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    • zippychick
    • By zippychick 4th Jun 11, 11:19 AM
    • 9,343Posts
    • 17,889Thanks
    October 2014 Grocery Challenge
    • #1
    • 4th Jun 11, 11:19 AM
    October 2014 Grocery Challenge 4th Jun 11 at 11:19 AM
    Hi everyone,

    Welcome to the tenth Grocery Challenge of 2014 !!!!

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

    September 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'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; 13-09-2014 at 6:35 PM.
    A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men
    Norn Iron club member #380

Page 15
    • meg72
    • By meg72 10th Oct 14, 9:22 AM
    • 5,082 Posts
    • 46,072 Thanks
    I been doing opinions all year the ones you get paid for and have accumilated up 40 pounds so far in m and s vouchers i was going to maybe see if next month i can make it up to 50 quid and go and get some bits and pieces for the christmas dinner using these i only doing the boxing day food not the big day so have ordered my ham from local butchers, would it be ok do you think to buy the likes of the veg medleys and freeze them or would they be better bought fresh i hate the crowds in m and s at christmas, will deffo get the cauliflower cheese etc as this can be frozen,also the profriterole cake thingy. Advice folks please xxx thanks
    Originally posted by craigywv
    the veg medleys will freeze fine, I do this when I get them reduced.
    Slimming World at target
    • tumptyteapot
    • By tumptyteapot 10th Oct 14, 9:37 AM
    • 670 Posts
    • 7,038 Thanks
    My budget for the month is 250 for groceries (based on an average of 6 months reciepts). I know I'm spending too much on food! There is only me and my son and occasional guests.
    I've installed goodbudget on my phone and I'm writing down everything this month!
    So far groceries have come to 30 (it's the 10th) and we haven't been missing out on anything. I did really well at the organic wholesalers (who also sell to the public) and got 2 boxes for 9 - lots of it was past it's best and half price and I like soup :-)
    Today I've got a few bits to get and I'm wondering if I actually need to spend 30 in Lidl to get the 5 off. I've only got eggs and almonds on my list :-) I do need to get soya milk from Tesco but I thought since I've got lots of budget I'd get 10 cartons so I don't have to go back for a bit.
    Is it really worth spending 30 I don't need to spend right now to get 5 off?

    • craigywv
    • By craigywv 10th Oct 14, 9:51 AM
    • 1,976 Posts
    • 27,825 Thanks
    Well done teapot, and thaks for that meg i shall be getting the veg and freezing it
    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!!.
    • Soworried
    • By Soworried 10th Oct 14, 11:18 AM
    • 2,144 Posts
    • 19,925 Thanks
    A spend of just under 8 on our fresh things. That should last us until Tuesday now without going shopping I hope. It depends how much cereal we have instead of toast.
    MrM had just done the fruit & veg markdowns and I got 8 bananas for just 5p
    I'll make some jelly to go with them as a snack tonight.

    Now to get on with my meal plan for the rest of the month.
    One step must start each journey
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    One hope will raise our spirits
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    • XSpender
    • By XSpender 10th Oct 14, 12:39 PM
    • 3,339 Posts
    • 34,398 Thanks
    I decided to visit Aldeee today instead of Monday to do the weekly shop as leeks were in the super six and I needed some for the sausage casserole planned for Sunday so it avoided having to go with DH and or DS in tow.

    Was a bit fed up when my total came to 40.30 but had to have a word with myself as after a 5 voucher, 50p for choc coins from a different budget, 11.27 on beer and wine from a different budget I actually spent 23.53 on food. This covers breakfasts, lunches, dinners, snacks and treats for 2 adults (one with special dietary needs) and all breakfasts, 2 lunches, 5 dinners and snacks for a hungry 4 year old, for the whole week. We do have a lot of meat in the freezer, only 5 spent on meat today, and if needed we could cut down further but we are doing well spending this amount so I should not feel so bad. We used to go out for a pint of milk and spend this much on carp.

    Sorry for the rant at myself.

    If anyone needs GF food Tesco have twin packs of Mrs Cr1mbles choc chip muffins coming up at 35p, not going out of date just normal shelf price. Think it must be a glitch. I don't normally buy ready made GF cakes as they are so expensive but thought these were good value and are full of choc chips

    I always buy fresh chicken but after overhearing a customer rave to another about aldee everyday essentials frozen chicken I thought I would try a pack. I was very impressed, hardly any bits needed trimming off and no water came out when pan fried. I am converted

    Tonight we are having AGCJ Creamy Mustard Chicken with Aldee mini baked potatoes and frozen broccoli.

    I am planning to make lentil and bacon soup in the SC and some cheese and onion scones for lunch tomorrow after DH and I go on a bike ride, a veggie chilli for the freezer and a ginger cake so I better crack on.
    • tumptyteapot
    • By tumptyteapot 10th Oct 14, 1:41 PM
    • 670 Posts
    • 7,038 Thanks
    Tesco have just introduced a hand held scanner thing - you go round and scan your items yourself, bag them and pay at the end. It's good because it gives you a running total and you can compare things easily - I never bothered to do the maths on value orange juice compared to 4 packs before - it's about 1 cheaper to buy 4 value cartons than one 4 pack! I still spent nearly 40 but in that was a crate of soya milk, 2 400g cheese slabs for 5 etc. etc. it should last a good while!

    • Caterina
    • By Caterina 10th Oct 14, 2:14 PM
    • 5,787 Posts
    • 40,169 Thanks
    Tesco have just introduced a hand held scanner thing - you go round and scan your items yourself, bag them and pay at the end. It's good because it gives you a running total and you can compare things easily - I never bothered to do the maths on value orange juice compared to 4 packs before - it's about 1 cheaper to buy 4 value cartons than one 4 pack! I still spent nearly 40 but in that was a crate of soya milk, 2 400g cheese slabs for 5 etc. etc. it should last a good while!
    Originally posted by tumptyteapot
    I just discovered this system in w8rose, which allowed me to use my 10 off a 40 shop almost to the penny. Great stuff!

    So far so NSD!
    Finally I'm an OAP and can travel free (in London at least!).
    • CountingPennies
    • By CountingPennies 10th Oct 14, 2:56 PM
    • 1,882 Posts
    • 15,036 Thanks
    Tesco have just introduced a hand held scanner thing - you go round and scan your items yourself, bag them and pay at the end.
    Originally posted by tumptyteapot
    Ours has been in place well over a year now and I always use it. Mainly because when I see it add up I look and think "do i really need that" and often find myself taking stuff out and removing it from the bill.... I love it!

    Do my shop today. Will update later... Left my purse in the car!

    CP xx
    Slimming World Challenge 2017 0/30.5lb

    Grocery challenge 2017 JAN: 5.56/350
    • MandM90
    • By MandM90 10th Oct 14, 4:00 PM
    • 1,572 Posts
    • 8,485 Thanks
    Two more NSDs to report. I'm smashing this month, if I say so myself

    Eating at a friend's tonight and at a wedding tomorrow night. Think I'll just need some bread, spread and potatoes to see us through to the 18th at which point I'll do another shop.
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    • CountingPennies
    • By CountingPennies 10th Oct 14, 10:34 PM
    • 1,882 Posts
    • 15,036 Thanks
    So did my shop and tallies up to 49.17 from 3 different shops.

    Quite pleased with that. Got meat, veg, fruit, milk, juices, butter. Quite a few basic staples i needed.

    Will update total now. Have a decent amount to bake with so hoping to get some baking done over the weekend for packed lunches.

    CP xx
    Slimming World Challenge 2017 0/30.5lb

    Grocery challenge 2017 JAN: 5.56/350
    • Caterina
    • By Caterina 10th Oct 14, 10:38 PM
    • 5,787 Posts
    • 40,169 Thanks
    Yay, bagged NSD no. 4! sig updated. Good night.
    Finally I'm an OAP and can travel free (in London at least!).
    • lynnejk
    • By lynnejk 10th Oct 14, 11:17 PM
    • 5,343 Posts
    • 55,198 Thanks
    Hi all still battling emptying the freezers , went to get fruit on wed night in mr t and the great yellow sticker fairy was running around with her sticker gun i chose the exact time she was reducing got pork fillets the long skinny ones down to 50p from a fiver,turkey steaks / escalopes and legs from 30p to 50p, 2 massive chicken in garlic butter, 2 ordinary chickens, 6 casserole steak pack ,8 packs beef sausage and quite a bit more total spend 18.00 filled the trolley came home and it should have been nearer 140 quid. Also got 3 x 2.00 off 3 meat packs as offer on so got all the casserole meat free whatever way it works out. So thats my freezers filled again and i was nearing defrosting one !!! Couldnt pass up on the prices,trying to stay out of sm now till nearer christmas! Shall only get dairy and fruit and veg locally so no temptation!! Good luck all. Xxx
    Originally posted by craigywv
    WOW !! WOW!! What a haul eh. Don't think you could pass on that eh
    Don't know about the veg things as never buy ready prepped veg and buy fresh except frozen peas, sweetcorn and broad beans when out of season.

    I usually look for YS and freeze some myself such as runner beans and baby carrots and have as a treat for C*.

    Is it really worth spending 30 I don't need to spend right now to get 5 off?
    Originally posted by tumptyteapot
    I always do if I can get stuff I would buy anyway, which will keep and I will use up eventually. We drink wine (different budget) so if pushed would use it for that rather than waste it. Maybe treat yourself for some C* drinkies or something

    Had to ask DH to bring some milk home - 1.29 Managing to eat some of the freezer stuff so slowly going down. Will just need eggs, fruit and veg and stuff for packups tomorrow

    Hope you all have a sizzling Saturday
    Bulk buy.......APR=233.76
    OS WL= -2/8 ......CC =00......Savings = 13,140
    • piglet27
    • By piglet27 11th Oct 14, 3:44 AM
    • 174 Posts
    • 2,102 Thanks
    A very early good morning to all,

    Spends of 64 (rounded) at aldee yesterday on loads of meat (to restock freezer), fruit, veg, salad, eggs and breakfast items. Quite pleased with that really.

    Also went to b & m and mr T, spending just over 14 in each but some items don't come out of this budget so will check after the sun rises

    Hope everyone has a fantastic Saturday and get some great savings.

    Sarah x
    GC Jan 200/200.78 Feb 250/156.07
    #161 2019 in 2019 132.01
    2019 Frugal Living
    • cattysmum
    • By cattysmum 11th Oct 14, 6:04 AM
    • 1,256 Posts
    • 21,417 Thanks
    First spends of the month for me yesterday, Aldi 6.50 on super 6 veg and fruit and nuts and then on to Lidl 36, Grrrrr had a facebook moc for Lidl for 5 off wys 30 but did not read T and Cs only valid for Saturday and sunday, but still got loads for my money, including 2 big packs of pork steaks on offer two for 8 so they have been split up and put in the freezer.
    [B]SPC No. 295 - SPC No10 target 350
    SPC 2014 150/SPC 2015 256SPC 2016 324
    Saving for Florida 2018
    Matched betting toe dipper.
    • Gracie_1827
    • By Gracie_1827 11th Oct 14, 6:31 AM
    • 290 Posts
    • 2,487 Thanks
    Well I've gone completely haywire with the 1 a day budget this month...buying food for walking trip with son and getting Morrys loyalty card....they had so many offers on the other day, it would have been daft not to take advantage...still the food will last a while so I'll see what my totals are for the next couple of months
    GC - Oct 36.17/31
    GC - Sep 35.56/30
    GC - Aug 30.73/31
    GC - Jul 30.80/31
    • dingdongsaving
    • By dingdongsaving 11th Oct 14, 8:21 AM
    • 380 Posts
    • 4,716 Thanks
    I'll need fruit only this coming week but am going to Morrys to check out offers that may store until C*. Been to Te**o the last 3 shops and not impressed by the offers and found very little yellow sticker so heading back to Morrys.
    We're so well stocked at the moment...we've taken our budget down as we just don't need it in groceries (so it's being added to the savings transfer at the end of the month) and we still think we'll have 40 or so at the end of this month to help spread the prep for xmas as we're using so much freezer stuff. I always try and spread the C* holiday food (and gift) shopping...hate the pressure of having massive shops to to on a deadline and when it's so crowded. Plus, family & friends visiting are all organised now so our meal plan for the 20th-27th is done. I always love planning for visitors. We live quite a long way away from my mum, sister, ILs etc, so lots of lovely family time and some tasty baking, breakfasts, meals and suppers never go amiss with them around.
    Ok. Off to clean upstairs as I only found the motivation for downstairs yesterday! Haha.
    • Happygreen
    • By Happygreen 11th Oct 14, 11:15 AM
    • 2,642 Posts
    • 9,940 Thanks
    I did all the shopping, even went to Lidl to bag the peppers on offer, also Olive oil and a few other bits. Have started to get small stocking fillers for the teens I will take off the receipts and alsso any booze is excluded from the budget. Updating signature day today ....moment of truth
    First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, and then you win - Gandhi
    • Soworried
    • By Soworried 11th Oct 14, 11:48 AM
    • 2,144 Posts
    • 19,925 Thanks
    I tried to make some buns like the subway Italian cheese and herb bread and they are lovely Here is the recipe in case anyone wants it.

    500g bread flour
    1 tbsp sugar
    1 tsp salt
    8g dried yeast
    4 tbsp oil
    1 tsp mustard powder
    1 tbsp of Italian herbs
    handful of grated cheese

    Mix everything but the cheese together. Add water a bit at a time until it forms a sticky dough. Kneed for 5 mins. Leave to prove for 15-20 mins then knock back and kneed again.

    Grease a baking sheet then split the dough in to 12 equal sized balls. Spread out on the baking sheet and put somewhere warm to prove. After they have grown to around 4 times their size top with a handful of grated cheese and pop in to a cold oven. Then turn the oven on 200degrees. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
    One step must start each journey
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    One touch can show you care
  • rosieben
    Soworried, I've added your Cheese and Herb Bread to the recipe index
    ... don't throw the string away. You always need string!

    C.R.A.P.R.O.L.L.Z Head Sharpener
    • Solstice_3
    • By Solstice_3 11th Oct 14, 4:38 PM
    • 460 Posts
    • 5,018 Thanks
    Well done on jointing a chicken and all the baking
    Originally posted by lynnejk
    Thank you

    Tomorrow I plan on trying out a Smarties Cookie recipe ready for the party and as the oven is on at the right temperature I am going to make a quiche for the first time ever! I'm making a smoked salmon, chive and brocolli quiche for our lunch(es). Only shame is DD is still dairy free (she is 10 months) so she will have to have something else. I have bought some lacto free cheese today though so she can have the planned muffin pizzas and quesadillas for lunch in the week with DS and me.

    Spend update:

    9th 13.09
    10th 4.93 after APG coupons
    11th 15.37 and 12.75 - picked up a few super 6 meat and veg items.

    Hoping tomorrow is an NSD as did a biggish shop today covering most of what we need for the following week. Still need to get a few things in the week and am hoping to get YS muffins and wraps for lunches

    Soworried that bread sounds yummy! I'll have to try it soon.
    Stay at home Mum to DS Oct 2011 and DD Dec 2013
    Grocery Challenge

    April 298.08/300.00 NSD 14 May 213.56/300 NSD 4
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