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    February 2009 Grocery Challenge
    • #1
    • 28th Jan 09, 12:15 PM
    February 2009 Grocery Challenge 28th Jan 09 at 12:15 PM
    Hello everyone,

    Welcome to the February 2009 Grocery Challenge.

    Pink isn't around at the moment, so I've ok'd with Penelope Penguin to start off the new thread. We start with Pink's usual opening posts.

    * * * * * * * * * * *

    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 January 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!

    Originally Posted by Galtizz
    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.

    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.

    * * * * * * * * * * *

    Good luck everyone

    Rosieben xx
    Last edited by rosieben; 28-01-2009 at 12:31 PM.
    ... don't throw the string away. You always need string!

    C.R.A.P.R.O.L.L.Z Head Sharpener
Page 9
    • russetred
    • By russetred 30th Jan 09, 8:17 PM
    • 1,232 Posts
    • 9,385 Thanks
    I usually cook up all my dried beans or peas.I soak them overnight then I use my pressure cooker,it only takes 10-15 minutes to cook them.I use some that day and freeze the rest in portions.Tomorrow I'm making a sausage type cassulet in the SC with some defrosted chickpeas.They're really good in well flavoured stews as they take on so much flavour themselves.

    I picked up a copy of Cheap Chow by Kenneth Lo at a charity shop.It's a really good read on cheap chinese meals based on their philosophy of expanding savouriness.Basically the chinese reckon on feeding 5-8 people on 8oz of meat by cooking it along with 3 x as much veg in a well flavoured sauce then adding 5x as much bulk food like rice.The book explains how to make a master sauce and how to cook all kinds of cheap cuts. I gave it a go and from a 1lb of streaky pork slices I made two meals over two days for 5 people.1 was sweet and sour pork and the other was a chilli/garlic/hoisin pork rice dish.We were all stuffed!
    "Sometimes life sucks....but the alternative is unacceptable."
    • mummyyof5
    • By mummyyof5 30th Jan 09, 8:19 PM
    • 1,839 Posts
    • 39,830 Thanks
    Hi Not done this before but have been reading the post for a while now,Can you count me in this month please? Can you count me in for £500 please, this seems a lot but am feeding 2 Adults 4 teenagers and a 2 year old (the teenagers eat more than us lol) 4 cats and 3 fish,will include nappies toiletries and cleaning stuff.

    Also is there a link anywhere to Twinks hobnobs these sound so like some I used to make but cannot remember the quantities.

    I do a lot of home baking anyway and am planning on doing a big bake on Sunday.

    Three of my children take packed lunch to school everyday and myself and my youngest son have a packed lunch 2x a week for babygroup.

    I do my main shop at MrM but top up at HB, Poundshops Aldis etc as I need to,all my meat and fruit and veg come from the local market.

    Thank you for all your great ideas on here I really want to have a bash at the Carrot and Coriander soup at the weekend
    Last edited by mummyyof5; 06-02-2009 at 10:18 PM.
  • Elsas mamma
    Hi. Have not done the grocery challenge yet, still trying to get to grips with not spending as much!!
    Think I am ready to do it now though.
    Can you please put me down for £320. That is for me, OH,dd(17), ds(16),ds(10) and our dog, Elsa(2).
    Thank you
    Finally dealing with our debts.
    May NSD15/15 June NSD 10/15.
    Sealed pot(1)£36. Sealed pot(2)£14.00. Sealed pot(3) £6.50. June GC £214/£350-
    weekly spend challenge 7th June 16.70/£15:confused:
    Never thought dealing with debt would be FUN!!
    • sharronej
    • By sharronej 30th Jan 09, 8:32 PM
    • 563 Posts
    • 4,784 Thanks
    I picked up a copy of Cheap Chow by Kenneth Lo at a charity shop.It's a really good read on cheap chinese meals based on their philosophy of expanding savouriness.Basically the chinese reckon on feeding 5-8 people on 8oz of meat by cooking it along with 3 x as much veg in a well flavoured sauce then adding 5x as much bulk food like rice.The book explains how to make a master sauce and how to cook all kinds of cheap cuts. I gave it a go and from a 1lb of streaky pork slices I made two meals over two days for 5 people.1 was sweet and sour pork and the other was a chilli/garlic/hoisin pork rice dish.We were all stuffed!
    Originally posted by russetred
    I've just ordered this book on Amazon for 1p! So I will be looking forward to sampling some new recipes - thanks
  • princess leia
    Well, Mr T has been delivering and it cost £95 according to my meal plan that should cover our main meals and I should :rolleyes: just need to get F&V and milk so fingers crossed it works this month
    I watched Jamies pig show last night (minus the gory bits ) and made sure I just ordered british but I have decided to try and use the local butcher from now on, I already use the local veg shop alot as its so much nicer and cheaper.
    Had a lovely chicken stew tonight with herby dumplings and either a fry up or indian tomorrow night!
    Sealed pot Member target £200 - No. 151
    GC Yearly £3k so far £1097 May£220/£300
    £1k in 100 days so far - £235
    Snowball debt free calculator says DEC 09 - lets hope we can do it!

  • fallen angel shelley
    Evening all. I poped in to MrT's tonight and did quit well, I should have enough for about to weeks, the only other bits I will need to pick are veg, sandwich meat, cheese and milk. I was going to get sausages at MrT's but decided that I will go to the butchers for them in the morning. Most of the £45.10 spend included, loo rolls and other cleaning stuff. I'm going to order my fridge/frezzer in the next couple of weeks, then I will be able pick up woppsied stuff and batch cook

    Shelley x
    Back on MSE again! to take control of my finances and not let it control me. May grocery challenge £41.96/140
  • katholicos
    I've been making good use of my first lot of February's shopping. Last night i made pork and beef meatballs. I used one 500gram pack of pork mince (£2.00) one 500gram pack of beef mince (£2.50), a little chopped garlic, some salt and pepper, some dried herbs, a couple of eggs and some breadcrumbs from the home made bread I had made. I ended up making about 30 meatballs which i bagged up in 3 bags of ten and then put in the freezer. These can be added to tomato based pasta sauce and cooked for about an hour or so, and then served with pasta.....or when defrosted they can be fried in shallow oil. Yum. Economical too. £4.50 for 3 main meals for a family.

    Today i made loads of Dropped Scones (like syrup pancakes) and bagged them up for the freezer, and i also made sone rich sultana scones and bagged them up too...about 6 bags of each.
    Grocery Challenge for October: £135/£200

    NSD Challenge: October 0/14
  • Tracey.32
    Goodness me! What a lot to catch up on!!

    Already spent about half my budget for this month - how did THAT happen!!

    Was a bit disappointed when I went to A!di - got the potatoes and broccoli, and a few other bits, but not nearly as much as I'd hoped (£10.96). Spent a little more (£64.00!!) in Mr T's - no bargains really, just submarine rolls whoopsied at 3 for 49p. Also got some VERY nice ice cream :rolleyes: - on spesh but still expensive, then I got some cones to go with it. I read (can't remember if it was this thread or another) that ice cream lasts much longer if you give it to them in cones. DD cottoned on to this immediately and was not best pleased (TOUGH!)

    Got another 12 meals out of 500g steak mince - just made basic savoury mince this time with onions, oats, red lentils, herbs and stock for freezer. Then when I defrost it I'll pad it out the various things depending on what we're having it with, or what I've got in. We had it last night with carrots and peas in it and with hm dumplings.

    Got all the ingredients to make weetabix cake and Twink's hobnobs over the weekend. Hoping to get DD roped into that, too as she quite likes messing about in the kitchen - pity she doesn't seem so keen on cleaning up after :confused:

    Going to update signature - see you all over the weekend!
    Grocery challenge: Jun£134.15/£120; Jul £60.90/£120
    • leed
    • By leed 30th Jan 09, 9:27 PM
    • 179 Posts
    • 2,695 Thanks
    After watching Jamie saves our bacon i decided to investigate the pork in my fridge and freezer.Apart from a pile of Walls sausages(whoopsied) everything was red tractor.I had to buy bacon for the weekend and British bacon was 2 for £4 in Mr T so should be easy to keep to supporting our pig farmers.By the way weren't those piglets adorable?
    Originally posted by russetred
    Have you tried supermarket own 'cooking bacon'? It is £1.56 for 500g at Mr T and even better value is Mr S is £1.56 for 670g - you need to look carefully at the contents to ensure that the pieces are not too fatty but you get all different types (back, streaky) and both smoked and unsmoked. Most of the packs I have bought have tasted yummy! Other supermarkets will probably have similar - but these two are the ones nearest to me.

    • leed
    • By leed 30th Jan 09, 9:36 PM
    • 179 Posts
    • 2,695 Thanks
    Well today I have been off sick from work and to cheer myself up I spent a couple of hours trawling the recipe thread attached to the first few posts on this one.

    This gave me many ideas for cakes/loaf cakes/biscuits to make myself. I have so many of the ingredients unused in the cupboard so I made the delightful Mrs M's banana and ginger loaf cake and used up 3 manky bananas I would have chucked out a few weeks ago.

    Many thanks to everyone who submitted a recipe, they have given me a new slant on things in the cupboard instead of constantly buying and topping up. I'm planning a baking couple of hours either on a Sat/Sun for things to take to work instead of buying Can't wait!!!!
    Originally posted by fedupandskint
    Lakeland have a bag for keeping bananas in for £4.88 - - it says you can keep them in fridge for upto a couple of weeks - however I didn't put them in the fridge and they kept for about 10 days without browning. Definitely worth buying if you don't like soft bananas!

    • pinkjen
    • By pinkjen 30th Jan 09, 9:40 PM
    • 235 Posts
    • 776 Thanks
    Evening all

    Mrs M could you please put me down for £120 again for Feb..Thankyou

    DFW Nerd 1038 - Debt 08/2008 £4068 - Debt Now £400
    Santander CC £400 Tesco CC £622.69 £0

    2010 Wins:
    can i join this please - £200 for feb my month will start 6/2/09
    • pixiechick99
    • By pixiechick99 30th Jan 09, 9:55 PM
    • 3,667 Posts
    • 15,477 Thanks
    Hi there,
    Can you put me down for my usual £200 please? Have failed Jan...about £30 over but will post that on the jan thread...
    I'm sure I could get this down as there's only myself and 2 dds 11 and 9, oh and a rabbit That includes all packed lunches, cleaning stuff etc....will try harder in Feb:rolleyes:
    June NSDs - 0/15
    June Groceries 0/£200
    DFW Nerd #1135
  • rosieben
    Also is there a link anywhere to Twinks hobnobs these sound so like some I used to make but cannot remember the quantities.
    Originally posted by mummyyof5
    Twinks hobnobs recipe - and loads of other great recipes on the front page of the GC thread

    Edited to ask, please, if you're including a recipe in your post would you please highlight the recipe name or put it on a separate line - it would be much clearer when people click on the link to your post. Thanks so much
    Last edited by rosieben; 30-01-2009 at 10:17 PM.
    ... don't throw the string away. You always need string!

    C.R.A.P.R.O.L.L.Z Head Sharpener
  • WendysWorld
    Hiya everyone i'm busy planning my first shop for feb and as ever i'm trying to think of ways i can cut costs. One thing i was looking at was longlife milk. I've never tried it before and would like to know your thoughts on it. My thinking behind changing to this is that we currently spend around £11 a week on milk or 10% of my monthly gc money, i've looked at costs and it is certainly cheaper than buying fresh. Also i'm what you would call an impulse buyer. Its a habit i'm trying hard to break and most of the time i'm really good, but it always tends to be when i'm just popping out for milk when i spend a blummin fortune. So what i'm hoping is that by have the milk in i wont need to pop to the shops for milk therfore saving me picking up any impulse buys. It may seem a bit extreme but if its gonna save me money.....
    Originally posted by nickynoo08
    Don't know if you've been replied to yet (still haven't got to the end! But when we were on holiday last year in Spain we stayed with friends. They used only longlife milk in the summer as it's so hard to keep milk when it's really hot. I'd never tasted Longlife before and I was pleasantly surprised! So much so that we just buy a few litres of milk during the once-a-week big shop and I get a few litres of longlife for the rest of the week. We have a 2 yr old and a 5 yr old but we all go through milk like it's water!
    What I'm rambling about is that you could go half-and half for a couple of weeks to see how you get on. We don't really notice the difference to be honest.
    • mrssnowy
    • By mrssnowy 30th Jan 09, 10:36 PM
    • 402 Posts
    • 5,884 Thanks
    Mrsmc £180 for Feb GC please

    Shopped at local butchers today,all his meat is sourced locally,the beef from a farm that is a mile away,mutton 3 miles,all very good quality.
    Anyway bought 9 large faggots(have to buy when I see them to freeze cos not always available,we have 1 and a half each as they are big!) 1lb rump steak(treat for tea tonight) 1lb braising steak(SC casserole to do 4 meals at least) 2lbs lamb shoulder to make cawl(about 8 meals with loads of veg)
    That little lot came to £17.34-should be about 20 ish portions.Some,most really, will go in freezer for another day,when cooked.

    DH is converted to eating cornflakes for breakfast instead of bread,so haven't made so much this month,good job as time has been tight.Proves he's not very well,that and the fact that he hasn't been out of the house for nearly 2 weeks Both of us have lost a few pounds as a result.

    Task this month is to use up more stuff out of the freezer,stupid upright freezer is so difficult to store and find things in,but haven't any room for a chest freezer.

    That is about the sum total of my meal planning,apart from the fact that we mostly have either porridge or cornflakes for breakfast,HM soup or a sandwich for lunch,then something else for evening meal.DH diabetic(Type1) so needs a portion of carbohydrate with each meal.

    Nice to see so many newbies,welcome and have fun being OS

    night all
    PS forgot to say I buy Somerfield semi skimmed long life milk,great for HM yogurt,sauces etc,and not noticeable in tea.
    Last edited by mrssnowy; 30-01-2009 at 10:41 PM.
    You can't stay young for ever,but you can be immature for the rest of your life.
    i have a carton of long-life in the cupboard for emergancys - quite often when i pop out to buy milk i end up spendin 20 quid or more on implulse buys i also try and have a pint of the real stuff in the freezer too, the same goes for bread. (in the freezer, not long life )
    • goldfinch68
    • By goldfinch68 31st Jan 09, 5:44 AM
    • 205 Posts
    • 527 Thanks
    I would like to set our February Grocery Challenge at £400
    please. Our payday is 20th of each month but I would like to run this challenge from 31st January to make things easier. Won't declare January budget because I started halfway through and also lost a few receipts etc. So this month I will try harder! There are four of us and I have recently discovered the wonders of the slowcooker so we ate much healthier last month. I also need to say no to wasting £4 or £5 on a bottle of wine and a chocolate bar every once in a while and whining "well, you've got to live a little..." is not an excuse is it!! Looking forward to life without being constantly overdrawn... :rolleyes:
    Slimming World: SD: 2.05.16 SW: 13st10lb
    Goal: 11st 10lb by my birthday in August

    • lillibet dripping
    • By lillibet dripping 31st Jan 09, 7:54 AM
    • 1,603 Posts
    • 12,484 Thanks
    lillibet dripping
    Hi Mrs. M.

    Can I play this month please. I watched January's thread and it has inspired me to have a go.

    Please put me down for £250 for the month

    My month will run from 1st to 28th (or is a leap year?)
    Wish me luck!
    [DFW Nerd club #1142Proud to be dealing with my debtDMP start date April 2012. Amount £21862April 2013 = £20414 April 2014 = £11000 April 2015 = £9500 April 2016 = £7200
    • Barneysmom
    • By Barneysmom 31st Jan 09, 8:11 AM
    • 9,464 Posts
    • 24,285 Thanks
    HI I've spent £45 this week in MR.M's. I thought this month I'd try and find out how much coffee we use in a month. Can't afford/won't pay for Gold Blend any more so we've switched to Kenco and I got 3 x £3.00 packs of that and we'll see how long it lasts1
    Tea bags last us forever as I only have a cup every once in a while, I reckon I'll have to drink more tea./
    Our kettle broke, so I had to buy a new one which was £20 but don't know if this should come from the food bill or not.
    We hava a bit of a glut on salmon pieces in the freezer so we'll make some sort of salmon en croute thingys next week for one night, and I'm dying for a shepherd's pie so we'll do one of those too. Got a piece of pork as it's quite cheap, we'll have some tonight for tea and the rest tomorrow. I wouldn't eat it after that though, I don't like keeping cooked pork.
    Barney is my border collie.
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