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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 32
    • maria3104
    • By maria3104 30th Sep 14, 2:11 PM
    • 918 Posts
    • 9,600 Thanks
    September 2014target was 172 with the 100 for my McMillan coffee morning. Total 272.
    Actual 407.18. Over budget 135.18. Quite mixed result. I have had lots and lots of NSD but my three shops were inflated by buying value gin to make lots of sloe and damson gin for Christmas 2014 and sugar for making jam. Our garden has been heaving with autumn raspberries.
    • Solstice_3
    • By Solstice_3 30th Sep 14, 4:08 PM
    • 460 Posts
    • 5,018 Thanks
    Current total 292.09 with 2 days to go. Tomorrow is our 3rd Wedding Anniversary I am making chicken tray bake as it's yummy and buying a bottle of wine/or fizz and then we've agreed to have a takeaway on Saturday (very rare occasion) instead if going out as Hubby wants a night in and not out.
    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
  • Cherrypi21
    Toddler dragged me into sainsbos today and I was intrigued so let him. He picked up some mini rolls and I bought some ice cream and amaretto coffee. Very frivolous spending of 6.40 bringing my final total to 184.41/250. Pretty impressed with myself. Spending less than I thought.
    • Make-it-3
    • By Make-it-3 30th Sep 14, 8:13 PM
    • 1,550 Posts
    • 7,040 Thanks
    I'm 4.44 under budget - quite a big stock up today, so hopefully that will see me well going into October.

    See you there.
    We Made-it-3 on 28/01/11 with birth of our gorgeous DD.
    • Frizzle
    • By Frizzle 30th Sep 14, 9:21 PM
    • 1,104 Posts
    • 15,700 Thanks
    Just found my receipts from the weekend.
    40.79 to add to sign untrue and that is me done. Really pleased.
    Don't think October will be the same as I have party food to buy for my ds1's birthday party!
    Last edited by Frizzle; 30-09-2014 at 9:25 PM.
    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!!!
    • findingmyfeet
    • By findingmyfeet 1st Oct 14, 6:25 AM
    • 494 Posts
    • 5,666 Thanks
    hello all im a little late but declaring september at 321.54 not perfect but i can only get better. off to October
    sealed pot member no :435 2011- 306.68 2012-304.36 2013- 387.44 2014 - 441.43 482.30
    • Caterina
    • By Caterina 1st Oct 14, 7:56 AM
    • 5,809 Posts
    • 40,356 Thanks

    September GC: fail. Bust the budget and lost the plot at 21st September.
    22-25 September I was away
    26-30 September I run a mini GC for 30 and came under budget by 2.60. It would have been 5 under budget but the boys I look after wanted chips and I are some of their chips so I counted it.

    See you all on the October board!
    Finally I'm an OAP and can travel free (in London at least!).
    • mrs-moneypenny
    • By mrs-moneypenny 1st Oct 14, 7:58 AM
    • 15,518 Posts
    • 198,189 Thanks
    declaring a slightly underbudget 398.26 for Sept and will try to stay underbudget in october.
    SPC~12 ot 124

    In a world that has decided that it's going to lose its mind, be more kind my friend, try to Be More Kind
    • XSpender
    • By XSpender 1st Oct 14, 8:43 AM
    • 3,348 Posts
    • 34,483 Thanks
    I am still here until the end of tomorrow but the fridge is looking bare and we are now down to half a toilet roll! I will have to jiggle the meal plan around as there is only a small piece of cheese left not enough for the planned pasta bake, and DH snacked on the last of the ham. He has had to have tuna for lunch, serves him right

    Tea will be chicken and leek pie. I usually top with potato or breadcrumbs but I may attempt GF pastry again as I have seen a different recipe on Frugal Queen's blog. GF pastry is a nightmare to work with, it is like trying to roll out cake batter

    I will pop a loaf in the bread maker and I have eggs to turn into mayo for my lunch today and will make enough for tomorrow's lunches for me and DH too.
    • Soworried
    • By Soworried 1st Oct 14, 9:03 AM
    • 2,146 Posts
    • 19,960 Thanks
    I'm here until Friday and it can't come soon enough. We won't starve but we aren't eating the stuff we'd like to eat. Needs must though as I need the freezer emptied to start stocking up for christmas

    We are out of milk so I will need to get that today and if I see any YS veg or fruit I will buy that as well. I will be way, way under budget because of having a use up month though
    Last edited by Soworried; 01-10-2014 at 9:15 AM.
    One step must start each journey
    One word must start each prayer
    One hope will raise our spirits
    One touch can show you care
    • Billie-jo
    • By Billie-jo 1st Oct 14, 10:05 AM
    • 1,221 Posts
    • 15,892 Thanks
    Final spends of September were 154.16 so 45.84 under budget. Highest spends throughout the month was fruit & veg so happy.

    Good luck to those finishing off September.
    [COLOR="Purple"][B] MARCH 62.38/250 [B][COLOR="Purple"]
    • physicsgirl
    • By physicsgirl 1st Oct 14, 11:35 AM
    • 126 Posts
    • 1,425 Thanks
    So much for me being done spending-wise: OH emailed me yesterday asking if I wanted to go for coffee after work. I suggested our free coffee and cake at JL, but he emails again at 4.45pm saying he lost track of time so won't make it to JL before it closes -.- so we went to Starbucks instead and spent ~3.50 on a large pumpkin spice latte to share.

    Then he suggests fish and chips as it's getting late and he wants to get to bed early so 4.80 spent on 2 battered sausages and a large chips. I realised on the drive home we didn't have a tin of mushy peas in the house and we're low on ketchup so he offers to pop into Sainsbobs to pick some up. When he gets back I ask if he remembered to get the basics stuff, yes he says, proudly showing me own brand stuff... Long and short of it I'm taking the (2!) bottles of ketchup back to Sainsbobs as I'm not paying 1.40 when we usually buy the 35p stuff!

    Ugh, rant over (and 8.70 to add if I remember to take the ketchup back, 10.50 if not)!
    November GC: 50.55/130. October GC: 72.60/150
    September GC: 131.27/170. July GC: 62.48/80. May GC: 135.00/150
    April GC: 201.91/140. March GC: 194.98/200. January GC: 111.41/200.
    December GC: 67.45/80. Nov GC: 159.32/220. October GC: 208.07/250.
    • bmma
    • By bmma 1st Oct 14, 1:50 PM
    • 603 Posts
    • 6,831 Thanks
    NSD today my October challenge starts on the6th x
    declaring spending for September's GC 193.56/215
    Last edited by bmma; 03-10-2014 at 5:29 PM.
    Penny Pincher in training
    Keep Calm Keep Vegan
    year's food budget 1,920
  • Tesco-shopper
    Went slightly over budget for the month, but pleased that it was not much over - had budget of 280 and spent 303.24

    • Solstice_3
    • By Solstice_3 3rd Oct 14, 8:14 AM
    • 460 Posts
    • 5,018 Thanks
    Morning all Here to declare Sept results 315.75 out of 320 so under budget by 4.25. Still managed to run out of money before the challenge was over - other expenses having to come out of same pot. See you over on the October thread.
    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
    • XSpender
    • By XSpender 3rd Oct 14, 9:40 AM
    • 3,348 Posts
    • 34,483 Thanks
    I am declaring 336.40 for September, an average of 67.20 for the last 5 weeks. I am really please with this as we averaged 90/week in August and way over 110/week before that.

    There is definitely more we can do to reduce our spend so I am going for 60/week in October as I have a few vouchers to use and am cutting down on snacks.

    See you over on the October thread
    • Lizling
    • By Lizling 6th Oct 14, 10:42 PM
    • 863 Posts
    • 1,675 Thanks
    Back from holiday now and I don't know what I did with the receipt for the cake ingredients shop. I think it came to in the region of 6 because I got some stir fry and some rolls too. With the Boots meal deal I had to buy, I'll call it a tenner and declare my September total as 73.66/80.

    I don't need to go any lower than that and my grocery spending seems back under control, so I'll bow out of October's challenge.
    Saving for deposit: Finished!
    House buying: Finished!
    Next task: Lots and lots of DIY
    • GettingOrganised
    • By GettingOrganised 7th Oct 14, 8:36 PM
    • 340 Posts
    • 1,899 Thanks
    I haven't been updating my spending diary as often as I should over the last two weeks. Just totted up the receipts which gives me a September overspend of 70. Really shocking, I did so well for a few months and now I've gone back the other way. Off to October thread to try again...
    SPC # 348 2014-169.07/2015 - 156.89
    GC 2014 Feb-Dec 2931.62
    GC 2015 Jan 216.93/220 Feb 291.97/215 Mar 213.64/220 Apr 207.62/220
    DFBXmas2015 #40 - 3,474.61/4,000
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