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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 first Grocery Challenge of 2014

    If your new month starts early feel free to join this thread, or if you're still working on your December budget, then keep on posting in the:

    December grocery challenge - sorry cant seem to get the hyper link to work

    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; 30-12-2013 at 10:55 AM.
    A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men
    Norn Iron club member #380

Page 25
    • threepenny bit
    • By threepenny bit 6th Jan 14, 2:59 AM
    • 222 Posts
    • 1,832 Thanks
    threepenny bit
    no spend today, popped out to get stuff for work but paid on their CC lol! Resisted all temptation to look for anything for us.
    Had potato skins, bacon sardines and christmas cake for tea. Took out some chicken from freezer for tomorrow.
    Fashion on a ration 5/66 used.

    Save $2019 in my savings account during 2019 - 37/2019
    Work on selling items and decluttering
    • sharronej
    • By sharronej 6th Jan 14, 7:05 AM
    • 563 Posts
    • 4,784 Thanks
    [QUOTE= i have deleted my paypal details from pre saved ( that made spending online TOO easy )
    onwards we go
    JD xx[/QUOTE]

    I did the same thing a week or so ago - much too easy to click a button and not think about the fact I'm spending money....usually on stuff I don't need!
    • mouche
    • By mouche 6th Jan 14, 8:32 AM
    • 890 Posts
    • 4,382 Thanks
    Kicked off the spending for the year with 24.77 at Mr. A. Went to an unfamiliar one so didn't get everything on the list but nothing missed out that was urgent. This is a very low weekly spend for us attributable to the fact that we'd spent the whole day out and were exhausted and grizzly and not in the mood to look around. Lesson to be learned perhaps.

    Spent on milk, fruit, eggs, chicken, bread, mayonnaise, soup, loo roll and kitchen roll. We've eaten some meals out of the freezer and OH has made soup with frozen sweetcorn and on-the-turn peppers. Did LO for dinner last night with enough left for a couple of work lunches for me.

    If we can keep this going, we should have a good month!
    Mortgage (original/ current):193,000 (23/09/11)/ 131,290.03 (05/11/2018) MFW target for 2018: 2,406.04/ 3,000
    2017 Challenges: Make 300 a month: 29/300 (November) NSDs: 2/15 (November)
    Lose 3st 9lb: 0/3st 9lb
    • mrs-moneypenny
    • By mrs-moneypenny 6th Jan 14, 8:39 AM
    • 15,518 Posts
    • 198,189 Thanks
    morning all
    a few spends to total up from over the weekend
    didnt need much so made the decision not to go morrys we get fruit and veg from a market stall, there is a coop round the cornner from that so nipped in there and got some rtc stuff and soya milk (it was cheaper in there than anywhere else) had to go in sains local for milk and cereals
    fruit and veg - 17.50
    coop - 19.86
    sains - 9. 74
    chips - 2.50
    total 49.60

    hoping for a NSD today

    doing jacket pots for lunch and leek and potato soup for tonight
    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
  • BlueMoo
    Morning everyone!
    Welcome to all - new or old!


    Target of 100 please.


    Have spent 80ish so far (don't have exact figure to hand)

    Hoping to only top up with potatoes/milk/fresh stuff etc.

    Will be really trying to eat out the freezer over the coming 6 weeks - a)to use up the food b)so I can defrost the freezer and give a good clean

    Bought quite a few treats and whatnot with that budget as had various parties and whatnot over the NY period, so be living off the freezer for 'real' food.


    Dinner last night of Roast Beef on a bed of roasted red onion plus all trimmings.

    No idea for dinner tonight - probably beef leftovers.


    Right I'll be off catching up on the thread - on page 13 so far!!
    So good to see so many people!
    M3 Dec2015 #160 Target 150,000 (BU 155000)
    • debtdawg
    • By debtdawg 6th Jan 14, 9:50 AM
    • 343 Posts
    • 1,477 Thanks
    65p spent today and that should be it (unless DH has snuck any treats at Uni, though hopefully not as he took a packed lunch today).
    I sent the eldest mini debtdawg to the village shop for a korma or butter chicken sauce for tea and thought that I'd just have to swallow the overinflated prices as I have no way of getting out today with all of them home from school until tomorrow and no car. She came back all chuffed with a jar of sauce that was only 65p...I thought it was very cheap for our shop so checked the date and it went out of date in Sept 2013. I think our shopkeeper must be very MSE to sell a 4 month out of date sauce to a child who wouldn't know to check, at least he reduced it though ay
    • Eyebright
    • By Eyebright 6th Jan 14, 9:55 AM
    • 860 Posts
    • 4,682 Thanks
    Joining back in with the GC this year. The months I did it last year were really helpful. Lots of inspiration to be found, very motivating!

    I'm going for 250 this month for 2 adults and a cat, including all cleaning products and toiletries etc. High I know, but the plan is start getting that down over the next few months, and also we have had to entertain/feed family who visited over NY, and do a buffet for NYE party. My budgets run from the 25th of the month (payday) to the 24th. I will manage my running total in my sig, save updating the front page.

    Hello to everyone!
    DFD Feb 2018 Total debt now 12672.13 6919.63
    EFC #11 150/1000 = 15% achieved
    • BlueCow1975
    • By BlueCow1975 6th Jan 14, 10:21 AM
    • 1,398 Posts
    • 4,867 Thanks
    Morning everyone. Just updating with a 2.80 spend as sent DH to Mr T express last night as needed bottled water. He did rather well though as he also picked up 2 packs of YS sandwiches at 9p each and some lovely tomoatoes on the vine for 10p. As this is our first time doing this challenge I am impressed with him!!

    Made a list of everything that we have in the chest freezer and cupboards. I know feel very cleansed as cleaned and organised everything while I was at it!! Just need to go through the fridge now and see if anything needs rescuing / freezing / etc as not to waste anything. Its quite an eye opener when you actually list what you have in the house already. to get my meal plan for the week sorted and will need to pop Also later for toilet roll and tomoatoe sauce only!! I am really excited about going in there "with a mission" and not randomly start plonking stuff in the trolley!!!!

    I still have a lot to learn but this thread is sooooo helpful and I love seeing all the food pics for inspiration.

    • downshifted
    • By downshifted 6th Jan 14, 10:46 AM
    • 959 Posts
    • 2,006 Thanks
    Took a neighbour shopping to the co-op today and spent 11.13 - couldn't resist the shoulder of pork on offer at 3.19 per kilo. I will cut it in half, take half to my daughter's for dinner when I visit this week, and freeze the other half. Also picked up some squeezy mayo and kitchen rolls.

    Spend to date 25.53/200

    September GC 251.21/250 October 248.82/250 January 159.53/200
  • BMG
    I would like to join in this challenge now that Christmas is out of the way.

    My budget are as follows:
    40 a week groceries
    10 a week on Cleaning
    10 a week on Toiletries

    Today was the first trip to the supermarket and I went with good intentions but I failed a little bit.
    I stocked up the cupboard and freezer incase we get bad weather.
    I spent 2.18 on toiletries, 3.50 on cleaning and 46.89 on groceries.
    I bought 1 kg of minced beef as it was at a good price and I had also got a voucher off of 1.25 if I spent 5 so it only cost me 4.43 and this will make 20 meals for us of chilli/cottage pie/bolognaise

    Must try harder next week to not go over budget

    Last edited by BMG; 06-01-2014 at 11:21 AM. Reason: error in wording
  • Mrs-s
    NSD yesterday, today I've instructed DH to get sandwich thins/bread and butter on his way home so will update when I know what he spent!
    January Grocery challenge - 165.31/350
  • BMG
    How do I add my spends and budgets to the bottom of my posts?
    • Eyebright
    • By Eyebright 6th Jan 14, 11:39 AM
    • 860 Posts
    • 4,682 Thanks
    How do I add my spends and budgets to the bottom of my posts?
    Originally posted by BMG
    You do that by editing your signature. To do that look for User CP in the green bar near the top of the page. Click on there, go to Edit Signature, then simply type in what you want, pick font style, colour etc...

    Hope that helps
    DFD Feb 2018 Total debt now 12672.13 6919.63
    EFC #11 150/1000 = 15% achieved
    • kayester
    • By kayester 6th Jan 14, 11:42 AM
    • 1,800 Posts
    • 9,338 Thanks
    Day 1 of diet for me. I have gone to the 'save with Jamie' book for meals this week. A little more expensive as had to buy ingredients that I didnt have in the house and also a casserole dish from amazon, 26.95 inc delivery but it was down from 44. I am including this in my grocery budget as I will be using it a lot and will pay for itself eventually!
    Meat of the week to last us is Chicken.

    Monday: Mothership Sunday Roast Chicken
    Tuesday: Chicken and Spinach Cannelloni
    Wednesday: leftover chicken and spinach cannelloni
    Thursday: Quick Chinese Wrap
    Friday: Chicken Stew and Dumplings
    Saturday: Chicken Pie.

    Mr A inc delivery: 78.08
    Casserole dish inc del: 26.95

    TOTAL: 105.03
    Will add to sig once Mr A comes just incase anything isnt delivered or is substituted.
    216/2018 (make in 2018)

    Grocery challenge
    Jan 227/400
    swagbucks target 2018 1452/27375
    • mrs-moneypenny
    • By mrs-moneypenny 6th Jan 14, 12:13 PM
    • 15,518 Posts
    • 198,189 Thanks
    just spent 1.50 on bags of dried fruit with choc chips in it was rtc in sains it was 1.65 a bag before christmas now its going through till at 15p a pack so got 10 bags to use in baking etc and for snacks
    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
    • Coxy11
    • By Coxy11 6th Jan 14, 12:14 PM
    • 2,300 Posts
    • 27,322 Thanks
    Hi all,

    Budgets listed updated to here

    Welcome/welcome back to:
    Magpye, littlechanges, NeroliJasmin, spendingless31, lizziebabe and BMG

    Very spendy few days for us Went to Ts yesterday on foot as DH needed the car. Spent 21.99 but 10 of that was on H&S as both DD and DS2 have a very flaky scalp (again) so I got 3 large bottles for 10 (normally 4.97 each )

    Ts again today to get meat, salad, fruit, dog food - another 44.83.

    Need to update sig, but hoping aside from veg, we will be okay this week.

    Hope everyone is okay with this atrocious weather. Luckily no school run for me until tomorrow.

    Cross-stitch WIP #1: Collecting Shells by Nancy Cole
    Cross-stitch WIP #2: Pretty Little London by Satsuma Street
    • XSpender
    • By XSpender 6th Jan 14, 12:27 PM
    • 3,348 Posts
    • 34,483 Thanks
    NSD planned for today.

    My meal plan worked OK last week so this week we are having:

    Mon M&S GF fishcakes, saute min potatoes (need using up) and value mushy peas and l/o crumble from last night
    Tue GF Pasta bake (from a jar) with HM GF garlic bread and normal shop bought for DH
    Wed Veggie chilli, spicy wedges and grated cheese
    Thu Chicken and leek gratin with carrots and green beans
    Fri Gammon, egg, beans and HM SW chips
    Sat Hairy Bikers Sweet and Sour Chicken and my first attempt at egg fried rice
    Sun Shepherds pie, broccolli and carrots

    Lunches will be soup (tinned and HM), tuna or egg mayo sarnies, L/O chilli, rice and feta salad and lemon drizzle cake (lemons to use up), yogurts and a shed load of fruit.

    I haven't made the sweet and sour chicken before but I am not supposed to eat chinese takeaway (not GF) so I am going to try this as this is what I would normally order. The rice will be a first attempt too. Just need a bag of prawn crackers and it will feel like a takeaway

    I am hoping to keep out of the shop until Wed/Thurs when we will need fruit. I will probably get the bits I need for the following weeks meals too.
    • peony40
    • By peony40 6th Jan 14, 12:28 PM
    • 490 Posts
    • 6,393 Thanks

    Had my large grocery shop delivered. As for this month I am not paying for the groceries I will still deduct this amount from my yearly budget as I am going to put the same amount into my savings account.

    After a sit down, i will put everything away and update my inventory and menu plan.

    Goodness the weather is getting wild out there again!

    Take care all.
    2019 Sealed Pot Challenge 107
    • kayester
    • By kayester 6th Jan 14, 12:41 PM
    • 1,800 Posts
    • 9,338 Thanks

    TOTAL: 105.03
    Will add to sig once Mr A comes just incase anything isnt delivered or is substituted.
    Originally posted by kayester

    A few substitutions arrived but nothing too drastic. instead of bagged herbs they gave me the more expensive growing herbs so hopefully will last longer.

    It came out a few pence more expensive and this was because of the size of the chicken.
    so total spend including casserole dish. 105.47
    216/2018 (make in 2018)

    Grocery challenge
    Jan 227/400
    swagbucks target 2018 1452/27375
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 6th Jan 14, 12:57 PM
    • 3,984 Posts
    • 52,562 Thanks
    Mr F was going out today and intended to shop - put paid to that idea - we don't need anything!
    After listening to The Archers with a cuppa - going to empty fridge in kitchen & clean it and have a stock take.
    I have all of January's menu plan done but can easily adapt to use up fridge bits if necessary.
    15 in 2015 1/15
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