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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 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'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; 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 22
    • Bluegreen143
    • By Bluegreen143 3rd Jul 12, 3:35 PM
    • 1,108 Posts
    • 12,739 Thanks
    No I dont use them. I save all my proper jam jars, honey jars etc (the ones where the have the white circle type plastic thing in the lid, feels a bit foamy to touch)

    Then I wash them in the sink and let them soak to take the glue and labels off, then put them through the dishwasher and store them. When I come to make the jam I wash them again to freshem them up and them boil the kettle and pour over the lids and fill the jars. Once the jam is ready I empty the jars at the last minute and fill them to the brim (no air) and then screw the lids on really tight and keep them upside down to cool. you will notice that once they have cooled the popper bit in the lid has been sucked in, like when you buy the new from the shop.

    I also save pretty looking blouses/shirts or scrap of material and cut out large circles using my zigzag scissors and then put an elastic band round the neck to hold it on and then tie some matching ribbon around it in a bow. I also print out some little labels in a nice curly font and put a boarder round the label to make them look nice.

    I have given loads of these to people as gifts, not for any particular occasion and they are so appreciated - its good what you get back in return too. bit of a swappsie

    Originally posted by jasmin10
    What a fantastic idea about saving old clothes for covers! You could pick up blouses etc from the charity shop to do the same thing with so I'm definitely going to do that.

    Also going to take a look at the foraging thread, it's a challenge for me as I live in Glasgow and don't have a car or bike, but I would love to make sloe gin for Christmas and jam out of foraged berries! Might try the rosemary jelly if It works well as I have a rosemary bush in the garden.
    Married 1 March 2014 DS born 06 Dec 2014 DD born 14 Dec 2018
    • debbym
    • By debbym 3rd Jul 12, 3:39 PM
    • 460 Posts
    • 2,747 Thanks
    Back from Mr M's having spent £37.40 from first purse (GC Budget) and a massive £21.99 from my £25 float in second purse. Cushelle toilet rolls, Head and Shoulders shampoo and multibuy sausages (now in freezer) are responsible!
    • little_miss_moneysaver
    • By little_miss_moneysaver 3rd Jul 12, 3:45 PM
    • 1,229 Posts
    • 7,653 Thanks
    Wow I could have sworn I only missed a day, but so much to catch up on!

    Welcome Ikkle and all the newbies.
    Hope everyone is ok.

    Just adding up my receipts, just over £72 on my big monthly shop, £25.79 from AF then a few little top up shops bringing my total to £111.34 so far this month. My month did start from 23rd June though. Have updated my sig. however it does include 8 half price deodorants towards my stockpile

    After being nagged by OH and being in the same town, we have now joined C0stco I can see this being a disaster. OH treated us to some chocolate croissants and malt loaf while we were there. I went round and wrote down the items that would save us money for future reference. However every five minutes OH says "oh is this good value? It looks good value or these look really nice" and I'm the ongoing meanie that says no its not good value or we do not NEED this

    Got chicken curry for tea tonight, all prepared ready for when OH gets home. Got AF naan bread to go with it too.
    Need to make some bread for tomorrow morning so will set up the bm for tonight. Will try and remember though when I hear funny noises at 5am!

    Bye for now xx
    Baby boy arrived 22nd August 2012
    Second menace arrived safely 13th February 2014
    Debt Free Wannabee 2015
    • ikkle87
    • By ikkle87 3rd Jul 12, 4:14 PM
    • 8,297 Posts
    • 179,884 Thanks
    Well I've just done a practice shop on Asda and it came to £97.67. That should cover 2 weeks of meals hopefully, but I'm not going to get it from Asda, still have my newspaper voucher from Aldi so going to try and get most of it from there if I can.

    However I've got my meal plan and my shopping list ready so should do ok.

    Does anyone know where the best place to buy plastic containers for freezing food is?

    Total spends so far for the month are 0.60/200 as OH went to the shop for a pint of milk this morning.
    You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.

    xx Mama to a gorgeous Cranio Baby xx
    • little_miss_moneysaver
    • By little_miss_moneysaver 3rd Jul 12, 4:27 PM
    • 1,229 Posts
    • 7,653 Thanks
    You can get those clear ones like from the takeaway 10 for £1 in £shops but I've found they got distorted in freezer and microwave. I really like the clip ones, but they're a bit dear. So I've gradually built up my supply. Dunelm had a set in their sale a few weeks ago. Some cheap lids don't tend to staying if they get knocked about and freezer is a bit rough lol xx
    Baby boy arrived 22nd August 2012
    Second menace arrived safely 13th February 2014
    Debt Free Wannabee 2015
    • Kitchenbunny
    • By Kitchenbunny 3rd Jul 12, 4:42 PM
    • 1,861 Posts
    • 20,260 Thanks
    Evening. Tiny little spend of £1.21 to report today. Had to pick something up :s Also got some Mr M Savers Mixed Dried Fruit to snack on at work so I wouldn't go to the choccie...

    Sig is updated, tea is tomato soup and I'm off to do some housework.

    K xx

    • jasmin10
    • By jasmin10 3rd Jul 12, 4:47 PM
    • 895 Posts
    • 1,720 Thanks
    There was a good idea earlier about cutting the bottom off milk cartons - if you wanted to be really os.

    I have written out my meal plan for the week (starting tomorrow) and been on the mysupermarket website and my own spreadsheet and made a little note next to each item of the cheapest price, so that when I go round HB, Lid!l, Ald!i I can see if I'm getting a good deal. Thought I would try Lid! seeing as it's on the same retail park.

    So so pleased that I kept this weeks budget to just under £40, lets hear it for the coming one and see if I can do just a good job.

    Another nsd today so will add that to my sig . feeling v pleased with myself and getting rather addicted to this malarky - loving it loving it loving it
    [I]TopCashback £1792.63
    My Little World
    • meg72
    • By meg72 3rd Jul 12, 5:32 PM
    • 5,082 Posts
    • 46,072 Thanks
    I think it was a one off hun but I'm sure due to popularity they will be back. It was the Daily Mirror - had a £5 off a £35 spend and then some 30% off certain items. x
    Originally posted by ikkle87
    I have had a couple of these before, but I think they were 5 off a
    30.00 spend then, still a good deal though.
    Slimming World at target
    • meg72
    • By meg72 3rd Jul 12, 5:35 PM
    • 5,082 Posts
    • 46,072 Thanks
    Any recipes you could post up would be gratefully received!! Mine will be a homemade Christmas this year, and I'm keen to get started, but also to have a variety of items in my hampers.

    Great ideas, thanks! Again, recipes please, if you're willing to share!

    Good tip with the old clothes for covers - will remember that one. Anything to bring the cost down, but still look beautiful!! Last year, I made some chutneys for Christmas, but when I looked for Xmassy fabric to cover, it was around £12 per metre! Prob cost more than the actual chutney!!!!
    Originally posted by PennyGrabber
    Last year I cut up a couple of outgrown school dresses, in red/white gingham and blue and white. Got loads of circles from a dress.
    Slimming World at target
    • meg72
    • By meg72 3rd Jul 12, 6:01 PM
    • 5,082 Posts
    • 46,072 Thanks
    Spent 9.00 today stocking up on frozen veg as need more veggie meals to help me lose weight. My poor arthy knees have been telling me for ages I am giving them too much weight to carry but I got a shock when
    I got on boots scales and find that I am 3 stone over. Too much comfort eating over the last couple of years. I have apples, oranges and pears left over from last week and loads of strawberry and raspberrys in the garden, so only bought grapes today. So no excuse is there? I have given away my stash of cake and biscuits and sorted out my calorie counted recipes. Now to work out a meal plan.
    Slimming World at target
    • Coxy11
    • By Coxy11 3rd Jul 12, 6:09 PM
    • 2,322 Posts
    • 27,347 Thanks
    Good luck Meg72 - I find I comfort eat - never seem to fancy a piece of fruit, but a biscuit or cake......

    Talking of cakes....I mentioned earlier in the thread that MIL made some scones using buttermilk and they were the best I've ever tasted. I have never made scones before (don't judge, my Mum went back to work full time when I was 7 and just didn't have the time....) but these are really easy and taste devine. Think recipe was from Waitflower magazine.

    Buttermilk scones (makes 10)

    300g SR flour
    75g butter - cubed
    3 tbsp caster sugar
    1/2 tsp salt
    200ml buttermilk
    Egg (for glazing) plus 1 tsp caster sugar

    Sift flour into a bowl and mix in caster sugar and salt.
    Add the butter and rub in, until it resembles breadcrumbs.
    Make a well in the centre of the mixture and pour in buttermilk.
    Mix together to make a dough.
    Turn out onto a flat surface and press out into a round shape, 2cm thick (do not roll).
    Cut out scones with a 6cm cutter and place on baking tray.
    Glaze with beaten egg and sprinkle with caster sugar.

    Bake in pre-heated oven 180 degrees for 20 mins.
    Cross-stitch WIP: Pretty Little London by Satsuma Street
    • Coxy11
    • By Coxy11 3rd Jul 12, 6:30 PM
    • 2,322 Posts
    • 27,347 Thanks
    ...and for good measure (and seeing as I'm on a roll, baking-wise) here is the recipe for Chicken and Cheese Puff Pastry Ring just for you PG!

    Chicken and Cheese Puff Pastry Ring

    2 sheets of puff pastry (I use JusRol)
    6 tbsp mayonnaise
    1 tbsp dijon mustard
    300g cooked chicken (or turkey or ham)
    2 tbsp parsley
    85g strong cheese
    Egg to glaze

    Preheat oven to 190/Fan 170/Gas 5

    Unroll pastry sheet, and with long side towards you cut each sheet downwards into 3 rectangles. Cut each rectangle diagonally into two right-angled triangles - you should now have 12 r/angled triangles.
    Arrange these on a baking sheet (I use my pizza stone) points outermost like a sun burst.
    Chop up cooked chicken, and grate the cheese. Mix together with mayo, mustard and parsley.
    Arrange the filling on the pastry.
    Fold the triangles over into the middle of the tray, covering the filling.
    Brush with beaten egg and bake in pre-heated oven for 25-30 mins.

    Serves 6 generously.

    Original recipe was from Pampered Chef and they used turkey, mayo, mustard, gruyere cheese and cranberries. Possibilities are endless really. I'm sure there is also a sweet version using apples, nuts and maple syrup nommmmmmm.
    Cross-stitch WIP: Pretty Little London by Satsuma Street
    • PennyGrabber
    • By PennyGrabber 3rd Jul 12, 7:17 PM
    • 1,268 Posts
    • 22,438 Thanks
    Thanks Coxy! As I was reading it, I thought it sounded familiar - think I went to a party that featured that recipe!!

    I look forward to trying it.
    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
  • happy chick
    Just checking in to report a day of silly spending. £14 in sainsburys on very little - popped in for caster sugar to donate to a cake drive and spent on silly things. Plus £7.73 in the co-op - impulse buy after work when hungry. Arrrrggghh!!!!
    GC: Jan £118.67/£175

    Owed to Mum -
    Overdraft -
    Total -

  • In_it_not_to_giveitaway
    Indisciplined - that's about the size of it. Absolutely shattered after supervising a VAT inspection at work - left it late to have lunch so succumbed to shepherd's pie etc at the nearby cafe for £3.80.

    Added to the signature. Otherwise would have been an NSD. Going to the kitchen to make some hummus for tommorow at work and a not-really-consoling potato and leek soup.

    Hope everyone else is doing their best to withstand temptation.

    Best of luck all,

  • jumblejack
    There's a little bit of curry left over so it's going to be turned into a leftover pie as there wouldn't be enough for a quick lunch otherwise for tomorrow
    Yes, I know. I make leftover pies from even curry!!!!!!

    Better than spending though, eh!

    I do hope the weather picks up. This rain is getting a bit much now. Feel for those who have had the floods
    Every moment is a gift. That's why we call it the present.!
    Grocery Spend Weekly Challenge (Sat-Fri):£30.50/£40
    • Dipndo
    • By Dipndo 3rd Jul 12, 9:36 PM
    • 58 Posts
    • 1,170 Thanks
    NSD today,loving the idea of home made jam in pretty jars,well done to all those making it.

    Turkey and roast potatoes for tea tonight,lo turkey sandwiches for lunch tomorrow..... It could be christmas lol
    Sept GC £200
  • sonastin
    Popped into MrT on the way home and spent £19.70. £9 of that was on soya milk to hopefully last OH the month and £5 was on yoghurt for me. Not really sure where the rest went! Oh, I got some cows milk for me so that accounts for a couple of quid but really, what else did I get?? I'll have to check the cupboards to see!
    • MrsCD
    • By MrsCD 3rd Jul 12, 9:59 PM
    • 753 Posts
    • 11,263 Thanks
    Did the weekly shop today. I'll update sig when I add everything up. Probably have overspent as I needed a few things that we had run out of.
    If you're at all 'crafty' you could crochet circles in pretty wool for the top of the jars of jam/chutney for gifts. Charity shops often have balls of wool looking for a new home

    Ikkle87 - earlier on the thread, someone asked about boxes for the freezer. These were the MS ideas I can remember -
    Use washed out marg tubs/ ice cream tubs
    Put a plastic freezer bag in a square tub, fill with whatever you're freezing, then tie the bag and remove from the box when frozen.
    Similar idea using cut off bottom of a plastic milk bottle. HTH
    • TheThriftyScrumpers
    • By TheThriftyScrumpers 3rd Jul 12, 9:59 PM
    • 272 Posts
    • 5,359 Thanks
    I hope everyone has had a good day. On the subject of material for jam jar covers.... When I do fill a jars for church I use tissue paper and pinking sheers. Cheap as chips and it looks nice. Tesco do packs of multi coloured tissue paper reasonably (they also did packs of silver which would be fab for Xmas). You could buy some Xmas ribbon cheaply but I normally use string or pearlescent present tape (about 50p a pack from clintons or card fair). Hth.

    Well I am very happy with the frugal suppers so far this week. Yesterday we had omelette and salad using up odd bits of cheese and sausage languishing in the fridge and tonight we had smoked salmon pasta. Dh got a packet of ys trimmings for 20p which I added to cooked pasta and made a sauce from skimmed milk and basics cream cheese, salt, pepper and lemon juice. It was lovely. Best bit is we have half a pack of the cream cheese left and another pack of ys 20p trimmings (stashed in freezer) for another time = happy scrumpers
    GC Mar 11 £437.08Apr 11 £459.26 May 11 £485.52 June 11 £423.79July 11 £409.22 Aug 11 £250.10Sept 11 £396.14Oct 11 £382.37Nov 11 £372.55Dec 11 £332.29 Jan 12 £375.19:Feb 12 £349.58Mar 12 £279.66Apr 12 £249.12May 12 £337.66/Jun 12 £362.58/Jul 12 £317.03/Aug 12 £354.02/Sept £439.72/Oct 12 £210.16
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