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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 seventh Grocery Challenge of 2013

    If your new month starts early feel free to join this thread, or if you're still working on your June budget, then keep on posting in the:
    June 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; 07-06-2013 at 12:58 PM.
    A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men
    Norn Iron club member #380

Page 11
    • Smoosh
    • By Smoosh 2nd Jul 13, 2:01 AM
    • 1,081 Posts
    • 12,626 Thanks
    Sorting out receipts so will update this now with today's shopping. Usually we don't shop until Tuesday or Wednesday, but I have a friend staying from tomorrow until Thursday, so we did it today instead.

    £29.96 spent. That also includes some shopping for next week - we stocked up on 24 litres of coke whilst it's still buy one get one free, we normally get 12 litres

    Anyway, also got cake, doughnuts, cookies, jam tarts, a cinnamon bun, 16 yogurts, crackers, brie, tin foil, a cucumber, spring onions, carrot, apples, beans, spaghetti, sweet potatoes, jacket potatoes, bananas, penne pasta, chicken for sandwiches, turkey for sandwiches, bread, mincemeat (for Christmas, but may as well get whilst it's 20p!), ready made colcannon, a bunch of flowers (a present) and then all the coke. So not a bad price I don't think

    We only bother with all the cakey bits because we've become friendly with the guy that reduces them, so we get a good deal. We'll need to pick up some milk at some point, but other than that, hoping to last until next Tuesday/Wednesday.
    • Islandmaid
    • By Islandmaid 2nd Jul 13, 5:07 AM
    • 3,192 Posts
    • 42,566 Thanks
    IBNB - thank you - I just needed a reminder that it IS that simple - as my self control over my purse dissapeared for a few months, I need it back.
    Note to self - STOP SPENDING MONEY !!
  • jumblejack
    Just popping on to update spends as had a Mr A delivery yesterday - now at £66.10 / £175.

    Meal plan is as follows:
    • Sun – roast gammon with roasted carrot, onion and potato, and homemade apple sauce
    • Mon – sweetcorn fritters with spicy potato wedges, salad and yoghurt
    • Tues – vegetable fajitas
    • Wed – out for dinner to celebrate my sister’s graduation
    • Thurs – roasted veg arrabiata with salad
    • Fri – might be having dinner with friends; otherwise Spanish veg & bean stew
    • Sat – vegetarian sushi, miso soup and spicy king prawns

    Had roast gammon with green beans, roasted carrot, onion & potato and HM apple sauce yesterday, and sliced up the rest of the gammon and froze for OH's sandwiches at lunch.

    Then tonight made sweetcorn fritters for the first time, with (very) spicy wedges, salad and yoghurt - so tasty and OH loved them, so will make again.

    I hardly ever eat potatoes so feels a bit strange to have them two nights in a row Made the wraps tonight for veggie fajitas tomorrow, which means a very quick to make dinner tomorrow, as we're redecorating and there's chores for me () and then after dinner I think I'm going climbing with a friend, so busy evening.
    Originally posted by Bluegreen143

    Thanks for the pic of the fritters. Always wanted to try them.

    I'd it just regular batter and shallow fried?


    I'm about to have skimmed milk on my cereal, yuck.

    Ran out of whole milk again

    Every moment is a gift. That's why we call it the present.!
    Grocery Spend Weekly Challenge (Sat-Fri):£30.50/£40
  • jumblejack
    I needmy raspberries to hurry up n ripen. Tea party is on Saturday and I resent having to purchase them when my garden is heaving with un ripe fruits
    Every moment is a gift. That's why we call it the present.!
    Grocery Spend Weekly Challenge (Sat-Fri):£30.50/£40
    • CountingPennies
    • By CountingPennies 2nd Jul 13, 7:11 AM
    • 1,882 Posts
    • 15,036 Thanks
    £1 yesterday on some ice pops for my poorly throat. Would have been a no spend day if i didn't get them.... Oh well. Made me feel a little better
    Slimming World Challenge 2017 0/30.5lb

    Grocery challenge 2017 JAN: £5.56/£350
    • mrs-moneypenny
    • By mrs-moneypenny 2nd Jul 13, 7:13 AM
    • 15,518 Posts
    • 198,189 Thanks
    opps missed end of the month so have just totalled up june and declare £412.78 so over spent

    going for £400 for july please

    thank you to everyone who contributes to these threads and the people who keep them organised, my purse thank you as well as it would be so much skinnier with out you
    SPC~12 ot 124

    In a world that has decided that it's going to lose its mind, be more kind my friend, try to Be More Kind
    • Bluegreen143
    • By Bluegreen143 2nd Jul 13, 9:22 AM
    • 1,108 Posts
    • 12,739 Thanks
    jumblejack - I used the recipe from CFR with a few modifications, so my take on it was:

    1 small onion, chopped
    160g frozen sweetcorn
    50g SR flour
    2 tsp veg oil
    1 tsp curry powder
    1/2 tsp ground coriander
    enough water to make a paste & to make everything stick together

    Mix everything together in a bowl, feel free to vary the spices. I shallow fried in two batches, using a heaped tbsp of mix to make one fritter, so got 8 to share between the two of us. Double for more people.

    Will add this to the index as well so have re-added the pic below lol.

    Married 1 March 2014 DS born 06 Dec 2014 DD born 14 Dec 2018
    • sefilby
    • By sefilby 2nd Jul 13, 9:45 AM
    • 143 Posts
    • 1,628 Thanks
    Mr T shop £13.26 & co*p trip yesterday £7.25

    PizzaFish & chipsHam & egg saladFaijitachicken pieBologneseSausage & chips

    Not very imaginative but when the weather is warm we don't really fancy "cooked" meals
    Christmas budget £266.38/£535 15/27gifts
    Read a book a week challenge 50/52
    It`s going to be another NSD today, I dug deep into the freezer and found some breaded fish, so will have that with wedges and peas for dinner tonight. Pack ups for tomorrow are sorted aswell. Might need to water the milk down a little as we`re running low, so this should last until tomorrow.

    We had our first strawberries from the garden yesterday, just a handful, but they were so tasty. I`m keeping a close eye on them though as some are getting nibbled and it`s not the kids.

    I haven`t made a meal plan for this week though, as I want to see, what I can come up with from the cupboards.
    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
  • jumblejack
    Yippee. Went to fill up the car and milk was reduced t 20p for 2 litres at the garage.

    I got 8 bottles.

    Was gonna stock up at farm foods as it works out at 22p a pint as opposed to 25p a pint at lidl or aldi.

    This was way better though!

    They also had anchor mature cheddar for £1 a block as short dated.
    I got all 7 packs. ��

    That kind of impromptu bargain is up my street!!

    Came home and made a quick pizza with sourdough base, passata that needed using up, cherry toms that were in need of using up and short dated cheese (and plenty of mixed herbs and garlic salt seasoning)
    Last edited by jumblejack; 02-07-2013 at 11:11 AM.
    Every moment is a gift. That's why we call it the present.!
    Grocery Spend Weekly Challenge (Sat-Fri):£30.50/£40
    • tessie bear
    • By tessie bear 2nd Jul 13, 11:26 AM
    • 4,361 Posts
    • 30,013 Thanks
    tessie bear
    blimey finding it hard going at the moment...spent £50 in aldi and then £30 in farmfoods...i wont say what that went on but they are lurking in the freezer....cheaper than the icecream man i suppose

    i am finding in aldi i am buying fruit/veg and it is costing a fortune..i am going to look into frozen veg to try and getting it down a bit

    sorry bit negative today but onwards and upwards
    onwards and upwards
    • Billie-jo
    • By Billie-jo 2nd Jul 13, 12:53 PM
    • 1,221 Posts
    • 15,892 Thanks
    Two NSD to start the month off.
    Meals have all been upside down as S-I-L was rushed into hospital at the weekend and we are running up and down so much as daughter cant drive and grand kids need taking here there and everywhere. Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible.

    Last night we just grabbed some sandwiches and for tonight I have just made some soup with beef, onions, carrots, broccoli stalk and a bok choi. These ingredients were going to be used in a meat & veg pie but so short of time it was easier to do the soup and leave it cooking while was doing other jobs. It will be plenty with some crusty bread.
    Must recheck the fridge tomorrow and use up or freeze anything that needs it.
    Good luck to everyone and welcome to the new would be savers, hope you all do well.
    [COLOR="Purple"][B] MARCH £62.38/250 [B][COLOR="Purple"]
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 2nd Jul 13, 12:56 PM
    • 3,996 Posts
    • 52,590 Thanks
    Planning a NSD today.
    Dinner is going to be HM Quiche with crisped off wedges - jacket potatoes - cooked already and will cut into wedges. Plus I have some LO roasted veggies in a tub in fridge. So today is a use up day.
    15 in 2015 1/15
    • pixiedust09
    • By pixiedust09 2nd Jul 13, 1:25 PM
    • 260 Posts
    • 3,126 Thanks
    First spend of the month today spent £37.84 in A*di, £12.40 in Mr T and £2.97 at C*rd F*ctory. This is my third week at shopping at A*DI and I'm really saving money, loving a lot of their own brands and super six. Even getting the cat litter there as works out much cheaper. Had to pop into Mr T for a couple of bits and was naughty and bought a bottle of cava as had a 100 points coupon to use, and nipped into the new C*rd F*ctory shop next door and stocked up as lots of birthdays this month. This saved loads as I normally leave card buying to the last minute and pop into the newsagents which costs a fortune.

    Feel cross at myself for chucking some veg which was passed it out today, must try harder to not waste stuff. On that note, has anyone got any ideas how I can use up some cherry Toms?
    MFW 142- Oct 1999 £55,0000, Jul 2013 £27,593.17 Oct 2013 £26,531, Dec 2014 £22,600, Dec 2015 £20,190, Jan 2016 £19,944.19 Mar 2017 £16,944.76 Decluttered 207/2018
    Smile it confuses people
  • jumblejack
    First spend of the month today spent £37.84 in A*di, £12.40 in Mr T and £2.97 at C*rd F*ctory. This is my third week at shopping at A*DI and I'm really saving money, loving a lot of their own brands and super six. Even getting the cat litter there as works out much cheaper. Had to pop into Mr T for a couple of bits and was naughty and bought a bottle of cava as had a 100 points coupon to use, and nipped into the new C*rd F*ctory shop next door and stocked up as lots of birthdays this month. This saved loads as I normally leave card buying to the last minute and pop into the newsagents which costs a fortune.

    Feel cross at myself for chucking some veg which was passed it out today, must try harder to not waste stuff. On that note, has anyone got any ideas how I can use up some cherry Toms?
    Originally posted by pixiedust09
    I used mine up on home made pizza but you could stick em in a quiche, grilled cheese sandwiches, omelettes, frittatas etc
    Every moment is a gift. That's why we call it the present.!
    Grocery Spend Weekly Challenge (Sat-Fri):£30.50/£40
  • sheeppappar
    pixiedust- you could just cook the cherry toms in a pan for a bit and then freeze the mixture as pasta sauce base - think there is a recipe in the index.. stick some balsamic vinegar and garlic or something in

    billiejo - hope your SIL is ok xx

    just been trawling for some recipes as i have found 2 packets of glace cherries and some ground almonds in the cupboard whilst sorting out - going to give cherry almond loaf cake a shot one night this week..i've got all the ingredients except almond essence but i reckon amaretto liqueur will be a reasonable substitute
    CC1 £7,944.10
    CC2 £2,680.03
    CC3 £1,020.88
  • raggy doll
    raggy doll - just wondered if you have asked your doctor about getting gluten free food on prescription? I'm not too sure on the rules but I thought you could get some sort of allowance.......might be worth looking into? (would certainly help with that massive grocery bill!)
    Originally posted by Nicky Noo Na
    The doctors won't give us anything on prescription as they are not allergic to it but as all 3 kids (and my partner) have autism we have discovered that gluten affects how they behave immensely so by keeping them to a gluten free diet (dairy free for my son too) it makes their lives (and mine) much easier and 'normal'. we visit a dietician regularly to make sure the kids aren't missing out on anything vital and are growing etc and she's tried several times to get us a prescription but our doctor always refuses it :/
  • raggy doll
    day 5 for me and so far i've managed:

    Day 1: 140.37 online shop
    Day 2: 56.90
    Day 3: 36.62 top up shop
    Day 4: NSD
    Day 5: 6.17 at the butchers + 98 for milk

    1 NSD is amazing for me!!! gonna try and have one tomorrow too
    Time for me to start planning meals now, how do you know what you'll feel like in advance? Breakfast is always easy as we have eggs from our chickens but dinners i think might be a struggle (especially as I have a very awkward OH!!!)
    • kjgkgj
    • By kjgkgj 2nd Jul 13, 5:40 PM
    • 41 Posts
    • 476 Thanks
    £6.89 spent today, mainly house stuff, dog poo bags, dishwasher salt, a sodastream flavouring, but it did include a YS cod fillet down to 50p so that has gone straight in freezer.

    Planning to have prawn risotto for tea with prawns from the freezer. Hoping for a NSD tomorrow.
    Mortgage overpayments 2014 £175
    GC Dec £169.00/£220.00
    GC Jan £169.31/£220.00
    GC Feb £259.23/£220.00
    GC Mar £219.02/£220.00
    • Islandmaid
    • By Islandmaid 2nd Jul 13, 5:49 PM
    • 3,192 Posts
    • 42,566 Thanks
    NSD for me again

    I,m quite proud of myself tonight, had falafels in wraps with salad, was very nice and cost £1.30 for 3 meals of 2 wraps each.

    Falafel mix 3 for 99p from AFso 33p, half a bag of salad 50p and half a pack of wraps 50p, was s,possed to be 8 in the pack, but was 12 - rest in the the freezer for another day.

    I have really struggled to spend less recently ( own fault, no willpower) so am pleased to have saved a few quid.
    Note to self - STOP SPENDING MONEY !!
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