Anyone want to join/follow me on my January grocery spend challenge?

(29 Posts)
mrscog Tue 01-Jan-13 20:56:09

Right, I'm now on the unpaid part of m/l and although we've saved to cover it, I'm trying to be as frugal as possible to make our money stretch.

I have £65 worth of nectar points, and this got me thinking - can I feed us (me & DH and DS 10 mo) for £65 in January!? The nectar points have 'set the budget' and I will use them when I shop in Sainsburys but I will also use Aldi, markets and any other store I come across.

My cupboards are fairly well stocked, but even so I will need to meal plan to the max!

I don't need to buy any nappies as I cloth nappy, I also BF so don't need to buy formula. I have tons of cleaning products and also clean very irregularly so this shouldn't be a problem. Loo roll is also sorted as I bought a huge amount from a wholesaler.

So - go go go! Had to buy milk today but that's all - £1.15 so far.

If anyone wants to join in with their own amount, please do!

orangepudding Tue 01-Jan-13 20:58:30

I am setting a budget of £80 per week from Monday when the kids go back to school. Much larger than yours but realistic for me and my family.

mrscog Tue 01-Jan-13 20:59:38

Yes - £65 for the month is only realistic for one month really as I'm using up stuff in the cupboards - will have to restock at the beginning of Feb for sure! Even so, I think it will help me establish good habits.

Op, sounds amazing if you can do it! Will follow interestwith!

nkf Wed 02-Jan-13 10:12:13

You should keep a diary. It would be amazing if you could. I think it will work if you have food in the house already.

mrscog Wed 02-Jan-13 16:06:52

Right Day 2 update - spent 69p on a loaf of bread in Aldi, taking total spend up to £1.84. For breakfast DH had wheatabix, and me & DS had porridge with raisings stirred in. Lunch was pate on toast and tonight we're having the 2nd half of the fish pie I made last night.

According to my meal plan I now don't need to buy anything until Saturday at the earliest.

Scootergrrrl Wed 02-Jan-13 16:10:10

There's a really good blog written by an MNer here which might help you. Good luck!

Willowme Wed 02-Jan-13 16:18:56

Great idea, I just cant seem to get a decent weeks shopping on £60 to feed DH DS and myself. So I will be watching with interest to see how you do this.

mrscog Wed 02-Jan-13 16:26:22

It's definitely going to get way harder once the remains of the massive pre-Christmas shop have gone. I spent about £100 on 20th Dec and we're still working our way through it - once that's all gone it's going to be tough - January is a long month!

jenduck Wed 02-Jan-13 17:10:53

OP - if you can get to Sainsbury's (or wherever else) when they do their reductions (ask staff to tell you when), you will be able to get meat, fruit & veg, bakery goods & other fresh goods (eg cheese, ham, quiche etc) at a fraction of their original price, making your £65 infinitely doable (I always do this & feed me, DH, DS1 (4) & DS2 (1.8) & DCat on between £100/£200 per month inc. toiletries, nappies etc.

1stMrsFalalalalalalalala Thu 03-Jan-13 09:28:02

Scootergrrrl thank you for that link above - her book is FREE to download from Amazon TODAY ONLY

mrscog Thu 03-Jan-13 10:00:04

Yes scooter thanks for the link - really good blog. jenduck yes, I'm hoping to get quite a few things marked down by shopping late, I hadn't thought to ask the staff though - would feel quite cheeky, but I suppose I'm just going to have to be brazen.

Even if I don't manage the challenge, already it's been great to open my eyes to previous waste - and I wouldn't even consider myself a wasteful person. But for example this morning I was cutting up an apple to stew for DS, and I realised how much flesh was still on the core when I thought I'd finished - so I carried on chopping until there really wasn't anything usable left.

mrscog Thu 03-Jan-13 18:39:59

Ok - further updates: Haven't spent anything today. Found a way of stretching our main supply of butter - we had some garlic butter left over from Christmas so instead of using plain butter or oil for cooking pasta sauce I've used that. I probably wouldn't have thought of this otherwise!

I have some beef for the slow cooker tomorrow, but I need to buy whole milk for DS's porridge and also probably a couple of veg items - need to do a meal plan for the weekend/early next week.

I worked out that our budget is £2.09 per day, so, so far I have £4.43 'saved' from the past three days. If I can get to Tuesday having spent less than £5 I'll be pleased as that's week 1 done almost just from current supplies.

Fluffycloudland77 Thu 03-Jan-13 18:56:12

I stand near the mark down staff to ask how much is something is going down to and ask them to do that next.

It's like a rugby scrum around the poor girl somedays.

jenduck Thu 03-Jan-13 18:59:53

Fluffy you sound like my kind of girl grin. I find the main rule is to be nice to the people doing the reducing DH even says I flirt shock However, asking them or the cashiers at roughly what time reductions happen gives you a good idea what time to get to the store in the first place, which is most helpful

mrscog Sat 05-Jan-13 17:17:37

Right - update, last night I had an Aldi splurge of 8.75 - I bought carrots, a huge chicken which I think will do at least 3 if not 4 meals, sweet potatoes (for DS), and apples for DS and the milk I needed. It felt so extravagant!

My total spend for Jan so far now stands at £10.59, obviously if I can manage that each week we'll be laughing, but I don't think we will. I'm open to me and DH not having the healthiest diet this month (I had 3 biscuits from Christmas for breakfast this morning) but obviously I will not compromise on DS's nutrition when I don't need to.

Today has been very cheap as we all had store cupboard breakfasts, leftovers from last night's casserole for lunch and we're having take away with friends tonight - I've decided not to include the take away as part of the spending as the challenge is can I only spend £65 on groceries not entertainment. Obviously I'm not allowed to start having take away to make the budget stretch but as this is a long standing pre arranged social night with friends, I think it's ok. Or is this a massive cheat?

LadyMetroland Sat 05-Jan-13 21:58:57

Interesting thread!
Would say the curry is a bit of a cheat but hey ho, it's just an experiment

CremeEggThief Sun 06-Jan-13 17:15:56

You're doing amazingly so far. Hope you enjoyed your curry. Personally, I wouldn't call it a cheat, as you made the arrangement before your grocery challenge.

Keep going smile.

mrscog Sun 06-Jan-13 20:50:32

Yes cremeegg that's what I decided - of course it would be cheating if I start scheduling in a take away every weekend which I don't need to account for but as a one off I decided it was ok!

Today has gone well again - I roasted my massive Aldi chicken - we had a leg each (with a few bits pulled off for DS) which leaves two breasts and the 'bits ' I'm hoping to get two nights worth of curry out of the breasts and then some kind of pie/soup with the carcass and 'bits'.

We've got plenty in to keep us going for a few days, so I think it will be Tues/Weds before I venture out to the supermarket again!

mrscog Mon 07-Jan-13 20:02:11

Right - annoyingly I was a bit unprepared with anything for DS today so had to buy him a pouch for dinner - £1.32! Still haven't bought anything else since Friday though and shouldn't need anything until Thursday as we still have loads.

My mission to get 4 meals out of 1 chicken is going well, we had a leg each last night when it was freshly roasted, then we used 1 breast tonight for a stirfry (amazing how much meat there is when it's not pre-prepared), that leaves 1 breast for something tomorrow night - possibly a curry or something pastaish, then soup on Wednesday (hopefully). Still working our way through the freezer stashes of things, but nearly everything has gone from the fridge now. My Mum bought DH a whole selection of cheeses for Christmas, so he's been having cheese on toast for lunch every day!

So my £1.32 for lack of planning takes my January spend up to... £11.91 smile

Quite proud of myself so far!

racingheart Tue 08-Jan-13 19:03:47

I'm so impressed. Never tried anything quite this dramatic, but even when I am super vigilant and keep our bills down to £80 a week, for 3 meals a day for 4 people as we work from home and Dc have packed lunches, DH always scuppers it by nipping out to get a paper and coming home with stuff we don't need. Like lots of different flavours of humous that sit in the fridge till past their sell by.

How do you keep your DPs from blowing your budget?

Overreactionoftheweek Tue 08-Jan-13 19:26:22

my DP is now longer allowed his debit card and I take all change off him as soon as he gets home shock blush

I know that sounds awful but he's pleased because he is a nightmare with money and keeps dropping us in it by not keeping track of his spending and suddenly we can't pay a bill.

I love being in charge of the money so it works for us.

this is a great idea op, we're doing something similar

CremeEggThief Tue 08-Jan-13 19:32:52

How did you get on today, OP?

mrscog Tue 08-Jan-13 20:06:48

Today has gone well - no spending. We're still eating breakfast cupboard staples for breakfast - DH Weetabix, me & DS porridge with fruit - although this challenge has made me realise that DS (10 MO) is now good enough at eating to eat normal porridge rather than ready brek which I'd normally buy - the box ran out a couple of days ago. Lunch was peanut butter on toast, and then for dinner me & DH are sharing the final breast off the chicken and having mash, gravy, carrots and green beans with it. DS had a couple of fish fingers and a jacket sweet potato with cheese.

I think an unintended upside of this approach will be that we lose weight as we're not really snacking as we don't want to use up resources! Not that I need to, but DH has wanted to tone up for a while! DS obviously will not be losing any weight though - in a way I'm being more super vigilant with him than normal as I would be devastated if I inadvertently malnourished him for the sake of a budget challenge!

racingheart currently my DH is setting up a business and is working almost day and night on it and I'm on M/L so all shopping is down to me at the moment. He's pretty good at sticking to lists normally though.

princesschick Wed 09-Jan-13 15:00:44

Hey mrscog how are you getting today?

Have been watching with interest and really keen to see how you do. We have our first baby on the way and realised we need to reign in our weekly spend loads, so I'm keeping my eye on lots of money saving threads at the moment smile

Sounds like you're doing brill by the way... keep up the good work smile

mrscog Wed 09-Jan-13 15:20:57

Thanks princesschick no spending yet today, but I need to do a shop tonight to majorly replenish supplies! I'm going at 9pm though in the hope of getting some of the really marked down stuff. I've been meal planning though so hopefully I'll be able to get us things that last a while.

Breakfast staples again for breakfast (I found a bag of raisins in the cupboard which I never use in baking so I'm just going to have these in my porridge until they run out!) Then we all had pilchards on toast for lunch and DS had some stewed fruit and yoghurt as well.

CremeEggThief Wed 09-Jan-13 15:54:50

Yay! Keep going, mrscog smile.

mrscog Wed 09-Jan-13 20:49:34

Right - just got back from Sainsburys - spent £26.72, but got quite a lot of food for my money - managed to bag some of the really reduced things including a swede for 9p - so that's a lunch for DS (well maybe mashed swede with something but still..) and 2 packs of 6 sausage rolls for 20p each so that's quite a lot of -unhealthy i know but- lunches for DH.

I have now spent over half the budget for the month - £38.63 so will need to rein it all in more, but then I am stocked up for a week now - milk and bread should be all I need for at least a week and I'm not sure when I'll need those.

Tonight's dinner was mexican chicken couple of chicken breasts, tin of toms, handful of frozen peppers, couple of cloves of garlic and an onion, using all ingredients we already had in, so zero cost again. Also, there's a whole spare portion left so that's made the meat stretch out - well done DH who did the cooking!

Fluffycloudland77 Wed 09-Jan-13 20:57:29

Meh, sometimes unhealthy can be excused.

I love a good markdown.

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