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

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

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

    August 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; 20-08-2014 at 7:38 PM.
    A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men
    Norn Iron club member #380

Page 25
    • meg72
    • By meg72 18th Sep 14, 10:40 AM
    • 5,082 Posts
    • 46,072 Thanks
    Hiya everyone

    Sorry not been about but was gallivanting on my holidays in Ibiza - absolutely super time

    Back with a vengeance and working on saving some ss

    Hi CP. Good to see you back

    Think I would just carry on trying to keep in budget but not beat myself up if I didn't. It's surprising what you can do short term when the pennies aren't there

    Meg - do you find your hydrator really saves pennies ? What do you use it for ? Any pointers to buying one please - thanks

    I'm on reduced budget because reduced days due to hols
    but need to get freezers sorted and ready for the looong winter

    Exciting times here with the referendum vote tomorrow

    Hope you all have a tremendous Thursday
    Originally posted by lynnejk
    The dehydrator has saved me quite a lot this year as had a really good harvest of raspberries and strawberries. and I am currently drying orange slices and Ivy flowers to make bags of Pot pouri
    for a Christmas fair.

    I hate peeling and preparing onions so I find a stash of dried is great for winter, I just throw a handful into stews, casserolles etc
    also mushroom but only when these are reduced. Got a box for 1 last year on market weighed about 3lb.

    All of these do of course freeze but I prefer to keep freezer space for reduced meat and fish.

    Sorry cant really advise on buying mine was a cheapie off ebay,
    and I have no experience of other makes.
    Slimming World at target
    • cw18
    • By cw18 18th Sep 14, 10:49 AM
    • 8,073 Posts
    • 86,055 Thanks
    Ahhh! I didn't realise you were drying your own onions. I thought you'd found big bags of pre-dried in the world foods section
    • Solstice_3
    • By Solstice_3 18th Sep 14, 10:56 AM
    • 460 Posts
    • 5,018 Thanks
    Spent 11 something today in shops and 4.40 on breakfast for DS and myself (we had to go out early so only had a quick bit of toast so we were both hungry), forgot milk but would have had no room to carry it home anyway so will ring DH and get him to pick it up. Also had fruit, veg and meat box delivery today. Will update signature later x
    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
    • twiglet66
    • By twiglet66 18th Sep 14, 11:55 AM
    • 342 Posts
    • 978 Thanks
    Hi, hope you don't mind but I'm going to be a stalker this month :-) I cut my shopping down about a year ago with the help of this forum, but still feel that I could cut it down a little further, so going to follow for the rest of this month and next and then join in November (away in October so won't cheat and use that month, lol) currently I spend 260 pm for 2 adults, 1 child and 3 cats
    • K9sandFelines
    • By K9sandFelines 18th Sep 14, 6:04 PM
    • 2,115 Posts
    • 18,236 Thanks
    Need to update a spend of 10.50 ish. No receipt as my DD1 went to Iceland for me. I'm not sure if I updated my last spends, so will have to go back and double-check.

    * Edit * I didnt update the previous spend ... It was 7.80 or thereabouts ( again DD1 made the purchase and didnt keepnthe receipt.
    Last edited by K9sandFelines; 18-09-2014 at 6:56 PM.
    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 291.01/280 Jul /300
    ~ Still learning the art of frugality ~
    • Caterina
    • By Caterina 18th Sep 14, 6:55 PM
    • 5,809 Posts
    • 40,355 Thanks
    Large chunk of budget blown in lunch out with DS. Not sorry as we just needed to do something enjoyable and distracting after a terribly upsetting night. We have had quite a bad family upheaval, won't bore you with details, but it has taken its toll on all of us. This, coupled with the workshy workmen, has left me with too much stress to try and cope with a reduced budget.

    Will still count but this month is going to be substantially out of budget.
    Finally I'm an OAP and can travel free (in London at least!).
    • Make-it-3
    • By Make-it-3 18th Sep 14, 8:13 PM
    • 1,550 Posts
    • 7,040 Thanks
    My spreadsheet crashed so had to look back to my last entry here and start from there. So think I have approx 85 left of my budget for the remainder of September.
    We Made-it-3 on 28/01/11 with birth of our gorgeous DD.
    • Lizling
    • By Lizling 18th Sep 14, 9:18 PM
    • 863 Posts
    • 1,675 Thanks
    3.46 in Lidl, 11.34 in the ethnic supermarket and 49p in little Sainsbury's.

    Lidl was a restock of tins of things like tomatoes. Ethnic supermarket was a lot of onions and potatoes that should keep for a while, a couple of types of dried beans and some herbs. I'm restocking the cupboards, if you couldn't tell!

    I was very happy to find dried black beans for the first time. They were one of the last ingredients I had to go to a big supermarket for, and now I can have cheap, homemade Mexican food

    Just some milk from Sainsbury's. I was hoping to get some YS items, but the discounts were rubbish.

    Saving for deposit: Finished!
    House buying: Finished!
    Next task: Lots and lots of DIY
    • p-pincher
    • By p-pincher 18th Sep 14, 9:22 PM
    • 725 Posts
    • 3,631 Thanks
    Hi everyone, 5.50 spend yesterday in Iceland and a small 85p spend in the co-op today leaving me 34.15. This is too last 7 days. So about 5,00 a day. Im really happy with this as I spents lots at the beginning part of the month and left mself a bit short. Ive manages quite a few NSD's and there is nothing major we need except for a jar of nescafe.
    March 2014 Grocery challenge 250.00
    • Gracie_1827
    • By Gracie_1827 19th Sep 14, 7:38 AM
    • 290 Posts
    • 2,487 Thanks
    Slightly over budget due to buying coffee for visitors last week. I'm due 1000 Nectar points from Global test market surveys and I have 7.50 worth already to spend, so should be enough to last me these last 11 days.
    GC - Oct 36.17/31
    GC - Sep 35.56/30
    GC - Aug 30.73/31
    GC - Jul 30.80/31
    • CountingPennies
    • By CountingPennies 19th Sep 14, 8:25 AM
    • 1,882 Posts
    • 15,036 Thanks
    Couple of spends yesterday. 32p for some carrots from the farmers market, 4.11 from Mr T's in town on Y/S items and 4.81 from Mr T's local to me on milk, YS bread and fruit.

    Total of 9.24 to add there. Need to do a decent shop. Nothing much left in freezer. Cupboards quite full tho. Fridge nearly empty. Think I will do next weeks meal plan and get shopping in tomorrow (at work later).

    Will be treating a good friend to lunch today and its coming from this budget. She is having a real tough time. Just going to local "bogof" place so shouldn't cost more than 15 for us. Will update later.

    CP xx
    Slimming World Challenge 2017 0/30.5lb

    Grocery challenge 2017 JAN: 5.56/350
    • bmma
    • By bmma 19th Sep 14, 11:01 AM
    • 603 Posts
    • 6,831 Thanks
    spends to date 19.89/50.00p x
    Penny Pincher in training
    Keep Calm Keep Vegan
    year's food budget 1,920
    • Billie-jo
    • By Billie-jo 19th Sep 14, 1:07 PM
    • 1,221 Posts
    • 15,892 Thanks
    lynnejk - glad you had a good holiday.

    Rather a big spend this week for us - 45.15 Have brought a few extra things as mum doesn't seem to be cooking at all now so are doing more meals for her than previously. Today I have done her a piece of gammon with some potatoes and veg, we are having chicken curry & rice but she wouldn't eat it as doesn't do spicy at all. Saturday she will be ok with some sandwiches and there is a portion of hm vegetable soup she can have and Sunday she will be here with us so probably meat & potato pie with an extra portion to take home (that's the plan anyway)
    Got given a bag of plums today so will stew them down tomorrow and make some plum crumble also make the pastry for the pie and while I am in the kitchen probably make some more soup - good job there is one drawer nearly empty in the freezer.
    [COLOR="Purple"][B] MARCH 62.38/250 [B][COLOR="Purple"]
    • piglet27
    • By piglet27 19th Sep 14, 2:32 PM
    • 174 Posts
    • 2,102 Thanks
    Small spends for me today of 1.89 on lettuce and peppers. Also need some milk so another 1.49 to add later, when we go to te$co for new school uniforms. Will update signature now.
    I have fajita omlette and salad to look forward to for tea, yum.

    Have a good evening all.

    Also bought bread and hair putty for ds's (6!) new style! 1.75 to add.
    Last edited by piglet27; 20-09-2014 at 6:11 AM. Reason: more spends
    GC Jan 200/200.78 Feb 250/156.07
    #161 2019 in 2019 132.01
    2019 Frugal Living
  • Cherrypi21
    Another azda shop takes me to 111. 97/250. Not bad with only eleven days to go. Saved money by turning down some of their daft substitutions.
    • Frizzle
    • By Frizzle 19th Sep 14, 9:26 PM
    • 1,104 Posts
    • 15,700 Thanks
    Well I am finally up t date on this thread. I joined a bit late and then trued to catch up before I posted! We are over half way through the month and I am only now able to post feeling like I have caught up with everything.
    I have been writing down my spends on a sheet of paper so I would remember so I am up to 111.93. Not too bad considering we had a big tesco shop last weekend which included 6 bottles of wine and 8 of chicken as we had guests over for dinner!

    I am hoping to do a small shop this weekend and then hopefully two 40 shops next weekend to use up the vouchers that I am hoping will be in the paper on Thursday!

    I haven't seen anymore morrisons fruit or meat vouchers so hope I haven't missed any!

    Anyway question for you all.... My tomatoes on my one tomato plant are finally turning red. picked about 20 tonight and there is loads more! Any idea what I can do with them all that doesn't involve peeling them!
    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!!!
    • lynnejk
    • By lynnejk 19th Sep 14, 11:12 PM
    • 5,343 Posts
    • 55,198 Thanks
    The dehydrator has saved me quite a lot this year
    Sorry cant really advise on buying mine was a cheapie off ebay,
    and I have no experience of other makes.
    Originally posted by meg72
    Thanks Meg. I'll have a punt about

    Hi everyone. Ive manages quite a few NSD's and there is nothing major we need except for a jar of nescafe.
    Originally posted by p-pincher
    Have you looked in stretch ? They often have nesc*fe on offer

    Gosh - stayed up to watch results and it was quite exciting. Be interesting to see what happens next eh

    Hope you all have a super Saturday
    Last edited by lynnejk; 19-09-2014 at 11:23 PM.
    Bulk buy.......APR=233.76
    OS WL= -2/8 ......CC =00......Savings = 13,140
    • Saver-upper
    • By Saver-upper 19th Sep 14, 11:51 PM
    • 1,835 Posts
    • 14,008 Thanks
    Right,I finally got around to doing a big shop.The fridge is full to bursting,the under-counter freezer is full,cupboards are full,fruit bowl is full .
    Went first to Aldi and spent 50.20,then went to Tesco to do a "top-up" (only needed pizza!),and came out 74.15 lighter .There was no "frittering",but bought a few things either that can't get in Aldi (Vanish),or was on special(Flora light-bought a couple,Pitch bars for kids lunchboxes,shampoo,conditioner,lots more.......).Nothing will be wasted,and alot of the items will last for months-Vanish stain remover,shampoo,conditioner,)the plan now is to only do top-ups til the end of the month.
    Total spent today is 124.35.
    Total spent this month is 279.72/300
    Really need to pay attention for the rest of the month if I am going to stay under-budget.
    SPC #108 x 8.SPC7=751.10 SPC8=651.04 SPC9=843.00 SPC10=872.76
    Pinecone 301,Valued Opinions 10.50

    • XSpender
    • By XSpender 20th Sep 14, 8:13 AM
    • 3,348 Posts
    • 34,483 Thanks
    I visited the brand new Aldee, 5 minutes drive from home yesterday after spending a lovely morning catching up with an old friend. It is a lovely bright store with much wider aisles than the other one I used to go to.

    I stuck to my list although a couple of things were unavailable like the 30 pack of crisps and smoked cheapy bacon. I also bought some GF crisps for me in B&M and 2 men's hair combs (finally tracked one down that wasn't 3) in Asd@ living.

    We had an unexpected child free night last night as DS stayed over at DMIL at the last minute so DH and I treated ourselves to a DVD rental and a thai green curry from M*S. Also picked up some YS GF crisp bakes, YS cookies and some sweeties.

    Total spend, after 5 new store opening voucher, 50.41.

    DH and I had planned to go to the new aldee this afternoon but we had run out of so many things like milk, cheese and bread it couldn't wait. He will want to go and have a look this afternoon and get some beers for tonight.

    DMIL has given me another set of vouchers so I have another 5 off 30 to spend this week so I am contemplating buying a bottle of brandy for Christmas cakes (different budget) to make up the spend. I want to try making GF tiramisu next weekend so will need some for that too.

    Total stands at 271.14 with 10 days to go.
    • K9sandFelines
    • By K9sandFelines 20th Sep 14, 12:26 PM
    • 2,115 Posts
    • 18,236 Thanks
    4.34 spent today between a local shop on Extra Special choc from Asd* and batteries and some YS bits from M*rrisons. Originally went out for paracetamol (forgot it), and cat food (which i don't include normally, as with five cats the total is normally through the roof as bulk buy from from Z** plus)
    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 291.01/280 Jul /300
    ~ Still learning the art of frugality ~
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