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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
    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

    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; 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 36
    • kayester
    • By kayester 9th Jan 14, 4:34 PM
    • 1,800 Posts
    • 9,338 Thanks
    today was a successful NSD.
    BBQ Chicken Fajitas tonight with salad and soured cream.
    I literally cant wait for OH to come home, I am starving!!!!
    216/2018 (make in 2018)

    Grocery challenge
    Jan 227/400
    swagbucks target 2018 1452/27375
    • Ladyluck1
    • By Ladyluck1 9th Jan 14, 5:01 PM
    • 612 Posts
    • 7,237 Thanks
    NSD for me
    I'm C, Mummy to DS 29/11/2010 and DD 02/11/2013

    Overdraft PAID OFF
    GC Sept 141.17/200
  • Verityemilia
    This week is a total over budget week

    7.76 yesterday at sain**rys
    10.21 today at Lid*

    Total so far 122.46 .. At least next week is a cheaper week I keep telling myself x
    Last edited by Verityemilia; 11-01-2014 at 5:52 PM.
    Seal pot challenge no 7- # 331 Saved 140 SPC - Target 30
    Grocery challenge - 100 a week
    Weekly Spend Challenge - 40
    • samtoby
    • By samtoby 9th Jan 14, 5:43 PM
    • 2,396 Posts
    • 11,999 Thanks
    Veg cassarole for dinner with home made yorkshire using eggs from our chickens!

    Another shop at Ald! and spent 26.23 - slightly more than last weeks 21 something as I bought a medium (that was bigger than some of the large) whole chicken in the hope it will last two meals for OH, DS and I.

    Used a list and only bought what we needed.
    DS 18.06.2004 --2013-- 2.05.2014
    E-Bay Power Seller - Amazon Seller, Etsy Seller
    April GC 36.56 so far
    0/ 4,533.47 0% 28th April 2014
    4kw Solar PV system with Immersun
    • shiningfaery
    • By shiningfaery 9th Jan 14, 6:03 PM
    • 217 Posts
    • 1,759 Thanks

    Herby Dumplings and lamb mince for dinner tonight, all in Slow cooker.
    Was so yummy and definately a winner....
    • marris
    • By marris 9th Jan 14, 6:05 PM
    • 593 Posts
    • 4,704 Thanks
    NSD for me today
    Jan GC 66,82/100 Jan NSD 17/31; Feb GC 71,67/100 Feb NSD 14/28;Mar GC 81,82/100 Mar NSD 16/31;Apr GC 99,54/100 Apr NSD 14/30; May GC 127,20/100 May NSD 12/31; June GC 70,05/100 June NSD 17/30; July GC 47,52/100 NSD 05/31
    • Islandmaid
    • By Islandmaid 9th Jan 14, 6:07 PM
    • 3,111 Posts
    • 42,224 Thanks
    NSD for me.

    Did buy OH some new slippers as he,s got to go to hospital and his current, very loved slippers are minging but thats from a different budget
    Note to self - STOP SPENDING MONEY !!
  • kiwiblue
    Dog Biscuits

    Tip leftover gravy into a mixing bowl. Add 1 egg (chickens are in full production, so trying to use up the egg mountain, can easily be omitted) Add some oil, mint chopped finely (Dog is very affectionate, prefer mint smell to fishy breath!!)If you have any leftover meat, chop it finely and add.I had some HM salami that I threw in. Add enough flour to mix to a biscuit consistency, roll out on a floured board and cut with large biscuit cutter. Bake at 180C until golden.
    Hope this is of use.
    Jan: $386.38/$500
  • mags50
    NSD for me
    I made a vat of Bolognese sauce, had that for tea and have put another 7 in the freezer for future weeks.
    Also made 2 Christmas cakes to put in the freezer for this years festive season! I had all bits of fruit, ground almonds, glac! cherries etc that would be wasted so worked out a basic mix, added Demerara sugar and the last scrapings of black treacle. The mix was too much for one cake, so I have 2 shallower ones. They're on the side cooling now and look and smell delicious, even if I say so myself and have used all the bits that would have got pushed to the back of the cupboards and thrown out in a few months.
    I've been trying to meal plan, but am finding it easier to just use up what I've got at the moment and do extra for another day to go in the freezer.
    Hope everyone's ok
    A family that eats together, stays together

    NSD 50/365
    GC JAN 259.63/400 FEB 346.41/350.00 MAR 212.57/300 APR 1/250
    • Upsy Staffordshire
    • By Upsy Staffordshire 9th Jan 14, 7:05 PM
    • 374 Posts
    • 3,791 Thanks
    Upsy Staffordshire
    sorry Upsy staffordshire i got your "location" wrong
    i called you "Upper staffordshire That'll teach me for not reading properly
    JD xx
    Originally posted by jammy dodger
    Yes I noticed haha, don't worry

    An NSD for us today, OH wasn't working at a supermarket today so he didn't buy anything woohoo. Got chicken out of the freezer to try Chicken Pepperonata in the SC tomorrow from my one pot recipe book, never made it before so hopefully it will turn out ok.
    Thank you to everyone who posts on here
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 9th Jan 14, 7:50 PM
    • 3,984 Posts
    • 52,562 Thanks
    NSD here.
    We had roast turkey + sage/onion stuffing + Yorkshire Pudding + roast potatoes + roast parsnip + sprouts + carrots + gravy for dinner.
    15 in 2015 1/15
    • K9sandFelines
    • By K9sandFelines 9th Jan 14, 9:39 PM
    • 2,113 Posts
    • 18,219 Thanks
    5.86spent today between local shop,Mr M and Co-op on YS bread, milk, Quorn sandwich meat and a drink for work (as I left one in the house).
    Last edited by K9sandFelines; 11-01-2014 at 10:27 AM. Reason: * in not 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 200.99/280
    ~ Still learning the art of frugality ~
    • Billie-jo
    • By Billie-jo 9th Jan 14, 9:54 PM
    • 1,221 Posts
    • 15,892 Thanks
    Spent 18.90 in A!di today - brought some cheaper than usual apples, oranges and bread. So far have tried the bread but will have to se if DH likes it before it becomes the norm. somehow I don't think he will!

    Had spaghetti bolognaise for tea ad Grandson was here and he asked for it, did take a photo but its came out very blurred so must have moved whilst doing it. There are at least 2 portions left so either going to have jkt potato with it tomorrow or else freeze it for another day. Added few more oats than usual and it was lovely.
    [COLOR="Purple"][B] MARCH 62.38/250 [B][COLOR="Purple"]
    • MrsCautious
    • By MrsCautious 9th Jan 14, 10:00 PM
    • 1,161 Posts
    • 13,728 Thanks
    Was in my local Spar posting an eBay parcel when I spotted a YS chicken. Haha what an exciting life I lead!

    It was reduced from 6 to 3 and is far bigger than I'd usually buy, has gone straight in the freezer and should last a while when it's cooked. Also bought YS Fox biscuits and some scones for 1. My daughter cooked tea, pasta parcels, salad (mainly from Aldi Super Six) followed by apple crumble and custard, all of these packaged ready, so dear really, but we have been doing so well.

    Going to do a bit of a shop for bread and other bits tomorrow, and cut cost as much as possible using some nectr points.

    No main meal needed tomorrow s my children are at a friends and I have a mystery shop pub meal booked, have done a few at the same chain and they're lovely. Beats my planned beans on toast x
    Last edited by MrsCautious; 09-01-2014 at 10:02 PM.
    • crafty witch
    • By crafty witch 9th Jan 14, 10:00 PM
    • 100 Posts
    • 895 Thanks
    crafty witch
    Just to let you know I'm still here and we're STILL eating out of the cupboards and freezer!

    I didn't realise my food hoarding habit had got so bad

    I'll need milk tomorrow and probably a few salad type veg, so I'll be back tomorrow with an updated signature
    • allie23
    • By allie23 10th Jan 14, 5:20 AM
    • 1,336 Posts
    • 14,594 Thanks
    1.25 spent in Mr L yesterday for Branston beans 4 pack special offer.

    I still have to do food plan and then shop for next weeks meals.
    February 2019 Grocery Challenge
    Frugal Living Challenge 2019
    Save 12k in 2019 - Challenger No 69 - 13,310/40,000
    • threepenny bit
    • By threepenny bit 10th Jan 14, 6:30 AM
    • 222 Posts
    • 1,832 Thanks
    threepenny bit
    $11 spent yesterday on bread, milk, celery, bananas and cheese.
    NSD today
    Fashion on a ration 5/66 used.

    Save $2019 in my savings account during 2019 - 37/2019
    Work on selling items and decluttering
  • CH27
    I only need to stock up on fruit, veg & bread to last until monday so i'll be within budget on week 1
    Try to be a rainbow in someone's cloud.
    • Ladyluck1
    • By Ladyluck1 10th Jan 14, 6:51 AM
    • 612 Posts
    • 7,237 Thanks
    Hoping for a NSD today too.
    Ds's first full day at preschool so I'm making minced beef biryani for dinner and some lasagnes for the freezer.
    Might make a cake or pudding too as a treat
    I'm C, Mummy to DS 29/11/2010 and DD 02/11/2013

    Overdraft PAID OFF
    GC Sept 141.17/200
    • happytails
    • By happytails 10th Jan 14, 6:57 AM
    • 1,530 Posts
    • 9,233 Thanks
    Morrisons shop yesterday to see us through til Tuesday but I forgot my list so need to get burger buns, cheese and more bread before Sunday lunch.

    Figures at 158.20/400 I'd have probably spent that already and 100 on takeaways by now we were so wasteful!

    Sarah x
    MFW Total 183,637.21 to clear by 2035
    DFW Total 35,420 to clear by 2024

    2019 in 2019 0.00/2019
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