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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 28
    • S-I am
    • By S-I am 4th May 12, 1:58 PM
    • 42 Posts
    • 877 Thanks
    S-I am
    Here you go Craig, hope it makes OH smile

    Berry liqueur

    300g fresh berries eg, blackberries or blackcurrants,
    450g sugar
    1 pint water
    500ml cheap vodka
    2 bottles

    Sterilise the bottles

    Heat the berries until they begin to breakdown and they release their juice.
    Add the sugar to the berries and mash with a potato masher.
    Bring to the boil - this will sterilise the mixture.
    Strain the mixture using a sieve and let it cool.
    Once cooled, it should resemble a thin syrup. !Add the water and vodka. !Stir and then decant into the sterilised bottles.

    It can be drank immediately or stored. !The alcohol content increases with age

    Enjoy

    Sx
    Last edited by S-I am; 04-05-2012 at 2:13 PM.
    • NickJW
    • By NickJW 4th May 12, 2:02 PM
    • 678 Posts
    • 13,646 Thanks
    NickJW
    Hi All

    Had the last of my potatoes with some grated cheese brought from home. Housemates turn to cook again tonight

    I'm cooking tomorrow. My original meal plan went out of the window because my housemate has some Pak choi and peppers to use up, so it will be stir fry.

    I was going to go to Mr T tomorrow because I received a little booklet with money off or extra points for certain things. Checked how much it would be on mysupermarket, and it came out cheaper in Mr W! It will actually be even cheaper in Mr W because I would have got extra things in order to get extra points in Mr T!

    So, enough of that rambling - I'll head to Mr W either today or tomorrow to grab 'just what I need'.
    Grocery Challenge 14 Jan 14 46.05/130

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

    DFD 1st March 2011
    • NickJW
    • By NickJW 4th May 12, 2:05 PM
    • 678 Posts
    • 13,646 Thanks
    NickJW
    NickJW Both will be fine. Toad in the Hole is very forgiving as a recipe. The important things to remember are to make sure the fat in the pan is very hot before you pour the batter mix in and if you are using fat sausages, part cook them because they take a little longer than the batter (chipolatas take about the same). I use oil or lard or solid dripping from a roast - they all work.

    I can vouch for many of the batter recipes others have been posting as sometimes I use 1 egg and sometimes more. I never measure except by spoon (flour), palm of the hand for a pinch of salt and by eye and texture once the milk starts to mix in. I generally add only a dribble of milk to the beaten egg and then the flour and salt and mix to a thick paste (less likely to be lumpy) and then dilute it down gradually with milk. I would use 2 medium eggs with 4 TBSP plain flour or 1 large egg with SR flour if I'm short of eggs. Let it sit around for at least half an hour (any lumps will be obvious and it works better)

    When I make YP with roast beef, I cook it in a slab in the roasting tin under the beef on a rack - so the meat juices flavour the YP. They are v popular and never any leftovers.

    I like the mini TITH idea - I heard of someone doing individual ones for their kids in muffin tins with half a chipolata in each (twisted to make cocktail sausages).

    My friend adds a little dry stuffing mix to the batter mix to fill people up more too.

    The eggs are the real rising ingredient, if you beat the mix it will rise more than stirring the mix because of the extra air (SR flour is a little cheat if they don't always rise for you)

    HTH
    SL
    Originally posted by Suffolk lass
    THANK YOU! I'm ploughing my way through my food at the moment, but I will get around to doing this! I need to wait until another weekend because I wouldn't dare risking my first attempt when I'm tired after work!
    Grocery Challenge 14 Jan 14 46.05/130

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

    DFD 1st March 2011
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 4th May 12, 2:34 PM
    • 3,984 Posts
    • 52,562 Thanks
    Florenceem
    Needed to get lots of things in lots of shops today and wanted to get lots more in lots of other shops

    4.95 in 99p Store (includes cleaning stuff, milk, butter).

    99p in Card Shop....I am a cardmaker and scrapbooker and I have enough supplies to start a shop, but cannot GET to them at the moment - back bedroom WILL become my craft room......some day!

    9.83 in Wilkos - 2 new curtain poles and some flocked coat hangers. Asked about Star Drops and they dont stock it any more but said they would order it (in packs of 12) and how many would I like? Um.....one please

    10.50 in Iceland - mainly veg that will last me ages, but also Cadburys Animal biccies for DD (2 packs of 6 for 1.50) so got her 8 but hope to get the money back

    10.84 in Sainsburys mainly on store cupboard stuff and frozen berries for baking. Picked up 2 x cute diaries marked at 1.49 with 70% off and thought for less than 50p I would use them for my lists (many and varied)!! But they were 1.49 AFTER the 70% came off!!!

    Who is going to pay 1.49 for a teeny diary almost half way through the year????

    1.60 in Superdrug - 3 x the 20p lavender soap powder and some choccie buttons for DGS.

    1.00 in the fruit and veg shop for 2 packs of "cake mistakes" - one of fruit flapjack and one of caramel shortbreads.......50p a pack and they both weigh more than 1 lb each!! The flap jacks are delicious and very fruity, not cheap looking or tasting.

    4.35 in curtain shop for 2 packs of hooky things and one metal hooky thing.......very technical!

    85p in Greggs for sausage roll for DGS because I was so worn out, I knew I couldnt stand and make him something.

    Phew........what a list, 61.30 and not a meal amongst it!
    Originally posted by fozziebeartoo
    Card maker here - years since I bought a card. What is a flocked coat hanger? I was in my Wil... the other day - had stardrops - even remember the price - 92p.
    15 in 2015 1/15
    • craigywv
    • By craigywv 4th May 12, 2:41 PM
    • 1,976 Posts
    • 27,825 Thanks
    craigywv
    Here you go Craig, hope it makes OH smile

    Berry liqueur

    300g fresh berries eg, blackberries or blackcurrants,
    450g sugar
    1 pint water
    500ml cheap vodka
    2 bottles

    Sterilise the bottles

    Heat the berries until they begin to breakdown and they release their juice.
    Add the sugar to the berries and mash with a potato masher.
    Bring to the boil - this will sterilise the mixture.
    Strain the mixture using a sieve and let it cool.
    Once cooled, it should resemble a thin syrup. !Add the water and vodka. !Stir and then decant into the sterilised bottles.

    It can be drank immediately or stored. !The alcohol content increases with age

    Enjoy

    Sx
    Originally posted by S-I am
    thanks for that i shall put it in recipe book
    C.R.A.P.R.O.L.L.Z #7 member N.I splinter-group co-ordinater I dont suffer from insanity....I enjoy every minute of it!!.
    • Barbeduk
    • By Barbeduk 4th May 12, 3:32 PM
    • 816 Posts
    • 7,150 Thanks
    Barbeduk
    I agree but these are REALLY nice ones


    Originally posted by jumblejack
    Completely empty shelf when I was in at 9am this morning!

    Er, I made the jam donut muffins. Oh my word, the were lush but I'd hate to know the calorie content
    June GC 288.01/400
    • tatabubbly
    • By tatabubbly 4th May 12, 4:09 PM
    • 905 Posts
    • 6,077 Thanks
    tatabubbly
    Spent 85c yesterday on a can of juice while I was at work. Could have probably done without but I was parched!
    094 Sealed pot member! (7) 185 (8) 138 (9) 250
    Saving for our first home!
  • abitofhelp
    Well, my budget went up the swannee - following really bad stomach pain, earlier this week, I had my appendix out yesterday and DH did the shopping ...I haven't looked at the damage yet (tummy or bank account ).
    Still, I'm back home and just chilling.
    Originally posted by animalhouse
    Hope you recover soon, & hope he bought some nice treats for you.
    Grocery Challenge 24th Feb-28 Dec 2012 2000/1404
    18th May- 15th June 2012 100/75
    Dont Throw Food Away 2012 May 5/0
  • supersally01
    Hi,
    Spends from Wednesday,

    2.50 in gravy from Iceland
    4.30 in cream, carrots, broccoli, pain au chocolates, custard powder from ASDA.

    NSD today, as going out for a meal tonight!!!

    Happy BH weekend all!
    Sally.
    • fozziebeartoo
    • By fozziebeartoo 4th May 12, 4:30 PM
    • 1,564 Posts
    • 12,674 Thanks
    fozziebeartoo
    Phew........what a list, 61.30 and not a meal amongst it!
    Originally posted by fozziebeartoo

    Happy day!! I added something in twice!!

    Todays spend was actually 44.91.

    Still bad but not AS bad

    Sig updated.
    • fozziebeartoo
    • By fozziebeartoo 4th May 12, 4:38 PM
    • 1,564 Posts
    • 12,674 Thanks
    fozziebeartoo
    Card maker here - years since I bought a card. What is a flocked coat hanger? I was in my Wil... the other day - had stardrops - even remember the price - 92p.
    Originally posted by Florenceem

    The coat hangers have a velvety coating, so silky stuff doesnt fall off......nothing ends up on the floor of my wardrobe now

    My 99p Store has trouser ones that can hold 4 or 5 pairs.

    I am hoping the Wilko Manager is good as his word and gets some Star Drops for me......he told me which Wilkos stock it "locally" but none within 15 miles
    • fozziebeartoo
    • By fozziebeartoo 4th May 12, 4:40 PM
    • 1,564 Posts
    • 12,674 Thanks
    fozziebeartoo
    Well, my budget went up the swannee - following really bad stomach pain, earlier this week, I had my appendix out yesterday and DH did the shopping ...I haven't looked at the damage yet (tummy or bank account ).
    Still, I'm back home and just chilling.
    Originally posted by animalhouse

    Ouch!! You poor thing

    Wishing you (and the bank account) a speedy recovery!!
    • rising from the ashes
    • By rising from the ashes 4th May 12, 4:48 PM
    • 12,321 Posts
    • 59,551 Thanks
    rising from the ashes
    Well, my budget went up the swannee - following really bad stomach pain, earlier this week, I had my appendix out yesterday and DH did the shopping ...I haven't looked at the damage yet (tummy or bank account ).
    Originally posted by animalhouse
    Ouch! Poor you - wishing you a speedy recovery (and hope DH didn't blow the budget!)

    Sorry to hear about you c/c troubles how awful for you, hope its sorted soon. It happened to a friend of mine with a debit card, he bought something in a shop, it was a large purchase of a sofa i think it was, a couple of weeks later he found out his card deatils had been copied & his bank account had been debited for quite a few items.
    Originally posted by abitofhelp
    There's been a spate of it cash machines being "tampered with" around here and I know several people who've had their current accounts wiped out (I never use them & only ever take out cash through cashback in a store). Another reason I like the cc - yes it's usually "sortable" as well if it's your current account, but if someone wiped out mine I'd be totally *$! - can you imagine the hassle with d/debits etc. Anyway, hopefully new cc will arrive soon
    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!
  • WelshWoofer
    Its that time of the week when I have to do a meal plan and shopping list - not a fun job for me
    I'm trying to be very frugal and so need to do a freezer and cupboard inventory and see whats in and plan a few meals that are 1 pot wonders that can be stretched over a couple of days. Will probably be things like a quorn curry, bean chilli and soup of some description.
    I'm aiming for no more than 20 but rarely manage it........
    January grocery spending - 82.73/ 120
    • cattysmum
    • By cattysmum 4th May 12, 5:30 PM
    • 1,256 Posts
    • 21,417 Thanks
    cattysmum
    Well a no spend day for me up to now today HOWEVER I am taking DD2 and SIL to wedding do at half seven so on the way back I may pop into Morrisons to see If I can catch whoopsie time. I now have my freezer working in the garage so I need to get it filled as I have heard that it is more expensive electricity wise to run an empty freezer? I started today and made some banana muffins and blanched some carrots that needed using and they are now cosily nestled up in my new freezer I made some soup today butternut squash and sweet potato in my pressure cooker that I havn't used for years cant believe how quick it took so I will certainly be using it again.
    [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.
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 4th May 12, 6:23 PM
    • 3,984 Posts
    • 52,562 Thanks
    Florenceem
    The coat hangers have a velvety coating, so silky stuff doesnt fall off......nothing ends up on the floor of my wardrobe now

    My 99p Store has trouser ones that can hold 4 or 5 pairs.

    I am hoping the Wilko Manager is good as his word and gets some Star Drops for me......he told me which Wilkos stock it "locally" but none within 15 miles
    Originally posted by fozziebeartoo
    You can make padded hangers - I use old wooden hangers - people often throw them out. Pad with wadding/ old blanket and then put a cover on - cut up something pretty that you no longer wear/can fit into. Sew a small button on each side of the hanger - job done. I used to make covered hangers years ago for the craft stall at my children's infant school fair. We met on an afternoon in the staff room and sat chatting/making things. One of the teachers bought the covered hangers as soon as they were made! I did make some covered hangers as Christmas presents - will see if I can find a photo.
    15 in 2015 1/15
    • animalhouse
    • By animalhouse 4th May 12, 6:24 PM
    • 119 Posts
    • 369 Thanks
    animalhouse
    Just popped back before tootling off to bed. Thank you all for your good wishes.
    He spent 40.00 on 'bits and pieces', ie snacks!!! Still he was rather dropped in it.
    Thanks also for the donut muffins recipe, I can't wait to try it.
    Good night all.
    • Coxy11
    • By Coxy11 4th May 12, 6:39 PM
    • 2,295 Posts
    • 27,317 Thanks
    Coxy11
    I think the penny has just dropped! I've made an order from Donald Ru$$ell for meat which is arriving next Weds. This will be paid for by my 2nd purse and will be 20 meals worth of meat for the 5 of us.

    Although we don't have meat every day, I can see my SM bills coming down for this month, as I will pay the 2nd purse back for what I use not MrT Hopefully will mean I stay on track to come in on target for the May GC.
    Cross-stitch WIP #1: Collecting Shells by Nancy Cole
    Cross-stitch WIP #2: Pretty Little London by Satsuma Street
    • quintwins
    • By quintwins 4th May 12, 8:51 PM
    • 5,003 Posts
    • 29,347 Thanks
    quintwins
    spent 7.16 in lidl on bin bags (60 of them since hubby didn't think 40 was enough, in practice 10 would have been enough) which we needed to finish sorting our old house ot, also got 6 tins of heinz tom soup for 2.99.

    Been eating out of the freezer and got an af order last week, tomorrow should be a nsd, might do a whoospie shop on sunday will see how things go, hubby has the cold so might want a lazy day.
    DFW 7632/28996 26.3%
    • Fiasco55
    • By Fiasco55 4th May 12, 9:00 PM
    • 1,345 Posts
    • 15,364 Thanks
    Fiasco55
    As predicted, 2.54 spent on bread and butter today. I am planning on doing a spot of batch cooking this weekend and getting my YS fix too.
    No buying toiletries Graduated May 2017

    Decluttered 2016 2469 items, 2017 1580 items
    2018 3060 items

    Sealed Pot Challenge No 038
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