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    • zippychick
    • By zippychick 4th Jun 11, 11:19 AM
    • 9,343Posts
    • 17,889Thanks
    • #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'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,
    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!

    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 39
    • fozziebeartoo
    • By fozziebeartoo 9th May 12, 11:56 AM
    • 1,566 Posts
    • 12,676 Thanks
    I needed to go out on this horrible day, to collect my repeat prescription and get milk.

    No spend in Co-op, best YS was pizza reduced to 2.99.....I wouldnt pay that full price

    No spend in Tesco Express, miniscule YS reductions and they didnt have the Nails Inc colour I wanted as a freebie on
    a mag

    I spent 9.63 in Lidl but that includes milk for the week, tin foil for months, black pepper and garlic that will last ages, Wotsits (which should be from Second Purse but I cant be bothered to fiddle around), Mozzarella, squash and a pasta sauce to try a new recipe tonight (much cheaper than the Co-op and tesco ones I looked at).

    I have plenty of yesterdays cottage pie left, but had already defrosted 2 chicken breasts so that will become baked chicken, peppers, onion and mushroom from Good To Know for tonight.

    If there are LO's they can be frozen for some other time and the Cottage pie can wait in the fridge and be used up tomorrow
  • abitofhelp
    Who stole the sun and blue sky that was outside my house this morning. Come back and take the grey sky and rain you left in its place.
    Just made a syrup pudding to cheer us up instead. Really it was to use up some cream. Honest!
    Grocery Challenge 24th Feb-28 Dec 2012 2000/1404
    18th May- 15th June 2012 100/75
    Dont Throw Food Away 2012 May 5/0
    • Money mayhem
    • By Money mayhem 9th May 12, 1:59 PM
    • 135 Posts
    • 257 Thanks
    Money mayhem
    Hi, can I join this?

    Probably too late in the month to be honest but I it'd be good practice for next month.. I've already spent 550 want to spend not more than50 for the rest of the month. Next month I want to cut it down to 450 . 2 adults, 4 children, 2 dogs
    Proud to be dealing with my debts

    Avid YNAB user
  • money saving hedgehog
    Can anyone tell me where the recipe is for lentil and stuffing burgers. I have lentils boiling now, do I just mix them with stuffing made up from a packet and shape. Do I add anything else, and do I bake, grill or fry. Thanks
    2015 in 2015 (Although actual goal is 10 a day)
    • russetred
    • By russetred 9th May 12, 2:21 PM
    • 1,233 Posts
    • 9,385 Thanks
    Hi, can anyone please tell me how to make fried rice, i have for a very long time wanted to make this but dont know do i use ordinary rice do i mix egg into rice or make it seperatly sooooooooooooooo if one of you lovely forrummers can assist me i would be in my element ty
    Originally posted by craigywv
    My recipe for fried rice

    LO rice preferably from the day before, it has to be cold or it tends to go claggy.
    Sliced mushrooms 4oz
    Sliced s onions 4
    Defrosted prawns 2oz
    Defrosted peas 2oz
    eggs beaten 3
    dark soy sauce

    Heat wok add I tbsp oil
    Fry mushrooms
    Tip in egg and s onion and fry till scrambled.
    Put eggy mix in bowl
    Add everything else and mix well then add back in eggy mix
    Whole thing takes no longer than 5 mins.
    "Sometimes life sucks....but the alternative is unacceptable."
  • elizabunny
    Afternoon everyone!

    Just managed to catch up with my budget and update my siggy. Still spending more than I want to -so glad I am on annual budget as I may have time to redeem myself

    Having said that I need to do a fairly large shop tonight. I have a couple of vouchers that I may use though.

    I have to buy quite alot of baking stuff and some meat/fish as well. No need for salad leaves as I have loads now growing in my greenhouse Just wish the weather would warm up so everything else could come up. Really hoping to supplement my grocery shopping with homegrown.

    Hope everyone else is doing ok!
    Sealed Pot Challenge 7 Member 022
    5:2 Diet started 28/1/2013 only 13lbs lost due to Xmas 2013 blip.
    • MrsCD
    • By MrsCD 9th May 12, 3:22 PM
    • 753 Posts
    • 11,263 Thanks
    Hello everyone,
    Just calling by to report a spend of 1.12 on 6 eggs! Hopefully won't need to buy anything more until next Tuesday

    Welcome to the newbies here. Just ask anything - there's always someone around to help
    • ModestyB
    • By ModestyB 9th May 12, 3:29 PM
    • 1,573 Posts
    • 15,283 Thanks
    Hi, can I join this?

    Probably too late in the month to be honest but I it'd be good practice for next month.. I've already spent 550 want to spend not more than50 for the rest of the month. Next month I want to cut it down to 450 . 2 adults, 4 children, 2 dogs
    Originally posted by Money mayhem
    Welcome to the GC, you will find a lot of lovely people and a lot of help here.

    Can anyone tell me where the recipe is for lentil and stuffing burgers. I have lentils boiling now, do I just mix them with stuffing made up from a packet and shape. Do I add anything else, and do I bake, grill or fry. Thanks
    Originally posted by money saving hedgehog
    I'm sorry I can't help, have you looked on the first page at the recipes? I'm sure you'll find what you need on there.

    Spent 11.62 over Monday and Tuesday. Mainly on stuff we don't need. Will have to try and re-educate DH about shopping.
    S.P.C. 9 2016 No. 062 Banked 337.50
    My Gold Stars off Sue.
    • mummyyof5
    • By mummyyof5 9th May 12, 3:35 PM
    • 1,839 Posts
    • 39,830 Thanks
    Just got back from HB..very pleased to say I only spent 9 and it included a box ofhair dye and DW tablets.

    Also nipped in MrMs...trying to avoid it as much as possible but have to go for catfood...fussy perishers they are ...did get a couple more bits too that we only buy from there...shouldnt need to visit now for a week or so..another 22 to add.
    Minted lamb steaks with new pots (YS) and veg for tea.
    Was going to get eggs whilst in MrMs...since when did they become gold dust??? 3.00 for 15 barn chance...does mean I will have to go to town now tomorrow but the nice salad stall will be there so will pick that up at the same time....then try very hard not to spend on Friday xx
    Last edited by mummyyof5; 09-05-2012 at 3:38 PM.
    Feeding 6 Adults 1 Teen a 8 year old with hollow legs and a very fussy 5 year old. Also 3 cats and 3 fishies
    To include all Food,Toiletries and Petfood.
    • Barbeduk
    • By Barbeduk 9th May 12, 4:15 PM
    • 819 Posts
    • 7,151 Thanks
    Hi all and welcome Money mayhem.

    Did a quick Mr M this morning but they made no money from me, everything was either savers or on offer! Fish fingers, yeast extract, coco pops (I know I know, pester power but they were at least half price) and 3 tins of chick peas. Also got their 50p toothpaste as I wondered whether the 30p savers toothpaste was a step too far. All came to 7.03.

    Cooked a chicken in the slow cooker last night so tonight is leftovers in curry, yum. We are all standing around a rhubarb crumble waiting for it to cool enough to eat . I used some muesli in the topping as recommended by my friend's mum and it looks sooo yummy.

    Will go update my sig then dig in!
    June GC 288.01/400
    • 166million
    • By 166million 9th May 12, 4:31 PM
    • 1,212 Posts
    • 5,117 Thanks
    Hello all, I am back. I am working on a budget of 1300 for the year. I don't know my total yet will have to work it out from my spreadsheet later. I know I am badly over budget at the moment so need to come back to the thread to help me reign it in! Will report back with the numbers later.
    Have a good day everyone
    Originally posted by 166million

    I think it's 488 for the year so far. I want to aim for 80 this month. Need to come back with updated spends so far :-)
    **Debt Free as of 15:55 on Friday 23rd March 2012**And I am staying that way
    377 166million Sealed Pot Challenge 2018 No. 90: Emergency fund 637
    My debt free diary http://
    • Fiasco55
    • By Fiasco55 9th May 12, 4:38 PM
    • 1,345 Posts
    • 15,364 Thanks
    Yesterday and today have been NSD for me. Dinner last night was some YS quiche with potato rosti and tonight was the last of my HM bolognaise. I have minced beef in my freezer but I will be using that to make either chili or HM burgers this weekend. I will see what I feel like closer to batch cooking day.
    No buying toiletries Graduated May 2017

    Decluttered 2016 2469 items, 2017 1580 items
    2018 3060 items

    Sealed Pot Challenge No 038
    • rising from the ashes
    • By rising from the ashes 9th May 12, 4:56 PM
    • 12,321 Posts
    • 59,551 Thanks
    rising from the ashes
    Ohhhhh lordy .... I'm 10 pages behind - RL has got in the way the past couple of days so will need to have a good read to catch up

    Eating out the cupboards / freezer is going reasonably well so no new spends for me - am getting a bit low on milk so hoping I can eeeekkkkk it out until Friday / Saturday!
    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!
    • hex2
    • By hex2 9th May 12, 5:16 PM
    • 4,722 Posts
    • 80,174 Thanks
    I had to go for cat litter today so forced into MrA where I spent 10.06 on essentials but I had a refund for 4.15 on some food that the cats utterly refused to eat so not too bad.

    I made a super stretched 'spot the mince' chilli this evening. 500g mince, lots of mushrooms (frozen RTC ones), two peppers, red lentils and 4 tins of kidney beans. Two greedy portions eaten for dinner then the rest will be frozen for DH's lunches.

    cleggie - granola, cost of HM. I guess it depends what you use I tend to use seseme seeds, coconut, value sultanas and chopped mixed nuts for mine so for me cheaper and I don't have to pick out the nasty bits. Asda do a great mixed seed and cranberry pack for about 60p which would work really well. If you looked at the ingredients you could work out the rough percentages and cost it out. H&B can be great for dried fruit if you have one?
    Last edited by hex2; 09-05-2012 at 5:21 PM.
    • Coxy11
    • By Coxy11 9th May 12, 5:19 PM
    • 2,322 Posts
    • 27,347 Thanks
    Managed a NSD - go me! first one this month

    Today was 'use up leftovers' day. I had paprika chicken, mash and salad for lunch - MIL babysat last night while DH and I went to see Warhorse at the theatre (A-MAZ-ING), so she plated up the leftovers - very
    Tonight's tea was LO gammon, chopped up and added to cheese sauce and stirred through some pasta twirls. Pasta was a 'gift' from the scouts as DH was on camp this weekend and anything opened/perishable is gifted to me. I also got 12 pints of milk and half a dozen eggs. This is my payment for having to boil wash the rancid teatowels, wash down the equipment for storage, and run the dishwasher through several times with frying pans and cutlery etc. An hour and a quarter a week, my A**e! Still it means DH gets his fix of camping which I would never do. Every cloud........

    Tomorrow night we will try our first DR meat - meatballs with spaghetti and napoletana sauce. Looking forward to seeing what the fuss is all about
    Cross-stitch WIP: Pretty Little London by Satsuma Street
    • PennyGrabber
    • By PennyGrabber 9th May 12, 5:48 PM
    • 1,268 Posts
    • 22,438 Thanks
    Not the nsd I had hoped for today. Ex had his baby today, so the children and I went to asda to get him a present and card (how nice am I?!). Also got a pizza, and some 10p bakery stuff (scones, bagels, mini ring donuts).

    Also means I'll probably have the children this weekend, as it's supposed to be a daddy weekend, but she had a section so they prob will only want them for a couple of hours one afternoon. Well, that's what I've suggested anyway! Will plan the meals for this weekend this evening. Have to cancel three things I was planning to do this weekend - scrapbooking day, gym induction and mtg a friend to buy home brew stuff from the range. Still, I'd MUCH rather have my children, and play with them, than not have them and do those things.

    Off to update my dfd, then I'll be back. Looking forward to any new recipes and pics!

    PG x
    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
  • Teatime

    No cigs since Sat midday!
    Originally posted by iQueen
    Well done!!!!!

    That is so fab and will make such a difference. Keep it up.
    GC June 78.50 / 250, May 262 / 250.
    Debt (excluding mortgage) April 2012 - 29388, May 2012 - 25588.
    Emergency Fund 0 / 1000.
    • angelatgraceland
    • By angelatgraceland 9th May 12, 7:36 PM
    • 3,318 Posts
    • 23,074 Thanks
    I feel like an expectant parent! I am awaiting the birth of my first loaf from my new(first Panny)Panasonic breadmaker! I may just have to work my way through all of the recipes! Ive read the book from cover to cover and now realised I cant make pasta dough in it. Well I can think of a way-put it on a dough programme and switch it off after 10 mins! Is that what you folks would do? Saying that Ive only ever made it once in my BM but now I have a ppasta machine I want to change my habits. Got the lovely Stainless steel Panny BM to look good in my kitchen-I was torn between the three top models so chose the best-cos I feel I deserve it after all my scrimping! Searched the town for Borax today as I am going to make my own laundry liquid! Got the household soap in Morrys and found an oldfashioned DIY shop for the Borax-could get it online but the P and P doubles the price at least! Im sure when I told mt coworkers they thought I was a bit mad but they are used to my moneysaving ways by now. Glad I did tell them tho as they suggested the shop to get the borax!
    I spent a good while filling out an order for AP foods last night(had 2 last month)then closed the browser and told myself NO NO NO NO NO!
    : rotfl:
    Annual Grocery budget 2018 is 1500 pa 125 calendar month 28.84 pw for 3 adults
    • mrs-moneypenny
    • By mrs-moneypenny 9th May 12, 7:40 PM
    • 15,518 Posts
    • 198,189 Thanks
    Who stole the sun and blue sky that was outside my house this morning. Come back and take the grey sky and rain you left in its place.
    Just made a syrup pudding to cheer us up instead. Really it was to use up some cream. Honest!
    Originally posted by abitofhelp
    they did the same here, snuck in and stole the blue sky while i was at work so i had a line full of wet washing when i got back

    NSD today
    nice tea linda Mc burgers (from the morry offer)
    and galaxy cakes (from the tesc0 coupon offer)

    must round my recipts up and adjust my sig
    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
    • meanmarie
    • By meanmarie 9th May 12, 8:15 PM
    • 5,135 Posts
    • 49,952 Thanks
    First spend for May....€32 on lovely fresh pollock and smoked residing in freezer, and €21.10 to-day in Aldi, so €53.10 so far for May, freezer stuffed again.

    Weight 08 February 86kg
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