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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 60
  • jumblejack
    Hi, have been lurking on here most days this month and have really enjoyed it, especially the photos put up by Florenceam, she has inspired me a great deal. however, not used to all the slang yet, can work out most but what is YS (which supermarket) probably one we don't have where I live I suppose.
    Originally posted by Teg-Rem
    YS means Yellow Stickered, otherwise known as 'whoopsied' or reduced items

    Well, my folks had herby omelette topped with Mexicana cheese and grilled to finish off. This was served with tiny roasted potatoes and cabbage n carrots.

    Pud was a 2 minute microwave sponge with an overripe banana mixed into the mixture. (With custard of course!)

    I'm just about to make up some cheats herby bread to go with the soup I made yesterday for our tea.

    Will declare April's final figure tonight.
    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 27th Apr 12, 3:48 PM
    • 1,566 Posts
    • 12,676 Thanks
    fozziebeartoo
    I'm just about to make up some cheats herby bread to go with the soup I made yesterday for our tea.

    Will declare April's final figure tonight.
    Originally posted by jumblejack

    Is that the one you said could be used like a dumpling jj?

    If so, I'd love to know how you make it please
    • Teg-Rem
    • By Teg-Rem 27th Apr 12, 3:48 PM
    • 96 Posts
    • 305 Thanks
    Teg-Rem
    thanks Jumblejack, how wrong could I have been. will keep lurking though I thoroughly enjoy it. just humble old fish fingers with chips n peas for us for tea, nothing very inspirational i'm afraid.
  • jumblejack
    Is that the one you said could be used like a dumpling jj?

    If so, I'd love to know how you make it please
    Originally posted by fozziebeartoo
    It most certainly is!!!

    There are hardly any recipes that I write down and use but this is one of em that I LOVE. Makes the tastiest dumplings ever. Even better than my suet ones!

    When I have made the 'bread', I will post pics AND recipe. It's kind of like a savoury scone mix.
    Every moment is a gift. That's why we call it the present.!
    Grocery Spend Weekly Challenge (Sat-Fri):30.50/40
  • jumblejack
    Here you go.

    I've dug it out as I am about to prepare it myself...

    JJ's Herby Cheese Bread

    Mix ingredients together in this order below with a fork until it forms into a ball, then finish with clean hands:


    8oz SR flour

    1.5ox fat

    4oz grated cheese

    Handful of herbs (I prefer chives)

    1 egg

    1/4 pint of milk

    1 tsp mustard.


    If too wet add more flour, if too dry add more milk.

    Method for bread to accompany a soup:


    Pat/roll it into a circle on a tray.

    Cut it into 6 wedges and slightly part them.

    Glaze with egg or milk.

    Looks like this as they go in the oven:

    15 mins or until golden around 200 degrees
    Then it should look like this (mmmmm, smell that!):

    Verdict: Nom!


    Method for dumplings:

    Roll into 6 (or more if you want smaller ones) balls and add to a simmering stew.

    Pop back into oven with the lid off and allow to cook in the liquid.
    Cooking time depends on the temperature I'd oven and size of the dumplings. I usually leave em in a good 20 mins.
    Last edited by jumblejack; 27-04-2012 at 5:52 PM.
    Every moment is a gift. That's why we call it the present.!
    Grocery Spend Weekly Challenge (Sat-Fri):30.50/40
    • rising from the ashes
    • By rising from the ashes 27th Apr 12, 4:38 PM
    • 12,321 Posts
    • 59,551 Thanks
    rising from the ashes
    Sorry to be MIA. It has been a really strange time the last week or so. But after much to-ing and fro-ing and several interviews and discussions my DH has been offered a job... in Abu Dhabi. So sometime in August we will be emigrating . So As from next month I will be trying to rein my spending in as much as possible to save for passports and such.
    Originally posted by tigerfeet2006
    Ohhhhhhh wow! Absolutely wonderful news ...... totally life-changing - how fab for the whole family .... wow! Really, really chuffed for you all!

    And ..... once you're there / settled - please pop in an let us know about the different foods there are / prices etc (I'd certainly find that really interesting and sure others would) .... always room for more recipes!


    ETA ..... big *sigh*
    Last edited by rising from the ashes; 27-04-2012 at 4:41 PM.
    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!
    • Cool Nanna
    • By Cool Nanna 27th Apr 12, 5:14 PM
    • 39 Posts
    • 911 Thanks
    Cool Nanna
    Declaring for April. 270, I am really pleased with myself. I am sure I can do even better so I am going to try even harder next month.
    Jan GC 300/296 March GC 375/336
    Feb GC 300/290 April GC 300/270
    May GC 250/273
    • fozziebeartoo
    • By fozziebeartoo 27th Apr 12, 5:22 PM
    • 1,566 Posts
    • 12,676 Thanks
    fozziebeartoo
    Here you go.

    I've dug it out as I am about to prepare it myself...

    JJ's Herby Cheese Bread

    Mix ingredients together in this order below with a fork until it forms into a ball, then finish with clean hands:


    8oz SR flour

    1.5ox fat

    4oz grated cheese

    Handful of herbs (I prefer chives)

    1 egg

    1/4 pint of milk

    1 tsp mustard.
    Originally posted by jumblejack

    Mmmmmm....thank you jj, they look and sound lovely!

    Will definitely give them a try.

    I made my 1st ever non-suet dumplings last week and they were good and MUCH more filling then the usual ones I make, so I ate a lot less......and DGD (aged 2) who would happily eat a plate of dumplings for tea, could only manage a couple too

    ***I am out of SR flour - anyone got a simple way of remembering how much BP I need to add to plain flour to make it SR? I usually just add a heaped or a flat teaspoon, depending on how much flour there is.....but I daresay there is a "proper" way to do it???***
  • jumblejack
    My bp says 3 level tea spoons to 8oz flour
    Every moment is a gift. That's why we call it the present.!
    Grocery Spend Weekly Challenge (Sat-Fri):30.50/40
    • Save Dosh
    • By Save Dosh 27th Apr 12, 5:32 PM
    • 1,329 Posts
    • 15,828 Thanks
    Save Dosh
    Jumblejack - OMG that bread looks so nice, will defo be trying them.
    August GC - Food 55.56/80 Alcohol 17.24/20
    Bulk Funds - Food 19.73
    -
    Save 12k in 2019 1,300/5,000 - #155
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 27th Apr 12, 5:39 PM
    • 3,996 Posts
    • 52,590 Thanks
    Florenceem
    Here you go.

    I've dug it out as I am about to prepare it myself...

    JJ's Herby Cheese Bread

    Mix ingredients together in this order below with a fork until it forms into a ball, then finish with clean hands:


    8oz SR flour

    1.5ox fat

    4oz grated cheese

    Handful of herbs (I prefer chives)

    1 egg

    1/4 pint of milk

    1 tsp mustard.


    If too wet add more flour, if too dry add more milk.

    Method for bread to accompany a soup:


    Pat/roll it into a circle on a tray.

    Cut it into 6 wedges and slightly part them.

    Glaze with egg or milk.

    Looks like this as they go in the oven:

    15 mins or until golden around 200 degrees
    Then it should look like this (mmmmm, smell that!):

    Method for dumplings:

    Verdict: Nom!


    Roll into 6 (or more if you want smaller ones) balls and add to a simmering stew.

    Pop back into oven with the lid off and allow to cook in the liquid.
    Cooking time depends on the temperature I'd oven and size of the dumplings. I usually leave em in a good 20 mins.
    Originally posted by jumblejack
    I don't have any fresh herbs - I suppose I could try using dried?
    15 in 2015 1/15
  • jumblejack
    Jumblejack - OMG that bread looks so nice, will defo be trying them.
    Originally posted by Save Dosh
    Cheers

    I must admit, it is my favourite soup bread.

    The smell had the youngest flying down the stairs shouting, "Mmmmm, what's for tea."

    Every moment is a gift. That's why we call it the present.!
    Grocery Spend Weekly Challenge (Sat-Fri):30.50/40
    • Kylieminoag
    • By Kylieminoag 27th Apr 12, 5:45 PM
    • 159 Posts
    • 2,649 Thanks
    Kylieminoag


    Payday!

    I'm declaring April a total success and moving on to May now...... see you on the other side everyone. Hope the rest of the money lasts the rest of the month for you all

    TTFN
    DFWNerd 1417
    MFW by 2018 Jan 2012 186,000 Sept 2015 50,000
  • jumblejack
    I don't have any fresh herbs - I suppose I could try using dried?
    Originally posted by Florenceem
    Absolutely. I regularly use dried. The Tesco value, 20p a tub stuff!

    Just as nice.
    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 27th Apr 12, 5:50 PM
    • 3,996 Posts
    • 52,590 Thanks
    Florenceem
    Cheers

    I must admit, it is my favourite soup bread.

    The smell had the youngest flying down the stairs shouting, "Mmmmm, what's for tea."

    Originally posted by jumblejack
    Forgot to ask - what sort of fat please?
    15 in 2015 1/15
    • craigywv
    • By craigywv 27th Apr 12, 5:52 PM
    • 1,976 Posts
    • 27,825 Thanks
    craigywv
    Absolutely. I regularly use dried. The Tesco value, 20p a tub stuff!

    Just as nice.
    Originally posted by jumblejack
    LOVE THE BREAD!!! recipe just put into recipe book with FLORENCEEMS stuff, can i pls ask you what FAT it is you use please? also does anyone else know does M&S do YS in morning time or are they late at night,my mum wants to know pls thanks.
    • miffy257
    • By miffy257 27th Apr 12, 5:54 PM
    • 889 Posts
    • 7,648 Thanks
    miffy257
    Well came in on budget for April so as soon as Monday comes will start May budget. Will have to do a freezer dive until then and see what we have left.
    Congratulations to MR Tigerfeet on his new job- it will be life changing but keep logging on so we can hear all your news.
    180.00 in 'sistercas'fund
    Hope is like the sun, which, as we journey toward it, casts the shadow of our burden behind us.
    Samuel Smiles
  • jumblejack
    Forgot to ask - what sort of fat please?
    Originally posted by Florenceem
    ANY!

    I used utterly butterly but any butter, spread, suet or reserved fat from a roast would work.
    Every moment is a gift. That's why we call it the present.!
    Grocery Spend Weekly Challenge (Sat-Fri):30.50/40
    • Save Dosh
    • By Save Dosh 27th Apr 12, 6:09 PM
    • 1,329 Posts
    • 15,828 Thanks
    Save Dosh
    LOVE THE BREAD!!! recipe just put into recipe book with FLORENCEEMS stuff, can i pls ask you what FAT it is you use please? also does anyone else know does M&S do YS in morning time or are they late at night,my mum wants to know pls thanks.
    Originally posted by craigywv
    I think my experience of sms is they vary, my local m&s ys about an hour or two before closing time and then again further reductions about 1/2 hour before closing, hth

    I don't end my month till Monday, but am going to put anymore spends on May, as its all surplus to requirements. See you over the other side, its such a shame the thread has to be split like this, surely there is another way to do it.
    August GC - Food 55.56/80 Alcohol 17.24/20
    Bulk Funds - Food 19.73
    -
    Save 12k in 2019 1,300/5,000 - #155
    • Aldahbra
    • By Aldahbra 27th Apr 12, 6:23 PM
    • 315 Posts
    • 3,684 Thanks
    Aldahbra
    I've got a serving bowl of cooked pasta which is uneaten. What can I do with it?
    "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
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