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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 sixth 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:
    May 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; 11-05-2012 at 6:59 PM.
    A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men
    Norn Iron club member #380

Page 27
  • cleggie
    Having a baking day today:
    Millies cookies
    Almond cakes
    Banana and Lemon drizzle cake
    Flapjacks
    Twinks hobnobs
    Shortbread.

    That should easily keep everyone going for a week or so!
    • jennypennysaver
    • By jennypennysaver 7th Jun 12, 11:50 AM
    • 65 Posts
    • 1,123 Thanks
    jennypennysaver
    Wow, v.impressive. You're an inspiration!!

    What are twinks hobnobs?
    June 2015 Grocery Challenge [/B]126.38/360
    "Sealed Pot Challenge" ~ 8 (2015) - No 480 12.60
    • jennypennysaver
    • By jennypennysaver 7th Jun 12, 12:18 PM
    • 65 Posts
    • 1,123 Thanks
    jennypennysaver
    Bread machine on fleabay a no-go, seller wants to post and not have collection but the P&P charge adds so much on to the price I could buy a new one!! Does anyone out there make bread without a bread machine; I do have (unused!) dough hooks on my mixer...?
    June 2015 Grocery Challenge [/B]126.38/360
    "Sealed Pot Challenge" ~ 8 (2015) - No 480 12.60
    • MrsCD
    • By MrsCD 7th Jun 12, 12:53 PM
    • 745 Posts
    • 11,241 Thanks
    MrsCD
    Are these what you call chocolate crispies?


    DSCF0800 by Aldahbra, on Flickr


    If so I've made them and although they were OK we don't want anymore just yet.

    The cheesecake is a good idea. Would you add biscuit to them to make a cheesecake base?
    Originally posted by Aldahbra
    Yes they look like choc crispies, melted choc and cereal. Well done I would bash some digestives, or choc digestives with the hoops and mix with melted butter for the cheesecake base.

    bikingbint (who will be the size of a stately home [already the size of a house] if I don't stop eating the bread I make).
    Originally posted by Bikingbint
    Same here JJ's 2 min micro puds are lethal

    Having a baking day today:
    Millies cookies
    Almond cakes
    Banana and Lemon drizzle cake
    Flapjacks
    Twinks hobnobs
    Shortbread.

    That should easily keep everyone going for a week or so!
    Originally posted by cleggie
    WOW- well done cleggie. You've had a really busy day
    Determined to have another NSD day today.
    Coffee morning at church, lunch of LO's, hoovered the stairs, funeral later this afternoon, concert tonight.
    What a day!
  • cleggie
    Wow, v.impressive. You're an inspiration!!

    What are twinks hobnobs?
    Originally posted by jennypennysaver
    if you go to post 5, on page 1 of this thread, its almost at the bottom of that post.
    I made them for the first time last week, and they went down a storm! We all loved them! They taste as close to real hobnobs as i have made, so so cheap!

    Almond cakes are in the oven, as well as hibnobs, but have had to rethink the cake as i dont have any free tupperware thats big enough to store it!

    Shortbread is going in next, and then i am also roasting the chicken drumsticks for tonights dinner (see Flo!!!).
    • medsdemon
    • By medsdemon 7th Jun 12, 1:16 PM
    • 745 Posts
    • 6,098 Thanks
    medsdemon
    Just popped on to post a spend of 7.91 by OH last night - we needed milk and craved snacks so he bought crisps and chocolate ansd hot choccie. Picked up some YS lettuce, cue and melon though so wasn't all bad.

    NSD today. Must decide on dinner...hmmm maybe make harrissa bean burgers and have with all the salad in the fridge...I'll see what DD says when she gets in from school.
    Grocery challenge October: 228.28/250.00 NSD 4 ( not completed)
    Grocery challenge November : 291.65/300.00 NSD 10
    Grocery challenge December : 0/240.00 NSD
    • PennyGrabber
    • By PennyGrabber 7th Jun 12, 1:24 PM
    • 1,268 Posts
    • 22,438 Thanks
    PennyGrabber
    Can one of you lovely GC people help me please- im sure this is abit of a daft question but how do you meal plan

    Do you have a front page list with all your regular/fav meals and then put them in week by week maybe trying 1 diff receipe each week?

    Do you plan for all meals including snacks or just evening meals?

    I really want to meal plan but dont want to get stuck in a rut of Tuesday is pie night etc

    I think this cold is fogging my brain
    Originally posted by savesummore
    I don't do anything fancy to meal plan - no spreadsheets or anything. I just go through my cupboards and fridge freezer the day before a shop, and see what dinners I can make from what's in already. Often, the children choose a dinner for the next week too. Then, I allocate meals to days (on a piece of paper stuck to the fridge door), and finally make up the shopping list. I make sure that anything needing fresher stuff goes at the beginning of the week, and Friday is always a quickie dinner day because of swimming lessons. This way, I can change things around week by week, and take account of offers when I shop, ready for the next week etc.

    HTH

    I need to sort out the freezer again as I was attacked by an avalanche of frozen HM meals when I opened it the other day.....was up to my ankles in frozen LO's so I just stuffed them all back in any old how but now I have a mini avalanche everytime I look for something
    Originally posted by fozziebeartoo
    This made me chuckle - I thought it only happened to me!!

    Wow, v.impressive. You're an inspiration!!

    What are twinks hobnobs?
    Originally posted by jennypennysaver
    What?! How can you not know what they are?!!?!! They're delish, but I've banned myself from making them too often...
    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
    • jennypennysaver
    • By jennypennysaver 7th Jun 12, 1:34 PM
    • 65 Posts
    • 1,123 Thanks
    jennypennysaver
    Aw thanks cleggie...they are now top of my list for things to bake tomorrow. Can you freeze them?

    This is such a great place... wish I'd discovered you all a long time ago

    Been so domestic goddess today...shifted half the ironing mountain and listed my freezer contents
    June 2015 Grocery Challenge [/B]126.38/360
    "Sealed Pot Challenge" ~ 8 (2015) - No 480 12.60
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 7th Jun 12, 1:52 PM
    • 3,984 Posts
    • 52,562 Thanks
    Florenceem
    if you go to post 5, on page 1 of this thread, its almost at the bottom of that post.
    I made them for the first time last week, and they went down a storm! We all loved them! They taste as close to real hobnobs as i have made, so so cheap!

    Almond cakes are in the oven, as well as hibnobs, but have had to rethink the cake as i dont have any free tupperware thats big enough to store it!

    Shortbread is going in next, and then i am also roasting the chicken drumsticks for tonights dinner (see Flo!!!).
    Originally posted by cleggie
    Good! I am watching!!!
    15 in 2015 1/15
  • cleggie
    Oh God, the almond cakes are YUMMY!!! I highly recommend them, although not if you are on a diet (like me, oops!).

    Shortbread has also gone down well with the kids, although i am not a shortbread lover.
    Chicken is now on the oven, ready for tonight dinner.

    So, thats m day of baking so far. I think i'll save the other recipes for a rainy day.

    Jenny- not sure if you can freeze the twinks hobnobs...does anyone else know the answer to that?
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 7th Jun 12, 1:59 PM
    • 3,984 Posts
    • 52,562 Thanks
    Florenceem
    Oh God, the almond cakes are YUMMY!!! I highly recommend them, although not if you are on a diet (like me, oops!).

    Shortbread has also gone down well with the kids, although i am not a shortbread lover.
    Chicken is now on the oven, ready for tonight dinner.

    So, thats m day of baking so far. I think i'll save the other recipes for a rainy day.

    Jenny- not sure if you can freeze the twinks hobnobs...does anyone else know the answer to that?
    Originally posted by cleggie
    Are they my almond cakes recipe?
    15 in 2015 1/15
  • cleggie
    Indeed they are flo
    I am thinking that next time i could add some broken up value chocolate in them too.
    • jennypennysaver
    • By jennypennysaver 7th Jun 12, 2:07 PM
    • 65 Posts
    • 1,123 Thanks
    jennypennysaver
    I think I might use the leftover, unopened easter eggs that are lurking in the cupboard for the choc I need for baking instead of buying choc. Mental note: ask people not to buy easter eggs for the kids next year! They must have had at least 10 each!!
    June 2015 Grocery Challenge [/B]126.38/360
    "Sealed Pot Challenge" ~ 8 (2015) - No 480 12.60
  • cleggie
    Good idea jenny. I never use choc chip etc for cooking, i just get the value choc and smash it to bits with a rolling pin! They are only 30p a bar in Mr T, so saves me lots that way.
    • fozziebeartoo
    • By fozziebeartoo 7th Jun 12, 2:17 PM
    • 1,564 Posts
    • 12,675 Thanks
    fozziebeartoo
    Jenny- not sure if you can freeze the twinks hobnobs...does anyone else know the answer to that?
    Originally posted by cleggie

    Has anyone ever resisted eating them long enough to find out????

    • Suffolk lass
    • By Suffolk lass 7th Jun 12, 2:51 PM
    • 2,921 Posts
    • 27,458 Thanks
    Suffolk lass
    Bread without a BM - Basic white loaf recipe
    Bread machine on fleabay a no-go, seller wants to post and not have collection but the P&P charge adds so much on to the price I could buy a new one!! Does anyone out there make bread without a bread machine; I do have (unused!) dough hooks on my mixer...?
    Originally posted by jennypennysaver
    jennypennysaver - Hi there. I make bread without a bread machine but using the dough hook on my mixer. The basic white loaf is
    500g strong white flour with
    a sachet (7g) dried yeast. I stir this before adding
    a level tablespoon of flake salt and
    300ml warm water (if you save the water you cook potatoes in it is even better as it stops the bread going stale).
    Mix it with a spoon until it looks claggy (you'll know it when you see it) and then add
    1oz butter and stick it on low speed with the dough hook for ten minutes.

    Turn it out onto a floured surface and knead it (like Si King from Hairy Bikers does) for a minute or two - makes you feel virtuous!
    Then wash out the mixer bowl with hot water and use olive oil to rub the inside and put the ball of dough in and turn it up the other way so coated in oil. Put a shower cap on (the bowl, not you) and leave it for an hour-hour and a half (or overnight in the fridge).
    The ambient temperature will determine how quickly it rises.

    The dough will double in size. Don't leave it too long after this. Tip it onto the floured surface to "knock it back" (deflate it) and knead for barely a minute. I then do the olive oil thing to a baking sheet and then sprinkle that with flour and form the dough into an oval. I cover it with a clean T-towel for 30-40 minutes and heat the oven to 180c in that time. The loaf will double in size. At that point I cut three diagonal slashes in the top (my bakers' mark!) and sprinkle the top with semolina. I put it in the oven for 20 minutes and then rotate it front to back for another fifteen minutes. Then I turn it upside down for five minutes and it should sound hollow when you tap it. Then put it on a cooling rack for at least ten minutes.

    I use the same basic recipe for rolls (cut the dough into 6 on the sheet) and it will make two 1lb small loaves or one 2lb large loaf if you want to use a tin. Sometimes I put flour on top, sometimes poppy or sesame seeds. I've also brushed the rolls with beaten egg before the last rise to make the seeds stick. If you prefer your bread extra crusty you could put a roasting tin half full of water on the floor of the oven before you heat it up and the loaf will cook in the steam. I do this to slow my range in the winter but I don't bother in the microwave/grill/fan oven in the summer or there is no room for the bread to rise.

    Have fun
    HTH
    SL
    Last edited by Suffolk lass; 15-07-2012 at 4:08 PM.
    MFIT T5 target to clear our mortgage completely (59,998) Q1 26,828 or 44.71% paid - Mortgage Free Wannabes 2019 #37 29,215.99 after May
    Save 12k in 2019 - #68 target is 7k 4,998.99 or 71.41% after May
    OS Grocery Challenge 2019 target is 3k - 36.16% spent so far, after May
    My DFD is here
    • sistercas
    • By sistercas 7th Jun 12, 2:57 PM
    • 4,841 Posts
    • 58,661 Thanks
    sistercas
    Bread machine on fleabay a no-go, seller wants to post and not have collection but the P&P charge adds so much on to the price I could buy a new one!! Does anyone out there make bread without a bread machine; I do have (unused!) dough hooks on my mixer...?
    Originally posted by jennypennysaver
    I never use my bread machine anymore i find it quicker and easier to make the dough in my kenwood with the dough hook - its done in a few minutes and then I put it into a loaf tin or turn them into rolls


    Has anyone ever resisted eating them long enough to find out????

    Originally posted by fozziebeartoo
    nope


    back from shopping , spent 16 in l!dl and 50 in asd@ , my online meat order came too while I was putting my shopping away, very convenient. the meat looks fab

    in the process of making a lasagne, spag bol, chilli and a butter chicken curry - that should do us a few meals
    Last edited by sistercas; 07-06-2012 at 4:02 PM.
    • jennypennysaver
    • By jennypennysaver 7th Jun 12, 2:58 PM
    • 65 Posts
    • 1,123 Thanks
    jennypennysaver
    Hi Suffolk lass, thank you, you are an absolute star x
    June 2015 Grocery Challenge [/B]126.38/360
    "Sealed Pot Challenge" ~ 8 (2015) - No 480 12.60
    • jennypennysaver
    • By jennypennysaver 7th Jun 12, 3:00 PM
    • 65 Posts
    • 1,123 Thanks
    jennypennysaver
    Sistercas, thank you to you too x
    June 2015 Grocery Challenge [/B]126.38/360
    "Sealed Pot Challenge" ~ 8 (2015) - No 480 12.60
    • savesummore
    • By savesummore 7th Jun 12, 3:26 PM
    • 943 Posts
    • 11,411 Thanks
    savesummore
    Having a baking day today:
    Millies cookies
    Almond cakes
    Banana and Lemon drizzle cake
    Flapjacks
    Twinks hobnobs
    Shortbread.

    That should easily keep everyone going for a week or so!
    Originally posted by cleggie
    What time can I come round? Ill bring the coffee

    Bread machine on fleabay a no-go, seller wants to post and not have collection but the P&P charge adds so much on to the price I could buy a new one!! Does anyone out there make bread without a bread machine; I do have (unused!) dough hooks on my mixer...?
    Originally posted by jennypennysaver
    My OH makes all our bread without a bread maker- Just the same as Suffolk Lass has explained. I have asked OH many times if he wants a bread maker- but he wont hear of it he likes making it the old fashioned way!!

    I don't do anything fancy to meal plan - no spreadsheets or anything. I just go through my cupboards and fridge freezer the day before a shop, and see what dinners I can make from what's in already. Often, the children choose a dinner for the next week too. Then, I allocate meals to days (on a piece of paper stuck to the fridge door), and finally make up the shopping list. I make sure that anything needing fresher stuff goes at the beginning of the week, and Friday is always a quickie dinner day because of swimming lessons. This way, I can change things around week by week, and take account of offers when I shop, ready for the next week etc.

    HTH.
    Originally posted by PennyGrabber
    Thanks

    I have made a spreadsheet today and in my usual fashion seemed to have over complicated things

    I have an excel spreadsheet with the first few tabs/sheets dedicated to listing meals and the receipe location (book/folder/internet site). The tabs/sheets I have are Lunchs, Dinners, Indian food (we loooove Indian food ) and snacks/cakes
    Then I have a sheet for next weeks meals lunches and dinners with a space to type any bits i need to buy
    The idea being I can scan through my meal lists and come up with a plan from there based on what I have in etc

    Told you it was complaicated- my head hurts lol
    O/S weight loss 2.5 /10lbs (11st 8.0- 08.02)
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