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    • zippychick
    • By zippychick 4th Jun 11, 11:19 AM
    • 9,343Posts
    • 17,889Thanks
    • #1
    • 4th Jun 11, 11:19 AM
    4th Jun 11 at 11:19 AM
    Hi everyone,

    Welcome to the first Grocery Challenge of 2012

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

    For everyones totals, see post #7 on this thread

    I hope everyone has a great month!

    Last edited by zippychick; 27-12-2011 at 12:52 PM.
    A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men
    Norn Iron club member #380

Page 43
    • TheThriftyScrumpers
    • By TheThriftyScrumpers 4th Jan 12, 12:28 PM
    • 272 Posts
    • 5,359 Thanks
    I brown off a pack of diced casserole steak (normally cut off the gristly bits first though doesn't matter too much in SC) and add to a tin of chopped tomatoes, 1/3 bottle port (or any red wine will do), plus a dissolved beef stock cube and a touch of water. Season with pepper and balsamic vinegar. I added what Stilton I had leftover from Christmas, but you need a fairly good amount, depending on what you have in/how strong you want it, diced into cubes and stirred through (it'll melt through pretty quickly). I cook on high for about 5 hours and the beef is like butter, so soft. I normally also add an onion, maybe some carrots or whatever's left in the fridge really. This normally does me and OH 2 dinners, sometimes with a spare lunch portion too. Goes nice with rice or mash. Hope that helps!
    Originally posted by Brassic Park
    Thank you, this sounds lovely. I will definitely be making this
    GC Mar 11 £437.08Apr 11 £459.26 May 11 £485.52 June 11 £423.79July 11 £409.22 Aug 11 £250.10Sept 11 £396.14Oct 11 £382.37Nov 11 £372.55Dec 11 £332.29 Jan 12 £375.19:Feb 12 £349.58Mar 12 £279.66Apr 12 £249.12May 12 £337.66/Jun 12 £362.58/Jul 12 £317.03/Aug 12 £354.02/Sept £439.72/Oct 12 £210.16
  • Twiceblessed
    First spend of the new year - £12.99 on chinese lanterns for DDs birthday
    Will maybe work on separate budget for clothes, birthdays etc as the majority of my grocery budget is not spent on groceries :/
    January grocery challenge £159.43/£250.00
    February grocery challenge £209.53/£200.00
    March grocery challenge £165.66/£190
    April grocery challenge £186.27/£170.00
    May grocery challenge £22.51/£180.00
    • Justamum
    • By Justamum 4th Jan 12, 12:40 PM
    • 4,685 Posts
    • 35,888 Thanks
    I would love to see the banana bread recipe. My usual one has milk so I can't eat it. Not entirely a bad thing, but it would be nice to indulge sometimes!
    Originally posted by LondonDreamer
    Can't you use a substitute milk - soya, rice or oat or something?

    • ClaireT13
    • By ClaireT13 4th Jan 12, 12:43 PM
    • 220 Posts
    • 3,462 Thanks
    Just reporting my final spends of today - £3.05 on bread, cauliflower and leeks.

    Signature updated.
  • LondonDreamer
    Can't you use a substitute milk - soya, rice or oat or something?
    Originally posted by Justamum
    I can't have soya either, have tried various grain/nut milks and do not like the flavour which I find will come through even in baking. I do have coconut based milk (not like tinned coconut milk) which I use for some things, but it's too expensive to use for baking. And again, can impart a certain flavour that doesn't always work.

    I think it's better to find good dairy free options, rather than substituting. Thanks for the thought though.
    • elantan
    • By elantan 4th Jan 12, 12:54 PM
    • 19,889 Posts
    • 53,362 Thanks
    went to As*a and spent £39 so my first spend of the year has commenced ... not sure if this is any help to anyone but tesno has 2kg of red lentils for sale for £1.99
    march 2011-july2019 8 years and 4 months ... or 100 months and counting
    "what would you do if you knew you couldn't fail.... enjoy the adventure" " to my own self be true"
    • lushplus4
    • By lushplus4 4th Jan 12, 12:57 PM
    • 279 Posts
    • 557 Thanks
    Someone in my house has put a whole bag of fresh carrots in the freezer, now I have defrosted and they are a bit brown and limp. Have I lost these or can I make soup anyone please?
    • raphanius
    • By raphanius 4th Jan 12, 1:03 PM
    • 1,269 Posts
    • 6,633 Thanks
    just ordered a huge box of tea from victory tea cos they sent me a 25% off code....i may never have to buy tea again! its eroded another £22.49 off the budget though. I've posted the code in the discount codes and vouchers board if anyone is interested.
    Wins: 2008: £606.10 2009: £806.24 2010: £713.47 2011: 328.32

    • mum26
    • By mum26 4th Jan 12, 1:07 PM
    • 1,475 Posts
    • 1,458 Thanks
    Been to Aldi and spent £40 on a huge trolley full of food, then nipped into tesco and spent £10 on hardly anything, will update sig later as don't have reciepts next to me.
    • Ess-six
    • By Ess-six 4th Jan 12, 1:09 PM
    • 141 Posts
    • 1,437 Thanks
    Hello Everyone - can I join you please?

    I did the GC challenge around 3 years ago and fell off the wagon, but have come to realise that curbing my food spend is the best way for me to cut back and save some pennies - 10 years to retirement and I want to a) get in to good spending/eating habits and b) squirrel some cash away. Luckily we don't have any debts, but we fritter our money away every month and have no idea where it goes, so my New Years resolutions are to budget (and if anyone can help with a spreadsheet to get me started it would be much appreciated) and meal plan.

    I've skimmed quickly through this thread and will go back to the begining tonight and read it properly to pick up all your hints and tips - I see that the thread zips along as quickly as it used to!

    Please put me down for £250 though to Jan 31st - a bit of a stab in the dark, but it will get me started.
  • lemmings1986
    hi all hope everyone is well,
    im not too sure about the carrots lush i would say no but really not sure someone will be a long in a minute to help.
    just a quick update went to a**i today for mushroom and onions and two jars of pasta bake so spent £3.22
    then went to mrt's and bought 2 bags of reduced stirfry for tea 2moro for£1 some finest chorizo £2.50 and some ham 61p and garlic bread 64p im not counting the tesco shop as i got a money card this morning from them sent in the post i rang head office the other week about a indian takeaway meal thing i got it was half eaten couldnt believe it so they sent me a £6 giftcard
    and the money had been taken out from other weeks budget so not counting it twice if that makes sense.
    were having pasta bake for tea with chorizo,onion,mushrooms a bit of garlic and lots of cheese on top and garlic bread i have made this before but just wondering can i freeze it if theres any left???
    so £3.22 to add so spent a total of £7.74 since friday so £7.26 left to last til friday very doable as i dont need anything but not sure what to do with the money left over each week?? what does every1 else do when theyve got money left over ??
    VSP#17 £2.34
    debt free 26/10/2012
    • clarkey1000
    • By clarkey1000 4th Jan 12, 1:14 PM
    • 172 Posts
    • 468 Thanks
    Well I'm not sure I'm going to manage my £150 budget, might have been a been optimistic I think!

    Tesco order arrived today and was £85.64 in the end as DH got home last night & added a few bits too it! I was also not really with it yesterday when I put most of the shop in the system so I have a few random items I could have done without but they're all freezable so can be used at a later date.

    Feel more human today after going to bed at 7.30 last night! (glad I did as the DD (20months) decided to have a bad night & ended up next to me in bed!)

    DH has announced that he may well be away for most of the end of January & beginning of February which is obviously not good news in general but could be great for my budget!!
    Feb 14 GC - £89.37/£300
  • adysmum
    Just done my first shop of the year. £64.75 in Lidl so will update sig. Heading back about 4 pages to try and catch up all the posts I've not read yet!
  • mrs mum
    Another re joiner
    Hi - can I chuck my (considerable) weight in with you again this month.
    I can't manage a month so I am going for £150 fortnightly - current fortnight ends on 15th January and I've spent around £15 so far.

    I will update as regualrly as I can

    • Justamum
    • By Justamum 4th Jan 12, 1:19 PM
    • 4,685 Posts
    • 35,888 Thanks
    I can't have soya either, have tried various grain/nut milks and do not like the flavour which I find will come through even in baking. I do have coconut based milk (not like tinned coconut milk) which I use for some things, but it's too expensive to use for baking. And again, can impart a certain flavour that doesn't always work.

    I think it's better to find good dairy free options, rather than substituting. Thanks for the thought though.
    Originally posted by LondonDreamer
    I posted this recipe on another thread. If you can eat eggs you can put an egg in instead of the milk, otherwise just use water or an extra banana.

    I use a Rose Elliott one. It's mega super easy and really tasty. It's vegan if you are interested (well I do the vegan version - she has a recipe with an egg in it but you don't need it)

    For a 2lb loaf tin

    4oz butter or marg
    4oz brown sugar (dark or light whichever you prefer)
    6oz syrup
    1lb self-raising flour
    2 tsp baking powder
    4oz chopped walnuts (leave out if you prefer)
    4 bananas, mashed
    4 tbs milk

    Grease and line a 2lb loaf tin. Melt the marg, sugar and syrup, then leave to cool until you can hold your hand against the pan.

    Preheat oven to 160c. Sieve flour and baking powder into a bowl, then add the nuts, bananas and melted mixture. Mix well, then pour into the tin and bake for 1 1/4 hours.

    If you want to use eggs then use two eggs and don't use the milk or the extra baking powder.

    I usually make this in my 10" x 8" tin and bake it at 180c for 40 minutes.

    The original recipe is half these quantities for a 1 lb loaf tin, so with much trial and error I've had to change temperature and timings for different quantities and size of tin, so 160c for 1 1/4 should be right if you do the 2lb loaf.

    It's also delicious if you use 8oz chopped dates instead of the banana and extra milk - about 6 tbs.

    • quintwins
    • By quintwins 4th Jan 12, 1:20 PM
    • 5,003 Posts
    • 29,347 Thanks
    i don't think i'd wanna eat brown limp carrots personally, given the cost of a bag of carrots i'd tend to chalk that one up to exeperience

    been to lidl, i got a few bots like mayo and pepper that i hadnt planned to get but needed, the idea been i won't have to shop for a few weeks if i have bits in, spent £12.86, plus the school sent the kids snack money back again, i'll have to ask the teacher what thats all about, i'll send it next week and see if it comes back again if so i'll nip in and ask
    DFW £7632/£28996 26.3%
    • tessie bear
    • By tessie bear 4th Jan 12, 1:24 PM
    • 4,320 Posts
    • 29,747 Thanks
    tessie bear
    hi...just a quickie...if anyone fancies chocolate the coop is selling off the christmas stock really cheap...mine had a box of biscuits £1.50 selection box £1
    onwards and upwards
  • Beccatje
    Spent 22 euro today on shopping. Potato's were on special. 10 kilo's for 1 euro. That is an absolute steal so I got 20 kilo's. LOL! We eat lots of them so they'll go soon enough.
    Some other bits and bobs.. bread, meat etc..

    It's scary to see how fast the money goes though... wow.. doing this challenge is a real eye opener for me.
  • ally67
    please can i join the grocery i really need to budget ...
    please put me up for £ 200
    Last edited by ally67; 04-01-2012 at 1:43 PM.
    1634 # 4 th jan £16.00 in sealed pot
    jan grocery challange ....£200 / £8.oo
    • cw18
    • By cw18 4th Jan 12, 1:34 PM
    • 8,045 Posts
    • 85,987 Thanks
    ..... but not sure what to do with the money left over each week?? what does every1 else do when theyve got money left over ??
    Originally posted by lemmings1986
    I actually have an annual budget, which I split into monthly amounts according to the days in the month. If I have anything left out of a months 'allowance' it stays in my annual pot - which means that if I underspend in the early part of the year I can stock up on bargains later in the year without having to rob other pots to do so.
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