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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 25
    • Teg-Rem
    • By Teg-Rem 8th Aug 13, 2:28 PM
    • 96 Posts
    • 305 Thanks
    Teg-Rem
    Hi Florenceem, what is the recipe for your all in one cake it looks delicious, I wouldn't mind having a go at that, don't do much baking but could probably manage that one, my cakes always go flat, and presumably it's cheap to make aswell??
    thanks in anticipation.
    • Nicki_Sue
    • By Nicki_Sue 8th Aug 13, 2:35 PM
    • 1,216 Posts
    • 7,405 Thanks
    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?
    Originally posted by Nicky Noo Na
    I spend a lot of time on that blog, some great frugal (and inventive) recipes. I'm looking to see if I can swap loaves for hm in a way that makes it cheaper but I'm 100% sure it is looking at recipes etc because I get whoopsie loaves or for toast value bread at 47p a loaf. I might have a go at some of these fab recipes for treats and extras (those posted look fabulous) but can't see me swapping shop bought for HM at the mo though.
    It was a good idea in theory lol!
    Last edited by Nicki_Sue; 08-08-2013 at 2:38 PM.
    11 YEARS ON MSE!

    JANUARY 10 A DAY: 0/310
    • Nicki_Sue
    • By Nicki_Sue 8th Aug 13, 2:45 PM
    • 1,216 Posts
    • 7,405 Thanks
    Nicki_Sue
    I aimed for 67 last week and finished on 67.44. Not too shabby. This week so far I have spent 45.58 in Lidl and Tesco and but have a full fridge etc so that should last a fair few days. Also 5.21 to the milkman (including a tray of eggs). I've updated my sig and am quite happy with this month! I can see a huge difference in food spends since restarting the challenge!
    11 YEARS ON MSE!

    JANUARY 10 A DAY: 0/310
    • CountingPennies
    • By CountingPennies 8th Aug 13, 3:10 PM
    • 1,882 Posts
    • 15,036 Thanks
    CountingPennies
    Did my online holiday shop. Won't add to signature till its all confirmed but its around the 90.... ouch! However plenty of alcohol included in that, and treats for the kiddies! Been looking for tesco voucher to add to order, either free delivery or something but can't find anything unless you are a first time online shopper Never mind!

    Apart from that, i still haven't been to the shops. Making use of what is left in my home.... not a lot tho! Will be going to shops tomorrow to get food to travel with. We leave tomorrow afternoon for a week so i won't be online much (might use phone to read and thank post, but no good for posting). Really looking forward to a week away. Much needed!

    CP xx
    Slimming World Challenge 2017 0/30.5lb

    Grocery challenge 2017 JAN: 5.56/350
    • WantToBeSE
    • By WantToBeSE 8th Aug 13, 3:20 PM
    • 6,778 Posts
    • 30,548 Thanks
    WantToBeSE
    FINALLY been paid from my new job

    And also have had my Tax Credits claim processed.

    So, i am going to pay all of my bills, and then do my food shop online tomorrow. I am going to start rebuilding my stock cupboard that has been depleted over the last 12 months.

    It feels good to be earning again
    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 Aug 13, 3:24 PM
    • 552 Posts
    • 4,515 Thanks
    hollieinbloom
    Afternoon! went shopping yesterday and spent 19.53 so will add to sig. Was mostly baking items and it also included a new baking tray for 3. It's Oh's birthday sunday and I'm making cherry and coconut cake. YUM! x x

    Goals: Save 500 for emergencies, Save 200 of Amazon vouchers for Xmas, fix my holey clothes!
    Frugal living 2014
  • Puddickle
    Those bread rolls do look fab - I might have a go at making some myself... but my baking skills aren't exactly brilliant!

    With just tonight and tomorrow to go I think we are on track to not spend any more money on groceries this week... which means we are still under target. We're going away on holiday (camping over the bank holiday weekend, with parents and sister) and they all have much more money than we do so it might be difficult to keep within budget... but we are quite determined to see what we can do, and we've told them what we are trying to achieve so hopefully they will be supportive.
    CC debt 2,528.65/31,193.22 - Slowly plugging away
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 8th Aug 13, 4:19 PM
    • 3,984 Posts
    • 52,562 Thanks
    Florenceem
    Hi Florenceem, what is the recipe for your all in one cake it looks delicious, I wouldn't mind having a go at that, don't do much baking but could probably manage that one, my cakes always go flat, and presumably it's cheap to make aswell??
    thanks in anticipation.
    Originally posted by Teg-Rem
    Sift 6 ozs Self Raising flour + 1 rounded tsp baking powder into bowl. Add 3 eggs + 6 ozs caster sugar + 6 ozs Utterly Butterly or similar soft marge - suitable for baking. Add 1/2 tsp vanilla extract. Then I whisked with electric hand whisk - you could beat with wooden spoon - just take longer. I found the mix was not soft enough so added 1 1/2 Tbsp of water.
    I used 7 inch cake tins as didn't have 8 inch ones. I greased the tins and drew round the bottom onto baking parchment - cut out and lined base.
    Cook 30 - 35 minutes - 170. I used 160 as new powerful fan oven. Don't open door for 30 minutes or cake will flatten.
    Turn out on to wire tray.
    I put the cooled cakes in a old Christmas biscuit tin overnight then sandwiched together with jam this morning. I find they sandwich better - the next day. I sprinkled top of cake with caster sugar.
    Cost - for 12 slices of yummy cake - 89p.
    So much nicer than shop bought.
    15 in 2015 1/15
    • goingforanewlife
    • By goingforanewlife 8th Aug 13, 5:10 PM
    • 28 Posts
    • 315 Thanks
    goingforanewlife
    Mind if I join you.

    Decided to try and start controlling my spend on Groceries. Quite a tight budget at the moment as trying save for holidays in September. I am starting afresh from tomorrow so have decided August into weeks. I have 3 weeks which I have a total spend of 75.00 so it is going to be a challenge as that is what I pay for my groceries per week. However, I do have full cupboards and freezer plus a new s/c to play with.

    Will be back when I spend some money, hopefully it not until Saturday.

    x
    • meg72
    • By meg72 8th Aug 13, 5:10 PM
    • 5,082 Posts
    • 46,072 Thanks
    meg72
    Just a quick post to say Asda have 3 killo bags of Allison Strong Bread flour for 2.00. I have stocked up as its my favourite.
    Slimming World at target
    • meg72
    • By meg72 8th Aug 13, 5:12 PM
    • 5,082 Posts
    • 46,072 Thanks
    meg72
    FINALLY been paid from my new job

    And also have had my Tax Credits claim processed.

    So, i am going to pay all of my bills, and then do my food shop online tomorrow. I am going to start rebuilding my stock cupboard that has been depleted over the last 12 months.

    It feels good to be earning again
    Originally posted by WantToBeSE
    So pleased its been sorted for you at last, you have really had a struggle.
    Slimming World at target
    • WantToBeSE
    • By WantToBeSE 8th Aug 13, 5:16 PM
    • 6,778 Posts
    • 30,548 Thanks
    WantToBeSE
    Thanks Meg. It's been a really hard few months, and the last few weeks especially.
    but things are now on the up, and i am really pleased
    Last edited by WantToBeSE; 08-08-2013 at 6:08 PM.
    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
  • ditsykitchen
    Is it possible for me to join now? How would I go about it if the month has started already?? Also, how much per month would be reasonable for a family of 2 adults? I won't be including my dog's food in the challenge.
    • dylan2011
    • By dylan2011 8th Aug 13, 5:43 PM
    • 118 Posts
    • 1,029 Thanks
    dylan2011
    Is it possible for me to join now? How would I go about it if the month has started already?? Also, how much per month would be reasonable for a family of 2 adults? I won't be including my dog's food in the challenge.
    Originally posted by ditsykitchen
    It depends really what you are used to and what you have in store cupboard wise, if there are any dietary requirements, your general lifestyle and your affordability as well. Some manage on 100 a month for 2 adults, some spend 300. What do you usually spend at the moment? I would start with that figure, see what you spend it on, and try and work an amount out less than that you feel comfortable with.
    Mum of 2 monkey. 4 yrs and 2 yrs
    Starting again...
    July GC 65/200
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 8th Aug 13, 6:26 PM
    • 3,984 Posts
    • 52,562 Thanks
    Florenceem
    Thursday.
    No photo tonight.
    We had black pudding, bacon, mushrooms, baked beans + poached egg for dinner.
    Got some Huss out of the freezer for tomorrow.
    15 in 2015 1/15
  • ditsykitchen
    It depends really what you are used to and what you have in store cupboard wise, if there are any dietary requirements, your general lifestyle and your affordability as well. Some manage on 100 a month for 2 adults, some spend 300. What do you usually spend at the moment? I would start with that figure, see what you spend it on, and try and work an amount out less than that you feel comfortable with.
    Originally posted by dylan2011
    We are veggie (makes it cheaper) and I am coeliac (but gluten free stuff is expensive). I am a very keen cook so I'm usual well stocked on things like spices, pulses, rice, etc, but I don't have the space to have a huge supply. I think we probably spend about 150-200 per month (our weekly shop is usually about 35, but I go to the co-op at the end of the road far too often due to living in the middle of no where ). That's including cleaning products, loo roll, etc. Do most people include those?
    • Billie-jo
    • By Billie-jo 8th Aug 13, 8:27 PM
    • 1,221 Posts
    • 15,892 Thanks
    Billie-jo
    hello to the new people joining us all. Hope you do well.

    Small shop today costing 22.96 and this included some flowers, a chicken & milk which we were almost out of.
    Will need more fruit & veg Saturday as A1di were not as well stocked as usual, mind you we did go later due to appointments this morning so that is probably why.
    Had chicken curry & rice for tea tonight using a jar of sauce out of the cupboard and there is enough for us both tomorrow for lunch.
    [COLOR="Purple"][B] MARCH 62.38/250 [B][COLOR="Purple"]
    • NickJW
    • By NickJW 8th Aug 13, 9:17 PM
    • 678 Posts
    • 13,646 Thanks
    NickJW
    Hello all!

    Had to pop out into the 'town' centre near work to cash in a work cheque. Went to the new Aldi local branch on the way back. Very cheap! Picked up a pack of tomatoes for 69p, onions for 79p, basmati rice for 1.29 and a can of their own brand diet coke - 29p. But then I forgot you had to bring your own bag so 3p extra. Total - 3.09

    Would have spent 4.74 on the same items in my Mr S Local store I normally visit, so I can see how things start to add up over time....
    Last edited by NickJW; 09-08-2013 at 6:46 AM.
    Grocery Challenge 14 Jan 14 46.05/130

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

    DFD 1st March 2011
    • Bluegreen143
    • By Bluegreen143 8th Aug 13, 9:36 PM
    • 1,101 Posts
    • 12,692 Thanks
    Bluegreen143
    Flo, your All In One Cake is now in the index - looks amazing!
    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 8th Aug 13, 9:38 PM
    • 1,101 Posts
    • 12,692 Thanks
    Bluegreen143
    Just a couple of small spends to report - 1 on loo roll, 1.49 on milk, 59p on some onions.

    Had veggie chilli for dinner from the freezer - was yum
    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
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