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  • FIRST POST
    • zippychick
    • By zippychick 4th Jun 11, 11:19 AM
    • 9,343Posts
    • 17,889Thanks
    zippychick
    • #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 competition....it'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,
    Spigs
    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!

    Zip
    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 18
    • hattifattener
    • By hattifattener 7th Jul 13, 12:22 PM
    • 147 Posts
    • 1,407 Thanks
    hattifattener
    Free lunch yesterday at a 'community taster day' for a new supermarket opening nearby. Spent 2 on strawbs to go with this morning's breakfast. American pancakes, strawberries, creme fraiche and icing sugar. Mmmm, it was DELISH!

    121.35/200
    MFW start date:22.6.13 - 138555 9.7.13 - 125937
    MFD: November 2039 October 2035

    2013 OP: 14172
    2014 OP aim: 0/3000
    • MrsCautious
    • By MrsCautious 7th Jul 13, 2:17 PM
    • 1,161 Posts
    • 13,728 Thanks
    MrsCautious
    Doing pretty rubbish on GC. Spent another 39 and we're only at the end of week one. Shampoo being left so it all fell out down the bath and some cooked ham looking ropey way before its use by date hasn't helped.

    NSD today and made 68.50 at car boot.

    Meal plan:

    Sunday: baked potatoes, salad sweet chilli chicken pizza
    Monday: YS pasta parcels, Basics pasta sauce, salad
    Tuesday: fish marinated in Indian spices, hm wedges, carrots and peas
    Wednesday: YS lamb chops, potatoes, veg, Yorkshires, gravy
    Thursday: sausage pasta bake with salad
    Friday: left over Pasta bake

    I have everything needed for these meals so am going to do my best to have minimum spending before Friday.
    Last edited by MrsCautious; 07-07-2013 at 2:26 PM.
    • minicooper272
    • By minicooper272 7th Jul 13, 2:49 PM
    • 2,127 Posts
    • 16,678 Thanks
    minicooper272
    Made it back from Ald1 without buying cake mix - they all needed eggs! Have spent just under 15, which takes me to 40/80 for this month. I think this is OK, as this is to last me to the middle of the month, but would like to have spent a little less... Am really starting to slip on a lot of fronts atm- buying a lot of comfort foods, eating more than necessary, not planning ahead. I plan to move in a few months, so think from next week I'm going to aim to run down my cupboards and only buy enough food for the week ahead. I probably have plenty food to last me the next 3 months anyway!
    • pixiedust09
    • By pixiedust09 7th Jul 13, 3:58 PM
    • 259 Posts
    • 3,126 Thanks
    pixiedust09
    A NSD for me today, and made 44 at the car boot sale, and melted. Have leftover quiche from yesterday for lunch, as I was hank marvin when I got back. We've got A*di pizza and salad for dinner. Then a cold shower and early night for me i think as such an early start. Hope everyones enjoying the sunshine.
    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
    • WantToBeSE
    • By WantToBeSE 7th Jul 13, 6:00 PM
    • 6,778 Posts
    • 30,548 Thanks
    WantToBeSE
    I am doing well with grocery shopping at the moment, and really pleased!
    Only spent 45.75 so far this week, and dont think i'll need much more (if anything at all) before the next shopping day.

    I spent the weekend at my sisters, and she did us a lovely dinner last night of salad, prawns, jacket potato, ham, cheese etc..and i loved not having to worry about making anything.
    I still have Fridays and Saturdays meals as i went to my sisters, so i have added them onto this weeks meal plan.

    Re cake mix in SMs- what a waste of money! As others have said, why on earth buy a mix if you have flour, eggs, sugar and butter/marg in the house already.

    I made a really easy and delicious carrot cake the other day, and shared them with a friend. Really simple.

    They are cupcakes, not a whole cake:

    150g grated carrots
    2 medium eggs
    100g soft brown sugar
    5 tbsp sunflower oil
    100g self raising flour
    1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
    100g any dried fruits eg: raisins, chopped apricots, glace cherries ( i used a combo of all of those).

    Heat oven to 190 C/gas 5.

    Put muffin cases into a muffin pan.

    Mix eggs and sugar, beat in oil.

    Add dry ingredients and mix.

    Spoon into muffin cases, bake for 15-20 mins until firm to the touch and golden brown.

    They were delicious!
    3/6 month emergency fund challenge #20
    PODBX17 #122

    Debt Free Diary http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=5501794

    Total debt:
    14/01/2017 6247.89
    24/02/17 5623.17

    Estimated DFD Jan 2018
    • sillyinthepast
    • By sillyinthepast 7th Jul 13, 6:39 PM
    • 234 Posts
    • 1,963 Thanks
    sillyinthepast
    Well I spent another 46.23 today. I need to be very careful for this to last unit the end of the month.
    370/300 April challenge
    • Islandmaid
    • By Islandmaid 7th Jul 13, 7:20 PM
    • 3,103 Posts
    • 42,190 Thanks
    Islandmaid
    NSD here - thats the 6th so far...

    Cold roast chicken, pot salad and green salad for dinner, made an asparagus, tomato, motzerella and basil filo tart too, that was munched throughout the day, was yummy...
    Note to self - STOP SPENDING MONEY !!
    • lilian1977
    • By lilian1977 7th Jul 13, 7:29 PM
    • 4,656 Posts
    • 18,375 Thanks
    lilian1977
    153.23 / 250 up to now for us - month ends on 22nd July so not too bad...


    My debt free diary
    [/SIZE][/FONT]
    • Shoey1610
    • By Shoey1610 7th Jul 13, 8:37 PM
    • 480 Posts
    • 671 Thanks
    Shoey1610
    No spend day for me today and DD was fed lunch at a birthday party so that was a bonus.

    I usually use our leftover Sunday roast meat for a curry on a Monday, but after reading about rubber chickens on here, I wondered if I could stretch it any further. I've managed to get today's cold roast chicken and salad out of it (it was too hot for full roast!), enough for curry tomorrow and I froze a portion to make a chicken pie later this week. These were not small portions either, so I'm very happy at how stretchy my chicken was this week.
    • Coxy11
    • By Coxy11 7th Jul 13, 8:54 PM
    • 2,295 Posts
    • 27,317 Thanks
    Coxy11
    Hi all,

    Budgets done to here

    Welcome to:
    Shoey1610 and dylan2011

    NSD here. Small spend on icecream/lollies yesterday as DD had friends over.

    Almost out of milk but DH returned from scout camp with 12 pints unused Also fruit pies, crisps and biscuits

    Coxy
    Cross-stitch WIP #1: Collecting Shells by Nancy Cole
    Cross-stitch WIP #2: Pretty Little London by Satsuma Street
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 7th Jul 13, 9:26 PM
    • 3,984 Posts
    • 52,562 Thanks
    Florenceem
    I am doing well with grocery shopping at the moment, and really pleased!
    Only spent 45.75 so far this week, and dont think i'll need much more (if anything at all) before the next shopping day.

    I spent the weekend at my sisters, and she did us a lovely dinner last night of salad, prawns, jacket potato, ham, cheese etc..and i loved not having to worry about making anything.
    I still have Fridays and Saturdays meals as i went to my sisters, so i have added them onto this weeks meal plan.

    Re cake mix in SMs- what a waste of money! As others have said, why on earth buy a mix if you have flour, eggs, sugar and butter/marg in the house already.

    I made a really easy and delicious carrot cake the other day, and shared them with a friend. Really simple.

    They are cupcakes, not a whole cake:

    150g grated carrots
    2 medium eggs
    100g soft brown sugar
    5 tbsp sunflower oil
    100g self raising flour
    1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
    100g any dried fruits eg: raisins, chopped apricots, glace cherries ( i used a combo of all of those).

    Heat oven to 190 C/gas 5.

    Put muffin cases into a muffin pan.

    Mix eggs and sugar, beat in oil.

    Add dry ingredients and mix.

    Spoon into muffin cases, bake for 15-20 mins until firm to the touch and golden brown.

    They were delicious!
    Originally posted by WantToBeSE
    How many does this recipe make please?
    15 in 2015 1/15
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 7th Jul 13, 9:29 PM
    • 3,984 Posts
    • 52,562 Thanks
    Florenceem
    Sunday.
    Low spend week - just 45p on flour today.
    I made a double amount of short crust pastry - use the rest tomorrow. Used some to make an Egg & Bacon Pie.
    For dinner we had HM wedges and baked beans with the Egg & Bacon Pie. Lots left over too.
    15 in 2015 1/15
    • meg72
    • By meg72 8th Jul 13, 8:16 AM
    • 5,082 Posts
    • 46,072 Thanks
    meg72
    No weight loss this week, which is not suprising as found a chocolate fudge cake in freezer and ate the lot with icecream, not in one go though it did me four puddings. Also couldnt resist some crusty bread and butter with my salad lunches.

    Got YS free range eggs in Asda 39p for 6 instead of 1.50 and reduced mushrooms 40p instead of 1.00 in local shop, so mushroom omellettes for lunchs this week.

    Think thats the least I have managed to spend on a weeken for a long time.
    Slimming World at target
    • WantToBeSE
    • By WantToBeSE 8th Jul 13, 8:19 AM
    • 6,778 Posts
    • 30,548 Thanks
    WantToBeSE
    How many does this recipe make please?
    Originally posted by Florenceem
    Hi Flo, it doesn't make very many..i'd say 6 muffins. I doubled the recipe and got about 12.
    3/6 month emergency fund challenge #20
    PODBX17 #122

    Debt Free Diary http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=5501794

    Total debt:
    14/01/2017 6247.89
    24/02/17 5623.17

    Estimated DFD Jan 2018
    • WantToBeSE
    • By WantToBeSE 8th Jul 13, 8:21 AM
    • 6,778 Posts
    • 30,548 Thanks
    WantToBeSE
    I stepped on the scales for the first time since 19th December...and i have lost a whole stone!

    OMG! I have no idea how i've done it.

    I only have 1 more stone to go now, but it's getting so difficult on a budget to buy all the fruit that i want.
    3/6 month emergency fund challenge #20
    PODBX17 #122

    Debt Free Diary http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=5501794

    Total debt:
    14/01/2017 6247.89
    24/02/17 5623.17

    Estimated DFD Jan 2018
    • hollieinbloom
    • By hollieinbloom 8th Jul 13, 8:37 AM
    • 552 Posts
    • 4,515 Thanks
    hollieinbloom
    I stepped on the scales for the first time since 19th December...and i have lost a whole stone!

    OMG! I have no idea how i've done it.

    I only have 1 more stone to go now, but it's getting so difficult on a budget to buy all the fruit that i want.
    Originally posted by WantToBeSE
    Well done!! that's a great weight loss. Hopefully you can find some blackberry bushes when they come into season. Those are a great fruity treat and free! I usually get some apples from one of the neighbours as they have too many apples and they just go off if you dont use them so i make apple and blackberry crumbles...Sadly I'm moving house next week so no more apples for me boohoo! x

    Goals: Save 500 for emergencies, Save 200 of Amazon vouchers for Xmas, fix my holey clothes!
    Frugal living 2014
  • sheeppappar
    wanttobeSE - hurrah I have all those ingredients in the cupboard and loads of carrots left from last week's shop so will give your muffins a try

    I spent about 15 quid over the weekend on bits and pieces - about 7 on a fruit stall in the city centre (for convenience, also thought it would be cheaper).. got punnet strawbs, 4 pink lady apples, 4 pears, 2 little gem + 6 vine tomatoes.. doesn't seem like great value TBH!! although the stuff is really nice..

    some of the money spent was also in sains on popcorn and sweets for cinema on sat night so saved me money on cinema's own stuff...
    anyway that takes me up to 76 - seems a lot but for me this month is 4 weeks - so if i can get by this week on 24 more spent then I am on track .. should be do-able as I don't need to buy meat..

    have a fab week all x
    CC1 7,944.10
    CC2 2,680.03
    CC3 1,020.88
    • Welsh Poppy
    • By Welsh Poppy 8th Jul 13, 8:40 AM
    • 980 Posts
    • 5,912 Thanks
    Welsh Poppy
    Well done on weight loss:-)
    I seem to be putting it on rather than losing it is not helped that OH has giving up smoking so he is eating lots of snacks and forces them on me as well,he will have to get used to me saying NO

    Out for the day yesterday a pre birthday day out with 3 course sunday lunch .
    So the menu for the week

    Monday faggots peas and mash and gravy/vegetable pie and salad for me
    Tuesday Egg and bacon pie with salad and jacket potato/jacket potato and salad
    Wednesday Chicken curry and rice?vegggie rice
    Thursday pork chop mash, cauli ,broccoli and gravy/veggie sausage and same veg
    Friday fish pie/vegetable pie
    Saturday sausage and chips/veggie version
    Sunday Chicken,roast parsnips,swede,carrots mash and gravy/same but without the meat.
    Weight loss challenge 66lb to go /59lb's lost

    Grocery Budget January 150/175
    Feb 150/
    • WantToBeSE
    • By WantToBeSE 8th Jul 13, 8:43 AM
    • 6,778 Posts
    • 30,548 Thanks
    WantToBeSE
    Well done!! that's a great weight loss. Hopefully you can find some blackberry bushes when they come into season. Those are a great fruity treat and free! I usually get some apples from one of the neighbours as they have too many apples and they just go off if you dont use them so i make apple and blackberry crumbles...Sadly I'm moving house next week so no more apples for me boohoo! x
    Originally posted by hollieinbloom
    Oh i hadnt thought about foraging! Thanks Hollie, i will keep my eye out for any blackberry bushes

    Well done on weight loss:-)
    I seem to be putting it on rather than losing it is not helped that OH has giving up smoking so he is eating lots of snacks and forces them on me as well,he will have to get used to me saying NO.
    Originally posted by Welsh Poppy
    Thanks WP. It's quitting smoking 3 years ago that led to me gaining weight. I was a size 8 before quitting, and went up to a size 16 at my biggest...back down to a 14 now though. Aiming for a 12.
    3/6 month emergency fund challenge #20
    PODBX17 #122

    Debt Free Diary http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=5501794

    Total debt:
    14/01/2017 6247.89
    24/02/17 5623.17

    Estimated DFD Jan 2018
    • mumofthetwins
    • By mumofthetwins 8th Jul 13, 10:08 AM
    • 1,042 Posts
    • 4,027 Thanks
    mumofthetwins
    Well I've decide today that I've got the shopping in for this week and should have enough for next week (need to use up some stuff!)
    So I've decided to just avoid the shops for 2 weeks ... Might need some plain flour but I'm gonna get my dad to pick some up as if I go to the shops I will spend x
    DFW
    July 0/17100
    June 2400/19500 Murphy 500/500
    May 3085/23042
    April 1266/25843 STF 1500/1500
    MFW OP 2018 600/1600
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