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    • Pink.
    • By Pink. 27th Nov 09, 5:10 PM
    • 17,431Posts
    • 40,365Thanks
    December 2009 Grocery Challenge
    • #1
    • 27th Nov 09, 5:10 PM
    December 2009 Grocery Challenge 27th Nov 09 at 5:10 PM
    Hello everyone,

    Welcome to the last Grocery Challenge of 2009.

    If your new month starts early feel free to join this thread, or if you're still working on your November budget, then keep on posting in the November 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 the Grocery challenge Recipe Index please see posts #3 and #4 on this thread.

    For everyone's targets and totals for the month please read post #5 in this thread.

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

    Last edited by Pink.; 28-11-2009 at 2:59 PM.
Page 12
  • triticale
    Had to get some fruit for DD(8) and DD(5)'s lunchboxes tomorrow, so spent 84p on a punnet of plums (half price!) and also got a jar of pesto (1.19) for their tea tonight - I was going to do chicken (from rubber chicken) in gravy with mash and veg, but when I told them this morning they replied, 'oh, we're always having that - Daddy's always making it' (!)

    So I had a rethink, as they love pasta, pesto and tuna, but I hate it (mainly the hot tuna aspect, but also not so keen on pesto) I decided to compromise and do pasta, pesto and chicken, with some par-baked petit pains that I have, made into garlic pains.

    Also got DD(8) some lockets (45p) as she is still suffering with a nasty cough.

    Did also get a single gala apple, but the checkout lady didn't charge for it! Think as I put it on top of the punnet, she mustn't have noticed it. :confused: So a free apple, lol.

    Total spent = 2.48.

    Oh and had to buy baccy this morning ( yes, tobacco comes out of my food budget, in an effort to make me smoke less! Have already cut down loads, hence running out caught me by surprise). 2.65 for that.

    So 5.13 today, sig updated.
    Last edited by triticale; 03-12-2009 at 1:03 PM. Reason: Put peaches instead of plums - in December? Yeah right!
    • franby64
    • By franby64 3rd Dec 09, 1:21 PM
    • 894 Posts
    • 10,920 Thanks
    Spent 6.04 today. Got T-bags from the Co-op (I like to buy Fairtrade one's), milk and 4 small, reduced Hovis loaves which I have just about managed to shoehorn into the freezer!

    I've got a space in the kitchen where another freezer could go - it would be really handy - but there is just too much junk in there that needs re-homing and I can't face it at the moment...perhaps after Christmas!
    Starting weight on 22/6 14st 00lbs. Weight on 15/2 10st 11lbs. Lost 3st 3lbs.Target 9st 12lbs. 13lbs left.
  • elizabunny
    Eliza bunny i`m not sure if this will help or not, it does depend on the exact situation.
    There is more info here

    Our GSD cross suffered from struvites when she was younger. She seemed to have a spate of bladder infections quite close together and our vet was a bit baffled by it. We had all the usual tests done etc and the vet told us we could either try the food or alter her diet or a bit of both.
    In the end we changed her diet and now she is fine. The only time she has a problem is when she has really exerted herself and she passes a tiny amount or urine without noticing in her sleep but this happens once or twice a year.
    This may not be suitable for your doggie but have a word with your vet.
    Our hound is a huge eater so either way was going to be very expensive but we managed to cut the cost a bit.
    The vet did do checks after she had been on a different diet for a while and she was fine.

    She now has a more or less normal diet and is very healthy. We gradually altered her diet so that it wasn`t too much of a change for her and then over several weeks we altered it back.
    She still has chicken and brown rice etc added to her food sometimes too as well as other bits and bobs.
    Hope this is of some help for you.

    Well i`ve done two shops, one at MrA and one at MrM so as soon as i`ve taken the extra bits and bobs off the bills that i`ve bought for other people i shall post my total spends for the week.
    Originally posted by Sunnyday
    Sunnyday Thanks so much for your really helpful post. It is encouraging to know that your dog was able to go on a normal diet eventually. I am really struggling to work out how we're going to manage to keep ours on the PD for upto 6 months, but her problem is quite severe at the moment. She is due for repeat tests in 3 weeks, so I guess we may get more info then. I cannot possibly include the cost the PD for our dog in the monthly GC budget, so we're going to have think how to do it.

    PS. The webpage you linked is really interesting & helpful, thank you!

    Hopefully another NSD for me today -so 3 in a row and no cooking today as out to dinner with family
    Have a good day everyone!
    Last edited by elizabunny; 03-12-2009 at 1:41 PM. Reason: PS. added
    Sealed Pot Challenge 7 Member 022
    5:2 Diet started 28/1/2013 only 13lbs lost due to Xmas 2013 blip.
    • candygirl
    • By candygirl 3rd Dec 09, 2:27 PM
    • 27,590 Posts
    • 117,492 Thanks
    I vowed I wasn't gonna get any more shopping in till after the hols-i'm going Monday morning, but have just been to Morrisons and got lots of stuff for when we come back, inc a bottle of sloe gin to add to Mum's xmas boxSpent 44 so well under budget, and might even be able to avoid the shops now till after xmas
    "You can't stop the waves, but you can learn to surf"

    (Kabat-Zinn 2004)
  • SaverShell
    We had our first spend of the month last night. Popped to buy gerbil food and walked out with 18 worth of food we didn't really need.

    We need to get better at not buying unnecessary food when we go shopping. They had big mushrooms on offer so I fancied stuffed mushrooms, so had to buy all the stuffing then my OH doesn't like them so had to buy a pizza for his tea. Really should learn to only go to the aisle where i need something and not wander round the whole shop.

    18 out of a estimate of 300 doesn't seem a lot but it all adds up when we're doing it 3 or 4 times a week plus the big shops in between!
  • scotsaver
    Hi everyone - updated total with today's spends, looks like a lot but I have bought Booze for Xmas and had some ingredients to buy for some recipes I will be doing over the next couple of days to stash away for Xmas.

    Dinner tonight is Aussie Pie from the Dinner Lady cookbook by Jeanette Orrey, a favourite in this house and we haven't had it for ages, shall serve it with peas & sweetcorn.

    Hugs to those that need them , have a good evening everyone.

    Forgot to mention that Sainsbury's are doing bags of Cranberries at half price at the moment, 1.89 - making my relish tomorrow.
    GC for OH, myself, DD18 & DD16 includes Toiletries, cleaning stuff & Food.

    • thisismoneysaving
    • By thisismoneysaving 3rd Dec 09, 3:25 PM
    • 155 Posts
    • 694 Thanks
    thisismoneysaving I used to regulartly do this until I hit in the idea of making a huge batch of tomato pasta sauce at once, when I had the time, & freezing it in meal sized portions. I use 8 cans of toms which I chop up with scissors in the can, 5 chopped onions, 2 Tablespoons of garlic or chopped fresh garlic to taste, 2 Tablespoons of mixed herbs, a stock cube, salt, pepper & a couple of teaspoons of sugar to counteract the acidity of the tomatoes. Fry the onions then add the rest of the ingredients & let it simmer gently for 45 mins giving the odd stir. Then blitz if you like a smooth sauce or just pour into freezer bag lined tubs and close the tops. Once it's frozen lift the bag out of the tub so that you have a convenient 'brick' shape to freeze.

    When I use it for a recipe I add chopped bacon, ham, peppers, courgettes, carrots, celery or any other veg thats around depending on which dish I'm doing Hope this helps. Play around with the sugar as if you're used to jars of Dolmio as they can be sweet. I weaned us off extra sweetness slowly HTH
    Originally posted by SunnyGirl

    I'm going to do this... I know it's something I should do.
    Thank you SunnyGirl for writing it out for me - in black and white I shouldn't be able to ignore it!!
    Trying hard to money save....
  • Changingme
    Can you please put me down for 320 not sure how much to budget as spend christmas with family and share food cost for christmas lunch and tea so 60 extra should cover this and a few extra treats.
    Wishing everyone good luck.
    Save 4500 in 2014
  • oligeo
    Have brought all the stuff to make christmas cake, christmas pudding and mincemeat today, so spent 12.25 in local shop that sells dried fruit, and 20.76 in Waitrose (although 6 of that was on some dairy bits).
  • coffeeholic
    3 added to the spends for this week, we ran out of milk and a few other bits. Doing this challenge is really making me realise where our money is going and what we are frittering it away on! So I am hoping to learn a lot from doing this.

    All the coffee in Columbia won't make me a morning person...
    Virtual Sealed Pot Challenge Member #5 - 128.19
    NSDs - April 9/18
    Grocery Challenge - April 22.94/160
    6 months to slim into clothes challenge - started March 2010
  • Lady1973
    Just 4.40 spends so far this week on groceries, still shouldn't need a proper big shop til the end of next week. Looking good so far.

    • Coxy11
    • By Coxy11 3rd Dec 09, 6:20 PM
    • 2,323 Posts
    • 27,347 Thanks
    Hi everyone,

    Well after the disaster that was a no-show by MrT the other night, I had to go personally yesterday. Had a 15 off voucher so that brought the total down to 83.89. Managed to get exactly what was on my list from the online shop although a couple of offers had ended so had to rejig slightly. Also picked up some whoopsies (popcorn chicken, quiche) for lunches during the upcoming school hols, plus some steak and stir fry veg for DH and I last night.

    Have meal-planned up to the 12th December, after which I will have 11 days of my Dec GC left. Should be more than doable - roughly 15 per day.

    Had meatloaf for tea tonight (beef mince one from the recipe list). Kids and I loved it, DH complained he didn't like the breadcrumbs. He is a real food snob and hates the fact that we have to be uber careful right now with everything, but especially the grocery budget. Was just trying to come up with alternatives to spag bol (DS2 moans) and chilli (DD moans) for beef mince. Oh well, back to the drawing board.

    Sorry for the long post. Have a good evening all.

    Cross-stitch WIP: Pretty Maids in a Row
    • mark88man
    • By mark88man 3rd Dec 09, 6:38 PM
    • 4,399 Posts
    • 10,782 Thanks
    Have you tried mince with peas, or mince with mint jelly, both lovely with a bit of gravy granules in the pot and some smash (you may want to drain mince if its a bit fatty)

    Going to Mr L today - just to get some frozen coated hake 2.70 for 4, some coleslaw and beans for spuds (I love their beans @ 29p) + some freeway light cola - which we now prefer to the real thing

    honestly it feels like we traded up not down
    Things happen for a reason. Often because we are stupid & make bad decisions.
    Weight/Health - Fluctuating - better than I was worse than I should be
    Mid 19: CC:15K@0% - Car Loan:9K@2.8% - Mort:124K@2.1% = 148K - down 8k year to date
    Decrease in Total Debt 2016:13.4K 2017:8.3K 2018:20K

    • JayneC
    • By JayneC 3rd Dec 09, 6:42 PM
    • 911 Posts
    • 10,929 Thanks
    Well just popped into sainsbugs for bread and milk and ended up spending 15.43!!! However this was all reduced stuff mostly F&V and also cheese, some chicken pies (64p for pk of 3!) and meat/fish. Must have called at just the right time - it's all stuff I'd need/will use so couldn't really ignore such bargains! Also had a Healthy Start voucher so only cost 12.33. Sig updated already.

    Have to do a bit of a stock take now and meal plan again...

    Had hot pot pasties for tea (leftover hot pot made into pasties - only need a small amount of filling for pasties, more economical than a pie!) with mash and carrots. HM mini victoria sponge cakes for afters (made in yorkshire pudding tins, lol).
    Official DFW nerd - 282 'Proud To Be Dealing With My Debts'
    C.R.A.P.R.O.L.L.Z member # 56
  • rosieben
    ... I used to regulartly do this until I hit in the idea of making a huge batch of tomato pasta sauce at once, when I had the time, & freezing it in meal sized portions. ...
    Originally posted by SunnyGirl
    Great recipe Sunnygirl, thanks, its now in the recipe list
    ... don't throw the string away. You always need string!

    C.R.A.P.R.O.L.L.Z Head Sharpener
    • Kitchenbunny
    • By Kitchenbunny 3rd Dec 09, 6:53 PM
    • 1,861 Posts
    • 20,265 Thanks
    Right, another addition of 2.36 to go on my sig today I'm quite impressed though - I went into Tescadiddles and bought a punnet of mushrooms and a box of cream crackers for, well, 2.36. The crackers were half price for 450g and were a good name, and the mushrooms were a necessity for tea.

    Tea, which happened to be delicious, by the way We had:

    Spicy Bacon and Tomato Pasta (serves 2-3)

    4-6 rashers of bacon, or a nice big handful of cooking bacon all cut into chunks
    1 small onion, sliced
    4 largish mushrooms, sliced
    A little bit of green pepper, diced
    1 clove of garlic, crushed
    about a tsp of dried chilli flakes (I used 1.1/2 tsp)
    1/2 a carton of passata
    some dried herbs
    200g pasta

    Cook the garlic, onion, bacon and herbs in a little oil, until soft. Add the diced pepper, mushrooms and stir through. Add the chilli flakes and then add the passata, stirring it all to coat. Taste it, to see if it needs any salt, and add a teeny bit if it does. While the pasta is cooking, simmer the sauce and grate a little cheese to go on the top. Drain the pasta, and add it to the pan with the sauce in (I find it helps to get as much of the sauce up as possible) and serve a portion each topped with some grated cheese. Mmm. I know it sounds a bit spicy, but it is only a tingly warmth.

    And to think I have a big portion for work tomorrow! Yay! I need to buy steak from the market tomorrow, and some eggs & cheese and yet more mushrooms, but I think that'll be it for the weekend, all being well

    Have a lovely evening, everyone, and keep up the good work

    Kitchenbunny xx

    • albacookie
    • By albacookie 3rd Dec 09, 7:19 PM
    • 268 Posts
    • 1,201 Thanks
    Spent 27.50 in Mr S today but forgot about the 3 off voucher I had
    Got loads of mince so off to make chilli and bolognese now.
    • SunnyGirl
    • By SunnyGirl 3rd Dec 09, 7:48 PM
    • 2,630 Posts
    • 32,816 Thanks
    Great recipe Sunnygirl, thanks, its now in the recipe list
    Originally posted by rosieben
    Thank you. I called the children in to see my little 'moment of fame'
    A G&T a day keeps the doctor away
  • rosieben
    Thank you. I called the children in to see my little 'moment of fame'
    Originally posted by SunnyGirl

    - your Spicy Bacon and Tomato Pasta is about to go in the list too

    2 great recipes in one evening and both going into my recipe folder!
    ... don't throw the string away. You always need string!

    C.R.A.P.R.O.L.L.Z Head Sharpener
  • triticale
    Pasta/pesto/chicken was a huge success. I added a handful of green beans from my freezer. DD(5) announced it to be 'the best dinner ever'.

    She has said that before about a few meals though...
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