the winter!!
    Last edited by Sligo; 18-06-2013 at 10:48 AM.

    • tessie bear
    • By tessie bear 18th Jun 13, 12:23 PM
    • 4,361 Posts
    • 30,013 Thanks
    tessie bear
    hi...i am making a lasagne out of the remains of a spag bol i made a couple of days ago for tea...those sponges look very nice...u can cook them in cups in a pan of boiling water which is also nice

    i spent 50 in aldi on monday so have a bit in but am going to town tomorrow so will try and get some eggs and some more strawberries as we eat the ones i got yesterday and found them to be nice ( strawberries)

    take care tessa
    onwards and upwards
    • lushlifesaver
    • By lushlifesaver 18th Jun 13, 12:25 PM
    • 2,312 Posts
    • 18,637 Thanks
    Afternoon all, really enjoying catching up on the recipes and tips I have missed in my absence!

    I have hunted out a small notebook and have decided that each month I will do a page with my income (wage from work) and outgoings (eight set amounts one of which is 120 in to joint savings with bf!)
    I will then budget for that month based on 20 p/w personal spends, 20 to go in my Christmas/Birthdays fund (plus extra at months end if possible!) and 100 towards clearing my overdraft (that way it will be gone in January!) I have a PCDL to pay off (4.5 years remaining at 183 per month :O) so am cracking down finally now I have a steady income!

    Groceries is one area I know I could save more - ideally I would like to spend 20 per week on everything for me and bf and use the remaining 20 for the bits for doglet (approx. 8 per month IF full price is paid) and save what is left towards our quarterly Makro shop which is usually 50ish.

    BF is away quite frequently (three+ days per week every week over summer, every other week over 'off season') so I'm looking to get some cheap but lush meal ideas - so I know I'm in the right place!

    Sorry for my mini hijack! Just wanted to say how great and helpful everybody is on here and how (re)inspired you've all made me!
    Perfect Princess born 26/03/14 <3
    • lizalloareds
    • By lizalloareds 18th Jun 13, 1:21 PM
    • 1,808 Posts
    • 17,414 Thanks
    spends today 6.93

    2.68 Ald*
    1.07 Mr A
    3.18 Mr T
    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
    • lbnblbnb
    • By lbnblbnb 18th Jun 13, 3:31 PM
    • 564 Posts
    • 5,881 Thanks
    Last day of my minimal spend week as I am paid tomorrow. I am going to use Bluegreen's recipe from her blog for rough puff pastry and use some HM caramelised onions left over from Friday's pizza to make a tart. I will do a carrot and beet root salad to go with it.

    Need to keep on a very frugal track next month as money is tight and I want to avoid using my emergency fund if possible. I need to stocktake the freezer and cupboards at the weekend.
    Grocery Challenge (2 adults 2 kids)
    19th June -18th July 91:15/150 61%

    Save 12,000 in 2013 No. 188 7382/12,000 62%
    2013 Frugal Living Challenge
    Debt free October 2012
    • Coxy11
    • By Coxy11 18th Jun 13, 5:38 PM
    • 2,322 Posts
    • 27,347 Thanks
    Hi everyone,

    NSD for me today
    Bluegreen - those puds look scrumptious mmmmm

    Cross-stitch WIP: Pretty Little London by Satsuma Street
    • Shortie
    • By Shortie 18th Jun 13, 5:46 PM
    • 2,218 Posts
    • 12,069 Thanks
    By some miracle we've come in 3 under budget - not idea how thoigh!

    I get paid on Thursday so will start the challenge properly then.

    Apologies if there are random typos - I am usually replying via my phone
    • Billie-jo
    • By Billie-jo 18th Jun 13, 5:53 PM
    • 1,221 Posts
    • 15,892 Thanks
    Had to get some rolls today as we are out all day tomorrow and will be taking something to eat with us. Also brought some juice, fruit, cheese so total spent came to 12.39 This leaves me with 98 till end of month. Should be ok.

    We had pasta and bolognaise sauce tonight with garlic bread but have left camera at daughters so no photo.

    The syrup puddings look lovely - may give them a go but will probably put either lemon curd or stewed apples into them instead of the golden syrup.
    [COLOR="Purple"][B] MARCH 62.38/250 [B][COLOR="Purple"]
    • Bluegreen143
    • By Bluegreen143 18th Jun 13, 5:55 PM
    • 1,108 Posts
    • 12,739 Thanks
    Last day of my minimal spend week as I am paid tomorrow. I am going to use Bluegreen's recipe from her blog for rough puff pastry and use some HM caramelised onions left over from Friday's pizza to make a tart. I will do a carrot and beet root salad to go with it.

    Need to keep on a very frugal track next month as money is tight and I want to avoid using my emergency fund if possible. I need to stocktake the freezer and cupboards at the weekend.
    Originally posted by lbnblbnb
    Oooh sounds yum! Love caramelised onion. Good luck keeping frugal. I have 5 to do me the next week of the GC so trying not to buy anything...
    Married 1 March 2014 DS born 06 Dec 2014 DD born 14 Dec 2018
    • meg72
    • By meg72 18th Jun 13, 6:07 PM
    • 5,082 Posts
    • 46,072 Thanks
    Had a lovely afternoon reading through slimming world books,I am not joining a group as there isnt one near me but have my DDs books and support so should be fine.

    I have been rooting through the freezer to see what I have and can then make a list of what I need for the recipes.

    I am booking to go to Rome in Jan for the xmas market, we did Prague last Jan and it was sheer magic, but I missed out a lot as I couldnt see very well and all the walking was a bit much. This time I will be able to see perfectly, one eye done and other should be in August sometime so I am really going to give this slimming world a go as if I lose some weight my arthy knees should be better.

    Just a thought though is there an ignore button for those fabulous puddings somehow fruit and yogurt does not have the same appeal
    Slimming World at target
  • Bartelmy
    Note to self; last post was 483.

    I've had almost an entire week of no-spend days. Very proud of myself. But, went to Tescoes yesterday and stocked up; got tinned tomatoes, tinned chickpeas, red lentils, breadcrumbs, a butterfinger (from the world food's section; trying American candy bars is a fun hobby!), fruit lollies, frozen berries, courgettes, nori sheets, and tinned potatoes, for a total of 10.74. In Aldi today, I got granny smith apples and a bottle of water, for 1.68 altogether. So my spending for June is up to 30.76 out of 40. I've been living off lasagne soup and pizza for a week. This week, I'm making Genuine Howondaland Curry from Nanny Ogg's Cookbook, and Chocolate Covered Katie's lentil sloppy joes with courgette fries. I've got some more shopping to get tomorrow, but I should come under budget.
    • hollieinbloom
    • By hollieinbloom 18th Jun 13, 6:54 PM
    • 552 Posts
    • 4,515 Thanks
    I've joined in with the second purse challenge and have for the last month or so been sticking to a strict budget. We're moving house in the next few weeks to a house with a bigger kitchen and much more storage around the house so I shall be buying stuff that I can store in bulk so a big purchase of a chest freezer will be needed. I'm going to try to take it out of the budget each month to pay it off so i'll try hard to keep spending low!
    So I'm going to go for 200 a month a stick to it!
    Looking forward to it and joining in! will leave it for June as it's going to be a messy month, but July will be the month to concentrate on the budget!! x

    Goals: Save 500 for emergencies, Save 200 of Amazon vouchers for Xmas, fix my holey clothes!
    Frugal living 2014
    • lbnblbnb
    • By lbnblbnb 18th Jun 13, 7:51 PM
    • 564 Posts
    • 5,881 Thanks
    bluegreen's rough puff pastry looks good - I have enough left over for another tart. Late eating because of son's band rehearsal.

    Another time I think I would double the quantities and then I could have three tart-sized amounts of pastry to use later. I think it would freeze ok?
    Grocery Challenge (2 adults 2 kids)
    19th June -18th July 91:15/150 61%

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