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    • Pink.
    • By Pink. 27th Apr 11, 11:45 AM
    • 17,431Posts
    • 40,365Thanks
    May 2011 Grocery Challenge
    • #1
    • 27th Apr 11, 11:45 AM
    May 2011 Grocery Challenge 27th Apr 11 at 11:45 AM
    Hi everyone,

    Welcome to the fifth Grocery Challenge of 2011,

    If your new month starts early feel free to join this thread, or if you're still working on your April budget, then keep on posting in the April 2011 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 #7 and #8 on this thread.

    For the Grocery challenge Recipe Index please see posts #3, #4, #5 and #6 on this thread.

    I hope everyone has a great month!

    Last edited by Pink.; 29-04-2011 at 3:42 PM.
Page 30
  • helen jelly
    Espresso21 - where abouts in Bucks are you - I'm at MK, not able to do a food parcel but more than happy to meet up for a coffee if we are anywhere near each other - nothing like a RL hug and support

    Helen x
    Projects made for craft fair - 40
    1st fair on 13/4/14
    • CupOfChai
    • By CupOfChai 16th May 11, 10:09 PM
    • 1,319 Posts
    • 7,295 Thanks
    Evening ladies, and gents if there are any about. Just quickly popping on to update my total with this week's topup shopping, I've got about a fiver left in my budget to last the rest of the month now and I won't be able to get what I need for less than that. Going to be a little bit over again. Does anyone have any ideas on what I might be able to do about getting it back down below my target, as I think it is just where I have to shop now so there's not really much at all I can do about it? (Or, not much I can think of I can do).
    • Sue14
    • By Sue14 16th May 11, 10:23 PM
    • 899 Posts
    • 10,894 Thanks
    OH had a huge spend today, 3 packs of lincolnshire sausages from Mr S for 75p, lol, but he felt it would be a bit cheeky to ask for staff discount! I've just checked on mysupermarket and they're on offer at that price until 5th July. A bit handy that he got them actually as I was going to buy some tomorrow, so I've now only got to get eggs, mince and possibly milk.
    Weight loss challenge 3/10lbs
    Total weight loss 21lbs

  • scotsaver
    Morning everyone - just updated my total with spends from Sunday and yesterday, less than 50 left but only 9 days so I know I can do this.

    Have defrosted some DR Meatballs for tonight, haven't decided exactly what I'm doing with them yet - will see how the day pans out.

    Have a good day everyone.
    GC for OH, myself, DD18 & DD16 includes Toiletries, cleaning stuff & Food.

  • Winged one
    I updated my sig for weekend spends this morning. The lasagne last night was a great success - DD had 2 helpings, the au pair had it for her dinner and wants a portion for her lunch today. I still managed 2 portions for the freezer though - so not bad. (Especially considering I left the pot on low heat while we went out for 2 hours by accident, so I was lucky not to lose the lot!). I had mine with some of the leftover coleslaw from Gran's birthday at the weekend, and used the last of it for my sambo today.

    This weekend, I am definitely not going to the SM. Local F&V shop for a large bag of things, the butcher for meat for maybe 2 days, and the convenience SM for milk, bread and cooked meat for sambos. So may have a chance to not be too far over - I am not doing well on monthly challenges this year (although the annual total is ok at the moment - hope that keeps going ok).
    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
    • Sunnyday
    • By Sunnyday 17th May 11, 7:19 AM
    • 3,892 Posts
    • 34,008 Thanks
    Does anyone have any idea of something to make with savoury rice and two cooked chicken breasts (I had to cook them to make them last longer - raw chicken doesn't tend to last too long in the fridge)? Thank you!
    Originally posted by espresso21
    In a pan stir fry a chopped onion, some garlic and a handful of frozen or fresh chopped peppers, add the chopped chicken and fry for a couple of minutes, add a handfull of prawns & some chorizo. In a seperate pan cook the savoury rice and finally put everything into one pan and add a knob of butter and mix through. Voila instant tasty paella type meal

    I usually start of with the veg & meat and then add the rice to the pan last of all then add the water to it and cook it all in one pan but it sounds as if you already cooked the rice/chicken? so will need to do it differently.


    Planning on starting the GC again soon
  • espresso21
    Sunnyday, thanks for that recipe. That might be one for the future. Tonight I think I am going to do chicken wraps as hubby loves them and I have all the ingredients. However, this does leave me with the rice so I might use that in some way for lunch. I like your recipe though and am going to add that to my things to try!

    Winged One, well done on the lasagna - sounds like it was a huge hit! Would you like to share the recipe? I could do with a good lasagna recipe. Do you freeze before or after cooking?

    HelenJelly, thanks for extending the hand of friendship. I'm not so far from MK myself - about 45min I guess. No car though although the bus service is pretty good. Unfortunately my work hours are pretty unsociable so I hardly ever get to meet up with anybody - maybe some time in the future?

    And I must clear something up - I feel so bad as everyone keeps offering food parcels on account of what I said about not eating. It was a glib and thoughtless remark; I was exaggerating the situation highly. I'm sorry - I had had a really horrid day, I seem to work every hour there is and then to find I didn't even have any money at the end of it was upsetting. I meant what I said to be humorous but I guess my humour wasn't really working when I was in that mood. I'm sorry to have worried you all!
    • PennyGrabber
    • By PennyGrabber 17th May 11, 8:16 AM
    • 1,268 Posts
    • 22,438 Thanks
    I have a contract mobile now - I used to have a PAYG, and thought contracts were not for me. However, I was offered a 10 a month contract from 3, which I took for 12/18 months (can't remember which). At the end of that, I rang them and said I was going back to PAYG, and they offered me a contract for 5.32 a month, which includes 3000 texts, 2gb data and 75 mins. That's more than I ever get through, but less than on a PAYG! I did buy the phone up front though, which i think is the key to contracts. If you don't buy the phone up front, they add the cost of the phone into the contract, so you could be paying for the phone for years to come. At least this way, I now know i will only ever pay 5.32 as long as I'm with them, as they promised it wouldn't go up!! I think i got a pretty good deal, but it's always worth asking the question. And I got to keep my same number - you just need a pac (??) code from your last contract provider, and they're obliged to give it to you.


    NSD planned for today, although i may go mooching tonight (I know)...

    PG x
    Grocery challenge for family of three - me, dd(12) and ds(11), feeding dp 2 or 3 x a week too. Only food, not toiletries. Jan 87.97/100 Feb 0/100
    Frugal 2018 needed! Saving and NOT spending
    • quintwins
    • By quintwins 17th May 11, 8:16 AM
    • 5,003 Posts
    • 29,347 Thanks
    morning all, expresso you could do abit of a stir fry with your rice, onion,garlic,peppers (if you have any) peas, sweetcorn and soy sauce

    we didn't have a great night one of our twins has an upset tummy, altho he's fine now so i was very bad and sent him to nursery anyway, my youngest isn't really eating and has a tempature, i'm also wondering if he has a wee water infection cause he keeps soaking nappies threw even tho he's not drinking a huge amount, he def seems to be peeing more, so it's gonna be a long day

    on the plus side i'm making tea from leftovers so shouldn't take too much cooking, were having beef casarole will bulk it out with carrots and peas so i can keep a wee bit of meat for tomorrows stew my roast shrunk alot but i'm determined to make it into 3 meals, i'm having an egg sandwichs for breakfast it's just boiling now, and today is a NDS 3rd one in a row
    DFW 7632/28996 26.3%
  • zpr1c3
    Anyway, back to the mobile phones. I never thought about PAYG. I always thought they worked out far more expensive. I shall have to investigate. I won't be able to keep my old number will I? Thanks for all the advice. I might have to have a look around. I have always had a contract as I thought it was cheaper. Maybe I was wrong!
    Originally posted by espresso21

    Espresso21 you can keep your mobile number when you leave a contract to go PAYG, you just have to ring your contract provider and ask for a PUK code then give this to your new provider and they will enable the PAYG sim with your old number. HTH

    On a GC note I am really not doing as well as I had hoped, too many little shopping trips. I am currently at 160. But have enough food in to last at least a week if not longer. So, hopefully no more trips to the SM's.
    Grocery challenge: May 246.29/250, June 385/200, July 400/300, August 198/200, September 128.53/120
    NSD's: June 8/10, July 14/10 , August 11/12, September 12/12
    • nessie216
    • By nessie216 17th May 11, 8:54 AM
    • 839 Posts
    • 5,176 Thanks
    By sing do you mean the wheeping noises they make? Mine go mad when we are pulling grass up around the trees and paths in the garden, obviously know the sound of grass being picked, this is even when they are in their runs and have access to get their own. I have also got them to wheep when I shake the shed keys.
    From an MSE point I started composting all their used bedding last year and have some great compost this year. I mixed it into some raised beds where I have planted some mixed leaves, I will share the spoils with them!!!
    I have heard them make other noises other than wheeping a bit like a chirrup but this is few and far.
    Originally posted by JIL
    I mean chirping - for a good couple of mins at a time - my Donna does it and has been doing it more and more recently - sounds like a bird singing!

    All mine know when it is feeding time, open the back door & they wheek, rustle a bag & they wheek - gorgeous - i love their little noises!

    On the subject of phones - i have a PAYG from 3 and top up 10 every 3 months as the free texts (600) and free 3 to 3 calls and the 150MB of internet last for 3 months before they expire & then you have your 10 to spend aswell! I only got it because everyone else in my family got it so we could call each other for free! Might be worth looking into! (but beware of the signal strengths in your area - some areas are dodgy (like mine!))

    • Pixie Fairydust
    • By Pixie Fairydust 17th May 11, 9:48 AM
    • 261 Posts
    • 3,727 Thanks
    Pixie Fairydust
    Lasagne recipe
    This is my vegetarian lasagne recipe

    In a large pot, fry off some onions, garlic, mushrooms, peppers, leeks (whatever you have hanging about) in a good glug of oil.

    Fry gently until nice and soft.

    Add 1 large pkt A$da/Mr T/Quorn (only if on offer!) veg mince to the pan, stir around.

    Add a large bottle of pasta sauce & 2 tins of value toms, dried mixed herbs, 2 x stock cubes and a little boiling water, only a bit, you can always add more later if too thick.

    Give a good stir and leave on a low heat for about 25 mins, keep checking and stirring, if you think it needs it add some more water.

    In a square baking dish put a layer of the mince, then 2 sheets of lasagne (I always use the value ones), another layer of mince, 2 more sheets of lasagne, then cover with white/cheese sauce, I tend to buy the Mr T cheap white lasagne sauce in a jar (for ease), but have used a cheese sauce packet mix which was fine.

    Sprinkle with grated cheese.

    I always put my lasagne dish on a baking tray, it then catches any spills.

    Bake at 180 for about 40 mins.

    Serve with some extra veg, peas/corn etc and garlic bread or salad.

    I find there is usually enough of the mince mix left to have with jacket potatoes later in the week.

    Hope that helps.
    It's the most wonderful time of the year!
    Bears, Beets, Battlestar Galactica!
    I wish you were here.
    But you're not, you're there.
    And there doesn't know how lucky it is.

    • cutiepieabf
    • By cutiepieabf 17th May 11, 10:50 AM
    • 344 Posts
    • 3,561 Thanks
    just found this

    that might be of help.
    to be honest i add heat my rolls and wraps at work as i always put something in them like cheese or sauce and they're really nice toasted from frozen - this is something i do for lunch when i'm home (5/10 mins in 'moska) fish cakes and a chilli sauce are also really nice and different in a roll or wrap.
    Originally posted by dibblersan
    fantastic, you're a star!!
    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)
    • cutiepieabf
    • By cutiepieabf 17th May 11, 11:00 AM
    • 344 Posts
    • 3,561 Thanks
    Having a really bad day here. I thought I had more money than usual in my bank account as I hadn't had any really big expenses. However, just checked it and I have 25 to last me to the end of the month and we're only halfway there. My mobile bill came today too and is more than double what I thought I should be paying even though I hardly make any calls and mostly text (and I have unlimited texts on my tariff) so I thought I would phone them and see if they could change my account to be cheaper, but they said the only other tariff they could put me on would actually offer me less and cost me slightly more so now I really don't know what to do. Sorry all, but I am really down in the dumps tonight as I just don't see a way out of this. I need to start saving and paying off things, but I can't even make it to the end of the month so I am just getting in deeper and deeper. Maybe I should just stop eating - it would be cheaper and the plus side is I might lose some weight! I am really proud of you all though - you seem to be doing so well.
    Originally posted by espresso21
    hi there, not really GC related, but what tariff are you on?
    i used to be on o2 contract but i would always go over my allowance and my bills just got stupid. then i decided i would change to PAYG. i top up 15 and i then get free texts and internet for a month. after a month if i havent topped up another 15 then i lose the free texts and internet and use up my credit. this lasts me about 3 weeks, so in effect, i am topping up 15 every 7-8 weeks. i know it depends on how much you use your phone for calls, etc, but the tariff is quite reasonable for calls.

    its just an idea, but its saved me so much money. the only reason i stayed on contract for so long was for the free upgrades but i dont even miss them anymore, especially when you can get a good handset for next to nothing now.

    hope this helps.

    dont get down about debt. instead of focussing on the problems, think, right, i need x amount for y, and x amount for z, and to get this i will.... i did this and it really helped to focus on solutions instead of burying my head in the sand hoping it would all go away (which unfortunately it wont). we are all here to help, so if you need advice about anything just ask. pm me if you want. chin up.
    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)
  • ebayqueen
    Good afternoon everyone

    Been out today to do as much as I really need until I pop out for fresh at weekend.
    Did a My Supermarket printed list and stuck to it all but a very nice local crusty bread that was on special. So I added that and didn't buy the Robinsons sqaush that was on my shopping list. Can't believe I didn't talk myself into buying the juice.

    This was mostly Cat food, flour, tuna, yogurts (local 4 for 1) cheese, fruit and bread.

    Then called at local chicken processing 4 organic chicks, 7 packs of 3 chicken fillet flat steaks, 1 organic ready roasted big chicken(very fancy packing), 4 packets of 4 cooked chicken legs, 3 packs of single fresh quarters,...all costing 15.50.

    Then did a trek to a local meat processing plant..7 super sirloin steaks, 3 x 500g good mince beef, pack of 8 boneless pork chops/steaks.... costing 16.84

    The chicken alone was priced on retail packs as 70.99
    The meat would have cost retail ....................45.63.

    So I was able to buy all of the above shopping for 53.14 instead of retail which would have been 137.42!!!!!!!!!!

    Will gift some of this with eldery extended family especially one who brings me a tray of lovely eggs every weekend

    It takes time to plan and to go to these places even though they are within a few miles but it is certainly worth doing. I arrived 30 mins before Meat shop opened so decided to sit in car and catch up on texts and phone calls rather than driving home and coming back later.
    I certainly would not be buying sirloins at 27, so this will be a real treat for us.

    Hope all having a good week.

    will update sig asap!

    Last edited by ebayqueen; 17-05-2011 at 11:55 AM. Reason: flour instead of Four !!!!!!!!!!!1
    "You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream" C. S. Lewis
    • sistercas
    • By sistercas 17th May 11, 12:35 PM
    • 4,841 Posts
    • 58,661 Thanks
    Morning all, I checked my cupboards last night and found 10 tins of tomatoes out of date feb ,so today I have made 2 lasagnes and I am thinking about making some tomato and basil soup can anyone think of any other recipes ?. Thanks
    Originally posted by skilly
    what about cooking them up with some chopped onion and garlic and maybe some chilliflakes for a tomato sauce for pasta or pizza/ just freeze it in portion size batches x

    By sing do you mean the wheeping noises they make? Mine go mad when we are pulling grass up around the trees and paths in the garden, obviously know the sound of grass being picked, this is even when they are in their runs and have access to get their own. I have also got them to wheep when I shake the shed keys.
    From an MSE point I started composting all their used bedding last year and have some great compost this year. I mixed it into some raised beds where I have planted some mixed leaves, I will share the spoils with them!!!
    I have heard them make other noises other than wheeping a bit like a chirrup but this is few and far.
    Originally posted by JIL
    lol mine wheek everytime i step out of the back door , or if they hear the fridge door open or anyone rattles a bag!. they are so cute . if i go in the garden , they watch me intently and when i start walking towards them they wheek like mad and sort of jump around in excitement
    Nessie thanks for the info i have a pear tree in the garden i could give them that .
    I am also going to add their bedding to the compost too

    [QUOTE=espresso21;43682338]I can't believe how kind you people are. I'm only a newbie, you don't know me all that well, in fact you don't know me at all considering we've never met, and yet here you are offering food parcels and such. It's amazing. Maybe that's one thing the hard times are good for - for bringing out the niceness and communal spirit in people once more.

    there are some incredibly kind and generous people on these threads
  • espresso21
    ebayqueen, that's some impressive saving!!! Wish I had some of those places near me.

    cutiepie, thanks for the debt advice. I think I just get a bit overwhelmed sometimes. I'm not in too much debt at the moment - I DO owe money but I have a plan to pay it off. It's just the fear of what it's going to be like when I lose another 20% of my salary in a few months that is worrying me. I can't help thinking if I am struggling now, what's it going to be like then!? But your advice is sound and rational - I just need to focus! I think I also get angry (not that it is helpful) when I know how hard I am working - I sort of feel that if you work this hard, there should be some sort of reward....but anyway, I know I'm not alone in this so I probably shouldn't dwell on it. I'll be ok.

    The tariff I am on is MEANT to be 30 before VAT. However, somehow I am paying 60 - 70 per month. I phoned and got them to go through the bill with me, and there are loads of reasons why it is so much, some of which I understand and some I don't, but the problem is I don't use half of the things I am paying for but apparently if I downgrade, I can only downgrade to the next lowest tariff, and because they have recently changed their pricing that is actually more expensive than the one I am on now. If you are confused by now, so was I when I phoned them! I wish I could just cancel the contract and go with someone else. I was much happier when I was with Vodafone. I don't really think I can buy it out - I still have 8 months to run and my monthly cost is 30 so I am assuming the buy-out would be 240 - not going to happen!!!
  • espresso21
    Pixie, thanks for the lasagna recipe - one to add to my collection!

    Sunny Day, I did end up making that paella recipe with my leftover rice - hubby was unexpectedly home and looking for lunch - he loved it!!!! Thanks for that!
    • pipersky
    • By pipersky 17th May 11, 2:52 PM
    • 949 Posts
    • 15,015 Thanks
    Not posted for a while but been keeping up with thread and spends New total in sig - not doing too badly since I have already done my big shop for the week

    Have been using lots of moc's - when I added it up they came to 58.40 A few small DtD vouchers and some 5 off 30 spend frrom joining Co-op amoung others. Still, it's a lot of extra grocery shopping for nothing
    Part time GCer, NSDer, Comper and (Bad)Flylady

    A big shot is just a little shot that kept shooting ...
    • freakyogre
    • By freakyogre 17th May 11, 7:09 PM
    • 1,454 Posts
    • 9,410 Thanks
    4.00 spent today on teabags and some rice cakes.
    Grocery challenge - Nov: 52/100
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