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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 third Grocery Challenge of 2014

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


    February 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; 20-02-2014 at 1:23 PM.
    A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men
    Norn Iron club member #380

Page 49
    • Ali-OK
    • By Ali-OK 20th Mar 14, 10:02 PM
    • 4,058 Posts
    • 16,645 Thanks
    Ali-OK
    Week 3 of 4 weekly shop done and spend was £19.68, so am nicely on track to come within budget this month.

    Even more pleased as teenage DS came with me. Cue a plan of action to stop him slipping things into the trolley unnoticed - gave him a list of the things he had to go and get, whilst I did the rest. It worked!

    We've gone slightly off our meal plan this week, but swapped with items already in the freezer/cupboard, so haven't had to pop to a shop for anything inbetween the main shops.

    Excellent local radio debate and phone-in yesterday asking if the headline in the Guardian this week of 'Middle Class Mums from Maidstone move to discount supermarkets' was indicative of a sea change in shopping and why Sburys figures released showed a 3% drop in profits. I think it probably is!
    Back on the DFW Wagon:

    CC - £3,300 on 0% til 04/2020
    CC - £4,500 on 0% til 02/2019
    Loan - £12,063.84 as at 4/1/18
    • lynnejk
    • By lynnejk 20th Mar 14, 10:39 PM
    • 5,343 Posts
    • 55,198 Thanks
    lynnejk
    Florenceem - that's quite strange as we had eggs, beans and chips for tea today as fancied a change


    Spent £20.04 in Al*i today, but that did include a chicken and 2 packs of Aberdeen mince so that's base for 6 meals for us. Think I'll just roast the chicken but need to make a batch of chilli for freezer tomorrow so bought peppers as well


    Hope you all have a fantastic Friday
    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
    • smokies
    • By smokies 21st Mar 14, 6:47 AM
    • 137 Posts
    • 1,314 Thanks
    smokies
    Morning all,


    lovely morning here in the North East, but after reading the news could turn later today, so going to enjoy it for now.....


    reporting in to say the last 2 days where NSDs - on track for target of 15 days ...


    going way with the girls tomorrow so will have to get a few bits in for the coach journey...... hoping to keep it to a minimum spends.


    but on the positive side - will not be spending anything on food over the weekend, as all spends coming out of another budget.....


    So have a great weekend everyone.


    Smokies
    Sell £750.00
    Jan-feb-march - 150.00


    • craigywv
    • By craigywv 21st Mar 14, 6:53 AM
    • 1,976 Posts
    • 27,825 Thanks
    craigywv
    Hi,just on to see how everyone getting on, I still doing fiscal fast that ends tomorrow one week. Thinking I shall do it for another week as have lots of grub in house just need some milk and fruit. Good luck all with your challenges.lovely sunny morning over here too so opefully will get wash out on the line.
    C.R.A.P.R.O.L.L.Z #7 member N.I splinter-group co-ordinater I dont suffer from insanity....I enjoy every minute of it!!.
    • lushlifesaver
    • By lushlifesaver 21st Mar 14, 6:56 AM
    • 2,312 Posts
    • 18,637 Thanks
    lushlifesaver
    Managed my NSD yesterday - very happy (and surprised) that I've managed to exceed my target of 15 NSD for two months running so I think I will up that next month.

    Off to the market shortly with the last of the cleaning/toiletries kitty from this month's budget as bf wants more hairgel. Going to use some of my personal budget to get a few secret treats in (baking bits and sweet treats probably haha) to push through the last of the waiting for labour to start/when we get back from hospital.

    Technically my GC month ends on the 25th as that's pay day but as we should only need milk and wraps I'm hoping to stretch that week out of the few pounds I have left from this month which will mean that April is a four week month for us. I won't worry too much if I can't though as I'm sure labour etc could throw us off in which case the plan is to exclude the week from either month's budget as it's a one off increase - although in theory we have loads in so should be able to do it on minimum shops (especially if the in laws cook for us like they intend to hehe)

    GC budget drops from April but I don't need to budget for pet food as I got bf to buy a huuuuge 15kg bag with some money he would have paid me for something else. We use just under 2kg a month so it should last until I go back to work if not a little longer. Or bulk purchases as we've stocked up on most things we buy in bulk this month - we might need mince but I can pick that up on a '3 for £10' deal next time I get meat/fish - we have enough for 8 meals in the freezer though so that won't be needed too soon! Chicken we have lots of but I can easily work a tray in to the budget if we need it.
    Perfect Princess born 26/03/14 <3
    • kayester
    • By kayester 21st Mar 14, 8:47 AM
    • 1,800 Posts
    • 9,338 Thanks
    kayester
    NSD today, HM lasagna for tea.
    my toad in the hole last night was a success and will be having it again in the near future
    216/2018 (make ££ in 2018)

    Grocery challenge
    Jan 227/400
    swagbucks target 2018 1452/27375
  • WhiteSnowdrop
    One week to go!
    Did my last shop of the month and have £10 to last…eek! It should be possible as I have everything planned for and a couple of meals at relatives so should limp over the line next Thursday. I think next month I will stretch myself a little further as I have still been a bit slack in places and try and fit the kids nappies/pull ups into the £300 budget I have. I would like to try and fit in 2-3 NSD each week, hopefully these might slow down some of the small spends that happen each month.
    GC Feb - £190/£200
    2015 OP Challenge - £420/£4000
    Mortgage Free Aim Nov 2021
    • icontinuetodream
    • By icontinuetodream 21st Mar 14, 10:02 AM
    • 985 Posts
    • 6,606 Thanks
    icontinuetodream
    Totally blew the budget this week...got a new job and decided to celebrate by buying a whole side of salmon (on offer at t*sco), asparagus, a mango and a papaya (for salsa) plus a bottle of sparkly!! Not feeling too guilty though...it was lush!!

    Decided to run the budget on a monthly basis from April now that my £15pw challenge is almost at an end...despite my failure this week, I have managed to keep to it since january and am pretty proud of myself! It will be interesting to see if a monthly budget will be as easy to monitor...
    Mortgage 12.12.12 £55842 12.12.13 £42716 14.12.14 £28837 13.12.15 £25913
    Mortgage OP £50/£600 House Fund £420/£5000
  • SazzleDazzle1
    Hi all,
    I know it is incredibly late to join this month but I have been reading for a while and only just got organised enough to get my logins. I have pre christmas been spending in excess of £650 a month, and throwing away so much food. January I decided to cut back and monoitor what and where I spending and then set a budget of £400 a month to follow from March. There are 4 of us, children 7 and 2. I hope to cut the budget further by following some of the great tips on here but slowly so no one really notices, so far this month I have spent £291 so I am on track.

    I am not sure how to manage my budget dates though, we get paid weekly and I shop on the weekend. Should Sat 29th shop be included in March or April? I am hoping it is a small one as I have slowly been building up stock so this week I should get by on a few fresh items but we shall see. I have recently swapped from Wa1trose to A1di and that has cut my spending hugely.

    Any tips/advice most gratefully received and I look forward to getting to know everone over the coming months
    • cw18
    • By cw18 21st Mar 14, 11:31 AM
    • 8,052 Posts
    • 86,003 Thanks
    cw18
    Welcome aboard SazzleDazzle

    Which month to include the 29th spend in is totally up to you. Personally I'd count it as a March spend as it falls in that month, but as most of the week it's supposedly to supply is in April I can see why some people might consider counting it as an April spend.

    Some people work payday to payday, even if that means mid-month switch overs. Others work with weekly budgets, but I know that wouldn't work for me as I bulk buy a lot of stuff during an 'every 3 weeks' visit to Costc0. My only income is on 'the next to last working day of the month' which means it's not even a fixed date - so it's calendar monthly budgets all the way for me
    Cheryl
    • tattycath
    • By tattycath 21st Mar 14, 11:37 AM
    • 6,820 Posts
    • 35,979 Thanks
    tattycath
    £16 yesterday on a top up shop-bread, milk, loo rolls etc
    GE 36 *MFD
    MFIT-T4 No 83
    Mortgage overpayments:

    Emergency savings £100/£2000
    Savercard Christmas savings £10
    12/3/17 175lb - 15/3/17 173lb - 28/6/17 167lb - 14/7/17 164lb - 12/9/17 160lb - 29/12/17 155lb
    • bmma
    • By bmma 21st Mar 14, 12:45 PM
    • 603 Posts
    • 6,831 Thanks
    bmma
    nsd today = 12 - online shop delivered,more than half of the items were out of stock-although available when ordered-money owed back in a holding account-should be back in account within 7 days-pity they weren't as quick paying back as they are taking it ! rant over-9 more days to april challenge-may go weekly for april try and get the spending really down
    Penny Pincher in training
    Keep Calm Keep Vegan
    year's food budget £1,920
    • joedenise
    • By joedenise 21st Mar 14, 12:49 PM
    • 6,277 Posts
    • 46,155 Thanks
    joedenise
    SazzleDazzle1 - love the name by the way! - I agree with cw18 and would count the spend as a March spend as that is the month you are actually spending in, even though most of the month is actually April when it will be eaten. If your're anything like most people you'll be buying stuff that will last longer than just the week anyway so difficult to see how else to split spends.

    Denise
    • Billie-jo
    • By Billie-jo 21st Mar 14, 12:54 PM
    • 1,221 Posts
    • 15,892 Thanks
    Billie-jo
    Welcome Sazzledazzle - hope the GC helps you to spend less.


    A!di this morning and spent £25.47 Noticed milk had come down from £1.48 to £1.42 for the 6 pint one.
    I usually but the sausages at 6 for £1.99 but today picked up the butchers choice ones 8 for £1.55 so will see if they ok.
    I brought some lamb mince (2 packs) to make lamb kofta with tonight but have only used one so had to really squash it into the freezer to get it in and the door shut. The other pack has had the spices and onions added to it and is now chilling in the fridge for tonight. Grandson is coming to stay overnight after school. Have some strawberries and a few marshmallows which he will love.


    I will need a few things tomorrow but shouldn't be much.
    [COLOR="Purple"][B] MARCH £62.38/250 [B][COLOR="Purple"]
    • marris
    • By marris 21st Mar 14, 1:42 PM
    • 593 Posts
    • 4,704 Thanks
    marris
    just sitting at £50,50 so not very bad at all.freezer is going down slightly
    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
    • Frizzle
    • By Frizzle 21st Mar 14, 1:46 PM
    • 1,104 Posts
    • 15,700 Thanks
    Frizzle
    Hi all,
    I know it is incredibly late to join this month but I have been reading for a while and only just got organised enough to get my logins. I have pre christmas been spending in excess of £650 a month, and throwing away so much food. January I decided to cut back and monoitor what and where I spending and then set a budget of £400 a month to follow from March. There are 4 of us, children 7 and 2. I hope to cut the budget further by following some of the great tips on here but slowly so no one really notices, so far this month I have spent £291 so I am on track.

    I am not sure how to manage my budget dates though, we get paid weekly and I shop on the weekend. Should Sat 29th shop be included in March or April? I am hoping it is a small one as I have slowly been building up stock so this week I should get by on a few fresh items but we shall see. I have recently swapped from Wa1trose to A1di and that has cut my spending hugely.

    Any tips/advice most gratefully received and I look forward to getting to know everone over the coming months
    Originally posted by SazzleDazzle1
    I shop at weekend too and had the same dilemma about the end of the month. My plan was to include it in this month but things are getting tight. So. Have decided if I go over my budget I will take it off next months budget. This way half will probably be in this month and half in April!
    HtH!!
    Grocery challenge-
    J- 52.40/£200 M- 187.56 A- 212.93 M-193.44 F-201.31 J- 240.62 D- £149.27 N- £210.69 O- 196.80
    S- 213.68 A- £213.03 J- 249.66 J-206.29, M- 252.91, A-£250, M- £250

    debt free as of feb 2015. Now saving for deposit for new house! Moving in June 2015!!!
    • Frizzle
    • By Frizzle 21st Mar 14, 1:56 PM
    • 1,104 Posts
    • 15,700 Thanks
    Frizzle
    I have 1kg of mince in the sc with three onions, 4 carrots, 2 tins of toms, a tin f value baked beans, some frozen peas, a handful of red lentils and a handful of porridge oats.
    I have lots of potatoes so just peeled loads to make a shep pie topping! Had all the food in.
    The original recipe (500g mince) was to serve 4. We are two adults and two wee ones. So I am hoping with the padding put this will make three meals! The mince was 3.25 so nt a bad price for three meals!

    Have also just made a batch of biscuits! The recipe made about 50 so I am going to freeze a handful so I will know for next time. We have all just had 1 or 2 each. Except for hubby who has had 5!, now I just need to hide them! When I told him off, I said 'I've spent ages on those... Don't eat them!' His reply ' why did you make them if we aren't allowed to eat them!' MEN!
    Grocery challenge-
    J- 52.40/£200 M- 187.56 A- 212.93 M-193.44 F-201.31 J- 240.62 D- £149.27 N- £210.69 O- 196.80
    S- 213.68 A- £213.03 J- 249.66 J-206.29, M- 252.91, A-£250, M- £250

    debt free as of feb 2015. Now saving for deposit for new house! Moving in June 2015!!!
    • cw18
    • By cw18 21st Mar 14, 2:08 PM
    • 8,052 Posts
    • 86,003 Thanks
    cw18
    I have 1kg of mince in the sc with three onions, 4 carrots, 2 tins of toms, a tin f value baked beans, some frozen peas, a handful of red lentils and a handful of porridge oats.
    Originally posted by Frizzle
    My last mince meal consisted of
    500g (very) lean mince
    2 medium onions
    freshly ground black pepper
    heaped teaspoon Ox0 granules
    40g porridge oats
    50g red lentils
    2 tablespoons tomato puree
    2 tins baked beans
    I also had to add some water early on to stop the mix sticking to the base of the pan due to the oats and lentils sucking up what was available. (the baked beans don't get added until close to the end, but by then it was getting close to needing more liquid anyway!)

    The resultant pan of 'mince' was then split into 5 good sized adult potions (2 used that evening and 3 in the freezer for later), and each one gets served with 80-100g dried pasta.

    When my OH uses mince he cooks 500g at a time which gives him 2 servings. When he's here he gets a mix like the above which appears to be plenty for him, but whilst he's aware I make the mince go a lot further by padding it out (and is also aware he's to say nothing around my son who loves his red meat and "doesn't know if he likes lentils") he doesn't seem to be prepared to 'mess around' padding out at home!! I keep trying to convince him it's a lot better for him padded out (we both have high cholesterol, so the less meat and the more protein from other sources the better), but I may as well hold my breath
    Cheryl
    • Crowdpleaser
    • By Crowdpleaser 21st Mar 14, 4:24 PM
    • 1,031 Posts
    • 11,202 Thanks
    Crowdpleaser
    1.70 added for a tub of anchor butter as my contribution to toasties made at work. I use spread at home but girl at work cant have spread so thst was ok. Anyway budget creeping up. Hoping to get by on bananas and milk buys next week. Hope so. X
    Save £500 for christmas 2016 £161/£500
    GC March 16 £252.91/£300
    • Coxy11
    • By Coxy11 21st Mar 14, 5:07 PM
    • 2,295 Posts
    • 27,317 Thanks
    Coxy11
    Hi all,

    Small spend in Asda on 8 pints milk, malt wheats, jordans bars for DD and ys stuff pork joint. Total of £8.68.

    Just writing out a list for the weekend. Ideally would like to get all food for the week (which includes DHs birthday tea!). I have a £4 odd price match coupon plus £36.83 left in the budget. Will need to be very savvy when I go tomorrow

    Meal plan for next week:
    Saturday - chicken fajitas (need peppers and cheese)
    Sunday - roast pork, Yorkshires, roasties and veg (need veg)
    Monday - bacon and cheese puffs, veg (need veg)
    Tuesday - pasta bake
    Wednesday - chicken curry, rice and naan
    Thursday - DH birthday - his signature pasta dish (need veg, crème fraiche and parma ham)
    Friday - lo gammon, cauli cheese, veg (need cauli/veg)

    Also need packed lunch bits, fruit and orange juice.

    Have a good evening all
    Coxy
    Cross-stitch WIP #1: Collecting Shells by Nancy Cole
    Cross-stitch WIP #2: Pretty Little London by Satsuma Street
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