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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 51
    • 166million
    • By 166million 22nd Mar 12, 10:45 AM
    • 1,212 Posts
    • 5,117 Thanks
    dh off for next two days so not sure what is going on re meal plans

    dinner was omlette
    tea will be morrys chicken style veggie chunks and leek pie followed by DD2s birthday cake made this morning
    Originally posted by mrs-moneypenny
    OOh Are Morrisons chunks like the Quorn ones?
    **Debt Free as of 15:55 on Friday 23rd March 2012**And I am staying that way
    377 166million Sealed Pot Challenge 2018 No. 90: Emergency fund £637
    My debt free diary http://
    • 166million
    • By 166million 22nd Mar 12, 10:50 AM
    • 1,212 Posts
    • 5,117 Thanks
    I do try my best to keep next month's budget until next month, so to speak. My OH doesn't put in his money until the last day of the month, so you'd think it would be easy. I will keep mine out of the bills account until that day too. I worked out we spent 2.60 a day for Jan/ Feb, so with that in mind I'm allocating £20 a week for next month. 4 week month, so £80!!!
    **Debt Free as of 15:55 on Friday 23rd March 2012**And I am staying that way
    377 166million Sealed Pot Challenge 2018 No. 90: Emergency fund £637
    My debt free diary http://
    • debbiedeejay
    • By debbiedeejay 22nd Mar 12, 11:00 AM
    • 504 Posts
    • 5,182 Thanks
    Have just checked my recent posts and realised I didn't declare Fridays shop at Mr M's so need to add on £55 and something pence.

    Also had to do a mini emergency shop for My Dad, he's not well at moment and I had to buy him a couple of things but am going to take if off my GC for this month -so that's another £6.16.

    Am not sure if am track or not -hellish week but there's always next month

    Well done to those who are keeping in budget.
    Crazy Clothes Challenge 2012 £57.20/£100,CCC 2013 £68.67/£100 ,CCC 2014 £94.32/£100
    *Frugal Living Challenge 2012, 2013, 2014*
    GC 2014 Jan £154.14/£180;Feb £103.49/£180;Mar 117.63/£160
    • NickJW
    • By NickJW 22nd Mar 12, 12:37 PM
    • 678 Posts
    • 13,646 Thanks
    Hi All

    A few extra small shops on lunches/top ups such as rice or tea at Mr S:

    £3.93 yesterday
    £2.89 today
    £6.82 in total

    I'm quite pleased with my budget at this stage of the month, but my stocks are slowly dwindling away and I'm having to become creative with what I'm using!
    Tomorrow I'm making a king prawn and harissa stew with coriander and couscous - never made it before so hopefully it's nice!
    Saturday I'll use the rest of of a bottle of BBQ sauce in the fridge from a few months back (it's a Budweiser one - it's okay, but I prefer my HM version of BBQ sauce. It needs using though...). That will be served with coriander and cashew nut rice.

    Everything is in stock for dinners, but I still need to get lunch tomorrow and figure out what to do on Sunday.

    I'm debating on whether to hold off one more week to the first week of April (and use the remains of what is in the freezer + more small top ups) before doing another big online shop, or arrange for next week delivery. I have a Mr T £7 off £50 online code, plus £7.50 worth of clubcard vouchers to use by the 4th April so it will be a good discount when it's booked.

    Will have a think and do a quick meal plan to see what will suit me best. If I need a lot of top ups I may as well just bite the bullet and get the delivery done earlier!
    Grocery Challenge 14 Jan 14 £46.05/£130

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

    DFD 1st March 2011
    • Fredula
    • By Fredula 22nd Mar 12, 1:06 PM
    • 564 Posts
    • 1,958 Thanks
    I think I might join this. I've recently started doing food shopping and I thought I was really good at not getting sucked into the offers which make you buy more than you intended, but after looking through the cupboards I've realised I've failed dismally. Now trying to make a meal plan with the ingredients!
    • rising from the ashes
    • By rising from the ashes 22nd Mar 12, 1:09 PM
    • 12,321 Posts
    • 59,551 Thanks
    rising from the ashes
    Ohhhhh Rosieben how exciting!

    Well, a huge spendy day for me not sure whether it's appropriate to say that "thankfully" most of it isn't GC or not! Still pretty pleased with what I got - spent more on clothes than I did in the whole of 2011 @ £42but did get 2 pairs of much needed Jeans (down to 2 pairs of non-working trousers & 1 have a whole in!) and 3 tops (all reduced) so not too bad.

    Other bits & bobs also non-GC but I did get some O*lay face clothes that I spied reduced to £2 (usually £3.78) - I've very "difficult" skin and have been using cheap stuff from HB but my skin is particularly bad just now so think I need to switch back to something I know doesn't "upset" it for a while. Got 3 boxes of 30 - but I cut these in 1/2 (still more than enough soap lathers up!) so they will last around 6 months!

    Still to update my spreadsheet (and sig) as just about everything comes out a different budget and absolutely starving so that's a job for later - lovely & sunny so think I'll have lunch in the garden
    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!
    • Need2bthrifty
    • By Need2bthrifty 22nd Mar 12, 1:13 PM
    • 1,139 Posts
    • 9,697 Thanks
    Oops!!! just returned from Sainsbugs and Iíve blown the budget by spending £33.45, taking me over by £10.18. I havenít done a big shop in there for ages, but couldnít be bothered doing a tour of the town using up petrol to take in @ldi or Lid!.

    In my defence, I have stocked up on loads that will fill the freezer and store-cupboard for the next few months and I couldnít resist the reductions or what appeared bargains to me. Stocked up on a heap of fresh meat, vegetables and Napolin@ chick peas, cannellini, kidney & butter beans - 2 for £1.20, ok thatís only 9p cheaper per tin than the own brand but better in my pocket than theirs. Wiltshire ham Ė half price, garlic baguettes x 2 Ė half price and the largest cauliflower I have ever seen for 1.97 which will do me probably 8/9 meals as a side veg or 6/7 meals as cauli cheese.

    Will go and update my signature now, but hopefully this overspend will mean an extra good saving on next month. Off to have an afternoon of dividing, blanching and bagging everything for the freezer. Fingers crossed I don't run out of milk, eggs or bread before the end of the month .
    Grocery Challenge Annual Budget = £1000/808.07 left at end of Mar
    Jan - £56.26, Feb - £65.84, Mar - £69.83
    Apr - £14.76/£70.00
    • LavenderBees
    • By LavenderBees 22nd Mar 12, 1:24 PM
    • 1,703 Posts
    • 17,718 Thanks
    I also try to make the week last one day longer to minimise my spending and this works well with the big payday rush! If you are say, getting paid on 23rd-try to hold on until 25th this month and 27th next month and so on-it stops the habit, and one day(about a years time)you should have a months grocery money just sitting in the bank!
    Although I have a monthly budget, I split it into weekly mini budgets(just in my mind)so that it is regulated throughout the month. If I've had a big spend I work it out as a daily budget and see how many days I must wait before spending again! This works well for me and may work for others too.
    Originally posted by angelatgraceland
    Thanks for this advice Angela, I had come to a similar conclusion this morning when I looked at my very small shopping list of "Essentials". I actually can manage without these for a few days (I'm going to try for a week...roll on the drums), so won't go shopping until 30th at the earliest, after that, each shop will be a couple of days later, and so on and so on. I really like the idea of eventually having a money free month..well, it's something to aim for!

    The logistics of this are a bit strange for me as this way I can't shop at L1dl very often without spending more money on diesel (Unless I drag my car share person with me, which I don't think he'd be impressed with), so I may not manage this all the time.

    Need to think...I was wanting to avoid Mr A's which is near me at work so I can pop in on a lunchtime, but it would save me extra diesel, which, given that it seems to have gone up again this week, and I live in rural area is important.

    But thanks for the advice. Am acting on it.
    • mummyyof5
    • By mummyyof5 22nd Mar 12, 1:38 PM
    • 1,839 Posts
    • 39,830 Thanks
    More spending was needed today...does it never end lol...£2.70 for 3 caulis..cauli cheese for tea with HM rolls.

    £1.32 on bananas..cant buy enough at the moment.
    £1 on sugar
    £14.50 in MrTs..2x mince.. fish pieces for a pie..wash gel..still £ got another..reduced broccoli..and ice cream
    and £1.50 in W**sons...body wash a treat for me...its my favourite and BOGOF ...may pick up some more if GC is going ok xx

    So £20.02 to add...might be going to our nearby city i the morning...would be silly not to visit the meat market while there...shoudnt be too bad hopefully.
    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.
    • rising from the ashes
    • By rising from the ashes 22nd Mar 12, 2:03 PM
    • 12,321 Posts
    • 59,551 Thanks
    rising from the ashes
    Need to think...I was wanting to avoid Mr A's which is near me at work so I can pop in on a lunchtime, but it would save me extra diesel, which, given that it seems to have gone up again this week, and I live in rural area is important.
    Originally posted by LavenderBees
    Totally "get" the fuel thing ... nearest fuel station to me is 8 miles so I try to fill up if I'm somewhere & pass one.

    I also now have a 5 L fuel can in the garage which I keep full - if I'm running really low, but don't need to go to town for anything for a couple of days, it usually keeps me going until I'm going anyway.

    Mr A could be handy if it's just a couple of bits needed (milk, bread etc) and may help you extend your "proper" shops by a couple of days .... hopefully as you'd need to carry it you'd not be tempted to buy too much (unlike me!)
    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!
  • mi jardin
    My month finishes today, and I am all done. I spent £4.07 today bringing me up to £97.43/£100!
    I will be sticking with the same budget for April, it seems to be working for us, although I may tempted to stock up a bit as the old staff card goes up for a fortnight over Easter.
    Keep with it peeps, for those of you who are still going!

    • nannygladys
    • By nannygladys 22nd Mar 12, 4:49 PM
    • 1,264 Posts
    • 13,697 Thanks
    Well another 4 week period has come to an end today and I have done really well for once but Im going to try the postponing shopping for a couple of days and hopefully by Xmas I will have the extra in another purse to spend then. I will menu plan on Saturday when Im not working and until Monday can still eat out of the freezer and cupboards, its the sweet things I miss the most and sometimes the homemade cakes dont really cut the mustard but I will keep at it as its good for my weight loss as well.

    Anyway I have had my dinner which was beans, egg and chips havent had that for about a year and throughly enjoyed it so off for a look around the site
    Budgeting again, must try harder!!
    Sealed pot challenge no.31
    Frugal challenge 2019
    • EverTheOptimist
    • By EverTheOptimist 22nd Mar 12, 5:19 PM
    • 2,655 Posts
    • 15,729 Thanks
    Epic Fail for me again - 3 months in a row.

    I still have another week to go. However my next shop day is on friday 30th which is payday, so may be able to start next months. Won't declare just yet though as that is tempting fate.

    I have a plan for my future GC budgets, which i will keep mulling over for the next week and see whether i will go with it for the new month.

    On the plus side (is there one!! ) i know in the past i would have just been spending all over the place doing 3 big shops a month and lots of top ups, going into my OD all over the place too, as i had spent all my wages by week 2 so was living in OD and CC. Now as we are not trying to live particularly frugally but just trying to watch where my/ our money goes I am trying not to be too hard on myself as i am still spending less than i would have been doing last year.

    Well done to those of you that are staying below your budgets. I am really impressed with the achievements of people on here i still have a lot to learn.

    Hopefully be back next week to start April's GC.
    DEBT: Loan £6000 Bank of mum and dad £13000
    SPC 12 #005 Target £200 /
    • PennyGrabber
    • By PennyGrabber 22nd Mar 12, 5:24 PM
    • 1,268 Posts
    • 22,438 Thanks
    Anyway I have had my dinner which was beans, egg and chips havent had that for about a year and throughly enjoyed it so off for a look around the site
    Originally posted by nannygladys
    Sometime it's the simplest meals which are the most enjoyed!!

    Well done for doing well this month.

    I don't really know how I've done this month, as it all went to pieces when I did dd's party at the beginning of March. I think I'll try and look through the account later, and list the spends, then allocate some for party and some for gc. At least it'll all be listed then...

    NSD today, no time to go shopping even if i'd wanted to! Hoping to stay atrong tomorrow when I drop the children off. My list is only small, and I have £9.02 a$da gift card, so will cover most if not all of that.

    My two are just having tomato soup with grated cheese and bread to dunk for dinner tonight, it's our 'simple night'. I shall have pasta with sauce and grated cheese later when they're in bed as I need a rest this evening, so I'll put on a dvd, eat my food and veg out.

    Only one more day to get through until the weekend now guys!

    PG x
    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
    • hex2
    • By hex2 22nd Mar 12, 5:39 PM
    • 4,722 Posts
    • 80,174 Thanks
    Epic Fail for me again - 3 months in a row. .
    Originally posted by EverTheOptimist
    It isnt a fail - it could be much worse. Be realistic, do you need to change your habits or increase your buget?
    'If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need' Marcus Tullius Cicero
    • elsiepac
    • By elsiepac 22nd Mar 12, 5:49 PM
    • 1,698 Posts
    • 12,512 Thanks
    Mar GC Update - Week 5
    A day early technically, but have done my main Week 5 shop. I had a couple of extras in there so am looking now at coming in only just under budget this month. Still, massive savings on what I used to spend (just remembering the days of my £200 budget just for me!)

    I went to A1d! and I bought...
    1 bag 3p (d'oh, every time!!!)
    Frozen med veg to go with the lentil pie I'm having later in the week £1.49
    2x 4 pack baking potatoes on Super 6 so total 78p
    1x 1kg onions on super 6 39p
    1x mixed peppers, £1.19
    1x hazelnut wafers to try (they are YUM!) 59p
    1x Ch0ceur Almond Milk Choc bar 99p
    1x box multigrain hoops for breakfasts to use up my almond milk since it's useless in coffee! £1.05

    So a total spend of £6.51 to add.

    The only thing I may end up buying will be some kind of milk product if I run out towards the end of next week, but if I get real milk and keep it to 1 pint then I be under budget... fingers crossed! (may end up "borrowing" some of mum and dads...tee hee hee )


    Mar GC: £69.18/£70
    Week 1: £14.47/£9 <-- over by £5.47
    Week 2:
    Week 3: £
    Week 4:
    Week 5:
    Stores: £22.83/£25
    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
    • tigerfeet2006
    • By tigerfeet2006 22nd Mar 12, 5:51 PM
    • 13,812 Posts
    • 29,889 Thanks
    SC Lamb Pot Roast (GF&DF)
    We had this for dinner last night AND tonight as they enjoyed it so much.

    I seared a 1kg joint of lamb (well a 600g and 400g joint as per my earlier post ) in my griddle pan and put it in the SC on a bed of sliced onions. Put 10 cloves of crushed garlic in a bowl with a tsp of cumin, tsp of olive oil, juice of a lemon and a grinding of salt and pepper. Mixed it together and smeared over the lamb.

    Make up 500ml of lamb stock ( I use Bisto Best and if you don't have lamb then veg stock is fine.) Add 6-7 tbsp of tomato pur!e, a tsp of allspice and a tbsp of sugar and stir it together then put it in the SC. Put a cinnamon stick in as well.

    I served this with broccoli and green beans and fresh baked crusty bread to mop up the sauce

    That did us for two days running.
    Last edited by tigerfeet2006; 22-03-2012 at 5:53 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
    • tigerfeet2006
    • By tigerfeet2006 22nd Mar 12, 6:26 PM
    • 13,812 Posts
    • 29,889 Thanks
    hello GC'ers! <waves>

    sorry I've not been around much but I've been fully occupied making deocrations for my son's wedding next month. The end is in sight so I hope to be back within a few days and will catch up on all the recipes.

    Hope you're all winning the battle of the budget
    Originally posted by rosieben
    I think that you can be forgiven for being MIA with that reason

    Hope everything goes well on the day, please let us know as we are all very nosey and we all love a good wedding
    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
    • EverTheOptimist
    • By EverTheOptimist 22nd Mar 12, 7:55 PM
    • 2,655 Posts
    • 15,729 Thanks
    It isnt a fail - it could be much worse. Be realistic, do you need to change your habits or increase your buget?
    Originally posted by hex2
    Thanks hex2, i think the budget needs increasing to be honest, but i started low ish because if id set £200 - £250 to start with i'd have just spent that and felt that i was doing ok, doing it this way i seem to be spending around the £180 - £200 mark, so i think i need to set that for the next few months and see what happens.

    Our situation is that Hubby is in the forces and is only at home at weekends, so we eat pretty well at weekends. I think to make up for his dreadful choice of food in the week and my eating for one in the week, (usually HM ready meals). I currently budget between £150 and £180 for all food, toiletries, cleaning products, bunny bedding and food.

    My plan for the next couple of months is to budget £150 and to use £50 from our joint account to bring our budget to £200. I am going to do a medium shop at the beginning of the month and then weekly top ups. I am also really going to focus on MENU PLANNING TOO.

    Sorry for going on, i am just trying to get it all clear in my head.
    DEBT: Loan £6000 Bank of mum and dad £13000
    SPC 12 #005 Target £200 /
    • FrugalLina
    • By FrugalLina 22nd Mar 12, 8:58 PM
    • 303 Posts
    • 2,973 Thanks
    Elsiepac, I see you are trying out different milks and I thought I would tell you about some discoveries I have made. For some reason (while I was unwell and my appetite sunk) I really went off meat and dairy, so ended up switching to soya milk (light) which is really nice, but I only have it on cereal or in my tea.

    But then, someone told me too much soya isn't good for you and as I eat other soy products, I decided to try other milks and I really like Almond milk, Oatly and Rice dream. Trouble is, they are pricey.

    I have discovered online that you can make your own - google it and give it a go!
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