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@.

    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 36
    • angelatgraceland
    • By angelatgraceland 9th Feb 09, 11:30 PM
    • 3,318 Posts
    • 23,074 Thanks
    Not sad at all! Thats the way to do it! I call them smart calculations. I only ever use half of what they tell me on the bottle-and its always fine. Sometimes I use ecoballs or soapnuts instead. Well Ive had a nsd day today-I did go out but only to take DS to the jobcentre and to collect someones broken computer for him to fix as a favour for a guy who is terminally ill and was told his comp wasnt worth fixing. Well its fixed now! Came home before it started snowing again.
    Just defrosted what I hoped was soup to find its actually chicken stock so now I need to use it in something tomorrow. I think it will go into a sausage casserole somehow so I will soak some dried stuff tonight-that will be tomorrow sorted. I really must make the effort to label the tubs before I put them in the freezer. They are UFOs at the moment. Regarding bread,I am finding that making bread dough in the breadmaker and leaving it overnight then cooking it in the oven is giving me the best results ever. The last loaf was huge for some reason-yet it was a Hovis packet which Ive made previously a normal size. Maybe it was leaving it overnight. I made twinks last week but I eat too many so Im frightened to make any more-along with too many slices of nofat teabread.
    Annual Grocery budget 2018 is 1500 pa 125 calendar month 28.84 pw for 3 adults
    • DdraigGoch
    • By DdraigGoch 10th Feb 09, 3:24 AM
    • 715 Posts
    • 3,996 Thanks
    So far, still on NSDs all the way. It's useful, this snow! DH due back today, DS back at work today too. Must go through the pantry again and see what we need/want. Is there anywhere online where I can get the prices of foods at Messrs L/A, Stainbury's, Tresco, Morristons & the Coop? I know that does a sterling job on Adsa, Waitingforarose, Trescos & Stainsbury's, but I don't have any of them near here! Any help much appreciated.

    So, apart from the missing 30 [and I think I'm going to have to include a 20 note which I had squirrelled away against desparation, if I'm not careful], I think I'll manage this month.

    thanks, everyone, and supportive hugs for those who need them.

    If you see me on here - shout at me to get off and go and get something useful done!!
  • WelshWoofer
    Have just been thinking about my meal plan (whilst supposed to be writing a new brochure for work!) and have realised that I have stuff that needs using up like potatos etc before I make my 5 bean chilli which is usually made from dried/canned beans, tinned tomatoes etc (basically stuff that will keep).

    So rather than end up chucking them away I'm looking for easy things to do with just plain old white spuds?
    I was going to make some mash but that's boring (made leek and potato soup last night).
    Anyone got any ideas?

    I was thinking of a fancy layered potato thingy but don't know where to start and what I need......

    Can anyone help?

    I have basics like mature cheese, milk etc if that helps (and can pop to the shop on the way home from work for the odd low cost ingredient!)
    January grocery spending - 82.73/ 120
  • dizzycow
    Morning all. Was hoping for a NSD today but it's not going to happen now - DS needs a new toothbrush, I'm sure he tries to eat them! Also need more baby wipes and nappy sacks for DS2.

    Think will have to do some more baking today, made some fruit buns & flapjack on sunday but they just seem to dissapear. Not sure what to do for dinner today. have some leftover chicken from Sunday, may attempt to make some sort of pie - any advice greatly appreciated - never made chicken pie before.

    Will update sig later with spends.

    Have a good day.
    Me, DH, DS(6), DS(2)
    Feb Grocery challenge 322.98/300
    Aug Grocery challenge 109.86/300
    • mrs-moneypenny
    • By mrs-moneypenny 10th Feb 09, 9:25 AM
    • 15,518 Posts
    • 198,189 Thanks
    managed 2 NSDs on sunday and monday .

    today should be cheap, jacket pots for lunch and DH and me will have stir fry with quorn later. the boys need early tea so it will be something out of the freezer for them.

    made a lovely jam sponge in the microwave for afters on sunday which went down very well - but i think i need a new seal on the lid as it took forevwer to build up pressure
    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
    • PurpleSkies
    • By PurpleSkies 10th Feb 09, 10:09 AM
    • 271 Posts
    • 1,740 Thanks
    Had to pop into lidl yesterday for emergancy supplies to help cure a hangover! Irn Bru, big greasy pizza & some choc so a grand total of 2.50.
    Pleased to report they definitely helped and I'm feeling much better today.
    • tessie bear
    • By tessie bear 10th Feb 09, 11:12 AM
    • 4,364 Posts
    • 30,028 Thanks
    tessie bear
    hi...the bees i think that liquid calculation is brilliant...i do similar in shops all the time...working out what a portion will cost of something....i have a little secret i have discovered or think iv discovered in local coop they reduce things a couple of days before sell by....but if there is a lot and u go back next day they have been reduced again...of course they might have all gone...but iv gone back a couple of times now and its been even cheaper....iv got my eye on a couple of nice chickens so im going to pop back tomorrow and have a look.....with regards to using up sure u can cook and mash then freeze in portions....u could make potato cakes...equal quantities cooked mash and flour roll out and cut with a biscuit cutter then shallow fry and serve with bacon and eggs.....u could make loaded potato skins eat some and freeze some.....hope evryone has a good day....iv just been out and pushing a buggy in the slush is a nightmare it really takes it out of your back
    tata tess
    Last edited by tessie bear; 10-02-2009 at 11:37 AM.
  • sazzledazzle
    rachelmk try looking on MR S website as has a receipe bit and you can select an ingredient. Put Potatoe in a will give you some ideas. i had some leeks that I had to use pronto and did this and got some nice meal ideas from that.
    So far nothing spent this week on grocerys but will need to stop at MR T tonight for cat biscuits, milk, sawdust for rabbit etc. Hoping to keep it under a fiver.
    MAY NSD's

  • scotsaver
    So rather than end up chucking them away I'm looking for easy things to do with just plain old white spuds?
    I was going to make some mash but that's boring (made leek and potato soup last night).
    Anyone got any ideas?

    I was thinking of a fancy layered potato thingy but don't know where to start and what I need......

    Can anyone help?

    I have basics like mature cheese, milk etc if that helps (and can pop to the shop on the way home from work for the odd low cost ingredient!)
    Originally posted by rachelmk
    Hi rachelmk - what about a Potato Bake thing, I just layer sliced potatoes with diced onion, season and then pour over some stock with a bit of milk, a few knobs of butter on the top and bake in the oven.

    dizzycow - when I make a Chicken Pie I just make a white sauce with a chicken stock cube added, place the chicken in the bottom of the dish, pour over the sauce and then puff pastry on the top - you can also add peas, sweetcorn, mushrooms, ham etc etc or a combination of all.

    Dinner tonight for us is a HM Fish Pie, Broccoli and carrots.

    Hope you all have a good day.
    GC for OH, myself, DD18 & DD16 includes Toiletries, cleaning stuff & Food.

    • DdraigGoch
    • By DdraigGoch 10th Feb 09, 11:35 AM
    • 715 Posts
    • 3,996 Thanks
    Rachelmk, teisen datws [tie-sen dat-oos] is the Welsh dish I think you might be thinking of. The way I make it is to butter the bottom of an ovenproof dish lightly, very finely slice up as many potatoes as you like - usually one large one per person in this household! - one onion between 2 persons - butter - milk. Layer up as follows, potatoes, onions, dot some butter in, potatoes, onion, butter and repeat until the last layer is potatoes dotted with some butter. Pour in milk to just come under the top layer of potatoes and then put the lid on - if you've got one, if not don't fret! - put it on a tray [to save the bottom of the oven in case it boils over!] and bung in the oven on fairly high for at least half an hour and then turn it down and walk away. You can leave it from one hour to 6 hours and it'll be beautiful.

    If you want to use the slow cooker, it's a marvellous dish. Just remember to put it on high for 20 minutes first. Smells wonderful, is as cheap as anything and you can even make it without the onions, use made up dried milk and margarine if pennies are tight. Sometimes I leave out the onions on purpose, for a change, sometimes I put herbs in the layers, sometimes I add left over chicken/beef and use the gravy [watered down to make enough liquid] instead of the milk. Very variable, very enjoyable. Have fun.
    If you see me on here - shout at me to get off and go and get something useful done!!
  • mummy2mygirls
    went to asda today and spent even more money!!! not sure how much yet as i also got a iron and kettle so will go through the receipts later and add the damage!!

    Did get some of the cathedral city cheese on offer for 2 (its my fav so i got two!!) some woopsie chicken pieces got two of these and before i would of had to get two packs for one meal but i will be bulking out and only using one - which is more then enough but i do have a greedy dh!!!

    Got some tomatoes reduced to 15p aswell my dd1 loves them so will go into her packed lunches. Was a hard trip and im sure i got some bits that wasnt really needed (like the chocolate iced rings..... ) but dd2 was screaming all the way round so was hard to concentrate and needed a treat - she is having a bout of the terrible twos i think!!
    GC: Nov: 60.22/450 Oct: 338.48/450, July: 363.05/450, June 447.98/500
    2 savers No68: 104/100

    mummy to: 8yr, 5yr, 3yr, 2yr, 1yr. No6 Due Mar 2013 My world.
    • Miss Liquorice
    • By Miss Liquorice 10th Feb 09, 11:55 AM
    • 238 Posts
    • 834 Thanks
    Miss Liquorice
    Oops, accidental trip to KFC yesterday (Another 4.49 off what's left. It upsets me that my lunch cost nearly a week's OS dinners). That's what I get taking the OH round the shops with me near lunchtime. In my defence I made sure I enjoyed it! ^_^
  • yummymummy05
    yippee a nsd!!! Have a large chicken roasting in the oven - will have some of this tonight in a stir fry, will freeze the rest and am hoping to get 6 portions for roast dinners!! am about to have a cooking spree have to make some purees for dd - parsnip and carrot, parsnip and apple, cod mornay - tomorrow will do her another batch of casserole. am also aiming to do a carrot cake and check on the neighbours cat!!

    I accidentally got creme fraiche instead of cream cheese for the icing on the cake - what can you cook with creme fraiche as I've never used it before?
    wk1 0/100 NSD's 0/7
    Total 0/400
    • elly2
    • By elly2 10th Feb 09, 12:35 PM
    • 553 Posts
    • 5,227 Thanks
    afternoon all 2.20 so far spent today but also will be needing milk so will get my dad to pick me 2 cartons up so that will take me upto a fiver will have another NSD tomorrow but will be needing bread and stuff before the weekend x

  • IsoChick
    Humph... after a rather bad weekend of spend-spend-spend, I added it all up today (including 2 weeks grocery shopping) and I am 3/4 into my budget with 2 weeks shopping to go

    Luckily, we don't need much in the way of expensive household items (just dishwasher tablets - Mr T's Value ones) and I think we've got plenty of bits and bobs in the freezer, so we might have a week of my 'concoctions' as OH calls them!

    I was going to do a 3-pronged shopping assault this week - Mr T's for household and non-perishable; local veg shop for fruit and veg (who sell a sack of 'pony carrots' for 1.20!!), and local butchers for meat, but I'm not sure this will work this month! I suppose I'll have to see how I feel on Thursday or Friday about it (and whether we've mysteriously run out of other stuff that needs to be bought too)
    • gunsandbanjos
    • By gunsandbanjos 10th Feb 09, 1:22 PM
    • 12,105 Posts
    • 105,054 Thanks
    NSD for me today, not left the house as LO is unwell.
    Went a little overbudget last week - aiming for 50 a week, hopefully should be a little underbudget this week though.
    The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.
    Bertrand Russell
    • mummyyof5
    • By mummyyof5 10th Feb 09, 2:28 PM
    • 1,839 Posts
    • 39,830 Thanks
    Hello everyone,Ended up spending more than I wanted to in MRMs but stocked up on Huggies nappies they are a third off at the moment (I know there are cheaper brands but my LO has severe excema so not compromising on these).
    Enough catfood and milk to last till Oh gets back off tour (he is away for 10 days)wonder if it will be enough?
    26 bags of crisps 1.00 off and lots of other bits.
    so cost 79.80.
    Total spend so far 214.19.
    • kezlou
    • By kezlou 10th Feb 09, 2:40 PM
    • 3,280 Posts
    • 43,067 Thanks
    Well nearly died today spent around 100 today on shopping. it doesnt look like i got much as all. My friend laughed and said i spent that yesterday when i went food shopping.
    Honestly last year i bought the same things (all value) and it cost me 35, can't believe how much food has gone up.
    But to be fair i spent 20 alone on cat food, 6 on bulk toilet roll and 10 on cheese.
    Hopefully the tinned food should last me till next month maybe even till April if i'm lucky. Bought two packs of reduced fresh blueberries for 1.49 and they went through as buy one get one free so fresh muffins and sweeties things for the boys pack lunches.

    Hope everyone is well!
    • Beki
    • By Beki 10th Feb 09, 3:19 PM
    • 868 Posts
    • 3,803 Thanks
    Hmmm well i'm not doing *too* badly so far. We shall see how the next 2.5 weeks pan out though. I can see me being either just in budget, or only just slightly over

    Dinner tonight is a nice cheap one!

    Beans on toast for the two children (Although not sure i should be admitting that after reading another quite heated thread about what is and what isn't classed as a proper meal )

    And vegetable soup with a couple of slices of tiger bread for me and OH

    Vegetable soup -

    1 large onion - 9p

    5 cloves garlic - 7p

    1 bag diced swede - 0p (asda were giving them away at 11pm the other night when OH popped in for cheap butter! )

    1/3rd bag pearl barley - 13p

    3 stock cubes (made a HUGE pan of soup) - 8p

    1/4 stick of butter (using the 47p asda deal ) - 12p

    1/4 tiger loaf for dunking (reduced at 30p for the loaf) - 8p

    Total cost - 57p (of course, that's excluding the water. and the gas used to simmer it all for 1hr)

    There's easily enough there for 4 or 5 huge man-sized portions! Oh, and it's delicious (i keep 'testing' it... to make sure it's still ok LOL)
  • TrixieB
    (who sell a sack of 'pony carrots' for 1.20!!)
    Originally posted by IsoChick
    I saw these at our market, are they suitable for eating? I didn't want to by asking the mannie :rolleyes:

    Bought some 99p hair dye in Tesco today for DD17, anyone used it? She says it doesn't look any different but I can't tell under a lightblub, will wait till morning and natural light before judgement!
    Trying very hard to be frugal and OS - just plodding on and doing my best!

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

215Posts Today

3,063Users online

Martin's Twitter