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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 54
  • helen jelly
    Morning all

    The May challenge is up but could you please NOT post your new budgets on there yet as I think Zippy/Squeak have to finish putting the recipe posts etc on there before we can post. Don't worry if you have posted already as I am sure they can be moved along - thanks everyone

    Budgets noted to here and I'll update the new thread

    Helen
    Projects made for craft fair - 40
    1st fair on 13/4/14
    • meg72
    • By meg72 24th Apr 12, 9:48 AM
    • 5,082 Posts
    • 46,072 Thanks
    meg72
    I've just worked out my totals, and if I spend 40 next month, I will more or less have caught up with where I am in the year percentage-wise. Wow, that's the stars!!

    Make my own bread, water down the milk, eat from the freezer, use what I buy, don't buy too much fruit and veg...

    I've actually bought some new plates - the smart price set. They have dinner plates that are smaller. Now, I already use a side plate for my dinner, and this would be bigger, but it would look more spread out, which I like, and I would then have the same plates as the children. So, the old big plates are going to go out into the shed, and I'll have more space in the kitchen. Maybe. No, I will, as it'll free up a whole shelf.

    Right, off to work with renewed enthusiasm. Being observed for an inspection today, and have an interview on Thursday that I NEED to get, or I can't afford food come Sept! That's my motivation to not muck it up. I know I could go to another school, but I don't want to!

    Have a good day peeps!

    PG x
    Originally posted by PennyGrabber
    Good luck with the inspection and interview, fingers and toes crossed for you.

    I have the same smart price dinner set and find the plates an ideal size and I love plain white, I think the food looks better
    and of course easy to match up if you break one.
    Slimming World at target
    • Need2bthrifty
    • By Need2bthrifty 24th Apr 12, 9:49 AM
    • 1,139 Posts
    • 9,695 Thanks
    Need2bthrifty
    Oh Dear - I'm getting pretty close to the wire - another shop yesterday to declare = 5.20 for fruit & veg. Just checked my receipt and a cantaloupe melon I bought must have gone through without scanning - Result -

    I'm left with 1.28 to last me 6 days instead of the 0.28p it should have been. I've run out of bread but do have some pitta's in the freezer which will have to do, if I start craving some I will just have to make some scones instead.

    So a mini challenge is to see if I can do 6 NSD's and put my whole 1.28 in the money jar
    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
    • Maisie M
    • By Maisie M 24th Apr 12, 9:51 AM
    • 1,520 Posts
    • 14,551 Thanks
    Maisie M
    hi

    We have not had a bad month. I have 12 to last me to Thursday and then my new month begins. Managed to get 3 legs of lamb and a big beef joint at easter as they were such a good price. Had one leg of lamb at easter but have the rest for throughout the year. I have done an inventory of the freezer in the utility (part of an american fridge freezer) but need to do the chest freezer that is in the garage so that I can meal plan properly for next month.

    I am planning a spend of 350 again for this month. It is a 5 week month for me this month but that should be fine as I have loads in stock.

    Will post my final total on Friday morning.

    • lovelife79
    • By lovelife79 24th Apr 12, 10:17 AM
    • 116 Posts
    • 1,298 Thanks
    lovelife79
    well a spend of 12.51 today which i will be honest and say it was a spend full of rubbish!

    went to get frozen chips (to go with all my pile of frozen meals) and paracetamol/brufen for after the root treatment that i had this morning.

    As i am petrified of the dentist, i think i did a bit of comfort shopping! as i bought pre-made tubs of jelly and custard, as well as ice cream, they were all on special, but really not needed! going to blame my post -dental stupor/shock!!
    • Save Dosh
    • By Save Dosh 24th Apr 12, 11:18 AM
    • 1,314 Posts
    • 15,703 Thanks
    Save Dosh
    I am on my 4th nsd - really do not need anything - not even milk, as i buy the uht stuff, which i store in the pantry.
    PennyGrabber I am the same as you with regards spending. I don't really spend loads, but I know that i could do so much better, as my house is brimming with supplies that don't get used, so i am going to join you next month on 40 if that is what you are going to try, or will try anyway, and i will have to use that for salad stuff, cold meats, as i have everything else.
    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
    • NickJW
    • By NickJW 24th Apr 12, 12:37 PM
    • 678 Posts
    • 13,646 Thanks
    NickJW
    Hello all!

    A top up of 5.25 in Mr T for some lunch items for the week. I'm sorted for lunches, but unfortunately I will need some extra small spends for veg and milk before I declare next Tuesday.
    Grocery Challenge 14 Jan 14 46.05/130

    Grocery Challenge 13 -spent 1453.06
    Grocery Challenge 12 -spent 1565.51

    DFD 1st March 2011
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 24th Apr 12, 1:11 PM
    • 3,984 Posts
    • 52,562 Thanks
    Florenceem
    My issue with this, Florenceem, is that I know everything you're saying, I'm just not able to follow it!! I get sucked into buying too much, or I cook too much and don't plan a use for the los. I'm just not as disciplined as you!

    My new aim for May, is to do as well as you. I know that's like shooting for the stars, but hey, I may hit the moon on the way! So, having had such a terrible month in April (please don't look at the sig!!!), I'm starting afresh with May. No junk, no unnecessary spending, no overcooking unless I know what's happening with the los.

    Thanks Flo for your presence here, it's really inspiring.

    PG x
    Originally posted by PennyGrabber
    Bossy Florenceem will have her beady eye on you this month!
    Re los - just get them boxed/bagged up for the fridge/freezer as you serve up the meal.
    I shopped yesterday with a list - stuck to it apart from - got a bag of As.. sultanas - 84p - for when I am short of fruit - eat a few for morning/afternoon snack. It is your money - I tend to think - it is my cash - I will do what I want with it - let the sms take it from someone who isn't MSE. I would hope more folk do become MSE.
    15 in 2015 1/15
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 24th Apr 12, 1:17 PM
    • 3,984 Posts
    • 52,562 Thanks
    Florenceem
    Today.
    PennyGrabber - hope all goes well re inspection and interview. Don't know if you are TA/teacher/office in school - 3 of my children are teachers. They must take after me - bossy!
    15 in 2015 1/15
    • fozziebeartoo
    • By fozziebeartoo 24th Apr 12, 5:00 PM
    • 1,564 Posts
    • 12,674 Thanks
    fozziebeartoo
    I had 3 NSD's in a row and that makes 10 for April

    Today spent 1.99 in Co*p (3 handwashes Buy1Get2Free) and 16.74 in Lidl - signature update.

    Had the last of my HM bread toasted for brekkie.

    Then baked 3 sorts of cookies for charity fund raising thing, so lunch was a white choccie cookie, a Mars bar cookie and a Snickers cookie......or possibly 1 or 2 more

    Tea was egg fried veggie rice and a shop bought chicken korma - I didnt enjoy it at all!!

    I am so used to my tasty home cooking now, that what I was considering a "treat" was actually tasteless and boring compared to my usual homemade teas these days.

    So boohoo for not enjoying tea but woohoo for my cooking from scratch!

    And I daresay another Snickers cookie will cheer me up!!
    • rising from the ashes
    • By rising from the ashes 24th Apr 12, 5:00 PM
    • 12,321 Posts
    • 59,551 Thanks
    rising from the ashes
    Ohhhhh my - I'm way behind on the thread - had no internet for nearly a week (tried - unsuccessfully - to change ISP.... now back with my original one) may not quite manage to catch up

    Anyway, I'm going to be over budget (again) - not by a lot but still ...... hoping (fingers crossed) that the budgets start to balance out a bit soon (toiletries stocked up until end June & a few bits for the rest of the year) so I have no need to spend a lot in May either!

    Will be joining Pennygrabber on trying to spend as little as poss in May (freezers & cupboards are just about overflowing) but it will be more than 40 as my milk spends will be over 30 - will have a think / stock take over the next few days and try to come up with a realistic figure and post it on the May thread.
    Grocery Challenge 211/455 (01/01-31/03)
    2016 Sell: 125/250
    1,000 Emergency Fund Challenge #78 3.96 / 1,000
    Vet Fund: 410.93 / 1,000
    Debt free & determined to stay that way!
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 24th Apr 12, 5:02 PM
    • 3,984 Posts
    • 52,562 Thanks
    Florenceem
    I had 3 NSD's in a row and that makes 10 for April

    Today spent 1.99 in Co*p (3 handwashes Buy1Get2Free) and 16.74 in Lidl - signature update.

    Had the last of my HM bread toasted for brekkie.

    Then baked 3 sorts of cookies for charity fund raising thing, so lunch was a white choccie cookie, a Mars bar cookie and a Snickers cookie......or possibly 1 or 2 more

    Tea was egg fried veggie rice and a shop bought chicken korma - I didnt enjoy it at all!!

    I am so used to my tasty home cooking now, that what I was considering a "treat" was actually tasteless and boring compared to my usual homemade teas these days.

    So boohoo for not enjoying tea but woohoo for my cooking from scratch!

    And I daresay another Snickers cookie will cheer me up!!
    Originally posted by fozziebeartoo
    I find now - that I walk by someone eating chips or a fish/chip shop - smell is so greasy - really don't fancy anything like fast food.
    15 in 2015 1/15
  • Ninno820
    Evening all - just popping in to report a small spend. Truthfully its not a grocery spend - its 5.29 on postage for ebay - but it all comes out of the same budget. (Yes I know that I have been paid the postage into my bank account but this is my little way of saving).
    Dinner tonight is another frozen left over meal- shepherds pie. Its really overcast here but I have managed to mow the lawn at last and am going to hunker down with a nice fire (logs cut from dead bushes in the garden last year - topped up with a little coal to get it going)
    44 day challenge


    1. Pay 650 off overdraft ( 288/ 650)
    2. Lose 12 lbs (4.5/ 12)
    3. Use YNAB everyday (6/44)
    • cattysmum
    • By cattysmum 24th Apr 12, 5:20 PM
    • 1,256 Posts
    • 21,417 Thanks
    cattysmum
    Hello all just popped in for a quick update this is my second NSD in a row so quite pleased eben though there is a 20 TESCO money card burning a hole in my pocket. Lunch of home made bacon, mushroom(which I really needed to use up) and egg pie, it was scrummy. Off now to update siggy!
    [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.
    • jpscloud
    • By jpscloud 24th Apr 12, 5:27 PM
    • 1,446 Posts
    • 11,552 Thanks
    jpscloud
    Popped into the local co-op for mushrooms and got a large pack for 1 - also picked up buy one get two free on the timotei conditioner I use, but that's on a separate budget.

    Spotted another separate budget bargain, in the whoopsie bin - with apologies to any blokes reading - Always ultra nights at 49p a pack! The checkout person said it was a glitch but the manager knew and didn't care, he just wanted to clear them so I bought a fair few

    Feeling better today but still having very strange dietary cravings, hence the urgent need for fresh mushrooms (I have plenty of tinned ) but I'm definitely not pregnant , it's just my age.
    I believe in the freedom of spinach and the right to arm bears.

    Weight loss journey started January 2015
    -32lbs
  • jumblejack
    Just back from Liverpool field trip

    We had bacon, shredded lettuce and mayo sandwiches for dinner so we weren't tempted to buy lunch. Also took a flask of cocoa and apples n bananas.

    It didn't take long to cut some chips and warm up the last of the pork casserole with a few rounds of bread n butter when I got in not long ago

    I need to get some potatoes in so will go Tesco in half an hour and hopefully pick up some reduced. Need to get my thinking cap on as to what to cook for a hot meal tomorrow for my folks.

    I have some cute sausage meat balls which I thought of doing in little bun tins with some batter for mini toad in the holes but I bet they are fed up of sausages: sausage casserole, sausage pie, bangers with cheesy mash n onion gravy, etc

    Will have to save that chestnut for another day!

    Hmm, *scratches head thoughtfully*...
    Last edited by jumblejack; 24-04-2012 at 6:00 PM.
    Every moment is a gift. That's why we call it the present.!
    Grocery Spend Weekly Challenge (Sat-Fri):30.50/40
    • Cool Nanna
    • By Cool Nanna 24th Apr 12, 6:02 PM
    • 39 Posts
    • 911 Thanks
    Cool Nanna
    I had 3 NSD's in a row and that makes 10 for April

    Today spent 1.99 in Co*p (3 handwashes Buy1Get2Free) and 16.74 in Lidl - signature update.

    Had the last of my HM bread toasted for brekkie.

    Then baked 3 sorts of cookies for charity fund raising thing, so lunch was a white choccie cookie, a Mars bar cookie and a Snickers cookie......or possibly 1 or 2 more

    Tea was egg fried veggie rice and a shop bought chicken korma - I didnt enjoy it at all!!

    I am so used to my tasty home cooking now, that what I was considering a "treat" was actually tasteless and boring compared to my usual homemade teas these days.

    So boohoo for not enjoying tea but woohoo for my cooking from scratch!

    And I daresay another Snickers cookie will cheer me up!!
    Originally posted by fozziebeartoo
    Not been around for a while, I am on target for this month but won't declare until Thursday.

    Have you got the recipe for the snickers and mars bar cookies they sound delicious.
    Jan GC 300/296 March GC 375/336
    Feb GC 300/290 April GC 300/270
    May GC 250/273
  • jumblejack
    Oo Oo. I have just had a cheeky thought.....

    I complained a month ago about some rank Holland Pies that spoilt our tea. I cheated and bought these on the way back home from a trip for a quick tea as we had loads of mushy peas (HM of course!) leftover from a night before. The smell from these things was stomach churning. Anyway, the point is that they sent me a 6 postal order that I still have in my purse.

    Q: Would it be naughty to use this 6 on shopping to save me making a total wreck of my Grocery Spend this month? It might reduce the damages?!

    Answers on a postcard please...
    Every moment is a gift. That's why we call it the present.!
    Grocery Spend Weekly Challenge (Sat-Fri):30.50/40
    • fozziebeartoo
    • By fozziebeartoo 24th Apr 12, 6:16 PM
    • 1,564 Posts
    • 12,674 Thanks
    fozziebeartoo
    Oo Oo. I have just had a cheeky thought.....

    I complained a month ago about some rank Holland Pies that spoilt our tea. I cheated and bought these on the way back home from a trip for a quick tea as we had loads of mushy peas (HM of course!) leftover from a night before. The smell from these things was stomach churning. Anyway, the point is that they sent me a 6 postal order that I still have in my purse.

    Q: Would it be naughty to use this 6 on shopping to save me making a total wreck of my Grocery Spend this month? It might reduce the damages?!

    Answers on a postcard please...
    Originally posted by jumblejack

    Not naughty - just sensible!!

    PS. I made your quick microwave choccie sponge and it was delish, thank you!!
    • fozziebeartoo
    • By fozziebeartoo 24th Apr 12, 6:24 PM
    • 1,564 Posts
    • 12,674 Thanks
    fozziebeartoo

    Have you got the recipe for the snickers and mars bar cookies they sound delicious.
    Originally posted by Cool Nanna

    Of course!! And I have to say, they are lovely!!

    My fave basic cookie recipe is this one:-

    http://www.goodtoknow.co.uk/recipes/380762/White-choc-chip-and-hazelnut-cookies

    I make up a batch leaving out the choc and nuts and then add chopped up Snickers or Mars or Dime bar (Daim I think its called now) or chopped dried apricots or mixed fruit or choccie chips or chocolate covered Turkish Delight etc.

    I havent tried Bounty yet but I should think that would be good.

    You just need to keep a close eye on them because of the high sugar content of the "bits".....

    And let them cool for a few minutes on the tray before you transfer them to a cooling tray so the chewy bits can firm up a bit.

    Yum! But mind your fillings.....they can prove very
    chewy
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