Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

Welcome to the MSE Forums

We're home to a fantastic community of MoneySavers but anyone can post. Please exercise caution & report spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts/messages: click "report" or email forumteam@.

Search
  • 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 fifth 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:
    April 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; 19-04-2012 at 5:45 PM.
    A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men
    Norn Iron club member #380

Page 12
  • Teatime
    A quick welcome to both of you
    SL
    Originally posted by Suffolk lass
    Thanks Suffolk Lass.

    I think joining in with the challenges will make me much more likely to stick at it - have been struggling along trying to do it on my own for a while now.
    • ClaireT13
    • By ClaireT13 29th Apr 12, 5:50 PM
    • 220 Posts
    • 3,462 Thanks
    ClaireT13
    Evening All

    Just popping in to register a NSD today
    Will be all change tomorrow as need to do a big Mr T's shop.

    Will update sig.

    Claire
    • tessie bear
    • By tessie bear 29th Apr 12, 5:58 PM
    • 4,320 Posts
    • 29,747 Thanks
    tessie bear
    thank u for thoughts on the frozen veg....i will try it over the next week and see if it suits us....thinking about doing the below the line thing so it might come in useful

    ta tess
    onwards and upwards
    • craigywv
    • By craigywv 29th Apr 12, 6:04 PM
    • 1,976 Posts
    • 27,825 Thanks
    craigywv
    Hi Craig. The choccy fudge recipe is more a 'made by eye' cake. The only thing I weigh are the cake ingredients to get the ratio right.

    If its a cake for a dinner party then out comes my large tin. It would be a 6oz of each:butter, sugar. Then 3 eggs. Finally, 1oz of cocoa and 5 of SR flour.

    This takes an age in my oven so I only do large cakes for special occasions!

    The topping is lush but is done without scales. I couldn't even guess the measurements as it is just added bit by bit til it's right.

    Basically it is butter which I melt in a pan. This is removed from the heat and then I add milk to it.

    In a bowl I seive cocoa powder and icing sugar then I add the butter n milk mixture and mix with a wooden spoon. It it's too dry, I keep adding a little milk until it is shiny and a spreadable thickness.

    When the cake is cooled, I half it into 2 pieces. The spread goes in between the layers and is spread on the top and sides.

    When it is cooled it is nice with cream but I like it best served on individual plates which can be nuked for a few seconds. It comes out with a steamy moist sponge and the topping begins to remelt almost into a sauce.

    Serve immediately to your guests with icecream!

    If you were doing this just for family (so the look of it is not important) then experiment doing a 2 min micro cake. The topping method can be done on a tiny scale instead of using nearly a full big box of icing sugar!

    Originally posted by jumblejack
    thank-you for that i shall be giving it a go
  • fuzzyfelt
    Hi, I'm returning after a long hiatus! Our spending has gradually spiralled, so hoping to get on track again. Just the two of us, and a moggy, but we do love our food. Please me put me down for 250 for starters this month....hoping I can bring this down further, but one step at a time.
    • Fiasco55
    • By Fiasco55 29th Apr 12, 6:14 PM
    • 1,345 Posts
    • 15,364 Thanks
    Fiasco55
    Popped to HB today and spent 19.57. Got loads of bits and pieces. Making chicken enchaladas for dinner to use up some stuff that is almost at UB date.
    No buying toiletries Graduated May 2017

    Decluttered 2016 2469 items, 2017 1580 items
    2018 3060 items

    Sealed Pot Challenge No 038
  • jumblejack
    No photos today I'm afraid as I cooked at my folks' house.
    Dad put the chicken in ready for me to finish off
    I made yorkie puds but on a tin plate as my mum hadn't got a muffin tray.
    Also had stuffing, roast and mash potatoes and veggies:brussels, carrots n cabbage.
    Choc orange 2 min micro cake ust added orange zest m juice to the cake mix) served with choc custard.

    Hope everyone has had a lovely weekend.

    Every moment is a gift. That's why we call it the present.!
    Grocery Spend Weekly Challenge (Sat-Fri):30.50/40
  • abitofhelp
    Evening all, late logging on today. Have updated sig, i now have a laughable 16 left from my enforced 100 budget. We shall see by how much i will go over. Spent less than 8 in asda last night, i'm pleased with that. Spent over 20 in farm shop this morning though. Well stocked up though with fruit & veg, i wont need eggs for the next couple of weeks, so i really shouldnt go over by much. Roast beef and hm yorkies for lunch, enough left over for same lunch next sunday. Apple crisp & custard to follow. i also made soup and chilli corn bread for this evening but we are all full so it will do for lunches for the next couple of days. best wishes to all.
    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 29th Apr 12, 6:22 PM
    • 3,984 Posts
    • 52,562 Thanks
    Florenceem
    No photos today I'm afraid as I cooked at my folks' house.
    Dad put the chicken in ready for me to finish off
    I made yorkie puds but on a tin plate as my mum hadn't got a muffin tray.
    Also had stuffing, roast and mash potatoes and veggies:brussels, carrots n cabbage.
    Choc orange 2 min micro cake ust added orange zest m juice to the cake mix) served with choc custard.

    Hope everyone has had a lovely weekend.

    Originally posted by jumblejack
    Dinner sounds good! How do you make the choc custard please?
    15 in 2015 1/15
    • craigywv
    • By craigywv 29th Apr 12, 6:24 PM
    • 1,976 Posts
    • 27,825 Thanks
    craigywv
    Evening all, late logging on today. Have updated sig, i now have a laughable 16 left from my enforced 100 budget. We shall see by how much i will go over. Spent less than 8 in asda last night, i'm pleased with that. Spent over 20 in farm shop this morning though. Well stocked up though with fruit & veg, i wont need eggs for the next couple of weeks, so i really shouldnt go over by much. Roast beef and hm yorkies for lunch, enough left over for same lunch next sunday. Apple crisp & custard to follow. i also made soup and chilli corn bread for this evening but we are all full so it will do for lunches for the next couple of days. best wishes to all.
    Originally posted by abitofhelp
    Hi, how do you make the chilli corn bread pls it sounds yummmmmmmmmmm
    • Pixie Fairydust
    • By Pixie Fairydust 29th Apr 12, 6:28 PM
    • 259 Posts
    • 3,705 Thanks
    Pixie Fairydust
    Another 18.50 spent over the weekend nothing much to show for it.............. I'm really starting to see where my money goes...... its going over to our local shop for bits and pieces (most of which are junk)

    That has definately got to stop!

    Off to update my sig, meal plan for the week and watch CSI

    Enjoy what's left of the weekend. We have a tiny patch of blue sky here

    Pix
    It's the most wonderful time of the year!
    Bears, Beets, Battlestar Galactica!
    I wish you were here.
    But you're not, you're there.
    And there doesn't know how lucky it is.


  • abitofhelp
    Hi, how do you make the chilli corn bread pls it sounds yummmmmmmmmmm
    Originally posted by craigywv
    450g cornmeal
    225g wholemeal flour
    1tbsp baking powder
    1/2 tsp salt
    2tsp honey
    2 eggs
    4 tbsp oil
    450ml milk
    small tin sweetcorn
    1 chopped chill
    150g grated cheese

    mix flours,baking powder,salt,chilli & cheese in a large bowl. mix 1 egg, honey, oil, milk & tin of sweet corn together. add to dry ingredients. mix well together, knead until the dough is soft & pliable. divide into 2 or 3 balls. shape into short fat french stick shapes, beat the remaining egg and brush on top. cover with cling film & leave for 15 minutes, bake for approx 30 mins at 220c/425f/gas 7.

    i made them to go with soup, but we also have them with chilli, in fact i might even have them with toasted cheese.mmmmmmmm
    Grocery Challenge 24th Feb-28 Dec 2012 2000/1404
    18th May- 15th June 2012 100/75
    Dont Throw Food Away 2012 May 5/0
    • craigywv
    • By craigywv 29th Apr 12, 6:53 PM
    • 1,976 Posts
    • 27,825 Thanks
    craigywv
    Hi, just thought i would say what i spent today....went to car boot sale got 2 tubes of smokey bacon pringles IN DATE TILL OCT !!! for a pound!! 5 mars bars for a pound also ID got 18 bags of crisps ID 3 pack cadburys buttons got 3 of those for a pound market man also threw in loads of freebies packet of wine gums, few tubes smartie sooooooooooo i have hidden these in my store cupboard for our holiday to cyprus at end of june, dont plan on buying anything other than evening meal when away.....its not a new idea to us we just never have bought breakfasts and lunches as we all prefer to bring our own cereal and ham,pickles butter stuff like that i would get a shop over there firsy day of bread, milk salad stuff eggs and we mostly have salads and toasty bag toastys, and then enjoy our main meal at night . I know some people think thats the whole part of going away well my mum does !! i dont like chips etc all the time and my son prefers the tins of hotdogs we bring or beans and toast, i do love the fruit abroad so does oh and son so we spend approx 30 quid and this does us with the exception of cold drinks (i dont buy at the pool either) do buy icecreams for the boy though, oh gets the odd beer but i dont drink im a bore, but i do like a good time!! so have started my holiday treats box last week , was in HB got noodles and pasta in sauce packs sons favvvvvvvvvv, so im starting!! anyway back to bootsale also got 2 medium sized quiche dishes for 50p each well pleased!!!oh got a tv combi/cd player for 5 quid silver now ontop of fridge freezer works perfect also got massive soda bread flour bag mr t sells it for near 3 quid got it for a pound dated nov so overall a great cheap day out.
    • craigywv
    • By craigywv 29th Apr 12, 6:56 PM
    • 1,976 Posts
    • 27,825 Thanks
    craigywv
    450g cornmeal
    225g wholemeal flour
    1tbsp baking powder
    1/2 tsp salt
    2tsp honey
    2 eggs
    4 tbsp oil
    450ml milk
    small tin sweetcorn
    1 chopped chill
    150g grated cheese

    mix flours,baking powder,salt,chilli & cheese in a large bowl. mix 1 egg, honey, oil, milk & tin of sweet corn together. add to dry ingredients. mix well together, knead until the dough is soft & pliable. divide into 2 or 3 balls. shape into short fat french stick shapes, beat the remaining egg and brush on top. cover with cling film & leave for 15 minutes, bake for approx 30 mins at 220c/425f/gas 7.

    i made them to go with soup, but we also have them with chilli, in fact i might even have them with toasted cheese.mmmmmmmm
    Originally posted by abitofhelp
    YAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY i can FINALLY use the large bag of cornmeal my sister bought me i thrilled (i need to get a life!!) thanks for the recipe tytytytytyty
  • abitofhelp
    YAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY i can FINALLY use the large bag of cornmeal my sister bought me i thrilled (i need to get a life!!) thanks for the recipe tytytytytyty
    Originally posted by craigywv
    a bag of opened cornmeal was the reason i made it todayhope you enjoy.
    also you have a life an mse one.
    Grocery Challenge 24th Feb-28 Dec 2012 2000/1404
    18th May- 15th June 2012 100/75
    Dont Throw Food Away 2012 May 5/0
    • PennyGrabber
    • By PennyGrabber 29th Apr 12, 7:36 PM
    • 1,268 Posts
    • 22,438 Thanks
    PennyGrabber
    I'm definitely going to be trying some of the recipes on the first page as my son has asked that wednesday be our 'try something new day' this week I'm going to be making my first ever risotto, which I have to say I'm a little bit scared about lol
    Originally posted by Gorgeestwo
    Loving the idea of the try something new day! I always tell myself I'll do that, and never do! I aim for once a month, and have only done it once this year - risotto!!

    It's dead easy to do. I boiled the kettle and did one stock cube into boiled water, in one saucepan to keep it warm. Then, in the other pan, I fried of some chicken (really small pieces, one breast was enough for the three of us!) and onion. Then added the rice for a minute, and a few herbs (forgot them the second time, still nice). Then, add the stock a ladle at a time, until the rice is done, adding a load of peas/sweetcorn partway through. Takes about 20 mins start to finish, and it's now one of my quick weekday meals. HTH

    I found out I'm pregnant a few weeks ago and have been very tired so may not be able to post regularly but will try to read the thread regularly and will definitely report at the end of May (I find that doing these help me keeping on track so thank you all!). Good luck everyone and thanks to everyone who keeps this thread going!!
    Originally posted by bikelesschick
    Congrats!!

    YAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY i can FINALLY use the large bag of cornmeal my sister bought me i thrilled (i need to get a life!!) thanks for the recipe tytytytytyty
    Originally posted by craigywv
    I have a bag of cornmeal, I want to make English muffins, and it says to cover them in cornmeal before cooking. Now I have two things to try with it! Thanks.

    BTW - you have a life, and it's a life that is made better by the fact that you refuse to give the sms all your hard earned money!!
    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
    • nmlc
    • By nmlc 29th Apr 12, 7:42 PM
    • 3,422 Posts
    • 47,906 Thanks
    nmlc
    Evening all

    Just a quick update of the spends - 4.99 on bottle of plonk, not really necessary but very much enjoyed! Lunch went down well, lamb roasted beautifully, so had roast lamb, roast potatoes, mash, cauli/brocc cheese, carrots, green beans, peas, yorkshires, and gravy - LO's in the fridge to be cleared up possibly Tues eve, as Hairdresser is coming and I need something I can do quickly/doesn't need too much attention. Will update my signature shortly. Think it's becoming apparent where the extra spends are coming from!

    Have a good evening, keep safe and well x
    nmlc x
    WEIGHTLOSS SINCE JUNE 2009 - 5 ST 2LB
  • jumblejack
    Dinner sounds good! How do you make the choc custard please?
    Originally posted by Florenceem
    I didn't

    I have a wee stash of chocolate ambrosia custards which were glitching at 11p a year ago.

    I don't think I've ever made it from scratch. I love this stuff though so would love to hear how some folk on here make it
    Every moment is a gift. That's why we call it the present.!
    Grocery Spend Weekly Challenge (Sat-Fri):30.50/40
  • jumblejack
    450g cornmeal
    225g wholemeal flour
    1tbsp baking powder
    1/2 tsp salt
    2tsp honey
    2 eggs
    4 tbsp oil
    450ml milk
    small tin sweetcorn
    1 chopped chill
    150g grated cheese

    mix flours,baking powder,salt,chilli & cheese in a large bowl. mix 1 egg, honey, oil, milk & tin of sweet corn together. add to dry ingredients. mix well together, knead until the dough is soft & pliable. divide into 2 or 3 balls. shape into short fat french stick shapes, beat the remaining egg and brush on top. cover with cling film & leave for 15 minutes, bake for approx 30 mins at 220c/425f/gas 7.

    i made them to go with soup, but we also have them with chilli, in fact i might even have them with toasted cheese.mmmmmmmm
    Originally posted by abitofhelp
    This is RIGHT up my street

    I am definitely planning to put this one in my book.

    I love quick bake breads. This sounds super tasty
    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 29th Apr 12, 8:10 PM
    • 3,984 Posts
    • 52,562 Thanks
    Florenceem
    Sunday.
    NSD here.

    We had Chinese chicken, rice with peas and side salad - celery, cucumber, onion,rocket and tomato for dinner. Enough salad left for Mr F - tomorrow lunch time.

    15 in 2015 1/15
Welcome to our new Forum!

Our aim is to save you money quickly and easily. We hope you like it!

Forum Team Contact us

Live Stats

3,396Posts Today

4,544Users online

Martin's Twitter
  • It's the weekend, it's the weekend, yay. It's that moment, when as usual, to sign off for family time. So I bid y? https://t.co/2RYRnz3fEe

  • Actually the BBC was set up to "educate, entertain and inform" so I think it is one of its responsibilities and cle? https://t.co/HMP4Q2Uptu

  • Today's FRI twitter poll: Puritanical new laws by Tories/Labour/EU/Trump/Putin (pick ur own scapegoat) dictate mode? https://t.co/3LW55tFGJ9

  • Follow Martin