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  • FIRST POST
    • zippychick
    • By zippychick 4th Jun 11, 11:19 AM
    • 9,343Posts
    • 17,889Thanks
    zippychick
    • #1
    • 4th Jun 11, 11:19 AM
    4th Jun 11 at 11:19 AM
    Hi everyone,

    Welcome to the fourth Grocery Challenge of 2012

    If your new month starts early feel free to join this thread, or if you're still working on your March budget, then keep on posting in the:
    March 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 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.
    By request, here is Spiggles wonderful helpful post

    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,
    Spigs
    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 zippychick; 25-03-2012 at 4:56 PM.
    A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men
    Norn Iron club member #380

Page 26
  • jumblejack
    So Angry with myself, I could spit,in fact I have. I got back late
    last night after going to my Brothers for the Day to discover Ihat I hadl left a 2kg joint of Beef out of the freezer, nicely defrosting on the floor.I was having a quick rearange to see what I could fit in.

    So had to cook it this morning and no space in freezer, luckily my DD
    has space and can use it so she is on her way to pick it up.

    I just hate waste .What is puzzling me now is, since it came out of the freezer, why the heck cant i fit it back in? Come to the conclusion that if you take stuff out its virtually impossible tofit all the different shapes back together in the same way. Like a huge not doable jigsaw. Anyway happy now that i am not the waster that Iwas feeling.
    Originally posted by meg72
    Nooooo! Couldn't you have cooked it then proportioned it for freezing in useable amounts? Would have been perfect for sandwiches, etc.
    Every moment is a gift. That's why we call it the present.!
    Grocery Spend Weekly Challenge (Sat-Fri):30.50/40
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 9th Apr 12, 2:21 PM
    • 3,984 Posts
    • 52,562 Thanks
    Florenceem
    Florenceem, I just want to say that I think your meal portions are terrific! The meal is not too large and the veggies take up quite a high proportion of the complete meal. Good example.

    Well we had leftover spicy chicken today with a quick biriani (I also added leftover pineapple chunks to it when it was done!). This was accompanied by a huge amount of leftover mixed salad from last night's spread. It was yummy as I added avocado chunks etc from the Asda haul of 10p bargains
    Feel satisfied but not stuffed.

    Need to shake myself up and get to Tescos as I have a 2 off a 20 spend to use up and a 5 off a 40 spend too. Need to plan carefully as I am exceeding my targets at the moment All I need is milk as we are very well stocked but these vouchers are too good to waste. Will stock up further on none perishables. Hopefully will get a few Easter Monday whoopsies too.

    Have a happy Monday all!
    Originally posted by jumblejack
    Portion sizes have increased in this country over the years. People couldn't afford much meat years ago so filled up on home grown veggies. Mr F says he would not be alive today or if he was - would be poorly/in a wheelchair - if he had stayed obese. We have some usual size dinner plates and some smaller ones - I use the small size until we run out of them - only rinse the dishwasher - run it when full.
    15 in 2015 1/15
  • jumblejack
    By the way, florenceem, we used to have the same plates (a pressie off OH's sister) and the same place mats!!!!!!!!

    Right. I'm off.

    Whoopsie gun is calling me.....

    Get out now guys if you want the reductions. Shops close at 6!!!!

    Every moment is a gift. That's why we call it the present.!
    Grocery Spend Weekly Challenge (Sat-Fri):30.50/40
  • cleggie
    Reporting a spend of 24.71 in L!dl today.
  • cleggie
    Jumblejack- do you fancy sharing your biriyani recipe please?? I have been looking for a good one for a while now! Pretty please?
    • Barbeduk
    • By Barbeduk 9th Apr 12, 3:38 PM
    • 816 Posts
    • 7,150 Thanks
    Barbeduk
    Oh how we spend our bank holidays! I went to !id! too and spent 30.81. Stocked up on loo roll (6.99 for 24), kitchen roll, eggs, filter coffee. All the things you don't want to buy cus it bumps up your total! Oh, and some chocolate and crisps fell in too, which was rather disgraceful as I was all by myself!

    Have just caught up with the last 3 pages (must get back to checking in every day) so thanks everyone for the tip offs on latest offers. Must try and get some beans whilst they're on offer at adas as our bean mountain has gone.

    Enjoy the last few hours of the weekend everyone. It's still free listings on fleabay so I know what I'll be doing later!
    June GC 288.01/400
  • supersally01
    Today was a NSD as got back from my holidays at lunch time, defrosting some milk, will make my own bread using my wrights mix, and HM Spag Boll from the freezer for tea.
    Need to meal plan for this week, as the kids are still off, but should be able to empty freezer a bit more.
    Hope Easter has been good for all,
    Sally.
    • hm71
    • By hm71 9th Apr 12, 4:27 PM
    • 1,932 Posts
    • 2,685 Thanks
    hm71
    had a spend of 60.22 this week so 19.78 under budget so far but long week ahead
    Duct tape is like the force. It has a light side, a dark side, and it holds the world together."

    FEB challenge 128/270 balance 142
    2 saving club 140
  • jumblejack
    Just did a big shop 31.65 (40.65 before coupons). Will update signature.
    Got a few bargains:

    Tesco value pasta quills are now 15p!
    Lovely pink silicone set of whisk and spatula, 49p
    Nouvelle toilet tissue (x9), 2.50
    Tesco classic coffee 2.79 for 300g

    The rest of the shop was bulk purchases of soya, skimmed milk cartons, cereals and other none perishables with the exception of some amazing grocery reductions! 15K of spuds for 45p, etc

    Right. I'm off to update siggy....
    Every moment is a gift. That's why we call it the present.!
    Grocery Spend Weekly Challenge (Sat-Fri):30.50/40
    • Barbeduk
    • By Barbeduk 9th Apr 12, 5:01 PM
    • 816 Posts
    • 7,150 Thanks
    Barbeduk
    Me again! Forgot to say a big thank you to the poster who mentioned saving crusts for bread pudding a couple of pages back. When I was at school, in the days before mobile phones, we all had emergency 2ps in our money belts which we would spend on bread pudding when it was reduced at the end of the day at the cake shop. Yum yum yum! I had forgotten all about it!

    There's a recipe on page 1 so guess what I'll be making at the weekend?! So glad the kids never eat their crusts!
    June GC 288.01/400
  • jumblejack
    Jumblejack- do you fancy sharing your biriyani recipe please?? I have been looking for a good one for a while now! Pretty please?
    Originally posted by cleggie
    Of course!!!!

    It isn't really a recipe as much as a method....

    JJ's Easy Peasy, biriani method:

    1) Fry off onions in a deep pan until caramelised.
    2) Add whichever spices/curry blend you have to hand to the pan.
    3) Add whichever veggies need using up and coat in the spices and fry off for a minute.
    4) Last of all, add a mug of rice and also fry until coated in spices.
    5) Add 2 mugs of water/leftover stock and bring to the boil.
    6) Pop on the lid and leave to simmer very gently until all the liquid has been absorbed.

    Job's a good un

    You can't go wrong with this method.
    If you want to add raisins, nuts, coriander, seeds, etc, go for it.

    You can use the same method with lentils for a daal dish too.

    Easy peasy, squeeze of lemon
    Last edited by jumblejack; 09-04-2012 at 5:14 PM.
    Every moment is a gift. That's why we call it the present.!
    Grocery Spend Weekly Challenge (Sat-Fri):30.50/40
    • rising from the ashes
    • By rising from the ashes 9th Apr 12, 5:25 PM
    • 12,321 Posts
    • 59,551 Thanks
    rising from the ashes
    What is puzzling me now is, since it came out of the freezer, why the heck cant i fit it back in? Come to the conclusion that if you take stuff out its virtually impossible tofit all the different shapes back together in the same way. Like a huge not doable jigsaw.
    Originally posted by meg72
    Sounds like my freezers too Meg - really, really need to try to make some inroads into these! Can't cook anything else to freeze until I've eaten some of the meals already in there!
    Grocery Challenge 211/455 (01/01-31/03)
    2016 Sell: 125/250
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    Debt free & determined to stay that way!
  • cleggie
    Of course!!!!

    It isn't really a recipe as much as a method....

    JJ's Easy Peasy, biriani method:

    1) Fry off onions in a deep pan until caramelised.
    2) Add whichever spices/curry blend you have to hand to the pan.
    3) Add whichever veggies need using up and coat in the spices and fry off for a minute.
    4) Last of all, add a mug of rice and also fry until coated in spices.
    5) Add 2 mugs of water/leftover stock and bring to the boil.
    6) Pop on the lid and leave to simmer very gently until all the liquid has been absorbed.

    Job's a good un

    You can't go wrong with this method.
    If you want to add raisins, nuts, coriander, seeds, etc, go for it.

    You can use the same method with lentils for a daal dish too.

    Easy peasy, squeeze of lemon
    Originally posted by jumblejack
    Thanks

    Re the curry blend/spices, woud a bit of that balti/mild curry pataks paste be OK do you think?
    • Fiasco55
    • By Fiasco55 9th Apr 12, 6:31 PM
    • 1,345 Posts
    • 15,364 Thanks
    Fiasco55
    Seems like quite a few of us were wandering round L!dl's today. I spent 8.31 on bread, fresh fruit and vegies, cooked meat and some bin bags.

    My mum is coming to stay with me for a few days and I am having a few guests for dinner on Wednesday night. So for the most part I should be sorted.
    No buying toiletries Graduated May 2017

    Decluttered 2016 2469 items, 2017 1580 items
    2018 3060 items

    Sealed Pot Challenge No 038
    • JIL
    • By JIL 9th Apr 12, 6:41 PM
    • 4,153 Posts
    • 23,199 Thanks
    JIL
    Sounds like my freezers too Meg - really, really need to try to make some inroads into these! Can't cook anything else to freeze until I've eaten some of the meals already in there!
    Originally posted by rising from the ashes
    My freezer too. My family asked why I was bagging up oven chips into individual portions? I answered to make it easier for them, If I was not there they would just then be able to get one portion out and no hassle.
    The truth really was that I could not get the full bag in whole without rearranging everything else.
  • jumblejack
    thanks

    re the curry blend/spices, woud a bit of that balti/mild curry pataks paste be ok do you think?
    Originally posted by cleggie
    definitely:t
    Every moment is a gift. That's why we call it the present.!
    Grocery Spend Weekly Challenge (Sat-Fri):30.50/40
    • mrs-moneypenny
    • By mrs-moneypenny 9th Apr 12, 7:08 PM
    • 15,518 Posts
    • 198,189 Thanks
    mrs-moneypenny
    did left over soup for dinner the veggies that didnt get used yesterday (out of the serving dishes not off peoples plates) didnt look too appealing but tasted really nice.
    tea was mushroom pasta, cheats afters got a box of biccys from mil for easter so opened them.

    made strawberry icecream yesterday turned out really nice 1st time ive tried the icecream maker, made vanilla today, that tastes yum and much cheaper than hagen das
    SPC~12 ot 124

    In a world that has decided that it's going to lose its mind, be more kind my friend, try to Be More Kind
  • cleggie
    definitely:t
    Originally posted by jumblejack
    Brill, thanks!
    • CherryPie
    • By CherryPie 9th Apr 12, 7:53 PM
    • 427 Posts
    • 5,349 Thanks
    CherryPie
    Florenceem, I just want to say that I think your meal portions are terrific! The meal is not too large and the veggies take up quite a high proportion of the complete meal. Good example.
    Originally posted by jumblejack
    I was just thinking the same thing!

    My name is CherryPie and I'm addicted to grocery shopping!!



    Grocery Challenge

    Feb 2016 - 46.73 / 100.00
  • Mrs Addicted to Spending
    Well not done very well today. I got beef chunks out of freezer last night to make beef casserole with dumplings - yum. Only problem was I got involved with Uni work today and forgot to do casserole and didn't remember til it was 6pm - much too late to make casserole that takes 3 hours .
    So (and here's the really bad bit) DH went for takeaway so that cost us 20 (for 4 of us). It doesn't come out of my GB but we shouldn't be spending it when we are debt busting.
    We won't be wasting beef though. DH is cooking casserole tonight so we can heat it up tomorrow .
    I just seem to be really disorganised during the school hols when the DSs are at home and spend much more than when they are school. At least during the next school hols I will have broken up from Uni and won't have deadlines to meet for that.
    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
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