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@.

    • 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 134
    • XSpender
    • By XSpender 22nd Jan 12, 8:15 PM
    • 3,346 Posts
    • 34,469 Thanks
    I am sad to hear that I am not the only one who has had issues with Mr T and their CS. Most recent incident was I bought a loaf of their 'artisan' olive bread only to get home and feed a bit to my DH who has a mild nut allergy to discover it was walnut bread in the wrong packaging. I phoned my local store who put me on to HO who told me to ring the store and get them to fill in some form or other. It isn't my job to tell them what procedure to follow I didn't even want my money back or compensation I was just concerned that someone with a severe allergy could buy incorrectly packaged bread and become ill. I gave up after 3 phone calls.

    NSD for me

    Lunches allready made for tomorrow. My new spotty lunch bag is packed with some nice bits to tempt me to take the time to eat it.
    • PaddyPaws
    • By PaddyPaws 22nd Jan 12, 8:20 PM
    • 264 Posts
    • 3,019 Thanks
    Well done Pennygrabber - that's impressive!

    lula_moneybaggins - love that, drink wine not tea and cut down on visits to the sm

    Well, having said I'd only one shop left till the end of the month I ended up going to Mr T today as needed one of those non-slip mats for the bottom of the bath so that I could bath the dog (you really don't want to know). I wasn't going to even look at anything else, but, you know how it is, I couldn 't resist checking for whoopsies. Got a big pack of stir-fry veg for 30p and a kilo of organic onions for 45p, so we had turkey stir-fry for dinner and I'm going to make some french onion soup tomorrow to put in the freezer as we've run out. I also picked up 6 packs of soothers (2 for 80p), so I spent an extra 3.15 (the mat will come out of the pet budget not the GC budget). I think that leaves me about 38 till the 31st. Best go and check and update my sig

    Hope everyone is ok

    • blackandwhitebunny
    • By blackandwhitebunny 22nd Jan 12, 8:28 PM
    • 489 Posts
    • 4,139 Thanks
    I made a double batch of these earlier to use up three pears that had been lurking in the fridge and needed eating but were sort of ripe but hard and then thought it might be a good recipe to share.
    Dorset Apple Muffins (no idea why Dorset - I adapted this from a cake recipe of the same name and it doesn't have to be apples)

    200g Self raising flour
    100g butter or margarine
    100g sugar (caster is best but granulated works fine)
    2 eggs
    1 large apple or similar
    a handful of dried fruit if you want

    Rub the butter/margarine into the flour, add the sugar and stir in. Chop the apple up into small pieces (about 1cm maximum) add to the mixture with the dired fruit if using (again anything you have in that will work with the other fruit)
    Add the eggs and mix well, if its very stiff add 1 -2 tablespoons milk (don't worry if its a little lumpy looking)
    divide between twelve paper cases in a bun tin, sprinkle with a little brown sugar if you so desire and bake at 180 / gas 5 for around 15 to 20 minutes.
    These have been tested to destruction by large numbers of yr 8's, they work with apples, pears, plums, bananas (not as well as the others but a good way of using over ripe ones), blueberries and even apricots. They also work with replacing the fruit with about 1/2 small jar of mincemeat.
    I was off to conquer the world but I got distracted by something sparkly

  • mumwithamission
    Hi All

    Just updated sig. with this past week's spends. Am loving the whole adventure, and am so pleased that I appear to be managing. Have tons of food in the cupboards so not expecting to have to buy too much for the rest of the month - though I struggle to resist a bargain At this rate Feb's budget will be set lower - cannot believe how different my spending is now - thanks everyone.

    • lisakay
    • By lisakay 22nd Jan 12, 9:05 PM
    • 434 Posts
    • 6,131 Thanks
    Today I did my last weekly shop of january's budget. DH gets paid on wed and I will not be able to get to a shop before then so NSDs. I spent 43 of 43.50 left of the budget, leaving me 50p under!!!! I'm so pleased. this will last until next sunday at least, giving me a bit of a headstart on my feb budget which starts on the 25th. I'm almost tempted to lower my budget a bit for next month to see how i get on. I have lots of staples in, beans/lentils/flour, and a good stock of meat in the freezer. also well stocked with loo rolls and washing powder and no one has noticed that I haven't been using fabric softener....and there are only 4 shopping weekends to account for, sod it, lets do it!! (only 20 off mind you, no point in running before I can walk)

    so when next months challenge comes up I shall be declaring 180 for 2 adults 2 little(but hungry) girls a dog a cat and 2 rabbits. wish me luck

    ETA.I think I need to change the way I do my sig as I just added up what I spent and it puts me 50p over budget . 50p I can cope with though as last year my shopping bill would have been at least double what it is now. and i am still lowering my budget and thinking about it, i did round up to the nearest
    Last edited by lisakay; 22-01-2012 at 9:27 PM. Reason: ballsed up on my sums :(
    freecycler and skip diver extraordinnaire
    • mummyyof5
    • By mummyyof5 22nd Jan 12, 9:23 PM
    • 1,839 Posts
    • 39,830 Thanks
    mummyyof5 son thinks I am the best mummy in the world...the Ready Brek with chocolate spread is the yummiest in the world xx..and so much more MSE x
    Feeding 6 Adults 1 Teen a 8 year old with hollow legs and a very fussy 5 year old. Also 3 cats and 3 fishies
    To include all Food,Toiletries and Petfood.
    • linz4383
    • By linz4383 22nd Jan 12, 9:27 PM
    • 287 Posts
    • 4,276 Thanks
    linz4383 son thinks I am the best mummy in the world...the Ready Brek with chocolate spread is the yummiest in the world xx..and so much more MSE x
    Originally posted by mummyyof5

    so glad he likes it
    House deposit 0/10000
    Loan 6,065.43- 5803.30
    credit card 3,932.25 - 4233.40
  • Chopper5
    Hi everyone, I am in the process of meal planning for the month ahead (started 20th Jan). I have 14 portions of soup in the freezer, 9 meals (Goulash and Bolognase) and things to make at least 8 meals for 2. This is enough food for 2 of us for 2 weeks, including cereal for breakfast (I have 6 different boxes, of different types almost full). I was going to budget 200 for the month, but I think I will drop that even further. Please put me down for 160 for February.

    I spent 32.76 in A5DA today on 28 items, mostly random items as we only go to A5DA once a month, I will need to go to lidl or the market for veg and salad in the week as I won't pay the price in the supermarkets anymore.
    Did get a few treats, Chicken Madras from the curry pot is only 2, Extra Special sausages 2, and B*chelors Pasta and Sauce 50p. OH tried to put a bottle of wine in for 9.34 and 3 x 4 DVD's but I made him pay separately!
    • pipersky
    • By pipersky 22nd Jan 12, 9:37 PM
    • 949 Posts
    • 15,015 Thanks
    Spent 22 and odd between Aldi and Sainsburys today (mostly Aldi!) - keep forgetting to use my Nectar points to get my shopping for free. Grrr! Sig updated
    Part time GCer, NSDer, Comper and (Bad)Flylady

    A big shot is just a little shot that kept shooting ...
    • tigerfeet2006
    • By tigerfeet2006 22nd Jan 12, 10:06 PM
    • 13,812 Posts
    • 29,889 Thanks
    DH has just moaned at me because he reckons there is nothing to eat in the house for the next week. He had to do dinner today as I wasn't feeling well and have been in bed. He did HM ready meals for everyone, I don't mind as they are there to be used in situations like this.

    I have meals to lasts to Saturday and we most likely will be out on Sunday. I will start my February GC on Monday, 2 days early but I am not going to quibble over two days. I might have to get some lunch box stuff but will try and stretch it to the weekend.
    Last edited by tigerfeet2006; 22-01-2012 at 10:08 PM.
    The only stupid question is an unasked one
    I now live in a country that is 4 hours ahead of the UK so you may now find I post at weird times
  • rej-c
    NSD today ; should be tomorrow, too, but we'll see...
    Haven't done the GC since February, but a glance at the Tower of Receipts tells me I really need to get back into it... and plenty of other Challenges besides.
    • meg72
    • By meg72 22nd Jan 12, 10:36 PM
    • 5,082 Posts
    • 46,072 Thanks
    [QUOTE=Plan to spent 50 at Ald* next weekend by taking advantage of the 5 off vouchers on a 30 spent that are supposed to be in one of the newspapers this week.[/QUOTE]

    Anyone know which paper and when its supposed to be in.
    Slimming World at target
    • cw18
    • By cw18 22nd Jan 12, 11:18 PM
    • 8,053 Posts
    • 86,005 Thanks
    i was wondering if you guys could recommend what value products you have found to be good quality?? one thing i find to be fine is tinned chopped tomatoes.
    Originally posted by LisaJane
    The only tinned toms (chopped) and red kidney beans I ever buy are the value ones.
    I also buy value baked beans, but I cook them in with mince to pad it out. When I tried serving them to the family with sausages etc they all turned their noses up at them.

    I never buy value tisssues or toilet rolls - have to use more than twice as much at a time, so no real saving.

    I also don't like the sauces (tomato and brown). Have used the mayo, but use so little I tend to wait until a 'label' is on special offer.

    Can't stand the value tea bags - can't get a strong brew from them

    Dried milk powder for bread machine is always the value one.

    I've used value frozen peas and sweetcorn before - saving was worth it when cooking for 5 - but tend to use the own label these days.

    I get the value cheese and tom pizzas and add my own toppings
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 22nd Jan 12, 11:27 PM
    • 3,984 Posts
    • 52,562 Thanks
    Another NSD here.
    15 in 2015 1/15
    • Ches
    • By Ches 22nd Jan 12, 11:28 PM
    • 1,105 Posts
    • 10,371 Thanks
    I went onto My Supermarket last night after deciding I really ought to do a big shop. I imput everything I needed and with all the special offers Mr S came out a lot cheaper than the other SMs. I duly forwarded my list onto the Mr S site and it showed as over 30 more than it had on My Supermarket. Very few of the special offers showed up either by error or because the offers were out of date. Who knows but I cancelled the order and had a NSD instead and another today.
    Mortgage and Debt free but need to increase savings pot.
    • boultdj
    • By boultdj 23rd Jan 12, 3:19 AM
    • 4,504 Posts
    • 33,115 Thanks
    Anyone know which paper and when its supposed to be in.
    Originally posted by meg72

    Thursday's Mirror hth
  • majjak
    Morning all

    NSD yesterday and will be today too. Excited about coming in under budget, our month runs right up until the 31st so I'm not declaring until then. Should only have a very small amount to buy between now and then (wraps for kids lunches, fruit n veg and probably some milk). Have been lucky with bread whoopsies this month, got plenty in the freezer.

    Cooked one of our whoopsied turkeys yesterday so that'll keep us going for a couple of days. Portioned and bagged up the leftover meat and popped it in the freezer. The turkey cost me just over the price of a chicken and I worked out I can probably get about 8 meals for 6 of us out of it .

    Turkey stir fry here tonight too but I won't be having mine until after I've been weighed - got my first one tonight so I'm pretty nervous !

    Feeling better today, v. tired yesterday but rested - back to work this afternoon but will definitely be taking it easy .

    Well done to everyone coming in under budget. I'm amazed at how much of a consensus there seems to be about keeping money in our pockets and out of the SMs, I think they're all going to have a big shock this year !
    Save 12K challenge 2015 # 173
  • aberdeensaver
    Morning All,

    Congratulations to everyone who has seen the month through, this was my first month on the GC challenge and I can honestly say it has completely changed my mind on a few things (although other half thinks I am crazy)

    Friday night I made a yummy apple and pear crumble cake, I have promised this will be the last bit of baking I do as my waist line is suffering but I am prepared to put a bit of weight on whilst I quit the fags.

    Saturday OH and I trudged off to M*S as we had vouchers from there, shopping took us AGES as we didnt know where anything was. Got very annoyed as their pack of three onions was marked as 99p but not weighted so no way to compare it with the price of loose... I took a gamble and brought loose, and at half the price I am glad I did.

    Dinner on Saturday was a huge plate of nachos (well smashed buritto shells) some pork mince cooked with some buritto seasoning and onions, sour cream, salsa and guacamole oh and melted cheese on the top. Perfect for a Saturday night in front of the telly.

    Yesterday well well well sit down everyone and get the champagne flutes at the ready this caterpillar has turned into a swan.... I MADE MY FIRST EVER POT OF SOUP!!! Now I have a phobia of cold soup which is why I have never done it before but have decided that if I can get OH to take HM soup to work once or twice a week it will save on the amount of proper meals he takes to work which I could reuse. So carrot and parsnip soup was made and yummy yummy I am already looking forward to dinner!

    All in all we have 9.26 left of our budget with OH's pay day Wednesday and mine Friday so we will definitely make it now!

    Sorry for the ramble, hope you all have a good day.
    Jan GC 242.38/250
    Feb GC 147.57 /240
    2012 Clothes Challenge 97.50/500
    Repay 5K in 2012 254.17/5000
    2012 NSD 14/200 (Jan 14)
    • medsdemon
    • By medsdemon 23rd Jan 12, 7:05 AM
    • 745 Posts
    • 6,098 Thanks
    Well am doing a top-up shop to day which IF I've planned right should complete my meal plan and also have everything more or less to last us for the last week of our GC that ends on 31st. I have approx 45 left so must watch what my total comes to but shouldn't be any where near that. I am aiming to keep back at least 10 of that amount for emergency spends.

    When I made my list yesterday it seemed smaller than I thought it would be. Might be trying to do it all at A*di or may walk further up to A^da not decided yet.

    Will report back tonight.

    Am cooking baked bean and sausage shepherds pie for dinner tonight I think.

    I have a chunk of LO Pork joint but am unsure what to do with it?? Any ideas. We had roast pork last night which was lovely and something we hardly ever have, but OH picked up the joint as a whoopsie so it was a cheap meal actually with roasties, yorkies and brocolli. DD hated it of course.
    Grocery challenge October: 228.28/250.00 NSD 4 ( not completed)
    Grocery challenge November : 291.65/300.00 NSD 10
    Grocery challenge December : 0/240.00 NSD
  • Catwoman103
    Split my shopping between Mr T and Aldi this week as Aldi apples were on offer.

    Spent 11.84 in Tesco and 4.64 in Aldi. Will need to buy cat food and rabbit food next week though which will push the total up a bit.

    Still have two freezers full of food and a well stocked larder. It helps that I am on a diet and not buying naughty food.
    Jan GC 96.95/120; NSD 26/31
    Feb GC 113.19/120: NSD 24/29
    Mar GC 54.22/150 NSD 10/12

    2012 Aim - To clear credit cards in 2012
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

154Posts Today

1,381Users online

Martin's Twitter
  • So how much work do I actually do on the MSE weekly email these days, now I?m in the exhaulted position of ?Executi?

  • Dear gumtree - I feel I've been sold a kipper. You're advertising has my face on it but I don't do adverts. If yo?

  • RT @MoneySavingExp: ????This chap ????@MSE_GuyAnker is responsible for delivering MSE's Weekly Email to 14 million people, 52 weeks of the year.?

  • Follow Martin