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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 seventh 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:
    June 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; 04-06-2012 at 12:30 PM.
    A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men
    Norn Iron club member #380

Page 16
    • DebtFree2012
    • By DebtFree2012 2nd Jul 12, 8:57 AM
    • 3,476 Posts
    • 9,584 Thanks
    DebtFree2012
    Reporting a planned weekend spend of 17 in Aldi and 3.45 in the farm shop. This has allowed me everything for the packed lunches (I hope) as we have a few things growing in the garden. Also I have enough for teas too so fingers crossed there should be no more spending this week. I have 4.55 left for the week if I need to though.

    This leaves me with 25 each Sunday of which I have 3 until next budget - this is on target so I am pleased more so if I can sace the 4.55.
    Debt - CCV 3792
    CCB 1383 (took a hit for a holiday)

    Loan 1 1787
    Loan 2 1683
    Total 8601 Was 39302
  • jumblejack
    Aldahbra,

    Here is the rose jelly recipe:

    It's a Richard Mabey recipe from his book that I love to capture on foraging pics

    Basically collect a couple of cups of rose petals (wild not cultivated as the wild ones are much thinner and process easier). I mean 2 cups crammed full!


    Dissolve 2 cups sugar in half a cup of water mixed with a couple of tablespoons of lemon juice.

    Stir in rose petals and stir over a low heat for 30 mins.

    Cool a little then pour into sterile jars.

    You may choose to keep the petals in or remove them. I tried both:

    If you do not strain them out, they rise to the top and look really pretty!

    I really hope you get into it! There is so much to forage in your locality. Even in the cities, things like plantain, dandelion, nettles, cleavers, horsetail etc can be found within a stones throw. There are usually much better finds though if you look.

    It will help to stretch your grocery budget slightly too!!!
    I needed veggies yesterday but settled for the foraged beets n ramsons so I didn't have to spend on greens.
    Every moment is a gift. That's why we call it the present.!
    Grocery Spend Weekly Challenge (Sat-Fri):30.50/40
    • Aldahbra
    • By Aldahbra 2nd Jul 12, 9:18 AM
    • 315 Posts
    • 3,684 Thanks
    Aldahbra
    Aldahbra,

    Here is the rose jelly recipe:

    Basically collect a couple of cups of rose petals (wild not cultivated as the wild ones are much thinner and process easier). I mean 2 cups crammed full!
    Originally posted by jumblejack
    Thanks, I'm a bit disappointed I was hoping to raid the garden for these and make some today, I'm not sure where wild roses would grow near me.
    "Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence."
    ~ Napoleon Bonaparte
    Weight loss challenge: week 1 ---------- target 8lbs in 4 weeks
    Grocery Challenge June: 100/500 ------------left to spend 400
    Declutter June: 0/100
    NSD 6 June/6 July: 0/2
    • lilian1977
    • By lilian1977 2nd Jul 12, 9:32 AM
    • 4,656 Posts
    • 18,375 Thanks
    lilian1977

    MrT have been selling 4pts of creamfields milk for 1 for some months now. They don't necessarily make it obvious on the shelves and last time I was in I had to actually ask where the semi skinned was, as I couldn't see it.
    Originally posted by Aldahbra
    Thanks, we did used to get this but they don't do skimmed milk in that range so we get it from Iceland instead, it's still a 4 pinter (and Iceland is open later on a Sunday so that's advantageous when we've forgotten we need it!)
    Last edited by lilian1977; 02-07-2012 at 9:34 AM.


    My debt free diary
    [/SIZE][/FONT]
    • Barbeduk
    • By Barbeduk 2nd Jul 12, 9:38 AM
    • 816 Posts
    • 7,150 Thanks
    Barbeduk

    Does anybody have any recommendations for a breadmaker - or is the consensus of opinion that there is more control over the process making bread manually (daily loaves that is)?
    Originally posted by In_it_not_to_giveitaway
    I use an ancient Panasonic, got to be 12 + years old now, always makes a lovely loaf. Can't believe how well it's lasted as I always make my own bread and there's 4 of us.

    Re chicken stock, I also just bung the carcass in a saucepan and simmer for 40 mins or so. I might put celery in if I have it, more often not though! You get loads more meat off this way, perfect for soups and risotto.

    Had a lovely baking session yesterday, scones and banana/choc chip muffins. The kids are very happy with their packed lunches today.
    Last edited by Barbeduk; 02-07-2012 at 1:59 PM.
    June GC 288.01/400
  • Boodle
    Aldahbra, I am just using roses from the garden. Lavender from the garden too for Lavender Jelly.
    Love and compassion to all x
    • lilian1977
    • By lilian1977 2nd Jul 12, 9:42 AM
    • 4,656 Posts
    • 18,375 Thanks
    lilian1977
    Panasonic SD255 breadmaker - has to be the best around in my opinion


    My debt free diary
    [/SIZE][/FONT]
    • Aldahbra
    • By Aldahbra 2nd Jul 12, 9:48 AM
    • 315 Posts
    • 3,684 Thanks
    Aldahbra
    Aldahbra, I am just using roses from the garden. Lavender from the garden too for Lavender Jelly.
    Originally posted by Boodle
    I have never heard of lavender Jelly either. Have you made it before?
    I think I'll give our roses a go then, silly question, does it matter which colour?
    "Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence."
    ~ Napoleon Bonaparte
    Weight loss challenge: week 1 ---------- target 8lbs in 4 weeks
    Grocery Challenge June: 100/500 ------------left to spend 400
    Declutter June: 0/100
    NSD 6 June/6 July: 0/2
  • Boodle
    I just soaked 10 lavender heads in 750ml water for 3 days, then strained it into a pan with 750g preserving sugar and the juice of half a lemon and boiled for about 7 minutes I think. It was very nice. I would imagine a redder rose would give a prettier colour but mine are quite a pale pink.

    Should have mentioned that quantity gave me 5 jars full .
    Love and compassion to all x
  • jumblejack
    Thanks, I'm a bit disappointed I was hoping to raid the garden for these and make some today, I'm not sure where wild roses would grow near me.
    Originally posted by Aldahbra
    Cultivated roses would still work though!!!
    They are more chewy in the jelly though so you may prefer to scrape them off your toast leaving just the jelly behind. If you strain it anyway, then it won't really matter!!

    Give it a go. You will LOVE the flavour.
    Think Turkish delight without the chemicals.

    The pancakes were sublime yesterday.
    Next time I have icecream, I'm pouring some over it too!
    Every moment is a gift. That's why we call it the present.!
    Grocery Spend Weekly Challenge (Sat-Fri):30.50/40
  • In_it_not_to_giveitaway
    I use an ancient Panasonic, got to be 12 + years old now, always makes a lovely loaf. Can't believe how well it's lasted as I always make my own bread and there's 4 of us.
    Originally posted by Barbeduk
    Together with the recommendation from lilian1977 I will look at the Panasonic and try to get one at a good price. I like the idea of being able to set the timer so that it starts about 4am in the morning and fills the house with the wonderful smell of freshly baked bread (especially in the dank dark dreary months of January and February).

    May your week be replete with thriftiness,
    ____________________________________________

    179/200
    ___________________________________________
  • jumblejack
    I just soaked 10 lavender heads in 750ml water for 3 days, then strained it into a pan with 750g preserving sugar and the juice of half a lemon and boiled for about 7 minutes I think. It was very nice. I would imagine a redder rose would give a prettier colour but mine are quite a pale pink.

    Should have mentioned that quantity gave me 5 jars full .
    Originally posted by Boodle
    Lovin the sound of this!!!

    I HAVE to give this a go!

    Thanks for the inspiration.
    This would look pretty gifted with a little spray of dried lavender attached to the neck with a gift tag
    Every moment is a gift. That's why we call it the present.!
    Grocery Spend Weekly Challenge (Sat-Fri):30.50/40
  • Boodle
    Lovin the sound of this!!!

    I HAVE to give this a go!

    Thanks for the inspiration.
    This would look pretty gifted with a little spray of dried lavender attached to the neck with a gift tag
    Originally posted by jumblejack
    It's bascially an elderflower jelly recipe but fancied a couple of flower jellies. My nannas birthday is soon and she can't have fruit with a special medical diet but loves sweet preserves, so was just thinking along those lines I plan to experiment with rosemary and vanilla too... not sure how that one will go until it's done tho... Also, flower and herbal jellies are so much cheaper than fruit preserves when you grow them in your garden or know where they are locally
    Love and compassion to all x
    • debbym
    • By debbym 2nd Jul 12, 10:04 AM
    • 460 Posts
    • 2,747 Thanks
    debbym
    Panasonic SD255 breadmaker - has to be the best around in my opinion
    Originally posted by lilian1977
    Just had a look on Amazon and it is no longer available - it has been replaced by a newer model Panasonic SD-2501WXC 111.69 at the moment; my old breadmaker (a Kenwood) bit the dust last year when the clips that hold the pan down as the dough is kneaded gave way so a mechanical failure. OH has promised me a new one but not holding my breath - backup plan is 3rd purse!
  • jumblejack
    It's bascially an elderflower jelly recipe but fancied a couple of flower jellies. My nannas birthday is soon and she can't have fruit with a special medical diet but loves sweet preserves, so was just thinking along those lines I plan to experiment with rosemary and vanilla too... not sure how that one will go until it's done tho... Also, flower and herbal jellies are so much cheaper than fruit preserves when you grow them in your garden or know where they are locally
    Originally posted by Boodle
    Please please post pics of your preserves. I love to see them as I find em so inspiring!

    I would be very interested in the rosemary one. I have a HUGE bush of it that gives me great pleasure, both aesthetically and through consuming the produce, flowers and foliage. I've never used it in a sweet dish but don't see why it wouldn't give a good result. Might be a nice addition to a lamb dinner!!!
    Every moment is a gift. That's why we call it the present.!
    Grocery Spend Weekly Challenge (Sat-Fri):30.50/40
  • Boodle
    I've used it with sweet stewed apples before which was very nice. Anyway, we will see! I am still trying to track down the lead for my phone which I misplaced months ago! But if I do, I will post a piccie

    Have you ever made a sweet dandelion preserve, Jumble Jack? I've been thinking about but not sure how it will taste. I was thinking about just using the standard recipe of infusing water and simmering with the lemon and sugar. what do you think?
    Love and compassion to all x
  • jumblejack
    I've used it with sweet stewed apples before which was very nice. Anyway, we will see! I am still trying to track down the lead for my phone which I misplaced months ago! But if I do, I will post a piccie

    Have you ever made a sweet dandelion preserve, Jumble Jack? I've been thinking about but not sure how it will taste. I was thinking about just using the standard recipe of infusing water and simmering with the lemon and sugar. what do you think?
    Originally posted by Boodle
    Dandelion heads are in short supply around here but I would be very interested in doing a sample batch next spring when there are enough to gather. I will be freezing some flower heads too!

    I may have to google it, see if others have attempted it.

    Edit:
    Yay!! Apparently its like honey:
    http://scandinavianfood.about.com/od/saucesrelishespickles/r/How-To-Make-Homemade-Dandelion-Jelly.htm

    This recipe is even better:
    http://www.food.com/recipe/dandelion-jelly-90601
    Last edited by jumblejack; 02-07-2012 at 10:39 AM.
    Every moment is a gift. That's why we call it the present.!
    Grocery Spend Weekly Challenge (Sat-Fri):30.50/40
    • NickJW
    • By NickJW 2nd Jul 12, 10:39 AM
    • 678 Posts
    • 13,646 Thanks
    NickJW
    Well - a big spend yesterday of 41.53 on a online Mr W order. It ended up being cheaper with them, because I'm quite happy to use their basic 'essential' range, whereas with Mr S or Mr T I sometimes need to pick the TTD/Finest range or a branded product (because the own brand equivalent is a bit bleurgh), which ends up being more expensive. Shared an order with my housemate, but I needed the majority of things.

    Leftover salmon, salad and potato salad tonight and my housemate is cooking pasta with HM tapenade, feta and cherry tomatoes for dinner.

    Hope everybody is well
    Grocery Challenge 14 Jan 14 46.05/130

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

    DFD 1st March 2011
  • jumblejack
    Boodle, you got me all a excited now for next spring!! The reviews on dandelion jelly are all fantastic!! I want some. NOW!
    People even just pop some in a cup and add boiled water as a sweet, floral 'tea'. Sounds awesome!

    Well done you!
    Every moment is a gift. That's why we call it the present.!
    Grocery Spend Weekly Challenge (Sat-Fri):30.50/40
  • jumblejack
    Well - a big spend yesterday of 41.53 on a online Mr W order. It ended up being cheaper with them, because I'm quite happy to use their basic 'essential' range, whereas with Mr S or Mr T I sometimes need to pick the TTD/Finest range or a branded product (because the own brand equivalent is a bit bleurgh), which ends up being more expensive. Shared an order with my housemate, but I needed the majority of things.

    Leftover salmon, salad and potato salad tonight and my housemate is cooking pasta with HM tapenade, feta and cherry tomatoes for dinner.

    Hope everybody is well
    Originally posted by NickJW
    Nick, are you a student? Your meals always sound really healthy and tasty! If so, you have certainly broken the stereotypical image.
    Well done on proving that budget menus can be exciting and nutritious
    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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