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    • zippychick
    • By zippychick 4th Jun 11, 11:19 AM
    • 9,343Posts
    • 17,889Thanks
    March 2012 Grocery Challenge
    • #1
    • 4th Jun 11, 11:19 AM
    March 2012 Grocery Challenge 4th Jun 11 at 11:19 AM
    Hi everyone,

    Welcome to the March Grocery Challenge of 2012

    If your new month starts early feel free to join this thread, or if you're still working on your February budget, then keep on posting in the:
    Grocery Challenge - February 2012

    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; 27-02-2012 at 8:58 AM.
    A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men
    Norn Iron club member #380

Page 29
    • sistercas
    • By sistercas 8th Mar 12, 4:07 PM
    • 4,841 Posts
    • 58,664 Thanks
    back from @ldi and sainsbugs spent £87.01 in total , £26.88 in @ldi and £60.13 in sainsbugs , hopefully got enough for the week

    MIL coming for the day on sat and ive got a chicken for that , Sunday we are out all day so will do a picnic for that .
    tonight i am doing choc clares chinese chicken with noodles
    • EverTheOptimist
    • By EverTheOptimist 8th Mar 12, 4:39 PM
    • 2,655 Posts
    • 15,729 Thanks
    £48.40 for me today, had written a list but there were a couple of things we needed that i had forgotten to put on the list so didnt stick as rigidly to it as i should. But i didnt go mad, which i usually do, just pop things in the trolley thinking well we will use them up anyway and overspend. This includes bunny stuff and some seed for the birdies.

    Also got some YS burgers, had a third off so have stuck them in the freezer. And have stocked up on cereal as i have been getting into the habit of having a bowl daily before work, usually unheard of.

    I dont have any deals to inform anyone of, as i just go in head down get what i need and leave so i can't be sucked into buying something i dont need.

    Shouldnt be shopping for anything now until next weds, so i could get to the middle of the month with half of my money left. New tactic working so far.
    DEBT: Loan £6000 Bank of mum and dad £13000
    SPC 12 #005 Target £200 /
    • mummyyof5
    • By mummyyof5 8th Mar 12, 4:46 PM
    • 1,839 Posts
    • 39,830 Thanks
    A nsd here today..just put the chicken,leek and philly pie from the front of the thread into the oven ..smelling lovely..also cleared bottom of fridge and stuck what was there in the oven to roast..carrots parsnips and onion.

    Hopefully not shopping now till brother and sis-in-law arrive tomorrow..not seen them for 18 a freezer meal tomorrow..OH Indian korma(by their special request) on Sat night and DSs 18th birthday meal on Sunday (already paid for)...just need to pay for his cake (seperate budget ) as Im not making it. I normally would but have splashed out and had one made in the shape of a Gibson Explorer...its his favourite base guitar...this will be a complete surprise for him...cant wait to see his face xxxx
    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.
  • Ninno820
    Hi all - another much needed NSD here after my Waitflower trip yesterday. I can also report that I have FINALLY finished the gammon joint - it was lovely but you do get sick and tired of teh same meal!! Some IKEA meatballs tonight from my pre mse days - there will be space in my freezer yet!
    44 day challenge

    1. Pay £650 off overdraft (£ 288/ £650)
    2. Lose 12 lbs (4.5/ 12)
    3. Use YNAB everyday (6/44)
    • meg72
    • By meg72 8th Mar 12, 5:07 PM
    • 5,082 Posts
    • 46,072 Thanks
    [QUOTE=PennyGrabber;51617319]My only advice would be to get a set with AA batteries instead of those silly coin-shaped batteries. I made this mistake last time around, and it cost a small fortune to run as the batteries didn't last very long at all! I have now wised up to this, and my current set uses rechargeable AA batteries!!

    Thanksfor that,never thought to look what the batteries were.
    Will go back and have another look
    Slimming World at target
    • rising from the ashes
    • By rising from the ashes 8th Mar 12, 5:22 PM
    • 12,321 Posts
    • 59,551 Thanks
    rising from the ashes
    For a family of 4 plus 1 dog I am going to attempt £250 per month shopping bill. I'm going to retain my receipts and try to stick to Aldi and Lidl as a rule of thumb. Any further advice would be much appreciated (as would a 'heads up' if I have the wrong end of the stick about the grocery challenge)
    Originally posted by epskie
    Hi Epskie and welcome to the thread ..... I can honestly say it's one of the friendliest around and I've learnt loads

    My advice would be to pop by regularly and have a read - I pick up loads from others on the thread that I used to miss when I posted once a week or so with my totals, and we do try to highlight offers when we see them.

    There are fantastic recipes at the start of the thread which you may / may not have seen yet.

    Also, if you're trying to reduce your budget, do it gradually (don't know what you've been spending?) as trying to do big cuts does usually end up with an overspend (which can be a bit demoralising) and most seem to find gradual reductions work best.

    Finally, we do not EVER fail on this challenge - if we overspend in a month, we try to figure out where we've gone wrong or if there's a reason for it (eg bulk buying) and pick ourselves up, have a quick shake and start again the next one
    Grocery Challenge £211/£455 (01/01-31/03)
    2016 Sell: £125/£250
    £1,000 Emergency Fund Challenge #78 £3.96 / £1,000
    Vet Fund: £410.93 / £1,000
    Debt free & determined to stay that way!
    • Spiggle
    • By Spiggle 8th Mar 12, 5:34 PM
    • 1,751 Posts
    • 14,202 Thanks
    Hello All,

    My, you have been busy!

    I've finally updated my sig a short while ago. Up to just under £105 now and will need to get some meat tomorrow and veg. I'm off to the dentist and will probably go to about the only shop I like don't mind clothes shopping in. I hate the process but want to try a range of things and need to get some new bras and really need an expert to measure me cos I just don't know what size I am and even buying the same brand in the same size means one will feel too tight and one just sags. Ooopps, sorry TMI there!

    Cattysmum I bought these from Amazing 2 and half years ago and they're brilliant. Only £5.99 at the moment. Hope that helps.

    Welcome epskie and any other newbies I've missed. I'll repost the following in case it helps:

    Welcome and good luck to our newbies! And good luck to everyone of course!

    I'm not sure if the following will help any of you but here goes anyway ...

    I hope my fellow regulars won't mind me posting this again but it may be of some help to all the enthusiastic and excited people joining us. I believe it has helped others in the past. So here goes:

    We all have different budgets that suit our households. The most important thing to remember is that you set yours according to your needs and finances. It can take time to get to where you want to be too so don't knock yourself out if you go over in the first few months. We are here to support each other and it is not a competition.

    I thought it might help to outline where we've come from and the top tips I've learned.

    When we started in March 2010 we had spent in excess of £600 in the previous month. This had to stop, (there's only me and him and our two beautiful black cats) something which thankfully my OH completely agreed with so I have been lucky that he has been on board from the start. He gave me his debit card voluntarily and I still keep hold of it until he needs to get something for the home. At the same time we set up a system of pocket money (pm) at £15 each per week which doesn't count towards the GC and which we can each spend as we wish with no comebacks or complaints. OH predominantly uses his pm on his beer and I ferret mine away mostly.

    The next step was to set up my own spreadsheet which is absolutely simple onto which I put all spends so that I have a continuous running total for the month and for the year. We initially set our budget at £280 per month and brought it down to £240 where it resides for most of the year it is occasionally increased to allow for extras e.g. Christmas to £260.

    The important 'tools' we found greatly helped and continue to do so now are:

    Stocktake cupboards, fridge, freezer - make lists and ensure that the older products get used up first. You'll be amazed at what you find squirrelled away and it will help with your shopping list as you'll realise that you don't actually need so much.

    Before you go shopping check staples - running out of milk, bread, butter, etc often leads to going into a shop for one thing and coming out £20 lighter. Always check these and if they'll run out tomorrow buy them the same time as getting other things.

    Always make a shopping list and stick to it - the supermarkets (sm) try every which way to get us to spend so having a list and strong resolve is the only way to beat them.

    Keep every receipt - and then note it down on your spreadsheet/spend diary so that you always know where you are.

    When tempted, ask yourself do you NEED it or just WANT it - now this advice goes with two things. Firstly, the things you see in store when shopping that APPEAR to be bargains - if you hadn't planned spending the money then its not a bargain. Secondly, the sm send us loads of vouchers for £X off a spend of £XX - if you had no NEED to spend £XX then have you SAVED anything???

    Use my supermarket to compare prices (limited to four of the biggies) - The site may be used to actually do an online shop at whichever of the big four offers the best value or, if you have the time and sm availability, to make up lists for visiting each of the stores so that you can purchase all you need at different stores thus getting the best possible value. (I'd add, do a 'shop' virtually on this site and take the list you create on it with you, whichever one you shop at, it will help keep target prices in your head and allow you to spot bargains. MrM is not included but you can do a virtual list on their website so you know what you're going to be spending.)

    Always have a list - this is just as important when shopping online as shopping on foot.

    Use Approved Foods online (with a list!) - if you don't mind out of date things (ood) or you can search for only in date items. The only drawback is storing the goods as far as I can tell. Oh, and watch the delivery as it's done on a scaled charge for weight so keep an eye on it. You can of course do an AF order with friends, family, colleagues or like minded neighbours. Other GCers use Big Br*nds 4 Less too.

    Invest in a breadmaker - we have saved so much by making our own bread. The prices in the shops are extortionate for bread these days. There's loads of advice on this thread and others in the forum on this.

    Use the recipe lists - always posted at the front of a new thread. There are fantastic, tasty, healthy and economical recipes to use on them and there are a number of other threads on the forum such as Weezl's that will help you to eat well on a budget.

    Shop locally - the local greengrocer (or preferably market but I don't have one ) is usually cheaper as an option for fruit and veg (f&v) than the sm. Often the prices may look the same but when you look at the quantity for the same price the greengrocer will be cheaper. The same goes for the local butcher. Often you will have far more variety of meat available, advice on how to cook a particular meat can be offered and there is (for me at least) no comparison in terms of quality. We buy our huge FR eggs there and I'm yet to find an equivalent FR egg in a sm at the same or lower price. Obvioulsy if you have your own chicks/know someone who has chicks you can get them even cheaper again.

    Grow your own - it's quite simple to grow some f&v at home even if it's only in pots on the patio. There are also supportive threads on the forum for this.

    Cook your own - making meals at home from ingredients is far more economical, often tastes better than shop bought and is probably far better healthwise.

    Meal Plan - this is something that others can advise on as we don't do it. I have a tremendous capacity for eating the same food over many days but presented in slightly different form. For example, we could buy £7 worth of brisket from the butchers and eat it as pot roast for a couple of days, sliced for sarnies, sliced with a salad, chucked into a casserole or shredded up and fried as crispy beef.

    Don't waste food - either only make what you need or use any leftovers for other meals/creations or freeze it for another day.

    Withdraw the cash you want to spend - and keep it in a separate purse. This can be particularly effective as you have the money in front of you reducing rather than spending with plastic which is so easy to lose track of. Very useful when you first start out.

    Don't go to the shops to browse - this can only lead to pain and hardship!!!

    Keep posting and reading the thread - there really is no better supportive, wise and inspirational place to be! I think I saw that somebody mentioned forgetting to read/post. I get around this by using the Advanced button to post, below the window where your text is displayed you will see Additional Options. In the Thread Subscription box use the dropdown to select either instant email notification (this is what I use) or daily email notification before you submit your latest post. Then you will get an email into your inbox from which you can click to the thread to see what others are saying.

    Always remember the sm is not your friend - it wants to profit from you and take as much of your money as it can coerce out of you!

    So, there you go as a starting point. Others on here will offer tremendous advice on meal planning. And don't forget, the only silly question is the one you didn't ask!

    See you all later,
    Mortgage Free October 2013
  • bupster
    Made schoolboy error of 'popping in' to Sainsbury's tonight, didn't need anything really, though there were a few things that I had left over on my shopping list that truthfully I could have done without. Bought 15 free range eggs, more Cadbury's Creme Eggs (I love 'em, and they're only cheep (geddit?) at this time of year), some wine, four boxes of Jordan's cereal bars (on offer), some marjoram, some feta and some goat's cheese so I can have a nice posh self-indulgent salad tonight followed by a giant main course and loads of chocolate and booze. Nectar points meant the whole lot came to £13 - an unnecessary £13, but sod it, I want a night in front of the telly being nice to myself.

    Crowned by being asked for ID to buy the wine. I'm 38! I nearly hugged the shop assistant. But that would have been weird, right?
    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
    • becky170
    • By becky170 8th Mar 12, 6:12 PM
    • 525 Posts
    • 4,343 Thanks
    I've spent £42.14 so far this month, which is more that I'd hoped for. But we're nearly a 3rd through the month and I've spend a 3rd of my budget so I guess it's not that bad. Got an online shop booked in for monday, which is badly needed and my fridge is empty!
    MFW 2019 #7 £1039/1615
    Grocery challenge June £526.24/450
    Grocery challenge July £187.76/450
    • DundeeDoll
    • By DundeeDoll 8th Mar 12, 7:13 PM
    • 3,505 Posts
    • 39,668 Thanks
    Think i've cracked this NSD challenge :-) forward planning is the key and taking opportunities. Eg today i was at a conference 80mins train ride away. Normally i would buy a cuppa and treat either at the station or on the train. Today i saved a biscuit at tea break and banana from lunch for the journey.
    Be like a postage stamp—stick to one thing until you get there.
    • Winchelsea
    • By Winchelsea 8th Mar 12, 7:51 PM
    • 691 Posts
    • 9,316 Thanks
    My March spend is still only the £4.06 that I reported last Friday. Have been living out of the cupboards, fridge and freezer.

    Meals today were:

    Breakfast - porridge with the last of a bottle of date syrup and a handful of raisins.

    Lunch - The remainder of the roasted vegs that I did a couple of days ago, with HM bread and peanut butter, and a banana.

    Dinner - HM pizza retrieved from freezer, with steamed carrots and cabbage, plus an orange.

    All washed down with teas and coffees. And I always get my 5 a day (at least)!
    Keeping three cats, the car and myself on a small budget, and enjoying life while we're at it!
    • DundeeDoll
    • By DundeeDoll 8th Mar 12, 8:11 PM
    • 3,505 Posts
    • 39,668 Thanks
    Winchelsea thanks for sharing. I like seeing OS menus. Shall be starting with porridge tomoz
    Be like a postage stamp—stick to one thing until you get there.
    • Sue14
    • By Sue14 8th Mar 12, 8:27 PM
    • 899 Posts
    • 10,894 Thanks
    Spent £4.39 in Mr T's today, and apart from a pack of value choc digestives I only got what I went in there for, yay me, lol! I had a look at the bread on the reduced rack, but they were all over a £1 so didn't bother as I wouldn't pay that for full price bread, and I don't pay any more than 50p if it's on the reduced section.
    Weight loss challenge 3/10lbs
    Total weight loss 21lbs

  • 123budget
    Have been so busy at work and in the evenings have not managed to get to read forum at all. But am making sure I update signature with any spends. So even if I'm not posting or reading much it is still making me be aware of how much I am spending.
    Hope everyone is well. X
    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
    • angelavdavis
    • By angelavdavis 8th Mar 12, 8:38 PM
    • 4,705 Posts
    • 7,325 Thanks
    Stuck to the NSD plans today. Swimming tomorrow with children, we managed to dodge clear of McDs and KFC last time so here's hoping!

    HM Paella is on the menu tomorrow, not sure the children have ever had seafood before so I have some standby tinned macaroni cheese set aside.
    Thanks to MSE, I am mortgage free!
    • tigerfeet2006
    • By tigerfeet2006 8th Mar 12, 8:45 PM
    • 13,817 Posts
    • 29,889 Thanks
    Potato, leek and egg bake (GF&DF)
    Well done Winchelsea

    Tonights dinner was a 'I need to use some stuff up' dinner sooo...

    Starter was HM carrot and coriander soup as I had carrots that were going a bit bendy.

    For the main meal I peeled and chopped up a load of potatoes that were starting to go a bit soft and wrinkly. Bunged them in a pan and boiled them until they were just cooked. Thinly sliced two large leeks that were starting to go over and cooked them in some water. Hard boiled 6 eggs that were two weeks past their BBD. Made up a cheese sauce.

    Then I put the potatoes in a big oval pyrex dish, put the leeks over them, ground some pepper over the top. Then I cut the eggs in half and laid them over the top. Poured the cheese sauce on top so it covered the lot. Grated more cheese on top and sprinkled a bit of paprika over that. Bunged it in the oven at 200degC for about 20 mins so the top was browned and bubbling.

    Served it with toasted ciabatta, buttered and with goats cheese on top and then popped back under the grill for a little while.

    (For GF in the sauce I used Doves GF Plain Flour. The ciabatta is Frre From. For DF I would use Lactofree milk and cheese, though this is not cassein free only lactose free. Just don't serve the goats cheese.)

    Before using any of these GF or DF recipes please check labels as manufacturers often make changes to ingredients.

    The only stupid question is an unasked one
    Loving life as a Kernow Hippy
  • Twiceblessed
    £3.00 on junk food to cheer me up because i have a sore throat
    could have been worse...
    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
    • ModestyB
    • By ModestyB 8th Mar 12, 10:02 PM
    • 1,573 Posts
    • 15,283 Thanks
    Hi all, nipped into Mr S today for coffee, ibuprofen and dog chews and walked out with ... just those three things! Still cost me £6.87 though, very unhappy with the coffee, it's gone up 54p since the last time I bought it.
    Went over to Ald! next and spent £25.91, mainly on milk of which I get a dozen at a time. Unfortunately I forgot the cereal that goes with all that milk. . Treated DH to some cans of beer for the weekend and got myself a bottle of schnapps . We'd tried a bottle of this at xmas and it was lovely and it lasts a long time the amount I drink. At £4.99 a bottle I couldn't resist. Also got some soft scoop ice cream, it's gorgeous and only 80 cals per 100g.
    Had bread, veg, ham, marge and a few other things with that lot.

    One of the loaves of bread I made in the BM turned out really weird yesterday so DH sliced it, put it in a dish, covered it with the remains of a jar of lime marmalade, 2 tsps of golden syrup and a tin of custard and we baked it in the oven today. It turned out quite nice, we had it for tea tonight. Saved throwing it in the bin anyway.
    Welcome to all our newbies.
    Hugs to all who need them.
    S.P.C. 9 2016 No. 062 Banked £337.50
    My Gold Stars off Sue.
    • ms_night_ryder
    • By ms_night_ryder 9th Mar 12, 12:44 AM
    • 3,001 Posts
    • 11,582 Thanks
    Hey all

    £9.03 to report 1.98 spent yesterday in 99p shop onair freshner , went into s as i needed drain cleaner my bath is still blocked, got 2 more bags of the kettle crisps yellow sticker oxtail, only a 3rd off, really narked off as the drain cleaner didnt work.
    Lose 28lb 3/28lb
    SPC Member 1522/2012-£264/ new pot 2013
    • JackieO
    • By JackieO 9th Mar 12, 6:15 AM
    • 16,785 Posts
    • 143,718 Thanks
    Hi chums well I did the seven day fiscal save and today is the first day this month where I will go to buy some shopping I have a list (very small ) of things needed to be bought so fingers crossed I will get away with around a tenner for my 'needs' not wants.I was talking to a friend of mine about the "five pound loaf" and we agreed that if you pop out for a loaf to a supermarket you will inevitably spend a fiver on other bits and pieces.So we have vowed to only take enough to the shop to cover what is needed.Today I estimate ten pounds so that's all I'm taking to buy my bits and pieces. If I can get it with change I will be very pleased By not going near a shop for over a week I daresay I shall be moaning about the cost of things as I'm sure stuff has gone up in price in a week(usually does)I will report back later on my finds.Definitely spending far less and using up far more from my cupboards at the moment that's for sure
    Last edited by JackieO; 09-03-2012 at 6:21 AM.
    Quot Libros,Quam Breve Tempus.
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