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    • Pink.
    • By Pink. 26th Dec 08, 11:15 AM
    • 17,431Posts
    • 40,365Thanks
    January 2009 Grocery Challenge
    • #1
    • 26th Dec 08, 11:15 AM
    January 2009 Grocery Challenge 26th Dec 08 at 11:15 AM
    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 12:18 PM.
Page 80
    • Kiwisaver
    • By Kiwisaver 21st Jan 09, 5:24 AM
    • 1,159 Posts
    • 10,807 Thanks
    Right i've just been looking at next months budget and i've got a fair amount of o/t due so i've decided to put some in my bank to go towards my debt and the last 40ish quid to add to next months shopping budget. Now rather than spending it on rubbish i'm thinking of trying to stock up on stuff like washing up tablets, fabric softner etc.... but what else? Other than tinned toms and jars i cant really think of anything. I'm also hoping that by doing this i'll be able to keep my shopping budget on track for the rest of the year or at least a good portion of it.
    Any advice greatly welcomed. Thanks
    Originally posted by nickynoo08

    I would suggest you pick a few things that you always buy, see if you can find them on offer and buy loads, it will help in future months. Try to get as much as you possibly can with that 40. I did similar with a $15 voucher I had, I looked for the best bargain I could find and I spent it all on washing powder on special offer and I am still reaping the benefits. Every time I see the boxes of powder stacked up (still have 4), I smile to myself 'they were free'.

    I attacked the remainder of my list tonight and spent $22.19. 'All' I have to get now on Friday night is some fruit for Saturday lunch, spring onions, plus milk, rolls and bread. Trouble is I now only have $9.65 left. I will undoubtedly be over that, unless they decide to give away bread for free on Friday - well I can hope.
    Start January 2017: $268,012
    Latest balance $266,734
    Reduction: $1,278.45
    • sharronej
    • By sharronej 21st Jan 09, 6:59 AM
    • 563 Posts
    • 4,784 Thanks
    Well done! This is also the stage I have reached. I started off with FR eggs but the price of the chicken wasn't really very affordable. Asda do FR chicken very reasonable though so I did get a couple from there and that is what I intend to do in the future unless its a true big whoopsie(which would still leave me a little guilty). I want to use up all of the other meat in my freezer too and eventually replace it with the "happy" variety. It does mean cutting back on it but I plan to cut back on red meat anyhow. When we were much poorer and living on more soya and pulses years ago we were also healthier. I can't turn back the clock 20 years but I can turn back our diet somewhat. Such changes do take time and I would rather have a FR chicken once a week than a caged twice a week which is where we were a couple of years ago. I feel I am making considered choices now-as I think a lot of us here also now feel-rather than just buying "food" without too much consideration as to cost both in monetary terms and moral ones. I will leave the "value" ones for those who are still beginners and feel a need to buy them. I did also put the free range pork into my basket but put it back for a very good reason-yes-I put it back because I didn't need it! I already have loads in the freezer to use up.
    Originally posted by angelatgraceland
    That's a real coincidence because I have also been thinking about upgrading our eggs, chicken and mince ) Now I've discovered the family actually enjoy the recipes I make more with the addition of Lentil, Quinoa, Split peas and Oats I figure I should be able to buy better quality meat....having said that I haven't managed to come in under budget since I started three months ago so maybe I'm wishful thinking
    • OrkneyStar
    • By OrkneyStar 21st Jan 09, 7:58 AM
    • 6,672 Posts
    • 42,974 Thanks

    I have decided to fully chicken out. I always buy free range eggs but not FR chicken because I didn't feel I could afford free range on my budget. But now that I've managed to reduce our spends, thanks to the GC, we can afford to only buy free range chicken (and pork) too
    Originally posted by angelnikki
    I have taken the approach to avoiding supermarket meat and only buying local stuff......this can be hard on our meagre budget (I am hoping to spend around 40-50 per week for 2 adults and a toddler, in a location where we only have Tesco, Lidl, Coop and local, so none of this shopping around lark!) but if something means a lot to you it is worth it, and you can cut back in other ways as peeps have already said. Local butchers are great . Well done on the chicken decision, and also anyone else who supports such things .
    Not much else to report here, avoiding the shops as want to come in under 200 for the month (8 days to go), and sailing quite close to the wind! DH has no kiwis left but then there are plums, apples and oranges so he is fine for fruit (even if he does not agree), he also has fruit activia with kiwi in!
    Got the BM on for one loaf and 4 rolls, and making HM soup in a bit, followed by a big cottage pie (steak mince, carrots, peas, onion) for tea.
    Last edited by OrkneyStar; 21-01-2009 at 3:08 PM.
    • dazzle21
    • By dazzle21 21st Jan 09, 8:53 AM
    • 1,935 Posts
    • 7,242 Thanks
    Hi, help required! Ended up getting some reduced pies from Mr M's last night (the fresh ones) at 35p i thought they would do o/h lunch and dinner for us to. However, he has been organised and got the mince out of the freezer.. and gone to work without his lunch..leaving me with more pies than i know what to do with! any suggestions?? can i freeze the pies??? obviously i need to use the mince and can't refreeze that?
    Spent 4.82 last night in mr m's, not bad as it included treat for friend who babysat for us last week (promised her a takeaway!!)
    August: 149/150

    Sept: 200
  • yummymummy05
    quick question about the hobnobs - I have no golden syrup of bicarb, would maple syrup/honey and baking powder work?
    wk1 0/100 NSD's 0/7
    Total 0/400
    • gunsandbanjos
    • By gunsandbanjos 21st Jan 09, 9:12 AM
    • 12,105 Posts
    • 105,054 Thanks
    My budget is in tatters, i'm so far past it, it is merely a dot on the horizon

    I think next month i'm going to join in with a weekly budget, see if i can manage that any better.
    My freezer was pretty empty though at the start of the challenge and it is fairly full now, lots of whoopsied meat - including some lovely looking venison

    Must try harder methinks
    The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.
    Bertrand Russell
    • Dotmatic
    • By Dotmatic 21st Jan 09, 9:15 AM
    • 71 Posts
    • 88 Thanks
    I'm back again!
    Hi, hope I'm posting this in the right place.

    I have done the grocery challenge before, quite a while back and have been very careful or so I thought but just lately with the cost of food going up I've found our weekly food bill has crept up and up, this week my online shop has come to 114. It was more to start with but I went back over the list and took off meat and fish. Last week I spent 60 but it's meant that our stock cupboard has run right down and there's nothing left, so if I don't spent the 100 it seems that there's nothing to eat. :confused: Over a month our grocery spend is around 400 and that's not including alcohol but does include toiletries. That's for a family of 2 adults and 2 teens.

    I don't know where I'm going wrong, I cook everything from scratch, never throw out any food, and use a slow cooker & bread maker, I buy very few branded items and buy 'value' if possible. We eat out only on special occasions up to 4 times a year and rarely have take-aways.

    I've been reading as many threads on here as I can this morning but would be grateful for any more tips.

    Thanks in advance
    • sharronej
    • By sharronej 21st Jan 09, 9:15 AM
    • 563 Posts
    • 4,784 Thanks
    What a shock
    Just updating signature and what a shock that was! Thought I had gone about twenty pounds over but actually I'm nearer sixty pounds over! No wonder it hasn't been stressful, I haven't been doing it! I've also included some other targets on my sig as well although they may be subject to change!
  • orchid-96
    Hello orchid-96 - Sorry I'm not much use here because I have never used shop bought breadcrumbs -but I don't see why it wouldn't work. Also, I really don't know how long after the date they would be edible - I think there may be other OS who may have used them before so hopefully they can help you out more than me.

    I'm hoping to grow broad beans this year so maybe -if you don't mind you could post your soup recipe -it sounds lovely!

    Just remembered another NSD for me today -so 3 in a row!
    Originally posted by elizabunny

    The recipe for the soup is:
    1 tbsp Olive Oil
    1 medium Onion, chopped
    2 celery sticks, chopped (didn't have this but had a celariac to use instead and it was lovely)
    2 tsp ground cumin
    600ml hot vegetable stock
    400g can chopped plum tomatoes with garlic (just used basic toms and added garlic)
    400g can chickpeas , rinsed and drained
    100g frozen broad beans
    zest and juice 1/2 lemon (used lemon juice from the cupboard)

    large handful coriander or parsley and flatbread, to serve

    1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan, then fry the onion and celery gently for 10 mins until softened, stirring frequently. Tip in the cumin and fry for another minute..

    2. Turn up the heat, then add the stock, tomatoes and chickpeas, plus a good grind of black pepper. SImmer for 8 mins. Throw in broad beans and lemon juice, cook for a further 2 mins. Season to taste then top with a sprinking of lemon zest and chopped herbs.

    Had some fresh coriander in to add at the end, but next time would use the dried stuff which would be fine...

    Also it says for a variation to add some chorizo along with the onions and celery, we had some peperoni in so used that and it was nice, but think it would be fine without the meat or maybe with some smoky bacon...I also reckon it would be tasty if you added rice or cous cous with it....

    Planning a nsd today, good luck all
    Jun GC 250.00/12.40 NSD 3 / 30

    January 200/198.91 February 200/239.28 March 200/230
    April 250/no idea May 250/265.95

    Sealed pot challenge number 648
    • furndire
    • By furndire 21st Jan 09, 9:36 AM
    • 7,171 Posts
    • 31,470 Thanks
    quick question about the hobnobs - I have no golden syrup of bicarb, would maple syrup/honey and baking powder work?
    Originally posted by yummymummy05
    The first time I made them, I used the syrup out of a jar of stem ginger, as I didn't have any either. Made the mixture a little bit sticky to handle, but they worked. Of the two, I would think honey would work best - didn't think of maple syrup to use, but I didn't want to throw away the lovely ginger flavoured syrup!!!
  • cutting back
    Yes you can freeze the Mr M's pies as they are freshly baked in store so no problem at all. Have to say i used to work there and many nights came home with more than enough so had a freezer full!
    • *BigBird*
    • By *BigBird* 21st Jan 09, 9:50 AM
    • 948 Posts
    • 5,077 Thanks
    Hmmmm, how did I manage to go to MrT last night with a list that added up to 29 - and spend 49!!! To be fair, it was all useful stuff: plastic tubs to put soup in, loadsa half price muller yogs, a few whoopsies and an extra pack of "happy" chicken breasts as they are on special offer at the mo.

    Was overcharged by 75p tho for some glo bracelets (to go in party bags for kiddies at the wedding) They were supposed to be reduced, but only one of the 4 came through at the lower price at the till. Checkout operator took them off, confirmed by the supervisor, then charged 4 at the lower price - just looked at the receipt and they've only taken 3 off so I've actually paid for 5 - and the extra one at full price! I'll have to wander over tomorrow to sort that out.

    Still got just over 100 in the budget for this month, to last til 31st. I'll need to get a chicken and some veg for the sunday roast, which will be about 10 (always get my chickens from the local butcher - not cheap, but worth every penny). Then next weeks evening meals are all from the freezer or store cupboard, so I'll only need some milk, fruit and stuff for lunches. So, unless I go crazy, I should come in quite a bit under budget for this month That'll be a first!

    Working from home today. It's bloomin' freezing in this house, so I think I'll have to go put the heating on. Unfortunately an extra jumper won't work as it's my hands that are the problem - so cold it's getting hard to type, and I won't be able to type at all if I put my gloves on :rolleyes: On the plus side tho, I arranged my day at home for today as I have someone coming round to give us a quote for cavity wall insulation, so next winter we should be toasty :-)
    You can do anything, make anything, dream anything. If you change the world, the world will change.
  • cutting back
    Suppose i'd better introduce myself really!

    We are a family of 5 (6th due in Sept fingers crossed!) and i have been following this thread with great interest since last August time. I have picked up some valuable tips etc and wish to say a HUGE THANKS to you all! You are an amazing bunch so full of fab info And your recipes??? mmmm You have helped me gain soo much weight lol

    Anyway there's me and DH and we have 3 littlies dd8, ds5 and ds3 and of course #4 due Sept. Before i started reading this thread we would go each week and do a 100ish main shop each week and then spend a further 40-50 each week on top ups! We knew this had to stop but just didn't know where to start....then i found this place You have helped shave 50-60 off each week already and thats with not even trying properly! I am not brave enough yet to join in the monthly targets but have my own little personal ones each month that i am getting closer too I have started saving receipts and seeing exactly where the money goes so who knows sometime soon i will feel brave enough to join in properly!

    Thanks again for all your great advice, recipes and valuable information!
  • miss_keep_counting
    I think, fingers crossed, today is another NSD for me. I have to leave for a late shift at work soon where I'd normally be tempted by sweets to keep me going or takeaways with collegues, but I have fruit in the office, some green tea and bringing one of my frozen healthy meals in.

    I'm actually in awe over myself, so so so proud. And it's giving me the confidence to know I'll make my low total next month.

    A few questions:

    I eat a lot of fish and chicken, some times I'll have no meat in a day though. Are there alternatives to meat for protien which I could cook wth aswell which are cheap?? Protien is important to me as I go to the gym 3 x a week.

    I love love love fruit smoothies but realise shop bought ones aren't so healthy/ expensive. I realise I can make my own and I do have a blender... how can I store home made ones to last longer??

    And if I want to buy fruit juices is fresh orange juice worth it?? I like the taste and want the vitamins too but don't know if it's bad for me and whether it's cheaper to make your own???

    Thank you!


    Also! I'd like to add that I saw my mum yesterday and she said I looked really healthy and had lost some weight. I'm not over weight, before Jan I was 10st, my lowest has been 9.2st but that's far too slim for me, I have no idea where I am now but my clothes fit better, but shows that me going to the gym 3x a week for a month and cutting out all fatty winter takeaway coffees and my vice, sweets has really worked for my belt and my budget! My skin is also clearing up a lot, and I think this is from making sure I get my 5 portions of fruit/veg, so looking forward to seeing whether other people notice me looking healthier as my diet keeps getting better.

    Anyone else noticed positive body changes through being frugal?
    Saving for my future...
  • orchid-96
    BigBird, can you tell me what the happy chick breasts were that you got from MrT on special offer, I have a delvery booked and would get some if they are on offer (unless you meant whoopsied)...

    On a different note, I am sooo proud of my littlest twin Olivia, I started potty training her on Sunday as she was sort of starting herself and she has been fantastic....only a couple of accidents on sunday but none since and she was fine at nursery yesterday too!! also gets up first thing, takes off nappy and goes on the potty of her own accord (nothing to do with this thread but I am so pleased as in all other ways possible she is a handful) her twin sister has been doing it a bit, but can't leave her nappy off as she just doesn't seem to get it.. so am leaving her for a while......anyway sorry not on subject!
    Jun GC 250.00/12.40 NSD 3 / 30

    January 200/198.91 February 200/239.28 March 200/230
    April 250/no idea May 250/265.95

    Sealed pot challenge number 648
  • miserly_mum
    10 days left and i've still got 112 left

    Little one is 3 today so party food this evening. This and the cake were paid for by Granny so tonights dinner won't come out of my grocery money

    OH and I are going away for 3 days next week(self catering) so that'll come out of my budget. I've been grabbing whoopsies over the last few weeks for this and cooking extra and freezing.So we can have a few wee treats but at the right price and not too much cooking either.
    How does a brown cow give white milk, when it only eats green grass?
    • PurpleSkies
    • By PurpleSkies 21st Jan 09, 10:59 AM
    • 271 Posts
    • 1,740 Thanks
    Did what I'm hoping will be the last proper shop of the month at the weekend.
    Decided to have a break from the norm of Mr T/Mr A and went to Lidl, which I do occassionally but also went to Farmfoods for the first time. Spent around 15 between both shops and was quite please about what I got for my money.

    May need to buy extra supplies for Burns night as we may be cooking for our Spanish friends after they cooked some lovely tapas for us last weekend!
    Other than that no big spends left so hopefully will be well under budget this month!
  • orchid-96
    Purpleskies, how on earth do you manage on such a small budget I can understand (to an extent) the odd month but wow....

    Obviously we all have different budgets for our own individual reasons, but I am interested to know any of you in a similar situation to me (me, dh, ds 6 and dd twins 2) how much you manage to do it still buying nappies but much less (especially now one out of them during the day yay)......
    Jun GC 250.00/12.40 NSD 3 / 30

    January 200/198.91 February 200/239.28 March 200/230
    April 250/no idea May 250/265.95

    Sealed pot challenge number 648
    • *BigBird*
    • By *BigBird* 21st Jan 09, 11:58 AM
    • 948 Posts
    • 5,077 Thanks
    BigBird, can you tell me what the happy chick breasts were that you got from MrT on special offer, I have a delvery booked and would get some if they are on offer (unless you meant whoopsied)...
    Originally posted by orchid-96
    Hi orchid. They are the Willow Farm skinless breast fillets (not quite free range, but the chickens are given lots of space to move around and behave like proper chickens - RSPCA freedom food approved and Jamie O has had good things to say about them, so they are good enough for me ) They are currently 2 off the per kilo price. Not the greatest offer, but still a few extra pennies remaining in our purses
    You can do anything, make anything, dream anything. If you change the world, the world will change.
    • angelnikki
    • By angelnikki 21st Jan 09, 12:27 PM
    • 892 Posts
    • 16,972 Thanks
    I eat a lot of fish and chicken, some times I'll have no meat in a day though. Are there alternatives to meat for protien which I could cook wth aswell which are cheap?? Protien is important to me as I go to the gym 3 x a week.

    And if I want to buy fruit juices is fresh orange juice worth it?? I like the taste and want the vitamins too but don't know if it's bad for me and whether it's cheaper to make your own???
    Originally posted by miss_keep_counting
    You could try meals based around beans or eggs or cheese as cheap alternatives to meat protein

    Bean stews are nice and easy to make. Just saute some onion, add some chopped root veg and cook for a few minutes. Then add a couple of tins of beans (I use pinto beans / kidney beans) and a tin of chopped tomatoes. Add enough stock to cover, add herbs/spices to taste and then simmer until cooked. Serve with rice / mash / jacket potato. yummy recipe here

    MrT does chilled value orange juice / longlife value OJ for 56p/litre

    Well done! This is also the stage I have reached... Such changes do take time and I would rather have a FR chicken once a week than a caged twice a week
    Originally posted by angelatgraceland
    That's exactly how I'm gonna do it. At the moment we have chicken meals once or twice a week. By changing this to no more than once a week we will be able to afford to make the switch to free range

    We hardly eat pork other than occasionally having sausages; but when we do, we always get finest because of the meat content. So making the change to free range/organic sausages isn't going to cost much more

    Nikki x
    Last edited by angelnikki; 25-01-2009 at 8:48 PM.
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