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 15
    • Bluegreen143
    • By Bluegreen143 2nd Nov 12, 5:32 PM
    • 1,106 Posts
    • 12,723 Thanks
    No spends today, have loads of milk in so probably no spends until I go shopping on Sunday.

    OH just came in in a rage because he got ID'd buying beer at Mr M by the wee old lady behind the till - he's nearly 29, six foot four with broad shoulders, hair that's starting to grey and hasn't been ID'd since he was 14 so he's not best pleased! I know they need to be careful now but honestly, you'd have to be such a numpty to think he's 17, he's the youngest of his friends but looks the oldest (but is very handsome with it of course! ) That would be one way to be money saving but he's gone back out with his passport lol, I think his pride is a bit shot!
    Married 1 March 2014 DS born 06 Dec 2014 DD born 14 Dec 2018
    • nicknack
    • By nicknack 2nd Nov 12, 6:11 PM
    • 89 Posts
    • 1,861 Thanks
    I am going for a budget of 200 again this month please Coxy. I've had this target for a good while now but it seems to be working for me and I don't think I can shave much off that at the minute so will stick with it for now.

    Anyway, I've already spent over 50 worth of this month's budget in Aldee, B&M and Lid! but have stocked up on pack up stuff, toiletries and cleaning products, so the next few weeks should just be fresh food. I've got my meal plan sorted for the month with quite a few veggie meals in there, so hopefully this will keep the budget down a bit.

    We were away in London over the last weekend and I'm so pleased we had saved up for it as our spending money didn't seem to go very far Every time we bought some food or drinks I was thinking what it would buy in terms of my grocery budget - this GC challenge must really be getting to me!

    • tatabubbly
    • By tatabubbly 2nd Nov 12, 7:03 PM
    • 905 Posts
    • 6,077 Thanks
    Two small spends : €4.98 and €1.79 in both tesc** and local store... Delighted I've found the cheapest place locally for milk.. I've been overpaying my nearly 0.70c every time :O
    094 Sealed pot member! (7) 185 (8) 138 (9) 250
    Saving for our first home!
    • XSpender
    • By XSpender 2nd Nov 12, 7:29 PM
    • 3,351 Posts
    • 34,502 Thanks
    I was planning a trip to ald1 after work but DH rang to say he had picked up a vomiting DS from nursery this afternoon so I came straight home. Went to Mr S as it is nearest to home later on and spent 30.23 but 7.50 was on jarmas for DS as he is growing out of all of his current ones and they had 25% off. I will deduct this from my GC total. 10 of this was on booze but this does come out of my GC.

    16.83 also spent on a small organic veg box and 4L of organic skimmed milk.

    Apart from some cream cheese, fruit, oven chips, hot dogs, jacket pots and a small pork or chicken ready to roast joint I am going to try and not buy anything else until next Friday. I am working funny shifts next week so will either need to put something in the slow cooker before I go to work or have something planned and with clear instructions for DH oh yes DH will probably want some more beer.

    My Mr T vouchers came today. Only 18.50 this year. I am certainly using them less. I am going to use the 15 to double up on frozen food. The freezer in the garage was accidentally defrosted when we went on holiday so it could do with restocking. They have also sent me a 12 off 90 spend which expires the last week of this months Gc I need to check out if I can use the double up and the 12 at the same time. If so it will be worth doing

    What a rambling post
  • mummybearx
    November already?

    Budget for this month.... Erm, can I put zero? Just done the budget for this month, after being overdrawn last month, I literally have about 6 before I go into the overdraft again this month

    In the middle of doing a full stock of the food we have, only got the fridge freezer and the stores in my shed to go x
    Can't think of anything smart to put here...
    • emmita
    • By emmita 2nd Nov 12, 8:45 PM
    • 666 Posts
    • 6,291 Thanks
    First shop of the month, 42.98 from @sda. Got the cats stuff - have a tin of Felix to try my ultra fussy cat on as well as his normal Felix AGAIL. Did the price check and 2.23 due back plus a 5 off a 40 spend. Hope everyone does the price checks. 42.98 / 280
    MFW 2013 #146 Target 6000
    Sealed pot challenge 6 member #1663 / 167.76
    Sealed pot challenge 5 member #1663 / 153.19
    • mrs-moneypenny
    • By mrs-moneypenny 2nd Nov 12, 9:12 PM
    • 15,518 Posts
    • 198,189 Thanks
    i havent totalled up my october spends yet but im in again for 400 for november please

    will try harder this month
    SPC~12 ot 124

    In a world that has decided that it's going to lose its mind, be more kind my friend, try to Be More Kind
    • quintwins
    • By quintwins 2nd Nov 12, 9:32 PM
    • 5,003 Posts
    • 29,347 Thanks
    Been shopping tonight, i got loads of stuff spent 36.30 but now have a fully stocked freezer and fridge, still need a few bits of monday but nothing major.
    DFW 7632/28996 26.3%
    • Suffolk lass
    • By Suffolk lass 2nd Nov 12, 9:34 PM
    • 3,128 Posts
    • 28,574 Thanks
    Suffolk lass
    OH just came in in a rage because he got ID'd buying beer at Mr M by the wee old lady behind the till - he's nearly 29, six foot four with broad shoulders, hair that's starting to grey and hasn't been ID'd since he was 14 so he's not best pleased! I know they need to be careful now but honestly, you'd have to be such a numpty to think he's 17, he's the youngest of his friends but looks the oldest (but is very handsome with it of course! ) That would be one way to be money saving but he's gone back out with his passport lol, I think his pride is a bit shot!
    Originally posted by Bluegreen143
    He should be so lucky - I dream of being ID'd!!
    MFIT T5 target to clear our mortgage completely (59,998) Q2 30,085 or 50.14% paid - Mortgage Free Wannabes 2019 #37 78.13% 31,251.65 including July - reducing now we have stopped work
    Save 12k in 2019 - #68 target is 7k 6,875.14 after July
    OS Grocery Challenge 2019 target is 3k - 50.52% spent so far, at end of July
    My DFD is here
    • theatregirl4
    • By theatregirl4 2nd Nov 12, 11:09 PM
    • 1,110 Posts
    • 7,033 Thanks
    Spent 8.41 over T's and A's, had a bit of a couponing day

    Also spent 4.73 when I went out for drinks with some people from work - which is a odd amount I know, but we bought a bottle of wine split three ways and some crisps, and the change was shoved in my direction....not complaining!!!

    Also spent money getting pet food, travel, and having my hair done - but thats all separate entirely from our food budget!

    • Suffolk lass
    • By Suffolk lass 3rd Nov 12, 8:20 AM
    • 3,128 Posts
    • 28,574 Thanks
    Suffolk lass
    Two shops to report - that admittedly exceeded my planned spending. I visited the butcher and bought 4 things instead of the three on my list - 12.97 and I planned and printed my list from Azbos on Mysm but boosted it with some Xmas luxuries to ensure I exceeded 40 as I had a 5 coupon burning a hole. When I got there the extra special yogurts looked and sounded so nice that I bought loads more than planned - they are yummy though (and 15p off).

    I also found the Kelloggs biscuit things I had freebie coupons for. There has been discussion on other threads about which coupons Azbos won't accept but I checked first with CS and it was fine. Three packs at 1.98 each for free (wouldn't have them otherwise). So 11 odd off in coupons. I'm happy but will be more frugal now.

    Have a good weekend everyone and don't buy it if you don't need it...
    MFIT T5 target to clear our mortgage completely (59,998) Q2 30,085 or 50.14% paid - Mortgage Free Wannabes 2019 #37 78.13% 31,251.65 including July - reducing now we have stopped work
    Save 12k in 2019 - #68 target is 7k 6,875.14 after July
    OS Grocery Challenge 2019 target is 3k - 50.52% spent so far, at end of July
    My DFD is here
    • donnajt
    • By donnajt 3rd Nov 12, 9:06 AM
    • 1,069 Posts
    • 9,929 Thanks
    Please may i join?

    I have no idea what we are spending so I am setting total at 300 hoping to come under but worried I might exceed it

    First shop of November at 27.63 but I cunningly bought loads of the 3for2 on baking in separate transactions to save some pennies and stock up my baking cupboard, however, I will need to shop tomorrow for packed lunches for the week

    300-27.63 = 272.37
    Slinkies 3st by summer (loss to date 10.5lbs)
    FlyMarketeers 1k by summer (sealed tin)
    • meg72
    • By meg72 3rd Nov 12, 9:19 AM
    • 5,082 Posts
    • 46,072 Thanks
    [QUOTE=Suffolk lass;

    Have a good weekend everyone and don't buy it if you don't need it...

    Many thanks Suffolk Lass you have just helped me make up my mind.

    I was undecided whether to go shopping this weekend or not, , I read your post and thought great advice, I dont NEED anything so I wont go, off to join fiscal fast for a week .
    Slimming World at target
    • icontinuetodream
    • By icontinuetodream 3rd Nov 12, 11:04 AM
    • 985 Posts
    • 6,606 Thanks
    spendy day today...needed to get some veg and milk for the week so 12.90 to declare....not too bad though....nothing else needed this week so it will be the last (hopefully!! )
    Mortgage 12.12.12 55842 12.12.13 42716 14.12.14 28837 13.12.15 25913
    Mortgage OP 50/600 House Fund 420/5000
    • WantToBeSE
    • By WantToBeSE 3rd Nov 12, 11:29 AM
    • 6,793 Posts
    • 30,576 Thanks
    I saw this outside my local Mr T this morning. Handy if you have a voucher, but no Mr A or Mr M

    10k of Debt

    Debt Free Diary
    • nannygladys
    • By nannygladys 3rd Nov 12, 12:52 PM
    • 1,265 Posts
    • 13,717 Thanks
    Feeling a little embarrassed at the moment, this morning I sorted out the freezer and food cupboards and I have soooo much in!!!! anyway I sorted what needs eating first by date and I will make meals accordingly, there will be some unusual meals So I reckon it'll be just milk, marg and fresh fruit this month, oh plus olive oil, matches, garlic and stock cubes anyway I'll see how I go.

    Bluegreen in the store where I work, the till staff have to ask anyone they think are under 25 for ID, my daughter is 37 and she still gets asked, but feels quite flattered looking so young
    Budgeting again, must try harder!!
    Sealed pot challenge no.31
    Frugal challenge 2019
    • theatregirl4
    • By theatregirl4 3rd Nov 12, 1:11 PM
    • 1,110 Posts
    • 7,033 Thanks
    spend today of 17 - buying takeout tonight for the first time in 2 months, and things have been so crazy lately I deserve a treat.

    also monthly milk bill went out of the account this morning, but this is for a weekly delivery of two pints every tues, thurs AND sat, plus a bottle diet coke/diet pepsi every thursday. 19.78 total.
    Last edited by theatregirl4; 03-11-2012 at 3:39 PM.

    • Billie-jo
    • By Billie-jo 3rd Nov 12, 1:19 PM
    • 1,221 Posts
    • 15,892 Thanks
    This must be the first Saturday for a loooong time that has been a NSD!!! Usually get my top up f&v today but after cleaning out the fridge decided there was enough in till at least Tuesday.

    Did find 3 sorry looking leeks so there is now a large pan of leek & potato soup made and have found 3 lemons which will need using up this week so think they will go towards a lemon meringue pie if not then some lemon curd.

    The curry last night was a hit DH who had made his mind up before hand it would be awful - loved it. However none to put in the freezer like I was hoping there would be as DS decided he was having some BEFORE he went out to eat with his girlfriend!
    [COLOR="Purple"][B] MARCH 62.38/250 [B][COLOR="Purple"]
    • elly2
    • By elly2 3rd Nov 12, 3:27 PM
    • 553 Posts
    • 5,227 Thanks
    Small spend of 4 on cat food that my cousin picked up for me , i think this may be the way for me to shop from now on other ppl just pick up what i need/ask for and i save tons of money . Will be needing milk tomorrow so am off into town with the kids, little man has some birthday money to spend, am thinking i might just take enough money with me to just buy the milk but even though thats all i need that thought kind of scares me lol.

    • smartcat04
    • By smartcat04 3rd Nov 12, 4:45 PM
    • 612 Posts
    • 1,821 Thanks
    Spent 1 in homebargains on 2 instant porridge pots for work- never tried these before so will make a nice change.
    Spent 6 on the market buying fresh fruit and veg so need to incorporate courgettes somewhere into next weeks meal plan.
    4 on pick and mix in wilkinsons as a cheeky treat for me and OH this weekend.
    April 5 a day challenge- 15.05/150
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

1,776Posts Today

5,447Users online

Martin's Twitter