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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 47
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 13th May 12, 12:53 PM
    • 3,996 Posts
    • 52,590 Thanks
    I made a VERY rare visit to M&S last week and their own CC were reduced from £2.99 to 99p for 20

    I LOVE the Dr Beckman cloth you can use 30 times but no where here stocks it anymore
    Originally posted by fozziebeartoo
    Thanks - I didn't know they sold them.
    15 in 2015 1/15
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 13th May 12, 12:55 PM
    • 3,996 Posts
    • 52,590 Thanks
    I hung the washing out on a glorious sunny day without a cloud in the sky! An hour later and there are great big grey clouds looming

    I am hoping today is a NSD and no plans to go out......Spanish GP on tv lunchtime, so that will keep me amused for a few hours.

    1st thing this morning I baked cherry and blueberry muffins - just had one for breakfast, delicious!! It was a new recipe where you make the batter the day before, so perfect if you want muffins for breakfast but dont want all the faff 1st thing.

    Lunch will be LO ham, LO cold curried rice and LO Jerseys Royals which were lovely hot with butter yesterday and will become potato salad today.

    I have a chicken and veg curry in the SC and planning on that for tea......

    But yesterday I had lamb tagine cooking in the SC all day and when I got to teatime, I just didnt fancy it! I ended up feezing 3 portions

    So I MAY have the curry for tea or it might get relegated to the freezer.

    I MUST stop cooking and eat more out of the freezer, I have a DR meat order due next Monday and no room to store it
    Originally posted by fozziebeartoo
    Love the muffins. Look so good on the Portmerion plate too- mine are still in the box - part of me wants to keep them new until the kitchen is sorted.
    15 in 2015 1/15
  • sonastin
    We have a blackboard in the kitchen where I make a note of stuff that we're low on to build into my shopping list. Despite a huge shop on Friday which filled all food-storage locations to bursting, there's a worrying amount of stuff up on the board already!

    Some of it is down to the marathon baking session I did yesterday. We were out of biscuits so I did a batch of twinks. And we're having a charity bake sale in work tomorrow and I haven't baked a cake for years so I made a couple of sponge cakes as practice too. And I made a jar of lemon curd now that I've finally found the recipe that my grandma's friend wrote down for me! Haven't tried the lemon curd because the only bread I've got in is a very savoury olive&pepperoni bread but a plain loaf is in the BM while I type.
  • cleggie
    Just updating my sig..yikes, not been very good so far this month, and only have £80 to ast the rest of the month!!! Not sure if i'll be able to do it..but i'll give it a go!
    • Save Dosh
    • By Save Dosh 13th May 12, 1:14 PM
    • 1,329 Posts
    • 15,828 Thanks
    Save Dosh
    If you click on my name on my post and then click on other posts by save dosh and that will bring up the grocery, store cupboard challenge etc, my links dont always work. Let me know if you get stuck
    August GC - Food £55.56/£80 Alcohol £17.24/£20
    Bulk Funds - Food £19.73
    Save 12k in 2019 £1,300/£5,000 - #155
  • jumblejack
    Just made the easiest peanut butter cookies in the world!

    They use no flour either so are great for ones with allergies but not for those who are watching calories:

    The recipe could not be easier:

    Easy Peasy Peanut Butter Cookies

    1 cup of peanut butter
    1 cup of sugar (you can reduce to 1/2 if you prefer them savoury)
    1 egg
    1 tsp of baking powder
    Pinch of salt if desired.

    Mix together into a dough.

    Roll into little balls.

    Space them out on a tray and flatten them with the back of a fork.

    (I pressed a nut into mine but you don't have to.)

    Bake for about 8 mins or so at about gas mark 6 or 170 degrees.

    Voila! Leave to cool on the tray as they will harden as they cool.

    You may sprinkle with sugar whilst hot to make em look prettier still!

    (I left mine in a wee bit longer than I normally do in the oven as I got distracted....!)

    I made loads so I rolled up the excess dough into sausages and covered them in cling film to freeze.

    I will just slice one up if i get unexpected guests popping in for a brew

    ....If you want to add choc chips in, that works well too!
    Last edited by jumblejack; 13-05-2012 at 1:55 PM.
    Every moment is a gift. That's why we call it the present.!
    Grocery Spend Weekly Challenge (Sat-Fri):£30.50/£40
    • Save Dosh
    • By Save Dosh 13th May 12, 1:20 PM
    • 1,329 Posts
    • 15,828 Thanks
    Save Dosh
    Jumblejack that looks amazing - im looking at those sausage things for the freezer and wondering how much peanut butter they took, Loving the fact you can freeze and then pull out to bake,
    August GC - Food £55.56/£80 Alcohol £17.24/£20
    Bulk Funds - Food £19.73
    Save 12k in 2019 £1,300/£5,000 - #155
  • jumblejack
    Jumblejack that looks amazing - im looking at those sausage things for the freezer and wondering how much peanut butter they took, Loving the fact you can freeze and then pull out to bake,
    Originally posted by Save Dosh
    Cheers. I used one and a half jars of peanut butter. They were the value version from Tesco and I purchased them when they had a 3 for 2 promotion on jams etc a year ago!!! They needed using up. The half jar was only opened a few nights ago to experiment on a nuts n 'nanas cake that didn't work

    It is such an incredibly simple recipe, that I thought I'd share it!

    That amount of peanut butter I used for my batch, triples everything. The above recipe only uses half a jar of PB and the equivalent of sugar. I just thought I'd use the lot up whilst I was at it
    Last edited by jumblejack; 13-05-2012 at 1:29 PM.
    Every moment is a gift. That's why we call it the present.!
    Grocery Spend Weekly Challenge (Sat-Fri):£30.50/£40
    • Soworried
    • By Soworried 13th May 12, 1:34 PM
    • 2,150 Posts
    • 19,990 Thanks
    If you click on my name on my post and then click on other posts by save dosh and that will bring up the grocery, store cupboard challenge etc, my links dont always work. Let me know if you get stuck
    Originally posted by Save Dosh
    Thank you, I found it
    • JIL
    • By JIL 13th May 12, 1:44 PM
    • 4,945 Posts
    • 25,059 Thanks
    I made a VERY rare visit to M&S last week and their own CC were reduced from £2.99 to 99p for 20

    I LOVE the Dr Beckman cloth you can use 30 times but no where here stocks it anymore
    Originally posted by fozziebeartoo
    is this the one? I am not sure if the cost is good or not, but its free p and p
    • DundeeDoll
    • By DundeeDoll 13th May 12, 2:41 PM
    • 3,597 Posts
    • 40,555 Thanks
    jumblejack they look awesome and remind me of the rolls of 'home bake' cookie mix I used to buy when we were in the states (seemed a bit rich to call them home made but they were fun cos they had patterns like Billy Bear so you got ones with faces and pumpkins and all sorts). Sadly I don't like peanuts. Just wondering if I could do this with normal cookie dough. Time to experiment...
    • DundeeDoll
    • By DundeeDoll 13th May 12, 2:46 PM
    • 3,597 Posts
    • 40,555 Thanks
    Went to Lidl this morning as out of milk and freezer pretty empty. We stuck pretty much to list and total was £69.92 which broke down as: protein £34.53; fruit and veg £8.33; dairy £5; groceries £17.31; treats £4.75 Never ceases to amaze me what good value Lidl is.
    Yesterday treated myself to the takeaway secret book (£1.48 Kindle version Amazon). Bought some Basmati and can't wait to try out the egg fried rice
    Be like a postage stamp—stick to one thing until you get there.
    Plastic bottles picked up to recycle Oct: 32
    • TheThriftyScrumpers
    • By TheThriftyScrumpers 13th May 12, 3:00 PM
    • 272 Posts
    • 5,359 Thanks
    NSD here. BM just beeped. I have made a French loaf to go with our BBQ tea of salad, hm potato wedges, ys sausages and ys lamb chops. I have some sour cream left over in fridge so will hunt down some mint from the garden to make a dip.

    DH gt another till spit yesterday from Mr T - £7 off a £50 shop

    Enjoy what's left of the weekend xx
    GC Mar 11 £437.08Apr 11 £459.26 May 11 £485.52 June 11 £423.79July 11 £409.22 Aug 11 £250.10Sept 11 £396.14Oct 11 £382.37Nov 11 £372.55Dec 11 £332.29 Jan 12 £375.19:Feb 12 £349.58Mar 12 £279.66Apr 12 £249.12May 12 £337.66/Jun 12 £362.58/Jul 12 £317.03/Aug 12 £354.02/Sept £439.72/Oct 12 £210.16
    • fozziebeartoo
    • By fozziebeartoo 13th May 12, 3:33 PM
    • 1,566 Posts
    • 12,676 Thanks
    is this the one? I am not sure if the cost is good or not, but its free p and p
    Originally posted by JIL

    Yes, that's the one

    It's a fab product and very MSE because when you cant use it any more to absorb colour, you can use it as a cloth!

    They were under £3.00 when Sainsbugs used to stock them.

    They are available a bit cheaper direct from Dr Beckmann but have to spend (I think) £15 to get free P&P from there.

    Aldi had them as a "special" a couple of months back but I'd need to a taxi there and back which would sort of defeat the object of the excercise
    • fozziebeartoo
    • By fozziebeartoo 13th May 12, 3:41 PM
    • 1,566 Posts
    • 12,676 Thanks
    Love the muffins. Look so good on the Portmerion plate too- mine are still in the box - part of me wants to keep them new until the kitchen is sorted.
    Originally posted by Florenceem

    I made 7 muffins Flo, ate 1 and froze 6......I knew you'd be cross with me if I ate all 7!!

    I am enjoying using the Portmeirion very much!! And my breakfast portions look HUGE when I put them in the oatmeal bowls, so I feel I am eating more

    Dont wait to use yours - get your full enjoyment from deserve it!
  • jumblejack
    Meat pies ready now. Leftover pastry has been turned into jam tarts and pastry twists that are about to take their turn in the hot oven.
    Every moment is a gift. That's why we call it the present.!
    Grocery Spend Weekly Challenge (Sat-Fri):£30.50/£40
  • supersally01

    Popping in to report weekend spends.

    £16.28 in Morrisons, mostly on cereal for my stash, and other 1/2 price offers.

    £36.22 in Tesco, got this down from £55.36, with MOCs and price flops, so quite pleased with that.

    £1.30 in M&S on reduced milk and cakes.

    Total £53.80, with my store looking better than it has done for weeks. Also found that I had £22 worth of points on my boots card, so stocked up on 1/2 price shampoo etc for free!

    Working a lot this week, so hopefully lots of NSD to enjoy.

    Happy saving to all!!!
  • chelseabun
    Chelsea bun,

    Regarding running out of insect repellant, home bargains sell tea tree oil for 99p (a little bottle of pure essential oil).
    This can be used undiluted on skin but what I recommend is put a bit of body lotion in the palm of your hand, add a few drops of tea tree oil to it then apply. It is a natural insect repellant and is a good thing to have in the house as it has a million uses.
    Originally posted by jumblejack
    Thanks very much JJ - that's really good to know. I've been buying the Life Systems ecological repellent (made with lots of different essential oils and no deet!) but it's really expensive. I'm near a Home Bargains on Tuesday, so will pop in and have a look.

    Soworried - thanks for your good wishes. My legs are ok when they're up, but hurt like crazy when I put them to the floor. Mr CB has been very busy today, making cups of tea and lunch!

    We did go to Mr M this morning - very busy! It used to be quiet on a Sunday morning! I bought some Lake Dist cheese on special offer - £2 a pack, so bought 4 and froze 3. That money will come out of the 2nd purse. £28.76 spent on fruit, veg, milk & a few bits & pieces. I also spent £12 on 3 bottles of wine for next weekend, when I'm away with the girls, but that doesn't come out of the grocery budget!

    Need to update sig. Hoping to stay on track for the month, but I'm a bit worried about how much has been spent already!

    Have a good evening all CBx
    GC2012 May £144.65 / £200, June £50.82 / £200
    2012 NSD
    May 12 / 31, June 3 / 30
    2nd Purse Challenge #58 Purse owed £35.90, Stockpile value £217.66

    C #210
    A slow cooker is a marvellous thing!

    • mummyyof5
    • By mummyyof5 13th May 12, 4:56 PM
    • 1,839 Posts
    • 39,830 Thanks
    £13.50 to add..was hoping for a NSD but was passing a L**l and couldnt resist popping in for the 5kg of onions..also got 3 bags of bread flour and some mozzerrella and spicy sausage as HM pizza went down very well yesterday and everyone wants it again...did find 1 bag of pain au chocolat sneaked into the trolley...wasnt me I promise..Ds2 was with me..I got off lightly believe me lol xx
    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.
  • abitofhelp
    Afternoon all, i'm covered in flour. Oh just back from the pub after watching the match is laughing at me. Made two lots of white choc chip cookies, a tray of brownies, loaf of bread, rhubarb crumble, cheese onion & ham pie and a roast dinner. Will update sig later to reflect a £18 spend at the farm shop.
    Grocery Challenge 24th Feb-28 Dec 2012 £2000/£1404
    18th May- 15th June 2012 £100/£75
    Dont Throw Food Away 2012 May £5/0
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