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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 52
    • tjak
    • By tjak 23rd Apr 12, 12:05 PM
    • 137 Posts
    • 1,213 Thanks
    tjak
    first spend of May on Saturday with an online shop from MrA, £44.
    Everything nicely stocked up now, and meal plan being stuck to ... we had hm potato, rosemary and blue cheese pizza at the weekend - DH loved it, and it only cost pennies. I kept some potato back to make potato bread - always really moist, and lasts well.

    For the next 6 weeks I am attending a course and there is a lidl nearby, so I am planning to get there early to do my weekly shop.
    Debt free and saving
  • HappyTorty
    Hi was just wondering what would you consider a comfortable grocery shop for the month for three adults? First house away from family so have to be frugal.
    May Grocery Challenge : 64.81 so far


    May NSD: 0
    • Coxy11
    • By Coxy11 23rd Apr 12, 1:24 PM
    • 2,323 Posts
    • 27,347 Thanks
    Coxy11
    Hi everyone,

    I haven't posted for about 2 weeks but I have been reading along and keeping track of my spends.

    DH started a new job this morning after being off since September so the house is feeling very quiet. Does mean that I can eat more cheaply during the day tho' now there's only me here. I'm happy with lo bits and bobs, whereas he wants something more substantial.

    I will be over budget this month (month ends on 30th April) but I'm hoping not by too much. Visiting my Mum on Thursday and will be going to her A!di for some bits plus a water butt for Mum (she doesn't drive so will pick this up for her).

    Well done everyone for this month. I always find it harder when the school holidays are here - kids eating me out of house and home lol.
    Cross-stitch WIP: Pretty Maids in a Row
    • Barbeduk
    • By Barbeduk 23rd Apr 12, 4:03 PM
    • 819 Posts
    • 7,151 Thanks
    Barbeduk
    Hi all, it is absolutely carp here today, hasn't stopped raining. Luckily we have had bread pudding and weetabix brownies in the house which cheered up the kids when they got home from school.

    Finished the last of the gammon yesterday so as well as a gammon and veg meal, it provided a fantastic pea and ham soup, packed lunches, plateful to take to friends for shared picnic and I also made a baked potato topping with some cheese sauce with added mustard, sweet corn and chopped ham. Not bad for £4.99!!

    Two more spends to report of £2.72 in Mr M on medicine, fruit, pearl barley and £12.77 in !id! on veg, bacon, eggs, lemonade, milk and erm, rather a lot of chocolate and crisps!

    Will update signature. Have a good Monday everyone.
    June GC £288.01/£400
  • abitofhelp
    hi, just letting you know that i too have been using mr t cooking bacon in quiche etc but have foubd that past few weeks its been pure fat cut up into cubes not at all like the one we had before where you got a few rashers etc... I stopped buying it and went into li£dles the other day , they selling a massive 1 kg bag choice of smoked/unsmoked for 1.25 absolute bargain!!!! its a 100 times tastier than mr t one and hardly any fat on it.....i poked through ALL the packs and got 2 with hardly any fat in the packs. got loads of rashers also in the pack hope this helps.
    Originally posted by craigywv
    i went to lidle yesterday and found the cooking bacon. it was £1.69 for a kg so we bought one just to try. not opened it yet but i was impressed with what i saw in lidle. dont go there very often but will start using it more often. also went to local farm shop, salad, fruit & veg seems to be cheaper than supermarkets. tray of free range eggs £4 for 24 & punnets of raspberries 99p. stocked up for next couple of weeks. will update sig at later date.
    Grocery Challenge 24th Feb-28 Dec 2012 £2000/£1404
    18th May- 15th June 2012 £100/£75
    Dont Throw Food Away 2012 May £5/0
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 23rd Apr 12, 4:34 PM
    • 3,996 Posts
    • 52,590 Thanks
    Florenceem
    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
    Breakfasts
    I don't like milk - as is - so cereal with milk for breakfast is a no no for me. I do have milk in tea but only a small amount. We have fresh skimmed milk. In order to get my milk/calcium for the day - I have custard for breakfast! I either have it on HM crumble - therefore getting 1 of my 5 a day or on a HM muffin - well actually half a HM muffin.
    This is the rhubarb crumble I made in a 99p shop ceramic dish - big dish - you can see how much we had for breakfast - MR F and I.

    Our brekkie - yummy! This really sets us up for the day. We don't have pudding after our dinner as too full up.
    15 in 2015 1/15
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 23rd Apr 12, 4:35 PM
    • 3,996 Posts
    • 52,590 Thanks
    Florenceem
    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!
    Originally posted by jumblejack
    Do you use custard powder/ready made or real custard?
    15 in 2015 1/15
  • Ninno820
    Day one of my May grocery month and its a NSD. Tea tonight is fish pie from the freezer (a left over meal from a couple of weeks ago - yay) and veg from the back of the fridge. This month I am trying the envelope / weekly money so will be shopping on wednesday.
    44 day challenge


    1. Pay £650 off overdraft (£ 288/ £650)
    2. Lose 12 lbs (4.5/ 12)
    3. Use YNAB everyday (6/44)
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 23rd Apr 12, 4:51 PM
    • 3,996 Posts
    • 52,590 Thanks
    Florenceem
    Breakfast costs.
    I have tried to price up my HM crumble - fruit was free this time. We do have a weekly market - sometimes get a bowl of fruit for £1 - not bothered what I use for crumble - apples/rhubarb/pears/nectarines/peaches/blackberries/raspberries/strawberries. Whatever I can get at a good price. I do get fruit and veggies from Lid. & Ald. -good value.
    I will let you know how many breakfasts the two crumbles I made last MR F and I.
    Flour/sugar/baking margarine/oats or museli/ cinnamon or ginger for topping plus fruit/sugar/cinnamon or ginger for fruit layer -costed.
    I use 3/4 pint milk which we buy 8 pints for £2 at Ice.... + sugar + custard powder - not bothered if own brand/Bir..
    So breakfast - crumble with custard costs for the two of us - approx 52p a day. Depends how many meals we get out of those crumbles!
    However breakfast of HM muffin with custard costs a lot less so we have some of each for the 4 weeks GC.
    15 in 2015 1/15
    • jpscloud
    • By jpscloud 23rd Apr 12, 5:00 PM
    • 1,446 Posts
    • 11,552 Thanks
    jpscloud
    NSD here! I had a really low day today, I had no energy and felt grumpy and down all day. Luckily I had some "unhealthy" food (aka chicken nuggets!! ) in the freezer and indulged in those, instead of buying something naughty.

    Just wanted to say thanks to everyone for posting and helping keep motivation up. I am trying to read more of the thread every day to keep me on the straight and narrow now.
    I believe in the freedom of spinach and the right to arm bears.

    Weight loss journey started January 2015
    -32lbs
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 23rd Apr 12, 5:21 PM
    • 3,996 Posts
    • 52,590 Thanks
    Florenceem
    Muffins for breakfast.
    I use a muffin recipe I got years ago out of a newspaper.
    10 oz plain flour.
    4 level tsps baking powder.
    2 ozs baking margarine.
    2 ozs sugar.
    2 eggs.
    approx 8 fl ozs milk.
    flavouring of choice.

    If you use paper cases - adds to cost. I often make lemon muffins - save the half squeezed lemon I used for a fish dinner. Use the rest of the juice and grate the rind.
    Make chocolate chip muffins for DGC - grate own brand chocolate - cheaper than buying chocolate chip packets.
    Makes 12 muffins so approx - 6p each.

    Worked out that my breakfast - a muffin between Mr F and I plus custard costs 50p a day.
    You honestly only need half a muffin each.
    15 in 2015 1/15
    • craigywv
    • By craigywv 23rd Apr 12, 5:28 PM
    • 1,976 Posts
    • 27,825 Thanks
    craigywv
    i went to lidle yesterday and found the cooking bacon. it was £1.69 for a kg so we bought one just to try. not opened it yet but i was impressed with what i saw in lidle. dont go there very often but will start using it more often. also went to local farm shop, salad, fruit & veg seems to be cheaper than supermarkets. tray of free range eggs £4 for 24 & punnets of raspberries 99p. stocked up for next couple of weeks. will update sig at later date.
    Originally posted by abitofhelp

    hi, i checked my receipt it deffo says 1.25 , i bought 2 of them, cant understand why your shop so much dearer!!!! maybe as i i am in BELFAST different price?
    • ClaireT13
    • By ClaireT13 23rd Apr 12, 6:49 PM
    • 220 Posts
    • 3,462 Thanks
    ClaireT13
    Hello Everyone

    I fell off the wagon the last 2 months and spending went through the roof. Please can I come back

    My May starts tomorrow so can I post a monthly bedget of £275.

    That is to feed 2 adults, 2 children, 1 dog and all toilteries and cleaning products. Spend this month has been £375 but the kids were off school for 2 weeks and we did eat out a few times and had to feed 10 people for 4 days.

    Look forward to getting stuck in again.

    Claire
    • valerie57
    • By valerie57 23rd Apr 12, 6:57 PM
    • 139 Posts
    • 1,899 Thanks
    valerie57
    I have tried to price up my HM crumble - fruit was free this time. We do have a weekly market - sometimes get a bowl of fruit for £1 - not bothered what I use for crumble - apples/rhubarb/pears/nectarines/peaches/blackberries/raspberries/strawberries. Whatever I can get at a good price. I do get fruit and veggies from Lid. & Ald. -good value.
    I will let you know how many breakfasts the two crumbles I made last MR F and I.
    Flour/sugar/baking margarine/oats or museli/ cinnamon or ginger for topping plus fruit/sugar/cinnamon or ginger for fruit layer -costed.
    I use 3/4 pint milk which we buy 8 pints for £2 at Ice.... + sugar + custard powder - not bothered if own brand/Bir..
    So breakfast - crumble with custard costs for the two of us - approx 52p a day. Depends how many meals we get out of those crumbles!
    However breakfast of HM muffin with custard costs a lot less so we have some of each for the 4 weeks GC.
    Originally posted by Florenceem
    A long time ago I worked in the fields and orchards of the Middle East. We would do two hours of hard work and come in for breakfast at about 8am. A typical breakfast would be salad, hardboiled eggs and custard. The custard was very welcome; warming and rib stickingly satisfying. Chocolate custard was particularly popular. Florenceem you are in good company.
    • valerie57
    • By valerie57 23rd Apr 12, 6:59 PM
    • 139 Posts
    • 1,899 Thanks
    valerie57
    A long time ago I worked in the fields and orchards of the Middle East. We would do two hours of hard work and come in for breakfast at about 8am. A typical breakfast would be salad, hardboiled eggs and custard. The custard was very welcome; warming and rib stickingly satisfying. Chocolate custard was particularly popular. Florenceem you are in good company.
    Originally posted by valerie57
    Oops. The custard was served separately. Not on the salad and eggs!!!
  • jumblejack
    Do you use custard powder/ready made or real custard?
    Originally posted by Florenceem
    I use good old fashioned Birds custard powder with sugar and whole milk
    Every moment is a gift. That's why we call it the present.!
    Grocery Spend Weekly Challenge (Sat-Fri):£30.50/£40
  • jumblejack

    hi, i checked my receipt it deffo says 1.25 , i bought 2 of them, cant understand why your shop so much dearer!!!! maybe as i i am in BELFAST different price?
    Originally posted by craigywv
    It's £1.69 in my local too. Must be different in Ireland. Still a great bargain though
    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 23rd Apr 12, 7:25 PM
    • 3,996 Posts
    • 52,590 Thanks
    Florenceem
    I use good old fashioned Birds custard powder with sugar and whole milk
    Originally posted by jumblejack
    I bought some Bird's custard this evening - 80p in As..
    15 in 2015 1/15
  • Mrs Addicted to Spending
    Hi was just wondering what would you consider a comfortable grocery shop for the month for three adults? First house away from family so have to be frugal.
    Originally posted by HappyTorty
    Hi HappyTorty - it's hard to work out a budget to start with so perhaps you could just track how much you spend for a few weeks so that you have more of an idea. The front pages have lots of ideas on how to be frugal. I'm working on a budget of £80 per week for 4 but think I could do it cheaper - I'm gradually cutting it down!


    For the person who wanted ideas for beef brisket (sorry can't remember the name ) - I've cooked lovely casserole using this. Chop into chunks and fry with chunks of onion til meat is browned. Then add tablespoon of plain flour and stir til flour mixed in. Add about 400ml beef stock and stir in. Put into casserole dish with chunks of carrots and celery and cook at 180 degrees for 3 hours, stirring about once an hour. Tastes lovely with potatoes and veg and this recipe has been passed down from my grandmother so tried and tested. You could probably do quicker in pressure cooker. Not sure but would think it could also be done in a slow cooker?
    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
    • debbiedeejay
    • By debbiedeejay 23rd Apr 12, 7:49 PM
    • 504 Posts
    • 5,182 Thanks
    debbiedeejay
    Evening peeps!

    Two spends to declare - shop at MrM's that came to £23.63 and a YS spend in C&&P of £3.18 so will update sig in a mo.

    Came back from bringing DD3 back from cheer leading to find DD2 scranning TWO cheese toasties down her neck after telling her the jacket potatoes would be ready ten minutes before we would get in!

    Luckily she just left enough bread for packups tomorrow but just in case she or DD2 get hungry again tonight have made the sarnies and put in fridge so it looks like will have to buy bread tomorrow.

    Have warned them we are out visiting family tomorrow night so tea will be a quick garlic bread & pasta with a YS pesto sauce ( some posh Supermarket make down from silly three pound price to 25p)and any bendy veg lurking in fridge.

    Had a quick sort out of fridge before sitting down and have decided to "tidy" up the left over half bottle of wine that was sat in there - well it might have gone off if I left it any longer
    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
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