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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 49
  • jumblejack
    Never thought of pastry twists - is it plain pastry and what is sprinkled on top please? What do you eat them with?
    Originally posted by Florenceem
    I just grated a bit of cheese over the pastry and quickly worked or into the trimmings.

    I rolled into sausages and made into knots.

    The last of my eggy wash from glazing the pies was used over the twists and then
    Sprinkled with sesame seeds.

    I will use freeze them in and use them up in packed lunch boxes as a savoury snack.

    I just couldn't be bothered to get an extra tray out for more jam tarts with the surplus.

    I love your pasties, by the way.
    They look really professional
    Every moment is a gift. That's why we call it the present.!
    Grocery Spend Weekly Challenge (Sat-Fri):30.50/40
  • jumblejack
    I love looking at all the food pics makes me hungry though!

    BBQ was lovely. I had three very overripe bananas lurking in the fruit bowl so I ran a knife down one side of each banana, squeezed in some chocolate buttons, wrapped the bananas in foil and put on the BBQ for about 15 minutes. The banana's and chocolate went all gooey and lovely. It made a lovely pudding and used up the fruit. Very mse
    Originally posted by TheThriftyScrumpers
    What an amazingly inspired idea

    Love it
    Every moment is a gift. That's why we call it the present.!
    Grocery Spend Weekly Challenge (Sat-Fri):30.50/40
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 13th May 12, 10:42 PM
    • 3,984 Posts
    • 52,562 Thanks
    Florenceem
    I just grated a bit of cheese over the pastry and quickly worked or into the trimmings.

    I rolled into sausages and made into knots.

    The last of my eggy wash from glazing the pies was used over the twists and then
    Sprinkled with sesame seeds.

    I will use freeze them in and use them up in packed lunch boxes as a savoury snack.

    I just couldn't be bothered to get an extra tray out for more jam tarts with the surplus.

    I love your pasties, by the way.
    They look really professional
    Originally posted by jumblejack
    Great idea - thanks.
    15 in 2015 1/15
  • HappyTorty
    Some of those ideas look/sund scrumptious!
    I've had a lot of NSD's so far! The second big shop of the month is looming! Only got onion, a couple of sweet potatoes and butternut squash left .

    Made soup tonight for tomorrows dinner and possibly lunch! Had to use up the carrots as they were starting to turn, had half a leek that needed using up before it completely dried out (had already taken off about two layers of it to get to the god stuff!). lentils out of date end of may so decided to use them too. Then added sweet potato, onion, and various spices. Had a taste and it's yummy! Cant wait until tomorrow to eat it!
    May Grocery Challenge : 64.81 so far


    May NSD: 0
  • Carmilla
    My GC is not going quite as well as I had hoped, despite my efforts I've spent loads of money so far this month. Mostly restocking but I lots a bunch of veggies to mold, I'm not sure how, but im going to keep a closer eye on the next lot.
    On the plus side I'm now accounting for all of my purchases, I'm trying to meal plan and I've bought YS items for the freezer saving around 12. I even filleted a megrim sole which was 1/3 of the original price. I froze the head and bones to make fish stock soon too. Hubby is excited at saving money too, so we are both looking for ideas to try out, and better ways of strectching food. I've been collecting veg trimmings in a freezer bag to make stock with too, I'm very excited at trying this as I normally buy in veggies to make it, this one will be free as it is just scraps.
    Hope everyone's month is going well!
    Needing to save all the money, lots of MSE learning still to do

    DS Born Jan 2012, Baba number 2 due in June 2014
    • debbym
    • By debbym 14th May 12, 4:19 AM
    • 460 Posts
    • 2,747 Thanks
    debbym
    39.98 spent yesterday in L and Mr M's - couldn't resist the aubergines in Lidl as they were only 39P each but they weren't on my list
    Got home and defrosted the bol. sauce from the freezer only to realise that DS1 had raided the cupboard (again!) and eaten all the lasagna sheets (crunchy things give him an extra buzz).
    Choice no. 1 - just have pasta shapes with the bol. sauce for the 20th time running
    no.2 go back to the supermarket (16 mile round trip)
    no.3 use pancakes in lieu of pasta sheets as inspired by this recipe from weezl's blog.
    Went with option no 3 and OH actually preferred it to normal. Bonus was that the boys love helping to make the pancakes as well and it didn't take so long in the oven at the end either since the pancakes don't start off hard and need to cook through. Have to work out the difference in cost but since I used skimmed milk powder and eggs from Lidl (65p for 6) I think it works out slightly cheaper as well. BTW weezl's recipe is veggie (uses red lentils), one step too far for my fussy brood at the moment, and when priced last year worked out at a fantastic 18p per adult portion so worth a look if you are struggling or doing the pound a day thing.

    edited after finding the calculator!
    Tesco value pasta is 39p a box - I would have had to buy 2 so 78p

    1 batch pancakes:
    1 egg 11p
    10 g skim milk powder 3p
    110 g plain flour 4p
    300 ml water - for these purposes free
    oil for frying 5p
    total 23p

    Another 50p up
    Last edited by debbym; 14-05-2012 at 8:34 AM. Reason: costs added
    • PennyGrabber
    • By PennyGrabber 14th May 12, 6:31 AM
    • 1,268 Posts
    • 22,438 Thanks
    PennyGrabber
    My GC is not going quite as well as I had hoped, despite my efforts I've spent loads of money so far this month. Mostly restocking but I lots a bunch of veggies to mold, I'm not sure how, but im going to keep a closer eye on the next lot.
    On the plus side I'm now accounting for all of my purchases, I'm trying to meal plan and I've bought YS items for the freezer saving around 12. I even filleted a megrim sole which was 1/3 of the original price. I froze the head and bones to make fish stock soon too. Hubby is excited at saving money too, so we are both looking for ideas to try out, and better ways of strectching food. I've been collecting veg trimmings in a freezer bag to make stock with too, I'm very excited at trying this as I normally buy in veggies to make it, this one will be free as it is just scraps.
    Hope everyone's month is going well!
    Originally posted by Carmilla
    Sounds like you#'re making great progress, well done! It's great that your hubby is on board too.

    39.98 spent yesterday in L and Mr M's - couldn't resist the aubergines in Lidl as they were only 39P each but they weren't on my list
    Got home and defrosted the bol. sauce from the freezer only to realise that DS1 had raided the cupboard (again!) and eaten all the lasagna sheets (crunchy things give him an extra buzz).
    Choice no. 1 - just have pasta shapes with the bol. sauce for the 20th time running
    no.2 go back to the supermarket (16 mile round trip)
    no.3 use pancakes in lieu of pasta sheets as inspired by this recipe from weezl's blog.
    Went with option no 3 and OH actually preferred it to normal. Bonus was that the boys love helping to make the pancakes as well and it didn't take so long in the oven at the end either since the pancakes don't start off hard and need to cook through. Have to work out the difference in cost but since I used skimmed milk powder and eggs from Lidl (65p for 6) I think it works out slightly cheaper as well. BTW weezl's recipe is veggie (uses red lentils), one step too far for my fussy brood at the moment, and when priced last year worked out at a fantastic 18p per adult portion so worth a look if you are struggling or doing the pound a day thing.
    Originally posted by debbym
    Great recovery there! Well done for resisting the 16 miles' worth of fuel just to get some lasagne sheets, which wouldn't have been the only thing you bought, because you had to justify the fuel expense....!!!

    I often look at weezl's site, but still end up making the same old things. However, I have made a new recipe this month, so . My aim is a new thing a month, so that's it for May now!!!
    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
    • Possession
    • By Possession 14th May 12, 7:23 AM
    • 3,140 Posts
    • 41,491 Thanks
    Possession
    I often look at weezl's site, but still end up making the same old things. However, I have made a new recipe this month, so . My aim is a new thing a month, so that's it for May now!!!
    Originally posted by PennyGrabber
    Unfortunately I'm the same....unfortunate because I have more than 200 cookbooks and I still cook the same old thing! For various reasons I have more time now so I'm going to be sure to try some new things out. I am making a menu plan but I don't like to go too far in advance so just doing this week at the moment. Any more than that and it starts to make me feel rather constrained.
  • mummybearx
    Well, I have well and truly blew the budget already this month

    Up to 243.72. For me and DH plus one small dog. Not good at all.

    On the plus side (!), we are stocked up til at least the end of June with coffee, on offer at MrT's with 80-odd pence off, first time it's been reduced for about 6 months, so we have grabbed 8 packs. Got 2 for 7 on the Velvet toilet rolls as well, that will do us a few weeks.

    Freezer is fit to burst with ys meats, veg drawers in the fridge are full with carrots, onions, celery, need peppers though. I have lots of lentils, lots of tinned beans, I need tins of chopped toms though.

    Really need to get a grip on things. Between me and DH being lazy, not meal planning, not thinking ahead, we are just not keeping track of things. I made a pot of soup last night for lunches at work, going to make another tonight for tomorrows lunch. Need to stop buying lunches, buying cakes every day....

    Hope everyone else is doing better than me
    Can't think of anything smart to put here...
    • fozziebeartoo
    • By fozziebeartoo 14th May 12, 8:05 AM
    • 1,564 Posts
    • 12,675 Thanks
    fozziebeartoo
    I just grated a bit of cheese over the pastry and quickly worked or into the trimmings.

    I rolled into sausages and made into knots.

    The last of my eggy wash from glazing the pies was used over the twists and then
    Sprinkled with sesame seeds.

    I will use freeze them in and use them up in packed lunch boxes as a savoury snack.

    Originally posted by jumblejack

    What a good idea!

    I will try that if I have some pastry left when I make a quiche today
    • tjp70
    • By tjp70 14th May 12, 8:18 AM
    • 425 Posts
    • 2,188 Thanks
    tjp70
    First challenge passed with flying colours. We had run out of cat litter which I buy from Mr M's. I went in and bought it and nothing else. That is a major achievement for me.

    Tonight's meal is bacon & pea risotto. The troops will not be happy with this but tough, we have bacon to use up and I have frozen peas plus risotto rice which is not being used.

    Yesterday I made scones so we have some left for pudding tonight.

    So far so good.
    If Plan A fails, remember there are 25 more letters
    • fozziebeartoo
    • By fozziebeartoo 14th May 12, 8:26 AM
    • 1,564 Posts
    • 12,675 Thanks
    fozziebeartoo
    Does anyone know which of Weezls recipes is pictured at the top of this page?

    http://weezl.wordpress.com/

    Looks like scone base with sun dried tomato or pepper? Doesnt seem to be tomatoey scones, pix not the same.....

    It looks delicious, anyone able to identify it please?
    • tessie bear
    • By tessie bear 14th May 12, 8:34 AM
    • 4,324 Posts
    • 29,765 Thanks
    tessie bear
    hi...going to do pasta bake for tea as need to do something fairly quick....was going to do a roast but that will have to wait until tomorrow...again planning a nsd as i popped into lidl yesterday so didnt quite work out as planned
    also need to have a look through the freezer and make a list of what we have in

    take care tess
    onwards and upwards
    • debbym
    • By debbym 14th May 12, 8:46 AM
    • 460 Posts
    • 2,747 Thanks
    debbym
    Does anyone know which of Weezls recipes is pictured at the top of this page?

    http://weezl.wordpress.com/

    Looks like scone base with sun dried tomato or pepper? Doesnt seem to be tomatoey scones, pix not the same.....

    It looks delicious, anyone able to identify it please?
    Originally posted by fozziebeartoo
    Looks like some kind of sundried tomato foccacia? but I can't find it in any of the recipes either on the blog or on the website. Your best bet is probably to pop over to the how much money have you saved board and see if you can contact the lady herself or by PM she is still around sometimes but not on the OS board anymore.
    • debbym
    • By debbym 14th May 12, 8:59 AM
    • 460 Posts
    • 2,747 Thanks
    debbym
    Storecupboard Puds
    Using up my stores at the moment too - when we need a pudding quick I am using the recipe for 2 minute microwave sponge puddings by jumblejack. Quick and simple with lots of ideas for variations
  • helen jelly
    Hi everyone
    Welcome to all our new people - ask lots of questions if you want to as there are lots of helpful, friendly people on here. Don't forget to check out post no.1 with Spiggles bit - its really useful and also look at Rosiebens recipe posts - lots of tried and tested lush recipes on there :]

    Budgets noted and I'm about to update them :]

    Question

    If I make homemade mini Yorkshire Puddings - can I freeze them - I want to make a batch for DS who loves them but he won't eat 12 in 1 sitting [well he would but I won't let him lol]

    Answer - yes you can - oh the wonders of googling lol

    Helen x
    Last edited by helen jelly; 14-05-2012 at 9:20 AM.
    Projects made for craft fair - 40
    1st fair on 13/4/14
    • fozziebeartoo
    • By fozziebeartoo 14th May 12, 9:27 AM
    • 1,564 Posts
    • 12,675 Thanks
    fozziebeartoo
    Looks like some kind of sundried tomato foccacia? but I can't find it in any of the recipes either on the blog or on the website. Your best bet is probably to pop over to the how much money have you saved board and see if you can contact the lady herself or by PM she is still around sometimes but not on the OS board anymore.
    Originally posted by debbym

    Thank you Debby!

    Wow - I have never seen that bit of the forum before, off for a good read
  • jumblejack
    I am LOVING weezl's posts!

    Never heard of her before. Wow. What a frugal lady and sooooo inspiring.
    A young version of our very own Flo

    I am definitely going to be reading her threads when I want something to pick up and read.

    I could definitely learn a trick or two from her.

    I looked at her latest post but it is from last year.

    Do you reckon she is blogging now instead?
    Every moment is a gift. That's why we call it the present.!
    Grocery Spend Weekly Challenge (Sat-Fri):30.50/40
    • fozziebeartoo
    • By fozziebeartoo 14th May 12, 9:35 AM
    • 1,564 Posts
    • 12,675 Thanks
    fozziebeartoo
    Today is going to be a NSD.........oh yes it is!

    I had to sort out the freezer inventory yesterday - again!!

    I had been very good crossing stuff off my list as I used it but completely forgot to add on new stuff.....doh!!

    I have a quiche baking in the oven, rather less bacon in it than expected, as DD arrived with DGS very hungry and craving a bacon sarnie

    So will have quiche for lunch or tea.

    Yesterdays LO lunch proved to be more than expected so the LO's are LO again and will need to be eaten today so lunch or tea.

    Also have 4 twirly cheesey pastry LO things in the oven courtesy of JJ's idea but people coming round for a cuppa later, so I probably wont get a chance to try them myself
  • jumblejack
    Thanks to debbym and weezl, I am gonna try making a double batch of the cheap lasagna version. Will use up the Ts value sheets though. I like the idea of the pancake version but will have to commit that one to memory to try in the future.
    Will report later how successful it was.
    Have a great day everyone.
    Every moment is a gift. That's why we call it the present.!
    Grocery Spend Weekly Challenge (Sat-Fri):30.50/40
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