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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 21
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 2nd May 12, 3:11 PM
    • 3,996 Posts
    • 52,590 Thanks
    Florenceem
    Florenceem - You say you've just recently retired so that would make you 61? (I had a nosey in your public profile info )

    Small spend of 50p on a packet of chewing gum today - I had a particularly oniony lunch! Also 59p on a can of diet coke yesterday.

    Added info to signature
    Originally posted by NickJW
    Cheat!
    15 in 2015 1/15
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 2nd May 12, 3:14 PM
    • 3,996 Posts
    • 52,590 Thanks
    Florenceem
    Dont worry no one on here will laugh I think its the nicest friendliest thread on MSE.

    Its very sensible to cut back a little at a time rather than set yourself up for disappointment by aiming too low. Good luck.
    Originally posted by meg72
    Yes really friendly - only one baddie - bossy Florenceem!
    15 in 2015 1/15
    • meg72
    • By meg72 2nd May 12, 3:15 PM
    • 5,082 Posts
    • 46,072 Thanks
    meg72
    Decided to have a play using up bacon pieces today as discovered I have three packs in freezer.

    I love stretching things out so decided to see how many meals lI can get out of 500g 74p smart price.

    I cut the pack into quarters. Used one to make a six portion quiche with onion, sweetcorn and mushrooms.
    I fancied trying a cheats ham and pea soup so used another quarter
    with a sprouted potato, tin of mushy peas, plus one can water,8p in Asda, 1/4 onion. I didnt really like the finished colour, looked a bit grey so added four lumps of chopped leaf spinach thats been lurking in the freezer since god knows when, I was very pleased with the result, over a pint of tasty soup.
    So ten meals from half a pack 37p.
    No room in freezer now so am thinking I will use another quarter tommorow to make 2 portions of bacon and mushroom pasta and the last one Friday to make a bacon,onion and potato pie, 4 portions,
    So 16 meals from one pack, just under 5p a portion.
    Have thoroughly enjoyed doing this and its kept me out of the shops.
    Slimming World at target
  • thrifty-gal26
    Spent 20.33 today on fruit, veg, milk, bread and stuff for DH lunches.

    Hopefully last me until next week!
    Debt 2010 74,000 Debt 2012 42,000 Debt Jan 2013 38558 Baby boy born 19/05/2012
    • meg72
    • By meg72 2nd May 12, 3:27 PM
    • 5,082 Posts
    • 46,072 Thanks
    meg72
    Yes really friendly - only one baddie - bossy Florenceem!
    Originally posted by Florenceem
    Ohh No definitely not a baddie, more like a loving Nan that tells you off for your own good.
    Slimming World at target
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 2nd May 12, 3:31 PM
    • 3,996 Posts
    • 52,590 Thanks
    Florenceem
    Decided to have a play using up bacon pieces today as discovered I have three packs in freezer.

    I love stretching things out so decided to see how many meals lI can get out of 500g 74p smart price.

    I cut the pack into quarters. Used one to make a six portion quiche with onion, sweetcorn and mushrooms.
    I fancied trying a cheats ham and pea soup so used another quarter
    with a sprouted potato, tin of mushy peas, plus one can water,8p in Asda, 1/4 onion. I didnt really like the finished colour, looked a bit grey so added four lumps of chopped leaf spinach thats been lurking in the freezer since god knows when, I was very pleased with the result, over a pint of tasty soup.
    So ten meals from half a pack 37p.
    No room in freezer now so am thinking I will use another quarter tommorow to make 2 portions of bacon and mushroom pasta and the last one Friday to make a bacon,onion and potato pie, 4 portions,
    So 16 meals from one pack, just under 5p a portion.
    Have thoroughly enjoyed doing this and its kept me out of the shops.
    Originally posted by meg72
    Well done!
    15 in 2015 1/15
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 2nd May 12, 3:33 PM
    • 3,996 Posts
    • 52,590 Thanks
    Florenceem
    Ohh No definitely not a baddie, more like a loving Nan that tells you off for your own good.
    Originally posted by meg72
    Aah! Thank you - I love being a Nan - got 8 DGC.
    15 in 2015 1/15
    • meg72
    • By meg72 2nd May 12, 3:49 PM
    • 5,082 Posts
    • 46,072 Thanks
    meg72
    Aah! Thank you - I love being a Nan - got 8 DGC.
    Originally posted by Florenceem
    Wow 8, I would have loved to have more Children but could only have the two, have 3 DGC and sadly no more to come,
    cannot wait to have GGC , have 2 adorable Gnieces a 1 Gnephew.
    I went to an extended family Christening on Sunday and was thrilled to get to hold the baby.
    Slimming World at target
    • mrs-moneypenny
    • By mrs-moneypenny 2nd May 12, 4:07 PM
    • 15,518 Posts
    • 198,189 Thanks
    mrs-moneypenny
    just back from shops 10.85 on food shopping rest was on mags sale clothes and phone top so not counting that in this budget
    will update sig.

    dinner was omlettes and fried new pots
    tea will be veggie lasagne
    SPC~12 ot 124

    In a world that has decided that it's going to lose its mind, be more kind my friend, try to Be More Kind
    • Coxy11
    • By Coxy11 2nd May 12, 4:12 PM
    • 2,322 Posts
    • 27,347 Thanks
    Coxy11
    Hi peeps,

    First spends on May GC - 34.45 in Mr T, 33.39 in MrW and 58.83 to my second purse. Hmmmm - 2 SM shops on dog food, packed lunch stuff and emergency supplies for dinners this week.

    The school is shut tomorrow for polling day, so I'm off to MrT for 'proper' food for my meal plan.

    Think this month is going to be a challenge
    Cross-stitch WIP: Pretty Little London by Satsuma Street
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 2nd May 12, 4:27 PM
    • 3,996 Posts
    • 52,590 Thanks
    Florenceem
    Wow 8, I would have loved to have more Children but could only have the two, have 3 DGC and sadly no more to come,
    cannot wait to have GGC , have 2 adorable Gnieces a 1 Gnephew.
    I went to an extended family Christening on Sunday and was thrilled to get to hold the baby.
    Originally posted by meg72
    I just love getting to hold a baby - don't mind whose it is! I always ask to hold the baby when a Church member has a new little one.
    15 in 2015 1/15
    • Save Dosh
    • By Save Dosh 2nd May 12, 4:32 PM
    • 1,329 Posts
    • 15,828 Thanks
    Save Dosh
    Meg72 I am struggling with my budget. I think i just need to stay away from food shops and not look at AF. I had to prize(sp?) my hand off pressing the place order. I do not need food at all, apart from fruit & salad, probably not fruit as i have large catering size tins that could do with using. Did you cut the bacon frozen or defrost it, just wondering as i have a pack of the same bacon in freezer, no room in there so cant defrost all bacon. Any tips re not spending appreciated. I just want to do this month on this low budget
    August GC - Food 55.56/80 Alcohol 17.24/20
    Bulk Funds - Food 19.73
    -
    Save 12k in 2019 1,300/5,000 - #155
  • abitofhelp
    I'm being very frugal tomorrow and in fact i have impressed myself very much by doing this. I am out with work tomorrow and we tend to stop somewhere for lunch. I am taking some marinated chicken strips out of the freezer and making a salad to take with me instead. That will save 20. So that will be another NSD for me wahoo! I will also put the slowcooker on in the morning before i leave the house, so i will have a meal ready for me when i return. Very os.
    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 2nd May 12, 4:41 PM
    • 3,996 Posts
    • 52,590 Thanks
    Florenceem
    Cherry and Coconut Muffins.
    Makes 12.

    10 ozs plain flour.
    2 ozs sugar.
    2 ozs margarine.
    2 eggs.
    4 rounded tsp baking powder.
    6 glace cherries.
    2 ozs dessicated coconut.
    8 fl ozs milk.

    Mix flour/baking powder/sugar/coconut and cherries in a bowl. I cut each cherry into 12 pieces. Melt marge in MW. Add beaten eggs/milk and marge to dry ingredients. Mix to combine. I use Muffin cases from Wil... but do buy pretty ones when I see them elsewhere. Put mix into Muffin cakes in a Muffin tray. Bake - 200c - approx 20 minutes. Remove from tray and cool on wire rack.

    Cost approx 75p.

    Not a lot of fat/sugar in these muffins. I like that.
    15 in 2015 1/15
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 2nd May 12, 4:42 PM
    • 3,996 Posts
    • 52,590 Thanks
    Florenceem
    Meg72 I am struggling with my budget. I think i just need to stay away from food shops and not look at AF. I had to prize(sp?) my hand off pressing the place order. I do not need food at all, apart from fruit & salad, probably not fruit as i have large catering size tins that could do with using. Did you cut the bacon frozen or defrost it, just wondering as i have a pack of the same bacon in freezer, no room in there so cant defrost all bacon. Any tips re not spending appreciated. I just want to do this month on this low budget
    Originally posted by Save Dosh
    You need something to occupy your mind/hands so you don't shop. Have you got any hobbies?
    15 in 2015 1/15
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 2nd May 12, 4:44 PM
    • 3,996 Posts
    • 52,590 Thanks
    Florenceem
    I'm being very frugal tomorrow and in fact i have impressed myself very much by doing this. I am out with work tomorrow and we tend to stop somewhere for lunch. I am taking some marinated chicken strips out of the freezer and making a salad to take with me instead. That will save 20. So that will be another NSD for me wahoo! I will also put the slowcooker on in the morning before i leave the house, so i will have a meal ready for me when i return. Very os.
    Originally posted by abitofhelp
    Very well done!
    15 in 2015 1/15
  • Rage in Eden
    Oooh I might give those muffins a go! I've just done my meal planner with an eye on what's in the pantry/store cupboard and freezer and hopefully we will have to spend very little this month - which is just as well as I've done the accounts and worked out we've got about 35 a week for the two of us. It can and will be done
    Last edited by Rage in Eden; 02-05-2012 at 4:48 PM.
    But I'm going to say this once, and once only, Gene. Stay out of Camberwick Green
    • meg72
    • By meg72 2nd May 12, 4:52 PM
    • 5,082 Posts
    • 46,072 Thanks
    meg72
    Meg72 I am struggling with my budget. I think i just need to stay away from food shops and not look at AF. I had to prize(sp?) my hand off pressing the place order. I do not need food at all, apart from fruit & salad, probably not fruit as i have large catering size tins that could do with using. Did you cut the bacon frozen or defrost it, just wondering as i have a pack of the same bacon in freezer, no room in there so cant defrost all bacon. Any tips re not spending appreciated. I just want to do this month on this low budget
    Originally posted by Save Dosh
    I did cut the pack frozen, but let it defrost thinking I would use it all,before realising I didnt have freezer space, for the resulting meals would only defrost half the pack next time. Or even better cut the pack into quarters when I get it
    Slimming World at target
    • meg72
    • By meg72 2nd May 12, 4:59 PM
    • 5,082 Posts
    • 46,072 Thanks
    meg72
    You need something to occupy your mind/hands so you don't shop. Have you got any hobbies?
    Originally posted by Florenceem
    Great advice, I used to shop every day now can go about two weeks, do you like growing things, a big money saver for me has been growing my own, even if you only have a windowsill you can grow herbs, if you have a garden, even better.
    Slimming World at target
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 2nd May 12, 5:04 PM
    • 3,996 Posts
    • 52,590 Thanks
    Florenceem
    Great advice, I used to shop every day now can go about two weeks, do you like growing things, a big money saver for me has been growing my own, even if you only have a windowsill you can grow herbs, if you have a garden, even better.
    Originally posted by meg72
    We only have a small garden - just big enough for the dog to do the necessary. Our dog goes out for a walk every day.
    I have loads of hobbies.
    15 in 2015 1/15
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