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

    Welcome to the first Grocery Challenge of 2013

    Hope you all have a happy new year. Here's to 2013!!!

    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 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'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; 12-12-2012 at 1:40 PM.
    A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men
    Norn Iron club member #380

Page 46
  • Plethora
    Well back to uni today - must go food shopping tomorrow so I can actually feed my guest so gonna write up a list when I get back so I don't buy what I already have in! Wish me luck!

    Crazy clothes 2013

    Jan grocery 0/75
  • Peanut2013
    Slightly unrelated but this was my first week at Mr T (normally an S family) but mum goes Mr T so it meant free lift and lunch after (mummy insisted I came home for lunch, lol).

    We're a basics / value family but so far I've not been impressed with the bread (whole meal), wafer thin ham, chicken roll and crisps so far

    Think I'm going to have to include a trip to S aswell in the week! Rats!!
    • xxsally1990xx
    • By xxsally1990xx 6th Jan 13, 1:31 PM
    • 21 Posts
    • 231 Thanks
    Well back to uni today - must go food shopping tomorrow so I can actually feed my guest so gonna write up a list when I get back so I don't buy what I already have in! Wish me luck!
    Originally posted by Plethora
    good luck back at uni on tues, just done my tesco order - came to 50.88 but saved nearly 40 quid using
    Side Hustle -
  • KatyReed+5
    Back from a trip to Sainsbobs, stopped at mums on the way and she had the kids for me and gave us all lunch which saved me some food right there.

    I completely forgot my list, which i nearly always do, but did pretty well even if i did buy things that wern't on it. In the end i bought.

    2 x BOB bread - 1.35 each on offer 2 for 2.50.
    2 x Vitalite - 1.20 each
    1 x Lemon - 30p
    1 x big bag of crisps - 90p
    1 x soya yougs - 1.75.
    1 x 2.5kg potatoes - 1.95.
    1 x Cheerios 600g - 99p reduced from 3.09 damaged box
    20 x Bananas - 1.87.
    6 x Warburtons Sandwich thins - 34p each reduced from 1.30 each

    I used 1 of my healthy start vouchers so that took off 3.10.

    So only paid 11.60 so quite proud of myself there.

    Going to freeze 1 loaf of the bread and all the thins. My kids don't eat cheerios as a breakfast cereal but do like them dry as a snack so they were a good find, as they were much cheaper than sainsbobs own. It's a good day.

    Quick question but i have a banana muffin recipe that calls for rolled oats but i found in my cupboards some packets of express porridge oats, the kind you do in the microwave, do you think i could replace it with those?

    June 0.00 GC / 200.00

    Family of 4 : 1 adult 3 kids ages 3,4 & 5.
    • ruby_eskimo
    • By ruby_eskimo 6th Jan 13, 1:44 PM
    • 2,255 Posts
    • 12,613 Thanks
    Just got back from Mr S' and we spent 41.17. We're definitely on track and I can't believe we're actually managing to keep to under 50 a week where as before we were spending 60-70 a week! And a few of the things we did buy today will last a while like Baking Powder, a few dried spices and Caster Sugar.

    As I type I have some bread proving so I can make rolls to take to work for lunch, to go with the lentil soup I am about to make in my new soup maker and later I will be making some low fat banana bread so I don't throw away the banana's that we bought last week and are a little over-ripe for mine or OH's liking.

    Hope everyone's having a great weekend!
    Emergency Fund - 0 / 5,000 :: Decluttering - 12 / 1095
    :: VSP #13 - 18.49:: NSD 2019 - 17 / 200 Weight Loss: 43 / 58lbs January GC - 76.35/ 200
    Engaged 9th December 2010 Married 29th October 2015 Bought a House 13th January 2017
    • icontinuetodream
    • By icontinuetodream 6th Jan 13, 1:45 PM
    • 985 Posts
    • 6,606 Thanks
    Quick question but i have a banana muffin recipe that calls for rolled oats but i found in my cupboards some packets of express porridge oats, the kind you do in the microwave, do you think i could replace it with those?
    Originally posted by KatyReed+5
    I would!
    Mortgage 12.12.12 55842 12.12.13 42716 14.12.14 28837 13.12.15 25913
    Mortgage OP 50/600 House Fund 420/5000
    • malamay
    • By malamay 6th Jan 13, 2:16 PM
    • 346 Posts
    • 4,698 Thanks
    I'm trying a new strategy this month. I did an online order with Mr S, and used a voucher for new accounts. It will be delivered on Saturday, and contains a few bits we need, and rough meal planning for a week and a half/2 weeks. I then went to Mr T, and did our top up for this week, including a few bits that were cheaper here. Hopefully we should only need another top up at the end of the month, and will come in under budget!

    7.52 for the top up, and 52.46 for the delivery. We've spent 21 last week, which should leave 69 at the end of the month.

    Here's to wishful thinking!
    • Living proof
    • By Living proof 6th Jan 13, 2:26 PM
    • 1,568 Posts
    • 10,219 Thanks
    Living proof
    I have been to the big Asda out of town for the first time. It was so busy and loud I was pleased to get away with just 5.11 spent (used the savings card for that) and another few pounds in B & M totalling 10.85. I was sorely tempted to pick up a few reduced items, but I want for nothing other than fresh fruit and veg and milk occasionally. The freezer and cupboards are full to bursting so the next couple of months should be very low spend. The shops in town itself were almost all closed and those that were open were very quiet indeed. I think everyone has had their fill and are just hunkering down for a while

    Good luck one and all!
    Solar Suntellite 250 x16 4kW Afore 3600TL dual 2KW E 2KW W no shade, DN15 March 14
    Mortgage and Debt Free. Unfortunately Pension Free too!
    • cornishchick
    • By cornishchick 6th Jan 13, 2:43 PM
    • 584 Posts
    • 5,873 Thanks
    I'm trying a new strategy this month. I did an online order with Mr S, and used a voucher for new accounts. It will be delivered on Saturday, and contains a few bits we need, and rough meal planning for a week and a half/2 weeks. I then went to Mr T, and did our top up for this week, including a few bits that were cheaper here. Hopefully we should only need another top up at the end of the month, and will come in under budget!

    7.52 for the top up, and 52.46 for the delivery. We've spent 21 last week, which should leave 69 at the end of the month.

    Here's to wishful thinking!
    Originally posted by malamay
    can i ask where you got the voucher for new accounts please.. ? looking to use mr s for some of shopping. thank you

    plus need to add 2.25 to my total. just went to the local garage for milk, as forgot it yesterday.... will try not to do that again!!! 1.25 more than i normally spend.....
    live, love,laugh.
    living on my memories, trying to make new ones.
    "Sealed Pot Challenge 5" #1841 now I have a sealed tin, anyone got a tin opener?
    C.R.A.P.R.O.L.L.Z #43 cornishchick - laughing first aider and coffee monitor.
  • FBG85
    I had a voucher for sainsburys , on a flyer with our local paper, but I had 10 off a 50 spend with tescos which I got automatically when I placed my first order. Have a look on their websites as some shops advertise their discount for new customers (I think I Acado does) HTH ( and made sense!)
    GC September 69.64/200
  • kittiej
    Hi everybody

    Reporting back to say I spent another 23.85 so far making my total spends of 57.62/100 so 42.38 left . hoping to stay within budget still. I shall allow a bit more next month and I will withdraw the money instead of spending on my card.

    Hop everyone else is doing OK?
    Sealed pot challenge member number 18
    Karma - the consequences of ones acts.
    "It's OK to falter otherwise how will you know what success feels like?"
    1 debt v 100 days 2000
    • Suzexxx
    • By Suzexxx 6th Jan 13, 3:21 PM
    • 173 Posts
    • 1,590 Thanks
    Hi all

    Just got back from my weekly whoopsie hunt. I did ever so well today, feeling rather pleased with myself.

    My haul included:

    *Potatos 5p for a large bag
    *2 x ham and pineapple pizza slices 30p each.
    *Crumpets 10p
    *Muffins 10p
    *Shortbread slices 10p
    *Pancakes 40p
    *Cold chicken and bacon pasta 18p
    *Fruit snack bag 5p
    *Apple snack bag 3p
    *Weightwatchers wraps 13p for 6
    *2 pack of bread rolls 5p
    *4 pack of bread rolls 5p
    *Whipping cream 10p
    *Single cream 11p
    *Chicken in peppercorn sauce 39p
    *Chicken in white wine sauce 39p
    *25 party sausages that need cooking 15p
    *6xpork pies 19p
    *Tear and share garlic bread 15p
    *Chicken and bacon sandwich filler 15p
    These reductions both from Mr M and Mr T

    Also popped to Mr A to check out reductions but sadly nothing that took my fancy. Ended up buying a paper, fabric softner, 2 x milkshakes, apple juice and washing up liquid spending 4.

    I tend to do my meal plans around my whoopsie shopping as i never seem to get the same whoopsie items each week. Last week i came home with more fruit and veg and bakery items compared to meat items, so the meal plan was very different. Whoopsie's mean for a few days after my DP gets to take more food to work for little cost.

    Off to unpack now and start the tea. Hope everyone is having a lovely Sunday. Will update my signiture.

    2015 wins Sekonda watch, Harry Potter hardback book,
    • Nicki_Sue
    • By Nicki_Sue 6th Jan 13, 3:32 PM
    • 1,216 Posts
    • 7,408 Thanks
    Have just remembered that I have two boxes of vol au vent cases in the freezer and creamed mushrooms & Campbells mushroom soup in the cupboard that was meant for 2 events between Xmas & new year that I missed as had demon flu. Nice packed lunch fillers for DH and eldest!
    • Coxy11
    • By Coxy11 6th Jan 13, 3:34 PM
    • 2,300 Posts
    • 27,322 Thanks
    For XSpender

    Chocolate Raspberry Pavlova

    This recipe is from Sainsbobs Christmas Magazine, Dec 2012, and is by Nigella. I use half the quantities quoted in the magazine, which makes an ample pavlova serving 6 easily.

    For the meringue base:
    3 large egg whites
    150 caster sugar
    1.5 tbsp cocoa powder, sieved
    0.5 tsp balsamic or red wine vinegar
    25g dark choc, finely chopped

    For the topping:
    250ml double cream
    150 g raspberries
    2 tbsp coarsely grated dark chocolate

    Preheat the oven to 180C, fan 160C, gas 4 and line a baking tray with nonstick baking paper.

    Whisk the egg whites until satiny peaks form, then beat in the sugar, a spoonful at a time until the meringue is stiff and shiny.

    Sprinkle over the cocoa, vinegar and chocolate, then gently fold everything together until thoroughly mixed in.

    Mound onto a baking sheet in a fat circle, smoothing the sides and top.

    Place in the oven, turn the temperature down to 150C, fan 130C, gas 2 and cook for 45mins.

    When it's ready it should look crisp around the edges and sides and be dry on top, but when you prod the centre it should feel slightly squidgy inside.

    Turn the oven off and open the door slightly to let the meringue cool.

    When you're ready to serve, whisk the cream and pile on top. Scatter the raspberries and sprinkle the grated chocolate on top.

    The meringue can be made a few days ahead and can also be frozen.

    When I first made this I did the actual recipe with double the quantities shown above. It was HUGE! This reduced size recipe is just right.

    Cross-stitch WIP #1: Collecting Shells by Nancy Cole
    Cross-stitch WIP #2: Pretty Little London by Satsuma Street
    • m155piggy
    • By m155piggy 6th Jan 13, 3:35 PM
    • 68 Posts
    • 1,111 Thanks
    Wow well done Suzexxx thats amazing!!!!

    NSD for me - quorn roast in the oven with all the roast dinner trimmings (we not vege but just like quorn)

    DS2 birthday on Tuesday and have been planning the family buffet - raided the freezer and found loads of party finger food and sausage rolls decanted from big packets before xmas, there are crisps in the caravan, I will make cobs, pizza, small cakes and quiche from storecupboard and freezer items. Only things I will need to go to the shop for are more eggs and a tiramisu which he specifically asked for - really pleased not to have to spend big as our family parties usually are epic in food proportions and cost a fortune.
    May GC 433.32/ 350 Apr GC 263.43 /300
    Mar GC 346.43 /350 Feb GC 248.01/300
    Jan GC 249.47/400
    • Coxy11
    • By Coxy11 6th Jan 13, 3:41 PM
    • 2,300 Posts
    • 27,322 Thanks
    Hi everyone,

    We had friends for dinner last night, so I have some spends to report.

    MrW (!) yesterday 41.18, plus MrT 2.53. That was for dinner for 6 plus alcohol. Our turn to host, but will be invited back out to the other two couples later in the year.

    MrT today with DD. She is such a sweetheart. The only extra she asked for was 2 x Trop!cana on offer at 2 for 3. We usually have juice from concentrate, but can't complain that she made a healthy choice.

    49.83 to add to the total, which included packed lunch bits for the week.

    There was such a scramble at the F&V and chilled whoopsies fridges. People literally grabbing stuff out of the SA's hands as they were reducing it. As I didn't get to bed until 3.30am I didn't feel in the right frame of mind to join in!

    Cross-stitch WIP #1: Collecting Shells by Nancy Cole
    Cross-stitch WIP #2: Pretty Little London by Satsuma Street
    • Coxy11
    • By Coxy11 6th Jan 13, 3:52 PM
    • 2,300 Posts
    • 27,322 Thanks
    Sorry me again!

    Budgets done to here

    Welcome to:
    princess84, Helsbels8080, and MammaLewis

    frooglefraggle - I've changed your budget from 180 monthly to 35 weekly.

    Cross-stitch WIP #1: Collecting Shells by Nancy Cole
    Cross-stitch WIP #2: Pretty Little London by Satsuma Street
    • lynneee
    • By lynneee 6th Jan 13, 4:25 PM
    • 776 Posts
    • 3,259 Thanks
    Well had a good weekend using up stuff and staying away from the shops! Spent 1.29 on milk and that was all. Will need to go to Mr Ms tomorrow, need fruit and veg and a few other bits. Most pleased with the progress I am making so far. Going to have a good check of what is still in the freezer before going, no point buying what I may already have!
    Glad to hear everyone is making good progress
    Last edited by lynneee; 06-01-2013 at 4:29 PM.
    Rule of 3 decluttering challenge 2018: 009/1080
  • nicolula87
    A couple of spends to report:
    2.14 for rinse aid and dishwasher cleaner (I really should shop in Wilko's for more cleaning products, so much cheaper than Asda!

    10.47 in Mr M on washing powder (should be enough for about 3 months ish), vinegar and milk.

    It is definitely starting to become more of a habit to try and use things up here, am trying to throw away less food. Yesterday my parents came round which wasn't planned initially but made a huge batch of soup with parsnips, carrots, onion, garlic, and some leftover mushy peas and leftover mashed potato. Parents brought bread rolls so that fed four of us no problem, and OH ate the rest for lunch today. Then for tea yesterday OH and I had stir fry using up more leftover veg - peppers, mushrooms and onion. Then he had some leftover beef from Friday night in his and I had the rest of the frozen prawns in mine, so feeling very OS this weekend!!
    Kitchen Debt - 2820/260
    Save 12k in 2013 #060: 1293.24/3000
    MFW: 88760.00/85000.00 (4.24% paid)
  • KatyReed+5
    Well done Suzexxx, our find are amazing, i need to take some tips from you, how come you fing things so cheap? X
    June 0.00 GC / 200.00

    Family of 4 : 1 adult 3 kids ages 3,4 & 5.
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