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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 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'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; 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 30
  • cleggie
    Making JJs herby cheesy bread things as we speak
    Smells lovely cooking!
    • Cheapskate
    • By Cheapskate 8th Jun 12, 12:02 PM
    • 1,697 Posts
    • 20,945 Thanks
    Afternoon everyone

    I'm already up to £159.55 for June out of £450, so a bit cross with myself! That does include 2 magazines and some beers for last weekend, though, so that accounts for about £20. We do have raw mince, whole raw chicken, mince cooked as chilli, soup, few fish fingers and some other bits in the freezer from a while ago, plus store cupboard stuff so shouldn't have to spend too much over the weekend at least!

    Made flapjack today, bet it's all gone by tonight! Will have to bake/cook over the next few days so we've got some almost ready meals in the fridge and freezer for when I start my new job, as I'll be quite late home twice a week.

    A xo
    Decluttering 713/2019 items this year
    Aug GC £39.77/£300
  • Mrs Addicted to Spending
    Well done on the pizzas and biscuit baking. There is no more rewarding feeling than a baking session that results in cheap future home made meals n treats
    Well done
    Originally posted by jumblejack
    Thanks Jumblejack .

    If it was the Jamie Oliver recipe - I posted it. My Son gets 8-10 bases out of the pizza mix - some smaller for the children.
    Originally posted by Florenceem
    I don't know if it is but thanks anyway

    Is this recipe on the front page, I cant seem to find it and would like it for my niece
    Originally posted by meg72
    I didn't get it from the front page but I'll repost it in a separate post.
    Pay debt in 2012 #278 £2347/£5364
    Sealed Pot 5 #1713 £78.57 //Crazy Clothes Challenge #97 £79.49/£100
    Grocery Challenge:
    Feb £359/£360 Mar £390/£450 Apr £335/£320
    May £330/£320 Jun £455/£400 Jul £321/£320
    Aug £399/£370 Sep £345/£300 Oct £421/£400 Nov £0/£320
    • Mrs Money Penny
    • By Mrs Money Penny 8th Jun 12, 1:45 PM
    • 732 Posts
    • 6,347 Thanks
    Mrs Money Penny
    Hi All just dropped in to update my spending. A trip to Mr A for a few bits brings the total spent this month so far to £147.55. Not too bad as I have meal planned to the 21st June. Will venture out to the garage to see what is in that freezer. The weathers awful today. Have a good weekend everyone. Mrs M
    MFIT Challenge save £40k
    £48828.05/£46842.89/-£1985.16Mortgage neutral 03/19
    • savesummore
    • By savesummore 8th Jun 12, 1:50 PM
    • 943 Posts
    • 11,411 Thanks
    Have just updated my sig to reflect this mornings spend at Mr T. The only thing i need to get now is a big tub if marg for baking.

    Today i am attempting JJ's herby/cheese bread. I presume its OK to use dried herbs instead of fresh?

    Spaghetti and meatballs for dinner tonight. I am using jamie olivers recipe for the meatballs as we always really love them:

    Have a great day everyone!
    Originally posted by cleggie
    Oh thanks for that link they look great!!!! Yummy- Ill add them to my meal plan spreadsheet!!!

    I fear this spreadsheet will take over my life

    Strange dinner for me last night, As I was going to visit my Mum in hospital and wouldnt be back till late I piled stew beef and veg into the SC before I went.

    got back soaking wet, cold and starving to find I hadnt switched it on.
    so had banana on toast and THREE mugs of hot chocolate.
    Originally posted by meg72
    Poor you!! I would do somehting like this . On a lighter note your the only other person I have ever known to have banana on toast!! I LOVE it but everyone looks at me weird when I say I eat that

    Right I know im totally going to blow the GC budget this month but I have learnt some lessons the biggest one being Meal Planning- I really think this is the answer to getting my spending under control

    Based on next weeks meal plan I need very little from the SM tomorrow (I have made a list) and due to 2nd purse purchases need little cleaning stuff and no toiletries
    Without meal planning even though I have loads in I would have still brought tons of stuff tomorrow 'just in case'

    So to the GC (and hope for better results money wise nxt month )
    O/S weight loss 2.5 /10lbs (11st 8.0- 08.02)
  • Mrs Addicted to Spending
    Here is the recipe for pizza dough base, as copied from an earlier post:

    Basic Pizza Dough Recipe Ingredients

    1kilo flour (strong flour is best but plain flour will work too)

    Tablespoon salt

    Tablespoon sugar

    2 sachets of Tesco easy yeast

    650ml warm water

    Easy method to prepare:

    Mix the yeast and sugar into hand hot water.
    Leave for a couple of minutes.

    Sieve flour and salt into a BIG bowl,

    Make a hole in the flour and pour in the yeast solution.

    Using a fork, mix as well as you can from the sides to the centre.

    Then use your hands to form into a ball.

    Plop it onto a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes until it goes elastic.

    (You can use it as it is without rising if you are in a rush but otherwise.....)

    Pop into an oiled bowl and place somewhere warm for an hour to rise.

    Then knead again for a minute or 2 and cut into 8 sections.
    Unused pizza dough can be chilled to use the next day or frozen individually to roll when needed.

    I didn't use yeast from T£scos - it was still fine!! Thanks again to whoever posted it before!
    Pay debt in 2012 #278 £2347/£5364
    Sealed Pot 5 #1713 £78.57 //Crazy Clothes Challenge #97 £79.49/£100
    Grocery Challenge:
    Feb £359/£360 Mar £390/£450 Apr £335/£320
    May £330/£320 Jun £455/£400 Jul £321/£320
    Aug £399/£370 Sep £345/£300 Oct £421/£400 Nov £0/£320
  • mrsmagpie
    I know it's late in the month but can I join this challenge?
    For years we lived on quick expensive dinners and had a permanantly empty fridge, freezer and cupboards. Now that I plan meals and cook from scratch I seem to have developed some crazy compulsion to keep my all storage full at all times!
    I have enough meals to see us through to the end of the month, bar milk, cheese, eggs and fruit and veg, but I have the urge to keep restocking whenever I use up anything from the store cupboard/freezer! I need help!

    I've budgeted £240 for the month (2 adults, 2 starving teenboys) and have so far spent £66.33.
  • cleggie
    Well, the JJ herby bread went down a treat with the kids and was yummy!
    I followed the recipe exctly but they were still a bit doughy in the middle. Not sure what i did wrong. If i had left them in the oven longer, then they woudl have been too brown on top...anyone know what i did wrong? JJ?
    • Kitchenbunny
    • By Kitchenbunny 8th Jun 12, 3:08 PM
    • 1,861 Posts
    • 20,260 Thanks
    Afternoon! Kitchenbunny reporting in with another NSD! Can't get used to this Bit of a question mark over tea at the mo because while I took the sausages out, they don't seem fully defrosted so will have to see. Oh well.

    I've got to give the JJ Herby Bread a go

    K xx

  • chelseabun
    Hi all!

    Just got back from holidays - it's 20 degrees cooler here than in Spain, which was a bit of a shock getting off the plane!

    I haven't totalled up May's GC yet, but can I join in with June's - we'll go for £200 again please.

    I'll never get through reading all the threads, so will just start again from here!

    Hope everyone's ok. Take care 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!

  • Mrs Addicted to Spending
    Welcome to the challenge MrsMagpie
    Pay debt in 2012 #278 £2347/£5364
    Sealed Pot 5 #1713 £78.57 //Crazy Clothes Challenge #97 £79.49/£100
    Grocery Challenge:
    Feb £359/£360 Mar £390/£450 Apr £335/£320
    May £330/£320 Jun £455/£400 Jul £321/£320
    Aug £399/£370 Sep £345/£300 Oct £421/£400 Nov £0/£320
    • NickJW
    • By NickJW 8th Jun 12, 4:48 PM
    • 678 Posts
    • 13,646 Thanks
    cleggie: I've been meaning to do those Jamie's meatballs for yonks because I have some slightly soft cream crackers which need utilizing - glad to know that they are nice when I FINALLY get around to making it!

    Small spend of £2.72 in Mr S yesterday on some lunch items and tortilla wraps.

    Need to go to Mr T to get some chicken to make Chicken Enchiladas using a jar o sauce from the cupboard which was reduced to clear in Mr S orginally.

    Also need to get some water filters. When I originally bought a water filter jug I bought it from Mr T because it was cheaper and because the filters are better value than Brita. So now I have to go and shop in Mr T whether I like it or not
    Grocery Challenge 14 Jan 14 £46.05/£130

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

    DFD 1st March 2011
    • sistercas
    • By sistercas 8th Jun 12, 5:06 PM
    • 4,842 Posts
    • 58,667 Thanks
    made a BUTTER CHICKEN for tea ita absolutely delish i made a mild version but you could spice it up as you wish , will defo make it again , i used chicken but you could use anything

    got a fair amount of rice left over ,DD1 says she would like egg fried rice tomorrow so need to find a recipe . ive got a jar of sweet and sour sauce and a pack of prawn crackers in the cupboard somewhere, so could use that too

    Nickjw have you tried home bargains they do generic water filters around £2 , they fit my brit@ filter so not sure if they would be any good
    • elsiepac
    • By elsiepac 8th Jun 12, 5:23 PM
    • 1,755 Posts
    • 12,802 Thanks
    Will catch up on the thread later as I've got a bit behind this week, however I'm increasing my budget this month as I'm rapidly running low on funds and if I don't have some kind of limit in place then I'll just go completely mad! So my new budget this month is £100 - HelenJelly can you please amend my pledge? Sorry to be a pain!

    Total so far: £62.43 / £100

    Hope everyone is good, I'll update properly later!

    I'm a Board Guide on the Old Style, Greenfingered, Energy & Going Out Deals boards which means I'm a volunteer to help the boards run smoothly and I can move and merge threads there. Please remember, board guides don't read every post. If you spot an illegal or inappropriate post then please report it to (it's not part of my role to deal with this) Any views are mine and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.
    SPC No 074
    GC: Sep 19 £tbc/£250
    Vegan 27-8-13
    • cattysmum
    • By cattysmum 8th Jun 12, 5:23 PM
    • 1,256 Posts
    • 21,417 Thanks
    Hi all just a few spends to report, went into Asda and managed to get nine pounds worth of the ready meal sauces I know not the same as doing them yourself but ok if in a rush. Also some Pizzas from Ts using money off coupons. Iv got to try JJs herby bread might give it a go tomorrow. Iv updated siggy. Also got today Cool water perfune from Boots, reduced in store from £20 to £10+ then used £5 off fragrance vouvher they are giving away. A lovely Xmas pressie for just over a fiver, well happy!!
    [B]SPC No. 295 - SPC No10 target £350
    SPC 2014 £150/SPC 2015 £256SPC 2016 £324
    Saving for Florida 2018
    Matched betting toe dipper.
    • Cool Nanna
    • By Cool Nanna 8th Jun 12, 6:48 PM
    • 39 Posts
    • 911 Thanks
    Cool Nanna
    I got some pizza's from Mr T's today, I went through the self service and did them seperately, the poor assistant had to keep coming over to me to verify the coupons, when I got home I realised I had left one behind, it's a good job it only cost me 40p.

    My Mum has given me some brown bread flour that was out of date last month, do you think it will be OK to use.
    Jan GC £300/£296 March GC £375/£336
    Feb GC £300290 April GC £300/£270
    May GC £250/£273
  • bikelesschick
    Another spend here after a good few NSDs. £7.41 at Mr T. Will update sig now.
    Baby girl born 3rd October 2012
    • MrsCD
    • By MrsCD 8th Jun 12, 7:02 PM
    • 753 Posts
    • 11,263 Thanks
    Welcome back Chelseabun. Hope you had a lovely time

    Another NSD for me

    Really tired today after my late night last night. Going to watch Casualty then hopefully have an early night.
    • MrsCD
    • By MrsCD 8th Jun 12, 7:04 PM
    • 753 Posts
    • 11,263 Thanks
    I got some pizza's from Mr T's today, I went through the self service and did them seperately, the poor assistant had to keep coming over to me to verify the coupons, when I got home I realised I had left one behind, it's a good job it only cost me 40p.

    My Mum has given me some brown bread flour that was out of date last month, do you think it will be OK to use.
    Originally posted by Cool Nanna
    I would just check that it hasn't got any flour weevils, but otherwise, yes I would use it. What do other people think?
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 8th Jun 12, 7:15 PM
    • 3,996 Posts
    • 52,590 Thanks
    made a BUTTER CHICKEN for tea ita absolutely delish i made a mild version but you could spice it up as you wish , will defo make it again , i used chicken but you could use anything

    got a fair amount of rice left over ,DD1 says she would like egg fried rice tomorrow so need to find a recipe . ive got a jar of sweet and sour sauce and a pack of prawn crackers in the cupboard somewhere, so could use that too

    Nickjw have you tried home bargains they do generic water filters around £2 , they fit my brit@ filter so not sure if they would be any good
    Originally posted by sistercas
    I used the Gok recipe for Egg fried rice - yummy. Google Gok cooks Chinese - 4OD.
    15 in 2015 1/15
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