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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 first Grocery Challenge of 2014

    If your new month starts early feel free to join this thread, or if you're still working on your December budget, then keep on posting in the:


    December grocery challenge - sorry cant seem to get the hyper link to work http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=4798807



    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; 30-12-2013 at 10:55 AM.
    A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men
    Norn Iron club member #380

Page 6
  • Nikkiclaire
    NSD today and just finished making 6 jars of delicious sticky chilli jam to go with leftover meats etc. Well I pretty much eat it with anything and also use it to cook with. I usually buy it and pay £2.60 per jar. I have just made the 6 jars and it cost me a total of £3.00 so thats 50p a jar. This will be less when I harvest my own chillis. As I usually buy the chillu jam anyway its a real saving. In case anyone interested here is the recipe

    150g red chillis ( finally chopped and include seeds)
    150g red peppers(finally chopped remove seeds
    1kg of jam sugar or sugar with added pectin
    1 clove of garlic
    600ml of bog standard cheap vinegar
    Old jars washed and sterilized.

    1. Chop finely all chillis, peppers and garlic ( you could blitz it with food processor)
    2. In a big pan ( I use a stock pot) dissolve sugar and vinegar
    3. Add mixture and boil for 15-20 minute
    4. Sterilise jars in oven
    5. Spoon mixture into hot jars and put lids on
    6. As the jars cool swish them around so that chilli bits are evenly distribute
    Its now cooling, but it tastes amazing : )
    Last edited by Nikkiclaire; 31-12-2013 at 3:22 PM. Reason: error in first post
    Grocery challenge Setting a £20 a week food budget for myself and 6 year old son. Month of jan budget £100.

    Shopping spend since 30/12/13 £27/100.

    Sealed pot challenge No. 291 ?? -will find out when open it : )
    • angelatgraceland
    • By angelatgraceland 31st Dec 13, 3:16 PM
    • 3,318 Posts
    • 23,074 Thanks
    angelatgraceland
    Now I am going to take back what I said about no more buying! I dropped DD off at work and decided to see what the new Morrys local is like-it came to town a few months ago but is a mile away in the wrong direction for my normal shopping. Well-YELLOW STICKERS! What else do I need to say! So I spent £6.18 on about £21 of food-now be fair-what else could I do?
    App foods was £37.35 instead of the retail price of £170.11. So I've now decided to stick to my original method of adding them when I buy them so I will add them on to December spends as I was under budget by around £400 so why deprive myself in 2014
    Last edited by angelatgraceland; 31-12-2013 at 3:20 PM.
    Annual Grocery budget 2018 is £1500 pa £125 calendar month £28.84 pw for 3 adults
    • mrsmortenharket
    • By mrsmortenharket 31st Dec 13, 3:47 PM
    • 2,097 Posts
    • 20,893 Thanks
    mrsmortenharket
    Hello, I would like to join.

    It's part way through the month for us so I will budget

    £300 1-22 Jan

    Hope that is ok.

    That is for 5 of us. 2 adults. 1 teen, 1 pre teen who eats like am adult and a small child.

    My freezer is full and my pantry isn't too bad.

    I shall go back & read through the thread.

    Thanks for letting me join

    x
    • sharronej
    • By sharronej 31st Dec 13, 3:48 PM
    • 563 Posts
    • 4,784 Thanks
    sharronej
    I've just had a quick look in the cupboards and done my shopping list for next week and I'm hoping to come in under £25.00, my budget is £70 and hopefully I can keep well under that in January but we'll see! I'm unsure what to do with the money saved ...I know I should pay it off my cc's but am tempted to pay off half of any savings and then perhaps put the rest into an envelope for when dh and I really need a little treat - hopefully this will give me enough motivation to actually stick to the challenges. Thoughts anyone?


    Hope everyone has a lovely evening and a great 2014 x
    • LittleBill
    • By LittleBill 31st Dec 13, 3:59 PM
    • 1,500 Posts
    • 4,598 Thanks
    LittleBill
    Hullo

    First timer here *waves* .. Could I join in please?

    Our normal budget per month is £300 for 1 adult and two children (9 & 16) .. plus two dogs

    As we have a fairly full freezer and quite a bit of cupboard stuff, could i go for £100 for January 2014 please .. Hopefully this should cover milk, eggs etc and we can eat out the cupboards and freezer

    LittleNearlyHappyNewYearBill
    LittleBill ...

    "The riches of a man can be measured by what he can do without"

    January 2014 GC: £99.98 / £100
    / February 2014 GC: £198.72 / £200
    March
    2014 GC: £0 / £200 - NSD: 0/31
    • shiningfaery
    • By shiningfaery 31st Dec 13, 4:17 PM
    • 217 Posts
    • 1,759 Thanks
    shiningfaery
    My god I go to work for a few days and you are all on page 6 of the new month.....

    Anyway I am going to stick to my budget of £300 for the month of January.

    Will update my signature shortly when I get all my figures together.
    • cashsaver
    • By cashsaver 31st Dec 13, 4:21 PM
    • 196 Posts
    • 1,704 Thanks
    cashsaver
    Can I join please? I am aiming for £200 for 5 of us!!!! (3 of whom are teenage boys......
    Good luck everyone.
    • meg72
    • By meg72 31st Dec 13, 4:27 PM
    • 5,082 Posts
    • 46,072 Thanks
    meg72
    Only allowing £25 for this month as have loads in and am off to Rome tomorrow until Monday, I usually run 24th to 25th but have used up leftovers since xmas day and feel I have won that, and will start my Jan challenge tomorrow 1st.

    Happy New Year everyone.
    Slimming World at target
    • meg72
    • By meg72 31st Dec 13, 4:32 PM
    • 5,082 Posts
    • 46,072 Thanks
    meg72
    NSD today and just finished making 6 jars of delicious sticky chilli jam to go with leftover meats etc. Well I pretty much eat it with anything and also use it to cook with. I usually buy it and pay £2.60 per jar. I have just made the 6 jars and it cost me a total of £3.00 so thats 50p a jar. This will be less when I harvest my own chillis. As I usually buy the chillu jam anyway its a real saving. In case anyone interested here is the recipe

    150g red chillis ( finally chopped and include seeds)
    150g red peppers(finally chopped remove seeds
    1kg of jam sugar or sugar with added pectin
    1 clove of garlic
    600ml of bog standard cheap vinegar
    Old jars washed and sterilized.

    1. Chop finely all chillis, peppers and garlic ( you could blitz it with food processor)
    2. In a big pan ( I use a stock pot) dissolve sugar and vinegar
    3. Add mixture and boil for 15-20 minute
    4. Sterilise jars in oven
    5. Spoon mixture into hot jars and put lids on
    6. As the jars cool swish them around so that chilli bits are evenly distribute
    Its now cooling, but it tastes amazing : )
    Originally posted by Nikkiclaire
    This looks good, must give it a go when I come back off holiday.
    Slimming World at target
    • angelatgraceland
    • By angelatgraceland 31st Dec 13, 4:47 PM
    • 3,318 Posts
    • 23,074 Thanks
    angelatgraceland
    I've just had a quick look in the cupboards and done my shopping list for next week and I'm hoping to come in under £25.00, my budget is £70 and hopefully I can keep well under that in January but we'll see! I'm unsure what to do with the money saved ...I know I should pay it off my cc's but am tempted to pay off half of any savings and then perhaps put the rest into an envelope for when dh and I really need a little treat - hopefully this will give me enough motivation to actually stick to the challenges. Thoughts anyone?


    Hope everyone has a lovely evening and a great 2014 x
    Originally posted by sharronej
    Tempting though it is to have treat make them just that! An occasional treat only. The rest needs to come off of the credit cards! The one with the highest interest first as that will save you money to afford treats with! As you stop paying so much interest they will suddenly start reducing-the opposite of the snowball effect! Maybe have a treat each time you pay off a card? Or each time you reduce it by £1000 or whatever? Make yourself earn the treat-you will enjoy it all the more!
    Last edited by angelatgraceland; 31-12-2013 at 4:53 PM.
    Annual Grocery budget 2018 is £1500 pa £125 calendar month £28.84 pw for 3 adults
    • **purpleprincess**
    • By **purpleprincess** 31st Dec 13, 4:55 PM
    • 3,516 Posts
    • 3,845 Thanks
    **purpleprincess**
    Please can I join, £250 this month for me. Thanks!

    We have spent £140.08 already, but that did include ingredients for a meal we cooked for visiting family (meal out would have been much more expensive!), a huge weekly shop with loads of stuff for the freezer and a nice meal for tonight (NYE). Hopefully we will be able to stay under budget for this month.

    Happy New Year all!
    Last edited by **purpleprincess**; 31-12-2013 at 5:05 PM.
    Official DFW Nerd no. 082!
    Debt @ 01/01/2014 £16,956 Debt now: £0.00
    Aims: clear debt, get married, buy a house ALL DONE!!
    • tootoo
    • By tootoo 31st Dec 13, 5:20 PM
    • 671 Posts
    • 3,044 Thanks
    tootoo
    £240 for me please
    MFW.....Apr 33 Aim - Dec 26
    • Faete
    • By Faete 31st Dec 13, 5:21 PM
    • 171 Posts
    • 2,760 Thanks
    Faete
    First spend of the year £6.56 in Lidl - two pizzas for tonight (a saving on the takeaway we were going to have) Two packets of noodles for the cupboard - 49p each instead of £1.28 in Asda and two packs of two vanilla pods for £2 - I love vanilla pods they make ordinary sugar magical not seen them that cheap for ages.

    Hope everyone has a splendid NYE - see you on the other side!

    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
  • frugaldances
    Spent £2.36 in sainsburys picking up sugar and sultanas for bread and butter pudding for tonight's house party. Invite said bring a pudding. Can use sugar tomorrow to make welsh cakes too with left over eggs and apple crumble.
    NSD: 3/15 April
    Grocery spend challenge April £49/£80
    sealed pot challenge 7 #201 saved £4.76
    WSC commencing 30/3 £0/ £6 Virtual sealed pot challenge £5.46
    • hex2
    • By hex2 31st Dec 13, 7:49 PM
    • 4,722 Posts
    • 80,174 Thanks
    hex2
    off to Rome tomorrow until Monday
    Originally posted by meg72
    Have a lovely time meg

    We had the last bit of some leftover beef tonight. A little dry/chewy so I chopped it into matchsticks and then mixed with some mayo/horseradish which improved it dramatically. Always good for a sandwich like that but we had it with salad.
    'If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need' Marcus Tullius Cicero
    • debtdawg
    • By debtdawg 31st Dec 13, 8:28 PM
    • 343 Posts
    • 1,477 Thanks
    debtdawg
    Can I be added to the challenge please? £240 for the month, this includes food, toiletries, cleaning products and wipes etc.
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 31st Dec 13, 8:39 PM
    • 3,984 Posts
    • 52,562 Thanks
    Florenceem
    Tuesday.
    Spend of £2.19 at Aldoo today. Mr F suggested popping to Mr Asdoo to see if there were any whoops - I said no.
    We had LO pigs in blankets + LO roast potatoes + tomato + LO baked beans + buttered toast + chestnut mushrooms + poached eggs for dinner.
    15 in 2015 1/15
    • mooomin
    • By mooomin 31st Dec 13, 8:50 PM
    • 13,655 Posts
    • 134,514 Thanks
    mooomin
    Spent about £14 today

    I needed milk and bananas, but ended up getting some YS items from Asda while I was in including a massive gammon (2.5kg) for £7 instead of £13, two packs of turkey mince and a pack of chicken thighs. Tomorrow I'm making a massive pot of pea and ham soup and doing a freezer inventory!
    Comping again


    Wins this year: - two night trip to Belgium, £100 Gett taxi credit, tickets to Newcastle game, FIFA 2016 for PS4, stitch markers, Cumberstitching book
    • storytime
    • By storytime 31st Dec 13, 9:47 PM
    • 331 Posts
    • 1,469 Thanks
    storytime
    Put me down for £180 please. We are off to sunny Gran Canaria for a week so only budgeting for 3 weeks.
    My secret fantasy is having 2 men....
    1 cooking and 1 cleaning.
    • lynnejk
    • By lynnejk 31st Dec 13, 9:48 PM
    • 5,343 Posts
    • 55,198 Thanks
    lynnejk
    A warm welcome to all new and returning GCs


    Tempting though it is to have treat make them just that! An occasional treat only. The rest needs to come off of the credit cards! The one with the highest interest first as that will save you money to afford treats with! As you stop paying so much interest they will suddenly start reducing-the opposite of the snowball effect! Maybe have a treat each time you pay off a card? Or each time you reduce it by £1000 or whatever? Make yourself earn the treat-you will enjoy it all the more!
    Originally posted by angelatgraceland


    Have to say I agree AAG - it is soo heart and money draining having to pay interest on ccs.


    Meg - hope you have a great holiday !!


    I'm off on my hols on Saturday and really looking forward to the break and some warm sunshine.


    Happy New Year everyone
    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
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