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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 first Grocery Challenge of 2014

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


    December grocery challenge - sorry cant seem to get the hyper link to work http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=4798807



    As always this challenge is to reduce your own grocery budget to levels that you will be pleased with, not forgetting that we always recommend that you stay inside your own comfort levels and take things gently one step at a time. Remember that this is not a competition....it's designed to take you and your grocery spending to a level you are happy with.

    If you are new to the challenge I have quoted the advice from Galtizz below which will help you get started.

    Please post into this thread for help and advice and support at any time. Good luck to everyone taking part!

    I have said this before, but for all the newbies to the challenge;

    For the first month I took a guess at the budget but I really had no idea how much I was spending.

    I found the best thing is to have a guess the first month but SAVE ALL OF YOUR RECEIPTS (and yes, that does include the ones from the local shop when you run out of milk ), then at the end of the month add them all up and have a look if you were on budget, if not, it doesn't matter because your budget was a guess. For the next month you can use the total of your receipts and take a bit off to get a realistic budget, just shave off as much as you think you can, it could be 1 a week or 20 a week.

    If you are currently spending 200 a month don't suddenly drop it to 100 - you'll never do it but if you cut 20 a month off for a few months you'll get there eventually without feeling you're missing out on anything.

    You might think you've done everything you can in the first month but someone always comes up with a new idea and, if you try it you often find you save a bit more (unless you are SarahSaver who is an expert at this and could only save more if she turned her back garden into a paddy field and lived on rice ) In the first month I thought, I'm planning meals, I couldn't possibly save any more, but then I started double cooking and freezing, and making soup instead of buying it in tins.

    I've been doing this since Feb but only saved ALL of my receipts last month, it has given me a much better idea of where it is all going. Budget for next month is 80 for 2 of us, I'll start on 30/4. I could probably save more, by eating different foods but I can afford to live on 80, I have saved a lot of money since Feb. and I don't waste food or money any more. So I'm happy with my budget.
    By request, here is Spiggles wonderful helpful post

    We all have different budgets that suit our households. The most important thing to remember is that you set yours according to your needs and finances. It can take time to get to where you want to be too so don't knock yourself out if you go over in the first few months. We are here to support each other and it is not a competition.

    I thought it might help to outline where we've come from and the top tips I've learned.

    When we started in March 2010 we had spent in excess of 600 in the previous month. This had to stop, (there's only me and him and our two beautiful black cats) something which thankfully my OH completely agreed with so I have been lucky that he has been on board from the start. He gave me his debit card voluntarily and I still keep hold of it until he needs to get something for the home. At the same time we set up a system of pocket money (pm) at 15 each per week which doesn't count towards the GC and which we can each spend as we wish with no comebacks or complaints. OH predominantly uses his pm on his beer and I ferret mine away mostly.

    The next step was to set up my own spreadsheet which is absolutely simple onto which I put all spends so that I have a continuous running total for the month and for the year. We initially set our budget at 280 per month and brought it down to 240 where it resides for most of the year it is occasionally increased to allow for extras e.g. Christmas to 260.

    The important 'tools' we found greatly helped and continue to do so now are:

    Stocktake cupboards, fridge, freezer - make lists and ensure that the older products get used up first. You'll be amazed at what you find squirrelled away and it will help with your shopping list as you'll realise that you don't actually need so much.

    Before you go shopping check staples - running out of milk, bread, butter, etc often leads to going into a shop for one thing and coming out 20 lighter. Always check these and if they'll run out tomorrow buy them the same time as getting other things.

    Always make a shopping list and stick to it - the supermarkets (sm) try every which way to get us to spend so having a list and strong resolve is the only way to beat them.

    Keep every receipt - and then note it down on your spreadsheet/spend diary so that you always know where you are.

    When tempted, ask yourself do you NEED it or just WANT it - now this advice goes with two things. Firstly, the things you see in store when shopping that APPEAR to be bargains - if you hadn't planned spending the money then its not a bargain. Secondly, the sm send us loads of vouchers for X off a spend of XX - if you had no NEED to spend XX then have you SAVED anything???

    Use my supermarket to compare prices (limited to four of the biggies) - The site may be used to actually do an online shop at whichever of the big four offers the best value or, if you have the time and sm availability, to make up lists for visiting each of the stores so that you can purchase all you need at different stores thus getting the best possible value. (I'd add, do a 'shop' virtually on this site and take the list you create on it with you, whichever one you shop at, it will help keep target prices in your head and allow you to spot bargains. MrM is not included but you can do a virtual list on their website so you know what you're going to be spending.)

    Always have a list - this is just as important when shopping online as shopping on foot.

    Use Approved Foods online (with a list!) - if you don't mind out of date things (ood) or you can search for only in date items. The only drawback is storing the goods as far as I can tell. Oh, and watch the delivery as it's done on a scaled charge for weight so keep an eye on it. You can of course do an AF order with friends, family, colleagues or like minded neighbours. Other GCers use Big Br*nds 4 Less too.

    Invest in a breadmaker - we have saved so much by making our own bread. The prices in the shops are extortionate for bread these days. There's loads of advice on this thread and others in the forum on this.

    Use the recipe lists - always posted at the front of a new thread. There are fantastic, tasty, healthy and economical recipes to use on them and there are a number of other threads on the forum such as Weezl's that will help you to eat well on a budget.

    Shop locally - the local greengrocer (or preferably market but I don't have one ) is usually cheaper as an option for fruit and veg (f&v) than the sm. Often the prices may look the same but when you look at the quantity for the same price the greengrocer will be cheaper. The same goes for the local butcher. Often you will have far more variety of meat available, advice on how to cook a particular meat can be offered and there is (for me at least) no comparison in terms of quality. We buy our huge FR eggs there and I'm yet to find an equivalent FR egg in a sm at the same or lower price. Obvioulsy if you have your own chicks/know someone who has chicks you can get them even cheaper again.

    Grow your own - it's quite simple to grow some f&v at home even if it's only in pots on the patio. There are also supportive threads on the forum for this.

    Cook your own - making meals at home from ingredients is far more economical, often tastes better than shop bought and is probably far better healthwise.

    Meal Plan - this is something that others can advise on as we don't do it. I have a tremendous capacity for eating the same food over many days but presented in slightly different form. For example, we could buy 7 worth of brisket from the butchers and eat it as pot roast for a couple of days, sliced for sarnies, sliced with a salad, chucked into a casserole or shredded up and fried as crispy beef.

    Don't waste food - either only make what you need or use any leftovers for other meals/creations or freeze it for another day.

    Withdraw the cash you want to spend - and keep it in a separate purse. This can be particularly effective as you have the money in front of you reducing rather than spending with plastic which is so easy to lose track of. Very useful when you first start out.

    Don't go to the shops to browse - this can only lead to pain and hardship!!!

    Keep posting and reading the thread - there really is no better supportive, wise and inspirational place to be! I think I saw that somebody mentioned forgetting to read/post. I get around this by using the Advanced button to post, below the window where your text is displayed you will see Additional Options. In the Thread Subscription box use the dropdown to select either instant email notification (this is what I use) or daily email notification before you submit your latest post. Then you will get an email into your inbox from which you can click to the thread to see what others are saying.

    Always remember the sm is not your friend - it wants to profit from you and take as much of your money as it can coerce out of you!

    So, there you go as a starting point. Others on here will offer tremendous advice on meal planning. And don't forget, the only silly question is the one you didn't ask!

    See you all later,
    Spigs
    For quidelines on posting in this thread please read the second post in this thread.

    For the Grocery challenge Recipe Index please see posts #3, #4, #5 #6 #7 #8 & #9 on this thread (the list is growing!!!!!)

    For everyones totals, see post #10 on this thread

    I hope everyone has a great month!

    Zip
    Last edited by zippychick; 30-12-2013 at 10:55 AM.
    A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men
    Norn Iron club member #380

Page 28
  • BMG
    Will be a NSD for me today as I am not planning on going out. Have some voluntary work to do so that will keep my occupied.


    Lunch today is ham and cheese toasties and a packet of crisps


    Dinner will be a HM steak and kidney pie for hubby with potatoes and veg. For me it will be a HM vegetable pasty with potatoes.


    All freezer and cupboard stash.

    • physicsgirl
    • By physicsgirl 7th Jan 14, 9:35 AM
    • 126 Posts
    • 1,425 Thanks
    physicsgirl
    One of my New Year's resolutions is to actually keep up with the GC throughout the month - the last 3 months I've started enthusiastically then petered out

    It's partly because I don't always have the receipts to hand when I have time to write a post, but this year I'm going to write the post anyway with approximate amounts and edit it later when I find the receipts!

    I'm also going to start putting my meal plans on here as I find it so useful looking at what other people do for ideas, and it will hopefully help me cost them so I can see how much of the food spending is going on the evening meals.

    ALSO (I'm very ambitious!) I really want to reduce the food we waste - it's tough since our freezer is tiny and there's no space for a chest freezer, but I'm going to cost up how much we put in the bin/compost each month.

    SO big plans, here's hoping I can stick to it!
    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.
    • 2childmum
    • By 2childmum 7th Jan 14, 9:42 AM
    • 182 Posts
    • 2,195 Thanks
    2childmum
    Hi everyone. i haven't had a chance to get onto the forum for ages so still have to declare for December. The December thread is so far down the board I think I will do it here! So I have a 92.47 underspend! I did have Sainsbury points and a Tesco voucher which I used, but even so I am rather pleased with myself - I did manage to get some reduced stuff after Christmas, including a very yummy gammon for less than half price,and a variety of Christmas puddings - one put away for next year, and the others to eat at some point soon (my son loves them!)

    So flush with success I would like a budget of 425.00please. This is only a small reduction, but I would rather go downwards slowly rather than crash and burn.

    Meal plan this week -

    Mon - sweet and sour pork (YS pork from the freezer) I made my own sauce but to be honest I don't think it worked out much cheaper than buying a jar, and as we decided we needed more sauce I think the jar is our best option, especially as stir fry is one of my 'I have to get a meal on the table in no time at all' meals
    Tues - easy chicken curry - new recipe for me so we shall see how it goes.
    Weds - fish pie - the base part is in the freezer ready in its dish so I just have to boil some pots/sweet pots to top it and hope DS remembers to put it in the oven!
    Thurs - Butternut squash bake
    Fri - salmon pie. I got a side of salmon reduced to 8 something, We used half last week and I poached the other half to freeze. Also have some ys pastry in the freezer to use.
    Sat- Turkey meatballs. could only get a large pack of mince so plan to make loads and freeze some
    Sun - toad in the hole - bought some sausage meat reduced to 25p so reckon I could make it into balls and use instead of sausages. Son will have a couple of the mini pies i made a while back cos he doesn't like sausages.

    Have spent 62.11 this month, including ready meals on Saturday . We were planning on going out as a last family thing before school/work kicked back in but nobody really felt like it so we got ready meals and vegged in front of the telly.-

    And i forgot to wish you all a Happy New Year
    May spend - 291.40/320.00
    June spend - 106.40/320.00
    • meg72
    • By meg72 7th Jan 14, 9:51 AM
    • 5,082 Posts
    • 46,072 Thanks
    meg72
    Hi everyone, I am back after spending a fabulous 4 days in Rome with DD and DGD.

    Loved it but oh my the prices cant believe I spent 4 euros on a small loaf

    Well its back to frugal ways now with a vengeance as want to go to Amsterdam in the spring.

    After 4 days of super rich sauces and huge pizzas I am longing for something simple so going to have baked beans on toast for lunch and maybe egg and chips for dinner.

    Welcome to all the newbies
    Slimming World at target
    • lovefullshelves
    • By lovefullshelves 7th Jan 14, 10:08 AM
    • 647 Posts
    • 7,440 Thanks
    lovefullshelves
    44.93 on a delivery from mr asda stocked up on 50p things! And my favourite...chocolate!!
    2013 NSD 100. CC2014CC- 31.50/135
    2014 NSD 86 so far - May 20/21
    2014 G/C spend 741.55 so far May 107.99/91
    Debt Free - 30.05.13 Emergency tin - 1000
    C.R.A.P.R.O.L.L.Z #54 - toilet paper tunneller
    • dumpling
    • By dumpling 7th Jan 14, 10:13 AM
    • 1,704 Posts
    • 23,758 Thanks
    dumpling
    Had a bit of a fail as I went shopping in Tescos for bread and apples and spent 34.88 . I did manage to get a nice big piece of gammon reduced to 4.34 and their extra lean mince is down to 3 a pack and that's the only mince I buy so I bought 3 packs. I also bought a chicken for 5 as I was going to buy a cooked one for lunches but they were tiny and it's not like I don't have the time to cook one, so that's in the oven as I write . Ah well, it's a learning experience! I'm 21 over my budget for the week so far but I won't need to get anything else now till Friday (she says hopefully). Hope everyone is doing better than me .

    • physicsgirl
    • By physicsgirl 7th Jan 14, 10:16 AM
    • 126 Posts
    • 1,425 Thanks
    physicsgirl
    So my budget for this month is 200, this should be achievable since we only got back from Scotland on Saturday (we stayed with OH's parents so "free" food up there!).

    Did a shop Saturday evening, spent ~30 in Ald! and ~15 in T3sco, including some great YS bargains - 15p pots of guacamole, 90p half rounds of stilton, 25p fresh soup, and 10p chesnut mushrooms.

    Here's the meal plan:

    Saturday - Sweet and sour stir fry (peppers, mushrooms) with noodles and spring rolls [forgot about the spring rolls :S I used half a jar of sweet&sour sauce in the stir fry, but I think I'll stick to stir fry sauce in future as it was very bland]

    Sunday - Fajitas (1 courgette, 6 mushrooms, 1 pepper, salsa, spice mix, wraps, guacamole (make it? avocados, red onion, tomato, lime juice), yoghurt) [used 15p guacamole instead of making it ]

    Monday - Ham and mushroom calzone [I emailed my OH the ingredients and quantities for the pizza dough so he could weigh them out and put them in the breadmaker - I got home and found he'd used strong BROWN flour instead of strong WHITE flour, but it turned out ok thankfully! I must remember to cook the mushrooms before putting them on the pizza next time, the base went soggy after it'd been cut]

    Tuesday - Ceasar salad with HM croutons, roasted butternut squash and pine nuts

    Wednesday - Gnocchi with a 3 cheese sauce (cream cheese, cheddar and stilton)

    Thursday - Loaded potato skins (bacon, cheddar, spring onions)

    Friday - Thai curry with coconut rice

    Saturday - HM Cheeseburgers with wedges

    Sunday - Risotto (beetroot?)

    Monday - Pasta and vegetable bake

    Tuesday - Turkey curry with pakora and "Maharani style" peshwari naan
    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.
  • BlueMoo

    Hi everyone, I am back after spending a fabulous 4 days in Rome with DD and
    DGD
    How lovely Meg! Rome is so beautiful - did DD and DGD love it?



    So I have a 92.47 underspend
    Well done!


    ******

    NSD yesterday and hoping NSD today.

    Is anyone else fidning it very hard to resist takeaways? Especially as it's so windy and cold at the moment.

    Have managed to resist so far, but keep forgetting to prepare food ready for next day, so when I get home from work the last thing I want to do at the moment is cook a full meal.

    ***********

    Have thrown away alot of food as well that has gone mouldy. It was not re-usuable at all!
    Oh dear! Onwards and Upwards.
    Especially when I have to confess to all of you here!

    *******

    Dinner last night of beef tacos (made from roast beef leftovers jazzed up with peppers, paprika, cayenne, stock, fresh tomatoes, red/white onion) with salad.

    *******
    M3 Dec2015 #160 Target 150,000 (BU 155000)
    • First_Trouble
    • By First_Trouble 7th Jan 14, 10:22 AM
    • 974 Posts
    • 3,142 Thanks
    First_Trouble
    Wow page 28 already. I better catch up on my reading.
    A budget of 100 for me for this month
    That voice in your head that says you cant do this is a LIAR!

    Debt Free - January 2021
    • physicsgirl
    • By physicsgirl 7th Jan 14, 10:29 AM
    • 126 Posts
    • 1,425 Thanks
    physicsgirl
    I also thought I'd share my money saving lunch with 2 of my girlfriends: we were meeting up on Sunday and usually we'd go to Wagamamas or similar and I'd spend ~10. BUT instead I suggested they should come round to my flat for lunch. We had pizza (with toppings added) and garlic bread:
    2 garlic baguettes - 65p (Ald!)
    3 margarita pizzas - 2.69 (Ald!)
    4 mushrooms - 4p (~1/3 of reduced 10p pack of mushrooms)
    Peppers - 60p (I need to find cheaper peppers)
    Ham - ~20p (part of 1.75 ham trimmings pack from Ald!)

    So grand total of 4.18 on food, plus maybe 30p on teabags and squash, and my friend reckoned the pizza was as good as any you'd get in a restaurant plus there was enough food left over for lunch for me and my OH the next day!
    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.
    • happytails
    • By happytails 7th Jan 14, 10:44 AM
    • 1,530 Posts
    • 9,233 Thanks
    happytails
    Well its back to frugal ways now with a vengeance as want to go to Amsterdam in the spring.
    Originally posted by meg72
    Ahh Amsterdam is lovely, the hubby and I went for our honeymoon 2.5 years ago. Wanted to go back for our 5 year anniversary but it all depends on cost as we stayed in a swanky expensice hotel and we want to go back there!

    Anyway enough of my waffling, just wanted to say its a lovely place, atmosphere is great and the public transport is so much better than the uk!! LOL

    Sarah xx
    MFW Total 183,637.21 to clear by 2035
    DFW Total 35,420 to clear by 2024

    2019 in 2019 0.00/2019
  • CH27
    A NSD for me
    Try to be a rainbow in someone's cloud.
    • kayester
    • By kayester 7th Jan 14, 11:19 AM
    • 1,800 Posts
    • 9,338 Thanks
    kayester
    [IMG][/IMG]
    my meal last night, Jamie Olivers mothership roast chicken and all the sides. (lot of gravy but I LOVE it!!)
    216/2018 (make in 2018)

    Grocery challenge
    Jan 227/400
    swagbucks target 2018 1452/27375
    • Sligo
    • By Sligo 7th Jan 14, 11:34 AM
    • 208 Posts
    • 1,066 Thanks
    Sligo
    Hi All. A little late but back and full of good intentions for 2014!!

    Please put me down for 750 for January. A 5 week month for me! I am not putting myself under any stress to reduce the budget this month and I will see if I think I can squeeze it any lower after january!

    Sligo x

    • Eyebright
    • By Eyebright 7th Jan 14, 11:56 AM
    • 860 Posts
    • 4,682 Thanks
    Eyebright
    [IMG][/IMG]
    my meal last night, Jamie Olivers mothership roast chicken and all the sides. (lot of gravy but I LOVE it!!)
    Originally posted by kayester
    I see you figured out how to upload pics then! Looks delish

    I've just found a receipt I had somehow forgotten about from NYE (part of Jan's budget for me) for 99 which means I will be way over budget this month, oopsy! Hope to do better in Feb
    DFD Feb 2018 Total debt now 12672.13 6919.63
    EFC #11 150/1000 = 15% achieved
    • mouche
    • By mouche 7th Jan 14, 12:14 PM
    • 890 Posts
    • 4,382 Thanks
    mouche
    NSD for me yesterday and today though am very hungry today due to not having any breakfast. Normall keep muesli at work and eat here with office-provided milk but left the box open over the holidays and I suspect the mice got into it. ERK! Have some big porridge sachets but they are the plain ones so need to remember to bring in some dried fruit from home tomorrow. Am also thinking of buying some YS pastries next time I see them and freezing them to bring to work for breakfast. But need to finish the porridge first!

    Lunch is an NCG soup (1 on offer) and dinner should be mince curry with cabbage or cauliflower, depending on what OH cooks tonight.
    Mortgage (original/ current):193,000 (23/09/11)/ 131,290.03 (05/11/2018) MFW target for 2018: 2,406.04/ 3,000
    2017 Challenges: Make 300 a month: 29/300 (November) NSDs: 2/15 (November)
    Lose 3st 9lb: 0/3st 9lb
    • meg72
    • By meg72 7th Jan 14, 12:44 PM
    • 5,082 Posts
    • 46,072 Thanks
    meg72
    How lovely Meg! Rome is so beautiful - did DD and DGD love it.

    *******
    Originally posted by BlueMoo
    They absolutely loved it, although DGD had a nasty sickness bug the 2nd day and couldn't even keep a sip of water down so we stayed in the apartment that day, but bless her she struggled on though very weak and whoosy and we managed to visit most of the sights we had planned.
    Slimming World at target
    • meg72
    • By meg72 7th Jan 14, 12:51 PM
    • 5,082 Posts
    • 46,072 Thanks
    meg72
    I also thought I'd share my money saving lunch with 2 of my girlfriends: we were meeting up on Sunday and usually we'd go to Wagamamas or similar and I'd spend ~10. BUT instead I suggested they should come round to my flat for lunch. We had pizza (with toppings added) and garlic bread:
    2 garlic baguettes - 65p (Ald!)
    3 margarita pizzas - 2.69 (Ald!)
    4 mushrooms - 4p (~1/3 of reduced 10p pack of mushrooms)
    Peppers - 60p (I need to find cheaper peppers)
    Ham - ~20p (part of 1.75 ham trimmings pack from Ald!)

    So grand total of 4.18 on food, plus maybe 30p on teabags and squash, and my friend reckoned the pizza was as good as any you'd get in a restaurant plus there was enough food left over for lunch for me and my OH the next day!
    Originally posted by physicsgirl
    I bet this was as good as we paid 15 euros each for in Rome, and no garlic bread.

    Re peppers if you an get these reduced or on a market, I got 7 on Wolverhampton market for 1. they can be sliced or chopped and freeze really well.
    Slimming World at target
  • Jacksmummy
    Been to Mr T's, picked up yogurts, milk, crumpets, cereal, lentils, loo roll and a few other bits, spent 21.86.

    spent 56.28 of my 150 budget so far.
    G.C July 21.09/100

  • sausageandonion
    New shopping plan needed!
    Hi there,

    I'm really up for the shopping challenge this year as I am really stuck in a rut with both my meal planning and shopping habits. I have had a family of 4 to feed for years but now things are changing! My son has recently moved out ( how did one person eat so much?!) and my daughter has a job and a very hectic social life. I'm cooking too much just for me and my other half and that probably means I'm buying too much as well.
    I would really like to know what is a realistic budget to set each week for 2 and a fleeting picky eater who flys in grabs something and flys out!
    And is it really cheaper to shop at lidl/butchers/locally than to do an online shop with a list?
    Looking forward to hearing how you all manage, even though my son ate us out of house and home he did contribute so the food budget has taken a knock and I seem to be spending the same amount!
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