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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 57
    • Fiasco55
    • By Fiasco55 25th Apr 12, 3:32 PM
    • 1,345 Posts
    • 15,364 Thanks
    Fiasco55
    Apple pies are done:


    Just 3 Bramley apples in each one (15p for a pack of 6 from Ts - YS)

    Meat n potato pies are now in oven after the pie filling has been thermal cooking all day.

    I'm just beginning to smell them now...
    Originally posted by jumblejack
    Those pies look amazing

    I am having spag Carbonara for dinner tonight. I was planing on a NSD but will be going to the cinema straight from work tonight so I will need to stop in at a shop to get some jucie and maybe a bit of chocolate .
    No buying toiletries Graduated May 2017

    Decluttered 2016 2469 items, 2017 1580 items
    2018 3060 items

    Sealed Pot Challenge No 038
  • abitofhelp
    jumblejack pies look great, hope to make rhubarb pie & crumble at the weekend should they be big enough to pull (& dry enough to go out)
    Grocery Challenge 24th Feb-28 Dec 2012 2000/1404
    18th May- 15th June 2012 100/75
    Dont Throw Food Away 2012 May 5/0
    • Cheapskate
    • By Cheapskate 25th Apr 12, 4:13 PM
    • 1,697 Posts
    • 20,945 Thanks
    Cheapskate
    I'm doing really badly again this month, already about 80 over and still nearly a week to go! Each month I start well, then cr*p happens and/or I get stressed/busy/muddled (not hard in my life ATM!) and it all goes out the window! I have to keep trying though - one day I will get to the end of a month and be WITHIN budget!!! Might start a little higher next month, and draw out cash on a weekly basis - I always manage better with actual money than keeping track of card usage.

    Eldest DS moved out this week, so hoping we spend less on food now by default cos 1 less (hungry!) adult to feed. DH been working late this week, so kids and I have been using up things instead of buying.

    I do keep reading even if I rarely post - always helpful stuff!

    A xo
    Decluttering 713/2019 items this year
    Aug GC 39.77/300
  • helen jelly
    May Grocery challenge is up an running for those who want to post for May :]]

    Helen x
    Projects made for craft fair - 40
    1st fair on 13/4/14
    • Suffolk lass
    • By Suffolk lass 25th Apr 12, 6:50 PM
    • 3,310 Posts
    • 29,414 Thanks
    Suffolk lass
    Florence, STKI is that S0d the kids' inheritance?
    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
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 25th Apr 12, 7:11 PM
    • 3,996 Posts
    • 52,590 Thanks
    Florenceem
    Florence, STKI is that S0d the kids' inheritance?
    Originally posted by Suffolk lass
    I was being polite - Spend The Kid's Inheritance. Nearly had a heart attack as I wrote this - crash/bang from the kitchen - Mr F went to the cupboard - something fell out! Strange how when I go to the cupboard - nothing falls out! Mr F is SO clumsy!
    15 in 2015 1/15
    • PennyGrabber
    • By PennyGrabber 25th Apr 12, 7:14 PM
    • 1,268 Posts
    • 22,438 Thanks
    PennyGrabber
    Wow, the pies look so good! Possibly the stupidest question ever asked, but does it have to be a special 'normal' plate? I so didn't know you could cook stuff on plates!

    NSD today, despite wanting to go to Ms to get some more bread mixes. Thought I'd use the four I have first, or at least a couple of them...

    Going to have the last of a bag of frozen wedges for dinner tonight, then I shall be trying to make my own, a la Florenceem. Flo - do you parboil first?

    Must spend some time tidying up tonight. A friend is coming for a visit on Saturday, and I don't want him to see the house like this! I know he won't mind, but I do! It's just been such a hectic week...

    Off to sort out my clothes for tomorrow, lay them out and get the children's clothes ready. Then I'll make the lunches, and watch tv while eating dinner. Then, I may or may not tidy, depending. I really need to go over some stuff for the interview, but don't want to overdo it. We'll see. I may end up doing the tidying because I'm putting off the work?!!?

    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
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 25th Apr 12, 7:17 PM
    • 3,996 Posts
    • 52,590 Thanks
    Florenceem
    Wow, the pies look so good! Possibly the stupidest question ever asked, but does it have to be a special 'normal' plate? I so didn't know you could cook stuff on plates!

    NSD today, despite wanting to go to Ms to get some more bread mixes. Thought I'd use the four I have first, or at least a couple of them...

    Going to have the last of a bag of frozen wedges for dinner tonight, then I shall be trying to make my own, a la Florenceem. Flo - do you parboil first?

    Must spend some time tidying up tonight. A friend is coming for a visit on Saturday, and I don't want him to see the house like this! I know he won't mind, but I do! It's just been such a hectic week...

    Off to sort out my clothes for tomorrow, lay them out and get the children's clothes ready. Then I'll make the lunches, and watch tv while eating dinner. Then, I may or may not tidy, depending. I really need to go over some stuff for the interview, but don't want to overdo it. We'll see. I may end up doing the tidying because I'm putting off the work?!!?

    Night all,

    PG x
    Originally posted by PennyGrabber
    No - they don't need to be parboiled.
    15 in 2015 1/15
  • jumblejack
    The meat n tatty pies were soooooooo succulent



    I've not long finished mine.

    Pennygrabber, I just use any regular dinner plate for pies.
    No need for extra tins. I do have one pie plate but I don't like to use it as it discolours the bottom of my pies if leftovers remain in it overnight.

    Didn't get to make soup today so will make a roast pepper soup tomorrow as picked up loads tonight for pence
    Every moment is a gift. That's why we call it the present.!
    Grocery Spend Weekly Challenge (Sat-Fri):30.50/40
    • PennyGrabber
    • By PennyGrabber 25th Apr 12, 8:10 PM
    • 1,268 Posts
    • 22,438 Thanks
    PennyGrabber
    Thanks jumble.

    Well, I haven't done anything yet - people keep ringing me to chat about tomorrow. Argh!! I'm off to cook dinner now, and then finish all the other prep. May get to bed by midnight!!

    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
    • NickJW
    • By NickJW 25th Apr 12, 8:20 PM
    • 678 Posts
    • 13,646 Thanks
    NickJW
    I went to M+S today to use up my 15 voucher bought on LivingSocial for 7.

    Ended up spending 20.04. So 7 + the 5.04 extra = 12.04 to add to the total.

    Just got normal things - the offers all seemed to be ready meals which didn't take my fancy. A few curry pastes reduced to clear from 1.89 down to 49p slipped into my basket though. They have a BB of June 2012 and flavours such as Keralan curry and Enchilada sauce so will come in useful.
    Grocery Challenge 14 Jan 14 46.05/130

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

    DFD 1st March 2011
    • meg72
    • By meg72 25th Apr 12, 8:33 PM
    • 5,082 Posts
    • 46,072 Thanks
    meg72
    Just updated signature as 21 to add, went with a neighbour to Asda and ainsburys, the weather is foul so the offer of a lift was great b
    struck lucky for half price reductions in both stores so now have more than enough meat for May, also called in HB and got a 3 apple tree.

    Thinking I am going to declare my kitchen a disaster area and keep out for a few days, I have so far managed to burn a pan of rice, knock a roasting pan with a small joint of beef off the table, and in trying to catch it knock the the crock to my slow cooker off, also
    my Kenwood meat slicer, both broken, lucky the meat tin landed right side up so i can use the beef but I am thinking it turned out to be a very expensive joint.

    Hope everyone is having a better time than me.
    Slimming World at target
    • PennyGrabber
    • By PennyGrabber 25th Apr 12, 8:40 PM
    • 1,268 Posts
    • 22,438 Thanks
    PennyGrabber
    Just updated signature as 21 to add, went with a neighbour to Asda and ainsburys, the weather is foul so the offer of a lift was great b
    struck lucky for half price reductions in both stores so now have more than enough meat for May, also called in HB and got a 3 apple tree.

    Thinking I am going to declare my kitchen a disaster area and keep out for a few days, I have so far managed to burn a pan of rice, knock a roasting pan with a small joint of beef off the table, and in trying to catch it knock the the crock to my slow cooker off, also
    my Kenwood meat slicer, both broken, lucky the meat tin landed right side up so i can use the beef but I am thinking it turned out to be a very expensive joint.

    Hope everyone is having a better time than me.
    Originally posted by meg72

    Oh no!!

    Definitely stay out! It just makes you wonder what the point of being good and careful was!! Make sure you enjoy that meat!
    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
    • zippychick
    • By zippychick 25th Apr 12, 9:09 PM
    • 9,343 Posts
    • 17,889 Thanks
    zippychick
    mays is up!!!!
    A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men
    Norn Iron club member #380

    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 25th Apr 12, 10:28 PM
    • 3,996 Posts
    • 52,590 Thanks
    Florenceem
    The meat n tatty pies were soooooooo succulent



    I've not long finished mine.

    Pennygrabber, I just use any regular dinner plate for pies.
    No need for extra tins. I do have one pie plate but I don't like to use it as it discolours the bottom of my pies if leftovers remain in it overnight.

    Didn't get to make soup today so will make a roast pepper soup tomorrow as picked up loads tonight for pence
    Originally posted by jumblejack
    Can you share the recipe please? Look yummy.
    15 in 2015 1/15
    • fozziebeartoo
    • By fozziebeartoo 26th Apr 12, 7:41 AM
    • 1,566 Posts
    • 12,676 Thanks
    fozziebeartoo
    Good Morning everyone....yet another horrible wet day here!

    Today will be a NSD because I have DGS for the day but no buggy and the thought of trying to control a 2 year old with all those puddles is

    Today will be my 12th NSD which is great but also shocking that I could spend so much on the other days

    Just has a HM yorky pudding for brekkie made them for tea and planning on re-heating but I am HOPELESS at them. I am a good cook but yorkers defeat me everytime, so thought I had better try one......mediocre to say the least

    Lunch will be LO HM bread, LO little tin of M&S ham (surprisingly tasty) and yogurt.

    Tea is a YS/whoopsied stuffed turkey breast joint, frozen roasties, HM yorkers, carrots, peas, sweetcorn, green beans (from freezer) and lots of gravy to disguise my yorkers

    This is a real trial for me, when I have anyone round for tea, I feel compelled to spend, spend, spend (even if it is just family) and I think this is the 1st time EVER (and I am 52!!!) I have done an entire meal including pudding with stuff I already had in the house.......

    It feels very weird.

    But also very MSE
  • jumblejack
    Can you share the recipe please? Look yummy.
    Originally posted by Florenceem
    Aww. Thanks

    The method is really simple.

    I fried plenty of onions.
    Added the cubed steak (YS casserole steak in this one) and fried off with the onions.
    Then I added small cubed potatoes (YS organic baby new potatoes with skin left on in this case). I fried these for a couple of minutes too.
    Then I added stock and PLENTY of black pepper and a bit of salt.

    Left it to cook slowly (mine cooked for around 5-6 hrs in the thermal cooker).

    I made up a big batch of shortcrust pastry (as I also made a couple of apple pies) and I made one proper plate pie for my folks and just a topped pie (a casserole dish full of filling but topped with pastry lid) for us.

    Eggy wash on the top and a sprinkling of salt before it went in the oven.


    For breakfast this morning we had HM banana porridge with a bit of ginger and golden syrup. It's a good way of using bananas up and keeps you from snacking mid morning.
    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 26th Apr 12, 8:27 AM
    • 4,369 Posts
    • 30,042 Thanks
    tessie bear
    hi...going to have shepherds pie for tea and a nice pudding but have yet to decide what that will be....going to spend the day cleaning up the house and planning some meals for next week...oh need to check what is cheap in lidl this weekend

    take care tess
    onwards and upwards
  • jumblejack
    hi...going to have shepherds pie for tea and a nice pudding but have yet to decide what that will be....going to spend the day cleaning up the house and planning some meals for next week...oh need to check what is cheap in lidl this weekend

    take care tess
    Originally posted by tessie bear
    Lidl Half Price Weekend offers 28th-29th April

    Fresh British Chicken mini fillets 375g was 2.29 now 1.14

    Dulano Premium Kabanossi (smoked turkey & pork or smoked pork) 2 pack was 1.89 now 94p

    Fresh Cucumber was 79p now 39p
    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 26th Apr 12, 11:47 AM
    • 3,996 Posts
    • 52,590 Thanks
    Florenceem
    Aww. Thanks

    The method is really simple.

    I fried plenty of onions.
    Added the cubed steak (YS casserole steak in this one) and fried off with the onions.
    Then I added small cubed potatoes (YS organic baby new potatoes with skin left on in this case). I fried these for a couple of minutes too.
    Then I added stock and PLENTY of black pepper and a bit of salt.

    Left it to cook slowly (mine cooked for around 5-6 hrs in the thermal cooker).

    I made up a big batch of shortcrust pastry (as I also made a couple of apple pies) and I made one proper plate pie for my folks and just a topped pie (a casserole dish full of filling but topped with pastry lid) for us.

    Eggy wash on the top and a sprinkling of salt before it went in the oven.


    For breakfast this morning we had HM banana porridge with a bit of ginger and golden syrup. It's a good way of using bananas up and keeps you from snacking mid morning.
    Originally posted by jumblejack
    What's the idea of sprinkling salt on top of the pie - I wouldn't be doing that - don't use salt.
    15 in 2015 1/15
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