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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 35
    • meg72
    • By meg72 20th Jun 13, 5:53 PM
    • 5,082 Posts
    • 46,072 Thanks
    My Nan always told me what goes around comes around, i.e. do something nice or Bad and it comes back to you Never really thought this worked out but HEY the neighbour I took the 50p grapes and strawberrys last week has just knocked my door and asked if I can use a smartprice beef joint, almost 2 kg for 2.00.

    Actually I cant, am struggling to use up meat in freezers as it is, but I know someone that can, My DIL is going to be delighted tommorow.
    Slimming World at target
    • hattifattener
    • By hattifattener 20th Jun 13, 7:54 PM
    • 147 Posts
    • 1,407 Thanks
    Ah I see that must be difficult, ah well not log to Oct eh.
    Originally posted by meg72
    I know, it's a pain in the behind! I shouldn't complain, these years will whizz by before I know it and when I'm tootling off to the shops on my bicycle I'll wish I still had little 'helpers' to make it more interesting!
    • MrsCautious
    • By MrsCautious 20th Jun 13, 8:44 PM
    • 1,161 Posts
    • 13,728 Thanks
    Spent 9 on:

    Red pepper
    1 white loaf (going to freeze half)
    1 wholemeal loaf (going to freeze half)
    Bag of salad
    4 pints milk
    2 six packs Hula Hoops
    2 packets Maryland chocolate cookies
    1 packet Medley bars

    Made YS prawns in Philadelphia with lemon, pasta and salad for tea, it was awful, as I put too much black pepper and crushed chillies in, just had to cool our mouths down with toffee cheesecake and squirty cream

    Touch wood am sticking to trying my best to come in under budget, meal planned until end of month, will be interesting to see how we go. My daughters are doing a charity bag pack on Sunday, I'm not intending on buying anything while we're there!

    Need all stuff for school lunches next week so am going to plan as best I can for that.
    • Billie-jo
    • By Billie-jo 20th Jun 13, 9:34 PM
    • 1,221 Posts
    • 15,892 Thanks
    My Nan always told me what goes around comes around, i.e. do something nice or Bad and it comes back to you Never really thought this worked out but HEY the neighbour I took the 50p grapes and strawberrys last week has just knocked my door and asked if I can use a smartprice beef joint, almost 2 kg for 2.00.

    Actually I cant, am struggling to use up meat in freezers as it is, but I know someone that can, My DIL is going to be delighted tommorow.
    Originally posted by meg72
    Nice to read that your kind deed paid you back Meg and in such a lovely way.

    Well cant remember if I posted yesterday or not (its an age thing) but either way I have had 2 NSD in a row. Shopping though tomorrow and have made a list and hope to keep to it.
    [COLOR="Purple"][B] MARCH 62.38/250 [B][COLOR="Purple"]
    • minicooper272
    • By minicooper272 20th Jun 13, 9:47 PM
    • 2,127 Posts
    • 16,678 Thanks
    I currently have 15 left to last me until next weekend, which I'm thinking should be plenty. Have been thinking I need to try to eat a bit healthier at breakfast or lunch for a few weeks - every day I seem to have toast for breakfast and a sandwich for lunch, so I'm thinking I should cut out a slice a day. I may mean investing in some slightly more expensive fruits (for fruit salads) or other ingredients for lunches.

    I definitely have enough food for my dinners to keep me going until probably about September time!
    • Tales17
    • By Tales17 20th Jun 13, 10:42 PM
    • 251 Posts
    • 2,496 Thanks
    Checking in, can't believe we are under budget by nearly 50% at over halfway through the month, I'm usually wondering how far overbudget we will go by this point!!

    Been running down the freezer stock so will need a meat delivery and also a wine top up but will hopefully push them into next month and budget accordingly!

    Hoping to make a proper attempt at getting my accounts / shopping database sorted soon, will make things so much easier and will be able to see exactly where everything is going! Wish me luck!
    Grocery Challenge 2019 YTD-820.46/7200(11%)
    Grocery Challenge Feb - 93.10/600(16%)
    12k in 2019 #: Monthly Saving Accounts 500, Cashback & Competition Sites 2.59, Shopping Saving 152.09,Selling 121.26, Interest & Dividends 43.93, Surveys 0, 365 Day Penny Challenge # 103.44
    Total Saved - 923.31/12000(8%)
    • tessie bear
    • By tessie bear 21st Jun 13, 9:04 AM
    • 4,320 Posts
    • 29,747 Thanks
    tessie bear
    had a fun 20 mins sorting out all my packet mixes...approved foods and b and m i buy them when 5 for a quid or sometimes 10p a go...anyway i have more than one person needs so have shoved them in a box and put at the front of the cupboard with the plan being to use them either in the autumn or whenever the weather cools a bit...they have got to be used

    we are having a hm kfc for tea as a found some bread crumbs in the cupboard...what a naughty thing to buy

    does anyone know any nice recipes for dark chocolate as it is on offer this weekend at lidl ?? thanks

    onwards and upwards
    • hollieinbloom
    • By hollieinbloom 21st Jun 13, 9:15 AM
    • 552 Posts
    • 4,515 Thanks
    I made something the other week that was amazing with dark chocolate. I don't know what to call it though!

    You need:
    Flaked almonds
    Dark chocolate
    Half a block of puff pastry
    golden syrup

    Get a swiss roll pan and roll the pastry to fit it, melt butter,sugar,honey and syrup in a pan until golden. Put almonds, sultanas and cornflakes in a bowl and add the butter sugar mix and stir well. Pour over the pastry and cook for 20 mins.

    I didn't have exact weights on product. I just added what I thought I would need to fill the tray. When cooked, let it cook and pour melted chocolater over the top then cut into pieces.

    It tastes a bit like a dime bar. It's so yummy!!. Definitely worth a try. I just used ingredients I had in the baking cupboard. You could use different cereals and other nuts too if you wanted! it's a great tray bake treat x x

    Goals: Save 500 for emergencies, Save 200 of Amazon vouchers for Xmas, fix my holey clothes!
    Frugal living 2014
    • sefilby
    • By sefilby 21st Jun 13, 10:38 AM
    • 143 Posts
    • 1,628 Thanks
    Delcaring 138.65/130 for June.

    In light of having to tweak my budget reducing it by 50 to take into account the wages screw up. I think this month has gone really well.

    Mr T 33.09
    Ald* 9.41

    See you all in July xx
    Christmas budget 266.38/535 15/27gifts
    Read a book a week challenge 50/52
    • Suffolk lass
    • By Suffolk lass 21st Jun 13, 12:52 PM
    • 2,880 Posts
    • 27,256 Thanks
    Suffolk lass
    does anyone know any nice recipes for dark chocolate as it is on offer this weekend at lidl ?? thanks

    Originally posted by tessie bear
    HM Chocolate sauce
    You could melt some in a pan with some cream (stirring occasionally) and then pour it over vanilla ice cream

    Perhaps that's why my healthy diet is slow to work though...

    MFIT T5 target to clear our mortgage completely (59,998) Q1 26,828 or 44.71% paid - Mortgage Free Wannabes 2019 #37 29,215.99 after May
    Save 12k in 2019 - #68 target is 7k 4,998.99 or 71.41% after May
    OS Grocery Challenge 2019 target is 3k - 36.16% spent so far, after May
    My DFD is here
  • Mimmsie
    Afternoon all. Have not been posting all week but have keep a tab of my spends and updated my signature accordingly. Unfortunately I will not be in budget this month.
    Aiming to be debt free as of Sept 2013
    Loan amount owing 193.66/774.64.
    Joined GC June 2013
    June 13 GC 345.93/300
    July 13 GC/200
    • hattifattener
    • By hattifattener 21st Jun 13, 2:06 PM
    • 147 Posts
    • 1,407 Thanks
    Had quite a lovely shop today in my local butchers and greengrocers for the first time. Butcher was very helpful, answered questions etc.

    Unfortunately the cost wasn't so nice. Not that either place was expensive, but just that I think I hadn't made the best choices on what to go for. I spent 9.11 on fruit and veg and 11.50 in the butcher, which is a lot more than the tenner I had set aside for today.

    Total now is 162.55/200

    Never mind, it leaves me with plenty to do my 25 weekly shop with next weekend to round off the month because I've had a cheap week elsewhere, and I'm still twiddling with things after changing the way we shop, so I'm going to use this as a chance to tweak things even further and plan some money saving for next month.

    * Going to try to do more veggie meals per week, as meat seems very expensive in relation to the rest of what we eat.
    * Going to educate myself more on what's the cheapest cuts of meat, ways to pad it out and learning how much we really need per meal as I'm used to just going in to the supermarket and picking up 'a pack of chicken' not 200g of this, and a joint of that.
    * Going to pay more attention to the vouchers I get through and use them if they will save me on things we need for our meal plan/tweak the meal plan to react to vouchers.
    * Going to get back on the valued opinions for Sains vouchers and get back in the competitions/grabbit boards etc focussing on things like food, toiletries, cleaning products.
    * Going to try to make more things from scratch, particularly bread, biscuits and cakes.

    Joined my greengrocers loyalty scheme today though to get 20% off my 10th fiver spend, and got entered in the free raffle for 25 free veg, so fingers crossed that'll come our way one really tight month when we're praying for a miracle!

    God I don't half waffle on.
    • lizalloareds
    • By lizalloareds 21st Jun 13, 2:38 PM
    • 1,808 Posts
    • 17,414 Thanks
    todays spends 49.49

    11.05 Ald*
    1.50 Mr A
    20.12 Mr T
    3.06 Lid*
    7 Ilnd
    5.87 Mr M
    89p FF
    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
    • Sweetie83
    • By Sweetie83 21st Jun 13, 6:52 PM
    • 48 Posts
    • 669 Thanks
    Yay I came in under budget this month!!
    Just done last shop of the month and for first time in a little while I have managed to come under budget! Plus I have a good stock of bits and pieces including some raw mince frozen to defrost next month which aim to get 2 meals out of.

    The start of this month I visited Lidl and bought lots of bargin non perishables which really helped and I have bulk bought meat and froze the rest for the month. I have used my vouchers but haven't gone without. I have used Iceland for a lot of branded things and helps that I work for Defence so have a 10% discount card to use there.

    Thanks to Frugal Queen Blogspot I have had loads of inspiration and of course my dear friends on here. Thank you xxxx
    Grocery Challenge: Jan 15 323/280, Feb 275/280
    One DH, 2 DD's aged 6 and 3 and a hungry cat!

    • Coxy11
    • By Coxy11 21st Jun 13, 7:32 PM
    • 2,295 Posts
    • 27,317 Thanks
    Hi everyone,

    NSD today - I was working so that's cheating slightly!

    Tomorrow night we are having mussels, French fries, crusty bread and salad. Sunday we are having roasted gammon. Monday is cottage pie. So my shopping list for tomorrow is:

    crusty bread
    broccoli/other green veg
    ham (for packed lunches)

    Might try the market for the F&V - got to be cheaper than Sainsbobs

    I see the July thread is up so I must nip over there to begin my admin.

    Have a good evening all.
    Cross-stitch WIP #1: Collecting Shells by Nancy Cole
    Cross-stitch WIP #2: Pretty Little London by Satsuma Street
    • Billie-jo
    • By Billie-jo 21st Jun 13, 7:35 PM
    • 1,221 Posts
    • 15,892 Thanks
    A1di this morning as couldn't go yesterday and spent 30.91 this included washing up liquid & laundry liquid as well as weekly food. Brought some ice cream filled wafers as will have grand kids here on Sunday. Had to force them in the freezer (the ice cream not the kids) as I had forgotten that I had brought 2 lots of chicken thighs using a voucher. I also brought some red peppers and tomatoes for soup but as DH doesn't like this soup some of it will have to be frozen I am going to struggle to get anything else in so will leave making it as long as possible.
    For tea I made some spicy chilli beef and put it into some wraps, sprinkled with cheese and baked in oven.Slightly overcooked around the edges but they were lovely if a little spicy and there is enough mix left so yep its got to be fitted in somewhere. (I have 2 large freezers!!!!!) I cant face it tonight so just put it in fridge and will wrestle with it tomorrow. Just some extra fruit & veg to get tomorrow.

    [COLOR="Purple"][B] MARCH 62.38/250 [B][COLOR="Purple"]
    • lizalloareds
    • By lizalloareds 21st Jun 13, 7:52 PM
    • 1,808 Posts
    • 17,414 Thanks
    another 1.96 in Mr S over budget now
    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
  • Cowgirl13
    I really want to start the Grocery challenge, but will wait until 1st July xx
    • Ciaerda
    • By Ciaerda 21st Jun 13, 9:56 PM
    • 60 Posts
    • 325 Thanks
    Have updated my signature really pleased should be within budget thanks guys
    • AimingForBetter
    • By AimingForBetter 22nd Jun 13, 8:13 AM
    • 182 Posts
    • 2,316 Thanks
    Morning everyone

    June has not been a good month for a variety of reasons, have gone way over budget target (mainly DH picking up non essential items while getting milk etc) and funds are extremely limited.

    We are trying to sort things out but next month's budget is considerably reduced and we will have to use the stores we have and buy absolute essentials only (must keep DH out of the shops!).

    Have just updated sig and will be going over to July now.

    See you over there.

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