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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 47
  • katholicos
    First shop since before christmas, i think. £70.85.

    One of my aims for 2013 is to eat loads more fruit and veg and my fridge is now choccablok with it. The freezer is now full of quorn products and frozen veg. Got some good offers at Mr. T's. of course, the offers are only good if it is stuff you buy anyway.
    Grocery Challenge for October: £135/£200

    NSD Challenge: October 0/14
    • angelatgraceland
    • By angelatgraceland 6th Jan 13, 4:53 PM
    • 3,318 Posts
    • 23,074 Thanks
    Well Ive done a whoopsie shop in Waitrose-not as cheap as Suzexxx but good nevertheless. Got some honeyroast ham at 39p per 100g so had the who piece sliced and paid £2.54 for it. Salmon and watercress quiche(they are huge)for £1.69, goats cheeses, mature cheeses,chutney topped pork pies double cream german extramurst,all reduced to silly money.
    Cheese sarnies 10 peach, cheddar ploughmans sarnies for 45p each,full price nescafe refil 150g for £3 mini muffins 29p, 3 nice loaves of quality bread all less than 30p each satsumas 39p cat food and Persil bio liquid on offer at £6. That was my big spend today of £24.07(included in my sig) This is the way I shop-this is the way we live! What is on the menu is always determined by what is/was on offer! DS has his sarnies for work by the looks of it!
    Annual Grocery budget 2018 is £1500 pa £125 calendar month £28.84 pw for 3 adults
    • quintwins
    • By quintwins 6th Jan 13, 5:45 PM
    • 5,003 Posts
    • 29,347 Thanks
    Another nsd, i'm happy that i managed the first week on £14.02, allowing myself £10 this week, and £4 has to go to school in the morning so really only £6, only need milk, bread and fruit later in the week, i might need some passata aswell.
    DFW £7632/£28996 26.3%
    • zafiro1984
    • By zafiro1984 6th Jan 13, 5:52 PM
    • 1,479 Posts
    • 11,380 Thanks
    can i ask where you got the voucher for new accounts please.. ? looking to use mr s for some of shopping. thank you...
    Originally posted by cornishchick
    Go onto, if you are not already registered it's free. It's a supermarket comparison site, one I always use for online shopping.

    When you are in the site look at the bottom left hand corner and there is a link to all current vouchers - hope that helps
    November 2018 42.83/100
    • Suzexxx
    • By Suzexxx 6th Jan 13, 5:57 PM
    • 173 Posts
    • 1,590 Thanks
    Well done Suzexxx, our find are amazing, i need to take some tips from you, how come you fing things so cheap? X
    Originally posted by KatyReed+5
    Today was my 2nd time whoopsie shopping, so i guess i'm just lucky. I only go looking for reductions on a Sunday because all the stores close at 4pm. The best time to arrive is 2.30 onwards as this is when the staff start reducing, sometimes you may have to wonder around the store waiting for the right time though.

    During the week i haven't been so lucky, but if you could find out when your local stores reduce you may find some bargains.

    I also frequent the food, shopping and groceries board. There are quite a few threads on there about finding good reductions from people who have been doing it for a long time, so worth a look.
    2015 wins Sekonda watch, Harry Potter hardback book,
    Good evening all, i`ve finally caught up reading after 2 days, this thread is moving fast. Did another shop yesterday and spent another £23.52, which wasn`t planned. I did get hold of a whole salmon for £8.53, which is now sitting in the freezer. Once everyone is back to work and school the old routine will be back and that means I can go shopping on my own, without people popping extras into the trolley.
    Grocery Challenge 2013: July week 1 £90/£87.41
    week 2 £90.00/£118.38 week 3 £90/£60.54week4 £90/£79.90 week5 £45/£00
    End of mortgage april 2030
    Mortgage overpayment from june 2013 aiming for £400 a month: £451
    Emergency fund 2013 from june £70
  • KatyReed+5
    Today was my 2nd time whoopsie shopping, so i guess i'm just lucky. I only go looking for reductions on a Sunday because all the stores close at 4pm. The best time to arrive is 2.30 onwards as this is when the staff start reducing, sometimes you may have to wonder around the store waiting for the right time though.

    During the week i haven't been so lucky, but if you could find out when your local stores reduce you may find some bargains.

    I also frequent the food, shopping and groceries board. There are quite a few threads on there about finding good reductions from people who have been doing it for a long time, so worth a look.
    Originally posted by Suzexxx
    My local co-op does reduced items around the time of the school run so i oftenstop there and get ome bits but they never go that low, tescos is a 14 mile round trip for me, so not really worth it on the off chance of whoopsies, X
    June £0.00 GC / £200.00

    Family of 4 : 1 adult 3 kids ages 3,4 & 5.
  • dizzy lizzie
    Hi Vicky, if it helps I use those little plastic nets that oranges/onions come in to clean bread dough off the mixer bowl and attachments. They are really good and you can just chuck them when you've finished without feeling guilty
    Originally posted by pinkypig
    Thanks for this tip pinkypig. Porridge always seems to stick to pans and dishes and never comes off completely in the dishwasher and I hate using the sponge for it! I'll save the little nets from now on

    Was hoping that tomorrow I would have another spend free day but just realised reading this that we do need fruit and potatoes. Nevermind I'm still pleased with getting this far without breaking into my budget.
    Official DFW Nerd Club Member no:219
    In the Court Of The Crimson King
    I don't believe in the concept of hell, but if I did I would think of it as filled with people who were cruel to animals.
    Gary Larson
    • malamay
    • By malamay 6th Jan 13, 7:19 PM
    • 346 Posts
    • 4,698 Thanks
    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.....
    Originally posted by cornishchick
    I had a £12 off £60 voucher which came with catalogues for the Book People. We get two, and I will hunt around and PM you the second code.
    Last edited by malamay; 06-01-2013 at 7:19 PM. Reason: Formatting
    • VanyaHargreeves
    • By VanyaHargreeves 6th Jan 13, 7:25 PM
    • 909 Posts
    • 780 Thanks
    Oh no! Have had lots of guests around
    £18.43 on laundry powder, fabric conditioner and some food/fizzy drinks!
    Undergrad law student. Take my advice with a pinch of salt!
    • loobylou79
    • By loobylou79 6th Jan 13, 7:53 PM
    • 44 Posts
    • 242 Thanks
    Well done everyone on all the bargains!

    I am very jealous, I never seem to find decent Whoopsies, although can't really go later in the day as home with the little ones so maybe that's why. Must remember next Sunday to have a look.

    Just 95p for me today for a loaf, have updated sig.

    On track so far hope it stays that way!
    Single mum to 4 little monkeys

    On a mission to declutter for 2013
  • MammaLewis
    Did my first proper shop ever and for 2013! Did a meal plan for this week including meals for work and evening meals. My budget was £40 to cover 2 adults and a 19 month old. I want my budget to cover all food, pet, personal hygene and cleaning stuff. This week just needed food but I was still a bit worried £40 wouldn't be enough. Decided to give Aldi a go - Tesco would be our usual shop.

    Spent £13.22 / £40
    Saved £7.14 - checked Aldi receipt against Tesco online shopping (included offers)

    So chuffed with this! The remainder of the money is going into a "family pot" to treat ourselves / pay off a little more debt each month.
    Wonga Payday Loan £1270.26 (hoping to sort a payment schedule) / Littlewoods Catalogue £479.30 / Capital One CC £300 / Overdraft £800

    "I'm not there yet but I'm closer than I was yesterday"
  • mumwithamission
    Oh no ... spent £174.39 so far, keep forgetting that I've turned over a new leaf and I'm feeling very guilty about it. Done well with a few whoopsies, inc. 5 boxes of £rubes @ 45p each - bunged them in the freezer - I use them in DS2's packed lunches. Intend to come in on budget so don't give up on me x

    • XSpender
    • By XSpender 6th Jan 13, 8:01 PM
    • 3,348 Posts
    • 34,483 Thanks
    Thanks for the recipe Coxy. I will try it out on my mum and stepdad on their next visit.

    NSD today. I thought I was doing really well on my budget but only have £30 left. I am well stocked up though and will only need a bit of fruit and some beer at the weekend as my new month starts on the 14th. If I can stop myself being led astray by DH this will be the 2nd month in a row I will have been under budget.
  • beckseven
    Popped into Home bargins and got loads of good deals on toiletries and household stuff we needed for 16.71 and then nipped to lidl and bought the kids lunch box stuff-cheese ham etc and some milk and spent 8.19. My total so far is 127.34-starting to dread how much my total is going to be! Am going to meal plan tomorrow and then will shop round that
    HSBC Visa-High interest-£2349.23 Nat West £2605.18
    My Overdraft-£1500
    Marks and Spencer card- 3331.30 next 92.67
    Total was 11066.29 now £10,968.15
    • msgnomey
    • By msgnomey 6th Jan 13, 8:30 PM
    • 1,605 Posts
    • 26,365 Thanks
    Have started to get £60 out in cash each week and keep it in a different purse which is making a huge difference to my awareness of how much I've spent! 2 weeks in I'm under budget!
    Did my first proper shop of 2013, went to Aldi, saw some fab microfiber towels which I have wanted for ages as I swim x3 weekly and getting towels clean dry uses lots of electricity, hopefully these will save me money

    They were £3.99 each (I got 2) instead of about £10 so very pleased!!

    Have spent £101.37/£240 for the month
    Go hopefully into each new day, enjoy something from every day no matter how small, you never know when it will be your last
    • Bluegreen143
    • By Bluegreen143 6th Jan 13, 8:31 PM
    • 1,101 Posts
    • 12,692 Thanks
    post 5364
    I remembered the date, as I went out on new years eve and bought YS double cream and froze it and then everyone on here was making butter.
    hope this is what you were looking for.
    Originally posted by JIL
    Jumblejack, I've added the link to the external links section of the recipe index for future reference.
    Married 1 March 2014 DS born 06/12/15

    CC - £2,182.17/£2,182.17
    Family loan 1 - £1,680/£1,680
    Family loan 2 - £3,500/£5,000
    • Bluegreen143
    • By Bluegreen143 6th Jan 13, 8:36 PM
    • 1,101 Posts
    • 12,692 Thanks
    WantToBeSE Your fab-sounding Mini Sausage rolls/pigs in blankets has been added to the index
    Married 1 March 2014 DS born 06/12/15

    CC - £2,182.17/£2,182.17
    Family loan 1 - £1,680/£1,680
    Family loan 2 - £3,500/£5,000
    • Bluegreen143
    • By Bluegreen143 6th Jan 13, 8:39 PM
    • 1,101 Posts
    • 12,692 Thanks
    Coxy, I've added your Chocolate Raspberry Pavlova to the index (It's making me quite hungry adding all these recipes!).
    Married 1 March 2014 DS born 06/12/15

    CC - £2,182.17/£2,182.17
    Family loan 1 - £1,680/£1,680
    Family loan 2 - £3,500/£5,000
    • WantToBeSE
    • By WantToBeSE 6th Jan 13, 8:41 PM
    • 6,793 Posts
    • 30,570 Thanks
    WantToBeSE Your fab-sounding Mini Sausage rolls/pigs in blankets has been added to the index
    Originally posted by Bluegreen143
    Oh Wow, thanks Bluegreen!
    £10k of Debt

    Debt Free Diary
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