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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 83
    • Kitchenbunny
    • By Kitchenbunny 19th Jan 13, 7:31 AM
    • 1,860 Posts
    • 20,252 Thanks
    Alrighty, morning everyone. The mealplan is now prepped and ready to go for the coming week and the shopping list will soon follow. Considering I've looked at what we've got in the freezer when making the mealplan, we shouldn't need much extra in. And I'm not doing bad at cutting down on the cola purchases so that will be helping too. Mr Hub will be needing cereal so that'll bump the price up. I'm going to do a price comparison on the shopping list so I can have a rough idea of how much I'm going to be spending. And see if there's anything I can shave off it.

    This is what we'll be having this week:

    Sun - Shepherd's Pie
    Mon - Chicken Drumsticks with Chicken & Bacon Pasta
    Tues - Lamb Tikka Kebabs with Jewelled Rice
    Weds - Sausage Casserole with Jacket Potatoes
    Thurs - Chilli con Carne with Sauteed Potatoes
    Fri - Jambalaya
    Sat - Lasagne

    Of the above, I might need meat for the last 2 meals. Other than that everything is already in the freezer, meatwise, so it'll be more vegetables and fruit than anything - can't wait to try and grow a few things so I can reduce this as well!

    Have a lovely day, keep warm and stay safe.

    KB xx

    • tessie bear
    • By tessie bear 19th Jan 13, 7:46 AM
    • 4,328 Posts
    • 29,793 Thanks
    tessie bear
    thankyou x spender that sounds lovely i shall give it a go
    onwards and upwards
    • meg72
    • By meg72 19th Jan 13, 8:05 AM
    • 5,082 Posts
    • 46,072 Thanks

    Of the above, I might need meat for the last 2 meals. Other than that everything is already in the freezer, meatwise, so it'll be more vegetables and fruit than anything - can't wait to try and grow a few things so I can reduce this as well!

    Have a lovely day, keep warm and stay safe.

    KB xx
    Originally posted by Kitchenbunny
    Me too cant wait to get started on the homegrown, In particular looking forward to the first rhubarb crumble.
    Slimming World at target
  • queeniedog
    It is a gluten free recipe but I am sure it would work just the same with ordinary SR flour.

    This makes one 2lb loaf.

    150g of sultanas or 100g of dark choc chips (I use a mix of both)
    100g margarine
    125g sugar
    2 large eggs
    3 large ripe bananas mashed with a fork
    1 tsp vanilla essence (ok without it if you haven't got any in)
    150g gluten free SR flour
    50g of cocoa powder

    Preheat oven to 160 degrees or gas mark 3 and line a loaf tin.

    Cream the sugar and marg together then add the eggs bit by bit. Next add the sultanas/choc chips and then the bananas and the vanilla essence. Beat in the flour until it is all well mixed together.

    Pour into the tin and smooth the top. Bake for 50 minutes to an hour. Leave to cool in the tin for about 10 minutes.

    It tastes amazing when it is still warm. Even my DH who doesn't have a sweet tooth loves it
    Originally posted by XSpender
    Sounds amazing, thanks for sharing going to try it tomorrow! X
    2013 Grocery Challenge 450 pm
    Jan 279 / 450 (+171)
    Feb 154 / 450

    2013 save 12k Challenge 0 / 12000
  • Verityemilia
    Morning everyone .... Not spent much on groceries this week as been in bed with tonsillitis

    As mentioned before I am going to check cupboards and freezer and work a list from there ...

    Please could I have some advice on good store cupboard ingredients to stock up on


    Seal pot challenge no 7- # 331 Saved 140 SPC - Target 30
    Grocery challenge - 100 a week
    Weekly Spend Challenge - 40
  • Lovethenight
    confession time!
    Morning all - hope everyone's keeping safe and well in all this horrible weather!

    I've been AWOL for this last week due to pregnancy and work-related stuff, so have lots of posts to read and catch up on with a nice cuppa.

    I can put it off no longer though - I am officially over budget

    Went to Mr A on Sunday last week and spent 57.31 and now have just 23 in my bank account to last until payday on the 23rd, including getting to work and back

    Was a bit annoyed with myself over the Mr A trip - I assumed that buying loose veg rather than pre-packed would be cheaper, but it's worked out much more expensive. I thought that buying a few loose mushrooms would be more economical as I didn't need a full pack, but just 5 mushrooms came to 55p which is half the cost of a pack anyway and you get more than 10 mushrooms in a pack! 3 loose carrots cost me 61p and then after I'd gone through the till I saw a stand with a pack of carrots for 50p Also succumbed to a few of the 50p offers that are treats rather than necessities and did do the 3 for 10 meat deal.

    Have plenty in the freezer now, including a 4 pinter of milk and 2 loaves of bread, so if we do get snowed in we won't starve!

    The good news is that after living with us since September, SIL has finally got a job so should be moving out next month It's paying her really well to, so am very glad for her and won't have to worry about still feeding her as I would have if the job was low paying

    Means that the 160 should go further next month with just the two of us and gives me almost 2 months to sort out the house before baby arrives. I've barely been in the spare room she's staying in since Sept as it's hard to even open the door and everytime I do go in there I trip over something - it's like having a teenager before we've even had our first baby!!!

    Hope everyone has a lovely weekend and I'm going to do a food inventory today to make myself feel a bit better about completely failing with the budget this month - when I see how much we've got in and what meals I can make out of it, I should be able to stretch the Feb budget a bit further hopefully!

    Stay warm everyone!
  • jumblejack
    Definitely a no spend day for me.
    Was gonna go Lidl but no way am I driving anywhere for weekend deals.

    Kids are going sledging so I'm gonna spend the day gutting some rooms.

    Have a nice day and stay warm everyone
    Every moment is a gift. That's why we call it the present.!
    Grocery Spend Weekly Challenge (Sat-Fri):30.50/40
    • storytime
    • By storytime 19th Jan 13, 10:09 AM
    • 331 Posts
    • 1,469 Thanks
    Kept within budget this week,29.25 at Lidl,23.75 at Mr T, 1 at Iceland and 5.43 at the butcher. Sig updated.I'm finding I spend less at Mr T now as their prices are just going up and up. My monthly meal plan and price book make life much easier. I have printed off some budget recipes from net mums, found some nice recipes from "the dinner lady" from library and ordered "economy gastronomy" and "kitchen revolution" from the library. I usually photocopy recipes from books or buy the book if I like lots of recipes.
    Sad I know but I spent the last few evenings organising all my recipes on bits of paper into a file along with my monthly meal plan and printed shopping list which lists everything I buy. I've never been so organised!
    My secret fantasy is having 2 men....
    1 cooking and 1 cleaning.
  • WelshWoofer
    Just back from Mr T's and managed to spend 40 - I've done a bit of a stock up shop though as the weather is horrible and I don't fancy having to brave the shops again for a while. It was surprisingly quiet there though, and well stocked - either people have already done their panic buying or just don't have the money these days.

    I'm less than 10 away from my budget total with one more week to go but I'll hopefully only need fresh bits and pieces next weekend. I'll probably still go over but only by a little bit (famous last words!).
    January grocery spending - 82.73/ 120
    • Islandmaid
    • By Islandmaid 19th Jan 13, 10:48 AM
    • 3,133 Posts
    • 42,332 Thanks
    Hi all,

    94 spent yesterday, this did include 2 x bottles of wine 9 and 2 x bottles of fabric conditioner 4.

    Can,t decide what to eat tonight, either Haggis, swede and mash or HM Kofte kebabs with salad in wraps.

    Soaking a kilo of gammon to cook later for through the week, sandwiches and ham, egg and chips.

    Have spent just short of half of my budget, with 10 days to go till payday, any money I save will go onto the CC as an extra payment.

    Have a fab day all x
    Note to self - STOP SPENDING MONEY !!
    • Bluegreen143
    • By Bluegreen143 19th Jan 13, 11:33 AM
    • 1,101 Posts
    • 12,692 Thanks
    WantToBeSE, your three soups have been added to the index separately
    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
    • raphanius
    • By raphanius 19th Jan 13, 11:40 AM
    • 1,269 Posts
    • 6,633 Thanks
    eggs so i can do some baking - i love baking on snowy days, milk and the last loaf in l*dl adds 2.88 making my total 158.05
    Wins: 2008: 606.10 2009: 806.24 2010: 713.47 2011: 328.32

    • Ellieseleven
    • By Ellieseleven 19th Jan 13, 12:24 PM
    • 2,135 Posts
    • 6,802 Thanks
    Spent 29.74 in Aldi and 10.88 in Mr.M taking my total for the month to 142.74 and 10 NSD's - hoping that we come in well under budget for the month...fingers crossed
    Debt Free 1st March 2017

    • xxlouisexx56
    • By xxlouisexx56 19th Jan 13, 12:51 PM
    • 2,191 Posts
    • 30,133 Thanks
    Spent 44 in tesco yesterday in a bit of a panic shop but we should be ok until weds but might need some veg / fruit by then
    • m155piggy
    • By m155piggy 19th Jan 13, 12:59 PM
    • 68 Posts
    • 1,111 Thanks
    Happy snow day all!

    NSD for me yesterday and was hoping for another today but just had a phone call from DH saying he was in Li*l so goondness only knows what he will spend! He is making more homebrew beer tonight and so I am not going to count the kit or the sugar he needs in my GC, maybe his spend won't be too bad...

    Having prawn risotto for dinner tonight with rice from cupboard and peas and prawns from the freezer - I have garlic french stick rising in the kitchen thanks to the bread machine and it smells fab!

    Should be another NSD tomorrow and hopefully my dad will be coming for dinner - depending on the snow - so he will be fed with roast chicken dinner and a home made pudding, just need to decide what!
    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
    • Gracie_1827
    • By Gracie_1827 19th Jan 13, 1:08 PM
    • 290 Posts
    • 2,487 Thanks
    Another "spend" of 2.50 Nectar points at Sainsbugs. got 4 pts milk, 1.5kg bag of basics onions (to make French onion soup) and 2 basic "bake yourself " part baked french sticks. Also used 3 from my 10 gift card for laundry liquid...I've only got 1.76 on this and will only use in emergency.
    Meals today:
    b/f. meusli & coffee
    lunch : roast beef salad sandwich (beef from Xmas Day) half tin of my super cheap rice pudding.
    tea will be : spaghetti & red pesto, apple
    tomorrow I'll be having French onion soup with cheese topped french bread...ooolala and tea will be gammon (from Xmas Day)
    GC - Oct 36.17/31
    GC - Sep 35.56/30
    GC - Aug 30.73/31
    GC - Jul 30.80/31
    • m155piggy
    • By m155piggy 19th Jan 13, 1:18 PM
    • 68 Posts
    • 1,111 Thanks
    OK so DH spent 7.23 of my precious budget - but what did he buy???
    2 loaves of bread - brilliant will need that tomorrow
    2 huge bars of chocolate, 2 huge bags of jelly sweets and 10 chocolate croissants - apparently we need them because it is snowy!

    Good job I have lots of food in as otherwise it is going to be a long 12 days before my new budget starts!!
    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
    • lbnblbnb
    • By lbnblbnb 19th Jan 13, 2:16 PM
    • 564 Posts
    • 5,881 Thanks
    I have inventoried my cupboards, ridiculous amount of food in stock. I then went to Tesco for a few bits and because I had a 2.00 voucher.... came home 16.51 lighter (after the voucher was taken off).
    Lessons learnt: try not to take kids with me/ get out of the mindset of stocking up - I need to be running stocks down, not adding to them!/ beware the reduced shelves, I bought things I would never normally buy.
    Damage not too bad.
    I need to meal plan and then do some school work.
    I have also checked my nectar card and found I have 42 of points on there - need to use them this month I think.
    Good luck all.
    Grocery Challenge (2 adults 2 kids)
    19th June -18th July 91:15/150 61%

    Save 12,000 in 2013 No. 188 7382/12,000 62%
    2013 Frugal Living Challenge
    Debt free October 2012
  • missmucksmum
    Another NSD signature updated ocado delivery came yesterday 44 3 bits of frozen stuff unable to be delivered as it was a rearranged delivery due to the snow. Having shopping delivered from ocado was a one off as had 20% off code and there were some good deals and got some good flash sales too before offers and 20% off shopping should of been 79 so very happy and have finally got some chinese pancakes so tonight we are having crispy whole duck (ys 4 been sat in the freezer since september) with pancakes hoisin sauce cucumber and spring onions, will freeze left over duck for another day chicken dinner tomorrow then rubber chicken for a few days after. Bought a pack of 4 demi baguettes 80p (after 20% off) so going to cut n half and top with tom puree and low cheap mozzerella and a bit of cheddar wrap in foil and freeze (seen on another thread) for quick snacks/teas total cost 2.50 for 8 pizza baquettes. Also making key lime pie and maybe another cheesecake type of thing too, does anyone know if you can freeze these? xxx
    January Grocery Challenge 203.50/200
    February Grocery Challenge 59.20/200
    • pinkypig
    • By pinkypig 19th Jan 13, 3:02 PM
    • 1,519 Posts
    • 11,774 Thanks
    Sent DH to do food shop with a list and clear instructions. Did well except his interpretation of big bag of potatoes was a 12.5kg sack so that should keep us going for a while
    Quite pleased with a spend of 28.88 which included my monster bag of potatoes and a pack of cat food which will last about three weeks.

    Too cold for me to venture out today so I have had a cooking day and now got enough soup for this weeks lunches (did 2 varieties so we don't get fed up with it), 2 quiches, 2 gingerbread, rocky road to use up some past their best short bread biscuits, 12 jam tarts and 2 pizzas. Will freeze half of this for later in the month.

    Cannot wait until pay day as January really has felt like a challenge but at last the end is in sight
    MFW 2018 #157 Target 15,000

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