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@.

    • Pink.
    • By Pink. 26th Dec 08, 12:15 PM
    • 17,431Posts
    • 40,365Thanks
    January 2009 Grocery Challenge
    • #1
    • 26th Dec 08, 12:15 PM
    January 2009 Grocery Challenge 26th Dec 08 at 12:15 PM
    Hello everyone,

    Welcome to the first Grocery Challenge of 2009.

    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

    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 Galtizz
    For guidelines on posting in this thread please read the second post in this thread.

    For everyone's targets and totals for the month please read posts #3 and #4 on this thread.

    For the Grocery challenge Recipe Index please see posts #5 and #6 on this thread.

    I hope everyone has a great month and can I take this opportunity to wish you all a very Happy New Year.

    Last edited by Pink.; 28-12-2008 at 1:18 PM.
Page 50
  • Sunny Donny
    been and froze in town for the shopping - bus fares gone up as well, but too cold to walk!!!!
    Tesco, market, Lidl, Sainsbugs and Greggs - Total 40.50.
    needed honey for OH's drinks and for his cereal, stuff for Indian tonight, meat and chicken from market for meals this week and next. Fruit and veg.

    Off to sit in front of the fire...

    Mortgage free as at 1/9/13
    To start work on the credit cards now!!
  • Lynn11
    Went to shop at Tesco's, local fruit shop, fish shop and lidel - spent quite a bit and the total for January is 115.15. My goal is 200 which will be a reducation of 40 per month if I can achieve this. I have enough stuff in the freezer now so hopefully I will be buying fresh fruit & veg, and fridge stuff over the next week and achieve my 200 target.
    MFIT T2 Challenge - No 46
    Overpayments 2006-2009 = 11985; 2010 = 6170, 2011 = 5570, 2012 = 1290
    • mrssnowy
    • By mrssnowy 10th Jan 09, 3:26 PM
    • 402 Posts
    • 5,884 Thanks
    Went shopping yesterday,market for F&V(late so packing up,hardly anything I needed 6 )Aldis,then Somerfield-no bread flour,which is about all I'm short of now.
    Total spent so far this month 80.14
    Bought Seville oranges to make marmalade. Never going to make it again until I see the flipping things for sale,there we go then.
    Treat tonight ,we were going out with friends for a meal,but don't really feel well enough to be sociable,so making do with an Indian takeaway.
    Have a barabrith in oven for DD2, her MIL having lunch with them tomorrow so will take it to her.DD2s partner in building trade so is on 'holiday' until there is work.which could be a few more weeks yet.(no work no pay) All very worrying,
    but 'red cross parcels' never go amiss
    Last edited by mrssnowy; 10-01-2009 at 3:34 PM.
    You can't stay young for ever,but you can be immature for the rest of your life.
  • WelshWoofer
    Been to do the big Mr T shop and managed to spend 63!
    This will be enough for about 2 weeks main meals, a few bits for the storecupboard and plenty for the freezer that will get used up over time.
    I got enough meat to last OH at least 3 weeks - a lot of which is safely hidden in the bottom of the freezer to be eeked out! Bought quite a few veggie/quorn type things for me too - these seem to have really increased in price recently - as expensive as buying meat these days!

    I'm up to 119 of my 150 budget but won't shop again until at least next weekend and also have 20 in vouchers/gift cards to use that aren't included in my budget so there's more left than appears with 2 more weeks after this one to go!

    Off to rejig the meal plan for the next week or two incorporating all the stuff I bought today.

    Good luck to everyone else.
    January grocery spending - 82.73/ 120
    • turbo5019
    • By turbo5019 10th Jan 09, 3:35 PM
    • 330 Posts
    • 3,341 Thanks
    Cauliflower is a wonderful vegetable. The obvious thing is cheese sauce, perhaps mixed in with other veges and some pasta. But it is better than that. Various ideas:

    cauliflower cheese quiche, haven't tried it but it sounded yum:
    use as mash instead of potato: is a fancy version but you can make it with ordinary milk and butter too
    And then there's curry:,
    Or you could roast it:

    Hope these give you some ideas - they have certainly reminded me that the cauli in my fridge is destined to greater things than boiling.
    Originally posted by kunekune
    Thanks for that I think I am going to do the quiche all I need to get are some eggs will let you know how it turns out.
    GC 7.79/225 per month ~ wk1 7.79/ 50
  • scotsaver
    I'm so excited picked up a Slow Cooker in Sainsbury's, Half price at 19.99, it's a Morphy Richards, bit of an impulse buy so hope that is a good price, it will pacify me until I've saved enough to buy a Remoska. Can't wait to use it now.

    gailey - we're all here to help so what have you got in and we can help meal plan until Payday if you need any suggestions.

    Dinner tonight is a Takeaway as we have friends round and we are all too tired to cook and want a bit of a treat after all the cooking we did over Xmas & New Year, we all had family staying so we feel a treat/the expense is justified, (have a grovelled enough??) so will update total tomorrow.

    Have a good evening everyone.
    GC for OH, myself, DD18 & DD16 includes Toiletries, cleaning stuff & Food.

  • clutterydrawer
    Hello all

    I did my "big shop" today - although not very big by other people's standards as there's only me here. Also I'm very limited as to what i can buy cos I have to cycle home with it - 9 miles.

    I spent 12.65 and got eggs, bread, butter, chocolate, yogurt, sugar, baking powder and a huge pile of veg. This includes things to feed the guest who is staying for the weekend, and ingredients to make chocolate brownies as birthday gifts for two friends.

    I'm not being as thrifty as some but I'm doing sooooo much better than I used to - it feels really good.
    August grocery challenge: 50
    Spent so far: 37.40
    • sistercas
    • By sistercas 10th Jan 09, 4:11 PM
    • 4,842 Posts
    • 58,667 Thanks
    Have a barabrith in oven for DD2, her MIL having lunch with them tomorrow so will take it to her.
    Originally posted by mrssnowy
    what is a barabrith I am intrigued?
    • igaveupnowimback
    • By igaveupnowimback 10th Jan 09, 4:12 PM
    • 276 Posts
    • 2,008 Thanks
    Hi gailey, just suggestion, don't know how much rice etc u got or where you'll be shopping.

    I'd try risotto using some rice (tho you'd need bit of stock/ cheap cubes?), with onion, tomatoes, little cheese, I'd try a tomato sauce over pasta, a lentil dahl, and if you've enough potatoes I'd slice them thinly and do a gratin dauphinoise - if you can afford even a small tub single cream. If not it should still work with milk - Anthony Worral Thompson's recipe on BBC food is great and easy. Just potatoes, butter/marg, cream/milk, garlic. Very filling.

    Otherwise, Spanish omelette - using some veg and sliced cooked potatoes is great and filling - I just adapt to what I've got. You can get away with less potatoes for that than you would with the egg and chips, but it's great.
    If you can add a bit cheese so much the better.
    I'd even think about peeling the spuds thickly and frying the skins with some sort of dip (tomato garlicky).
    Might be able to make up some sort of pasta bake - if you could manage tin tuna - or cheap pasta sauce ?
    Shirley Goode's site great for this, might get an idea there, tho apart from that the great ideas on this site are amazing. Best of luck with it !
  • scotsaver
    It's me again - just been over on the Greenfingered Forum and saw this for all of us who want to be growing their own more this year this may be of use.
    GC for OH, myself, DD18 & DD16 includes Toiletries, cleaning stuff & Food.

    • butterfly72
    • By butterfly72 10th Jan 09, 5:12 PM
    • 1,212 Posts
    • 1,144 Thanks
    Well, my first week of the challenge finished today! Have a monthly total of 250 and spent 59.33 this week. However, we did buy some organic meat that had been discounted for the freezer and extra rice as that was on offer.

    We are doing our shop for next week today and already I've made some savings - I hope. We took a rather fresh walk round to a relatively new fruit and veg shop in our high street. I got

    4 large carrots
    large head of broccoli
    2 large onions
    bag of mushrooms
    pack of 3 peppers
    2 parsnips

    all for 4.78. Because I'm new to this challenge tbh I don't know if this is good compared to the supermarket?? I've never really paid attention to the prices I've been paying because I didn't have a choice but to shop there.

    Anyway, OH has had to go to Mr S. to finish the shop as we need a few extra bits and pieces. It'll be interesting to see what bargains OH can bag!
    2019 in 2019 #44 - 864.06/2019
  • Penny-Pincher!!
    OH has taken the normal 300 out of the bank and have placed in our new grocery/diesel purse. I still havent used any thing month as I realised I had 30 left from last month, so will adjust my signature in a minute.

    I really am aiming for 100 on groceries this month for the 3 of us and intend to to use up frozen veg we have in and only buy what we need.

    OH went to Lidl last week and they had their 1.5ltrs of 100% OJ juice...not concentrate 69p which is great value so bought 4 of those and 2 apple juices the same size at 89p. Think I will get OH to buy another 5 each of these as we have alot and counts towards our 5 each day.

    Hope everyone is doing ok. HUgs to all

    To repeat what others have said, requires education, to challenge it,
    requires brains!

  • gillst
    Just to say a big thanks for all the support. Feeling a lot more positive today - yesterday was a bad day all round (struggling with a leg injury from a recent car accident and feeling pretty down).
    Have been right through our stocks today (DH helped) and with what we have in we reckon we can make it with what is left, or maybe just over. We will need veg and fruit but other than those can probably get through with what we have in the freezer and cupboards.
    Have a lot in stock, just not a lot of meat (which DH and DSs insist upon). Will be incluing the cauliflower cheese quiche, tuna pasta bake, toad-in-the-hole, roast chicken (tomorrow), and something with the leftover chicken. Have got 2 lots of mince, 4 frozen salmon steaks, 2 lots of stewing steak, 3 chicken breasts,gammon joint and some bacon, also turkey legs from Christmas. Plenty of potatos, rice and pasta, tinned baked beans, tinned tomatoes and ok for bread flour so can make my own in the BM. 20 odd meals to do to end of month for DH, DSx2 and me), and believe I can do it - I KNOW I CAN DO IT. Lunches may be a problem but have some tinned soups and some lentils in so can make some lentil soup. Have ingredients in to make some muffins - Have just read over what I have written and cannot believe I was so defeatist yesterday. Thanks again for the support - I definitely would not be able to do this without the support here.
    • igaveupnowimback
    • By igaveupnowimback 10th Jan 09, 5:37 PM
    • 276 Posts
    • 2,008 Thanks
    got a lot : )
    I typed a big long list of what I'd got in fridge, cupboards etc, hit preview and lost it! Just as well, turned out I've got quite a lot in, so really I should get by loads under budget if I put my mind to it and use some of the tips & recipes on here.

    Soaking cannellini beans at moment - gonna try weezl's baked beans, tho should be haricot. Years ago used to soak a few beans and add to a can, same with spaghetti and lentils / oats, but that was when I was feeding six of us on next to nowt.

    Used to use Flylady's pal's Saving Dinner site so thank goodness got used to store cupboard, and Shirley Goode's books years ago got me obsessed with making bread & yoghurt etc, so I need to get organised and back to that.
    Today bought eggs, bacon (offer), skimmed milk, Cathedral city reduced fat cheddar (offer), @6 for lot - but then spent 3 on reduced tablemats !

    Reduced price onion bhajees & tomatoes for lunch.
    Had some white choc drops (reduced) & choc chip cookies no-one likes. Melted choc, topped cookies. Yum.

    Anyway, beans soaking, slo cooker braising beef & bargain sausages, soaking broth mix. Feels hopeful !
  • fallen angel shelley
    I went out today to take some shoes back that I had bought in the nxt sale, and just had to nip in to m&s, I was a very good girl and only spent 99p on a pack of 8 sausages, some will be used for sausage, mash and beans and some will go in to a quich along with some toms.

    Shelley x
    Back on MSE again! to take control of my finances and not let it control me. May grocery challenge 41.96/140
    • OrkneyStar
    • By OrkneyStar 10th Jan 09, 5:41 PM
    • 6,672 Posts
    • 42,974 Thanks
    Another small shop at MrT, purchasing 2L local milk, turkey breast steaks (discovered a new liking for turkey after Christmas and got that to have instead of chicken, we don't really need meat but its something a bit different ), Felix (on-offer so wee treat for puss), tomato ketchup, energy drink (don't ask!) and two weight watchers cheese cakes (for after tea, feeling ill today, as sore back and upset tummy combined with no sleep!).
    Signature updated.
    Bye for now
    • queen of string
    • By queen of string 10th Jan 09, 5:49 PM
    • 506 Posts
    • 3,879 Thanks
    queen of string
    steamed oriental buns
    I have just made these and they were gorgeous. recipe serves 4 and will be a brilliant way to use up all the little tiny bits of things that get left behind.

    for the dough

    300g (11oz) "00" flour (sauce flour)
    15g (1/2oz) baking powder
    15g(1/2oz) caster sugar
    1tbsp vegetable oil

    sift the dry ingredients into a bowl, sir in the veg oil and 175ml(6fl oz) warm water. Form into a ball and then knead gently for 3-4 mins on a floured surface. return to the bowl, cover with a cloth and leave for 10-15 mins.

    they suggest 450g of shitake mushrooms fried in sesame oil with garlic then mixed with 1/2oz sugar, 65g (21/2oz) peanut butter, 1 tbsp hoisin sauce and cooked until thick and sticky and cooled slightly for the filling.

    I think tbh you could use anything, needs to be strongly flavoured and thick and sticky, I used a tiny bit of left over lamb, a fried onion, some fried mushrooms and a tbsp hoisin, which was yum.

    Roll out the rested dough and use a 3inch cutter to cut 16 rounds, flatten each round to 2mm thick with your palms. place a small amount of filling in the centre of each round gather up the edges and twist firmly to seal. I found it easier to flatten one then fill it, its a very elastic dough and theyre trying to shrink back as youre flattening!!

    put the buns on a paper lined steamer(elec or bamboo) and steam for 15 mins or til firm.

    serve with sweet chilli dip if liked.

    Very quick and simple to do, be a good one for kids to do. The flour is more than normal flour but will try them with normal flour next time I think. But a great way to use up tiny bits of left overs.

    hope that helps someone.
    Eat food, not edible food-like items. Mostly plants.
    • rumncoke
    • By rumncoke 10th Jan 09, 7:02 PM
    • 221 Posts
    • 706 Thanks
    1st shop of the month for me today. Not too bad 56.15 in total for Lidl & Mr T. Will have to get a joint for Sunday dinner at butchers on Friday but hopefully that will be it until next Wenesday.
    Originally posted by rumncoke
    Well so much for that idea. Managed to pick up a few yellow stickered items at Mr S for 1.50 on Thursday, & joint on Friday but then DH goes shopping today & spends 20 on some swordfish steaks & a few other bits.

    I suppose I am still in budget as we are a third of the way through the month. Can't complain really as he does work extremely hard & has a very stressful job, but I am trying to find ways to reduce essential spending to plough as much as we can into the mortgage.

    • igaveupnowimback
    • By igaveupnowimback 10th Jan 09, 7:05 PM
    • 276 Posts
    • 2,008 Thanks
    I feel good !
    Feel pleased cos now have mung beans hopefully started, and took quick recipe from Goode blog for ultra quick 'butterscotch Cheesecake' - took about ten minutes. Usually like to cook from scratch but this was sooo quick and simple - biscuit base, angel delight (stores - bought on offer for son) top. I adapted and stirred in leftover Xmas choc & topped banana - looks good.

    I get great satisfaction from making 'something' out of an unlikely pile of bits and pieces - luvvitt !!
  • elizabunny
    I really don't know what is wrong with me :confused: , I seem to be becoming obsessed with food shopping since I started the grocery challenge. I just HAVE to keep popping in everywhere, just to see what's on offer. I promised myself after yesterday's detour to Lidl, I really didn't need to go shopping today and must start cooking again. Nevertheless, I really couldn't miss out on those Branston Beans from Mr M. so off I went, compelled to take in 2 re-usable carrier bags just in case. to cut a long story short, I've spent another 30.02p (signature updated) . Consolled myself by stopping DH from buying bread for his pate on toast, by promising to make a fresh loaf when we got home. I have now done this -but to be honest, not really a great achievement, as we hardly ever buy bread unless it's greatly reduced, as I always make mine in the breadmaker -so much cheaper and nicer. Can't help the worrying glance at my spent total and what I have left for the month. On the bright side if I menu plan properly now, it might not be as bad as it looks.

    On the other hand, I can't help wondering if the pheasant that keeps wandering into my garden would taste nice.......... Only kidding, I wouldn't know what to do with it anyway. I think it only comes in to terrify the dog and I'm talking BIG dog here Happy cooking everyone (and shopping). Hopefully a NSD tomorrow.
    Sealed Pot Challenge 7 Member 022
    5:2 Diet started 28/1/2013 only 13lbs lost due to Xmas 2013 blip.
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

2,710Posts Today

7,868Users online

Martin's Twitter