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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 4
    • meg72
    • By meg72 27th Oct 13, 9:39 AM
    • 5,082 Posts
    • 46,072 Thanks
    meg72
    Hi all, new newbie here! After seeing our bills go up a huge amount this month we've decided that it's time to be more sensible with money :/ This, along with bulk cooking for the freezer, seems like the best place to start!

    Our month starts now so Can you put me down for 200 for this month, 2 adults and 2 children, please? Just stocked up on two weeks worth of food for batch cooking.. Wish me luck! Xx
    Originally posted by Bubbletea
    Welcome and good luck.
    Slimming World at target
    • meg72
    • By meg72 27th Oct 13, 9:42 AM
    • 5,082 Posts
    • 46,072 Thanks
    meg72
    Hello, I don't think I did too well last Month . Well actually I was rubbish! So I am going to try again as my last week or so of October turned out to be quite good so maybe I just need more practise. 280 . for me please this month and I will try to be good!
    Originally posted by Cwtchie
    Good for you in trying again, it does take some practise to get it right but you will get there I am sure,
    Slimming World at target
    • laura_hoggle
    • By laura_hoggle 27th Oct 13, 12:22 PM
    • 466 Posts
    • 1,729 Thanks
    laura_hoggle
    Hi, I'd like to stick to the same budget as last month, 200. This is to go from 29th October to 29th November, as this is when my money goes into the joint account! Although this is the same as October, we were away for a few days in October so didn't need to buy groceries, so hoping we can stick to the same budget!!

    This is for 2 adults. Last month we had a greedy guinea pig staying with us, but he has gone back to his other mum again (my old housemate!) so won't need to buy as much fresh stuff.

    I need to do another freezer stocktake (haven't updated it as much as I should!) and meal plan to see what we can eat and what needs to be bought.

    Good luck to everyone this month!
    MFW 2016 #32 1574.66/1500
    • mooomin
    • By mooomin 27th Oct 13, 8:49 PM
    • 13,655 Posts
    • 134,514 Thanks
    mooomin
    I've spent 11.57 out of my budget so far. 5 of that was on Weight Watchers bars (easy snacking!) and the rest on a couple of essentials - margarine, bread, fruit etc.

    Tomorrow I'm going to do a meal plan and try and shop around that for the week.
    • toddles*
    • By toddles* 28th Oct 13, 7:35 AM
    • 360 Posts
    • 2,653 Thanks
    toddles*
    Need to make a stock list of everything I have in the chest freezer and store cupboards. Then make some menus from them. Hopefully if I do that I can be well within my target for the month.

    there is some rather questionable random non labelled items at the bottom of the freezer though. Exciting!
    Happy days
    • gayleygoo
    • By gayleygoo 28th Oct 13, 8:00 AM
    • 801 Posts
    • 2,152 Thanks
    gayleygoo
    Well, I messed up October by not keeping track of anything and spending was high. Oh well, try again this month! I'm setting a budget for 240 for the next 4 weeks of groceries and toiletries (2 adults, 2 kids). I'm also allowing another 60 that goes towards Christmas food and baking the Christmas cake, in the hope that I won't panic buy quite so much in December!

    One Love, One Life, Let's Get Together and Be Alright

    April GC 13.20/300
    April
    NSDs 0/10
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    • Coxy11
    • By Coxy11 28th Oct 13, 9:52 AM
    • 2,322 Posts
    • 27,347 Thanks
    Coxy11
    Hi everyone,

    Budgets done to here

    Welcome/welcome back to:
    moomin, just the two of us, toddles*, fairy3, Bubbletea, kimthomasandaimee, saving4life, nearlytherenow, poppycracker, Gonzo1987, First_Trouble, Nelly11 and tryingagainandagain

    Good luck for November everyone
    Coxy
    Cross-stitch WIP: Pretty Maids in a Row
    • poppycracker
    • By poppycracker 28th Oct 13, 10:26 AM
    • 1,511 Posts
    • 4,494 Thanks
    poppycracker
    thankyou for the welcome and thankyou to the people who keep this thread organised .

    I am starting my month on the 31st, as DH gets paid then (monthly payment) so we can do a bulk shop that day and then see how much is left for the rest of the month. It's a big deal for us because he has recently swapped jobs and this is the first time he has been monthly paid since we met. It's not easy adjusting to not having money coming in every week. (I get paid fortnightly).
    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
    • meg72
    • By meg72 28th Oct 13, 10:57 AM
    • 5,082 Posts
    • 46,072 Thanks
    meg72
    First spend of the month for me 60p on a 40p reduced loaf and 20p reduced 6 pack of rolls.

    Usually I just stick them in the freezer and take out as needed but I am trying a new way this month, and actually making a batch of sandwiches for lunch. It is really no more trouble to make up half a dozen than it is to make one at a time, and theres less clearing up to do.

    So I have 4 chicken sandwiches, 6 ham rolls and 4 cheese sandwiches I can eat these as they are or toast. the last couple of slices, crusts have been frozen as they are for toast. So that's the basis of 16 lunches prepared.
    Slimming World at target
    • poppycracker
    • By poppycracker 28th Oct 13, 11:26 AM
    • 1,511 Posts
    • 4,494 Thanks
    poppycracker
    good idea meg72, I might try this for DH's pieces for work. Will save having to get fresh sandwich stuff every week as well. Just get some cooked chicken, season, make sandwiches and freeze.
    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
    • sachatith
    • By sachatith 28th Oct 13, 12:06 PM
    • 222 Posts
    • 1,774 Thanks
    sachatith
    Hi all

    First spend of the month for me - I had an email saying if I spent 40 this weekend on a Mr T's delivery I would get 5 off the following week, I normally do one big shop (delivered) and the smaller ones I top up when I need, but as my delivery saver runs out this week I thought I may as well save a fiver. Was pleased as I thought I may as well try to get it only just over 40 - managed 40.85

    Had a cooking day yesterday, made four portions of leek and potato soup for lunches, about 30 gingerbread cookies, roast dinner and bread and butter pudding using up the frozen crusts and a pot of jam that ha been in the fridge a while.

    Tonight I am having fajitas using the tortilla and fajita seasoning recipes I found on here last week, and OH is having tinned hot dogs with HM chips (tinned hot dogs were 49p and will last at least two nights, he loves them I can't bear them!)

    Did realise that I forgot to get teabags and pork pies (for his lunch) so will need to nip to Mr T's after work quickly but will go in and out. Off to update siggy

    Love to all 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
    • XSpender
    • By XSpender 28th Oct 13, 1:01 PM
    • 3,408 Posts
    • 34,891 Thanks
    XSpender
    I have already spent a huge amount of November's budget and have 25 days left! I should not need to spend a thing until my Mr T delivery on Friday. My big spends include a years worth of toothpast and toothbrush heads, stocking up on some GF items and 2 takeaways

    I managed to pick up 16 YS GF rolls in Mr S when we popped in for a couple of things I had forgotten off the last Mr T order. These should cover lunches for the rest of the month for me either filled or with some HM soup.

    I have done a meal plan until the end of the month (20th) and I have almost everything I need in for main meals but will need lunch stuff, bread, milk and lots of fruit, oh and beer and wine

    This month is really tight for us and I have no option but to come in on budget as our other money is committed elsewhere.

    DH is out for a meal tonight with work so I am going to have omelette for tea and make 2 portions of soup and a chicken and leek pie filling to use up 3 leeks and a coffee cake for lunches.

    I have a lot of sausages in as we bought a load at a food fair then even more on the M&S 3 for 2 but I need to double check how much chicken I have left as I may need to buy another 2kg tray (10).

    I am going to stick with the Mr T deliveries this month but make sure I get everything I need in this shop as it is the pop in shops afterwards for forgotten items that double and triple my spend for the week.

    Meal plan for the rest of this week:

    M - Omelette, wedges and beans
    T - Courgette pasta bake (using up 3 courgettes, chorizo and 2 mozarella balls)
    W - Chicken and leek gratin (made Mon to use up leeks)
    Th - Carbonarra and garlic bread
    F - Posh sausages, mash and frozen veg
    Sa - HM Indian Fakeaway
    Su - Mums for lunch, Jacket pots for tea
    October Grocery Challenge - 122.00/220
    • MrsCautious
    • By MrsCautious 28th Oct 13, 3:26 PM
    • 1,161 Posts
    • 13,728 Thanks
    MrsCautious
    Hello everyone and thank you for new thread, support, ideas and inspiration. I'd like to set a budget for 200for November please, I'd love to be able to stick to that, I have a separate budget for Christmas though
    • Bluegreen143
    • By Bluegreen143 28th Oct 13, 3:43 PM
    • 1,108 Posts
    • 12,739 Thanks
    Bluegreen143
    Got my first load of shopping for November at the weekend (eeek - where has the year gone??!) and am now standing at 33.44 / 175.

    Easy week foodwise:

    Sun 27 - steak, chips (for OH) and salad with a peppercorn sauce (made by OH)
    Mon 28 - salmon, rice and stir-fried veg
    Tues 29 - OH working so I’ll probably make some kind of pasta
    Wed 30 – beef pasta with salad (from freezer)
    Thurs 31 - squash and ricotta canneloni with salad (from freezer)
    Fri 1 - pizza with salad (dough from freezer)
    Sat 2 – veggie chilli with rice

    Really annoyed with Mr A as I ordered two sirloin steaks and one of the ones they sent was a rib-eye steak! It was the same price but nowhere near as nice to my mind - I would know as I let OH have the sirloin

    Debating whether they will do anything about it if I complain seeing as how I ate it anyway (didn't notice until opening the packet and the receipt says 2x sirloins so didn't notice when the delivery came). It's actually the first time I have ever bought and cooked myself steak (normally make for OH and have a veggie meal or fish myself) so doubly annoyed as it was supposed to be a treat and it's not exactly often we spend 7 on meat for one meal!!
    Married 1 March 2014 DS born 06 Dec 2014 DD born 14 Dec 2018
    • meg72
    • By meg72 28th Oct 13, 4:34 PM
    • 5,082 Posts
    • 46,072 Thanks
    meg72
    Got my first load of shopping for November at the weekend (eeek - where has the year gone??!) and am now standing at 33.44 / 175.

    Easy week foodwise:

    Sun 27 - steak, chips (for OH) and salad with a peppercorn sauce (made by OH)
    Mon 28 - salmon, rice and stir-fried veg
    Tues 29 - OH working so Ill probably make some kind of pasta
    Wed 30 beef pasta with salad (from freezer)
    Thurs 31 - squash and ricotta canneloni with salad (from freezer)
    Fri 1 - pizza with salad (dough from freezer)
    Sat 2 veggie chilli with rice

    Really annoyed with Mr A as I ordered two sirloin steaks and one of the ones they sent was a rib-eye steak! It was the same price but nowhere near as nice to my mind - I would know as I let OH have the sirloin

    Debating whether they will do anything about it if I complain seeing as how I ate it anyway (didn't notice until opening the packet and the receipt says 2x sirloins so didn't notice when the delivery came). It's actually the first time I have ever bought and cooked myself steak (normally make for OH and have a veggie meal or fish myself) so doubly annoyed as it was supposed to be a treat and it's not exactly often we spend 7 on meat for one meal!!
    Originally posted by Bluegreen143
    I would email them and complain, saying how disapointed you were and point out that they did not point out this was substituted therefore you did not have the option to return.
    Slimming World at target
    • craigywv
    • By craigywv 28th Oct 13, 4:44 PM
    • 1,976 Posts
    • 27,825 Thanks
    craigywv
    hi all starting today,not giving a total as STILL eating out of freezers,can proudly claim to be the owner of an empty freezer, 1 down 2 to go. its to be defrosted now and refilled with ys stuff only! other freezer is half filled with meat so it be longer going thru that 1. and third is a nightmare its the bits freezer.........bits of this , bits of that. only 2 fish when theres 3 of us so someone eats different meal,hate that. so its a lot harder to eat thru. and I know I can eat it for lunches but its all too heavy a meal for lunch iykwim. anyway good luck all 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!!.
    • AlwaysHappy
    • By AlwaysHappy 28th Oct 13, 4:51 PM
    • 1,487 Posts
    • 11,732 Thanks
    AlwaysHappy
    Count me in again 300 for the month but I am going to try and get some bits for Christmas included in that
    I'm not a failure if I don't make it, I'm a success because I :tried!
    • AlwaysHappy
    • By AlwaysHappy 28th Oct 13, 4:55 PM
    • 1,487 Posts
    • 11,732 Thanks
    AlwaysHappy
    Sorry am on tablet at minute and hadn't realized it was all red . technology and me aren't a good fit.
    I'm not a failure if I don't make it, I'm a success because I :tried!
    • cattysmum
    • By cattysmum 28th Oct 13, 5:11 PM
    • 1,256 Posts
    • 21,417 Thanks
    cattysmum
    Hellloooooo November and you could not have come soon enough, get paid this Friday and setting Budget at 200 for me and other half. Will get christmassy food on a weekly basis and hope that it does not send me over budget. Many thanks for new thread Admin, good luck everyone !!!!
    [B]SPC No. 295 - SPC No10 target 350
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    SPC 2014 150/SPC 2015 256SPC 2016 324
    Saving for Florida 2018
    Matched betting toe dipper.
  • flyinggiraffe
    Had my first November spend today. I forgot to take anything out of the freezer for tonight, and have my big shop being delivered tomorrow.

    So I spent 2 on a reduced just eat chicken thing, 3 chocolate bars for the office at 1.20, eggs from the chicken lady in work and clotted cream from the dairy farmers wife in work.signature updated to show.

    I'm still in shock at how little my grocery spend was last month, but it wasn't typical as it was down to having no money left in the account. Have received work expenses back and have all my meetings booked in,so hopefully won't be spending 300 on work travel this month.
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