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    • zippychick
    • By zippychick 4th Jun 11, 11:19 AM
    • 9,343Posts
    • 17,889Thanks
    • #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'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,
    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 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 50
    • tigerfeet2006
    • By tigerfeet2006 21st Apr 12, 9:33 PM
    • 13,826 Posts
    • 29,891 Thanks
    GF Pork, bacon, mushroom and philly.
    We've had a pyjama day here today as well

    Dinner tonight was pork (from the £1.50 YS pack I picked up the other day) cut into chunks. Around 250g of MrT's cooking bacon. Cooked them off in a pan. Added a couple of chopped mushrooms and cooked it a wee bit more. Before serving I mixed in a 200gm tub of garlic and herb philly (I use Philidelphia as some shops own contain gluten.)

    I served it with mash and purple sprouting.
    The only stupid question is an unasked one
    Loving life as a Kernow Hippy
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 21st Apr 12, 10:53 PM
    • 3,996 Posts
    • 52,590 Thanks
    NSD here.

    We had rice/peas with peri peri chicken and salad - celery/ cucumber/ grated carrot/ onion and tomatoes for dinner.

    15 in 2015 1/15
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 21st Apr 12, 11:17 PM
    • 3,996 Posts
    • 52,590 Thanks
    Blackberry and rhubarb crumble.
    I made two crumbles tonight - a large rhubarb and a smaller blackberry and rhubarb.
    Prepared fruit - had to get blackberries out of the freezer to fill the dish.

    Ready to cook.

    15 in 2015 1/15
    • craigywv
    • By craigywv 22nd Apr 12, 6:24 AM
    • 1,976 Posts
    • 27,825 Thanks
    All this talk of soup...

    I made bendy soup on Thursday night. We had boiled ham for dinner, and I usually save the water, put it in the fridge and think 'I'll do something with that later...'. Well, Thurs I actually made some soup while dinner was cooking! I chopped up loads of veg while making the parsley sauce for dinner, and then just shoved the veg into the pan as soon as I'd taken the ham out. Then, when I took the plates back to the kitchen after dinner, it was done! (I added some lentils and stock cubes too.)

    I had some for lunch on Friday at work, and my friends looked at it and said it looked nice, what type was it? I replied that it was bendy soup, and they said they'd never heard of it, what was in it?! I said you know, all the bendy veg from the bottom of the fridge! They all rotfl!!!

    It's generally the only type of soup I make! This one was a carrot, an onion, a leek, a swede, two spuds and some celery. Was lush! Serving it to my mum and brother for lunch tomorrow. Hopefully she'll approve; either that or she'll rave about my brother who's so amazing and so skint but makes such wonderful food... Of course, she's bringing the brother who had depression so much worse than me. I'm kind of the failure of the family, never done anything quite as good as my brothers... And my sister in law is like the daughter she never had, the way she raves about her. I'm so looking forward to them visiting for my birthday!!

    Whoops, I digress. Sorry.

    Guess I'm off th bed then.

    Night all,

    Pg x

    ps - spent £17 odd in a$da today, got loads of fruit for the week so no need to shop for a while.
    Originally posted by PennyGrabber
    DO WE SHARE THE SAME MUM???????????????i have middle child syndrome the older MESSIAH (sorry brother) is the 8th wonder of the world also the one who brings most grief unto to the family but i think there should be a shrine and a national holiday in his honour. Then we have the younger sister sorry ANGEL FROM ABOVE who does near nothing for my parents but who also is revered to an ecclastical level i feel like i should bow down in her presence)perfect weight, hair , you know what i mean.Then there is me !!! the fat one !! the only one who actually does , brings and involves mum and dad in thinngs for no gain or benefit....the other 2 do things that they will gain from.............i used to worry NOT ANY MORE!!! i can rest happy that i have enjoyed mum and dad through ALL the ups and downs , AND apparently bro &sis gettin sick of ME getting SOME praise its only later in life m&d need us more i think and well they were there for us all along so its our time now to be there for them, sorry im at it again rambling shall go now for my coffee its pouring here so no need to water my veg today yayyyyyywill have a nsd deffo!!!freezers bunged same with cupboards might make lemon drizzle cake and eat it all myself no one here likes it except me.....yep deffo making it now will check in later with the verdict , have a great day all, might just put wellies on and go to car boot at top of the road ,weather dont bother these people they come out to sell even in the snow...might get a bargain too as if its too wet the ordinary sane people wont come out to buy but i will be there shopper in hand and purse full of change, so bye for now
  • Penny-Pincher!!
    Can I post for May please as someone move it over?

    I would like to try £275 including food and diesel for 4 weeks.


    To repeat what others have said, requires education, to challenge it,
    requires brains!

  • jumblejack
    Im feeling quite organised this morning.
    Pork casserole in the thermal cooker already and by the door ready to take to my parents' house.

    Gonna make a 2 minute chocolate pud for afters whilst I'm there:

    2oz butter
    2oz sugar
    1/2oz cocoa
    1 1/2oz SR flour
    1 egg

    2 minutes on full power in microwave. Voila!
    Pour over chocolate custard and enjoy!!!

    Gonna wash my hair and clean up before I whizz out.

    Thanks for the chutney recipe, Florenceem!!!!
    Will put that one in my book to try out

    Probably not be able to post piccies as Dad will think I've lost the plot if he catches me photographing his dinner
    Last edited by jumblejack; 22-04-2012 at 8:08 AM.
    Every moment is a gift. That's why we call it the present.!
    Grocery Spend Weekly Challenge (Sat-Fri):£30.50/£40
    • tessie bear
    • By tessie bear 22nd Apr 12, 8:15 AM
    • 4,364 Posts
    • 30,028 Thanks
    tessie bear
    hi...quiet day planned for today...going to have chicken for lunch and a selection of reduced veg to accompany it...might do some rice as well

    need to nip out tomorrow and get some strawberries for ds food technoliogy and will be able to pick up anything else we need....that quick chocolate pudding looks great i will be trying that...thankyou

    tata tess
    onwards and upwards
  • Ninno820
    Morning all - can I come back to play? I must admit that I lost it a little this month and need to post every day / most days just to keep me on the straight and narrow.

    My new month starts tomorrow so I am aiming for a target of £100. At some point I will need to go to the local farm shop and do a meat order for the freezer - amazing meat and offers like 3lbs of mince free when you but 6lbs etc. As long as you're prepared to spend some time baggng it up in portions for the freezer its worth going. However I have some savings that I could use for that if I need to.
    44 day challenge

    1. Pay £650 off overdraft (£ 288/ £650)
    2. Lose 12 lbs (4.5/ 12)
    3. Use YNAB everyday (6/44)
    • fozziebeartoo
    • By fozziebeartoo 22nd Apr 12, 10:02 AM
    • 1,566 Posts
    • 12,676 Thanks
    I am planning on staying in today........and the sky is blue and the sun is shinning!

    I HAVE to go out tomorrow so expect rain, hail and

    Today is going to be a NSD (oh yes it is ) but I have a date with a new male friend this afternoon (I am far too old for a "boy"friend ) for tea and biccies but no biccies in the
    house recycled the stuff I bought for charity bake-off on Tuesday and make traditonal oat cookies today. Oh my goodness, gorgeous and not too sweet either.

    Breakfast today was a small bit of LO HM quiche (well it was egg, bacon and cheese so that seemed breakfasty) and 3 (yes THREE) oat cookies.....

    Well I had to test them, didnt I?????

    For lunch, I found LO tuna mayo lurking behind the yogurt in the fridge and I had defrosted the last seedy bread yesterday when I sorted the freezer yesterday, so that will be a sarnie.

    I found a piece of HM LO lasagne in the freezer so will have that for tea.

    I wrote a proper list of all the stuff in the freezer, now I MUST go and cross off what I have used.....I always forget to to that.

    Have a happy day everyone
  • LarryEeles
    Has anyone else here tried Ocado online?

    I used them last week for my main shop. It was very controlled as I shopped online, some bits were expensive so left those for picking up at my local shops but was quite surprised. I picked a free delivery spot, just after the kids were asleep. The guy turned up, carried the food to the kitchen, and was here 5 mins.

    On top of that I used the 02 deal in the news letter and saved £30 on a £90 shop. Very happy, will try this method again.

    Just wondered if anyone else was a convert?
  • cleggie
    Morning! Have updated my signature after Fridays food spend, grr, 31p over budget!! That'll be the snickers that jumped into my trolley all by itself!
    • fozziebeartoo
    • By fozziebeartoo 22nd Apr 12, 10:28 AM
    • 1,566 Posts
    • 12,676 Thanks
    Has anyone else here tried Ocado online?

    I used them last week for my main shop. It was very controlled as I shopped online, some bits were expensive so left those for picking up at my local shops but was quite surprised. I picked a free delivery spot, just after the kids were asleep. The guy turned up, carried the food to the kitchen, and was here 5 mins.

    On top of that I used the 02 deal in the news letter and saved £30 on a £90 shop. Very happy, will try this method again.

    Just wondered if anyone else was a convert?
    Originally posted by LarryEeles

    Glad you had a good experience! My 1st (only) Ocado delivery wasnt good.....

    They were late and no phone call.

    Gave my substitutes TWICE as expensive as original and no price match.

    When they took back those goods as I refused them, they also took (accidently) stuff I DID want.

    And the sliced loaf I tried to use for toast the next morning was mouldy.....literally!!

    I got refunds and a refund of delivery charge etc, but it took phone calls and was a hassle.
  • LarryEeles
    Glad you had a good experience! My 1st (only) Ocado delivery wasnt good.....

    They were late and no phone call.

    Gave my substitutes TWICE as expensive as original and no price match.

    When they took back those goods as I refused them, they also took (accidently) stuff I DID want.

    And the sliced loaf I tried to use for toast the next morning was mouldy.....literally!!

    I got refunds and a refund of delivery charge etc, but it took phone calls and was a hassle.
    Originally posted by fozziebeartoo
    They did swap out some meat, but it was more expensive and we paid the lower cost.

    I just hope that they learn from there experiences.
    • Save Dosh
    • By Save Dosh 22nd Apr 12, 11:07 AM
    • 1,329 Posts
    • 15,828 Thanks
    Save Dosh
    Fozziebear - your never too old to have a boyfriend - says who. Have a nice time.
    Larry - I mainly shop online, as like you said, you can be controlled, but only use Tesco, or Asda.,

    I have till the end of the month to go and only have about £5, I also have £5 in my purse, which im going to add as well, as i have bought stuff on the grocery, which is for birthdays, which should not be included in the grocery stuff, so very much a week of living out of freezer, which is brimming, Determined to come in on budget - we shall see
    Last edited by Save Dosh; 22-04-2012 at 11:11 AM.
    August GC - Food £55.56/£80 Alcohol £17.24/£20
    Bulk Funds - Food £19.73
    Save 12k in 2019 £1,300/£5,000 - #155
    • prophecy_grrl
    • By prophecy_grrl 22nd Apr 12, 12:14 PM
    • 668 Posts
    • 3,379 Thanks
    I realise I'm very late posting - sorry!

    My April GC Budget is £120 as it's a 4 week month and I've overspent on my budgets the last two months, so I've upped it to £30 p/w. So far I've spent £88.57 which I'm really pleased with. I have one more shop to do before my May budget starts so am going to try really hard for an underspend to make up for the Feb/Mar overspends. Off to meal plan and write my shopping list now - bit too excited about it for my own good I think!!!

    Hope everyone is doing ok, sorry fpr the fleeting visit

    p_grrl xx
    *** PROPHECY_GRRL***
    *** DEBT FREE AS OF 17/10/11 - I DID IT!!! ***
    • craigywv
    • By craigywv 22nd Apr 12, 12:17 PM
    • 1,976 Posts
    • 27,825 Thanks
    well thats me in now, been out all morning...bootsale, got 2 tops marks and sparks white embroidered lovely both 1 quid each never worn, you should have seen this ladies stall it was all really expensive stuff for pennies also get a casserole dish with lid pyrex 50 p never used , an enamel cream bread bin 1.50 and a rug 1.00 dragged myself away had to leave the poor woman alone was harrassing her i think she was sweating profusley by the time i finished plundering (nearly was inside her handbag...thought it was for sale)anyway did pork ys chops, mash, peas carrots and yorkies and gravy delishhhhhhh, also made jumblejacks 2 minute microwave pudding and choc custard.........AMAZING so soft and bouncy couldnt believe it was sooooo goood. deffo a new favourite in our house, spent 5.00 in bootsale was well worth what i got . well its time for kindle and feet up boys doing dishes have a great day all xxxx
    • JIL
    • By JIL 22nd Apr 12, 1:21 PM
    • 4,960 Posts
    • 25,091 Thanks
    Has anyone else here tried Ocado online?

    I used them last week for my main shop. It was very controlled as I shopped online, some bits were expensive so left those for picking up at my local shops but was quite surprised. I picked a free delivery spot, just after the kids were asleep. The guy turned up, carried the food to the kitchen, and was here 5 mins.

    On top of that I used the 02 deal in the news letter and saved £30 on a £90 shop. Very happy, will try this method again.

    Just wondered if anyone else was a convert?
    Originally posted by LarryEeles
    I am a convert,
    A couple of years ago when I was quiet poorly I did a few months home shopping and tried out a few. I was never happy with Tesc0 home delivery, they were late or the quality was not very good, on one occasion they did not turn up. Asd@ were a little better but I have never been that keen on their own brand stuff. S@insburys were not bad at all but more expensive and their offers always seemed to be out of stock. Ocado were by far the best in terms of quality or service and very few substitutions. They also stock more unusual things I cant find in other supermarkets such as giant cous cous, ebly and baking soda. They have really good quality meat and good offers on it too.

    About 6 weeks ago I was sent an offer of 6 months free delivery, then pay £6.99 per month. So I signed up. I have planned my shop around what I have already got in and bought the stuff on offer.
    This week I used the 02 voucher, bill said shopping total £126 less offers and voucher and I paid £60.26.
    Most weeks though I have spent just over £40, I work out what I need and because its a minimum spend of £40 I then add store cupboard bargains to make it up (such as washing powder, fabric conditioner, pop etc)

    Doing my shopping this way has kept me out of the supermarkets and I have then just popped into aldi or lidl to get some fresh veg and bread.
    Last edited by JIL; 22-04-2012 at 2:21 PM. Reason: spelling
    • Fiasco55
    • By Fiasco55 22nd Apr 12, 3:52 PM
    • 1,345 Posts
    • 15,364 Thanks
    Is is going to be a NSD today. Popped out last night for the usual YS hunt so I have to add £1.20 to my total.

    I am really pleased with how this month's challenge has been going. I will need to restock on some water and fresh veg in the next few days but other than that I am all set.
    No buying toiletries Graduated May 2017

    Decluttered 2016 2469 items, 2017 1580 items
    2018 3060 items

    Sealed Pot Challenge No 038
    • jpscloud
    • By jpscloud 22nd Apr 12, 5:04 PM
    • 1,446 Posts
    • 11,552 Thanks
    NSD here, thank goodness... I thought popping out to buy some bread, but talked myself into making some instead. If I'd gone out I'd have done a whoopsie hunt and ended up buying things again!
    I believe in the freedom of spinach and the right to arm bears.

    Weight loss journey started January 2015
    • Suffolk lass
    • By Suffolk lass 22nd Apr 12, 5:06 PM
    • 3,305 Posts
    • 29,392 Thanks
    Suffolk lass
    Feeling slightly smug about this month's level of spend so I am completely confident that I have forgotten something big that I should have budgetted for (but I can't think what at this stage). Everything in for the week with the possible exception of a bit of salad for lunches. Bought my first ever Ham hock - already cooked, from C00p yesterday and it is brilliant. I carved off a plastic storage box full (the size I use for butter) and then cooked the bones with some sad-looking veg.

    We had lunch out today (St George's Day Lunch in the Village), which was good, and nice to catch up with some neighbours - we'll have some wizzed ham soup for tea. Upset DH as I agreed we would open our garden later in the year (village fund-raiser) - he doesn't need the pressure but we live in a village and for me that means we contribute and take part - so I need to book some time off so we I can get on top of some bits.

    It'll be fine...
    Have a good week everyone and happy buirthday tomorrow Pennygrabber
    Save £12k in 2019 - #68 target is £7k £8,766.30 after Sep
    OS Grocery Challenge 2019 target £3k - 57.28% spent after Sep
    Mortgage Free Wannabes 2019 #37 108.23% £43,292.24 including Sep - reducing now to avoid fees
    MFIT T5 target to clear our mortgage completely (£59,998) Q2 £30,085 or 50.14% paid
    My DFD is here
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