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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 2013

    If your new month starts early feel free to join this thread, or if you're still working on your October budget, then keep on posting in the:
    October 2013 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; 21-10-2013 at 6:22 PM.
    A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men
    Norn Iron club member #380

Page 2
    • XSpender
    • By XSpender 23rd Oct 13, 1:50 PM
    • 3,406 Posts
    • 34,882 Thanks
    XSpender
    I have placed an order with Mr T for delivery tomorrow. It's ages since I had a delivery but I didn't need a huge amount and it saves me shopping after work when I have a million other things to do this week.

    I am shifting the meal plan around tonight and having the sausage pasta bake (if i can find the recipe as we have emptied the living room to get some work done today) so I can avoid having sausages 2 days in a row as I am going to change one of my days to white wine and garlic sausages with courgette gratin as I got some ys courgettes that need using. They may be past it, I will have to check tonight.

    2.00 to add for sweets today.
    October Grocery Challenge - 122.00/220
    • poppycracker
    • By poppycracker 23rd Oct 13, 2:02 PM
    • 1,511 Posts
    • 4,494 Thanks
    poppycracker
    could I join please? DH and I have had a nightmare month this month, and need to get on top of the Direct Debits etc next month so will need to keep the shopping budget to the absolute minimum. There is me (trying to stay on a healthy diet), DH, 3 cats and 4 birds (they dont eat much!) so I will set a limit of 45 per week (40 for me and him, 5 for catfood, litter and cleaning stuff).

    Please put me down for 180.

    I know it seems a lot given what I said at the beginning of my post, but this is my first month.
    DFW Nerd no 239.....Last Personal Debt paid off Nov 2012!
    Donated 50 pints so far.... gold badge got 17/11/13! Blood Group O+
    mummy to 3 cats, 2 budgies and a cockatiel
    • Gonzo1987
    • By Gonzo1987 23rd Oct 13, 2:04 PM
    • 1,163 Posts
    • 2,859 Thanks
    Gonzo1987
    Oooo I'd love to sign up. Can you put me down for 100

    ...hopefully will get this down next month!
    • lushlifesaver
    • By lushlifesaver 23rd Oct 13, 3:15 PM
    • 2,312 Posts
    • 18,637 Thanks
    lushlifesaver
    Wasn't planning on doing the GC in November but I think I will actually. Going to take some time this weekend and work out some meals we like in colder weather and then write a list of how much each recipe makes (i.e. leek and tattie soup makes 4 good portions, spag bol makes 2 etc) followed by what we will need.

    Just to make it more complicated I will then do 4 one week meal plans which include one flexi day (same ingredients could make 2/3 different meal choices) and one take out (bf's treat on 'date night') each. Each plan will then have the associated list filed with it. Each week I will then just shop based on that list (and that list alone) to see how I get on.

    Hmm new approach to challenge me!

    Thinking about my new tactics please could I go in for 80.00 again this month!
    Perfect Princess born 26/03/14 <3
    • Ladyluck1
    • By Ladyluck1 24th Oct 13, 7:34 AM
    • 612 Posts
    • 7,237 Thanks
    Ladyluck1
    Can you put me down for 100 please, starting 1st November.
    Fully expect to go over next month as I'm due to give birth and it's DSs birthday... Hopefully will come in under budget for October though!
    I'm C, Mummy to DS 29/11/2010 and DD 02/11/2013

    Overdraft PAID OFF
    CC PAID OFF
    GC Sept 141.17/200
    • meg72
    • By meg72 24th Oct 13, 9:53 AM
    • 5,082 Posts
    • 46,072 Thanks
    meg72
    Just a reminder that the Aldi 5.00 off voucher is in the Mirror today.
    Slimming World at target
    • First_Trouble
    • By First_Trouble 24th Oct 13, 2:53 PM
    • 974 Posts
    • 3,142 Thanks
    First_Trouble
    I have read previous posts and have been inspired to try for myself. I never used to look at prices until recently and was always shocked when I got to the till. My weekly food bill was 150 for 2 people!! Me and my husband are trying to clear debts and hope to eventually own our own home. So something had to give.
    I've managed to get our food budget down to 100-120 a month which I think is a pretty good achievement but I think I can do more.
    So here goes.

    I pledge that my food budget for November 80.
    I hope to get this down eventually to 50 a month. We do own a rather large dog and a cat although their combined food costs 60 a month I have that on a separate budget and gets bought at Pets at Home.
    I have invested in a bread maker, food processor and slow cooker. As I recently gave up smoking and the savings from that went towards the appliances.
    I am also in the process of turning our back garden into a vegetable plot and hopefully should have that up and running for next year
  • CH27
    I have read previous posts and have been inspired to try for myself. I never used to look at prices until recently and was always shocked when I got to the till. My weekly food bill was 150 for 2 people!! Me and my husband are trying to clear debts and hope to eventually own our own home. So something had to give.
    I've managed to get our food budget down to 100-120 a month which I think is a pretty good achievement but I think I can do more.
    So here goes.

    I pledge that my food budget for November 80.
    I hope to get this down eventually to 50 a month. We do own a rather large dog and a cat although their combined food costs 60 a month I have that on a separate budget and gets bought at Pets at Home.
    I have invested in a bread maker, food processor and slow cooker. As I recently gave up smoking and the savings from that went towards the appliances.
    I am also in the process of turning our back garden into a vegetable plot and hopefully should have that up and running for next year
    Originally posted by First_Trouble
    Welcome to the challenge
    Try to be a rainbow in someone's cloud.
    • Nelly11
    • By Nelly11 24th Oct 13, 8:56 PM
    • 190 Posts
    • 1,392 Thanks
    Nelly11
    Can I join please, 125.00 for me and a teenager, need to sort out my debts, I'm concentrating on the months mortgage bill that I am behind due to being in Hospital in March, all my bills went up the swanny as I had 5 months of recovery. Now all the pain has gone I need to get on top of all the debt that is keeping me awake at night.

    My month runs from 25th Oct to 25th Nov, I'm going to put away envelopes for each week with Grocery payments of 25.00 per week and petrol allowance of 50.00 per week, what is remaining, if anything will go off the mortgage payment. I do get some of my petrol back from work, but still have to travel 60 miles return to acyually get into work!
    Barclay card 4,024/0 0%interest
    HMRC 3,456/0 0% interest
    Blackhorse 2763/0 0% interest
    HMRC2 397/0 0% interest
    Credit card 1400/0 29% interest
    Save all loose change 2018 total =
    • K9sandFelines
    • By K9sandFelines 24th Oct 13, 8:59 PM
    • 2,127 Posts
    • 18,279 Thanks
    K9sandFelines
    I've just started a new job where food is provided and have to balance out my short one and a half week wage plus any JSA owed til Dec payday, so as it's been a long time since i was in this position and was not a single parent then, i didn't have to think too much about food shopping the way i do now.

    I have been doing this now nigh on a year and still haven't brought it down, but i suppose there is no hard and fast rule except sticking at it.

    As i keep going over, i am keeping it at 380and hope before the year is out i can achieve hitting target. as, this amount for three people is way too much. I have highered it and lowered it, but my brain just isn't getting on the same page with the shopping habits. It is going to be my NY resolution, to strive to do better
    Last edited by K9sandFelines; 26-10-2013 at 9:24 AM.
    GC 2017 3,434.09 GC 2018 2,250.95 GC 2019 Jan 268.24/200 Feb 158.01/200 Mar 220.05/200 April (moving) May (adjusting 270.73), Jun 291.01/280 Jul 344.31/300 Aug 232.48/300 Sep 320.91/300 Oct 92.97/300
    ~ Still learning the art of frugality ~
    • lynnejk
    • By lynnejk 24th Oct 13, 11:48 PM
    • 5,343 Posts
    • 55,198 Thanks
    lynnejk
    .
    I've managed to get our food budget down to 100-120 a month which I think is a pretty good achievement but I think I can do more.
    So here goes.
    Originally posted by First_Trouble
    Welcome - and I'm sure you will find lots of help and inspiration on this site.

    I have been doing this now night on a year and still haven't brought it down, but i suppose there is no hard and fast rule except sticking at it.
    It is going to be my NY resolution, to strive to do better
    Originally posted by K9sandFelines
    Don't beat yourself up - trying is part of doing.

    Good luck everyone for November and remember not to eat all the pies yet
    L
    10day.2014=3213/2015=3421/2016=3238/2017=2702/2018=498..APR=12.03/300
    GrocC.2014=2162/2015=2083/2016=218/2017=1996/2018=450..APR=17.13/200
    Bulk buy.......APR=233.76
    GC.NSD..2015=216/2016=213/2017=229/2018=39..APR=03/15
    SPC130x61..2014=1178/2015=1287/2016=4616/2017=3843
    OS WL= -2/8 ......CC =00......Savings = 13,140
    • lynnejk
    • By lynnejk 24th Oct 13, 11:53 PM
    • 5,343 Posts
    • 55,198 Thanks
    lynnejk
    Silly silly
    I forgot to say thanks to all who run this forum and that I want to have another go at 240. starting 1st November please.

    I know I've come in under budget but not bought any meat or other bulk buys, have son coming to stay and 'the season' coming up. So all my overs will go in my bulk buy fund 1st Nov. and trying to look long term
    L.
    10day.2014=3213/2015=3421/2016=3238/2017=2702/2018=498..APR=12.03/300
    GrocC.2014=2162/2015=2083/2016=218/2017=1996/2018=450..APR=17.13/200
    Bulk buy.......APR=233.76
    GC.NSD..2015=216/2016=213/2017=229/2018=39..APR=03/15
    SPC130x61..2014=1178/2015=1287/2016=4616/2017=3843
    OS WL= -2/8 ......CC =00......Savings = 13,140
    • saving4life
    • By saving4life 25th Oct 13, 6:34 AM
    • 76 Posts
    • 547 Thanks
    saving4life
    First shop of the challenge and spent 47.29 in asda, will need some drinkies over the weekend though to come out of my remaining 32 but so far so good!
    October Grocery Challenge 400
  • Tryingagainandagain
    Hi

    Could I please join in with 200 please?

    I would very much like to go below this but am experimenting with various shopping modes to see which works best for me.

    This month I am avoiding the supermarket as I always pop a book or CD or houseware item into my grocery shopping which bumps up the cost.

    I am planning for no careless food waste (have just found a mouldy grape in a punnet I bought yesterday so I don't think I can say none at all).

    I am also looking to have at least 18 no spend days.

    My shopping book will come with me at all times as I find I forget what I've spent money on.

    I've tried the grocery challenge before and it worked for as long as I was in - then I dropped out and fell be the wayside.

    TAAA
    • meg72
    • By meg72 25th Oct 13, 8:54 AM
    • 5,082 Posts
    • 46,072 Thanks
    meg72
    Again aiming to spend as little as possible and use up as much as possible.

    Really want to start the new year with an empty freezer, trouble is with batch cooking I take something out and put back 3 or 4 meals.
    Slimming World at target
    • sachatith
    • By sachatith 25th Oct 13, 11:47 AM
    • 222 Posts
    • 1,774 Thanks
    sachatith
    Hi all and thank you for volunteers doing their volunteering thang

    Can I put in for 155.00 (gulp) this month from 28th October - 27th November to include me, OH, a WestRussel, cleaning stuff and toiletries gonna be tight but fingers crossed! Good luck everyone x
    Debt Free by 2015: 5839.01/13000 1% challenge = 44.91%

    CAMRA Member: Drinking Ale doesn't make me any less of a woman
    • mooomin
    • By mooomin 25th Oct 13, 12:19 PM
    • 13,655 Posts
    • 134,514 Thanks
    mooomin
    Can I join please? I get paid on the 18th of the month so have already bought some stuff from the shops so I'll be budgeting from now until the 17th of November with what's left in my food account which is 189.93 please.

    This will cover all food, cleaning stuff, toiletries and cat stuff for myself, Mr Moo and our elderly cat. I would love to stick within this budget as I tend to be a bit rubbish with food budgeting. One of my aims in the next couple of weeks is to eat our way through everything in Freezer 1 so I can defrost it. I won't be buying any more meat until that's done.

    Hopefully I'll be able to resist those whoopsied bargains...

    • just the two of us
    • By just the two of us 25th Oct 13, 1:17 PM
    • 1,142 Posts
    • 18,690 Thanks
    just the two of us
    Well, here goes - our first monthly challenge!!
    Please put us down for 250 for myself and DH as trying to put treats etc away for Christmas.
    Last month was a revelation as we had 40 left over - but we were away for a few days and that comes from a different budget. Also the freezer needed to be emptied for defrosting so all stock used up.
    Have already bought a large T*sco shop this week to take advantage of the 5 off 40 spend vouchers for next week and now have most of my meals and store cupboard items for November already. Wish us luck please!!!
    Last edited by just the two of us; 25-10-2013 at 1:24 PM.
    • malamay
    • By malamay 25th Oct 13, 2:25 PM
    • 346 Posts
    • 4,698 Thanks
    malamay
    I'm going to try for 120 in November. We have a lot of nights away this month, and will need our money for this! Our month starts on Wednesday.
    Swagbucks Amazon gift vouchers 2014 125/250
    GC October 100.8/150 September 99.36/180 August 178.77/180 June 163.18/180 May 177.89/180 April 160.66/180 March 163.48/180 Feb 154.21/150 Jan 51.65/150
    • WantToBeSE
    • By WantToBeSE 25th Oct 13, 2:46 PM
    • 6,795 Posts
    • 30,577 Thanks
    WantToBeSE
    Can you please put me down for 300 this month, a reduction of 40.
    I am pretty sure I'll be able to stick to this.
    have also ben given an extra 5 hours work every week via the agency, so that'll be nice
    10k of Debt

    Debt Free Diary https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=6026621
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