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  • FIRST POST
    • zippychick
    • By zippychick 4th Jun 11, 11:19 AM
    • 9,343Posts
    • 17,889Thanks
    zippychick
    • #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 competition....it'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,
    Spigs
    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!

    Zip
    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 14
    • Coxy11
    • By Coxy11 2nd Nov 12, 7:50 AM
    • 2,300 Posts
    • 27,322 Thanks
    Coxy11
    Good morning everyone,

    Budgets done to here

    Welcome to all the newbies - good to see you here. Please feel free to ask any questions. The people on this thread are full of ideas and inspiration to help you.

    I'm out for lunch with MIL, DD and DS2 today. Her shout! DS1 needs a couple of bits for his food tech. lesson on Monday, so shall ask DH to pick those up tomorrow. My gardening work is finishing next week and I have been lucky enough to get a Christmas job at 'shoes' starting tomorrow with an induction day, then my first shift on Sunday 2-10pm Wish me luck please

    Have a good day everyone.
    Coxy
    Cross-stitch WIP #1: Collecting Shells by Nancy Cole
    Cross-stitch WIP #2: Pretty Little London by Satsuma Street
    • Suffolk lass
    • By Suffolk lass 2nd Nov 12, 8:20 AM
    • 3,049 Posts
    • 28,096 Thanks
    Suffolk lass
    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?
    Originally posted by happy chick
    Absolutely YES! - It took me three months to get to grips and you can see from my sig that I have had a generous budget that I have occasionally failed to stay within for most of the year.

    After many years of DH earning 4 times my wage he lost his job and completely retrained as a teacher and now earns less than me. I had several years of trying to adjust with no real success and I recognise my own tendencies to hoard, over-shop, buy snobby-brands and so on (I won't go on it's not comfortable to read-back).

    I think that round about summer holidays I got to the point where I stopped buying all my "usual" things and now I shop more regularly to my list of just the ingredients I need for my plan.

    I think I really am changing but as a F/T worker in a challenging job (which I do enjoy) that takes me out for 12+ hours four days and working from home to top up my hours, I make compromises that I accept.

    You say being knackered in the evening and not wanting to cook is your failing so you buy take away. Why not try week of low effort cooking such as:

    Monday - a slow-cooked casserole/stew
    Tuesday - leftovers in a pie (bought pastry lid) and added frozen veg like peas or mixed veg
    Wednesday - a quick pasta dish (some take 3 minutes to cook which is quicker than take-away)
    Thursday - a home-made ready-meal from your freezer that you can take out in the morning and nuke when you get home
    Then you are only looking at Friday night and for me, because it's the weekend I relax a bit and if it's only Jacket Potato and beans with grated cheese, that is great; nutritious quick (if you nuke the potatoes before baking the last 15 minutes), delicious and cheap.

    HTH and good luck in November
    SL
    Last edited by Suffolk lass; 02-11-2012 at 8:21 AM. Reason: typos
    MFIT T5 target to clear our mortgage completely (59,998) Q1 26,828 or 44.71% paid - Mortgage Free Wannabes 2019 #37 78.13% 31,251.65 including July
    Save 12k in 2019 - #68 target is 7k 4,998.99 or 71.41% after May
    OS Grocery Challenge 2019 target is 3k - 46.03% spent so far, mid July
    My DFD is here
    • xx_Jo_xx
    • By xx_Jo_xx 2nd Nov 12, 8:38 AM
    • 2,854 Posts
    • 62,609 Thanks
    xx_Jo_xx

    Has anyone noticed their local T$co starting to withdraw certain Value ranges?
    Originally posted by CompBunny
    Yes, Ive noticed too...and its not just t3sco either... Im sure they are disappearing from A$da and Sainburgs too...

    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.
    Originally posted by peony40
    Thats the key for me too... sometimes I am very good, but then lifes throws a spectacular curve ball and it all goes up in the air! I am learning the importance of having proper homecooked food in the freezer in portioned containers, ready to go as required
    Sometimes lurking, sometimes posting, but always flying
    You are supposed to be the leading lady of your own life, for God's sake! - The Holiday
    DFW August 2013... Debt total 15,475.56 - Jan 15 11,738.66 - DEBT FREE by 2015
    Feb GC 48.02/250 (201.98)
    I will declutter my house and debts
  • mummy2mygirls
    Hello can you add me for 450 again this mth please I came just over budget last mth but this mth I have to stay under as we (DH ) have been paid a lot less!! I had first shop of the mth today and came in at 60.22 so will update siggy.
    GC: Nov: 60.22/450 Oct: 338.48/450, July: 363.05/450, June 447.98/500
    2 savers No68: 104/100

    mummy to: 8yr, 5yr, 3yr, 2yr, 1yr. No6 Due Mar 2013 My world.
    • debtmess
    • By debtmess 2nd Nov 12, 10:30 AM
    • 698 Posts
    • 3,045 Thanks
    debtmess
    Jumping in with 300 for November that's for myself 3 children and teen sister.

    Spent just under 20 in co-op yesterday but big shop will be done online for early next week, that's going to be around the 150 mark with the months food for my 2 cats included.
    Debt free

    Married 15/02/14
  • WelshWoofer
    Just back from the first shop of the month and went to Asd* as I was near it (usually use Mr T and Ald*). Had the dog with me in the car so sprinted around and didn't spend hours in the supermarket like I usually do.
    Managed to get everything on my list and a bit more but they did have a few offers on worth picking up - I take 2 cans of Pepsi Max to work everyday and the 8 packs were on offer at 2 each.
    There were also a few veggie things that I don't see anywhere else.

    Total spend was 27.50 and I have plenty in for the next week - my budget includes all food, drinks, household stuff and dog food.

    I did a bit of batch cooking yesterday (first time ever!) and will make extra portions of veggie spag bol tonight.
    January grocery spending - 82.73/ 120
    • WantToBeSE
    • By WantToBeSE 2nd Nov 12, 11:14 AM
    • 6,778 Posts
    • 30,548 Thanks
    WantToBeSE
    Coffee help please!
    Hi all.

    can someone please recommend me some coffee thats less than 2.50 for 200g?
    I normally drink Douwe Egberts, and have just run out, and cant find an offer anywhere for it.
    I cant spend very much, as i am doing the NOvember challenge.
    I HATE nescafe, but any other brand is fine, and i have to be able to get it from either Tesc0 or M0rris0ns.

    Thanks
    3/6 month emergency fund challenge #20
    PODBX17 #122

    Debt Free Diary http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=5501794

    Total debt:
    14/01/2017 6247.89
    24/02/17 5623.17

    Estimated DFD Jan 2018
  • lemmings1986
    hi all hope everyone is well.
    plan for today -batch cook
    cheese and onion pastys
    3x cheese and onion pies 1 for mil
    red pepper and tomato soup
    butternut squash and roasted garlic soup
    ive never made or tried butternut squash soup so hopefully will taste ok and get a few portions for the freezer
    patato,bacon and onion pie


    small spend to report
    1x huge bag garlic cloves 1.50
    1x bag patatoes 1.49
    1x bag onions 49p
    VSP#17 2.34
    debt free 26/10/2012
    • poohbear59
    • By poohbear59 2nd Nov 12, 11:46 AM
    • 4,820 Posts
    • 55,754 Thanks
    poohbear59
    ROSSPA order is expected today. I spent 38 but some was for DD so will need to calculate the exact cost and update my spend. I am going to go to Mr T and cash in all my pennies which should pay for the few things I need there.
    • Scuff
    • By Scuff 2nd Nov 12, 12:34 PM
    • 521 Posts
    • 2,087 Thanks
    Scuff
    hi all hope everyone is well.
    plan for today -batch cook
    cheese and onion pastys
    3x cheese and onion pies 1 for mil
    red pepper and tomato soup
    butternut squash and roasted garlic soup
    ive never made or tried butternut squash soup so hopefully will taste ok and get a few portions for the freezer
    patato,bacon and onion pie


    small spend to report
    1x huge bag garlic cloves 1.50
    1x bag patatoes 1.49
    1x bag onions 49p
    Originally posted by lemmings1986
    Butternut squash soup is DELICIOUS!!!!
    September 2016 GC 21.37/120
  • jojotall
    Hi all.

    can someone please recommend me some coffee thats less than 2.50 for 200g?
    I normally drink Douwe Egberts, and have just run out, and cant find an offer anywhere for it.
    I cant spend very much, as i am doing the NOvember challenge.
    I HATE nescafe, but any other brand is fine, and i have to be able to get it from either Tesc0 or M0rris0ns.

    Thanks
    Originally posted by WantToBeSE
    I'm not a coffee drinker but get coffee in for when others visit. I bought the Tesco Everyday Value coffee 47p for 100g. It was strength number 3. Anyway my friend came round for Halloween and I gave her a cup of coffee and she said what a lovely cup of coffee. I laughed my head off telling her what coffee it was. I thought it'd be naff but apparently not. It's worth a try at 47p no great loss if you think it's gross.
    GC: Sept: not sure yet, first time I've done this....
    • nannygladys
    • By nannygladys 2nd Nov 12, 1:41 PM
    • 1,264 Posts
    • 13,703 Thanks
    nannygladys
    Hi everyone
    Please put me down for 43 for November please, I have been paid today and its 4 weeks until next pay day, so I reckon its about right for 30 days. I still have a bit of food left and Im holiday for a week, but it should still work it as its self catering and Im taking food with me.

    So havent spent from food budget yet and having cauliflower cheese, veggies and pasta for tea.

    Jxx
    • Kimberley
    • By Kimberley 2nd Nov 12, 1:51 PM
    • 13,401 Posts
    • 20,357 Thanks
    Kimberley
    Hi

    I would like to try this challenge please. I tried once before but gave up because I wasn't committed enough. I want to try to spend 200 this month on Groceries/household cleaning if I can. It is just me, my 18 year old son and 15 year old son. My daughter and her boyfriend buy their own food for her and her baby so I won't include them.

    Already spent 5.81 today at the corner shop on just Milk, Cereal and a couple of other bits. Normally I do a weeks shop in Tesco but I still tend to go to the corner shop for Milk or Bread but because you have to spend over a fiver to use the debit card I buy stuff I don't really need.

    So my current status is Nov GC: 5.81/200

    Also I start a new job next week. It is shift work. I have a slow cooker in my cupboard gavering dust but I want to use it because some weeks I won't be able do the boys dinner. I can take lunch to work for me but I know the boys won't do their own dinner so my only option is to put the slow cooker on before I leave for a shift and get them to dish it up when the cooker is finished. I have looked on the slow cooker recipes on here but I don't understand some of them and some don't tell you how long to leave the cooker on for etc.
    Last edited by Kimberley; 02-11-2012 at 1:58 PM. Reason: spelling mistake
  • lemmings1986
    Butternut squash soup is DELICIOUS!!!!
    Originally posted by Scuff
    just finished making it mmmmmm very tasty will definatly make it again
    i also managed 2 cheese and onion pies,i couldnt make the pastys as i ran out of pastry
    also made the bacon,onion and patato pie so got a few meals for freezer
    also couldnt do the pepper soup as i used the last of my stock cubes on the butternut squash so ill get some tomorrow and do it then.
    Last edited by lemmings1986; 02-11-2012 at 2:16 PM.
    VSP#17 2.34
    debt free 26/10/2012
    • Billie-jo
    • By Billie-jo 2nd Nov 12, 2:31 PM
    • 1,221 Posts
    • 15,892 Thanks
    Billie-jo
    First spends of the month today in A1di & Te$co which came to 29-41
    Home made chicken tikka marsala for tea - just the two of us tonight - which is marinating in the fridge. Have been buying these at 4.50 for two portions and to be honest there is not a lot of chicken in - at the most 6 pieces. Have used 2 chicken breasts cut up and there will be some to put up in the freezer. Must do this straight away or DH will be having seconds and probably thirds although he is already convinced it will be nothing like the ready brought ones and will be a waste of money Will let you know.

    I must be one of the few who do not like butternut squash soup or pumpkin soup. Have tried them a couple of times but never got the taste for either.
    [COLOR="Purple"][B] MARCH 62.38/250 [B][COLOR="Purple"]
    • WantToBeSE
    • By WantToBeSE 2nd Nov 12, 3:56 PM
    • 6,778 Posts
    • 30,548 Thanks
    WantToBeSE
    I'm not a coffee drinker but get coffee in for when others visit. I bought the Tesco Everyday Value coffee 47p for 100g. It was strength number 3. Anyway my friend came round for Halloween and I gave her a cup of coffee and she said what a lovely cup of coffee. I laughed my head off telling her what coffee it was. I thought it'd be naff but apparently not. It's worth a try at 47p no great loss if you think it's gross.
    Originally posted by jojotall
    oooh, 49p Excellent, i'll put it on next weeks list thanks Jojo!!
    3/6 month emergency fund challenge #20
    PODBX17 #122

    Debt Free Diary http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=5501794

    Total debt:
    14/01/2017 6247.89
    24/02/17 5623.17

    Estimated DFD Jan 2018
  • HappyTorty
    put me down for 100 please.

    Now this month is going to be a bit 'iffy' because we are currently staying at the OH's father's, due to us waiting to get the taps and cooker fixed in the flat by the landlord ! hopefull will be back to normal next week!
    May Grocery Challenge : 64.81 so far


    May NSD: 0
    • tessie bear
    • By tessie bear 2nd Nov 12, 5:28 PM
    • 4,328 Posts
    • 29,793 Thanks
    tessie bear
    hi....spent a bit too much over half term so need to get back on track....i have a lot of food in so should last a while that said i always run out of something....need to do a meal plan for next week and sort out the bits for the pack ups

    am planning to do jacket pots for tea tomorrow and maybe a roast on sunday....beef or chicken i think
    take care tess
    onwards and upwards
    • gien
    • By gien 2nd Nov 12, 5:28 PM
    • 1,645 Posts
    • 15,703 Thanks
    gien
    did my second 'big shop' of the month (our month started on the 26th) for 113.06 euros.

    So that gives me a total so far of 230.52. The cupboards and fridge are full. It just remains for me to by wine and beer tomorrow as we have friends coming round on Saturday night.

    I am rather pleased so far about how little money we have spent so far compared to normal and how well we have been able to eat with just a bit of imagination.
    Trying to keep in budget.

    2270
    • debtmess
    • By debtmess 2nd Nov 12, 5:29 PM
    • 698 Posts
    • 3,045 Thanks
    debtmess
    Well am 69.09 down from my budget already (I cannot post in red sorry) but we have everything in until at least next weekend, no big shop needed and cat food until end of November the lunchbox frubes and chic biscuits are hidden in the freezer (saves them all be eaten far too quickly) nearly gave in and let mine have school dinners, but in theory have 2 weeks of lunchbox contents for less than 1 weeks dinners.
    Debt free

    Married 15/02/14
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