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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 45
    • sallybunny
    • By sallybunny 19th Apr 12, 8:50 PM
    • 57 Posts
    • 598 Thanks
    sallybunny
    A much less stressful day today thanks! I've just been so blimmin hungry! There was a lot of talk of bread and butter pudding at work today so had to go and buy eggs to make some! However, I ended buying a few ys bits in cOOp for 5.25. All stuff we need and it means I can avoid the big shops over the weekend.

    So tonight was bottom of the fridge stir fry and back of the breadbin pudding! Tasty and has used up all the veg bits. Just need a few bits from the veg shop tomorrow and that should be everything until payday on Thursday!

    It's definitely very inspiring and disciplining to be on this thread! Thanks everybody so far!
    • FrugalLina
    • By FrugalLina 19th Apr 12, 9:01 PM
    • 303 Posts
    • 2,973 Thanks
    FrugalLina
    Well, looks like everyone is doing well - even if you don't hit target, just being conscious of what you are buying and making small improvements all add up.

    I am still under budget, now at 42/60 and OK for groceries for another week, I think. I might buy some more veggies mid week and then any money left over will go towards a largish del from Asd@ at the beginning of next month.

    Been selling stuff on Ebay, but much lower priced items now, though it is all helping.

    Still no news on my job, I think they are playing for time. They know they couldn't manage without me but funding is still a bit up in the air. Ho-Hum.

    Florenceem, I hope it went well today and that everyone coped, my best to you all.

    This thread sure makes me hungry, BTW.
    • Becks81
    • By Becks81 19th Apr 12, 9:03 PM
    • 426 Posts
    • 2,903 Thanks
    Becks81
    Reporting a NSD today - my second of the week!

    Cooked a roast chicken tonight, the girls had a leg each and I stripped the rest. Have planned a stir fry and plan to make a cajun soup on Saturday so 3 meals out of 1 (that is good going for me!). I also made a curry sauce tonight whilst the chicken was cooking, fried off all of the spices and felt like a right pro in the kitchen!! I had it with spaghetti and prawns and it didn't taste too bad so I have frozen the rest - I hope I can freeze spaghetti!!! and will count this as one of meals again for next week.

    Only 10 days left of the month after tomorrow and I still have 65 of my budget left and have at least 4 meals planned for next week. I have faith that I will come in under budget for my first months attempt.
    • cattysmum
    • By cattysmum 19th Apr 12, 9:10 PM
    • 1,256 Posts
    • 21,417 Thanks
    cattysmum
    Hi all just had a delivery from Ts and quite pleased with myself getting a 55 quid shop down to 30. Fridge and freezer now well stocked and hoping now for a few Nsds.
    [B]SPC No. 295 - SPC No10 target 350
    #1603/
    SPC 2014 150/SPC 2015 256SPC 2016 324
    Saving for Florida 2018
    Matched betting toe dipper.
    • mummyyof5
    • By mummyyof5 19th Apr 12, 9:50 PM
    • 1,839 Posts
    • 39,830 Thanks
    mummyyof5
    Went to MrAs today as car is back on road..75 gone..but it is the 1st large shop of the month..not too bad for 8 people really

    Had HM fish,chips and mushy peas for tea.....no shopping or cooking for 3 days for me as going away tomorrow (friends birthday and 4 of us are going to her mums caravan for a couple of days)..should be fun and a nice break...wont know what to do without the kids lol x
    So will be able to claim 3 NSDs when I get back...then will only buy what is needed for as long as possible...putting off another big shop as long as I can.
    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.
  • Mrs Addicted to Spending
    ald1 stock full fat coconut milk for 79p per can, i have had success by pouring the can of milk into a jug and adding a can of water. turns into 1/2 fat coconut milk x2. 1/2 the mix can be frozen to use another time (shake the container after defrosting to re mix).
    Originally posted by abitofhelp
    Yay I've managed to multi quote . Thanks for this - I will stock up next time I'm near A!di and great tip re diluting with water - I'll definitely do that and freeze .

    It was actually just a naughty impulse buy whilst waiting for a connection when travelling this weekend. I had the new wasabi flavour one...my mum and sister hated it, but I found it had a very intriguing flavour

    Florenceem: I hope that today goes as well as can be expected

    Spend of 6.33 in Mr S today getting some lunch items for the rest of the week.
    Originally posted by NickJW
    Yum - that does sound intriguing. My favourite is the chilli flavour - I'm totally addicted to that one (oh well, got to have some vices ).
    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
  • jumblejack
    Morning all.

    Got some Lidl weekend sausages in the oven and am about to make a batter for some toad in the hole. Never got round to doing it last night as I am exhausted.

    Will take some Bramley apples with me to mum n dads along with some whoopsied brandy butter (10p) and will probably make up a brandy apple bread n butter pudding using their eggs n bread that need using up.

    If I don't get time (there oven is soooooo slow) then I will make a brandy apple 2 min microwave pudding:

    2oz sr flour
    2oz butter (brandy butter in my case)
    2oz sugar
    1 egg.

    This takes 2 mins to bake in the microwave for the lightest sponge.

    I will caramelise my apples first and put them in the bottom of the pudding bowl before I add the above mix! Nice n easy. Nice n quick!!!

    Boy. Today is gonna be nuts.

    Must fly! See you later peeps.
    Every moment is a gift. That's why we call it the present.!
    Grocery Spend Weekly Challenge (Sat-Fri):30.50/40
    • OrkneyStar
    • By OrkneyStar 20th Apr 12, 7:24 AM
    • 6,672 Posts
    • 42,974 Thanks
    OrkneyStar
    I had to go to DD's to look after DGS today and realised I hadnt allowed for travel costs, so it had to come out of the grocery budget, so todays spends are 5.50 taxi there (at 6am), 1.90 bus back, 5.70 in Lidl as I walked home from the bus stop.

    Cereal for brekkie.

    LO Tuna roll for lunch.

    LO HM lasagne from yesterday for tea.

    Loving the food photos but it does make me hungry seeing them!

    Quick question!

    I ordered some meat for the freezer from D*nald R*ssell, payment will go out of bank now but I have opted for delivery next month (no room in freezer) so should I include it in Aprils budget (when I spend it) or Mays (when I get it and can use it) or 1/2 and 1/2???
    Originally posted by fozziebeartoo
    I don't mean to be cheeky but should that not come out of DD's budget and not yours ? Especially the taxi fare so early in the morning ?
    • tigerfeet2006
    • By tigerfeet2006 20th Apr 12, 7:26 AM
    • 13,812 Posts
    • 29,889 Thanks
    tigerfeet2006
    Dinner was a success last night. Empty plates all round. The mango sauce made for a nice 'gravy' over the chicken. When we got back from school all the kids were saying ' hmmm! What's that smell? That smells fantastic. Whens dinner?' So happy with that.

    Tonight will be a quick dinner, probably baked potatoes as they are out to cubs tonight.
    BSCno.87
    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
    [/COLOR][/CENTER]
    • tessie bear
    • By tessie bear 20th Apr 12, 7:55 AM
    • 4,324 Posts
    • 29,765 Thanks
    tessie bear
    hi....i have got to go and pay some cheques into the bank today so will have a look in the green grocer just down the road....i went to m and s and got 2 meal deals yesterday...we really like the rotisserie style chickens so the meal deal is good for us when one is included...the chickens i got were priced at 8.95 and 8.51 and i got pudding and chips and a salad bowl...there seemed to be lots reduced in there but i only got the meal deals

    have a nice day tess
    onwards and upwards
    • tigerfeet2006
    • By tigerfeet2006 20th Apr 12, 8:21 AM
    • 13,812 Posts
    • 29,889 Thanks
    tigerfeet2006
    I would take it out of this months budget as it is this month you have to pay for it. But it is up to you and how your budget is at the moment.

    I had to go to DD's to look after DGS today and realised I hadnt allowed for travel costs, so it had to come out of the grocery budget, so todays spends are 5.50 taxi there (at 6am), 1.90 bus back, 5.70 in Lidl as I walked home from the bus stop.

    Cereal for brekkie.

    LO Tuna roll for lunch.

    LO HM lasagne from yesterday for tea.

    Loving the food photos but it does make me hungry seeing them!

    Quick question!

    I ordered some meat for the freezer from D*nald R*ssell, payment will go out of bank now but I have opted for delivery next month (no room in freezer) so should I include it in Aprils budget (when I spend it) or Mays (when I get it and can use it) or 1/2 and 1/2???
    Originally posted by fozziebeartoo
    BSCno.87
    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
    [/COLOR][/CENTER]
    • Need2bthrifty
    • By Need2bthrifty 20th Apr 12, 8:32 AM
    • 1,139 Posts
    • 9,697 Thanks
    Need2bthrifty
    Morning

    Reporting my weekly spends, two shopping trips to get fruit, veg, store cupboard & freezer top ups = Lid! 7.16 and Sainsbugs 6.85.

    Today is pay-day but I am trying to work my budget by the calendar month so I now only have 6.48 until the 30th

    12 NSDs so far & aiming for 21 (determined to up this next month) Even though my freezer and cupboards are fairly well stocked, I've realised that because I'm trying to lose weight I go shopping to search out some healthy/low fat treats to ensure that I don't feel deprived, will definitely be on top of this next 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
    • Save Dosh
    • By Save Dosh 20th Apr 12, 10:53 AM
    • 1,314 Posts
    • 15,703 Thanks
    Save Dosh
    Had a tesco delivery this morning. It was meant to be 39, but Tesco gave me 15 as a goodwill gesture, when they cancelled my order, so i ended up spending 24.04 on my groceries. Very pleased. Will update my sig and should hopefully come in on budget.
    April GC - Food 37.40/80 - Alcohol 14.50/20
    Bulk Funds - Food 0
    - Alcohol 0
    Save 12k in 2019 1,300/5,000 - #155
  • abitofhelp
    34 spend in tes0 higher than planned as they had a couple of things out of stock so i had to buy next brand up also they had laundry liquid on offer for 6, if i cheat and take the 6 off it will make the budget look better but i wont. also spent 13 in co0p, so pleased with this, the receipt shows i have saved 20, i bought 6 blocks of the wyke? farm chedder because of the offer i onl paid for two, also stocked up on super noodles as they were buy one get one free also ribena same offer, i will go over the weekly budget as i need fresh fruit and veg but hope to stay within the montly budget as i am well stocked up with food stuffs.
    Grocery Challenge 24th Feb-28 Dec 2012 2000/1404
    18th May- 15th June 2012 100/75
    Dont Throw Food Away 2012 May 5/0
  • helen jelly
    May Budgets

    Please post your budget for May if you are ready to and I'll put an M beside your total on the first page so I know to carry it over to the new thread

    Helen x
    Projects made for craft fair - 40
    1st fair on 13/4/14
    • debbiedeejay
    • By debbiedeejay 20th Apr 12, 1:10 PM
    • 504 Posts
    • 5,182 Thanks
    debbiedeejay
    Life been a bit chaotic just recently but even though not had chance to poet let alone read thread,somehow I (subconsciously)managed to throw all last weeks receipts in a pile next to keyboard ready to submit!

    Anyway will be adding 69.82 for various shopping trips.

    Need to play freezer tetris like fury next week me thinks.
    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
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 20th Apr 12, 1:34 PM
    • 3,984 Posts
    • 52,562 Thanks
    Florenceem
    HI, well,i have been in my sisters house today she the rural one i the city one so have came back laden with duck and chicken eggs also nabbed a butternut squash from her fridge as i convinced her she didnt need it lol. got a pot of lentil and bacon soup on the go and chicken curry whoopsied in mr t so its in sc for tomorrow just need recipe for naan bread and thats me all set. lides today spent 24.67 got LOADS , their cooking bacon 1kg 1.25 amazing!!! got passatta,pasta, fruit and veg massive chunk of cheese oh slicing away now in slicer will freeze really happy with what i got so much!!! wont need any shopping not even milk as i got 2x 2 liters for ds age 8 that will do him all week for breakfasts and drinks as me and oh use powdered semi- skimmed now , in teas and coffee we dont take it with cereal as we only eat porrige and thats made with poiwdered milk cant taste any difference when brown sugar on top of it, keep big bottle of the powdered stuff made up in fridge always. on target for my shopping have loads in 2 freezers so wanting to reduce them setting myself 50.00 week for me and oh and son and so far havent evn spent 30.00 quid and thats all in. i have forund writing a list invaluable and NOT succumbingto temptation. and i am inspired and have so much admiration for all you long time forummers, well im in it now for the long haul so you may get used to my stalking, sorry asking countless questions,just for the record im a sahm oh works and we have an 8 yr old son, we very happyand we have a yorkie dog (other child). so there you go thanks for all your ideas and wonderful banter everyday I LOVE THIS SITE!!!!!!!!!!1
    Originally posted by craigywv
    Keep at it - you can get the spending down - being a sahm is wonderful - I was one for 15 years.
    15 in 2015 1/15
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 20th Apr 12, 1:35 PM
    • 3,984 Posts
    • 52,562 Thanks
    Florenceem
    Virtual hugs to all, especially those having a tough time. As someone on another thread has said tonight - be kind to yourselves as life is tough enough.

    LB xx

    P.S. I've been reading with interest those posts from people with 5 off vouchers etc. Just a thought, but it seems to me that unless you really have a need to spend 40+ (i.e. it's time to stock up), then you're in danger of spending more money than you would have...isn't this what the SMs want you to do??

    Sorry, not meaning to criticise, but as I say, it's just a thought.

    xx
    Originally posted by LavenderBees
    I don't usually use those vouchers.
    15 in 2015 1/15
    • craigywv
    • By craigywv 20th Apr 12, 1:41 PM
    • 1,976 Posts
    • 27,825 Thanks
    craigywv
    Keep at it - you can get the spending down - being a sahm is wonderful - I was one for 15 years.
    Originally posted by Florenceem
    i agree FLORENCEEM i love being a sahm i have worked from i was 16 and was back in work 4 days after son born i had him in the pram, family business so it was possible) so stopped working in feb 2012 wanted more time at home and son has all these clubs etc now he older so i bring him etc....yes i will be getting the grocery bill down.looking forward to it !!!! so whats on the the menu tonight FLO? i love your dinners gives me much more inspiration
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 20th Apr 12, 1:42 PM
    • 3,984 Posts
    • 52,562 Thanks
    Florenceem

    This is the fruits of my morning labours. The front plate is mini salmon & broccoli tartlets and the one at the back is the same ingredients but made into a flan. There are 2 apple and plum crumbles behind ready for the over for baking!

    Salmon & broccoli tartlets are so easy.

    I normally just make up a quick batch of pastry.
    Line my tins (cupcake tins are great if you are having a buffet.
    I used a yorkshire pie tin which is twice as wide as a cupcake tin) or flan case.

    Flake in some salmon (I use the pre packed trimmings as it is under a quid).

    Top with the eggy mix (I break 2 eggs into a jug and add milk until it comes to 3/4 of a pint. Mix and throw in some mixed herbs, salt n pepper!).

    Top with grated cheese and bake until golden.
    Jobs a good un!

    I had some leftover pastry so I also made some lemon curd tarts:



    I photographed em whilst they were still bubbly and hot and still in the tin though
    Originally posted by jumblejack
    Does the quiche/flan set okay with just milk - I always use some cream?
    15 in 2015 1/15
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