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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 eleventh Grocery Challenge of 2013

    If your new month starts early feel free to join this thread, or if you're still working on your October budget, then keep on posting in the:
    October 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; 21-10-2013 at 6:22 PM.
    A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men
    Norn Iron club member #380

Page 47
    • natnat13
    • By natnat13 25th Nov 13, 11:22 AM
    • 608 Posts
    • 7,652 Thanks
    natnat13
    Morning
    I have slightly messed myself up!
    I did a big shop at Mr As yesterday, I had no kids and I wanted to get stocked up in case the weather gets bad (I'm quite remote). I also have to make 70 cupcakes for a school party this week (must learn to keep my mouth closed!)
    So I am going to start December now because all the food I bought yesterday won't be used this week if that makes sense. So I will take yesterdays shop off December. That makes sense in my head!
    I'm going to stick to £180 budget, I was a bit under this month but its christmas. Not that I'm doing christmas, my ex has the children on xmas eve and day so I'm on my own. He did invite me round of dinner but I felt a bit weird. Then my ex boyfriend asked me out on christmas eve, don't think thats a good idea either! I'm going to try and volunteer somewhere.
    Anyway, enough about my crazy life, I'm off to join December x
    Mum, student, worker, dog mum, partner.
    Keen to live a healthly lifestyle and save money
    • sachatith
    • By sachatith 25th Nov 13, 11:45 AM
    • 222 Posts
    • 1,774 Thanks
    sachatith
    Not sure if its an error but at the moment 5kg of potatoes on Mr T online is showing as £1.74!!
    Debt Free by 2015: £5839.01/£13000 1% challenge = 44.91%

    CAMRA Member: Drinking Ale doesn't make me any less of a woman
    • K9sandFelines
    • By K9sandFelines 25th Nov 13, 11:51 AM
    • 2,113 Posts
    • 18,217 Thanks
    K9sandFelines
    Spends of £3.28 on Quorn meat in Mr M and £2.03 on various YS breads in the C*-*p. Anticipated spend of £61.62 on Mr T online shop ...will see and change sig if any different due to subs handed back, missing products etc etc
    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 25th Nov 13, 12:01 PM
    • 2,113 Posts
    • 18,217 Thanks
    K9sandFelines
    Not sure if its an error but at the moment 5kg of potatoes on Mr T online is showing as £1.74!!
    Originally posted by sachatith
    I tried to order those for today and it said i needed to change my delivery slot to qualify for the offer ... so i missed out. Maybe if there is a glitch or they have renewed the offer (maybe with people do roasties et al for Christmas, i can try again !!??)
    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 ~
    • sachatith
    • By sachatith 25th Nov 13, 12:05 PM
    • 222 Posts
    • 1,774 Thanks
    sachatith
    I tried to order those for today and it said i needed to change my delivery slot to qualify for the offer ... so i missed out. Maybe if there is a glitch or they have renewed the offer (maybe with people do roasties et al for Christmas, i can try again !!??)
    Originally posted by K9sandFelines
    Possibly... I am placing an order for this Saturday, weird though because it's not showing up as an offer, just the normal price! Fingers crossed as I am going to get two bags so that I can freeze chips and wedges a plenty!
    Debt Free by 2015: £5839.01/£13000 1% challenge = 44.91%

    CAMRA Member: Drinking Ale doesn't make me any less of a woman
    • K9sandFelines
    • By K9sandFelines 25th Nov 13, 12:54 PM
    • 2,113 Posts
    • 18,217 Thanks
    K9sandFelines
    Spends of £3.28 on Quorn meat in Mr M and £2.03 on various YS breads in the C*-*p. Anticipated spend of £61.62 on Mr T online shop ...will see and change sig if any different due to subs handed back, missing products etc etc
    Originally posted by K9sandFelines
    Can add £3.24 back on
    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 ~
    • First_Trouble
    • By First_Trouble 25th Nov 13, 2:59 PM
    • 974 Posts
    • 3,141 Thanks
    First_Trouble
    Well... blew the budget but lessons learnt. I'm calling it now for November a whopping £100.12 over budget. Am determined to not buy anything now until December starts, freezer delving until then. See you all in December.

    Tue Beef & Onion Pie & Chips
    Wed Sausage & Stuffing Plait w chips & Beans
    Thu BBQ Drumsticks w Stir Fried Peppers, Mush & Onion & Rice
    Fri Chilli Con Carne w Rice/Chips
    Sat Pork Steaks & Chips/Rice
    That voice in your head that says you can’t do this is a LIAR!

    Debt Free - January 2021
    • malamay
    • By malamay 25th Nov 13, 3:45 PM
    • 346 Posts
    • 4,698 Thanks
    malamay
    We've been away, and today was meant to be my shopping day. I had a £5 mr T voucher from last week that I was going to use. Trying to plan my list this morning I noticed the voucher ran out yesterday Not sure how I managed to fail at the planning, but it happened. Anyhow, a NSD today as I was too annoyed to do the shopping, and still under my reduced November budget. December starts on Friday for me, so all is still looking well.
    Swagbucks Amazon gift vouchers 2014 125/250
    GC October 100.8/150 September 99.36/180 August 178.77/180 June 163.18/180 May 177.89/180 April 160.66/180 March 163.48/180 Feb 154.21/150 Jan 51.65/150
    • Faete
    • By Faete 25th Nov 13, 4:51 PM
    • 171 Posts
    • 2,760 Thanks
    Faete
    I did a big shop at Mr As yesterday, I had no kids and I wanted to get stocked up in case the weather gets bad (I'm quite remote).
    Originally posted by natnat13

    I've got no kids in stock either, is there good eating on them?

    £1 spent on a large bag of bananas - that'll see me to the end of the week - no more spendies!

    Fae xx
    “Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination." Oscar Wilde
    January Grocery Challenge - £189.44/£300.00
    Save
    Save
  • she who can not cook
    Good Morning! I said earlier in the week that I was doing well with my budget and as tomorrow is payday I can confirm I've come under budget by £25
    This is the first time I have managed to stick at my budget
    I found out yesterday I've got a new job with more hours too!
    Originally posted by Annie 99
    Well done you
    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
    Approaching the last week of Nov and I have done well - thanks to the challenge - and I have come in under budget so far by £100.

    Have manage to do this by eating stuff out of the freezer and walking past the bargains/YS when shopping.

    Walking past YS, I can hear the cries. Yes, I made this conscious decision as I realise that I have got in this situation (full freezer, spending too much) because I was not eating the stuff that went into my freezer first and was dazzled by the bargains every time I went shopping. My Bad, a very full freezer and high shopping bills.

    Glad to report that as I am making every effort (it's been hard) to eat what I have first and then buy what I need even if it means walking past YS for now.

    When I can control my magpie tendencies I can start buying YS but in moderation. Do not want to slip back into my bad habits.

    Thank you everyone and the challenge. I hope by the new year I will be reporting that my freezer has a frequent stock turnover and I'm buying YS to reduce spending even further.
    Originally posted by want2Bfrugal
    I have put on my upright freezer an a4 sheet of paper with
    No more meals until sept 2013
    It's an attempt to stop reduce / any shopping off plan iykwim.
    I did go the herons for HIS d and b and picked up a walls viennetta it's was big..I just said to myself that's not a meal ( oh dear)
    At this moment I have meat reduced dated June/ July 2013 to go thru so the idea is not to buy another reduced until I have ended the stuff BB sept
    Last edited by she who can not cook; 25-11-2013 at 6:05 PM. Reason: opps
    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
    NSD today. Used up some chicken breasts out of the freezer and we had them today with cauli & broccoli cheese, roast potatoes, tomato and onions. Then made a bread & butter pudding using up the last few pieces of bread that had been in a few days and a couple of eggs that were past their date. Delicious.


    Originally posted by Billie-jo
    Can we have the recipe for the bread pudding please
    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
    Not sure if its an error but at the moment 5kg of potatoes on Mr T online is showing as £1.74!!
    Originally posted by sachatith
    Yep it was on hotdeals up the 24th I got a bag enough to last until chrimbo
    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
    • Soworried
    • By Soworried 25th Nov 13, 6:44 PM
    • 2,144 Posts
    • 19,925 Thanks
    Soworried
    A spend of £14.30 today. I bought 2 x chickens for £6 (Thanks sequeena x )
    I also bought ys prawns
    Ys mushrooms
    ys Salami
    ys Gouda
    Ys cheedar with grain mustard and ys galapork pie

    I'll update my spend now, just 3 days to pay day
    £212.51/£240
    £5380
    One step must start each journey
    One word must start each prayer
    One hope will raise our spirits
    One touch can show you care
    • tessie bear
    • By tessie bear 25th Nov 13, 7:18 PM
    • 4,320 Posts
    • 29,747 Thanks
    tessie bear
    hi hm quiche for tea today quite nice but then i love quiche had it with chips and beans...i popped into sainsbobs on the way bach from kids stuff and got a tray of cream cakes for 79p so that was a naughty treat

    its the buffet tomorrow as have a seection of bits in the fridge
    some hm cornish pasties
    a bit of quiche
    a chicken leg
    might do with jacket pots tomorrow

    went to aldi and the chanterey carrots were reduced to 29p so got 3 bags...might do some soup tomorrow...spent £40 in aldi but did get my ds a pair of boots that cost a tenner

    take care tess
    onwards and upwards
    • Billie-jo
    • By Billie-jo 25th Nov 13, 8:08 PM
    • 1,221 Posts
    • 15,892 Thanks
    Billie-jo
    Can we have the recipe for the bread pudding please
    Originally posted by she who can not cook
    BREAD & BUTTER PUDDING

    4 slices buttered bread - Stale bread is great for this dish
    100g sugar (I used half this though as find it far too sweet for us)
    2-3 tbsp. sultanas or raisins or a mixture of both
    500ml milk (you can add some cream if you like in place of some of the milk I had none so didn't)
    2-3 eggs depending on how big
    Nutmeg Optional
    • Cut the bread up and fit a layer in an ovenproof dish, sprinkle over some of the fruit and repeat until all used up
    • Warm the milk and sugar in a saucepan till sugar dissolved then leave to cool slightly before adding in the eggs, whisk then pour over the bread & fruit. Push down a little and leave to soak for about 10 mins.
    • Grate over some nutmeg if using (or cinnamon) and bake in oven at Gas Mark 5 - 190 C for 30-45 minutes till cooked.
    Keep an eye on any fruit on the top layer as it can easily burn.

    Another NSD today and to eat I had cottage pie and hubby had some faggots. We had a few chips as well.
    [COLOR="Purple"][B] MARCH £62.38/250 [B][COLOR="Purple"]
    • shiningfaery
    • By shiningfaery 25th Nov 13, 8:55 PM
    • 217 Posts
    • 1,759 Thanks
    shiningfaery
    I am looking at purchasing a slow cooker, asked hubby for one for xmas. What are the best ones on market? Wanting a large (ish) all rounder that would do a roast too as well as puds, soups casseroles and other yummy stuff. What do u have/recommend? Why?
    • lynnejk
    • By lynnejk 25th Nov 13, 11:21 PM
    • 5,343 Posts
    • 55,198 Thanks
    lynnejk
    I am looking at purchasing a slow cooker, asked hubby for one for xmas. What are the best ones on market? Wanting a large (ish) all rounder that would do a roast too as well as puds, soups casseroles and other yummy stuff. What do u have/recommend? Why?
    Originally posted by shiningfaery

    Mine's a Morp*y Rich, quite a large oval so will take a whole chicken. I thought better to buy a larger one as I nearly always cook at least double and freeze. This time of the year there is usually a queue of dishes waiting to be cooked.


    Spend today of £24.55 in Mr T. Having DS here is a little expensive but love him to bits and like spoiling him.


    I'm here to end of month also.


    Well done to all those coming in under budget.


    COULD SOMEONE PLEASE TELL ME WHY MY SMILIES NOT WORKING?


    Have a good Tuesday
    Lx
    £10day.2014=3213/2015=3421/2016=3238/2017=2702/2018=498..APR=12.03/300
    GrocC.2014=2162/2015=2083/2016=218/2017=1996/2018=450..APR=17.13/200
    Bulk buy.......APR=233.76
    GC.NSD..2015=216/2016=213/2017=229/2018=39..APR=03/15
    SPC130x61..2014=1178/2015=1287/2016=4616/2017=3843
    OS WL= -2/8 ......CC =00......Savings = £13,140
    • joedenise
    • By joedenise 26th Nov 13, 6:09 AM
    • 6,262 Posts
    • 46,051 Thanks
    joedenise
    I am looking at purchasing a slow cooker, asked hubby for one for xmas. What are the best ones on market? Wanting a large (ish) all rounder that would do a roast too as well as puds, soups casseroles and other yummy stuff. What do u have/recommend? Why?
    Originally posted by shiningfaery
    I've got the original Crockpot. It's a 3.5l oval cooker and is plenty large enough for a chicken or other joint.

    To be quite honest I don't think the brand matters as much as the shape. An oval one is by far the best shape as the round ones, although also 3.5l, can fit a chicken in it easily (you can probably get a small one in upended IFKWIM).

    Mr T's have currently got their own brand on sale at, I think, £12.

    Denise
  • BlueMoo
    Right, so just reporting in quickly to update my final tally.

    £81.76 out of £100

    Thanks to everyone, as I'm sure I would have gone over without this challenge.

    *****

    I make my bread and butter pudding with hot cross buns/teacakes - great if you can find them YS. Just adds that little extra flavour.


    ******

    Supper last night - Fresh Pizza and GB
    M3 Dec2015 #160 Target £150,000 (BU £155000)
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