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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 February 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 January 2012 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 squeaky; 30-01-2012 at 6:27 AM.
    A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men
    Norn Iron club member #380

Page 55
  • bupster
    Another NSD for me, pleased with that anyway, two in a row. Horrific month budget-wise as lots of big outlays, but I got an unexpected bonus from work so that's alleviated the panic.

    To those who struggle to stay out of supermarkets, I know exactly how you feel. I think mine comes from somewhere else rather than childhood, though I have been proper skint on more than one occasion.

    I feel like going shopping for food and trying to get bargains counts as getting hold of myself and my life, like being in control, and it's also almost like a game, where you put your prizes in the fridge, only being good at it is also being good, if that makes sense.

    So coming home with seven quid's worth of shopping and posting it on here is my equivalent of dragging the hairy mammoth back to the cave and waving my spear around. It's much harder to say, well, actually, my fridge is full of mammoth and I've got no money so I can't go and triumph over anything today. No prizes for me, in fact nothing at all. I'll just sit here and not do anything except be skint.

    Anyway, that's my tuppenceworth and apologies if it's completely garbled.
    Grocery challenge - April £65.28/£80
    Entertainment - £79

    Grocery challenge March £106.55/£100
    Grocery challenge February £90.11/£100
    Grocery challenge January £84.65/£300
    • meg72
    • By meg72 14th Feb 12, 8:19 PM
    • 5,082 Posts
    • 46,072 Thanks
    Another NSD for me, pleased with that anyway, two in a row. Horrific month budget-wise as lots of big outlays, but I got an unexpected bonus from work so that's alleviated the panic.

    To those who struggle to stay out of supermarkets, I know exactly how you feel. I think mine comes from somewhere else rather than childhood, though I have been proper skint on more than one occasion.

    I feel like going shopping for food and trying to get bargains counts as getting hold of myself and my life, like being in control, and it's also almost like a game, where you put your prizes in the fridge, only being good at it is also being good, if that makes sense.

    So coming home with seven quid's worth of shopping and posting it on here is my equivalent of dragging the hairy mammoth back to the cave and waving my spear around. It's much harder to say, well, actually, my fridge is full of mammoth and I've got no money so I can't go and triumph over anything today. No prizes for me, in fact nothing at all. I'll just sit here and not do anything except be skint.

    Anyway, that's my tuppenceworth and apologies if it's completely garbled.
    Originally posted by bupster
    Bless its not garbled at all, the game, the thrill of the hunt yes
    I can identify with that, I think its called winning, at least thats how it feels.
    Slimming World at target
  • Mrs Addicted to Spending
    Spent £91 this week so my total spend for the month is now £261/360.
    Pay debt in 2012 #278 £2347/£5364
    Sealed Pot 5 #1713 £78.57 //Crazy Clothes Challenge #97 £79.49/£100
    Grocery Challenge:
    Feb £359/£360 Mar £390/£450 Apr £335/£320
    May £330/£320 Jun £455/£400 Jul £321/£320
    Aug £399/£370 Sep £345/£300 Oct £421/£400 Nov £0/£320
    • tigerfeet2006
    • By tigerfeet2006 14th Feb 12, 9:03 PM
    • 13,817 Posts
    • 29,889 Thanks
    SC Pork in Honey, Mustard and Apple Juice (GF&DF)
    Tonights dinner was an adaptation of a recipe from the Recipe Collection, all but one of the kids loved it. We had some rather lovely chocolate icecream for pudding.

    Any way I browned off some pork loin chops on the hob and bunged them in the SC, then fried off an onion and bunged it in the SC. Added 2tblsp mustard seeds, 2 tblsp honey and 300ml apple juice, ground salt and pepper and sprinkled thyme over the top. Put it on low for 4 hours. Served with cheesy mash and vegetables.
    The only stupid question is an unasked one
    Loving life as a Kernow Hippy
    • ModestyB
    • By ModestyB 14th Feb 12, 9:19 PM
    • 1,573 Posts
    • 15,283 Thanks
    Hi all, spent £23.37 at Ald! today. Bought a whole chicken, first one for ages, a large gammon joint, eggs, veg, topped baguettes and a few other things.
    I will only buy my eggs from here now as I find them a lot nicer than from other SM's. I also like their cereals, we find them just as good as the big brand names. Only cheaper!
    Hugs to all who need one.
    S.P.C. 9 2016 No. 062 Banked £337.50
    My Gold Stars off Sue.
    • PennyGrabber
    • By PennyGrabber 14th Feb 12, 10:15 PM
    • 1,268 Posts
    • 22,438 Thanks
    Hi everyone,

    Did my weekly shop yesterday, came to around £25. Several 'treats' in there, and some bulk buys too! The treat was a raspberry yop (50p in a$da), and also bought 3 week's worth, at least, of cheese. Oh, the other 'treat' was some streaky bacon and small sausages, as dd wants to make pigs in blankets. I'll put them into a large yorkie with some mash, veg and gravy, and call it a meal, so it's hardly a treat, but it's more expensive than I usually go for a meal.

    Dinner today, our valentines treat, was hm pizza and hm garlic bread. Had everything in except for mozzarella which i bought yest. There's enough mozz left over for another pizza, so that's been sliced and frozen. Other toppings were pineapple (rest of tin in freezer), ham (from freezer, already cut to size), sweetcorn (from the freezer!) and grated cheese. Often put other bits on, but not today. As you can see, very much a storecupboard kind of dinner, but it's what they asked for! For pudding, we had the works - strawberry candy floss, love biscuits and chocolate fondue with strawbs and marshmallows! I love doing things like that though, because very often, my dd will turn round to me and say "Wow, we're really spoilt, aren't we?!" She's seven next month, and I love the fact that she realises that that's not everyday stuff. Ok, it didn't cost much to make a few biscuits, melt some choc, etc, but they both really appreciate what I do, and I'm so very proud of them. Sorry, lovey dovey-ness over with now!

    Today would've been a nsd, but for the fact that I went and bought my two a card and the strawbs etc. Then, in the middle of making the cookies, realised I'd run out of baking powder (seriously, how does that happen?! I'm so os ms for using it all!), so we upped and went to c00p. dd and ds asked if they could scooter there, so i got about a mile's worth of exercise, and didn't have to use the car again. Lush!

    Anyhoo, I'll leave you all to get on now. I need to tidy up the kitchen, and get to bed.

    PG x

    ps - used my cricut cake to ice the cookies, omg they looked amazing! Can't wait to do a whole cake!
    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
    • elsiepac
    • By elsiepac 14th Feb 12, 10:45 PM
    • 1,703 Posts
    • 12,593 Thanks
    Mock Goose
    Hi all

    Just nipping on to report the Mock Goose was good, this is the recipe from We'll Eat Again by Marguerite Patten - for those unaware, it's a cookbook based on WW2 rationing and real recipes they used and that Marguerite used to teach people, to be able to make the most nutritious meals from their rations:

    WEA Mock Goose

    - 1 ½ lb potatoes (My scales said 1.2kg because I had an extra rooty potato that wanted to be used)
    - 2 large cooking apples (Mine were possibly too large)
    - 4oz cheese (I used 120g reduced fat x-mature cheddar, slightly over 4oz)
    - ½ tsp dried sage (Next time I will use more to combat the sweetness of the appleS)
    - salt and pepper
    - ¾ pt vegetable stock (In my wisdom I used 1 pint. I should have trusted the recipe...oh, and I used 2x Veg Oxo cubes)
    - 1 tbsp flour


    - Preheat oven to 180.
    - Scrub and slice potatoes thinly. (don't peel - retains more nutrients)
    - Slice the apples. (as above)
    - Grate the cheese.
    - Grease a casserole dish. (I didn't bother, it was fine!)
    - Place a layer of potatoes in it, cover with apple and a little sage.
    - Season lightly and sprinkle with cheese.
    - Repeat the layers
    (enough to do this twice then move on) leaving potatoes and cheese to cover.
    - Pour in ½ pt of the stock. (my version was 3/4 pint here)
    - Bake for ¾ hour. (I did an hour due to having lore ingredients)
    - Blend flour with remaining stock.
    - Pour over the dish.
    - Bake for another ¼ hour.
    - Serve as a main dish with a green vegetable.
    (I had it with 100g of my whoopsied chicken as it smelled so good after I massacred it...there was chicken everywhere, first time I've ever done it. Rest of the week it will be with broccoli and green beans)

    My notes are in pink, however to sum up, next time I will use more sage, slightly smaller Bramleys, and the correct amount of stock, regardless of any additionals. Overall, I was quite impressed - My first recipe from this book.

    Last edited by elsiepac; 14-02-2012 at 10:51 PM.
    I'm a Board Guide on the Old Style, Greenfingered, Energy & Going Out Deals boards which means I'm a volunteer to help the boards run smoothly and I can move and merge threads there. Please remember, board guides don't read every post. If you spot an illegal or inappropriate post then please report it to (it's not part of my role to deal with this) Any views are mine and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.
    SPC No 074
    GC: Apr 19 £59.94/£200
    Vegan 27-8-13
    • ixia
    • By ixia 15th Feb 12, 6:41 AM
    • 1,324 Posts
    • 5,413 Thanks
    spent £6 last night teabags, milk and chocs for the cinema. Need to go to shops today but will only buy what is on my list.
    • cuddlymarm
    • By cuddlymarm 15th Feb 12, 6:52 AM
    • 1,310 Posts
    • 7,672 Thanks
    Good morning everyone

    Just popping in to say hello. My monthly total will go up later when my Mr T delivery comes ( I could have probably gone another few days but Wednesday afternoons only cost £3 delivery and I had £16 in vouchers about to run out) One of the vouchers was £12 off an £80 shop and the freezer was running low so I have filled that and topped up my stores to bring it just over the £80. Theres only 2 of us at home now so this will easily last until next month now apart from bread and some veg.
    I know what you mean about not being able to go bargain hunting. I have vouchers sat in my purse if I spend certain ammounts but there is only so much money and so much that we can eat (and fit in the cupboards) but I still feel that I am missing a bargain.
    I have started rotating my stocks by putting the new tins at the back of the tin cupbaord and moving everything forward as I use them and my jars and packets cupboards move down new stuff on top shelf old on bottom so I know what needs using (this helps cos I'm not that tall so have to get a chair to reach the high stuff too)
    Having good stocks of food in has been good this week cos we have both had a flu/cold type thing and neither of us needed to drag ourselves to the shop so hopefully we won't pass it on.
    Anyway enough of my ramblings
    Have a good day everyone
    2019 Grocery Spend £739.4.33/£2000
    June grocery spend £52.05/£150
    June NSDs 8/15
    • HappyNow
    • By HappyNow 15th Feb 12, 6:58 AM
    • 1,334 Posts
    • 5,870 Thanks
    Hi again, can I sign up for a challenge of £200 to cover 15th Feb to 14th March please. That's for all groceries, cleaning products, toiletries, cat food for three and dog food for one big 'un. Last month, in my first ever challenge, I tried to manage on just £100 for the month, but I failed quite miserably and spent £172 - and our cupboards/freezer were quite well-stocked when I started.

    Although I failed in my spending limit, I won in other ways. The challenge taught me to shop in new places, know the price of everyday items, discover what is actually essential in our household, and it helped me to see where we tend to be wasteful. I'm reasonably confident that with my new-found wisdom I can keep the pair of us healthy and happy for £200.

    Went to Mr T last night because our dog food was on offer and the cats now prefer T's own-brand food. Made sure I had enough of each for the month, plus a month's worth of half-price Flora and a few other staples which were on offer. Those essentials came to just over £40, meaning I could use their £5 off voucher. So off to a good start!

    Good luck to everyone with their challenges
    LBM Dec 2011. Aimed, but failed, to clear all unsecured debt by Feb 2019. Date extended to 'one day'... (66.27% so far).

    Debt Dec 11: Unsecured £69,579 + Mortgage £59,948 = £129,527
    Debt Jul 19: Unsecured £23,466 + Mortgage £27,733 = £51,199 (60.47% paid)
    • Barbeduk
    • By Barbeduk 15th Feb 12, 7:01 AM
    • 816 Posts
    • 7,150 Thanks
    Morning all!

    Just a quick post as wanted to let you know about my money saving valentines day! Instead of cards etc I bought the ingredients for the tiffin on the recipe thread. Before the LB moment we would regularly go out for coffee and tiffin so DH was really chuffed that DD and I went to the effort of making it! So the kids had it for their pudding with the left over !id! Ice cream and we had it as a snack. Then we had a lovely beef and beer casserole with all the 30p veggies from Horrorsons. I did, of course, add loads of lentils so there's enough for tonight too!

    Thank you to the person who recommended the £2.99 a!di merlot, we really enjoyed it!

    And thanks to all your recommendations, I have spent my £20 ama£on voucher (for a 30 day l0vefilm trial) on a slow cooker, it was half price so ended up putting a fiver towards it! Will be making your pork recipe tiger feet!
    June GC £288.01/£400
  • 123budget
    Morning All,

    Have just about survived dd's sleepover, having gone into their room at 2 am to tell them to turn out the light and go to sleep - some very tired looking children this morning! Poor DH had to get up for work at 4am

    Felt really guilty yesterday as we havn't done valentines for many years and in fact I forgot all about it - he arrived home from work with a big bunch of roses and a card. Did tell him I loved him tho

    Am trying soooo hard to save balance of holiday payable at end of April but things are conspiring against me; As quick as I put money in holiday account I am having to draw it back again.
    Dentist bill £148
    Central heating breakdown £269.00
    It was a problem with thermostat and didn't realise it was constantly heating water to over 80 degrees also valve broke so it wasn't putting water round the system. Due to that we had a small gas fire heating the whole house for 2 days - Just got gas bill for the month :- £300 (just for one month) normally only about £80
    I am lucky that I know if I ask my dear mum will help us out but I soooooo want to be able to do it for ourselves - I'm 48 and shouldn't have to be asking for help from my mum

    Was going to do a bulk shop at end of Feb but think I will just meal plan and buy what I need weekly and see how that goes
    Sealed Pot Challenge 2011 / no. 1205 £110 made]Sealed Pot Challenge 2012/no 1205 target £300
    Jan g/c 355.83/£450
    g/c Feb487.66/£400
    March 411.03/£450
    To feed 5 adults and 2 dogs includes toiletries & cleanining
    • carolinerunner
    • By carolinerunner 15th Feb 12, 8:26 AM
    • 495 Posts
    • 6,305 Thanks
    I know what you mean about winning bupster and meg. I couldn't believe how much cheerier I felt yesterday after I managed to fix the tumble dryer for nothing. Had been very blue and was really quite cheerful afterwards. I'm going to try and build a small victory (ms or otherwise) into each day, and see if that's helpful.

    Just got cod in cheese sauce out of the freezer, have some new pots and plenty of carrots (30p a kg at Mr Ms, amazing) so dinner is sorted. Now looking for a cheap/free day out with family... one of whom isn't up yet ...
    Erratically money saving
    • tessie bear
    • By tessie bear 15th Feb 12, 9:26 AM
    • 4,328 Posts
    • 29,793 Thanks
    tessie bear
    im as i have just made my first order from approved foods...£60 but got loads...hope it is delivered soon

    just been to asda to get the 2 for a quid syrup...i buy loads at this time every year....also had a look round but didnt buy much also about the fact we are off to costco shortly

    so all in all a kind of day...wishing everyone else the same

    onwards and upwards
    • p-pincher
    • By p-pincher 15th Feb 12, 9:29 AM
    • 725 Posts
    • 3,631 Thanks
    I love this thread, it really is inspiring reading everyones reasons for shopping. I mentioned in an earlier post that i actually enjoy food shopping, though I think its just a substitute for the clothes/shoes/bag shopping. Another post really hit the nail on the head when it said how guilty you feel when theres not enough choice. When I make DH and both DD's pack up I like to have a choice for them, do you want ham, cheese, or tuna? Sandwich or wrap? Do you want a flapjack or crisps? Yoghurt or Dunker? and I feel bad if I don't offer them enough choice when in reality none of them are fussed. There more than happy with cheese everyday or tuna for a few days running, no ones ever complained. In fact the kids asked for jam everyday last week.

    But even though I ve kind of replaced my old spending habits with food shopping at least i now have a budget in place, something I never had before. I love finding the best deals and bargains, well don't we all. Even though this month has been a struggle I can now see light at the end of the tunnel as next friday is pay day and I'm determined to do it. Were very lucky that we've never been in the situation where we haven't had any food or money in at all but i'm all to aware about what can happen and you never know whats around the corner.

    Anyhoo thats my roundabout way of saying thanks to everyone for posting there stories and thoughts because I find them really inspiring, so inspiring I think ill have another NSD today xx
    March 2014 Grocery challenge £250.00
    • carolinerunner
    • By carolinerunner 15th Feb 12, 9:36 AM
    • 495 Posts
    • 6,305 Thanks
    Made the Nigella breakfast bars, left out coconut and cranberries, substituted raisins for both in ters of weight, it seemed really dry when mixed and now it's baked, it's really hard and pretty dry - anyone else found this? Maybe I need to reduce the amount of dry ingredients if I leave out the coconut (which I'm not keen on). These are toothbreakers!
    Erratically money saving
    • EverTheOptimist
    • By EverTheOptimist 15th Feb 12, 9:39 AM
    • 2,655 Posts
    • 15,729 Thanks
    Morning all

    Spends of £15.75 over the last few days. Hubby has been at home but will now be away for 10 days so we had a few special dinners. Hopefully should be balanced out by me eating out of the freezer for the next week at least.

    I have a day off today and am desperately trying not to go and spend money somewhere. I actually don't need anything but i see shopping as a leisure activity/ something to do to fill my time. It feels a waste just to sit around the house....
    I do have some gift cards to spend so can spend without actually spending, but again i dont actually need anything and i know i should just save them so why am i conspiring against myself.

    Right think i will go through the freezer and see what meals i have for the next week, maybe do some cleaning, organise the paperwork. oh the fun....

    Hugs to those that need them and are struggling with any aspects of life at the mo.

    DEBT: Loan £6000 Bank of mum and dad £13000
    SPC 12 #005 Target £200 /
    • JackieO
    • By JackieO 15th Feb 12, 9:55 AM
    • 16,785 Posts
    • 143,727 Thanks
    good morning all,well I am still 'shopping' from my freezer and its very slowly going down.I have to get a few fresh bits today bread,milk etc but thats all.Its almost halfway through the month and so far all's going to plan.yesterday we had a picnic out with my DGS so nothing was bought but everything taken from home including a large flask of coffee for DD and I (I can't believe how much a shop wants for a cup of coffee)I took some cereal bars along with me and the boys scoffedd them which was good and we looked at the cafe in the grounds of Bodiam castle and I think for DD and I and four boys it would have cost us the best part of 30 quid to buy and ours came from home so we saved a fortune.The boys are all on my National Trust ticket and my DD gets in for free as my 'carer' as I am disabled great day out which cost very little,only diesel for my car which I top up once a month anyway
    Quot Libros,Quam Breve Tempus.
    • NickJW
    • By NickJW 15th Feb 12, 10:10 AM
    • 678 Posts
    • 13,646 Thanks
    Hi All

    No spend yesterday - had a Mr W ready cook stuffed chicken tagine meal from the freezer which was originally YS for dinner.

    Spendy day of £6.35 in Mr S which got my lunch stuff for the next 3 days and a box of cereal. Tonight and Thursday are my housemates turn to cook so if all goes to plan I shouldn't need to spend anything else until Friday.

    I need to go searching to find a recipe which uses up half a pack of sage and half a pack of parsley in the same meal for Friday since I refuse to throw them away!
    Grocery Challenge 14 Jan 14 £46.05/£130

    Grocery Challenge 13 -spent £1453.06
    Grocery Challenge 12 -spent £1565.51

    DFD 1st March 2011
    • Kylieminoag
    • By Kylieminoag 15th Feb 12, 10:21 AM
    • 159 Posts
    • 2,649 Thanks
    More spends to declare.... I took DS (18) shopping yesterday to spoil him a bit - we didnt spend a lot, the important thing was that we had a whole day together without interruption from the rest of the herd.

    Lunch was lovely fresh samosas and pakora from the market and I bought him his first ever fresh oyster (75p) and watched his face as he swallowed it raw ( revenge is a dish best served cold!)

    He then persuaded me to spend 50p on a pigs trotter which has cost at least that in fuel to cook till it turns to jelly!

    Then we went to TKMIKS and he spent his christmas vouchers on some R*ckp*rt boots reduced to £43 from over a hundred. Then he managed to persuade me that I needed to spend my months pocket money on a pair of bright red Hilfiddler trousers for him. I'm softer than a down duvet!

    We bought a couple of sensible things too - live mussels are in season at the moment and only £2.50 for a kilo bag so it was moules mariniere for tea when we got home.

    Signature all updated ... am hoping for a NSD today but BiL has already mentioned twice that the milk is low and he cant possibly manage without meusli even if I have made a fresh HM loaf for toast for breakfast tomorrow.

    The end of the month draws nigh...... keep up the good work everyone! And thanks for all your support.

    DFWNerd 1417
    MFW by 2018 Jan 2012 £186,000 Sept 2015 £50,000
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