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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 51
  • Mrs Addicted to Spending
    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 have just started shopping online with A$da and am a convert.

    I like the fact that you have a running total of how much you are
    spending as you go along, instead of either trying to add it up as you go thru supermarket or not bothering and ending up at till spending more than you wanted to . Also, they don't charge any extra for substitutions which is good because most of what I buy is on offer .
    I like the fact that it's delivered to your house and you don't have to cart around heavy trolleys, baskets or bags. And it's quicker to shop online than drive to sm and do the shop.
    A$da only have a 25 min shop too which is good when you're trying to cut costs down.
    And the last thing, they have a 10% price guarantee - this allows you to check the price of your shop against the other sms and if it's not at least 10% cheaper, you get that amount refunded - I had 1.17 credit from my last shop which will come off the next shop I do with them.

    The other thing is that my DH is changing jobs and will need to use our car to get to work - he uses public transport atm - so I won't have a car (boo hoo!) to go to sms anyway. Just as well i've already got used to shopping online!
    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
    Dinner went well today.

    The pud was lush. I found 2 baking bananas (bananas that are too brown that cry out, "Bake me, bake me!") so I mashed them into the 2 minute cake mix recipe.

    Never tried it before and it was incredible. 2 minute Choc Banana microwave cake, mmmmm!!!!

    Mum looks so much better today. Much like her old self so very pleased
    Every moment is a gift. That's why we call it the present.!
    Grocery Spend Weekly Challenge (Sat-Fri):30.50/40
    • ModestyB
    • By ModestyB 22nd Apr 12, 7:17 PM
    • 1,573 Posts
    • 15,283 Thanks
    Spent 36.64 over the last few days, 10 for 3 chickens from Mr S, 18.54 in Ald1, 2.79 in B&M and 51p in Mr M on 3 bread mixes courtesy of the 80p off coupons. Plus some halls menthol for DH.
    Has anyone seen any Tunes about lately? I can't find them anywhere. Have they stopped making them?
    Sig updated.
    S.P.C. 9 2016 No. 062 Banked 337.50
    My Gold Stars off Sue.
    • JIL
    • By JIL 22nd Apr 12, 7:32 PM
    • 4,270 Posts
    • 23,495 Thanks
    Dinner went well today.

    The pud was lush. I found 2 baking bananas (bananas that are too brown that cry out, "Bake me, bake me!") so I mashed them into the 2 minute cake mix recipe.

    Never tried it before and it was incredible. 2 minute Choc Banana microwave cake, mmmmm!!!!

    Mum looks so much better today. Much like her old self so very pleased
    Originally posted by jumblejack
    I worked with someone who gave me a recipe that made cookies out of brown bananas and it was lovely. She left a couple of years ago and i lost the recipe. I really wish I could find one like it. It was so easy and was lovely.

    it was chocolate, flour, butter, sugar and bananas all mixed together and spoonfulls put on a baking sheet and baked it came out like cookies.

    If anyone has heard of something like this please could they post the recipe.

    Thank you.

    I have just made some brownies, out of some plain chocolate someone bought me last year, I was 50 g short and thought I would use some of the left over easter egg I had been saving. Once I had melted them together I realised the easter egg was a plain chocolate mint one, heres hoping it will be ok.
    • PennyGrabber
    • By PennyGrabber 22nd Apr 12, 7:33 PM
    • 1,268 Posts
    • 22,438 Thanks
    I really enjoyed my food today. Had more bendy soup for lunch, it's nearly all gone now, and jacket with cheese and salad, and last of the ham for dinner. Easy, cheap and nutritious. Gotta love it!

    NSD today too, so even better. Tummy not feeling so good now; don't know if it's nerves or illness, so going to do my jobs and head on off to bed.

    Night all,

    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
    • Sue14
    • By Sue14 22nd Apr 12, 8:02 PM
    • 899 Posts
    • 10,894 Thanks
    Just been through my receipts to update my spends for this month, and since my last update I've had 2 trips to HB, with a total spend of 24.49, 2 trips to 1 shop total of 4, and another trip to A1d1 with a spend of 27.08. I shouldn't need anything except milk and cat food before the end of the month (famous last words, lol!), so hopefully we'll come in under budget this month.
    Weight loss challenge 3/10lbs
    Total weight loss 21lbs

    • meanmarie
    • By meanmarie 22nd Apr 12, 8:03 PM
    • 5,093 Posts
    • 49,556 Thanks
    Spent €52.59 in Aldi yesterday, so total to date is €130.52, should manage I think.

    Weight 08 February 86kg
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 22nd Apr 12, 10:54 PM
    • 3,984 Posts
    • 52,562 Thanks
    Last day of the April GC for me - ended with a NSD - so achieved 21 out of aimed for 22 NSDs.
    Spend for April GC - 41.97 out of 100 allowed for the 4 weeks.
    We had roast potatoes, beef/onion slice with roasted vegetables - courgettes, onion and tomatoes for dinner.

    Veggies ready to roast.

    Onions are out of the bag I bought at Lid. ages ago I think it was 10 kg for 1.69. Courgettes/tomatoes - cheap - bit soft. We still have freezers full plus stocks in the cupboard/garage so spending should be low for a while.
    15 in 2015 1/15
  • HappyTorty
    Moving house and had a look at the little shops nearby. There's an odds and sodds type shop not only five mins walk and I managed to get an 18 pack of soft toilet roll for 2.99! Will have to have a proper look around next week and see what else I can get there instead of the SM!
    May Grocery Challenge : 64.81 so far

    May NSD: 0
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 22nd Apr 12, 11:56 PM
    • 3,984 Posts
    • 52,562 Thanks
    Is there a May GC set up please?
    15 in 2015 1/15
    • CherryPie
    • By CherryPie 23rd Apr 12, 12:04 AM
    • 427 Posts
    • 5,349 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
    We all kinda love the failure that you are though!!

    And your post just inspired me to make not bendy soup, but bendy roast veg which will do for tomorrow's dinner with some cous cous!

    Here's to all of us failures!!

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

    Grocery Challenge

    Feb 2016 - 46.73 / 100.00
    • JIL
    • By JIL 23rd Apr 12, 12:33 AM
    • 4,270 Posts
    • 23,495 Thanks
    Florenceem, you are an inspiration 41.97 out of 100 in April? Thats less than 10 per week, given its a long month.

    Your photos certainly show me how it can be done, can I ask if its not too cheeky what you have for the rest of the day? I notice you said breakfast was the most important meal of the day so wondered what you did for breakfast and lunch? And if you have any snacks?
    Just wondered if there are any tips you could share?

    thanks in advance and hope you dont mind me asking.
    • fozziebeartoo
    • By fozziebeartoo 23rd Apr 12, 5:35 AM
    • 1,564 Posts
    • 12,675 Thanks
    Happy Monday everyone!!

    I have been up since of those nights when I just couldnt sleep.

    I need to go out and buy some baking bits and pieces and Lidl are supposed to have a shoe stand thing available today so planning on treating myself to one of them, because currently DGS (aged 2) loves playing with shoes and I have ended up with several odd ones......hoping he has just hidden the matching ones and not put them in the bin with out me

    I had 1st breakfast at 5am, granola and greek yogurt.

    Then I watched a bit of QVC where they were flogging a bread maker, so of course I wanted fresh bread so have a small loaf in my BM now, never tried to make a small one so hope it comes out okay.

    So lunch (or 2nd breakfast) will hopefully be crusty bread and butter

    In the slow cooker I have YS/whoopsied pork loin steaks sliced, added a tin of cheap tomato sauce, onions, mixed peppers and peas, sweetcorn and carrots.

    I cant decide whether to chuck in a handful of pasta and see how that comes out, or maybe serve it with couscous - will decide later.

    Is it time for elevenses yet???? Oh no......only 6.30am!!
    • tessie bear
    • By tessie bear 23rd Apr 12, 8:27 AM
    • 4,324 Posts
    • 29,765 Thanks
    tessie bear
    hi...we have got lamb chops for tea with mash and veg....i have chopped up a bit of swede in with the pots....yum yum not sure about pud..probably a yogurt as its a busy evening with ds

    need to do a small shop later but not too much hopefully...will report any bargains

    take care tess
    onwards and upwards
  • jumblejack
    Florenceem, I am so inspired by your spend

    It is an incredible accomplishment as I hear many complain that to eat healthy costs a fortune.

    I'm not too sure I will accomplish my target but I have been cooking for more folk than I had anticipated but I am not too disheartened. Not a bad monthly target for an average sized family

    Gonna be making cheese n ham omelettes with side salad today for my parents with a 2 minute microwave syrup sponge with custard:

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

    Mix together but pour a generous layer of golden syrup at the bottom of your bowl before you add the above cake mix.

    Microwave on full power for 2 mins and VOILA.

    Turn each scoop upside down when you serve with lashings of custard!!!

    (So easy, my kids could do it)

    We will just be having leftover pork casserole with loads of veg.

    Love the expression 'bendy' veg, by the way!
    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 23rd Apr 12, 9:32 AM
    • 15,518 Posts
    • 198,189 Thanks
    spent loads over the weekend youngest DD had been away for the weekend came bak starving sunday night and claimed she could only find beans and veggie sausages in the house so 'had' to goi shopping for pizza.
    so must do my sig as its looking way too healthy.
    need to meal plan this week
    used the tesco 2.50 off a 10 frozen spend on linda Mc sausages that are reduced to 1 a box (so 10 boxes of those) and a seperate shop of 5 packs of the linda mc mozzerella burgers and 1 box of sausages to make it up to over 10 that got me just over 20 worth for 15 then went lidi and got 20 4 packs of branston (1 each)and some other shopping to use the 5 off a 330 shop voucher. i had two vouchers so found someone else who looked like he had a 330 shop and gave him my voucher, it was lovely to help someone out and he looked so pleased and surprised.
    thinking about it DD was probally right there is a lot of beans and sausages in the house LOL
    have a good day all
    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
  • adysmum
    Well I've been reading but not posting the last couple of months but have been keeping to my budget of 75 a week. Have rejoined SW too, and have replaced buying the sweeties with buying even more fruit and veg!

    I need help tho? I got a beef brisket today for 3.46 for a 1.5 kg. Can anyone suggest what to do with it? I'm not a big beef lover so I rarely buy it, but Hubby loves beef so thought I'd try with it being such a bargain. Help!!!!

    Off to read the last couple of pages now, thanks everyone xx
    • Aldahbra
    • By Aldahbra 23rd Apr 12, 10:36 AM
    • 315 Posts
    • 3,684 Thanks

    DO WE SHARE THE SAME MUM???????????????
    .... AND apparently bro &sis gettin sick of ME getting SOME praise :rotfl
    Originally posted by craigywv
    Just a thought, but do you think that your parents praise all there children to the others when they are not there. Maybe they have always talked you up in your absence and you just never knew, you only ever hearing the positive things about your siblings.
    "Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence."
    ~ Napoleon Bonaparte
    Weight loss challenge: week 1 ---------- target 8lbs in 4 weeks
    Grocery Challenge June: 100/500 ------------left to spend 400
    Declutter June: 0/100
    NSD 6 June/6 July: 0/2
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 23rd Apr 12, 11:00 AM
    • 3,984 Posts
    • 52,562 Thanks
    Florenceem, you are an inspiration 41.97 out of 100 in April? Thats less than 10 per week, given its a long month.

    Your photos certainly show me how it can be done, can I ask if its not too cheeky what you have for the rest of the day? I notice you said breakfast was the most important meal of the day so wondered what you did for breakfast and lunch? And if you have any snacks?
    Just wondered if there are any tips you could share?

    thanks in advance and hope you dont mind me asking.
    Originally posted by JIL
    No - not a long month at all - my pension is paid every four weeks so I do a 28 day month all the time. I will be back later with details of our day's menu. Off to wrap Eb.. sales now.
    15 in 2015 1/15
    • craigywv
    • By craigywv 23rd Apr 12, 11:55 AM
    • 1,976 Posts
    • 27,825 Thanks
    Just a thought, but do you think that your parents praise all there children to the others when they are not there. Maybe they have always talked you up in your absence and you just never knew, you only ever hearing the positive things about your siblings.
    Originally posted by Aldahbra
    no def not, evn mums sisters and my gran always say i was the one not spoke about, praised etc... so its not a bother to me , i got over it long ago,more important things to worry about in life ,,like not opening my purse!!! NSD day today feel good about that
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