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    • zippychick
    • By zippychick 4th Jun 11, 11:19 AM
    • 9,343Posts
    • 17,889Thanks
    • #1
    • 4th Jun 11, 11:19 AM
    4th Jun 11 at 11:19 AM
    Hi everyone,

    Welcome to the eleventh Grocery Challenge of 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'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; 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 5
    • Pandora
    • By Pandora 28th Oct 13, 6:34 PM
    • 257 Posts
    • 1,230 Thanks
    Hi everyone,
    First day of the November Challenge for me has started well with a NSD!
    Tomorrow I will be doing full inventories and attempting meal plans - don't know why but I just find meal planning sooooooooo difficult!!
    Going to have a budget of £70 this month, starting today and ending on Sunday 1st December. It will be a 5 week month so that's £10 per week plus £20 for bulk buys, extra YS stuff and some Xmas stuff.
    Here's hoping November goes better than October!!
    Good luck everyone, and thanks to the admins who look after us
    DFW Nerd 145
    LBM - June 2006 - DEBTS - £19,261.08
    Nov 2017 - £10,644.92!!
    Debt free date - 13/08/2022 - the day before I turn 40!!!!!
    Grocery Challenge - Dec 2017 £30.63/£150
  • want2Bfrugal
    Hi Everyone,
    I am really pleased to have come in budget for Oct - quite a buzz.

    I'm going for £265 for Nov hoping that Oct budget wasn't just a fluke.
    'If you are not in the 'arena' also getting your a55 kicked then, I'm not interested in your feedback.' Thank you.
    • mooomin
    • By mooomin 28th Oct 13, 6:46 PM
    • 13,655 Posts
    • 134,514 Thanks
    Another small spend for me today. I went to the shops for bread and bananas and came home with....bread and bananas No extra spends or whoopsies I didn't need

    I'll update my spends shortly but it was less than £2 spent anyway, so I'm delighted with that.
    • Emmala
    • By Emmala 28th Oct 13, 7:10 PM
    • 423 Posts
    • 2,313 Thanks
    Hi, I would like to join in this month please! We are struggling as DH lost his job suddenly at the start of September, and although I start as a TA at the kids school next week, things are tight, tight tight here. There are five of, DH, DS1 (dustbin boy), DD and DS2, plus two cats. Well, one normal cat and one cat who thinks he's a dog!

    We used to spend £100 a week....though this isn't only food, it's what my old mum calls 'housekeeping' so food, cat food, cleaning, toiletries etc all in. Please put me down for £350 for November.

    I've got it down quite a bit already from £500 a month, by menu planning and making a list. Then I head to Lidl, get everything I can from the list in there and any bits I can't (like soured cream) I then pick up in Sains or Mr T. But, if I can get it down to £350 I'll be pleased, even if it's only until Mr Molly gets a new job.

    I've been taking the weeks cash out at a time, but do you think I should take the month's worth out instead? Would it be easier/more motivating do you think????
    • Islandmaid
    • By Islandmaid 28th Oct 13, 8:17 PM
    • 3,193 Posts
    • 42,568 Thanks
    £250 for me please, still on the last knockings of October, will tot up my receipts over the next couple of day, I think i,ve come in on target
    Note to self - STOP SPENDING MONEY !!
    • Nicky Noo Na
    • By Nicky Noo Na 28th Oct 13, 9:17 PM
    • 760 Posts
    • 6,713 Thanks
    Nicky Noo Na
    Just about under budget for October - will try same budget £160 for November but might stuggle as this is a 5 weeker for us. Not planning to spend until Friday which will be a decent stock up shop...

    • strandedinaber
    • By strandedinaber 29th Oct 13, 6:46 AM
    • 188 Posts
    • 1,212 Thanks
    Can you please put me down for £150? I've eaten through the store cupboards and freezer a little too successfully and will need to stock up this month...
    Grocery Challenge January: £15.67/£120
    #47 £2 Savers: £6/£200
    #167 £1k Emergency Fund: £377.22/£1000
    #52 £2016 in 2016: £27.50/£2016
    • meg72
    • By meg72 29th Oct 13, 6:58 AM
    • 5,082 Posts
    • 46,072 Thanks
    Going to Asda to stock up on cathedral city cheese on offer at £2 for 350 grms. This is my favourite cheese and on looking back I last stocked up in March when I bought 6 packs, so 8 months ago , if I do the same today then I will have cheese well into next year. Will also get
    UHT milk while I am there.
    Slimming World at target
    • eveie189
    • By eveie189 29th Oct 13, 7:45 AM
    • 300 Posts
    • 2,896 Thanks
    Hi all

    I am back for the umpteenth time trying to get a handle on my budget.
    I would like to set £400 for this month. its a 4 week one for us.
    spent £30 already though for a joint pack from the butchers which is about the same cost as a takeaway and yet it will last all week!

    Good luck everyone
    April GC 9th-7th may £0/£320
    • sachatith
    • By sachatith 29th Oct 13, 8:26 AM
    • 222 Posts
    • 1,774 Thanks
    Just a quick one from me, went to Mr T's to get teabags, soya yogurts and pork pies, forgot the teabags (I have herbal to last me until Thursday so no problem) no soya yogurts so sticking with porridge, and saw YS bread that I get reduced from 75p to 31p so stuck it in the freezer, and 6 mini corn on the cobs for 75p instead of £2.10. Had two of them with my fajitas and shoved the other four in the freezer in batches of two.

    Pretty much the only time I've had decent YS so I'm pleased. Bit worried tried to call Mr T's yesterday to cancel delivery saver and 'due to unforeseen circumstances we can't answer your call'... must make sure I try again tonight!!
    Debt Free by 2015: £5839.01/£13000 1% challenge = 44.91%

    CAMRA Member: Drinking Ale doesn't make me any less of a woman
  • gakko1986
    Hello everybody!
    As you might have noticed I am new on here, however I have been browsing the forum for the past couple of weeks. Must admit, some posts are truly inspirational.
    I have committed myself to use the items from the cupboard more often and reduce the daily wastage.
    I'm used to planning meals and shops as I have been on SW (5st weight loss) now at the hardest stage to maintain it.
    I'm a nurse and an avid cyclist so schedules are pretty busy and I try and do forward planning as much as possible.
    I have planned to spend £120 this month 1st Nov-28th Nov for a single person.
    Doing one major shop at Sains and topping up on essentials rest of the month at Aldi&Lidl.
    Wish me luck
    • saving4life
    • By saving4life 29th Oct 13, 9:57 AM
    • 76 Posts
    • 547 Thanks
    another £4.02 spent to Lidl on bread cereal and sweets. Have about £13 left to last me until Friday, should be ok! and got free All Bran cereal on the doorstep this morning.
    October Grocery Challenge £400
    • JulieGeorgiana
    • By JulieGeorgiana 29th Oct 13, 10:57 AM
    • 2,467 Posts
    • 12,987 Thanks
    Ok, well it's been absolutely ages since I did this challenge... I slipped big time when pregnant with my daughter, and afterwards I managed to rein in the spending and we stuck to budget for about a year...

    Well i'm pregnant again, and we're spending £40-£75 over each and every month!!! I am due in 2 weeks and we are currently £405 over since March

    So as I do mine over a 4 week period, for the period 25th October - 22nd November I have a £240 budget and I have made a meal plan and ordered everything but my fresh food and I am on target to go over £20...

    I am determined that we will not go over £260 this period!

    I am making meal plans for the future month (after the baby is born) where I can eat more of the frugal foods and less meat (I always seem to need lots of milk & protein when pregnant) and I am determined to get back to spending within my £240 budget!
    We spend money we don't have, on things that we don't need, to impress people we don't like. I don't and I'm happy!

    Mortgage Free Wannabe
    Overpayments Made: £5400 - Interest Saved: £11,550 - Months Saved: 24
    • laura_hoggle
    • By laura_hoggle 29th Oct 13, 1:25 PM
    • 466 Posts
    • 1,729 Thanks
    First spends of November today - £33.76 in Sainsbobs. Only really needed lunch & fresh stuff as the freezer is full, but stocked up on tins as there's a good offer on KTC chopped tomatoes/chick peas - 4 for £1, making them cheaper than basics range!

    Good luck to all for the month of November, and lets hope we are all helped by the YS fairies!
    MFW 2016 #32 £1574.66/£1500
    • mooomin
    • By mooomin 29th Oct 13, 1:42 PM
    • 13,655 Posts
    • 134,514 Thanks
    Only really needed lunch & fresh stuff as the freezer is full, but stocked up on tins as there's a good offer on KTC chopped tomatoes/chick peas - 4 for £1, making them cheaper than basics range!
    Originally posted by laura_hoggle
    Do you know how long that offer is on for in Sainsbugs? I used their chopped toms all the time and have a voucher for extra points when I spend £20, so could go and stock up on catfood etc at the same time.
    • Nelly11
    • By Nelly11 29th Oct 13, 2:25 PM
    • 190 Posts
    • 1,392 Thanks
    Still have my full 125.00
    I've broken it down to 5 payments of 25, which I popped into envelopes, Really really want to stick to this, no reason not to as the food cupboard is full so are the freezers. Might need some soya milk though this week. Soup and rice cakes for packed lunches this week.
    Barclay card £4,024/£0 0%interest
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    Save all loose change 2018 total =
    • meg72
    • By meg72 29th Oct 13, 3:59 PM
    • 5,082 Posts
    • 46,072 Thanks
    Went to get the Cathedral city whilst on offer, 12.00 six packs, got 6 packs UHT milk so £17 spend and then just couldn't resist a look at the YS and picked up a lovely 2kg pork shoulder joint for £2.00 instead of £6.00 so had to have it although its not needed this month or even next,
    I was thinking it a shame that you cant donate things like this to a food bank, would make a lovely family meal for someone, so I decided
    I would split the difference, I saved £4 so would spend £2 on something to donate. I had a mooch to see what I could get for that which would be a treat for a family and decided on 4 tins peaches £1.16
    and 5 tins SP custard at 17p , 85p so £2.01 and I am really pleased with my donation for this week.
    Slimming World at target
    • laura_hoggle
    • By laura_hoggle 29th Oct 13, 4:32 PM
    • 466 Posts
    • 1,729 Thanks
    Do you know how long that offer is on for in Sainsbugs? I used their chopped toms all the time and have a voucher for extra points when I spend £20, so could go and stock up on catfood etc at the same time.
    Originally posted by mooomin
    I've just had a look online, it says for delivery by 5/11/13, so a week left yet. They are normally 37p each, so this saves 48p for every 4 you buy! There are on the same offer in Asda, but I'm not sure how long for.
    MFW 2016 #32 £1574.66/£1500
    • Faete
    • By Faete 29th Oct 13, 5:52 PM
    • 171 Posts
    • 2,760 Thanks

    I've only just found this site and I'm really excited by all the help and encouragement to make the most of our money.

    I spend around £100 a week on a main shop and lots of little top ups during the week. I'd like to try and limit my spending to £350 for November!

    Fae xx
    Last edited by Faete; 31-10-2013 at 6:38 AM.
    “Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination." Oscar Wilde
    January Grocery Challenge - £189.44/£300.00
  • flyinggiraffe
    I've just had a look online, it says for delivery by 5/11/13, so a week left yet. They are normally 37p each, so this saves 48p for every 4 you buy! There are on the same offer in Asda, but I'm not sure how long for.
    Originally posted by laura_hoggle
    East end chopped tomatoes are also on offer at 4 for a pound at te$co until the 5/11/13 so might be handy if you usually shop there
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