Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

Welcome to the MSE Forums

We're home to a fantastic community of MoneySavers but anyone can post. Please exercise caution & report spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts/messages: click "report" or email forumteam@.

Search
  • 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
    If you haven’t already, join the forum to reply. If you aren’t sure how it all works, read our New to Forum? Intro Guide.

    This Forum Tip was included in MoneySavingExpert's weekly email

    Don't miss out on new deals, loopholes, and vouchers




    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 24
    • Nicky Noo Na
    • By Nicky Noo Na 7th Aug 13, 7:58 PM
    • 760 Posts
    • 6,713 Thanks
    Nicky Noo Na
    Do any of you make your own bread? I wouldn't know where to start but may be getting holding of a voucher to buy one.
    What I really want to know before I buy one is:
    Did you find it a good idea cost-wise?
    What would I need ingredients-wise?

    I don't want to use the voucher on this if it is going to cost me more in the long run.
    Originally posted by Nicki_Sue
    If you are very new to bread making and don't have much time you should try the Airy Fairy Easy Peasy Soda Bread in a girl called jack's blog. I made it at the weekend as I havent made bread since school about 15 years ago! It took literally 5 minutes to make and then 20 mins to cook. Not sure if its ideal for sandwiches but was lovely with some soup. Could be a good starting point though?

    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 7th Aug 13, 8:03 PM
    • 3,984 Posts
    • 52,562 Thanks
    Florenceem
    A nsd for me today, two days in a row.
    Quite a productive day. We dug up one a half rows of potatoes from our allotment. A big potato sack full. We have several more rows to do. Enough broad beans picked to fill up an empty ice cream container, now in the freezer. Half an ice cream tub filled with raspberries from our allotment,also in the freezer. Hopefully this will help with the budget.
    Can anyone help with this question. I took out of the freezer today a pack of chicken and a pack of beef, which were already cooked a little while ago. I was cooking a curry with both meats. I only used the beef in the end as there was more in there than i thought. Will the chicken be ok for me to use tomorrow for dinner? It has been in the fridge since it came out of the freezer this morning.
    Thank you in advance.
    Sorry for long rambling post.
    FS
    Originally posted by forever saving
    Yes - smell/look at it tomorrow.
    15 in 2015 1/15
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 7th Aug 13, 8:08 PM
    • 3,984 Posts
    • 52,562 Thanks
    Florenceem
    Wednesday.
    NSD today.
    For dinner we had pork steak with roast potatoes + HM Yorkshire Pudding + roasted beetroot/red + white onions/tomatoes + gravy for dinner.
    I made a cake as well.
    [IMG][/IMG]
    15 in 2015 1/15
    • Sweetie83
    • By Sweetie83 7th Aug 13, 8:21 PM
    • 48 Posts
    • 669 Thanks
    Sweetie83
    Oven broken!!
    My dear frogglers,

    Please can you advise me of meals that I can grill or use hob for as oven is broken and can't afford new one at the moment.

    So far done sweet and sour chicken, pasta, sausage and mash, fish fingers and risotto. Can you help me with any new ideas please?

    Thanks a million. Lots of love xxx
    Grocery Challenge: Jan 15 £323/£280, Feb £275/£280
    One DH, 2 DD's aged 6 and 3 and a hungry cat!

  • BestIntentions
    Too late??
    Is it too late to join? I ave already done one shop this month and as this is the start for me having done an inventory of what I have in the freeze and cupboard would lie to think I can make it to the 31st on £150.

    Have enjoyed reading back through this thread and am feeling quite excited about the prospect o the challenge of feeding my little family a healthy diet whilst keeping a close eye on what I am spending (my bills have spiralled over the past couple of years)
    Debt as of today (07/08/2013)
    CC1 £3,218.00 0% apr CC2 £538.23 15.9% Bank of Mum & Dad £10,000.00
    Have removed my head from the sand and will be debt free a soon as is realistically possible
    Not smoked since 3rd June 2013
    August Grocery Challenge £17.23/£150
    • Billie-jo
    • By Billie-jo 7th Aug 13, 9:04 PM
    • 1,221 Posts
    • 15,892 Thanks
    Billie-jo
    Sweetie83
    Risotto
    Stir fry's
    Curry's
    Fish in milk & butter in frying pan
    Stews
    Sausage & mash
    Bacon tomatoes, mushrooms eggs
    Spaghetti bolognaise
    Omelettes
    Steak
    Soups
    Toasties
    Chops
    Spicy chicken wings/thighs
    Hotdogs
    Kebabs
    Burgers
    Meat balls in tom sauce
    Pasta & veg
    Chilli
    Chicken & veg put into wraps
    Schnitzels
    Corn beef hash
    Carbonara sauce & pasta
    Cooked and sliced potatoes fried off with onions & bacon or chorizo
    Bacon & parsley sauce
    Liver & onions
    Mussels in wine sauce

    do you have a slow cooker that you can use? HTH
    [COLOR="Purple"][B] MARCH £62.38/250 [B][COLOR="Purple"]
    • minicooper272
    • By minicooper272 7th Aug 13, 9:14 PM
    • 2,127 Posts
    • 16,678 Thanks
    minicooper272
    So far this month, I've spent £40 of my £80 budget. It's not bad, but could be a bit better! I'm having to buy a few bits of meat this month, which is pushing my costs up, but I won't need to buy very much next week, and hopefully not the week after either.
    • lovefullshelves
    • By lovefullshelves 7th Aug 13, 9:48 PM
    • 647 Posts
    • 7,440 Thanks
    lovefullshelves
    Oh my so much spending on sat pet food...71.72, aldilly 8.70, 3.79 mr morrison, eggs from down the road, 1.80 and an asda delivery 85.24 cripes thats 171.25 to add to my total:O
    2013 NSD 100. CC2014CC- £31.50/£135
    2014 NSD 86 so far - May 20/21
    2014 G/C spend £741.55 so far May £107.99/£91
    Debt Free - 30.05.13 Emergency tin - £1000
    C.R.A.P.R.O.L.L.Z #54 - toilet paper tunneller
    • Bluegreen143
    • By Bluegreen143 7th Aug 13, 10:10 PM
    • 1,101 Posts
    • 12,692 Thanks
    Bluegreen143
    For those who requested it (and added to index) -



    Sundried tomato & chorizo risotto - Serves two (£1.03 per portion, not including salad)
    • 1/2 pack chorizo, cut into half rounds (around 100g) £1.20
    • 175g risotto rice (2/3 mug is how I measure normally) 34p
    • 1 small onion, chopped (free from friend’s garden, but 3p if from a value pack)*
    • 30g sundried tomatoes halves, soaked and cut into thin strips (this was 6 tomato halves) (free as a gift, but about 30p if the same big bulk tub is bought online)*
    • 25g parmesan or similar, grated 20p
    • Chicken or vegetable stock (I actually used homemade duck stock, free)*

    Heat a deep frying pan over a medium heat and add the chorizo (you don’t need oil). Allow to cook for a few minutes, stirring, until warmed through, starting to crisp on the edges and the pan is coated in orange oil.

    Remove the chorizo from the pan and set aside. Return the pan, with the oil still in it, to the heat and add the onions, frying them off in the chorizo oil for a few minutes until soft. Meanwhile, heat some stock in a saucepan (I ended up using about 6-7 ladlefuls or so, if it helps – all the stock I had plus water at the end when I ran out of stock).

    Add the risotto rice to the onions, stir well to coat in the oil, then cook for a further minute or two, until the grains are turning translucent. Add a ladleful of stock and stir in.

    Continue to add stock and stir as the rice cooks – around 22-25 minutes or so. A few minutes before the end, add the chorizo and slice sundried tomatoes.

    When the rice is creamy and cooked but still with a little bite to it, remove from the heat, add the parmesan (I reserved a tiny bit to sprinkle on top) and beat hard with the wooden spoon until everything is incorporated and well combined. Season and serve with a side salad, or stuff into pepper halves and bake in the oven until tender.

    EDIT - don't soak the tomatoes if they're the type in oil...
    Last edited by Bluegreen143; 07-08-2013 at 10:14 PM.
    Married 1 March 2014 DS born 06/12/15

    Debts
    CC - £2,182.17/£2,182.17
    Family loan 1 - £1,680/£1,680
    Family loan 2 - £3,500/£5,000
    • Bluegreen143
    • By Bluegreen143 7th Aug 13, 10:19 PM
    • 1,101 Posts
    • 12,692 Thanks
    Bluegreen143
    getting-sorted-sarah- your no-knead bread recipe added to the index.
    Married 1 March 2014 DS born 06/12/15

    Debts
    CC - £2,182.17/£2,182.17
    Family loan 1 - £1,680/£1,680
    Family loan 2 - £3,500/£5,000
    • K9sandFelines
    • By K9sandFelines 7th Aug 13, 10:41 PM
    • 2,113 Posts
    • 18,217 Thanks
    K9sandFelines
    Few small spends yesterday
    Sweetie83
    Risotto
    Stir fry's
    Curry's
    Fish in milk & butter in frying pan
    Stews
    Sausage & mash
    Bacon tomatoes, mushrooms eggs
    Spaghetti bolognaise
    Omelettes
    Steak
    Soups
    Toasties
    Chops
    Spicy chicken wings/thighs
    Hotdogs
    Kebabs
    Burgers
    Meat balls in tom sauce
    Pasta & veg
    Chilli
    Chicken & veg put into wraps
    Schnitzels
    Corn beef hash
    Carbonara sauce & pasta
    Cooked and sliced potatoes fried off with onions & bacon or chorizo
    Bacon & parsley sauce
    Liver & onions
    Mussels in wine sauce

    do you have a slow cooker that you can use? HTH
    Originally posted by Billie-jo
    Jacket potatoes, bourgignon, strogonoff, goulash ... can all be cooked in low on the hob or better still invest in a slow cooker whilst your oven is Out of order.

    Went to Mr M yesterday for milk but it was dearer than C*-*p so got it in there instead, although I did manage a 9p loaf at 8.45pm. So will attempt to shop at that time again. Rest of spends jn C*-*p, off the top of my head, all YS except milk were 75p for nectarines, a double punnet of strawbs (I think £2.00), 36p for a cucumber and 75p for an iceberg lettuce, and finally 45p for four mini baguettes.

    Had a NSD today. Will try and update sig soon as can't do it on mobile, as it's awkward.
    GC 2017 £3,434.09 GC 2018 £2,250.95 GC 2019 Jan £268.24/£200 Feb £158.01/200 Mar £220.05/£200 April (moving) May (adjusting £270.73), Jun £72.43/£280
    ~ Still learning the art of frugality ~
    • meg72
    • By meg72 8th Aug 13, 5:40 AM
    • 5,082 Posts
    • 46,072 Thanks
    meg72
    My dear frogglers,

    Please can you advise me of meals that I can grill or use hob for as oven is broken and can't afford new one at the moment.

    So far done sweet and sour chicken, pasta, sausage and mash, fish fingers and risotto. Can you help me with any new ideas please?

    Thanks a million. Lots of love xxx
    Originally posted by Sweetie83
    Bacon, egg and beans
    Stew
    Mixed Grill
    Grilled chop or steak.
    Soup
    Omeletes.
    Stirfry.
    Bubble and sqweek.






    Cornbeef hash.
    Last edited by meg72; 08-08-2013 at 5:45 AM.
    Slimming World at target
    • LisaJane
    • By LisaJane 8th Aug 13, 8:27 AM
    • 354 Posts
    • 2,800 Thanks
    LisaJane
    £2 on milk and a mag yesterday! mag wasn't very mse, but it is a bit of a guilty pleasure! DH has begun to demand his chilli with a baked potato with salad now rather than rice, so will have to nip out and get some coleslaw and salad to go with dinner tonight.
    Save 12k in 2014 (my target: £10 000):
    My savings: £4878.54/£7000
    Joint account savings: £2685.57/£3000
    Total:£7564.11/£10 000 (as at 26/10/14)
    • Welsh Poppy
    • By Welsh Poppy 8th Aug 13, 9:15 AM
    • 980 Posts
    • 5,912 Thanks
    Welsh Poppy
    I bought 2 bags onions in Aldi £1.50 as had run out!!
    Blue green,Love the bread recipes:-) going to try the rolls as they look amazing. I usually make bread every week but know Oh will love the rolls.
    Weight loss challenge 66lb to go /59lb's lost

    Grocery Budget January £150/£175
    Feb £150/
    • meg72
    • By meg72 8th Aug 13, 9:19 AM
    • 5,082 Posts
    • 46,072 Thanks
    meg72
    I bought 2 bags onions in Aldi £1.50 as had run out!!
    Blue green,Love the bread recipes:-) going to try the rolls as they look amazing. I usually make bread every week but know Oh will love the rolls.
    Originally posted by Welsh Poppy
    I need onions too, what is the weight of the aldi bags please.
    Slimming World at target
    • girlatplay
    • By girlatplay 8th Aug 13, 11:17 AM
    • 2,504 Posts
    • 14,721 Thanks
    girlatplay
    I spent the following from the rest of this weeks budget:

    (£12.76 noted yesterday)
    £14.92 in Mr S
    £9.81 in Mr M
    Total £37.49.

    £1.97 left in the budget for this week. We won't need more milk this week as I bought 2! I also had to buy Little Miss Gap facial scrub which I hadn't budgetted for but luckily I had enough in the budget to cover it. I have everything I need for the week now, just have to be strict about doing all the HM stuff I need to do.

    My local Mr M does 4 pint (ish) cartons of milk for 97p.

    Thank you to everyone with the bread advice/recipes. I am working towards making my own bread but I am still hovering around the idea. I have made the soda bread by Jack Monroe and it is great. My first attempt at breadmaking and I was really pleased with it.

    I am really enjoying making sure everything is used up too. Because of the meal planning, I am only buying what we need so not wasting stuff. It is challenging me to put thought into meals and I love the competition with myself.

    Thank you to all who keep this thread running and of course to all who post
    Loan (£7,500) current balance: £6,798.44
    IO Mortgage current balance: £87,630

  • sheeppappar
    G-S-Sarah thankyou and Bluegreen also - very helpful advice on bread / batch cooking xx

    Forever saving - I would eat that chicken x
    CC1 £7,944.10
    CC2 £2,680.03
    CC3 £1,020.88
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 8th Aug 13, 12:22 PM
    • 3,984 Posts
    • 52,562 Thanks
    Florenceem
    Thursday.
    NSD here.
    Here is the all in one recipe cake I made last night. No baking today - oven not going on.
    We had a piece of cake - mid morning - I even let Mr F have a slice - he was sweeping the side alley for me.
    I used the No Bits jam I got from £land - yummy.


    [IMG][/IMG]
    15 in 2015 1/15
    • mrs-moneypenny
    • By mrs-moneypenny 8th Aug 13, 1:31 PM
    • 15,518 Posts
    • 198,189 Thanks
    mrs-moneypenny
    spent about £18 in sains this morning,

    salad and fried new pots for lunch followed by 1/2 an orange.

    tea is going to be boiled new pots, salad and veggie sausages.
    boys want pasta
    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
    • joedenise
    • By joedenise 8th Aug 13, 1:39 PM
    • 6,258 Posts
    • 46,017 Thanks
    joedenise
    It was my main shopping day today. Spent £28.52 - £26.52 in Mr Ts and £11.79 in butchers. Have now spent £82.34/£250 so looking OK. Was hoping to only spend about £20 in Mr Ts but bought a ready cooked chicken to have with salad over the weekend for lunches while we're away in the motorhome. It'll make a change from ham, egg and tuna.

    Denise
Welcome to our new Forum!

Our aim is to save you money quickly and easily. We hope you like it!

Forum Team Contact us

Live Stats

1,346Posts Today

6,634Users online

Martin's Twitter
  • It's the weekend, it's the weekend, yay. It's that moment, when as usual, to sign off for family time. So I bid y? https://t.co/2RYRnz3fEe

  • Actually the BBC was set up to "educate, entertain and inform" so I think it is one of its responsibilities and cle? https://t.co/HMP4Q2Uptu

  • Today's FRI twitter poll: Puritanical new laws by Tories/Labour/EU/Trump/Putin (pick ur own scapegoat) dictate mode? https://t.co/3LW55tFGJ9

  • Follow Martin