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    • Pink.
    • By Pink. 25th Dec 10, 1:15 AM
    • 17,431Posts
    • 40,365Thanks
    • #1
    • 25th Dec 10, 1:15 AM
    25th Dec 10 at 1:15 AM
    Hi Everyone,

    Welcome to the first Grocery Challenge of 2011, a new decade and a new beginning!

    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 2010 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.
    For quidelines 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, #6 and #7 on this thread.

    I hope everyone has a great month and may I take this opportunity to wish you all a very Happy New Year! Hope it's a good one for all of us.

    Last edited by Pink.; 29-12-2010 at 9:09 AM.
Page 121
  • Candy Belle

    Happy Friday Everyone!!

    Just a small spend yesterday

    W****s - 5.22 8xFelix, Cat Sticks and Whiskers Temptations

    Have a g8t day everyone! x
    Grocery Challange for DH, Me & 2 Fussy Cats (inc Grocerys, Cleaning Products & Cat Food)
    G/C -May 177.04/235.00 Apr 237.79/235.00 Mar 226.16 /235.00
    G/C - Jan 248.52/235.00 - Feb214.72/235.00
    NSD -May 3/31 Apr 10/30 Mar 3/31 Feb 6/28 NSD Jan 3/31
    • laineyc
    • By laineyc 28th Jan 11, 7:21 AM
    • 907 Posts
    • 5,215 Thanks
    Thanks, Candy. I love Fridays. My SIL is coming for a catch up dinner. I am make goats cheese and red onion tart, salad and garlic mash and apple cake for dessert.

    I am off to pick up my slicer this morning. Hopefully, this means nice slices instead of hacked meat. I am going to Morrisons for a look round for bargains. I have never been to Morrisons since I generally do my shopping online. I plan to have another NSD tomorrow.
    GC 2011 Feb 626.89/450 NSD3/7 March 531.26/450 April 495.99/500 NSD 0/7 May 502.79/500
    June 511.99/480 July 311.56/480
    • happycrafter
    • By happycrafter 28th Jan 11, 7:51 AM
    • 420 Posts
    • 4,543 Thanks
    I have been missing in action this month. I'm not sure what happened but following my return to work on the 4th January, it seemed to take all my effort to get back into the swing of the work routine particularly as with the bad weather before xmas, things hadn't been done that should have been done meaning the start to the year was very hectic and my best intentions on my food spending went out the window !

    I had Mr T deliver two weeks ago and I'm intending on having another delivery on Saturday. I did a virtual meal plan (i.e, I fancy this, that and the other) and bought accordingly. Some of these foods remain uneaten almost two weeks later because plans have changed, I've been too lazy to faff making ??? or I just haven't been bothered so some two weeks later, I am finding that some of the food I bought has gone in the bin either because it is now out of date or has gone mouldy

    When I find myself throwing something in the bin, I feel very cross with myself. I am sure I read somewhere that of every 3 or 4 bags bought in the supermarket, the contents of one end up in the bin. It would be an interesting experiment if there was a person at the end of the checkout who relieved you of one of your bags as soon as you paid for it and promptly dumped the contents into the bin in front of your eyes. It would certainly make me stop and think.

    I've got the day off tomorrow and I intend to sit down and plan my menus for the next two weeks. That will take me up to valentines weekend. I'll try to plan for the whole month but will concentrate mainly on the next two weeks so that when I go to order my Mr T home shop, I am only ordering stuff that I know I am going to use. I don't want to find myself in two weeks time throwing stuff out.

    Out of interest - what do other people use to meal plan ?? Do you write it in a spreadsheet / diary / etc ??
    Originally posted by Flat Eric

    I start off with 4 pieces of paper with 3 columns (date/meal/ingredients) and then brain storm with the family what meals to have on what days, I also have a list of chicken/mince/sausage/pork/fish/beef/lamb meals and we try to have 1 meal from each list for each of the 7 days (hope that makes sense). we do have alternate HM chinese/pizza on a friday.

    once everyone has helped me plan 4 weeks (or however many days there are till next pay day) I get my geek/nerd hat on and put it all on a spreadsheet (if you pm me your email I can send it to anyone to have a look at) once its all written out on the spreadsheet I use a pivot table to create a shopping list. I then use that to check my cupboards and freezer crossing off things I don't need on the spreadsheet I take my laptop in to the kitchen to do this part. once I have done that I go back and sort out where I am buying things from I most;ly shop in a$da, a!di and my local butcher.

    Paper copies of the menu plan are stuck on the fridge so everyone can see what we are having and I keep my spreadsheet for future meal ideas. I have been doing this now for 3-4 months and we have never eaten so well plus i don't throw hardly anything away. forgot to say we do move our meal plans around nothing is fixed but because I have the things in stock for the meals its not a big deal we just cross out one meal and swap it with another.
  • Emily87
    Hi everyone, still making my way through the last weeks posts but just wanted to SHAMEFULLY admit.....I've totally lost track of my budget this month. I dont think I'm over by much but for some reason just stopped tracking my spending. ANYWAY my month runs 20th to 20th so i'll see you all in Febs challenge. Sorry for being a bit of a let down
    June Grocery Challenge - ???/230
    Credit card debt - Start - 10,613 Now - 10613
    Personal loan - Start - 10,116 Now - 10116

    DFD - October 2015

    • CRANKY40
    • By CRANKY40 28th Jan 11, 8:07 AM
    • 3,364 Posts
    • 36,675 Thanks
    49.27 spent on this weeks shopping, making a total of 142.15 so far. Still plenty in the cupboards and freezer, although I have added in a few items in an attempt to broaden the house elf's range of foods eaten.
  • Mothership
    Left over Cabbage (savoy is best for this)

    Potatoes (mash half with milk butter salt & white pepper) Cut up remainder in to rough chunks.

    Swede (turnip The large brown skinned one) about half the quantity of potatoes (mash half with butter salt & white pepper) Cut up remainder in to rough chunks.

    Cheddar cheese (grated and sprinkled over the top)

    Grease a baking dish, sprinkle grated cheese all over bottom and sides of dish. ( to make sure you get crispy yummy bits to crunch).
    Mix together the mash roughly, with half of the cabbage, we are looking for a kind of marbled effect.
    Mix together the chunks of potato,swede and cabbage, arrange roughly on top of mash, press some into mash, leave little nooks and crannies or hills and dales, for the cheese and little knobs of butter dotted randomly over the top to fall into, making sure you place some on the tops of any exposed pieces of potato & swede.

    If you want some extra taste sprinkle some fried onions on top before you sprinkle the cheese.

    Bake in oven @ 200 till nicely browned on top.

    If I'm frying onions I make a little extra and leave in the fridge till I'm making this, you can do the same with the potatoes, cabbage and swede leftovers.

    It is easy, goes with almost anything, and is absolutely addictive.
    Last edited by Mothership; 28-01-2011 at 5:52 PM.
    1st Purse 114.19 Monthly GB
    2nd Purse 100
    Fridge Freezer 300 3rd Purse /290.94
  • Winged one
    Well, had to bring DD to GP yesterday, and had to go to chemist afterwards. So went to Lidl as I was beside it and needed a few things we only get there, and got lots of fruit and veg while there. Spent €40, but got 2 bags: 3 packs of 3 lemons (only 59c each, so 20c per lemon v 45c in other SMs, and we're using lots for hot lemons these days), bag of 5 grapefruits for 99c (using for breakfast juice, again 20c v 60c min in SMs), 2 pizzas for weekend lunches (have pepperoni to use up), 2 packs of fresh ravioli for DD's dinners (99c v at least €3 in SMs, and good for a month - each makes 2-3 dinners for dd), bacon pieces (2.19, v useful for last minute dinners or making a difference to mac'n'cheese or chorizo potatoes), chorizo, bottle milk, bananas, cherry toms (down to 59c a punnet on special, so got 2 as we eat lots), bag oranges, apple juices, and a 20 pack bag of crisps (for lunches).

    The only thing I now need to buy over the weekend is meat and some mushrooms.
    GC 2010 6,000/ 5,897

    GC 2011:Overall Target: 6,000/
    5,442 by October

    Back on the wagon again in 2014
    Apr 587.82/550 May 453.31 /550
    • Gorgeestwo
    • By Gorgeestwo 28th Jan 11, 8:39 AM
    • 364 Posts
    • 5,889 Thanks
    Haven't posted for a while, have totally failed this month had an operation a couple of weeks ago and its my sons birthday today, so I've totally lost track of what I've spent though am sure its over my target.
    So going to start February with a totally clean slate and make sure I get myself organised in theory being a shorter month I should be able to do it for less, so could I be put down for 250 for Feb please.
    Grocery challenge : January 2016 65.86/300
    For 2 adults, 2 children (10 & 9 yrs) 3 cats & 2 dogs.

    • *Twizzle*
    • By *Twizzle* 28th Jan 11, 8:51 AM
    • 168 Posts
    • 948 Thanks
    Got side tacked the last couple of weeks!!! I am blaming moo2moos DFW diary...its better than any book

    Anyway i have updated my sig and i think its about right Hey ho bring on febs GC
    • Pernicious
    • By Pernicious 28th Jan 11, 8:54 AM
    • 1,786 Posts
    • 8,895 Thanks
    Morning everyone,

    I didn't think there would be so many variables for this challenge...thanks to those who explained that!

    I am happy to declare 31.31/32.53 for January

    Now that most of the freezer/cupboard stocks have been used up I am setting February's challenge at 150, (thanks for putting me down already ) with the aim of reducing it further next month if this proves doable. Off to Mr T's tonight for the first shop - aiming to spend no more than 70 tonight so wish me luck!
    Debt at July 2012: 12,862.57
    Current Debt: 0
    100% paid off!
    Savings Goal for November 2016: 5000
    Current Savings: 1176.24
    23.52% Saved!
  • cat_smith
    Good Mr T shop yesterday. Stuck to list completely. Got some whoopsied salmon steaks for the freezer, but resisted anything else. There was a lot of whoopsied meat but I have a DRussel delivery on the first so I didn't need it.

    Am going to come in way under budget in my first month
    GC Mar 13 47.36/150
    • cutiepieabf
    • By cutiepieabf 28th Jan 11, 9:15 AM
    • 344 Posts
    • 3,561 Thanks
    Hey all,

    Had a trip to L*** yesterday. Bought own brand bread flour, eggs and sweet potatoes. Total 2.90.
    We went to MIL's for tea (it was her birthday).

    Tonight we are having stir fry with half price noodles, chicken that i got out the freezer yesterday, and slightly wrinkly but still edible pepper, mushrooms, green beans and spring onion. Also have a chow mein sauce that has been sat in the cupboard for too long so thats going in too.

    Tomorrow night OH is working late so we will have chicken (leftover from today) carbonara with leftover parma ham from Monday. nice and quick.

    Last night put ingredients in the breadmaker and on return from MIL came in to a beautiful bakery smell. Bread is great with cheaper flour - was always worried about downgrading - only problem i have is getting the damn loaf out of the pan. Does anyone else have this problem? EVERY TIME it happens and i even greased the blades first and it STILL got stuck. grrrr.

    Sun night we are having hm pizzas using other half of yeast sachet from yesterdays bread loaf, tin of toms from back of the cupboard. i'll make a double size dough and stick one in the freezer.

    i'm kind of impressed with how organised i am already!!

    Well done everyone on their jan budgets. Jan has to be the worst month after crimbo?
    DFBX2016 #160 - 3550/8800

    DFBX2017 #160 - 0/11,378

    0/7807 CapOne (0% PAID) 0/2776 Tesco (0% PAID)
    820/820 HSBC OD (100% PAID) 0/795 HSBC M/C (0% PAID)
  • sazzledazzle
    Another 6.50 yesterday on bits to get me through till Sunday. Then will just need bread and meat for OH sandwiches should come in just under my budget. Next month will be tough as lil bro moving in with us during the month and determined to keep to the budget I have already set but do it for 3 not 2. sure I can do it.
    MAY NSD's

    • Outdoorlass
    • By Outdoorlass 28th Jan 11, 9:32 AM
    • 307 Posts
    • 1,127 Thanks
    Is there a Feb grocery challenge anywhere?

    Am I allowed to start one?
    grocery challenge Sept 2012 21/399
  • helen jelly
    Is there a Feb grocery challenge anywhere?

    Am I allowed to start one?
    Originally posted by Outdoorlass
    Hi - the Feb challenge will be started by Pink in the next day or so and then a link will be posted on here for us to move over


    Projects made for craft fair - 40
    1st fair on 13/4/14
    • Outdoorlass
    • By Outdoorlass 28th Jan 11, 9:49 AM
    • 307 Posts
    • 1,127 Thanks
    Hi - the Feb challenge will be started by Pink in the next day or so and then a link will be posted on here for us to move over


    Originally posted by helen jelly
    Thanks, hope its soon, pay day for us today and I am itching to get cracking and having the support of the thread is a must for me, haven't done the GC for ages, but really need to start sticking to it now, as with the petrol prices and everything going up, I have to offset the cash.
    grocery challenge Sept 2012 21/399
    • mummyroysof3
    • By mummyroysof3 28th Jan 11, 9:54 AM
    • 4,318 Posts
    • 25,275 Thanks
    been to farmfoods and heron today so will update my total, hoping thats it till tuesday now
    Have a Bsc Hons open degree from the Open University 2015
    • CRANKY40
    • By CRANKY40 28th Jan 11, 10:28 AM
    • 3,364 Posts
    • 36,675 Thanks
    Spiggle much the same thing happened to me and an ex boyfriend - we were on a motorbike. 20 years on and my tummy still turns over at the thought of what would have happened if there had been traffic coming the other way. I'm glad your OH will be OK.

    Right, sorry folks, but I've had a change of plan. I usually take my housekeeping money out of the bank on a Monday, but don't go shopping until Wednesday. This would mean 5 weeks in January, but only 3 weeks in February. I've decided to align my challenge months with my shopping days instead, so I need to reduce my January budget to 200 and my February budget will also be 200 I'll change my signature too.
  • rosieben
    Mothership, your Rumbeldethumps recipe is in the index

    great to see so many people coming in on or near budget, well done! and for those of us who have missed our budgets we get a new start in February! onward and upward .. or downward in the case of our grocery budgets

    Spigs hope your OH is ok
    Last edited by rosieben; 28-01-2011 at 10:43 AM.
    ... don't throw the string away. You always need string!

    C.R.A.P.R.O.L.L.Z Head Sharpener
    • slbhill
    • By slbhill 28th Jan 11, 10:53 AM
    • 5,241 Posts
    • 365,499 Thanks
    Out of interest - what do other people use to meal plan ?? Do you write it in a spreadsheet / diary / etc ??
    Originally posted by Flat Eric
    I have a spreadsheet template set up which has the dates for the next fortnight and an outline of the meals we often have (casserole on Monday, pasta on Wednesday etc.) I print it off, put in the actual menu dish for each day and it goes on the noticeboard above the fridge. Because it's on display in the kitchen my OH is quite likely to start cooking if he's home from work before me . I like having the template to start from because my mind always goes blank as soon as I try to write down a menu, and also I'm too lazy to write down the days of the week . I'm working on a snazzier spreadsheet with drop down boxes for the regular menu options but that's just cos I'm a very sad spreadsheet geek

    But really I just popped on to declare for January: from my 160 budget I have spent 160.78 . I thought stocking up on teabags (2 big boxes for 7) was going to take me over budget but 78p doesn't really count

    I'm going to have a look at my receipts in more detail, and have a little ponder, to decide whether to try and cut down a bit more next month, or whether I should concentrate on maintaining my current level. I'm getting a lot more aware of which of our regular meals and snacks are cheap and which expensive - some real revelations here and there. All thanks to the GC!

    One thing I noticed last night is the crazy price for crisps. I have a "standard" price of 10p each for chocolate biscuits - much over that & I don't buy them. That's do-able if I just buy when they're on offer. But even supermarket own brand crisps are over 1 for 6 packs. I only buy a 6 pack every month or so, so it's not a huge cost but does anyone have any easy home made alternatives, or other suggestions? Occasionally I just need my salt & vinegar fix
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