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  • 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
    Hi everyone,

    Welcome to the ninth Grocery Challenge of 2013

    If your new month starts early feel free to join this thread, or if you're still working on your August budget, then keep on posting in the:
    August 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; 20-07-2013 at 1:29 PM.
    A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men
    Norn Iron club member #380

Page 30
    • aliwali
    • By aliwali 9th Sep 13, 12:54 PM
    • 402 Posts
    • 1,810 Thanks
    aliwali
    New week, new start to try and get around 80. 1 spent in mr T on Ricotta that I tried to get last week but were out of stock.
    Fashion on a ration 0 of 66
    • iammumtoone
    • By iammumtoone 9th Sep 13, 12:55 PM
    • 6,042 Posts
    • 12,051 Thanks
    iammumtoone
    T = Whoopsied lambs liver (have an Italian receipe I am going to try, bit like liver and onions!)
    SG
    Originally posted by sunset gold
    Would you mind sharing this recipe I have some YS lambs liver in freezer than has been there yonks, I had never found anything I have wanted to do with it.

    Great tip about the celery.
    Sealed pot challenge ~ 11 #017 - Open 1st Nov


    • Flat Eric
    • By Flat Eric 9th Sep 13, 12:56 PM
    • 3,985 Posts
    • 24,039 Thanks
    Flat Eric

    Have joined www.spendingdiary.com which I saw mentioned on a previous post, it is basic, but that is perfect and it's always to hand as I have book marked it on laptop and android so I can never use the excuse that I couldn't remember how much of the budget is left! Using cash only now for groceries.

    SG
    Originally posted by one_hit_wonder11
    Wow the site you have posted the link to is amazing. Thank you

    • WantToBeSE
    • By WantToBeSE 9th Sep 13, 1:06 PM
    • 6,778 Posts
    • 30,548 Thanks
    WantToBeSE
    Hi All

    Managed to stay away from the shops today, so have got another NSD.

    I have noticed that since starting work i have been spending more money on spur of the moment food..like when its dinner time and i dont fancy whats on the meal plan, so i'll go to tesco and get something else.
    I NEED to keep in mind that i CANNOT keep doing this!
    So, all is going well. 2 food NSDs in the bag
    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
    • Peggybabcot
    • By Peggybabcot 9th Sep 13, 3:17 PM
    • 231 Posts
    • 1,820 Thanks
    Peggybabcot
    My !!!!! cat has had a poorly tum last week and after trying chicken recommended by the vet, as well as tuna, the only thing that tempted him was Sheba. We ran out yesterday so I gave him his usual Aldi cat food and you could almost hear his disgust lol when I gave it him. He's on hunger strike so I popped to Aldi to take the two boxes we had back for a refund and picked up a few bits for the rest of month meal plans. 4.78 refund and 14.91 spent so net effect 10.13 total. I then had to pop to Sainsburys for some Sheba and a couple of other things and a further 9.08 spent there. Thankfully !!!!! is no longer on hunger strike! Off to update signature now x
    Grocery challenge June 2016
    500/516.04
    Grocery challenge July 2016
    500/503.73
    • sweetpea26
    • By sweetpea26 9th Sep 13, 3:38 PM
    • 762 Posts
    • 5,543 Thanks
    sweetpea26

    Have joined www.spendingdiary.com which I saw mentioned on a previous post, it is basic, but that is perfect and it's always to hand as I have book marked it on laptop and android so I can never use the excuse that I couldn't remember how much of the budget is left! Using cash only now for groceries.

    SG
    Originally posted by sunset gold

    Thank you for this link. I have just joined and love the pie chart
    Last edited by sweetpea26; 09-09-2013 at 3:43 PM.
    Weight Loss Declutter Goal 45lbs 5 /45 40 lbs to goal weight!

    2019 Clutter Free Challenge 91 / 250 bags donated /recycled / Disposed of ...and any other tat I no longer need
    7 large pieces of furniture are now gone !

    Weight Loss Declutter Goal 45lbs 5 / 45
    • meg72
    • By meg72 9th Sep 13, 3:53 PM
    • 5,082 Posts
    • 46,072 Thanks
    meg72
    Wow the site you have posted the link to is amazing. Thank you
    Originally posted by Flat Eric
    Thanks from me too, just joined, its really very clever. I had a play entering different items, as I havent
    spent anything today, I just made them up
    to see what happens,love the pie chart.

    Great, I now have a new toy. Now should I go shopping so I can enter real spends or shall I go for a row of No Spends, will look good printed off and stuck on the fridge .
    Slimming World at target
  • she who can not cook
    MissRikkiC - I can vouch for the porridge in mince beef etc as done it today and a 600g of mince has fed three adults for lunch today, enough for mum to take home 2 portions, enough for DH for lunch tomorrow and then I froze at least 3 more portions (9 portions and quite generous ones at that) I add at least carrots, onions, mushrooms, grated courgette and celery. I don't really like pulses but if you do these will also make the meat go further. As an added bonus the mince steak was half price and only cost 2.49 for 9 maybe 10 potions)
    You don't taste the porridge, until DH saw me add it he never knew it was in (he can be quite fussy at times) personally I think it gives the mix a little bit of a 'silky texture' Just add a little bit at first then if you like it try more each time. I usually add about one large mug full now. Let us know how you go on with it.
    Originally posted by Billie-jo
    And please don't forget to add tvp and pearl barley
    Gc 2013 +26 -5. -4 -7 -14 -15 -10.-8.20 +15p+30+5.80 Dec +9 GROCERY challenge 2014 Jan -2Feb -3 March -1.50 April +5.40 May +4.90 June -3.July 16.50/85

    God bless my sweet "old man" Goldie that died in the early hours of 27 th March please see him on my avatar
  • she who can not cook
    I am new to this thread and noticed people post pictures, all the meals look lovely but is everyone on a diet?

    I think I really must eat too much, not really thought about it before but there is definitely more on my plate than others are eating. Time to cut down I think, at least it will help with the budget
    Originally posted by iammumtoone
    I am whats that swear word again oh yeah dieting but i do the 5 :2 haha maybe thats why i have not losted much weight recently.
    Gc 2013 +26 -5. -4 -7 -14 -15 -10.-8.20 +15p+30+5.80 Dec +9 GROCERY challenge 2014 Jan -2Feb -3 March -1.50 April +5.40 May +4.90 June -3.July 16.50/85

    God bless my sweet "old man" Goldie that died in the early hours of 27 th March please see him on my avatar
  • CH27
    I spent 23.11 in morrisons today.
    I will need milk later in the week but am hoping for several NSDs.
    Try to be a rainbow in someone's cloud.
    • Sequeena
    • By Sequeena 9th Sep 13, 5:28 PM
    • 4,261 Posts
    • 18,097 Thanks
    Sequeena
    OH yet again forgot the receipt so I've had to 'guess'.

    8 (roughly) on fruit, milk, a chocolate bar, popcorn prawns and a pizza (there was also beer as a gift and saver stamps which I won't count).

    I don't know why he bought more food when we have loads in, I only wanted milk, fruit and beer.

    Off to update sig.
    Wife and mother
    Grocery budget
    April week 1 - 42.78 | week 2 - 53.05
    24lbs in 12 weeks 15/24
    • rach pach
    • By rach pach 9th Sep 13, 5:50 PM
    • 39 Posts
    • 474 Thanks
    rach pach
    Not been on here for a couple of days. Spent 11 ish at farmfoods yesterday (another one where DH forgets the receipt!) today I spent 1.50 at corner shop on milk. It looks like I will have to go out again this evening as we have run out of cat food and also fruit for lunch boxes. Off to write a list. Signature has been updated.
    Rach Pach
    Living the dream, one moment at a time. It's not always easy but there are sparkles of joy around every corner.
    • K9sandFelines
    • By K9sandFelines 9th Sep 13, 5:56 PM
    • 2,113 Posts
    • 18,217 Thanks
    K9sandFelines
    Feeling rather pleased with myself. Just put a beef stew in slow cooker will freeze leftovers for tea one night next week. I saved all the ends of the vegetables to use to make chicken stock from tomorrows chicken, never made a stock before strangely I am quite looking forward to it

    Just a quick question, what does everyone use to store leftovers in the freezer? I don't have alot of tubs, now I am wishing I had saved chinese take away containers. Struggling to think what I can put the leftover stew into, it will probably have to be a ceramic dish and cover with foil, which isn't very space saving.

    My weeks meal plan

    M- slow cooker beef stew HM bread - coke float
    T- Chicken in slow cooker, potatoes, frozen veg, yorkshire - poached pear, ice cream
    W- chicken (from tuesday) curry with jar sauce - rubbard crumble
    T- sausage muffins (like M's breakfast ds loves these) potato wedges, frozen veg -self saucing choc pud
    F- Frozen fish, chips, peas, value curry sauce - pud from thurs
    S- not sure something I can find in cupboard/freezer
    S- HM pizza, wedges, beans - lemon sponge might try AGCJ as suggested above (thanks)
    Originally posted by iammumtoone
    Could you please share your recipe for self saucing choc puds? My DDs would love these.
    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 ~
    • K9sandFelines
    • By K9sandFelines 9th Sep 13, 6:00 PM
    • 2,113 Posts
    • 18,217 Thanks
    K9sandFelines
    My !!!!! cat has had a poorly tum last week and after trying chicken recommended by the vet, as well as tuna, the only thing that tempted him was Sheba. We ran out yesterday so I gave him his usual Aldi cat food and you could almost hear his disgust lol when I gave it him. He's on hunger strike so I popped to Aldi to take the two boxes we had back for a refund and picked up a few bits for the rest of month meal plans. 4.78 refund and 14.91 spent so net effect 10.13 total. I then had to pop to Sainsburys for some Sheba and a couple of other things and a further 9.08 spent there. Thankfully !!!!! is no longer on hunger strike! Off to update signature now x
    Originally posted by Peggybabcot
    One of my cats will only eat Sheba also. Fusspots aren't they!?
    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 ~
    • iammumtoone
    • By iammumtoone 9th Sep 13, 6:28 PM
    • 6,042 Posts
    • 12,051 Thanks
    iammumtoone
    Could you please share your recipe for self saucing choc puds? My DDs would love these.
    Originally posted by K9sandFelines
    Off course, its super easy got the recipe out of a student cookbook.

    Sauce
    2 tablespoons cocoa powder
    50g brown sugar (I use white)
    250ml boiling water

    Pudding
    75g marg or butter, softened
    75g brown sugar (again I just use white)
    65g self raising flour
    3 tablespoons cocoa powder
    3 eggs
    1/2 teaspoon baking powder (I use a bit extra)

    -Heat oven gas 4 / 180c
    -To make sauce, put cocoa and sugar into bowl and mix in boiling water until smooth
    -To make pudding, put all ingredients into a bowl and beat together until smooth
    - Spoon pudding mix into a greased dish, then pour sauce over top.
    -The original recipe says to bake for 15 mins but it always takes longer in my oven. Test after 15mins and if not done, bake a bit more until ready The sauce will sink to the bottom and the pudding should rise.

    Enjoy, Its lovely served with ice cream.
    Last edited by iammumtoone; 10-09-2013 at 4:47 PM.
    Sealed pot challenge ~ 11 #017 - Open 1st Nov


  • Cambs85
    26.11 spent in s*insburys today, just cover fresh stuff for the week.
    Had a stroke of luck at the till as the customer before had left a '3 off 20 spend' voucher behind. So I claimed it and successfully reduced the cost of my shopping! Result! Also had a double nectar points voucher and will get 1.55 off my next shop thru the comparison thing. Great stuff :-)
    GC Sept '13: 249.05/250, NSDs: 9/7!!
    GC Oct '13 236.00/ 250, NSDs: 13/9!
    GC Nov '13 5.72/ 250, NSDs: /10
    • islandhoppa
    • By islandhoppa 9th Sep 13, 6:40 PM
    • 149 Posts
    • 2,673 Thanks
    islandhoppa
    Well with yesterdays takeaway (20) and todays shopping coming in at 69.54 I am feeling very doubtful about making my target. Still finding it very worthwhile to do the challenge, and thinking about making some changes to the way I shop, such as going when there are reductions as never much YS stuff when I go.

    Slow cooker out of hiding today, fancied beef stew and dumplings as felt a bit nippy last night and this morning, and was surprised at all the comments on facebook from people who'd put heating on (we're sticking with extra layers until at least October!)
  • Mrs-s
    NSD today, will be going to ald* tomorrow morning so just looking for some inspiration for my shopping list!
    January Grocery challenge - 165.31/350
    • dramarama
    • By dramarama 9th Sep 13, 7:06 PM
    • 189 Posts
    • 1,350 Thanks
    dramarama
    Evening all!
    Great recipes and ideas on here. Today was a NSD for me. Half tempted into the shops but the rain put me off!
    I've spent today making large batches of gluten free cookies and made a big lasagne with Q*orn mince, red lentils and oats to bulk it out. Means there is a weeks worth of 'ready meals' in the freezer for OH, will try and make something else so he's got some variety!!
    Loving this forum for ideas and support. It's made me stick to meal planning and use up what's here instead of buying for the sake of it.
    Married in 2016. Bought our first home in 2017. Expecting our first baby in November 2017

    Frugal & thrifty as much as possible.
    • K9sandFelines
    • By K9sandFelines 9th Sep 13, 7:21 PM
    • 2,113 Posts
    • 18,217 Thanks
    K9sandFelines
    Off course, its super easy got the recipe out of a student cookbook.

    Sauce
    2 tablespoons cocoa powder
    50g brown sugar (I use white)
    250ml boiling water

    Pudding
    75g marg or butter, softened
    75g brown sugar (again I just use white)
    65g self raising flour
    3 tablespoons cocoa powder
    3 eggs
    1/2 teaspoon baking powder (I use a bit extra)

    -Heat oven gas 4 / 180c
    -To make sauce, put cocoa and sugar into bowl and mix in boiling water until smooth
    -To make pudding, put all ingredients into a bowl and beat together until smooth
    - Spoon pudding mix into a greased dish, then pour sauce over top. Bake in oven for 15 mins until sauce has sunk to the bottom and pudding has risen.

    Enjoy, Its lovely served with ice cream.
    Originally posted by iammumtoone
    Much appreciated. Do you think this would work in the slow cooker? I normally make little puds in there in old containers from previous puds.
    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 ~
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