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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 sixth Grocery Challenge of 2012

    If your new month starts early feel free to join this thread, or if you're still working on your March budget, then keep on posting in the:
    May 2012 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 and #6 on this thread.

    For everyones totals, see post #7 on this thread

    I hope everyone has a great month!

    Zip
    Last edited by zippychick; 11-05-2012 at 6:59 PM.
    A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men
    Norn Iron club member #380

Page 34
    • franby64
    • By franby64 10th Jun 12, 6:59 AM
    • 894 Posts
    • 10,920 Thanks
    franby64
    Morning

    I've got a bit ahead of myself again - total is already £242.67/£400 and I've got another @£40 As*a shop coming today plus a few local bits I need.

    I keep having a £100+ Sa*ns shop at the beginning of the month to get the free delivery but I think this messes me up as I spend too much in one go without planning it well enough.

    So after today I will have just over £100 for the rest of the month which does not fill me with hope but I'll try! Today I'll do a plan for the rest of the month based on what I have and then fail to follow it as usual stick to it like my life depended on it.

    Jumblejack - I'm another one who would love to go vegetarian - I've just restarted my Ab*l & C*Le boxes and this always forces me to eat more veg which is good but can be a headache as the rest of the family won't sit and eat a pile of veg like I will! I need to work up my veggie repertoire to take them at least some of the way with me. And I will probably only have a box every 2/3 weeks, it's an indulgence really!

    Craigyw - A good suggestion with the Sl*mming World. I'm starting a health and fitness campaign on Weds and I'll put something, maybe £2.50 in a pot for Xmas but only if I lose that week. I can't really afford to pay myself too much, that's the problem!

    Hope everybody is doing OK in June.
    Starting weight on 22/6 14st 00lbs. Weight on 15/2 10st 11lbs. Lost 3st 3lbs.Target 9st 12lbs. 13lbs left.
  • archived user
    Oh dear, I've just placed an order for DR meat (their sausages are the only ones I like and they were on offer) so that's another £22 gone. I've updated my sig. Really have to stop filling the freezer now and eat some of it!
    Rx
    • Kitchenbunny
    • By Kitchenbunny 10th Jun 12, 7:41 AM
    • 1,860 Posts
    • 20,252 Thanks
    Kitchenbunny
    Suffolklass - thanks ever so much - I'll definitely be giving that a go. I've got some fruit I can puree up but might be tempted by the chocolate ice cream! Really appreciate that as I do my normal shop before I go to work so it's difficult to keep it frozen. Figured I could have a go at making my own but would rather use the eggs for something else so... packet or carton custard mix is my preferred option I'll give that a go today.

    Looking like all we need today is a pint of milk. Last night's meal should be enough to last us for today (unless Mr Kitchenbunny would like something else) so that's tea sorted quite easily. Unfortunately there's a huuuuuge pile of ironing with my name on it! Have a lovely day, everyone.

    K xx

    • XSpender
    • By XSpender 10th Jun 12, 8:35 AM
    • 3,348 Posts
    • 34,483 Thanks
    XSpender
    Morning All

    This month I have been keeping a track of my spends as I wasn't really sure what I had been spending on groceries as we have got away from our previous OS ways and I have been diagnosed as coeliac.

    Totted everything up last night and it came to £550 I think there might be a couple of little spends not included too as my other spreadsheet is on my work PC. I am shocked nad horrified. DH and I have had a good chat about this as it is this overspendign that is having a knock on effect on other areas as we don't have the money to do other things with it. The cupboards and freezers are full and this spend only includes £4.70 on a chippy tea.

    Today's plans are to make a big batch of chilli for DH using the quorn mince I can't eat (it's not GF), some about to go wrinkly peppers and chilli peppers and what other veg I can squeeze into it. I also want to make a GF choclate cake and some GF peanut cookies for my lunches next week. I may have a go at making a hash brown quiche if not I will make the mini frittata I like for my lunches.

    I still need to spend today on fruit and milk and a card for DBIL as DH lost the one we bought yesterday!

    Have a good Sunday everyone
    • Possession
    • By Possession 10th Jun 12, 8:36 AM
    • 3,140 Posts
    • 41,491 Thanks
    Possession
    Back from a really great holiday and a £24.64 spend.

  • helen jelly
    craigywv - well done all your reduced items - can you post a Strawberry Jam recipe that you use please - I tried one on Friday but it was a disaster [I burnt it] - I need a tried and tasted recipe - thank you

    So far I've spent £61 of this weeks £75 budget [2 days to go and kiddies back to school tomorrow] I'm happy with that so far

    Helen x
    Projects made for craft fair - 40
    1st fair on 13/4/14
    • fozziebeartoo
    • By fozziebeartoo 10th Jun 12, 8:39 AM
    • 1,564 Posts
    • 12,675 Thanks
    fozziebeartoo
    wow craigywv, well done on your bargains - I was in the coop today but no such luck for me (unless I had just missed out!!). I could do with some more olive oil for my stores so will have to keep my eye out.
    Originally posted by AlwaysHappy

    My co-op has lots of store cupboard reductions too but only 20p or 30p off, so not worth getting at the moment but worth keeping an eye on if they are changing what they stock.
    • DundeeDoll
    • By DundeeDoll 10th Jun 12, 8:41 AM
    • 3,505 Posts
    • 39,663 Thanks
    DundeeDoll
    Lidl yesterday and managed to spend £113 we have the house full as DDs back from uni and DD2 requested xmas dinner for her birthday. I think i just went back to old habits right off shopping list. Good news is this is still less than we did in mr t bad news is i didnt buy enough milk to last us the week. Still it'sonly a disaster if i dont learn from it. Xmas dinner today and im sure it'll be lish
    Be like a postage stamp—stick to one thing until you get there.
  • sb88
    Off shopping today!

    I have a meal plan and I'm going to write out a shopping list! Using the internet to find out what deals are on etc

    Friday/Saturday I ended up spending an extra : 4.50 on lunch! and and £7 on hair dye /golden syrup/nuts

    I made a big batch of oat and nut/seed flapjacks out of this for snacks to try and cut down on the chocolate/crisps/snack food we eat. They are a bit to sickly sweet for me, however a small cube of one helps satisfy my need for a sweet fix!


    Desperatley want to go out and buy some new running trousers, but I can't really afford to since I'm in my overdraft and trying to clear it. I couldn't justify the expense, however I'm finding it really hard not going out and getting some
    Weightloss: 18lbs/28lbs (Start weight: 11st, Current 9st 10)
  • helen jelly
    My co-op has lots of store cupboard reductions too but only 20p or 30p off, so not worth getting at the moment but worth keeping an eye on if they are changing what they stock.
    Originally posted by fozziebeartoo
    Our co=op only ever reduces by that amount as a final reduction!! Never any bargains to be had in there apart from the offers they have and then only some of them are any good, they are my local shop and I would use them more if they were cheaper

    Helen x
    Projects made for craft fair - 40
    1st fair on 13/4/14
  • jumblejack
    Lidl yesterday and managed to spend £113 we have the house full as DDs back from uni and DD2 requested xmas dinner for her birthday. I think i just went back to old habits right off shopping list. Good news is this is still less than we did in mr t bad news is i didnt buy enough milk to last us the week. Still it'sonly a disaster if i dont learn from it. Xmas dinner today and im sure it'll be lish
    Originally posted by DundeeDoll
    I water my milk down now and it lasts a loooooot longer. Kids and OH haven't even noticed
    Every moment is a gift. That's why we call it the present.!
    Grocery Spend Weekly Challenge (Sat-Fri):£30.50/£40
    • fozziebeartoo
    • By fozziebeartoo 10th Jun 12, 9:21 AM
    • 1,564 Posts
    • 12,675 Thanks
    fozziebeartoo
    Our co=op only ever reduces by that amount as a final reduction!! Never any bargains to be had in there apart from the offers they have and then only some of them are any good, they are my local shop and I would use them more if they were cheaper

    Helen x
    Originally posted by helen jelly

    Mine has lots of dried fruit, sauces, pickles etc......maybe its Christmas stock but dates still seem good.....

    The Co-op is near a Lidl and the co-op reduced prices are more than the Lidl full prices

    Seems there is no common sense in the reduction policy!
    • Suffolk lass
    • By Suffolk lass 10th Jun 12, 9:35 AM
    • 3,045 Posts
    • 28,066 Thanks
    Suffolk lass
    Morning

    I've got a bit ahead of myself again - total is already £242.67/£400 and I've got another @£40 As*a shop coming today plus a few local bits I need.

    I keep having a £100+ Sa*ns shop at the beginning of the month to get the free delivery but I think this messes me up as I spend too much in one go without planning it well enough.

    So after today I will have just over £100 for the rest of the month which does not fill me with hope but I'll try! Today I'll do a plan for the rest of the month based on what I have and then fail to follow it as usual stick to it like my life depended on it.
    Originally posted by franby64
    Morning All

    This month I have been keeping a track of my spends as I wasn't really sure what I had been spending on groceries as we have got away from our previous OS ways and I have been diagnosed as coeliac.

    Totted everything up last night and it came to £550 I think there might be a couple of little spends not included too as my other spreadsheet is on my work PC. I am shocked nad horrified. DH and I have had a good chat about this as it is this overspendign that is having a knock on effect on other areas as we don't have the money to do other things with it. The cupboards and freezers are full and this spend only includes £4.70 on a chippy tea.
    Originally posted by XSpender
    Hi Franby64 and XSpender - we three have the same monthly target of £400 which is relatively high for this forum but we all seem to have had a bit of a hiccough with our spending recently and in my own case I had a 3 week period where I spent over £100 in different SM and I seem to have reverted to my pre-GC practice of stocking everything up to the gunnels.

    I don't really know why but I abandoned my frugal list of only the things I need this week (maybe I got complacent) but I feel like I am paying the SM to store their food for them at the moment. As of today I have three Saturdays and £200 left in the pot. I intend planning meals more carefully and I'm going to send Mr SL shopping with the core list next week as he will restrict it to only what is on it and let's see if that makes a difference.

    I know we all have our own household challenges but I thought it might help us to focus if we also know others with similar budgets are struggling too.

    Good luck!
    SL

    My meal plan for this week is as follows:

    Breakfasts will get back to cereal with banana or berries from tomorrow as we leave the house early
    Sunday roast chicken, roast potatoes, carrots and broccoli then rhubarb and custard - cooked breakfast so snack only for lunch
    Monday mince - probably bol with pasta and LO cold chicken salad or sarnies for lunches
    Tuesday steak and chips with salad - cold bol for lunches
    Wednesday macaroni cheese - padded at one end with broccoli and carrots cheese & salad sandwiches for lunch
    Thursday chicken strips grilled with new pototoes and salad (if weather is awful could do chicken curry instead) - LO mac & cheese for lunch
    Friday burger (possibly in bap or with potato salad) and salad - hard boiled egg salad for lunch (DH can have F&C at school).
    MFIT T5 target to clear our mortgage completely (£59,998) Q1 £26,828 or 44.71% paid - Mortgage Free Wannabes 2019 #37 78.13% £31,251.65 including July
    Save £12k in 2019 - #68 target is £7k £4,998.99 or 71.41% after May
    OS Grocery Challenge 2019 target is £3k - 46.03% spent so far, mid July
    My DFD is here
  • helen jelly
    Fozzie - just been and had a look at the co=op to see if they were reducing anything - they weren't But I did manage to get DH's Fathers Day pressie - bottle of Whiskey on offer and with coupons I got it for £8.50 so pleased with that and I bought Cheese - 3 for £5

    Helen
    Projects made for craft fair - 40
    1st fair on 13/4/14
    • DundeeDoll
    • By DundeeDoll 10th Jun 12, 10:03 AM
    • 3,505 Posts
    • 39,663 Thanks
    DundeeDoll
    I water my milk down now and it lasts a loooooot longer. Kids and OH haven't even noticed
    Originally posted by jumblejack
    Good idea. Challenge to self : make milk last till saturday. To revisit sm would be defeatist
  • Midnight Shopper
    Hi All,



    Mostly I just lurk, and read all your words of wisdom... sometimes I read the posts in the wrong order...


    I did that today, and look what I read... Lol! x



    #659
    On a better note, has anyone else tried MrA's SPrice shampoo for 20p? I've been using it this week, and I can't stop telling people about it! My hair is so soft, it feels like I've used some expensive conditioner, but it's just the shampoo


    #658
    Kitchenbunny - I have - it was OK but I would add a few drops of vanilla extract and some pureed fruit to make it less custardy - strawberries are good ...

    I'm still giggling now x

    'Extra payment every week' (started May '12) £60.00 this week = £150.94 so far

    'Virtual Sealed Pot Challenge' (#174 started May '12) £33.00 this week = £86.19 so far

    [FONT=Comic Sans MS][SIZE=2][COLOR=DeepSkyBlue][COLOR=Blue]
    • NickJW
    • By NickJW 10th Jun 12, 11:05 AM
    • 678 Posts
    • 13,646 Thanks
    NickJW
    That made me laugh as well Midnight Shopper!

    Had a bit of a spendy day yesterday - the weather was nice and sunny for a change so wanted to make the most of it

    Soooo...

    £4.24 in Pret on a sandwich and coffee. I don't know why these places are always so busy - it's been years since I've been to one and I was really disappointed. I won't be going there for a while since it wasn't worth the money!
    £3 in Mr S on snacks
    90p in another Mr S on broccoli.

    I didn't fancy cooking enchilladas late yesterday evening so bought some broccoli and used a reduced TTD ready meal for 2 from the freezer. I would have done this at some point so I haven't wasted money on this I guess.

    Having LO hummus with crackers and a bowl of cereal for lunch (I've only just woken up ), and HM squid, basil and chilli spaghetti for dinner - it's only of my favourite pasta recipes and so cheap - Stir Fried Chilli and Basil Squid

    I WILL have the enchiladas tomorrow! Just need to stay away from the shops and make today a lazy day at home!
    Will go and update my signature....
    Grocery Challenge 14 Jan 14 £46.05/£130

    Grocery Challenge 13 -spent £1453.06
    Grocery Challenge 12 -spent £1565.51

    DFD 1st March 2011
  • cleggie
    Morning all

    Hoping for a low spend day today, only need bread.
    • bossymoo
    • By bossymoo 10th Jun 12, 11:25 AM
    • 6,817 Posts
    • 87,056 Thanks
    bossymoo
    Ugh. Why are weekends so expensive? Mr m and £70 of which £55 was groceries.

    Sig updated.

    However, we are fully stocked for the month apart from regular milk and some fruit.
    Bossymoo

    Away with the fairies
    • meg72
    • By meg72 10th Jun 12, 11:33 AM
    • 5,082 Posts
    • 46,072 Thanks
    meg72
    Welcome Midnight Shopper,thanks for the giggle.
    Slimming World at target
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