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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 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 19
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 1st May 12, 10:33 PM
    • 3,984 Posts
    • 52,562 Thanks
    Florenceem
    Tuesday.
    NSD here.
    We had HM sausage pie with roast potatoes/ roast parsnip, carrots, onions, peas and baked onion.
    I did some more baking while the oven was on - all ingredients I had in - so no shopping required.
    Photo of baking in next post.

    15 in 2015 1/15
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 1st May 12, 10:36 PM
    • 3,984 Posts
    • 52,562 Thanks
    Florenceem
    Muffins.
    I made a batch of 12 Cherry and Coconut Muffins - all in the freezer now!

    Cost to make - 75p - not costed in glace cherries/coconut - haven't bought any for ages so no idea of prices. The glace cherries I used were 2009 - no idea about the coconut - it was in a sealed food storage container - fine!

    Flavourings of choice for Muffins - can use tired orange/lemon - or sultana/raisin/chocolate chip etc.

    15 in 2015 1/15
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 1st May 12, 11:09 PM
    • 3,984 Posts
    • 52,562 Thanks
    Florenceem
    Wednesday.
    I have some leftover cooked rump steak - not much of it! I will do some roasted veggies and potatoes with it for dinner. I plan a NSD!
    15 in 2015 1/15
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 1st May 12, 11:29 PM
    • 3,984 Posts
    • 52,562 Thanks
    Florenceem
    Almond Cakes recipe.
    6 ozs self raising flour.
    pinch of salt.
    3 oz baking margarine/butter. ( I use baking marge. )
    3 oz caster sugar plus 1 rounded tablespoon.
    1 standard egg beaten. ( Old recipe size egg. )
    1/2 teaspoon almond essence.
    6 blanched almonds.

    Sift flour/salt in bowl + rub in marge/butter. Stir in 3 oz sugar + make a hollow in centre of mixture. Add egg and essence. Mix to soft dough.
    ( I used a small egg so my mixture was dry - added some extra essence plus did end of mixing with hand.)
    Divide dough into 12. Shape in to balls + roll in the extra caster sugar. Place on greased/non stick baking tray - I use two trays.
    I slightly flatten ball. Split almonds in half - piece on each cake.
    Bake for 15 - 20 minutes at 190c - do not overbrown - spoils flavour. Cool on wire tray.
    Makes 12 cakes.
    15 in 2015 1/15
  • rosieben
    Suffolk lass, I've added your Rosanna Sauce recipe to the list

    Florenceem, I've added your Almond cakes recipe too
    ... don't throw the string away. You always need string!

    C.R.A.P.R.O.L.L.Z Head Sharpener
    • MissOrganised1972
    • By MissOrganised1972 2nd May 12, 12:02 AM
    • 174 Posts
    • 3,644 Thanks
    MissOrganised1972
    Game - guess how old Florenceem is?
    Originally posted by Florenceem
    64?



    Spiced chicken with chickpeas was lovely but recipe for 4 fed DH & me!! So, not a cheap recipe!

    Shopping list ready for tomorrow. Will be A!di then T*sco if needs be.

    Night night
    2017 GC O-93.46/160; S-136.26/160; A-130.55/160; J-47.12/160;
    J-106.63/190; M-70.29/160; A-197.88/180; M-219.35/180; F-294.14/160; J-168.67/160
    2016 GC 2322.39/2285; GC-2012-2015 - 9789.91/7773!
    for 2 adults & 2 kids (13 & 11) for all food,toiletries,cleaners etc



  • thrifty-gal26
    My first NSD

    Will be picking up a few bits tomorrow. Going to the doctors and have to get a taxi so making the most of the trip. Just going to Aldi and greengrocers to get fruit and veg to last a few days.

    Will try my hardest to stick to list!!!
    Debt 2010 74,000 Debt 2012 42,000 Debt Jan 2013 38558 Baby boy born 19/05/2012
    • iQueen
    • By iQueen 2nd May 12, 1:45 AM
    • 811 Posts
    • 20,201 Thanks
    iQueen
    I made a batch of 12 Cherry and Coconut Muffins - all in the freezer now!

    Cost to make - 75p - not costed in glace cherries/coconut - haven't bought any for ages so no idea of prices. The glace cherries I used were 2009 - no idea about the coconut - it was in a sealed food storage container - fine!

    Flavourings of choice for Muffins - can use tired orange/lemon - or sultana/raisin/chocolate chip etc.
    Originally posted by Florenceem
    Aiming to make these tomorrow, Flo - I have exactly the right ingredients: ancient cherries and coconut!

    Another thrifty (and absolutely DELICIOUS) flavouring:

    Next time you squeeze, or eat an orange, put the peel, in rough pieces, into a saucepan and boil in water, changing the water 3 times (to get rid of bitterness). Mix up a syrup of equal quantities (by weight or volume) of white sugar and water, by gently heating till the sugar has dissolved. Add the drained pieces of peel and simmer very gently until the peel is transparent. Remove the peel and leave to dry on baking parchment. Pack into an airtight jar. Use a piece, chopped finely, for flavouring, cakes, puddings, biscuits, sauces, meat dishes, et cetera.

    If cut into slices. and dipped in melted chocolate, it makes an excellent sweet treat.

    Also, all other citrus peel can be candied.

    Much more flavour than any bought candied peel! No waste, and saving money too.
    Needs, NOT wants!
    No food waste since November 2010.
    No debts.
    • jedi82
    • By jedi82 2nd May 12, 7:00 AM
    • 406 Posts
    • 3,548 Thanks
    jedi82
    Good morning all, had an NSD yesterday as three poorly kids at home and a poorly mummy too. All three are off again today but going to take one to the docs and so will have a walk to the beach to give us all some fresh air (and the weather is beautiful today). So, probably won't be a NSD as will need more calpol (boots own version) and I am a sucker for getting them a treat if they are poorly.

    Dinner tonight is sorted - prawn risotto with brown rice (as DH says we have to eat this to lose weight!!).

    Have a nice day and Florenceem, I am guessing 67???

    Jedi x
    Finally getting my life on track. Onwards and upwards.
    BSC No 327
    GC Jan 336.91/450
    GC Feb 0/400
  • jumblejack
    Morning all

    Have updated my signature. No more spends now this week (except for OH in the bar ).
    I can only say that it has gone over due to us being on a break.
    I had to get hay fever tablets yesterday which I hate cos I have loads at home but forgot to pack.
    Chicken n veg pasta for tea with garlic bread.
    Last nights pork medallions were lush. I brought the last of a YS cheese block to use up so had most of it grated on the grilled medallions and melted. It made the pork really moist.
    Gonna be experimenting with a pud later as we have an unusual ingredients list.
    Have a great day y'all
    Every moment is a gift. That's why we call it the present.!
    Grocery Spend Weekly Challenge (Sat-Fri):30.50/40
  • jumblejack
    5 off when you spend 40 @ Morrisons with Daily Mirror Wednesday (45p)
    Every moment is a gift. That's why we call it the present.!
    Grocery Spend Weekly Challenge (Sat-Fri):30.50/40
  • abitofhelp
    Morning all, NSD for me today. I have chopped some chicken ready to make a stew for tomorrow and have also made two lots of Ny chicken for eldest child. Been up early today i have even prepared food for oh to take to work tonight. Looks like the sun is coming out so i will be putting washing ouside. Regards 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
    • tessie bear
    • By tessie bear 2nd May 12, 8:37 AM
    • 4,329 Posts
    • 29,794 Thanks
    tessie bear
    hi....planning a trip to aldi today to have a look at the bargain veg....not sure i need to get anything else but might spy something useful
    i got a huge bag of reduced spinach that i thought i might add to a curry tomorrow...also have a bit of salad to use as well...might have that for lunch

    have a good day tess
    onwards and upwards
    • Dragoncry
    • By Dragoncry 2nd May 12, 9:22 AM
    • 144 Posts
    • 2,012 Thanks
    Dragoncry
    Wow

    19 pages already ! May has taken completely by surprise so please could you put me down for 180 this month.

    I had lots of NSD's last month and spent a lot under my budget as a result so have dropped the amount.

    Saying that I popped out to get eggs and sugar for baking along with a loaf and some custard creams for my DD Massive spend of 2.65 so far in Lidl.

    Have a lovely day, rain here as usual so will get the BM out I think...

    DC xx
    • EyesWideOpen
    • By EyesWideOpen 2nd May 12, 9:46 AM
    • 88 Posts
    • 1,076 Thanks
    EyesWideOpen
    Hi all,
    I bought lots of eggs which were whoopsied so now have 23 eggs which I need to use up and take care of somehow. I want to make quiche at some stage soon but I can't fit an actual quiche in the freezer so I was wondering if I could make the egg mix and put that in the freezer. Will the egg keep like that? It could come in handy having beaten eggs in the freezer but never heard of anyone who have done that. I was also wondering what people's views are on how long the eggs will keep in the fridge anyway. The use by date was 27th of April.

    I have need of more of your good peoples wisdom and ideas too as I have a good bit of pasta penne LO with a little bit of cheese sause on them (spread over all of them). I want to make something with it this evening so it wasn't wasted if you see what I mean. I haven't got bacon in the house otherwise I would have done a carbonara type thing. I do have frozen salmon which I could cook and flake over the pasta and serve with a salad and bread, or I have a tin of tuna. Do you think tuna would go nicely with the cheese sause? Any other ideas? If you help me find use for the LO pasta I will have used up all my left overs so far this week

    Plan to buy bread today but nothing else so am actually doing okay with the GC this month 17 days left of my month though (20th to 19th Month) so may crack yet...
    Finally had my eyes opened and I am ready to tackle my debts!
    ---------------------------------------------------------------
    Janus Illusion challenge #87
    Total CC & overdraft: 5827, planned DFD= 31.12.14
    • cattysmum
    • By cattysmum 2nd May 12, 10:41 AM
    • 1,256 Posts
    • 21,417 Thanks
    cattysmum
    Hi all I am going to try to drop another 50 on my Grocery challenge so for May my budget is 200 THANKS
    [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.
    • cattysmum
    • By cattysmum 2nd May 12, 10:43 AM
    • 1,256 Posts
    • 21,417 Thanks
    cattysmum
    Hi forgot to say I purchased a second hand freezer for my garage now I cant wait to start filling it with home made stuff and saving more money thanks to everyone on here Im usually on grabbit board but would like to get into this thread while Im feeling enthusiastic about new freezer so hope its ok I keep dipping in and out of this great thread
    [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.
    • fozziebeartoo
    • By fozziebeartoo 2nd May 12, 11:10 AM
    • 1,564 Posts
    • 12,675 Thanks
    fozziebeartoo
    Spent 4.32 in Tes*0 Express on 9 boxes of tissues, priced at 96p but going through at 48p. Then 12.16 on kitchen rolls, greek yog, milk and bits and bobs in Lidl.

    Brekkie was a shared hot cross bun with DGS......he shared mine! He had already had his breakfast!

    Lunch will be the last of JJ's herby cheesey bread, warmed in halogen oven, with some LO and YS back bacon, left over from the weekends baking.

    I have a chicken casserole in the slow cooker for tea.

    I do NOT need to buy anything else grocery related until the weekend.....and probably not even then.....

    So why do I WANT to??????
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 2nd May 12, 11:13 AM
    • 3,984 Posts
    • 52,562 Thanks
    Florenceem
    64?



    Spiced chicken with chickpeas was lovely but recipe for 4 fed DH & me!! So, not a cheap recipe!

    Shopping list ready for tomorrow. Will be A!di then T*sco if needs be.

    Night night
    Originally posted by MissOrganised1972
    Wrong - not 64.
    15 in 2015 1/15
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 2nd May 12, 11:18 AM
    • 3,984 Posts
    • 52,562 Thanks
    Florenceem
    Good morning all, had an NSD yesterday as three poorly kids at home and a poorly mummy too. All three are off again today but going to take one to the docs and so will have a walk to the beach to give us all some fresh air (and the weather is beautiful today). So, probably won't be a NSD as will need more calpol (boots own version) and I am a sucker for getting them a treat if they are poorly.

    Dinner tonight is sorted - prawn risotto with brown rice (as DH says we have to eat this to lose weight!!).

    Have a nice day and Florenceem, I am guessing 67???

    Jedi x
    Originally posted by jedi82
    Nope - not 67.
    15 in 2015 1/15
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