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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 35
    • Peggybabcot
    • By Peggybabcot 15th Aug 13, 6:41 PM
    • 231 Posts
    • 1,820 Thanks
    Peggy, probably a bit of a icky question, but is that an anti-antiperspirant deodorant? I normally use an expensive one, as i have a bit of a sweat problem (sorry for tmi!) but would love to find a cheaper one that works as well as the anti sweat ones that i buy.
    Originally posted by WantToBeSE
    Yes it is and though my daughter won't thank me for saying this she's a bit of a sweaty Betty too and the Aldi antiperspirant does the trick and she said it was gentle and didn't make her armpits sore unlike other branded products she's tried x
    Grocery challenge June 2016
    Grocery challenge July 2016
    • Billie-jo
    • By Billie-jo 15th Aug 13, 7:48 PM
    • 1,221 Posts
    • 15,892 Thanks
    Spent 35.84 today which seems a lot for what I got. 28.60 was in A1di and rest in greengrocers where I brought - (except mushrooms & potatoes)

    Will need some more fruit & veg on Saturday including lemons & tomatoes.
    For tea we had cheese, onion & potato pie with green beans that needed using and roasted beetroot.
    [COLOR="Purple"][B] MARCH 62.38/250 [B][COLOR="Purple"]
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 15th Aug 13, 8:23 PM
    • 3,996 Posts
    • 52,590 Thanks
    3rd NSD this week.
    We had sausage roll with HM wedges + salad - grated carrot, celery, cucumber, pepper, red onion, white onion, tomato for dinner.

    15 in 2015 1/15
    • Sequeena
    • By Sequeena 15th Aug 13, 8:28 PM
    • 4,261 Posts
    • 18,097 Thanks
    Spent 19 in Tesco today on fresh fruit (we're going through grapes so fast!), some frozen bits (dorot crushed garlic is 50p a pack), some root beer and bread. Now up to 81.09/250.

    I'm clearly doing something wrong, we're not even 1 week into our August
    Wife and mother
    Grocery budget
    April week 1 - 42.78 | week 2 - 53.05
    24lbs in 12 weeks 15/24
    • WantToBeSE
    • By WantToBeSE 15th Aug 13, 8:34 PM
    • 6,795 Posts
    • 30,577 Thanks
    Yes it is and though my daughter won't thank me for saying this she's a bit of a sweaty Betty too and the Aldi antiperspirant does the trick and she said it was gentle and didn't make her armpits sore unlike other branded products she's tried x
    Originally posted by Peggybabcot
    Thanks Peggy, i'll pop it onto my shopping list
    10k of Debt

    Debt Free Diary
    • Downsizing _for_sanity
    • By Downsizing _for_sanity 15th Aug 13, 8:52 PM
    • 386 Posts
    • 1,434 Thanks
    Downsizing _for_sanity
    Baked Beams Offer...
    The Asda offer of 4 x 1.00 has now finished but I think Sainsburys
    4 x 1.50 is still on.
    Originally posted by meg72
    Just been into Lid! And from next Thu (I think) they have 4+2 free Heinz beans for 2.50. Might be Scotland only though.


    Last edited by Downsizing _for_sanity; 15-08-2013 at 8:52 PM. Reason: Autocorrect!
  • savemypennies
    Thanks DK, but i have already tried them and neither of them help. I normally buy Mitchem ( think thats the name) and even then i still have a few issues.
    Originally posted by WantToBeSE
    if you go to your gp, they can prescripe something called 'driclor' which comes in a 75ml roll on, use it overnight and wash off in the morn, initially every other night, then every third night, dropping it down ( i now use it once a week) and use just a normal spray in the day and it controlled my excessive sweating caused by my polycystic ovaries. may be worth having a chat to your gp? i have had my drichlor for about 4months now and not even half way thru it.
    *sorry its off topic but hope it helps

    SMP x
    • kezlou
    • By kezlou 15th Aug 13, 10:46 PM
    • 3,280 Posts
    • 43,067 Thanks
    We made these yesterday and they a massive hit with everyone, so thought i would post it on here

    No-Bake Chocolate Oat Bars

    76g of butter
    100g dark brown sugar
    1 tsp vanilla flavouring
    255g oats
    100g of milk chocolate
    2 large tablespoons of peanut butter

    Melt butter and add in the brown sugar and vanilla
    Then add in the oats
    Cook on low heat for about 3 minutes till blended. Take off
    Heat and press 1/2 of the mixture into a bottom of a baking tray.

    Melt chocolate and peanut butter. then spread the mixture over the oat mixture .
    Then add the rest of the oat mixture on top.
    Then play the cake tin in the fridge for a couple of hours or over night.
    Once solidified take out of the tin and chop into pieces if you wish.
    • Welsh Poppy
    • By Welsh Poppy 16th Aug 13, 7:16 AM
    • 980 Posts
    • 5,912 Thanks
    Welsh Poppy
    I spent 1.80 on salted butter and 1.60 on milk and that is all.
    I am going shopping saturday to Lidls they have branston beans 1.25 for a 4 pack we are going to stock up as we are beansless which is unheard off.
    Weight loss challenge 66lb to go /59lb's lost

    Grocery Budget January 150/175
    Feb 150/
    • WantToBeSE
    • By WantToBeSE 16th Aug 13, 7:31 AM
    • 6,795 Posts
    • 30,577 Thanks
    if you go to your gp, they can prescripe something called 'driclor' which comes in a 75ml roll on, use it overnight and wash off in the morn, initially every other night, then every third night, dropping it down ( i now use it once a week) and use just a normal spray in the day and it controlled my excessive sweating caused by my polycystic ovaries. may be worth having a chat to your gp? i have had my drichlor for about 4months now and not even half way thru it.
    *sorry its off topic but hope it helps

    SMP x
    Originally posted by savemypennies
    Thanks SMP, i have never been to the GP about it, as i am a bit embarassed..but worth a go i think! Thanks
    10k of Debt

    Debt Free Diary
    • joedenise
    • By joedenise 16th Aug 13, 7:39 AM
    • 6,995 Posts
    • 50,430 Thanks
    Did my main shop yesterday and spent a total of 39.74; 35.49 in Mr Ts and 4.25 in the butchers which is 134.62/250 for the month.

    Still got 2 "main" shopping days this month, plus top ups of fruit & veg etc, so should be within my much lower target (reduced from 400 to 250 a month).

    • medsdemon
    • By medsdemon 16th Aug 13, 8:02 AM
    • 751 Posts
    • 6,133 Thanks
    Have to add 11.21 at MrS yesterday for milk and cheese, and rubbish including wine. To make up for that I made a Bean Chilli and rice from storecupboard stock and fridge dregs for dinner.
    I don't think I am ever going to keep under the 200 as I still have almost 2 weeks to go and hardly anything in the freezer/fridge/cupboard. I think it was unrealistic and should have made it 250 so 50 a week. I forgot how expensive it is to keep up with the catfood costs when you have a spoilt kitty with a sensitive tummy and OH is objecting to counting what he's buying.

    Not sure what I'll do for dinner tonight but I think I may do a meal plan and plan a shop for the next 2 weeks and be happy to stay under 250.
    Grocery challenge October: 228.28/250.00 NSD 4 ( not completed)
    Grocery challenge November : 291.65/300.00 NSD 10
    Grocery challenge December : 0/240.00 NSD
    • Peggybabcot
    • By Peggybabcot 16th Aug 13, 1:24 PM
    • 231 Posts
    • 1,820 Thanks
    I popped into town today for a potter and managed to get a few bits in Homebargains as well as Poundworld so that's 10.71 & 5 respectively to add to my spends. Also, but from a different budget, we had a little treat in Greggs to celebrate. I've been seriously ill but it looks like things are finally on the up so I thought it was about time there was some feel good factor in this house and what better way than a scrummy cream cake! x
    Grocery challenge June 2016
    Grocery challenge July 2016
    • Sligo
    • By Sligo 16th Aug 13, 3:28 PM
    • 209 Posts
    • 1,067 Thanks
    €436.65/€750! 3 weeks done of 5 week month. Today is the start of week 4 and I'm off to do my big weekly shop after work.

    Here's hoping that DH's nephew is not around next week. He's been up for the last few weeks whilst DH is t work helping with some farming jobs. So I'm feeding 6 instead of 5. He's a thin 17 year old but Lordy he never stops eating. Packets of biscuits are just disappearing. My kids are going mad cos he's eating them all in the day and nothing there for them! And the farming work productivity is not great either!

    • xx_Jo_xx
    • By xx_Jo_xx 16th Aug 13, 3:37 PM
    • 2,854 Posts
    • 62,609 Thanks

    Hi all hope you are well and had a good week.

    11.52 Bread milk fruit yogurts etc
    6.99 for unnecessary treats, but its Friday... So sweets crisps and wine 😏

    100.01 left in budget...
    Sometimes lurking, sometimes posting, but always flying
    You are supposed to be the leading lady of your own life, for God's sake! - The Holiday
    DFW August 2013... Debt total 15,475.56 - Jan 15 11,738.66 - DEBT FREE by 2015
    Feb GC 48.02/250 (201.98)
    I will declutter my house and debts
    • K9sandFelines
    • By K9sandFelines 16th Aug 13, 4:07 PM
    • 2,127 Posts
    • 18,279 Thanks
    Two bottles of fizzy water from Mr M (36p) and a 1 for 1% milk in the Co-*p today.
    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 ~
    • WantToBeSE
    • By WantToBeSE 16th Aug 13, 4:56 PM
    • 6,795 Posts
    • 30,577 Thanks
    Treated us all to a Burger King this evening. Just shattered.
    10k of Debt

    Debt Free Diary
    • Sequeena
    • By Sequeena 16th Aug 13, 5:07 PM
    • 4,261 Posts
    • 18,097 Thanks
    1 on 6 onions. Best day yet

    Using up what we have so made a bacon and onion pie
    Wife and mother
    Grocery budget
    April week 1 - 42.78 | week 2 - 53.05
    24lbs in 12 weeks 15/24
  • savemypennies
    Thanks SMP, i have never been to the GP about it, as i am a bit embarassed..but worth a go i think! Thanks
    Originally posted by WantToBeSE
    it saves lots of pennies compared to buying tins of anti perspirant, and laundry costs! Dont be embarressed about it, PM me if you want other things i have tried too.

    On a G/C Topic. . .
    11.08.13 - Mr M
    97p - Milk
    18p - 2 x reduced bread (f)
    45p - 3 x savers orange juice

    13.08.13 - Mr T
    2 - chickpeas, kidney beans, butter beans, harricot beans 2 for 1
    17p- Houmous (r)

    16.08.13 - Mr M
    45p - 2 x red cabbage (r)
    1.25 - Bumper pack nectarines (r)
    1 - 4 x 80g Cheese Wheels (r) (f)
    29p - Cranberry and poppy seed loaf (r) - Yummy!
    59p - Large family apple pie (r)
    65p - 3pk yazoo strawb milk (r)

    So my total is standing at 32.44 with 16days to go!

    Got given half a dozen fresh eggs by a client at work today in exchange for a jar of hm jam, so i feel lucky!
    meal plan has altered slightly to reflect this!

    Tonight, sausage and egg rolls.

    Sat -
    L - Sweet and sour chicken (F) & Rice (c)
    D - BBQ as mums bday given 4 steak burgers out my freezer
    Sun -
    L- Veggie chilli (f) & Garlic Naan (f)
    D - Dinner with dad.
    Mon -
    L - Picnic as out with friends
    D - Salmon fillet (f) Cous cous (c) and Brocolli.Cauli (f)
    Tues -
    L - left over cous cous
    D - Gammon (f) Sweet potato wedges, Green Beans and onion
    Weds -
    L - Cheese and crackers
    D - Turkey steak (F) with noodles (c) & veg (f)
    Thurs -
    L - Cheese on toast
    D - Pork steak (f) Mash and spaghetti hoops (c)
    Fri -
    L - Pasta
    D - Fish in batter (f) and spaghetti hoops
    L - Cheese toastie
    D - Pork & Chorizo Sausage (f), Rice (c) & veg
    L - Cheese toastie.
    D - Dads

    Breakfasts are either cereal or dippy eggs and bread soldiers (f).
    so in theory, hopefully only need to buy milk, possibly something picnic friendly, but have a quiche in the freezer, can make jelly (c) in pots with tinned fruit (c), cucumber, cherry toms, apples, and make a cake (c). with cheese and crackers, should be sufficient i should hope!

    Can any of you wise owls tell me how to make braised cabbage that i can freeze in portions? i have some apples in the fruit bowl that could be used up, and what is the best way to freeze it? in bags or pots? I am going to make some into pickled cabbage as i love the stuff, but also enjoy it braised at christmas, so thought it'd be a nice thing to have with chops etc. TIA.

    Have a lovely weekend all, I get to work!
    SMP x
    August Grocery Challenge :- 29/7- 02/09
    Target <70 -
    Current total: 66.21 (26th)

    September GC 03.09 - 01.10 - 75
    • Billie-jo
    • By Billie-jo 16th Aug 13, 7:01 PM
    • 1,221 Posts
    • 15,892 Thanks
    Small unplanned for spends today as when was out with daughter saw some packs of bacon offcuts for 60p so brought two - one smoked and one un-smoked. These are now split into 4 packs and in the freezer. Also brought some porridge and some dips. 2.95 in all.
    Picked my first lot of blackberries this year, there wasn't loads ripe yet but they are starting to turn. These are now in the freezer awaiting some more. Our apple tree has a fair few on so will hopefully get some of those in the freezer soon as they ready. They are eating apples not cookers but it doesn't matter. An uncle usually gives us some for cooking so fingers crossed this year is no different.
    Ham rolls & salad for tea as didn't fancy the pasta we were supposed to have had.
    [COLOR="Purple"][B] MARCH 62.38/250 [B][COLOR="Purple"]
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