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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 45
    • jasmin10
    • By jasmin10 13th Jun 12, 12:01 PM
    • 895 Posts
    • 1,720 Thanks
    I'm ashamed to say that yesterday was rubbish. I had already bean shopping on Saturday and dipped into next weeks budget by 7.

    Then yesterday I was at the hospital waiting for a medical diagnosis to be confirmed which in one sense I was pleased to have it confirmed but then felt cheesed off and throughly depressed. Needless to say I went onto Mr M's and thought stuff it why cant I have the things I want to make nice meals and bought everything I was resisting plus a pack of 6 doughnuts (ate 3 on the way home for comfort and a bottle of wine for later.

    The shopping made me feel tons better along with the wine etc but now I feel miserable, guilty and mad with myself re my budget as I spent 58 and working so hard at controlling it. Still within my overall budget and probably have enough food now to see us through til DH's payday on the 28th.

    Still not the point tho.
    [I]TopCashback 1792.63
    My Little World
  • jumblejack
    second time lucky - just deleted my first post without saving it!

    still off sick and going through tissues at a rate of knots so off to buy some more. Feeling like I need soup today so going to get some watercress to make rose elliots delicious watercress soup - you fry the potatoes first and it gives it the most amazing taste! Also thinking I need some tom yum so will look for spinach or pak choy, whichevers cheaper!

    on a disappointing note i found a grocery receipt for may in an old carrier bag and have to increase the total by 28. thought i had been so good at collecting receipts too. still it was only my first month which will make this months reduction look even better!
    Originally posted by happy chick
    JJs Watercress Soup

    I'm not familiar with the recipe that you use but if you are run down, the best way to make it to get the most nutrition is to:

    1)Fry onions in butter (butter makes it much more lush!),
    2)Add thinly sliced potatoes to the onions and butter in the pan and fry.
    3)Add stock. Simmer until potatoes are softened.
    4)Put potatoes, onions and stock into the blender...

    ...THEN add the washed and ready to eat watercress as you are about to blitz it.
    (The enzymes are destroyed by cooking so the soup is much more nutritious this way.)

    I make it this way every time I get reduced price watercress from Ts.

    JJs Dinner Party Version:
    If you are having a dinner party, (or just fancy more protein), a nice little touch is to put a lightly cooked poached egg in each bowl before you ladle the soup in.
    As the guests go to spoon up the soup, it breaks the yolk and releases golden threads through the vibrantly green soup.

    It looks and tastes delicious!!
    Last edited by jumblejack; 13-06-2012 at 12:29 PM.
    Every moment is a gift. That's why we call it the present.!
    Grocery Spend Weekly Challenge (Sat-Fri):30.50/40
  • mummy2mygirls

    Have you tried squashing the toilet roll a bit into an oval shape rather than round? It makes it harder to just pull like those pesky puppies do on the TV!!!
    Originally posted by MrsCD
    We have one of the big ones which holds 4 and isnt screwed on the wall so they can just take it off. I might have to get DH to put one on the wall so we can slow them lol. But its mainly the 3 yr old so cant moan too much as she is still little and learning Its a pain when she drops its down the stairs though and ive got to roll it all back up
    Last edited by mummy2mygirls; 13-06-2012 at 12:39 PM.
    GC: Nov: 60.22/450 Oct: 338.48/450, July: 363.05/450, June 447.98/500
    2 savers No68: 104/100

    mummy to: 8yr, 5yr, 3yr, 2yr, 1yr. No6 Due Mar 2013 My world.
    • Bluegreen143
    • By Bluegreen143 13th Jun 12, 12:37 PM
    • 1,108 Posts
    • 12,739 Thanks
    Well I haven't spent anything on groceries since Sunday's Mr T delivery because I'm trying really really hard to only shop once a week.

    On Monday night, made casserole with the leftovers from our roast chicken on Sunday padded with butter beans and veg - there was enough to make 4 'dinner portions' plus an extra 'lunch portion! This means that we've gotten 3 dinners for the 2 of us, plus one lunch, out of one 1.5kg chicken. And I made stock from the bones! I only buy free range, but buying whole chickens is helping me feel better about the cost as it wasn't much more for the whole chicken than it is for two breasts on their own which only makes dinner for two

    (That may seem like a v obvious revelation but I've only just started eating meat again after being veggie for years).

    Had stir fry for dinner last night - amazing how you can make a meal for two out of some noodles, a carrot, half a pepper, half an onion, a handful of cashew nuts and an egg. Well with honey/soy sauce/ginger etc as well. Running low on veg now (can you tell ) but not buying more until Sunday! Only problem is, the OH wants to come shopping on Sunday when we go to Mr M, which is NEVER good if you want to save money
    Married 1 March 2014 DS born 06 Dec 2014 DD born 14 Dec 2018
  • sb88
    Good morning!

    Welcome to Katy and all the other newbies You are most definitely in the right places. The ladies and gents on here have helped me so much, i am really glad i joined the GC.

    So, today i am doing my 1st online shop with Mr T. They responded to the message i posted on their FB page about a code for 10 your 1st 50 shop, and i also have a 15 off a 75 shop.

    I think i can use them together. So i think i may do a 75 which meand i'll end up paying 50 for it! Hopefully it'll work!!
    Also, the new offer leaflet comes out today, with loads of coupons to use, so i will have a look at that 1st, to see if i can enter any codes from there.

    Hope you all have a great day!
    Originally posted by cleggie
    Apparently you can use them together! Do you know when they expire ? Thanks Sarah
    Weightloss: 18lbs/28lbs (Start weight: 11st, Current 9st 10)
  • cleggie
    Hi Sarah, i am not sure when they expire.

    If you want the codes, et me know. I also have a 2 off code when you spend 8 on Dairy.
  • jumblejack

    Just had the idea of getting a juicer again to use up all the whoopsie goodies from Ts that I sometimes have to decline cos of the problem of how will I use em up.

    I gave one away about 8 years ago but that was cos I didn't go bargain hunting like I do now and fruit was too expensive to buy just for the juice alone.

    It is a crafty way of getting the goodness from dandelions n nettles too
    Every moment is a gift. That's why we call it the present.!
    Grocery Spend Weekly Challenge (Sat-Fri):30.50/40
    • purplesheila
    • By purplesheila 13th Jun 12, 1:45 PM
    • 24 Posts
    • 477 Thanks
    Warming Veggie Minestrone
    I’m reporting a NSD for the Purplesheila household again today.

    Housework done this morning, followed by swim at my Local Baths, I was very good and even went on my pedal bike to save petrol. Came home starving and had some of my Home Made Minestrone Soup which I made this morning. Such an easy and cheep recipe and a filling snack for the kids when they get home from school.

    Easy tea tonight, defrosted a tub of Homemade Tomato and veg sauce to go with pasta and I have pulled out a garlic bread from the freezer. I have also made some Coleslaw as side. If they want a pudding we have tinned peaches in the cupboard. hours before the kids get home so I think I will take the dog for a walk J

    Here is the recipe if anyone wants to make it....

    Warming VeggieMinestrone

    1 Onion - Chopped

    2 celery Sticks – Chopped into small pieces

    4 small carrots - Chopped

    1 tbs Vegetable oil

    400g Tin of Chopped Tomatoes

    2 Pints of Vegetable stock (Made with Stock cube)

    125g of Pasta (I use macaroni purchased cheep in Ald!)

    410g Cannellini Beans (I use a cheap tin of Baked Beans withSauce rinsed off)

    5oz of frozen peas

    1tsp Mixed Herbs


    Fry vegetables in oil over a medium heat for 10minutes

    Add tomatoes, stock and herbs, bring to a simmer

    Mix in pasta and continue to cook – depending ontime required for pasta

    Add the peas and beans for the last 3 minutes

    Check seasoning and serve
    April Grocery challenge 0/160 (17th April-30th Apr)
    NSDs - 0/14
  • sb88
    Hi Sarah, i am not sure when they expire.

    If you want the codes, et me know. I also have a 2 off code when you spend 8 on Dairy.
    Originally posted by cleggie

    Hi, If you could send them by Pm that would be great!

    I'm hoping they will last untill Saturday when I have enough money to go shopping !! I may be able to stick to my food budget this month! and have some food left for next

    Turkey and lentil curry tonight! Yum Sausage and Lentil Casserole tomorrow! (I'm putting lentils in everything this week to fill up a bit better!)

    Trying to diet, and food budget, and cater for a fussy eater who is never full! Things are starting to get better though
    Weightloss: 18lbs/28lbs (Start weight: 11st, Current 9st 10)
  • cleggie
    Hi, If you could send them by Pm that would be great!
    Originally posted by sb88
    Done Hope you find it useful!

    PS- the codes i gave for extra points dont expire until 08/07- think i forgot to say that in the PM!
    • Kitchenbunny
    • By Kitchenbunny 13th Jun 12, 3:06 PM
    • 1,861 Posts
    • 20,260 Thanks
    Yay, managed to have another NSD today! Have resisted the lure of Mr Aldo when we had to pick up the car. I would have only gone for a look around, but you know how easy it is ...

    SB88 - any chance of a link to the sausage and lentil casserole? Or is there a particular recipe you use as it sounds lovely


    K xx

  • KatyReed+5
    So far today has been a NSD, YAY, really had to resist temptation, it's so hard. Now all the kids are home from school if i want to go to the shop i need to take all 5 out with me which wont be happening, as OH wont be home from work till 11.

    Katy, X
    June 0.00 GC / 200.00

    Family of 4 : 1 adult 3 kids ages 3,4 & 5.
  • sb88
    Thanks Cleggie!

    SB88 - any chance of a link to the sausage and lentil casserole? Or is there a particular recipe you use as it sounds lovely
    Originally posted by Kitchenbunny

    I don't actually use a recipe, I've always just, thrown things together lol So I couldn't even tell you quantities

    but I'll try to sum it up! I will put it in the slow cooker sometimes, or leave it in the oven for 1- 1 and a half hours on about 200 (non fan assisted oven)

    (for 2)
    I precook the sausages, or at least brown them! Normally use 2 per person.. Sometimes I will leave them whole, other times I will chop them up! I cook the lentils to pack instructions (if im slow cooking, boil vig for 10 minutes, wash, and add to the pot) normally use 4-5 table spoons of dried lentils.

    I start by using a tin of chopped tomatoes, 1/2 cup of water, and a beef stock cube and thrown in some chopped onion, oregenao and sometimes tyme from the garden, a little salt and pepper.
    I also add a diced red bell pepper, 2-3 medium sized diced potatoes and of course the sausage and lentils!

    I hope this makes sense!! I also will add a bit of beef gravy granuelstowards the end to thicken it up!

    I just pop it in the oven and hope for the best!
    Last edited by sb88; 13-06-2012 at 4:03 PM.
    Weightloss: 18lbs/28lbs (Start weight: 11st, Current 9st 10)
    • craigywv
    • By craigywv 13th Jun 12, 4:03 PM
    • 1,976 Posts
    • 27,825 Thanks
    just on to say FLO i made GOK WAN recipe you posted for fried rice...................... ab brilliant looked and tasted just like a take away so it will be a firm favorite now in our house, made too much so got same amount agin in fridge going to look up internet and see if i can freeze it. thanks FLO great recipe!!!
    C.R.A.P.R.O.L.L.Z #7 member N.I splinter-group co-ordinater I dont suffer from insanity....I enjoy every minute of it!!.
    • little_miss_moneysaver
    • By little_miss_moneysaver 13th Jun 12, 4:33 PM
    • 1,229 Posts
    • 7,653 Thanks
    Had another little spend. Went to Mr S for drinks/snacks as am travelling to a funeral tomorrow. Not coming out of my groc budget though. Of course had to look at the whoopsies just incase and got some radishes for 37p. Had run out but wasn't going to buy any full price! Still need to update my sig with the loaf from yday too so will do that now before I forget.

    Have a portion of LO bolognaise in the fridge which I think I freeze. OH is out tonight and I have some cheese to use up which I really fancy so will have cheese on toast or jacket potato with salad. Have berries to use up with the last little bit of creme fraiche. so I think I'm sorted
    Baby boy arrived 22nd August 2012
    Second menace arrived safely 13th February 2014
    Debt Free Wannabee 2015
    • fozziebeartoo
    • By fozziebeartoo 13th Jun 12, 4:37 PM
    • 1,566 Posts
    • 12,676 Thanks
    I'm ashamed to say that yesterday was rubbish. I had already bean shopping on Saturday and dipped into next weeks budget by 7.

    Then yesterday I was at the hospital waiting for a medical diagnosis to be confirmed which in one sense I was pleased to have it confirmed but then felt cheesed off and throughly depressed. Needless to say I went onto Mr M's and thought stuff it why cant I have the things I want to make nice meals and bought everything I was resisting plus a pack of 6 doughnuts (ate 3 on the way home for comfort and a bottle of wine for later.

    The shopping made me feel tons better along with the wine etc but now I feel miserable, guilty and mad with myself re my budget as I spent 58 and working so hard at controlling it. Still within my overall budget and probably have enough food now to see us through til DH's payday on the 28th.

    Still not the point tho.
    Originally posted by jasmin10

    PLEASE dont be hard on yourself jasmin10, sometimes we just have to do whatever gets us through the tough times and in the grand scheme of things, that was a very small slip.

    Hoping you feel much better very soon
    • Midgetgem82
    • By Midgetgem82 13th Jun 12, 5:12 PM
    • 71 Posts
    • 625 Thanks
    Went to Ald* and spent 31.36 then on to MrT and a spend of 27.47.
    I'm really trying to cut down on what i'm buying from MrT but there r some things that just aren't as nice in Ald*, kids cereal and squash for example.
    I got half the amount of stuff in MrT as i did in Aldi and it cost almost the same?!
    I think i will come in under budget this month so am starting to think about cutting it next month, which will mean stricter meal planning i think
    H+M 72.89 NEXT 319.56 22.9%APR BARCLAY CARD 352.90 26.43%APR ARGOS CARD38.26/ 698.02 29.9%APR VERY 221.19/ 1825.21 47.9%APR
    • fozziebeartoo
    • By fozziebeartoo 13th Jun 12, 5:18 PM
    • 1,566 Posts
    • 12,676 Thanks
    Bad day today, poor DD (only 22) found a lump and was referred to breast clinic, went for scan and they did an immediate biopsy......I am obviously terrified and trying not to show it.

    Any positive thoughts and prayers you can spare will be gratefully received while my girl waits for the result

    20 spent on taxis and buses to and from hospital.
  • cleggie
    I'm so so sorry to hear that Fozzie.
    i am sending you and your DD all the positive thoughts i can. I hope it turns out OK.xx.
    • EverTheOptimist
    • By EverTheOptimist 13th Jun 12, 5:47 PM
    • 2,676 Posts
    • 15,752 Thanks
    Really sorry to hear that Fozzie.

    Thinking of you at this time, praying for a positive outcome for your DD. Try to stay positive as best you can.
    SPC 12 #005 Target 200 /
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