Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

Welcome to the MSE Forums

We're home to a fantastic community of MoneySavers but anyone can post. Please exercise caution & report spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts/messages: click "report" or email forumteam@.

    • 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 17
    • tattycath
    • By tattycath 4th Nov 12, 1:39 PM
    • 6,820 Posts
    • 35,979 Thanks
    Only just had time to update.
    Day before yesterday I spent 24.95 @ Mr As
    Made up of:
    Belvita x 2
    ceareal bars
    Chocolate digestives
    lion cereal - reduced
    Fairy dishwasher tabs
    funsize x 3
    Primula spread cheese
    screme eggs x 6 - reduced
    cheese scones
    Chicken portions
    Total 24.95
    Last night my OH decided to go out and get some plain flour, so he went to a local shop and paid 1.59 for it
    Total so far this month is 55.61
    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
  • rosieben
    elsiepac, your Sausage casserole with HM garlic bread is now in the index

    I think you meant you adapted it from Gingham Ribbon's recipe
    ... don't throw the string away. You always need string!

    C.R.A.P.R.O.L.L.Z Head Sharpener
    • elsiepac
    • By elsiepac 4th Nov 12, 2:44 PM
    • 1,719 Posts
    • 12,654 Thanks
    elsiepac, your Sausage casserole with HM garlic bread is now in the index

    I think you meant you adapted it from Gingham Ribbon's recipe
    Originally posted by rosieben
    Oops... thanks rosieben, will amend now - how embarassing!!!

    I'm a Board Guide on the Old Style, Greenfingered, Energy & Going Out Deals boards which means I'm a volunteer to help the boards run smoothly and I can move and merge threads there. Please remember, board guides don't read every post. If you spot an illegal or inappropriate post then please report it to (it's not part of my role to deal with this) Any views are mine and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.
    SPC No 074
    GC: Apr 19 59.94/200
    Vegan 27-8-13
    • GreenFairy
    • By GreenFairy 4th Nov 12, 2:58 PM
    • 301 Posts
    • 3,786 Thanks
    Put in a big order for cleaning stuff online. Dishwasher tablets, multipurpose cleaner, hand wash, washing up liquid, washing liquid and softener. Should last a good 6-8 months...have to wait until it hits the CC before can update as it was placed in .
    Feb GC 253.11/400
    Jan GC 203.37/400
  • CompBunny
    Big shop today. 36.12 at T$co but that did include a little 3ft Xmas tree and some fairy lights, dog treats for 3 months, enough cheese for a month or so and shaving gel for OH - things that don't get bought often. So don't feel toooo guilty although there were some bad things in the shop like 33p reduced doughnuts, 27p chocolate eclair sweets, and probably some other naughty stuff I'm forgetting.

    Just a reminder to everyone to always check your receipts. So often T$co get it wrong, I'm sure MSE users are more likely than most to check, but recently I've got in the habit of checking carefully every single time before leaving the store - its shocking how often they are wrong. Don't pay more than you need to! This time I got charged 4.93 too much by the checkout lady scanning 2 blocks of cheese instead of 3 so the offer I used didn't kick in.
    GC2012: Nov 130.52/125

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

    Engaged to my best friend 08/2012

    • elsiepac
    • By elsiepac 4th Nov 12, 3:59 PM
    • 1,719 Posts
    • 12,654 Thanks
    Easy Italian Soup
    Just a quick post - I've just spent 30 minutes making a lovely soup for my lunches this week - I can't remember where I got the original recipe from but here is my version:

    2 stock cubes (I used low sodium mar1g0ld cubes) - 30p ish
    1/2 savoy cabbage - 35p (69p Ald!)
    2/3 bag new potatoes - 54p (79p Ald!)
    1 tin chopped tomatoes - 25p (4 3ast 3nd for 1 in Mr T)
    1 leek - 67p (1.34 for 2 Mr T in value bag)
    1 tsp oregano - 2p (free for me as sister brings it back dried from Greece for me )

    1. Put chopped leek, potatoes, tomatoes and stock cubes in large saucepan
    2. Fill with boiling water to about 1 cm over the top of the veg
    3. Boil for 10 minutes
    4. Add the shredded cabbage and the oregano
    5. Mix well
    6. Cook for further ten minutes or until potatoes are soft enough (I kept stirring as the water is only just above the veg at this point so I felt the need to rotate but depending how watery you like it you could add more - I didn't)
    7. Serve and Enjoy!

    Make 4 portions
    Total cost 2.23
    Cost per portion 56p ish

    I've just portioned mine up and am waiting for it to cool so I can fridge it!

    LC x
    I'm a Board Guide on the Old Style, Greenfingered, Energy & Going Out Deals boards which means I'm a volunteer to help the boards run smoothly and I can move and merge threads there. Please remember, board guides don't read every post. If you spot an illegal or inappropriate post then please report it to (it's not part of my role to deal with this) Any views are mine and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.
    SPC No 074
    GC: Apr 19 59.94/200
    Vegan 27-8-13
  • rosieben
    elsiepac, your lush-sounding Easy Italian Soup is now in the index
    ... don't throw the string away. You always need string!

    C.R.A.P.R.O.L.L.Z Head Sharpener
    • nannygladys
    • By nannygladys 4th Nov 12, 5:05 PM
    • 1,264 Posts
    • 13,703 Thanks
    Havent spent anything yet, and had meatball meal out of the freezer with pasta and garlic bread (that I found lurking at the back of the freezer) when I say meatballs they are meatless balls as I dont eat meat anyway tomorrow Im having some couscous and mixed beans so thats sorted as well. May be more difficult Tues, Weds and Thurs as I will be having my DGD and DD1 to stay a couple of days but I will certainly be trying my best
    Budgeting again, must try harder!!
    Sealed pot challenge no.31
    Frugal challenge 2019
  • afeitar
    Did our first big shop today, 34.08 in aldi. This included:

    Kitchen rolls (4)
    Box of tissues
    2 x tins chopped tomatoes
    Carton of custard
    2 x paracetemol
    6 pack of ridged crisps
    500g penne pasta
    1kg spaghetti
    Carton of long life milk
    Oven chips
    Sweet potatoes
    Twin pack of bacon (10 rashers total)
    Fat free natural yoghurt 500g tub
    Tin of kidney beans
    800g beef mince
    Packet of chiekn thighs (about 8 small thighs)
    2 x cartons of soya milk
    Tin of stewing steak
    Air freshener
    2 cartons of passata
    Panty liners & sanitary towels
    Butternut squash
    2 toothbrushes
    Balsamic vinegar
    Chocolate digestives
    6 wholemeal rolls
    Sugar snap peas
    3 pack of peppers
    Kitchen foil
    Cheddar cheese

    Phew. Should keep us going for a fortnight I think combined with the stuff we already have in.
    November Grocery Challenge = 83.47/150
    • vanoonoo
    • By vanoonoo 4th Nov 12, 5:42 PM
    • 1,860 Posts
    • 7,742 Thanks
    we have only spent 3.00 so far this month, thankfully! need to do a shop by next weekend tho me thinks as starting to dip into stores for some things now like pasata, also got no tins of kidney beans at the mo
  • poppy-glos
    i managed to stick to my list today.... apart from ground almonds on buy 2 get 3 rd free... and use alot of them....

    still in budget, trying to stay within 10 a day, as previously have spent loads at beginning of month then not enough at the end....

    ooh, and made tinks hobnobs today, dd is on her 8th and says they are better than shop ones :-)
    nov grocery challenge, .227.69/300, 9/25 nsd: , 7 Cmo, 10 egm.
    Me, 10 yo dd, and the dog. all food and drinks, in and out, plus household shopping.
    • elsiepac
    • By elsiepac 4th Nov 12, 6:54 PM
    • 1,719 Posts
    • 12,654 Thanks
    elsiepac, your lush-sounding Easy Italian Soup is now in the index
    Originally posted by rosieben
    Thanks rosieben - only problem is I now have cabbage coming out of my ears! For my tea tonight I amended my meal plan (which was coconut dahl with naan - yum) to baby roast new potatoes (LO from the soup) with cabbage boiled in stock (LO from the soup) and one of the new Mr T individual pies - the vegetable curry one. It was ok, glad I tried it but I won't buy again, not special enough for 1.55!!!

    And I still have a L0ck n L0ck full of (now boiled) cabbage!

    I'm a Board Guide on the Old Style, Greenfingered, Energy & Going Out Deals boards which means I'm a volunteer to help the boards run smoothly and I can move and merge threads there. Please remember, board guides don't read every post. If you spot an illegal or inappropriate post then please report it to (it's not part of my role to deal with this) Any views are mine and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.
    SPC No 074
    GC: Apr 19 59.94/200
    Vegan 27-8-13
    • Bluegreen143
    • By Bluegreen143 4th Nov 12, 7:26 PM
    • 1,101 Posts
    • 12,692 Thanks
    Just wanted to say, thanks to those who posted their meal plans, I love seeing other people's as I am nosy and it gives me ideas! Also thanks CompBunny for the advice re the receipts - so true!

    Have had such a productive day! This morning I got up early (well, 9am - early for me on a weekend) and made split pea, smoked paprika and lemon soup plus roasted a butternut squash which is now in a tub in the fridge ready to add to things.

    Then went climbing, met a friend for coffee and did the weekly shop. Stuck to the list pretty well and spent 21.47:

    Fruit & veg shop Just went to Mr M for everything as didn't have much time
    Lemons bought Savers bag
    Salad x2 Bought
    Spinach Bought
    Radishes Bought
    Corn on the cob Bought
    Cucumber half Bought
    Red pepper Realised before I went that we still had one from last week, so didn't get
    Onions Bought Savers bag
    Bananas Bought 6
    Apples Bought three
    Mr M
    Vanilla extract decided I didn't need
    Coke x4 Got 2 Pepsis as couldn't carry 4 on bus
    Crisps multipack OH bought last night so didn;t need
    Tinned tuna x4 Bought
    Tin of soup/pot noodle for OH Found pot noodle in cupboard so didn't get
    Strong brown flour Bought Allisons nice stuff on great offer - cheaper than own brand
    Milk 4 pints Bought
    Cornflakes Bought own brand - OH won't eat value
    Shower gel Bought
    Also got savers butter and sea salt as remembered we needed these on the way out.
    Originally posted by Bluegreen143
    Made HM turkey escalopes for dinner with defrosted YS turkey steaks, were really tasty and served with roasted parsnips (YS and going off), green beans (starting to turn also), some old potatoes and redcurrant jelly (not HM alas):

    Making bread just now and hoping to make curry for tomorrow night as well
    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
    • bossymoo
    • By bossymoo 4th Nov 12, 7:27 PM
    • 6,817 Posts
    • 87,056 Thanks
    Well I have managed to stay out of the shops (apart from wilco for some insulating tape) so no more to add. Am pleased as I wanted to hold out till Monday
    We are almost out of milk, though, and I do have a bit of a list that's been growing this weekend, so will go in the morning. My littlest might have to come with me as she has been running a temp all day and coughed herself sick before bed :yuck: bless her. So she MIT have to stay off nursery. Not sure how much work I'll get done, but at least I can wfh on Monday's.

    Away with the fairies
    • emmita
    • By emmita 4th Nov 12, 7:51 PM
    • 666 Posts
    • 6,291 Thanks
    Mini Grocery shop at @sda today - essentials: rolls and ham for lunches and rabbit food / hay. Proud that I didn't buy any extra's. 9 spent. Am found somewhere west cumbria farmers that I can buy my cat litter in bulk and cheap also got myself organised and sold something on eBay. Only a tenner but every little helps
    MFW 2013 #146 Target 6000
    Sealed pot challenge 6 member #1663 / 167.76
    Sealed pot challenge 5 member #1663 / 153.19
  • she who can not cook
    Just a quick question...
    Can you freeze Tuna pasta Bake? This is something we always end up wasting for some reason or another, and was thinking I'd ask to make sure first
    Originally posted by HappyTorty
    i do with mine
    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
    • Make-it-3
    • By Make-it-3 4th Nov 12, 9:45 PM
    • 1,550 Posts
    • 7,040 Thanks
    Topped up on milk, yoghurt and spinach today - 3.99 in total - so taking me to 27.79.
    We Made-it-3 on 28/01/11 with birth of our gorgeous DD.
    • mummyyof5
    • By mummyyof5 4th Nov 12, 10:05 PM
    • 1,839 Posts
    • 39,830 Thanks
    Only spent 10 so far in MrTs...mainly cereal,milk and gravy granules.....Big shop tomorrow though !!!
    Feeding 6 Adults 1 Teen a 8 year old with hollow legs and a very fussy 5 year old. Also 3 cats and 3 fishies
    To include all Food,Toiletries and Petfood.
    • mossy
    • By mossy 4th Nov 12, 10:07 PM
    • 1,142 Posts
    • 8,199 Thanks
    Just a couple of little shops, I've updated my siggy! There are still too many days left in this months food budget!! But I will be strong and not use money from elsewhere!! Good job the freezer is full of DR mince, do you think we might start to look like mince if we eat it every day for the next two weeks lol!

    Fortunately DH is away working for a couple of days later this week so DD and I can have pasta and pizza without complaints!

    MUST sort out a meal plan for the rest of this month tomorrow! Need to start reducing carbs for diet purposes, might need to wait until the 20th and a new month's budget to get serious with that! It's a friends wedding in March and I'd rather not look or feel like an elephant if at all possible, and while I probably won't loose that much weight between now and then if I loose some I'll definitely feel better for it.

    Anyway, I appear to be in a rambling kind of mood so I'm going to get myself to bed!! The new recipes that are being posted sound scrummy!!
    Saving for Disney again big a target to face up to yet!
    Emergency Fund Savings - #148 - 10/1000 1%
    #083 SPC6 63 - SPC7 90 - SPC8 63 - SPC9 54 - SPC10 26 - SPC12
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 4th Nov 12, 10:14 PM
    • 818 Posts
    • 5,399 Thanks
    Thanks all! That outing was already budgeted for, so I won't count it towards the GC, but maybe if we eat out again and it goes over the 'outings' budget (which it will, since there is $4 left in that line...) I'll count that towards the GC. I'm definitely counting all other lunches out, because buying lunch on work days and taking the kids to a cafe on my days with them happen way too often, and they're the main reason I go over budget.

    So I was doing well! And then the baby slept so horribly last night that by the time we dragged ourselves out of bed there was no time for breakfast. So at 9am I've eaten half my lunch. This will either be bad for the budget or great for my waistline. Let's hope for the latter.

    Right, going to update the signature downwards and hope it stays that way for a few days.
    MFW diary here. 1 Feb 2017 $229,371 - MFD Feb 2043 aiming for May 2028
    14 August 2017 - Refinanced: $220,000
    January 2019 $211,580 Current MFD 31 June 2036
Welcome to our new Forum!

Our aim is to save you money quickly and easily. We hope you like it!

Forum Team Contact us

Live Stats

3,149Posts Today

8,617Users online

Martin's Twitter
  • A brilliant and gripping profile of Boris Johnson by the great @JPonpolitics well worth the 15 minute read

  • Boris Johnson is now going to be our prime minister. Worth a pause for thought, whatever your political persuasion.

  • Boy they're dragging out this #conservativeleadership announcement.Three introducers now each grabbing air time. Get on with it please!

  • Follow Martin