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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 eleventh Grocery Challenge of 2012 EEEEEKKKKK!!!!, Terrifying how quickly the year has flown in!

    If your new month starts early feel free to join this thread, or if you're still working on your September budget, then keep on posting in the:
    October 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; 22-10-2012 at 1:33 PM.
    A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men
    Norn Iron club member #380

Page 11
    • quavering
    • By quavering 31st Oct 12, 1:58 PM
    • 29 Posts
    • 177 Thanks
    Reporting a spend of £11 over the past week

    It's been quite good having the restriction of how much I can spend, although I do occasionally have a toddler tantrum that I can't buy everything I want.

    Hoping for a £9 spend this week to have a nice round £30 left for the last two weeks
    Roadkill: £0
    £2015 in 2015: 0/£2015

    Total debt: £5028
    Total paid: £0
    • gien
    • By gien 31st Oct 12, 2:57 PM
    • 1,645 Posts
    • 15,703 Thanks
    Just reporting a quick 4€ spent today on fresh veg from the farmers shop.
    Trying to keep in budget.

    • GreenFairy
    • By GreenFairy 31st Oct 12, 5:29 PM
    • 301 Posts
    • 3,786 Thanks
    Hope everyone is having a suitably spooky halloween!

    Can I please be added to the list? Going for €250 again this month as I'm going to start buying in bits for the holidays to save my sanity.

    Much obliged
    Feb GC €253.11/€400
    Jan GC €203.37/€400
  • lostcause82
    Don't feel like I am doing great so far. Spent £118.50 so far and only a week and a half in! Think I need to be a bit more organised.
    • GreenFairy
    • By GreenFairy 31st Oct 12, 6:01 PM
    • 301 Posts
    • 3,786 Thanks
    MoonJelly - have you tried your local Ald1? Mine has loaves of gluten free bread that look remarkably similar in size and weight to MrT and they're under €2. Not sure what they're like - I just made a mental note for a friend who is coeliac. Also MrT have started stocking own brand free from lasagne sheets for under €2 a box, and are very tasty.

    Just in case it helps
    Feb GC €253.11/€400
    Jan GC €203.37/€400
    • MrsCD
    • By MrsCD 31st Oct 12, 6:35 PM
    • 745 Posts
    • 11,241 Thanks

    Have started my November with a Tosco shop. Trying desperately to eat healthier, to lose some weight and to come in on budget - am I being too ambitious

    Originally posted by Coxy11
    No, of course not! If anyone can do it, you can

    *sticks head in door tentatively*

    Hi folks, sorry not been around for ages ..... unfortunately enforced emergency hospital stay wiped out a fair bit of October (home yesterday).
    Originally posted by rising from the ashes
    Hello again rising... Great to see you again. Sorry you've been out of action, and hope you're soon feeling much better.

    I am on a mission to get as much of my Christmas menu reduced as possible, so picked up some 'The Finest' carrots (was £2.25, now 25p), and froze them (to have marinaded in OJ and honey), to go with the YS sausages i picked up last week (were £2.69, now 59p) which will be soy and cranberry glazed
    Originally posted by WantToBeSE
    What a brilliant idea
  • she who can not cook
    Am starting to take out the money in cash each week as I think that handing over the cold hard cash will make me more accountable as swiping a card doesn't quite have the same effect!
    Originally posted by LannyLee
    and it make you use use your mind
    for me the embrassment for not having enough money to pay for the shopping makes me focus on my list and no extras lol
    Gc 2013 +26 -5. -4 -7 -14 -15 -10.-8.20 +15p+30+5.80 Dec +9 GROCERY challenge 2014 Jan -2Feb -3 March -1.50 April +5.40 May +4.90 June -3.July 16.50/85

    God bless my sweet "old man" Goldie that died in the early hours of 27 th March please see him on my avatar
    • fedupandskint
    • By fedupandskint 31st Oct 12, 8:16 PM
    • 10,351 Posts
    • 97,525 Thanks
    £14 the other day in Mr S and £1.63 today. Wrote a shopping list for the weekend aiming to come in around £8-£12
    final unsecured debt to repay currently £8333
    Proud to be Dealing With my Debt
    DFW Nerd 1154 Long Haul 155
    • Coxy11
    • By Coxy11 31st Oct 12, 8:22 PM
    • 2,300 Posts
    • 27,322 Thanks
    Whoooooo - happy hallowe'en everyone

    Budgets done to here

    Took my aunt and uncle to lunch today - different budget - and I chose really well, so my plan to eat healthier this month is on track

    Have everything in for the next few days so hoping to keep my purse well and truly shut!

    Cross-stitch WIP #1: Collecting Shells by Nancy Cole
    Cross-stitch WIP #2: Pretty Little London by Satsuma Street
    • Nicky Noo Na
    • By Nicky Noo Na 31st Oct 12, 8:50 PM
    • 760 Posts
    • 6,713 Thanks
    Nicky Noo Na
    Can I go for £160 as usual please??

    • minicooper272
    • By minicooper272 31st Oct 12, 9:00 PM
    • 2,127 Posts
    • 16,678 Thanks
    My new month starts tomorrow - aiming for £100 again, and I'm going to look out a tub to store all my receipts in this month! I have plenty food in atm, so will start the month off running down the freezer, as I could really use the space! And also, after the stress of a week I've had, I think this weeks food budget would be better spent on wine.
    • XSpender
    • By XSpender 31st Oct 12, 9:10 PM
    • 3,348 Posts
    • 34,483 Thanks
    MoonJelly - have you tried your local Ald1? Mine has loaves of gluten free bread that look remarkably similar in size and weight to MrT and they're under €2. Not sure what they're like - I just made a mental note for a friend who is coeliac. Also MrT have started stocking own brand free from lasagne sheets for under €2 a box, and are very tasty.

    Just in case it helps
    Originally posted by GreenFairy
    That's really useful info Green Fairy I am coeliac and never knew Ald1 did GF bread. I will be having a good look for it in my local one on Friday.

    A spend of 47p on skimmed milk today. Was 89p but I used a 42p brand match voucher when I was in Mr S garage getting diesel.

    Will need to spend something tomorrow on a contribution to a buffet at work. Had no chance to make anything tonight as we have had the outlaws helping us clear the loft ready for the insulation coming on Saturday. I can't eat normal party food so will get some ham and take some crisps and nuts in a couple of bowls. It will look more if it is in a bowl
    Last edited by XSpender; 01-11-2012 at 7:42 AM.
    • Bluegreen143
    • By Bluegreen143 31st Oct 12, 9:12 PM
    • 1,101 Posts
    • 12,692 Thanks
    Hi everyone!

    Can I be put down for £210 in November please?

    As usual, this includes food, toiletries & household items for two adults and a cat - no alcohol, eating out or takeaways included though.

    Only £10 less than last month but it's getting harder to reduce now. I have now established with OH that he's doing one week a month of shopping and cooking with a budget of £55, so will need to reduce the other three weeks to £51.66 each - I'll try for £50 to be on the safe side though! I do tend to do a couple of bigger shops a month which we get delivered, followed by the next week by a smaller shop I do in person.

    I am going to try and get my veg from one of the local fruit & veg shops this week, used to use them as a student (got a 10% discount, could buy mini student quantities and was on the way home from uni) but have got lazy and always use the supermarket now.

    My main money saving focus this week is also going to be buying an appropriate amount of food instead of overbuying!! I want a clear fridge the following Saturday, not one filled with limp veg I have to hastily turn into soup
    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
    • Make-it-3
    • By Make-it-3 31st Oct 12, 9:27 PM
    • 1,550 Posts
    • 7,040 Thanks
    Sticking rigidly with £200 budget again for November as I've only come in under once since joining GC.

    I reckon this will be a challenge this month too as we have a Diwalli party to cater for in November.
    We Made-it-3 on 28/01/11 with birth of our gorgeous DD.
    • theatregirl4
    • By theatregirl4 31st Oct 12, 10:42 PM
    • 1,110 Posts
    • 7,033 Thanks
    Another two small spends today - £1.15 on a bottle of diet coke from the post office as i really needed it, and then £20 on dinner out in Wagamama's (split bill between me and my friend).

    Will update sig in a moment x

    • NickJW
    • By NickJW 1st Nov 12, 12:04 AM
    • 678 Posts
    • 13,646 Thanks
    I don't particularly follow it to the traditional sense nowadays but 'Happy Light Party' rather than 'Happy Halloween'.

    Anyway, went out tonight to the pub with a few drinks and snacks - got back late, so tortellini w/sage butter sauce+parmesan. Due to Snacks beforehand I didn't eat much, so leftovers for lunch tomorrow and the pie w/mash tomorrow for dinner.

    ETA: nsd!!!
    Last edited by NickJW; 01-11-2012 at 12:10 AM.
    Grocery Challenge 14 Jan 14 £46.05/£130

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

    DFD 1st March 2011
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 1st Nov 12, 12:17 AM
    • 818 Posts
    • 5,398 Thanks
    Hi, I'm brand spanking new, but my November budget starts today, so is it too late to be added please?

    Budget for two adults, two children, one cat, including all toiletries etc., $700. That's in Australian dollars, is it okay to do that? I can convert but I don't have a pound sign on my keyboard.

    We don't have nearly as many specials and offers over here, and the supermarket quality of vegetables etc. is much lower than at the grocers. So it's always a toss-up between trying to do all the shopping at once to avoid temptation, and going to lots of local shops to find the bargains.

    Nonetheless, I have a stocked pantry, a full freezer, and a bunch of bad habits that need nipping in the bud. Some of them are even mine.

    If only I can convince the husband that an empty fridge at the end of the week is a sign of success and not a cause of panic!
  • CompBunny
    Well today is the first day of November and the start of my first GC in a long time. No spends planned for today as I need to rest - M.E is good for the GC as the less you leave the house the less you can spend!

    Has anyone noticed their local T£$co starting to withdraw certain Value ranges? For a while ours stopped selling value low fat yoghurts completely and filled their usual spot with a more expensive own brand. We simply stopped buying snack yoghurts. A few weeks later they returned.
    The same thing has happened with Value crisps, an unnecessary unhealthy luxury. They just disappeared. We switched to occasionally buying crisps on decent special offers. The value ones haven't returned...

    Same has happened for certain value cheeses, cupboard items etc. Some have returned, some haven't.

    Have you noticed this?
    Our theory is that T£$co are testing to see if people are willing to move up a brand or if they only buy the item because its affordable. Maybe we are imagining it though!
    GC2012: Nov £130.52/£125

    Quit smoking 10am 17/02/11 - £4315 saved as of Nov'12

    Engaged to my best friend 08/2012

  • afeitar
    No spends yet, first day of the challenge for me today. My Mum has given me a big bag of veg and a big bag of fruit that she picks up through a healthy eating scheme the council does, they are £2 each for a bag and really good value! I do now have a lot of veg that needs using up so I'll have to make some soup at the weekend if I can find time. I'm thinking a pumpkin & sweet potato soup, potato and leek soup and cabbage?

    Anyone else have any cabbage recipe ideas? I've been having it just finely sliced and fried lightly as a side dish which I like but it can get boring. I have about 3/4 of a whole white cabbage to use up and also a curly cabbage to use up.
    November Grocery Challenge = £83.47/£150
    • icontinuetodream
    • By icontinuetodream 1st Nov 12, 8:57 AM
    • 985 Posts
    • 6,606 Thanks
    £18.70 on tuesday for food and a few other bits for dd
    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
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