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  • FIRST POST
    • zippychick
    • By zippychick 4th Jun 11, 11:19 AM
    • 9,343Posts
    • 17,889Thanks
    zippychick
    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 competition....it'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!

    Zip
    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 48
    • meg72
    • By meg72 19th Mar 12, 5:39 PM
    • 5,082 Posts
    • 46,072 Thanks
    meg72

    Got a big pot of bolognaise on the go, bulked out with lentils but haven't really thought it through, there's no room in the freezer! So that'll be tonight's challenge!!

    Have a good evening everyone!
    Originally posted by Barbeduk
    Whats the challenge,find room in freezer or eat the lot,

    I have the same problem made a huge stew with pork hock and reduced veg.around six portions and bought a reduced 6 portion lasagne. Think I amgoing to take a chicken out of freezer,roast it and bag upthe meat and a loaf to make bread pudding,we`ll
    see if that gives me enough space Good luck with yours
    Slimming World at target
  • bodmin789
    Well, with only some milk and bread to buy this week, and 1 week of groceries left, I think we will make it. Been interesting, and eye-opening, can't believe how much we spend on the cats, will be £50 before the end of the month and there's only 2 of them and that's not including the £40 per month on tablets for our oldest, hey ho not a lot you can do about that I guess.

    Had a lovely dinner yesterday, Lentil quiche, DH made it for the first time, managed the pastry and everything, this is someone who when we first met thought cooking a meal was throwing a pizza in the oven - how times have changed.

    Going to spend some time analysing what we have bought over the month, as I've been listing them individually, one thing I've noticed is that we've spent over £20 on cheese, now I know we're veggies, but that can't be healthy can it!

    Well have a good evening all.
    • LavenderBees
    • By LavenderBees 19th Mar 12, 7:06 PM
    • 1,703 Posts
    • 17,718 Thanks
    LavenderBees
    Lavenderbees, I think that was me! You've inspired me now, but I'm not as brave as you - I'm going to drop my budget for food and for entertaining to £80 each. That's surely more than enough! Like you my cupboards and fridge and freezer are full, and I'm buying things because I've run out, rather than thinking "what have I got and what do I really need?"
    Originally posted by bupster
    Ah, it's your fault, is it?

    I'm only intending this really strict budget for one month to try to get myself in the swing of things a bit better.I haven't included entertaining in mine. I'll just keep that separate, I think as I just want to concentrate on what food I'm spending money on (but I'm too lazy to keep an indepth spreadsheet!)

    Not sure how I'll cope with the anxiety when I get down to my last 4 tins of tomatoes though!

    Good luck!

    LB xx
    • sistercas
    • By sistercas 19th Mar 12, 7:11 PM
    • 4,842 Posts
    • 58,667 Thanks
    sistercas
    NSD today as ive been at work and hopefully it will be the same tomorow

    i made a base mince tonight and had half as a spag bol tonight , and the other half will be a chilli on wed, the remainder of the raw mince i made some burgers for tomorrow , they are only little but with salad and HM wedges it should be enough
    • Need2bthrifty
    • By Need2bthrifty 19th Mar 12, 8:16 PM
    • 1,205 Posts
    • 10,117 Thanks
    Need2bthrifty
    Well (big sigh!)

    I've been having a good old think about this challenge over the weekend. I'm not happy with myself as, although, I am being more frugal and definitely am a lot better than I used to be, I still feel like I could and should be doing better than I am. Without a doubt, I'm very much looking at the budget limit as being something to aim towards instead of coming in under it. And once I've exceeded it, well, there's no point in worrying about it is there? Might as well exceed it a bit more!

    Ah, yes, I know myself so well.

    Also, some wise person on here over the last few days mentioned that £100 for a single person is rather a lot...(sorry I didn't make a note of who I can credit that comment to...but it's true!)

    My "food" budget usually includes things like cat litter and toilet rolls, and I think I'm coasting by on thinking "ah yes, but I didn't really spend £140 on FOOD for myself in March". Well, no I didn't, but it wouldn't be far from it...probably in the region of £100-£110, which is still a lot, given that I still have a store cupboard full to the rafters, and a freezer that will go "pop" if I try to put anything else in it.

    Like Rising, I'm also concerned that my spend doesn't really include any meat at the moment as the freezer is full (just 1 chicken), so where exactly is the money going? Em...yes, ok, I've bought some whisky and wine...but even so, what have I spent £80 odd on foodwise??

    So, radical thoughts to get me in line -

    1. I'm going to halve my budget for next month (which for me starts on Friday 23rd as that is payday). £50 budget for me, which should mean that only essentials get put on my shopping list instead of the usual..."I've finished it so I must restock again immediately". I'll just keep a note in my siggy, Helen.

    2. Apart from cat litter (the pusses will only use Mr M's own woodbase ) and Tbags (I really like Mr A's own brand fruity tbags), I'm only going to shop at Lidl. Using cash there (I'll withdraw the £50 on Friday) will really heighten my awareness of what I'm buying and why, so no chance of "little" treats falling into my basket...

    3. I will just use the little shopping trolley only...

    I already monitor my NSDs, and meal plan to the nth degree, and will hopefully manage to work through the freezer/store cupboard a bit more successfully in April. I have started and have become a bit more inventive in using things up thanks to help on this thread and my own queries on the OS board, ....but...hardly made any inroads.

    Sorry for the long post, folks, but I've been mulling all weekend and I know you'll understand, whereas friends and family just look at me like I've lost leave of my senses. Perhaps I have....

    Off to update my siggy now. Hope the sun is shining where you are

    LB xx
    Originally posted by LavenderBees
    Hi Lavenderbees, donít beat yourself up; I think you are doing well on the budget you have set. I think what a lot of people donít get is that it can be quite difficult for ďsingletonsĒ to live a frugal/thrifty lifestyle, especially when the SMís gear all of their offers at families (we donít all have huge freezers/storage)

    I also know for a fact that no matter how lovely they are CATS COST A FORTUNE. My grocery bill dropped significantly when my two elderly cats passed away, but then I did indulge them with fresh fish and chicken once a week.

    Iím working on a £50 monthly budget but that only includes food & household stuff, plus seasonal extras like seeds, compost, weed-killer for the garden Ė Iím only having to include these in the budget now.

    Thanks to MSE and the info shared on the bargains available I have stored up enough washing powder, wash-up liquid, shampoo, shower gel, toilet roll & kitchen roll to keep me going for a good 6 months if not more. This however did have me overspending for a couple of months but evened out in the long run. How sad am I, but I have started noting how long things last (eg 1 well-known toilet roll = 1 wk) so that I can budget out money for more bulk buys before I get to the situation of having to pay full price. At the moment I am keeping an eye out for bargains in fabric softener as Iím going to run out of that in the next 2-3 wks.

    I also see my freezer as being only one third full but thatís because 50% of the food is in its raw state Ė if I cooked up the mince, chicken breast, chicken thighs, pork chops, pork joint then I donít think I would be able to get it all in.

    Apologies for the long post.
    • meg72
    • By meg72 20th Mar 12, 7:57 AM
    • 5,082 Posts
    • 46,072 Thanks
    meg72
    Well (big sigh!)

    I've been having a good old think about this challenge over the weekend. I'm not happy with myself as, although, I am being more frugal and definitely am a lot better than I used to be, I still feel like I could and should be doing better than I am. Without a doubt, I'm very much looking at the budget limit as being something to aim towards instead of coming in under it. And once I've exceeded it, well, there's no point in worrying about it is there? Might as well exceed it a bit more!

    Ah, yes, I know myself so well.

    Also, some wise person on here over the last few days mentioned that £100 for a single person is rather a lot...(sorry I didn't make a note of who I can credit that comment to...but it's true!)

    My "food" budget usually includes things like cat litter and toilet rolls, and I think I'm coasting by on thinking "ah yes, but I didn't really spend £140 on FOOD for myself in March". Well, no I didn't, but it wouldn't be far from it...probably in the region of £100-£110, which is still a lot, given that I still have a store cupboard full to the rafters, and a freezer that will go "pop" if I try to put anything else in it.

    Like Rising, I'm also concerned that my spend doesn't really include any meat at the moment as the freezer is full (just 1 chicken), so where exactly is the money going? Em...yes, ok, I've bought some whisky and wine...but even so, what have I spent £80 odd on foodwise??

    So, radical thoughts to get me in line -

    1. I'm going to halve my budget for next month (which for me starts on Friday 23rd as that is payday). £50 budget for me, which should mean that only essentials get put on my shopping list instead of the usual..."I've finished it so I must restock again immediately". I'll just keep a note in my siggy, Helen.

    2. Apart from cat litter (the pusses will only use Mr M's own woodbase ) and Tbags (I really like Mr A's own brand fruity tbags), I'm only going to shop at Lidl. Using cash there (I'll withdraw the £50 on Friday) will really heighten my awareness of what I'm buying and why, so no chance of "little" treats falling into my basket...

    3. I will just use the little shopping trolley only...

    I already monitor my NSDs, and meal plan to the nth degree, and will hopefully manage to work through the freezer/store cupboard a bit more successfully in April. I have started and have become a bit more inventive in using things up thanks to help on this thread and my own queries on the OS board, ....but...hardly made any inroads.

    Sorry for the long post, folks, but I've been mulling all weekend and I know you'll understand, whereas friends and family just look at me like I've lost leave of my senses. Perhaps I have....

    Off to update my siggy now. Hope the sun is shining where you are

    LB xx
    Originally posted by LavenderBees
    Please dont be so hard on yourself, I think you are doing well
    and I personally dont think a £100 for one person is a lot. Its around £3 a day, which is not excessive at all. Plus you are providing for a cat.
    Slimming World at target
    • elsiepac
    • By elsiepac 20th Mar 12, 8:11 AM
    • 1,772 Posts
    • 12,821 Thanks
    elsiepac
    Hi everyone

    Just updated my stores spreadsheet and I'm beginning to see a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel... There's a teeny gap now in my freezer shelf (rest of freezer is mum's) and in my tins cupboard I'm nearly down to one layer - well, the whole bottom layer is tins and led on top is tons of spaghetti and some passata.

    Annoyingly found I'd managed to miss a couple of things being used when I did my inventory last night, so had less passata, chickpeas, tinned toms than I thought. But I still have tons in!

    I have now scrapped my meal plan for the rest of this month as it was too focused on buying new stuff. Instead I need to try and have a couple of meals where I'm ONLY using stores stuff.

    I need to make lunch today, and so to use up some odd bits I am going to fashion a soup from odd bits, I'll report back later!

    Tonight I have the leftovers from chickpea stroganoff and noodles which is yum, and then tomorrow I'll need to make something new.

    *Thinking cap on*

    LC

    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 forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com (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: Sep 19 £tbc/£250
    Vegan 27-8-13
  • mh2361
    tigerfeet thanks for the idea, i do have a slo cooker. will go to shop today and get some meat and some packet sauces, i usually make my own but buying them will be cheaper than a takeaway. it'll get me back into the "groove" xx
    MBNA£862/0 :Santant £115/0 :Barc £5002/4602 Tesco £1500/0 :G £5000/5000 :L £5000/5000 : OD £1231/565
    Debt Tot £18711/15167(feb pd off £3544)
    GC feb budget £450/ spend £470
    march budget £450/
    • tjak
    • By tjak 20th Mar 12, 8:24 AM
    • 137 Posts
    • 1,213 Thanks
    tjak
    Someone had asked for the recipe for Spiced Marmalade Cake - I found it at the start of this thread in among the cake recipes. Recommend it, I made double quantity as a tray bake, and it has gone down very well.

    New month starts for me today, and I have a first spend of £33.29 /£250.
    It felt very strange not doing a big stock up on pay day as I have been doing, but I am hoping this change of tactic will keep me on track. I have treated us to a veg box this week which arrives Thursday, but should have two NSDs before then.

    Good luck all
    Debt free and saving
    • tessie bear
    • By tessie bear 20th Mar 12, 8:36 AM
    • 4,364 Posts
    • 30,028 Thanks
    tessie bear
    hi...going to make a casserole for tea...i got a huge box of mushrooms in aldi yesterday so need to use them up and not mess about...still havent been to shops i might try tomorrow

    going to try and do a bit of baking later...flapjacks and dundee cake

    have a nice day tess
    onwards and upwards
  • bodmin789
    Hi everyone


    Tonight I have the leftovers from chickpea stroganoff and noodles which is yum, and then tomorrow I'll need to make something new.
    Originally posted by elsiepac
    Chickpea stroganoff sounds lovely, are you able to let me have the recipe please??
    • elsiepac
    • By elsiepac 20th Mar 12, 9:51 AM
    • 1,772 Posts
    • 12,821 Thanks
    elsiepac
    Chickpea Stroganoff
    Chickpea stroganoff sounds lovely, are you able to let me have the recipe please??
    Originally posted by bodmin789
    Of course!

    This is my adapted version of a recipe I found online somewhere - I was dubious about the sauce initially but actually it was SUCH a good stroganoff recipe. This quantity is enough for 4 good servings with noodles/spaghetti/rice:

    2 medium onions
    500g mushrooms (or 2 punnets - suggest one is chestnut as more flavour)
    1.5 tbsp oil/butter/whatever you use to saute veg!
    4 tbsp water
    1 stock cube (I use veggie 0x0)
    1/4 tsp fresh ground nutmeg (I think I use more than this - I just happen to have fresh nutmegs in the cupboard - I'm sure ground would be fine)
    1 good tbsp soya sauce
    1/4-1/2 tsp mustard powder
    2 tins of chickpeas
    2 tsp cider or wine vinegar (I have used white wine vinegar which is gone off and is fine)
    200ml natural yoghurt (or vegan plain yoghurt if you're vegan)

    Noodles/spaghetti/rice to serve

    1. Saute the sliced onion and mushrooms
    2. Add the water, the stock cube, the nutmeg, soya sauce, mustard powder and vinegar
    3. Stir in the drained chickpeas
    4. Simmer for about 10 mins (I keep stirring as the water is only in the bottom of the pan - don't be tempted to add more!)
    5. Cook your accompaniments
    6. Turn the heat right down and add the yoghurt to the chickpea mixture
    7. Heat through, stir constantly but DO NOT boil!!!
    8. Serve with your chosen accompaniment!

    Enjoy

    LC

    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 forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com (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: Sep 19 £tbc/£250
    Vegan 27-8-13
  • bodmin789
    Of course!

    This is my adapted version of a recipe I found online somewhere - I was dubious about the sauce initially but actually it was SUCH a good stroganoff recipe. This quantity is enough for 4 good servings with noodles/spaghetti/rice:

    2 medium onions
    500g mushrooms (or 2 punnets - suggest one is chestnut as more flavour)
    1.5 tbsp oil/butter/whatever you use to saute veg!
    4 tbsp water
    1 stock cube (I use veggie 0x0)
    1/4 tsp fresh ground nutmeg (I think I use more than this - I just happen to have fresh nutmegs in the cupboard - I'm sure ground would be fine)
    1 good tbsp soya sauce
    1/4-1/2 tsp mustard powder
    2 tins of chickpeas
    2 tsp cider or wine vinegar (I have used white wine vinegar which is gone off and is fine)
    200ml natural yoghurt (or vegan plain yoghurt if you're vegan)

    Noodles/spaghetti/rice to serve

    1. Saute the sliced onion and mushrooms
    2. Add the water, the stock cube, the nutmeg, soya sauce, mustard powder and vinegar
    3. Stir in the drained chickpeas
    4. Simmer for about 10 mins (I keep stirring as the water is only in the bottom of the pan - don't be tempted to add more!)
    5. Cook your accompaniments
    6. Turn the heat right down and add the yoghurt to the chickpea mixture
    7. Heat through, stir constantly but DO NOT boil!!!
    8. Serve with your chosen accompaniment!

    Enjoy

    LC
    Originally posted by elsiepac
    Thank you - will try that very soon!
    • Living proof
    • By Living proof 20th Mar 12, 1:05 PM
    • 1,617 Posts
    • 10,571 Thanks
    Living proof
    I am mortified how much I have already spent this month, although £40 of it is petrol but even so... I have two more shopping days (Sat) in the month and although I have plenty in for a week or so, the last week in March/first in April look like being pretty bleak if I am to keep to the budget. I am panicking a bit, I'm sure as I have a freezer absolutely full and a lot of fresh produce. It's just that I don't feel in control completely. I'll do a menu plan for a couple of weeks which will surely prove to myself that I can do it - the complication has been not eating meat or fowl over Lent. From Easter onwards I can start on all the home made ready-meals in the freezer and attack some of the basmati rice which is taking over the store cupboard!
    Solar Suntellite 250 x16 4kW Afore 3600TL dual 2KW E 2KW W no shade, DN15 March 14
    Mortgage and Debt Free. Unfortunately Pension Free too!
    • tigerfeet2006
    • By tigerfeet2006 20th Mar 12, 2:02 PM
    • 13,826 Posts
    • 29,891 Thanks
    tigerfeet2006
    tigerfeet thanks for the idea, i do have a slo cooker. will go to shop today and get some meat and some packet sauces, i usually make my own but buying them will be cheaper than a takeaway. it'll get me back into the "groove" xx
    Originally posted by mh2361
    Good luck with getting back into the groove . My SC is my saviour and is the most used piece of equipement in the kitchen.

    Had an Asda delivery today of £55. They were cheaper than MrT this time and I had some MOC and a Free Delivery . I had ordered 1kg of lamb and they sent me 600g and charged for 600kg. Gave them a ring and they delivered 400g 3 hours later FOC Happy days
    BSCno.87
    The only stupid question is an unasked one
    Loving life as a Kernow Hippy
    • mummyyof5
    • By mummyyof5 20th Mar 12, 2:20 PM
    • 1,839 Posts
    • 39,830 Thanks
    mummyyof5
    A few more spends today as I did the usual HB day with mum...£18.00 in HB..did include some hair dye and a stocking filler for DD1for X**s...its an I love Japan beanie bear..she is mad on all things Japanese so couldnt miss it at £1.59...£3.00 at Ic**nd...and £6.50 in Al**is..got more of the onions on the 39p offer to make more of the Onion and Potato soup...thank you so much to whoever posted it..(sorry minds gone blank)..it is so easy to make and totally delish...
    HM pizza, garlic bread and wedges for tea...at least the kids will be pleased xx
    Last edited by mummyyof5; 20-03-2012 at 2:23 PM.
    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.
    • tigerfeet2006
    • By tigerfeet2006 20th Mar 12, 2:40 PM
    • 13,826 Posts
    • 29,891 Thanks
    tigerfeet2006
    Oh! Meant to say if you here the sounds of strangulation tonight it is just me throttling my DH.

    He took over and did all the cooking for me this weekend as my Mothering Sunday present and didn't put on the list things we had run out of like ground coriander Just went to make carrot and coriander soup, got everything in the pan and we have none and putting the delivery away earlier I notice we are very low on some things and are out of at least two others. I said to him when I did my Azda order could he think of anything else. Aaaaaaaargggggghhhh!!!!! And he ruined my two foil trays that I use to make breakfast bars. Which I didn't find out till I had made the mixture. There was no need to use them, there is plenty of baking trays and roasting tins and the like and I could of added them to my order.
    BSCno.87
    The only stupid question is an unasked one
    Loving life as a Kernow Hippy
    • NickJW
    • By NickJW 20th Mar 12, 4:03 PM
    • 678 Posts
    • 13,646 Thanks
    NickJW
    Hi All

    Finally managed to keep on top of the thread!

    Had a nice time away but now it's back to reality....

    £2.45 spent at Mr S and £2 spent in M+S. Will update signature

    Hope that everyone is well
    Grocery Challenge 14 Jan 14 £46.05/£130

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

    DFD 1st March 2011
  • supersally01
    Hi,
    Need to update spends, various shops, mostly mr t's with mocs ( butters and desserts) £60 in total, and no more spends planned as working night shifts now.
    Going to declare on £244.88 which is underbudget. New month will begin on payday Friday.
    Thanks to all.
    • PaddyPaws
    • By PaddyPaws 20th Mar 12, 4:15 PM
    • 264 Posts
    • 3,019 Thanks
    PaddyPaws
    Finally checked all the shopping from Feb and the beginning of March - the good news is that I actually came in £12.57 under budget with a total spend of £237.43. The bad news is that I have 2 weekly shops left this month and only have £48.99 left in the pot (and the 2nd shop needs to cover us having visitors for 3 days!) - so I've decided to add last month's underspend to this month's budget.

    Going forwards I need to be extra careful when it's a 5 week month (I have the same budget every month, but in 4 week months often but bits we need for the house). Guess it's a bit of a learning curve still

    Off to update my signature and work on the meal plan for the next couple of weeks.
    PP

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