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    • zippychick
    • By zippychick 4th Jun 11, 11:19 AM
    • 9,343Posts
    • 17,889Thanks
    • #1
    • 4th Jun 11, 11:19 AM
    4th Jun 11 at 11:19 AM
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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's designed to take you and your grocery spending to a level you are happy with.

    If you are new to the challenge I have quoted the advice from Galtizz below which will help you get started.

    Please post into this thread for help and advice and support at any time. Good luck to everyone taking part!

    I have said this before, but for all the newbies to the challenge;

    For the first month I took a guess at the budget but I really had no idea how much I was spending.

    I found the best thing is to have a guess the first month but SAVE ALL OF YOUR RECEIPTS (and yes, that does include the ones from the local shop when you run out of milk ), then at the end of the month add them all up and have a look if you were on budget, if not, it doesn't matter because your budget was a guess. For the next month you can use the total of your receipts and take a bit off to get a realistic budget, just shave off as much as you think you can, it could be 1 a week or 20 a week.

    If you are currently spending 200 a month don't suddenly drop it to 100 - you'll never do it but if you cut 20 a month off for a few months you'll get there eventually without feeling you're missing out on anything.

    You might think you've done everything you can in the first month but someone always comes up with a new idea and, if you try it you often find you save a bit more (unless you are SarahSaver who is an expert at this and could only save more if she turned her back garden into a paddy field and lived on rice ) In the first month I thought, I'm planning meals, I couldn't possibly save any more, but then I started double cooking and freezing, and making soup instead of buying it in tins.

    I've been doing this since Feb but only saved ALL of my receipts last month, it has given me a much better idea of where it is all going. Budget for next month is 80 for 2 of us, I'll start on 30/4. I could probably save more, by eating different foods but I can afford to live on 80, I have saved a lot of money since Feb. and I don't waste food or money any more. So I'm happy with my budget.
    By request, here is Spiggles wonderful helpful post

    We all have different budgets that suit our households. The most important thing to remember is that you set yours according to your needs and finances. It can take time to get to where you want to be too so don't knock yourself out if you go over in the first few months. We are here to support each other and it is not a competition.

    I thought it might help to outline where we've come from and the top tips I've learned.

    When we started in March 2010 we had spent in excess of 600 in the previous month. This had to stop, (there's only me and him and our two beautiful black cats) something which thankfully my OH completely agreed with so I have been lucky that he has been on board from the start. He gave me his debit card voluntarily and I still keep hold of it until he needs to get something for the home. At the same time we set up a system of pocket money (pm) at 15 each per week which doesn't count towards the GC and which we can each spend as we wish with no comebacks or complaints. OH predominantly uses his pm on his beer and I ferret mine away mostly.

    The next step was to set up my own spreadsheet which is absolutely simple onto which I put all spends so that I have a continuous running total for the month and for the year. We initially set our budget at 280 per month and brought it down to 240 where it resides for most of the year it is occasionally increased to allow for extras e.g. Christmas to 260.

    The important 'tools' we found greatly helped and continue to do so now are:

    Stocktake cupboards, fridge, freezer - make lists and ensure that the older products get used up first. You'll be amazed at what you find squirrelled away and it will help with your shopping list as you'll realise that you don't actually need so much.

    Before you go shopping check staples - running out of milk, bread, butter, etc often leads to going into a shop for one thing and coming out 20 lighter. Always check these and if they'll run out tomorrow buy them the same time as getting other things.

    Always make a shopping list and stick to it - the supermarkets (sm) try every which way to get us to spend so having a list and strong resolve is the only way to beat them.

    Keep every receipt - and then note it down on your spreadsheet/spend diary so that you always know where you are.

    When tempted, ask yourself do you NEED it or just WANT it - now this advice goes with two things. Firstly, the things you see in store when shopping that APPEAR to be bargains - if you hadn't planned spending the money then its not a bargain. Secondly, the sm send us loads of vouchers for X off a spend of XX - if you had no NEED to spend XX then have you SAVED anything???

    Use my supermarket to compare prices (limited to four of the biggies) - The site may be used to actually do an online shop at whichever of the big four offers the best value or, if you have the time and sm availability, to make up lists for visiting each of the stores so that you can purchase all you need at different stores thus getting the best possible value. (I'd add, do a 'shop' virtually on this site and take the list you create on it with you, whichever one you shop at, it will help keep target prices in your head and allow you to spot bargains. MrM is not included but you can do a virtual list on their website so you know what you're going to be spending.)

    Always have a list - this is just as important when shopping online as shopping on foot.

    Use Approved Foods online (with a list!) - if you don't mind out of date things (ood) or you can search for only in date items. The only drawback is storing the goods as far as I can tell. Oh, and watch the delivery as it's done on a scaled charge for weight so keep an eye on it. You can of course do an AF order with friends, family, colleagues or like minded neighbours. Other GCers use Big Br*nds 4 Less too.

    Invest in a breadmaker - we have saved so much by making our own bread. The prices in the shops are extortionate for bread these days. There's loads of advice on this thread and others in the forum on this.

    Use the recipe lists - always posted at the front of a new thread. There are fantastic, tasty, healthy and economical recipes to use on them and there are a number of other threads on the forum such as Weezl's that will help you to eat well on a budget.

    Shop locally - the local greengrocer (or preferably market but I don't have one ) is usually cheaper as an option for fruit and veg (f&v) than the sm. Often the prices may look the same but when you look at the quantity for the same price the greengrocer will be cheaper. The same goes for the local butcher. Often you will have far more variety of meat available, advice on how to cook a particular meat can be offered and there is (for me at least) no comparison in terms of quality. We buy our huge FR eggs there and I'm yet to find an equivalent FR egg in a sm at the same or lower price. Obvioulsy if you have your own chicks/know someone who has chicks you can get them even cheaper again.

    Grow your own - it's quite simple to grow some f&v at home even if it's only in pots on the patio. There are also supportive threads on the forum for this.

    Cook your own - making meals at home from ingredients is far more economical, often tastes better than shop bought and is probably far better healthwise.

    Meal Plan - this is something that others can advise on as we don't do it. I have a tremendous capacity for eating the same food over many days but presented in slightly different form. For example, we could buy 7 worth of brisket from the butchers and eat it as pot roast for a couple of days, sliced for sarnies, sliced with a salad, chucked into a casserole or shredded up and fried as crispy beef.

    Don't waste food - either only make what you need or use any leftovers for other meals/creations or freeze it for another day.

    Withdraw the cash you want to spend - and keep it in a separate purse. This can be particularly effective as you have the money in front of you reducing rather than spending with plastic which is so easy to lose track of. Very useful when you first start out.

    Don't go to the shops to browse - this can only lead to pain and hardship!!!

    Keep posting and reading the thread - there really is no better supportive, wise and inspirational place to be! I think I saw that somebody mentioned forgetting to read/post. I get around this by using the Advanced button to post, below the window where your text is displayed you will see Additional Options. In the Thread Subscription box use the dropdown to select either instant email notification (this is what I use) or daily email notification before you submit your latest post. Then you will get an email into your inbox from which you can click to the thread to see what others are saying.

    Always remember the sm is not your friend - it wants to profit from you and take as much of your money as it can coerce out of you!

    So, there you go as a starting point. Others on here will offer tremendous advice on meal planning. And don't forget, the only silly question is the one you didn't ask!

    See you all later,
    For quidelines on posting in this thread please read the second post in this thread.

    For the Grocery challenge Recipe Index please see posts #3, #4, #5 #6 #7 #8 & #9 on this thread (the list is growing!!!!!)

    For everyones totals, see post #10 on this thread

    I hope everyone has a great month!

    Last edited by zippychick; 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 29
    • b_girl
    • By b_girl 10th Aug 13, 2:31 PM
    • 261 Posts
    • 1,135 Thanks
    Went to Mr M this morning and got weekly shop. Came in at 36.52. Was hoping it'd be more around 30 but had to stock up on quite a few bits so not too bad. Got a lovely shoulder of pork for tomorrow lunch which was half price - about 3 so was pleased

    Trying to live a good life on little money
  • citygirl40
    Well thanks to OH went almost 18 over this weeks budget with him buying squash and shower gel we didn't need to get at the mo. I know it comes in eventually, but aaarrrgh. Anyway I've adjusted everything so I have 41.96 for this week instead of the 60 and have told him to only buy what he needs for his lunch!!! I've done what I hope is the only shop needed at Mr S 15.48 on fruit, nuts, veggies and bread. Son needs biscuits, I'm going to get the cookbooks out and see what I can make him. He loved some carrot cookies I did a while ago and I've just bought a massive bag of them

    August grocery challenge 60.23/300

    Week 1 60.23/60
    Week 2 77.81/60
    Week 3 15.48/41.96
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 10th Aug 13, 5:21 PM
    • 3,996 Posts
    • 52,590 Thanks
    Went to out of town shopping centre today - spent 12.38. A lot of what I bought were items that won't be bought for a while or even again - I got some new click lid containers in PL/PW.
    I am not going to shop tomorrow so that is the end of my 4 week GC - Pension day on Monday.
    I declare at 68.06 for the 4 weeks out of 100.
    On Monday - one of the bedrooms is being decorated. I have paint to buy so that will take care of my leftover cash.
    15 in 2015 1/15
    • mothershipton
    • By mothershipton 10th Aug 13, 6:06 PM
    • 301 Posts
    • 2,692 Thanks
    Hi, bit late arriving on here, please put me down for 350, we went over last month so going to try harder this month. It is tricky with the holidays as one son is home from uni and the other is hungry all day!
    Grocery Challenge Feb 16 346 /400
    • Billie-jo
    • By Billie-jo 10th Aug 13, 6:25 PM
    • 1,221 Posts
    • 15,892 Thanks
    spent 14.97 on fruit, veg and a newspaper today.

    We had salmon salad for dinner tonight but for some
    Last edited by Billie-jo; 10-08-2013 at 8:43 PM.
    [COLOR="Purple"][B] MARCH 62.38/250 [B][COLOR="Purple"]
    • K9sandFelines
    • By K9sandFelines 10th Aug 13, 7:24 PM
    • 2,127 Posts
    • 18,280 Thanks
    Eeek more spends ..
    Tried to use 5 off 35 voucher in Mr M but couldn't find that much to spend my money on and half the items are cheaper in Tesc*; so although i have tried to utilise the fact it is on the doorstep, it will only suit me for a top up shop or when there are no money off coupons in Tesc* or the likes.

    I've lost track a bit of my total with not being able to edit properly on this (DDs netbook) and mobile, but i will try now whilst i am here, even if it means scrolling back.

    I have a Mr T online delivery coming Mon which i'll amend slightly due to items bought today but my total in Mr M was 17.66 and 97p in C*-*p. Also have an AF order coming Mon, but will add that to sig on the day

    Off to update sig
    Last edited by K9sandFelines; 10-08-2013 at 7:53 PM.
    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 291.01/280 Jul 344.31/300 Aug 232.48/300 Sep 320.91/300 Oct 92.97/300
    ~ Still learning the art of frugality ~
  • savemypennies
    Hi Guys,
    Just a quick update on spends, thursday spent 1.98 in the grrengrocers on a huge punnet of cherry tomatoes and a large box of cherries, I was hungry walking through town doing the banking for work so succumbed, and 1.64 is as*a on a bottle of water and 2 big yoghurt pots, there 500g yogs are currently 50p if this helps anyone.
    Then today mum bought me 6 of the new dani0 yoghurts at 50p in morrysons so a total of 6.62 taking my current total upto 24.44.

    This week i topped up my freezer with homemade meals, I used the things bought and store cupboard items, made 8 portions chilli con carne, 5 portions bolognese to go with the reduced spaghetti got, 5 portions Sausage cassolet and 4 portions Chicken sweet and sour, used the rest of the chicken to make chicken and sweetcorn wraps, chicken with bacon, and chicken with chips for dinner.
    Tomorrow i need to get some milk, hoping thats all, so 1 for 2ltrs.
    My meal plan for this week is:
    B - rice pudding and rhubarb (store cupboard)
    L - Pasta with HM tomato bacon and pepper sauce
    D - Cheese and crackers
    B - Rice pudding and rhubarb
    L - Pasta and HM sauce
    D - Risotto (F)
    B - Cereals
    L - Cheese and Crackers
    D - Spaghetti Bolognese
    B - Cereals
    L - Tuna sandwich
    D - Chilli and Naan Bread (F)
    B - Cereals
    L - Tuna Sandwich
    D - Beef Pie, Cauli, Brocolli and Carrots

    B - Toast
    L - Risotto (F)
    D - BBQ -Mums bday (dads cooking)
    B - Toast
    L - Sweet and Sour & Rice (F & S/C)
    D - Daddy cooking

    Have a good week all
    SMP x
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 10th Aug 13, 8:59 PM
    • 3,996 Posts
    • 52,590 Thanks
    Dinner was chicken drumstick + stuffing ball + roast potatoes + roasted red/white onions + green pepper + tomatoes.
    Dinner tomorrow - HM Shepherd's Pie - FF + veggies.
    I cooked a crumble while the oven was on.
    I am yet again aiming at a low spend week - Austerity August.
    15 in 2015 1/15
    • MrsCautious
    • By MrsCautious 11th Aug 13, 6:29 AM
    • 1,161 Posts
    • 13,728 Thanks
    Hi, I've a target of 100 this month.

    I spent 63.07 yesterday in Sainsbury, some of which was on expensive Chinese and Indian dishes -- but we enjoyed them and as we'd had 27 hours of travelling from Africa I was shattered

    I'm hoping to put a meal plan together later.

    Good luck all xx
    • forever saving
    • By forever saving 11th Aug 13, 6:39 AM
    • 565 Posts
    • 8,850 Thanks
    forever saving
    I have just updated my signature. 61.28 spent on Thursday, so taking my total to 110.78 so far. I will need bread and milk in the next day or so but will try to muddle through with everything else that i have got in. It's a case of having to now as hubbys car needs to go to the garage.
    Good luck to everyone else.
    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
    • Billie-jo
    • By Billie-jo 11th Aug 13, 8:49 AM
    • 1,221 Posts
    • 15,892 Thanks
    [COLOR="Purple"][B] MARCH 62.38/250 [B][COLOR="Purple"]
    • NickJW
    • By NickJW 11th Aug 13, 11:02 AM
    • 678 Posts
    • 13,646 Thanks
    1 spent in Mr T yesterday. Will update signature...
    Grocery Challenge 14 Jan 14 46.05/130

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

    DFD 1st March 2011
    • b_girl
    • By b_girl 11th Aug 13, 11:12 AM
    • 261 Posts
    • 1,135 Thanks
    Spent 80p last night on basics orange squash. Always seem to forget to put something on my list for the big shop

    Trying to live a good life on little money
    • kezlou
    • By kezlou 11th Aug 13, 2:53 PM
    • 3,280 Posts
    • 43,067 Thanks
    Hi peeps just a quick recipe for you. I'm back on my own grocery budget. 200 for the month, but aiming to spend half of that.

    Here's a recipe for those autumnal nights.

    Vegetable hot pot with cheese triangles

    2 tbsp veg oil
    2 garlic cloves crushed
    1 onion chopped
    1 tsp chilli powder
    450g potatoes chopped
    2 large carrots chopped
    1 medium turnip or swede chopped (450g)
    1 large leek chopped
    4tsp plain flour
    600ml veg stock
    1 can of tinned tomatoes
    1 tbps tomato puree
    400g cooked kidney beans or 1 tin of kidney beans
    salt / pepper

    cheese triangles
    115g butter or margarine
    225g salf raising flour
    115g cheese grated
    5tbsp milk

    Heat oven to gas mark

    Fry onions and garlic in oil till beginning to brown
    Add all the veg and fry for about 3 minutes.
    then stir in the flour and cook for about a minute.

    Then stir in the stock, tomatoes, tomato puree and seasoning.
    Bring to the boil and cover and cook in the oven for about 30 minutes.

    While its in the oven make the cheese triangles.
    Rub butter into flour, stir half the cheese, seasoning and enough milk to make the dough.
    roll out dough to about 2cm thick. Cut in triangles and brush with milk.

    Take casserole dish out of oven and stir beans into the casserole. Add the cheese triangles and sprinkle the cheese over them.

    Place back into the oven uncovered for about twenty minutes till triangles are golden brown and puffed up.
  • Mrs-s
    I spent 28 in ald* yesterday but that will be our main shop of the week
    Iv meal planned so hopefully we will be good but I will need to get bits of treats and cake for ds birthday on Thursday
    January Grocery challenge - 165.31/350
  • flyinggiraffe
    Spent another 8.50 on snacks for movies night with the boyshape.
    • january_23
    • By january_23 11th Aug 13, 5:56 PM
    • 172 Posts
    • 1,427 Thanks
    With three delieveries from abel and cole still to go this month I know we are going to go over budget this month. However I'm determind to keep the amount we go over as small as possible.

    Vegetable soup with bread for dinner tonight.

    2 adults groceries: June 35.79/200
    # 3 - Saving for Xmas 2015 1 a day. 122/365
    TTC #1 since 06/08/12
  • ditsykitchen
    Spent 1.54 on passata and kidney beans at the co op. Have updated signature Had masses of veggie chilli and rice for tea tonight, with a load of cabbage thrown in to use it up. Still have a few portions to freeze for next week sometime when I cbb to cook
    October Grocery Challenge: 20.65/150
    September Grocery Challenge: I lost track /200
    August Grocery Challenge: 92.11/100
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 11th Aug 13, 8:17 PM
    • 3,996 Posts
    • 52,590 Thanks
    NSD here.
    Yesterday I made Blueberry/Blackberry/Gooseberry Crumble - fruit found lurking in freezer.
    Tonight we had HM Shepherd's Pie with roasted veggies for dinner.

    15 in 2015 1/15
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 11th Aug 13, 8:30 PM
    • 3,996 Posts
    • 52,590 Thanks
    Sunday 2.
    I used up the crumble mix that I made last night - Rhubarb Crumble - more fruit from the Freezer.
    Then I made some biscuits - got the recipe from FQ.
    Taste so good - made with butter.
    Made 750g biscuits for 96p.

    15 in 2015 1/15
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