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  • FIRST POST
    • zippychick
    • By zippychick 4th Jun 11, 11:19 AM
    • 9,343Posts
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    zippychick
    • #1
    • 4th Jun 11, 11:19 AM
    4th Jun 11 at 11:19 AM
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    Hi everyone,

    Welcome to the eighth Grocery Challenge of 2013

    If your new month starts early feel free to join this thread, or if you're still working on your July budget, then keep on posting in the:
    July 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; 20-08-2013 at 1:27 PM.
    A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men
    Norn Iron club member #380

Page 13
  • Mrs-s
    Day 1 finished and as well as my T shop iv went to HomeBs and spent 2.83 while we were out to get drinks and some sweets, and DH bought some dilute juice on his way home because I forgot on the online shop so that's another 1 total spend for today is 50.47
    Need to inventory the fridge and freezer this evening and do some serious meal planning.
    Last edited by Mrs-s; 31-07-2013 at 5:34 PM.
    • Billie-jo
    • By Billie-jo 31st Jul 13, 6:21 PM
    • 1,221 Posts
    • 15,892 Thanks
    Billie-jo
    Caught up with August now and will be here from tomorrow. Just managed to creep under budget by 3.99
    Thank you to everyone who keeps the thread running.

    Meg72 - you asked for the sheesh kebab recipe on the July pages so am putting it on here and hope you see it.

    Makes 6-8 kebabs depending on how big you make them.

    400g Minced lamb
    1 large garlic clove
    1/2 tsp cumin
    3/4 - 1tsp garam masala
    Pinch fenugreek
    1 tsp ginger paste ( I grated a piece about thumb size)
    1-2 chillies (remove seeds if desired I left a few in)
    1 Egg beaten
    1/2 diced onion
    Pinch cayenne pepper (I used paprika)
    Juice of 1/2 lemon (can also add lemon zest if you wish)
    Small bunch fresh coriander (didn't use as not keen on this)

    Just put everything into a food processor and pulse to a paste.
    Cover with film and leave in fridge for 2 hours minimum or over night.
    When ready to cook firmly press around either bamboo skewers (soaked for at least 2 hours) or I used metal skewers slightly oiled. either BBQ or cook in oven for around 30 minutes turning occasionally. Serve with minted yogurt dip.

    Tonight's tea using up what's in ready for shopping tomorrow - Chinese chicken thighs & noodles we also had some salad with it.

    [COLOR="Purple"][B] MARCH 62.38/250 [B][COLOR="Purple"]
  • she who can not cook
    Went to Mr S last night to get the meal deal for a tenner and managed to lock my keys in my car. Not how I wanted to spend my birthday night, waiting 2 hours for the AA man to turn up

    Total spend was 9.04 as the cost of the wine out of the deal comes out of the booze budget. I also spent 9.17 of my birthday money on 2 bags of basics stuff as they are collecting for the local food bank at work. Since I didnt know what to spend my birthday cash on I thought I would do something useful with some of it.

    Raggy Doll - any chance you could share your GF wrap recipe? I am coeliac and used to love enchiladas but the warb&rton wraps are soooo expensive I never have them and would love to make my own. Thanks
    Originally posted by XSpender
    That is so good of you spending your b day money so people can eat.you will get your reward in the next life.
    Gc 2013 +26 -5. -4 -7 -14 -15 -10.-8.20 +15p+30+5.80 Dec +9 GROCERY challenge 2014 Jan -2Feb -3 March -1.50 April +5.40 May +4.90 June -3.July 16.50/85

    God bless my sweet "old man" Goldie that died in the early hours of 27 th March please see him on my avatar
    • mrs-moneypenny
    • By mrs-moneypenny 31st Jul 13, 8:01 PM
    • 15,518 Posts
    • 198,189 Thanks
    mrs-moneypenny
    just declared and went over by21.13 in july

    im in for 400 for August please.

    been mostly having salads while the weather been nice, but tonight was new pots, peas and veggie sausages.
    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
    • Coxy11
    • By Coxy11 31st Jul 13, 10:50 PM
    • 2,295 Posts
    • 27,317 Thanks
    Coxy11
    (rushes in and slams the door behind her)

    Hi everyone,

    Budgets (finally) done to here Getting so bad that people are posting their budget up twice (apologies mrs-moneypenny )

    Welcome to our new members:
    madhatter90, Yazhini26, Sunshine4, joedenise, mumoftwo, couponchaos, Mrs-s, shelly_crow and LisaJane

    I'm officially joining you today as its PAYDAY

    First spends of August GC in Tesco - 83.50 - lots of camp bits and bobs in there (DS1 and DD off for 10 days tomorrow) and also some holiday bits as I'm taking DS2 away next week.

    Good luck for August everyone.
    Coxy
    Cross-stitch WIP #1: Collecting Shells by Nancy Cole
    Cross-stitch WIP #2: Pretty Little London by Satsuma Street
  • Sunshine4
    Did a small shop yesterday of 6.96
    Some fruit, cheese, yoghurt, milk.

    Went through some of meals on here and found some I could make with items I already had so that saved a few pennies.
    C.R.A.P. R.O.O.L.Z. Member. 21 Norn Iron deputy h
    • forever saving
    • By forever saving 1st Aug 13, 6:52 AM
    • 565 Posts
    • 8,850 Thanks
    forever saving
    Could i please be put down for 300 for August. My month runs from the first day of the month to the last. Good luck to everyone else.
    FS
    Jan GC 298.62/300 Feb 298.01/300 March 331.06/300 April 69.96/300
    Learning to accept the things i cannot change
    • NickJW
    • By NickJW 1st Aug 13, 7:11 AM
    • 678 Posts
    • 13,646 Thanks
    NickJW
    Morning all!

    I would like to aim for 160 again this month.

    Looking at my budget history I started off so well this year and things are gradually getting more expensive!

    Good luck all!
    Grocery Challenge 14 Jan 14 46.05/130

    Grocery Challenge 13 -spent 1453.06
    Grocery Challenge 12 -spent 1565.51

    DFD 1st March 2011
  • raggy doll
    Went to Mr S last night to get the meal deal for a tenner and managed to lock my keys in my car. Not how I wanted to spend my birthday night, waiting 2 hours for the AA man to turn up

    Total spend was 9.04 as the cost of the wine out of the deal comes out of the booze budget. I also spent 9.17 of my birthday money on 2 bags of basics stuff as they are collecting for the local food bank at work. Since I didnt know what to spend my birthday cash on I thought I would do something useful with some of it.

    Raggy Doll - any chance you could share your GF wrap recipe? I am coeliac and used to love enchiladas but the warb&rton wraps are soooo expensive I never have them and would love to make my own. Thanks
    Originally posted by XSpender

    Ooh I never thought of doing a booze budget, that would bring down my total quite a bit

    I miss enchiladas too, they're my fave but found the gluten free wraps that you can buy don't roll very well :/ so really looking forward to them again!

    the recipe is really simple:

    280g plain gf flour
    2 tsp xanthan gum (I got this for a couple of on a visit to Mr S a few months ago)
    1 tsp gf baking powder
    2 tsp brown sugar
    1tsp salt
    240ml warm water

    Mix the dry ingredients together and then add the warm water and mix until it forms an even mixture. Separate into 6 pieces, put the 5 you're not using in a bowl covered with cling film and roll the remaining ball onto a floured surface until it is thin. Put into a hot pan with a smidge of oil (this is the part i'm having issues with!!!). Let it cook for 1-2 minutes or until it starts to puff up, flip it over and cook the other side

    hope you have better luck at moving them from the work surface to the pan than I've been having!
    • mumoftwo
    • By mumoftwo 1st Aug 13, 9:44 AM
    • 1,907 Posts
    • 11,491 Thanks
    mumoftwo
    Morning. Just spent 7.04 in our new HomeBargains. We needed razors, foil and juice/snacks for road trip tonight. I could have easily spent lots more, that shop is so nice, and lots of good prices but resisted.

    What do you all include in your budget? Toiletries, cleaning stuff etc?
    • Nicki_Sue
    • By Nicki_Sue 1st Aug 13, 10:51 AM
    • 1,216 Posts
    • 7,405 Thanks
    Nicki_Sue
    Hi All.
    My August starts today and I have done a blinking big shop at Tesc0 for.... 42.74. This is our main shop this week and we shouldn't need to top up (much). I did use a 5 helping hand voucher and a few small coupons but a good start overall.
    11 YEARS ON MSE!

    JANUARY 10 A DAY: 0/310
    • sefilby
    • By sefilby 1st Aug 13, 11:18 AM
    • 143 Posts
    • 1,628 Thanks
    sefilby
    I did use a 5 helping hand voucher and a few small coupons but a good start overall.
    Originally posted by Nicki_Sue
    Nicki_Sue - those vouchers come in blooming useful sometimes. I'm not a great fan of hunting down vouchers but if they happen to land in my lap ...
    Christmas budget 266.38/535 15/27gifts
    Read a book a week challenge 50/52
    • girlatplay
    • By girlatplay 1st Aug 13, 11:39 AM
    • 2,509 Posts
    • 14,740 Thanks
    girlatplay
    Right so I did my weekly shop at Mr M yesterday. Spent 33 exactly. That means I am JUST under this week's budget by 46p. No room for any slip ups. Completely meal planned until next Wednesday and I might even have enough to go over a couple of days. We will run out of fruit before next week but we will just have to go without for a couple of days. We have enough veg so will survive! My challenge starts here, to see if I really can last without spending more before next Wed.
    Last edited by girlatplay; 01-08-2013 at 11:42 AM. Reason: blonde moment
    Loan (7,500) current balance: 6,798.44
    IO Mortgage current balance: 87,630

    • mrs-moneypenny
    • By mrs-moneypenny 1st Aug 13, 12:28 PM
    • 15,518 Posts
    • 198,189 Thanks
    mrs-moneypenny

    Budgets (finally) done to here Getting so bad that people are posting their budget up twice (apologies mrs-moneypenny )


    Good luck for August everyone.
    Coxy
    Originally posted by Coxy11
    dont worry about it, i posted it a while ago but stayed in july to finish of month, only noticed amount not next to my name yesterday so thought i'd repost incase it had been missed (thought it would be easier for you to see) i doubt posting twice means i can have double the amount to spend does it

    bought sains cheap lemonade and bananas this morning to get the extra 50 nectar points per item so spent 8.16 and got 200 extra points.
    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
  • she who can not cook
    (rushes in and slams the door behind her)

    Hi everyone,

    Budgets (finally) done to here Getting so bad that people are posting their budget up twice (apologies mrs-moneypenny )

    Welcome to our new members:
    madhatter90, Yazhini26, Sunshine4, joedenise, mumoftwo, couponchaos, Mrs-s, shelly_crow and LisaJane

    I'm officially joining you today as its PAYDAY

    First spends of August GC in Tesco - 83.50 - lots of camp bits and bobs in there (DS1 and DD off for 10 days tomorrow) and also some holiday bits as I'm taking DS2 away next week.

    Good luck for August everyone.
    Coxy
    Originally posted by Coxy11
    Thank you and thank you for all your work running this thread
    Gc 2013 +26 -5. -4 -7 -14 -15 -10.-8.20 +15p+30+5.80 Dec +9 GROCERY challenge 2014 Jan -2Feb -3 March -1.50 April +5.40 May +4.90 June -3.July 16.50/85

    God bless my sweet "old man" Goldie that died in the early hours of 27 th March please see him on my avatar
  • she who can not cook
    Opps iam guilty again of not post ing my budget for this month i am sure itwas there when i looked. Please put me down 110 again please

    My first spendof the month was reduced at iceland and cat food and werthers at aldi (the latter is so not for me)
    Last edited by she who can not cook; 01-08-2013 at 1:44 PM.
    Gc 2013 +26 -5. -4 -7 -14 -15 -10.-8.20 +15p+30+5.80 Dec +9 GROCERY challenge 2014 Jan -2Feb -3 March -1.50 April +5.40 May +4.90 June -3.July 16.50/85

    God bless my sweet "old man" Goldie that died in the early hours of 27 th March please see him on my avatar
    • joedenise
    • By joedenise 1st Aug 13, 1:55 PM
    • 6,272 Posts
    • 46,108 Thanks
    joedenise
    Just done a post and lost it, so annoying.

    Have been shopping and spent 46.37 in Mr T's but had a helping hand voucher and a money off voucher so actually cost 40.24. Well pleased as also bought a big box of lagers for DH.

    Also spent 8.90 in the butchers but that includes 3 for some extra lean burgers for next week which have gone into the freezer. I don't go to the butchers very often as he is out of town so have to drive a different (and longer) way home to go there.

    Total spend today 49.14, so total currently 50.07/250 so within budget, just, for the month.

    Denise
    • lizalloareds
    • By lizalloareds 1st Aug 13, 2:21 PM
    • 1,808 Posts
    • 17,414 Thanks
    lizalloareds
    first spends for Aug 1.70

    1 Market
    70p Mr T
    Sausage casserole in SC for tea toinght
    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
    • pinkypig
    • By pinkypig 1st Aug 13, 2:39 PM
    • 1,519 Posts
    • 11,773 Thanks
    pinkypig
    Hi

    I have just done our final big shop of the month by stocking up on meat, frozen stuff and a few fresh bits to use my second Mirror voucher. Total spend was 37.40 after vouchers and coupons.
    This leaves us with 40 for three small top up shops before payday. These are usually between 10 and 15 so it is going to be tight

    However, this is my very ambitious attempt at 35 a week for the four of us plus cat. I have managed 40 a week for a few months now but it would be so good to hit the target I set myself last October. Don't know if I'll do it but I am determined to try

    Have a good week everyone.

    PP xx
    MFW 2018 #157 Target 15,000

    23,095.71/15,000
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 1st Aug 13, 4:47 PM
    • 3,984 Posts
    • 52,562 Thanks
    Florenceem
    Thursday.
    NSD yesterday + today.
    Yesterday we had a Chicken drumstick + roast potatoes + carrots/onions for dinner.
    Tonight is a meal without using the oven - bacon/eggs/tomatoes etc.
    [IMG][/IMG]
    15 in 2015 1/15
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