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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 13
    • craigywv
    • By craigywv 1st Nov 12, 1:30 PM
    • 1,976 Posts
    • 27,825 Thanks
    hi just letting you know tescos clubcard double up vouchers have frozen food in it available from today.....sorry if its already been mentioned on another page i havent read any further so far. xxx
    C.R.A.P.R.O.L.L.Z #7 member N.I splinter-group co-ordinater I dont suffer from insanity....I enjoy every minute of it!!.
    • icontinuetodream
    • By icontinuetodream 1st Nov 12, 1:30 PM
    • 985 Posts
    • 6,606 Thanks
    I have joined the NOvember challenge so need to reduce my budget to 130 ... sorry to be a pain
    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
    • tattycath
    • By tattycath 1st Nov 12, 2:02 PM
    • 6,820 Posts
    • 35,979 Thanks
    Ok so it's the first of November and I've already spent some of my budget for the month.
    GE 36 *MFD
    MFIT-T4 No 83
    Mortgage overpayments:

    Emergency savings 100/2000
    Savercard Christmas savings 10
    12/3/17 175lb - 15/3/17 173lb - 28/6/17 167lb - 14/7/17 164lb - 12/9/17 160lb - 29/12/17 155lb
    • Make-it-3
    • By Make-it-3 1st Nov 12, 2:45 PM
    • 1,550 Posts
    • 7,040 Thanks
    Happy November everyone. First day of the month and first weekly shop. Pretty impressed with just 23.80 spent. I think I should be ok bar milk/bread top-ups till mid-week next, but then I always do ....
    We Made-it-3 on 28/01/11 with birth of our gorgeous DD.
    • tattycath
    • By tattycath 1st Nov 12, 3:09 PM
    • 6,820 Posts
    • 35,979 Thanks
    Just to give a bit of an insight into some of the stuff I buy-when I don't strictly follow the list :
    4 cartons fruit juice
    18pk of mcCoys - reduced
    6pk c&o crisps - reduced
    Shreddies - reduced
    Kitchen roll
    cheddars - reduced
    butter - reduced
    capri sun (10 pk)
    tea bags
    2 loaves bread
    2 cartons milk (8pints in total)
    icing sugar - reduced
    tin Rice pudding - reduced
    margarine (large tub)
    tinned pineapple - reduced
    Mr Mash - reduced
    Minced beef
    15 eggs
    Total 29.07
    GE 36 *MFD
    MFIT-T4 No 83
    Mortgage overpayments:

    Emergency savings 100/2000
    Savercard Christmas savings 10
    12/3/17 175lb - 15/3/17 173lb - 28/6/17 167lb - 14/7/17 164lb - 12/9/17 160lb - 29/12/17 155lb
    • LannyLee
    • By LannyLee 1st Nov 12, 3:19 PM
    • 184 Posts
    • 2,958 Thanks
    Grrrrrr, my NSD has gone now as realised I didn't have any mushrooms for tonight's dinner & since my DH almost divorced me last time I made curry with no mushrooms in I nipped to Mr.T to get some, so just a small spend today 97p
    • peony40
    • By peony40 1st Nov 12, 3:52 PM
    • 490 Posts
    • 6,393 Thanks

    Well, I have had my delivery for November and it came to 126.96 so this leaves me with 23.04 until the 27th November.

    My freezers and store cupboards are groaning so in theory I should be able to come in on budget, the key for me is to menu plan.

    So to help me achieve my first successful grocery challenge I will wander over to both the fiscal fast and meal plan threads and give them both a go.
    2019 Sealed Pot Challenge 107
  • rosieben
    icontinuetodream, I've added your Braised Cabbage with Red Beans & Rice to the recipe index
    ... don't throw the string away. You always need string!

    C.R.A.P.R.O.L.L.Z Head Sharpener
    • elfina
    • By elfina 1st Nov 12, 5:15 PM
    • 34 Posts
    • 165 Thanks
    Went shopping today to buy reduced pumpkins after halloween to make Pumpkin soup. Looked everywhere, supermarkets, grocers and market and there were none! Where have they all gone? Does anyone from the supermarket world know? Do they ship them all out to a soup making factory or something? I am puzzled and would love to know
    • tattycath
    • By tattycath 1st Nov 12, 5:18 PM
    • 6,820 Posts
    • 35,979 Thanks
    Don't know where the pumpkins go but I still have one that I haven't carved
    Kids have done theirs and OH has done one but I never got round to it. So I still have one in my pantry.
    GE 36 *MFD
    MFIT-T4 No 83
    Mortgage overpayments:

    Emergency savings 100/2000
    Savercard Christmas savings 10
    12/3/17 175lb - 15/3/17 173lb - 28/6/17 167lb - 14/7/17 164lb - 12/9/17 160lb - 29/12/17 155lb
    • XSpender
    • By XSpender 1st Nov 12, 5:29 PM
    • 3,348 Posts
    • 34,483 Thanks
    Spent 5.19 on some fruit and my contribution to the work buffet today. Did quite well as my lovely colleagues had brought some GF cakes in which I got to take home, about 6 worth. Very nice of them

    Not sure what's for tea Our meals are all over the place this week with trying to get the loft sorted and I have managed to defrost and waste 2 chicken breasts DH will be in shortly, and raiding the fridge like a plague of locusts so I better rustle up some pasta sharpish.
    • fedupandskint
    • By fedupandskint 1st Nov 12, 6:21 PM
    • 10,351 Posts
    • 97,525 Thanks
    21.68 today on the weekly shop including a few items off list so didn't really get close to the 10 I was aiming for. 4.65 on a reduced face cream for my very sensitive eczema prone skin on offer so thought I'd get it as it should see me through the winter, also some reduced bottles of lime and lemon juice, reduced fresh pasta and tub of fresh sauce. Pasta and sauce portioned up into 3 and frozen

    Hey ho - shouldn't need to much for next week and have just made 9 portions of scotch broth with half a pack of chicken wings, some pearl barley, some country soup mix and bottom of the fridge and old stock cubes from the cupboard so that's the weekend's lunches sorted and the rest for the freezer
    final unsecured debt to repay currently 8333
    Proud to be Dealing With my Debt
    DFW Nerd 1154 Long Haul 155
    • PurpleJay
    • By PurpleJay 1st Nov 12, 7:06 PM
    • 475 Posts
    • 2,490 Thanks
    Can I sign up please? My budget for November is 300. We are a family of 5 - me, hubby our 6yo and 2 cats!

    We have quite a lot of packet/dried/frozen stuff to use up but I also have some vouchers from Morrisons to make the most of. For the next 3 weeks I have a 3 off 25 and a 10 off 50 each week I hope to stock up on cat food and things using this and get xmas bits and bobs too.

    Will post as I shop x
    'Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass,
    it's about learning to dance in the rain'
  • sonastin
    First shop of November - 20.70 in ald! and 4.63 in l!dl. Very ill-disciplined shopping. Needed a couple of bits for the rest of this weeks meal plans but knew there was nothing in for next week & the weekend is busy so instead of planning next week and then shopping, just bought random bits and pieces. Now need to have a good think about what I've bought and figure out how to incorporate it into a plan. I hate doing it that way round - you can betcha there'll be something unwanted or wasted by next weekend.
    • Bluegreen143
    • By Bluegreen143 1st Nov 12, 8:37 PM
    • 1,101 Posts
    • 12,692 Thanks
    Thanks Suffolk lass. Your plans sound good too - the veg thing (getting veg on offer instead of planning to get specific veg) works really well as long as your aren't fussy about what veg you put in meals, I do it quite a lot.

    Have spent today happily meal planning as back to me being in control from Sunday. Tried to work out a plan that meant I bought as little as possible. This is what I've come up with:

    Turkey escalopes with green beans, roasted parsnip & boiled potatoes YS turkey breast steaks in freezer, breadcrumb bag in freezer, parsnip, green beans & potato left from this week. Only need to buy a lemon for zest for the crumbs!

    Veg chilli with mini baked potatoes & yoghurt Veg chilli in freezer, potatoes & yoghurt left from this week - don't need to buy anything!

    Butternut squash & chickpea curry with rice & yoghurt Butternut squash in fridge, will chuck in other leftover veg including onions & garlic, have chopped toms, coconut milk & all the spices plus rice & yoghurt in. Nothing to buy!

    Salmon salad with roasted squash / spag bol for OH Spag Bol and salmon in freezer, pasta in cupboard, squash leftover. Will buy salad leaves & cucumber

    Spicy chicken wings with corn on the cob potato wedges & salad Wings in freezer, potatoes left - will buy salad & corn on the cob

    Veg arrabiata with salad Chopped toms, garlic, herbs & veg all in, just need to buy salad

    Only planned six meals as we might end up going out one night, OH often has to work late & I can just have soup then etc etc. if the worst comes to the worst I can make stir fry or pasta something.

    Very very pleased with my frugal meal plan!! Bet OH wrecks it by not wanting any of the meals
    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
    • MrsCD
    • By MrsCD 1st Nov 12, 8:56 PM
    • 745 Posts
    • 11,241 Thanks
    Here you go.....

    Braised Cabbage with Red Beans & Rice

    2tbs olive oil
    1 onion chopped
    1 carrot chopped
    green cabbage (or white!!)
    1 litre veg stock
    4oz arborio rice
    1 tin drained kidney beans
    salt & pepper to taste
    Originally posted by icontinuetodream
    This sounds really yummy! (sorry I chopped the method to save space)

    This had me giggling, I was only just thinking the same thing myself.

    Theres quite a disturbing rumour going round my way, that out little bungalows may be affected by redevlopment, EEEK the thought of having to pack and move . so thinking I will start now just in case, use up my stocks and buy Brandy, I am so hoping this is just a rumour as already had to relocate once before because of redevlopment, really dont want it again,
    Originally posted by meg72
    Ooh, Meg, I hope it's just a rumour and you don't have to move again. Let's hope. xx

    Hi, I'm brand spanking new, but my November budget starts today, so is it too late to be added please?
    Originally posted by armchairexpert
    Hello and welcome to the GC
    Coxy keeps track of budgets, and Zippychick and Rosieben keep track of the thread and recipes. There are some regulars like Suffolk Lass who are the fount of all knowledge and can answer (almost ) anything you can throw at them.
    Have a read of the first pages to get an idea of how everything works, and then join in the fun!

    I did a frozen food shop today, and will update my sig soon, but I have to confess that I have been very naughty and bought other things I had to buy some new tops for work this afternoon, and I went to our local garden centre tonight with DD because they had a special Christmas evening with a buffet and 10% off everything. Downside was it cost 5 each. So I made the most of a nice evening doing Christmas shopping and got quite a few presents
    PS - Thanks for the nice words SL
    • emmita
    • By emmita 1st Nov 12, 9:02 PM
    • 666 Posts
    • 6,291 Thanks
    This thread is so inspiring and quite shocking for myself too (shocked at my own grocery shop). I estimate I spend around 320 per month on a grocery shop! There is me and 2 cats, that's it. I definitely need to tighten my belt. I would like to join and go for a target of 280 / month. Let's see how I go - and hope my cats are up to the challenge too
    MFW 2013 #146 Target 6000
    Sealed pot challenge 6 member #1663 / 167.76
    Sealed pot challenge 5 member #1663 / 153.19
  • happy chick
    Hi everyone I'm trying again in November. September and October were both a complete write off with massive overspends - does this ever happen to anyone else? For me its all down to work being so busy and me resorting to takeaways and convenience foods.

    I'm on half term this week which means I'm feeling rested, have eaten well all week and have more energy than last term so going to throw myself into it. I've thrown food away every week for the last 3 weeks and can't bear to think of doing that again - such a waste! Have just had this weeks veggie box delivery so off to meal plan and make sure it gets used and I get my moneys worth!
    GC: Jan 118.67/175

    Owed to Mum -
    Overdraft -
    Total -

  • happy chick
    oops - forgot to post my budget! 175 for me this month please
    GC: Jan 118.67/175

    Owed to Mum -
    Overdraft -
    Total -

    • WantToBeSE
    • By WantToBeSE 2nd Nov 12, 7:41 AM
    • 6,793 Posts
    • 30,569 Thanks
    1st spend of the month today, which came to 33.98. It was an online order with tesc0.
    Forgot to get Milk and biscuits in the order, so will have to pop to T to get milk, and buy some cheap choc to make millies cookies.
    10k of Debt

    Debt Free Diary
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