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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 28
    • XSpender
    • By XSpender 5th Jul 12, 5:50 PM
    • 3,338 Posts
    • 34,388 Thanks
    Updating my signature after a 97p spend at work today. My total stands at 396.33 leaving me 103.67 for diesel, food and anything else we need over the next 2 weeks.

    I have half a tank of diesel so this is enough for next week but I will need another 30-35 for the week after. I have rejigged the meal plan after having my first sausage in 25 years last night to include a sausage meal per week and have also included another meal using up something from the freezer for DH and eggs for me.

    I know I am going to go over budget, maybe by about 50,but I have just about halved my 'food and booze' spend compared with last month and I feel like I am getting back on track. Meal planning is really helping.

    I have decided to include ALL of the membership fee and spendsfrom my visit to Costc0 on Sunday whih has pushed my total up. I am still not sure if to start a 2nd purse for these items to create a float/savings or just take the one hit this month and have cheaper months to follow.
    • Soworried
    • By Soworried 5th Jul 12, 6:15 PM
    • 2,144 Posts
    • 19,922 Thanks
    I've just spent another 5.68p but it was all on YS.

    I got a 1kg Gammon joint down to 2
    5pk sugar doughnuts down to 39p
    pk of fresh chillies down to 45p
    piccolo tomatoes down to 44p
    melon down to 31p
    1kg chicken wings down to 48p
    2x8pk of ttd sausages down to 41p each

    I'm enjoying the YS shopping My freezers are groaning though.
    One step must start each journey
    One word must start each prayer
    One hope will raise our spirits
    One touch can show you care
    • Soworried
    • By Soworried 5th Jul 12, 6:23 PM
    • 2,144 Posts
    • 19,922 Thanks
    Made some cheese and bacon savouries with the intention of them doing for lunch for the OH and he's scoffed em lol, said they were really nice and can I make some more please. x
    Originally posted by ikkle87
    Could you post the recipe please?
    One step must start each journey
    One word must start each prayer
    One hope will raise our spirits
    One touch can show you care
    • liz-paul
    • By liz-paul 5th Jul 12, 6:38 PM
    • 895 Posts
    • 4,806 Thanks
    Hi, just wondering what YS and AF mean please?
    1% at a time no. 40. 8000 (For dream family holiday) 94/100
    MFW 2013 no. 62 10,000/10,000
    MFW 2014 no 62 8000/7000
    • PennyGrabber
    • By PennyGrabber 5th Jul 12, 6:48 PM
    • 1,268 Posts
    • 22,438 Thanks
    Hi liz-paul!

    YS means yellow stickered, ie reduced price
    AF means Approved Foods, an online cheapo shop


    ETA - if you look at Feb's gc, post number 1237, there is a huge list of acronyms.
    Last edited by PennyGrabber; 05-07-2012 at 6:52 PM.
    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
    • ikkle87
    • By ikkle87 5th Jul 12, 7:01 PM
    • 8,284 Posts
    • 179,659 Thanks
    Could you post the recipe please?
    Originally posted by Soworried
    It's not really a recipe lol but it's blooming easy, and Greggs charge 1.25 each for them!

    Puff pastry (I used a pack of ready rolled stuff from the SM)
    Bacon medallions (I used M's Savers back bacon, used the remainder of the rasher for pasties
    Grated Cheese
    Beaten egg.

    Cut the puff pastry into squares, your bacon medallion should fit diagonally on the square with about half a cm room in the corner. Sprinkle cheese on top of the bacon. Fold the opposite corners (so not the ones where the bacon is laid diagonally) into the centre, brush with beaten egg, sprinkle a tiny bit more cheese on top and then bang them in the oven till golden.

    I don't know if that makes sense lol but hopefully you got the jist.
    You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.

    xx Mama to a gorgeous Cranio Baby xx
    • keza
    • By keza 5th Jul 12, 7:18 PM
    • 1,300 Posts
    • 9,249 Thanks
    ok so im caining our budget so far this month as stocked up on nappies at c0$tco for the baby so only have 23.54 left for the month but loads of food in cupboards and freezer from 2nd purse so hoping to stick with it and stay under budget. will prob have to get baby milk again before month end thou (payday 25th) heres hoping! xx
    Current Mortgage balance - 395,999.
    CC to clear (Patio) - 5,095
    • liz-paul
    • By liz-paul 5th Jul 12, 7:22 PM
    • 895 Posts
    • 4,806 Thanks
    Thanks pennygrabber
    1% at a time no. 40. 8000 (For dream family holiday) 94/100
    MFW 2013 no. 62 10,000/10,000
    MFW 2014 no 62 8000/7000
    • savesummore
    • By savesummore 5th Jul 12, 7:27 PM
    • 943 Posts
    • 11,411 Thanks
    Hi Everyone,

    I know there are tons of recipes on here and on the internet but I just cant think what to put on my meal planner for Sunday dinner this week!!

    Can I ask what everyone is having/ if anyone has any suggestions? I like thing I can make alot of then freeze for future meals

    ETA: sorry forgot to say thanks in advance and welcome back FLO
    Last edited by savesummore; 05-07-2012 at 7:31 PM.
    O/S weight loss 2.5 /10lbs (11st 8.0- 08.02)
    • meg72
    • By meg72 5th Jul 12, 7:37 PM
    • 5,082 Posts
    • 46,072 Thanks
    I left here on the 2.05 pm train - Friday afternoon. I got home at
    lunchtime yesterday - so I stayed at youngest Daughter's for 5
    nights in the end. Then eldest Daughter is booked to arrive - staying with her sister for 3 nights.
    ED has a 2 day conference in London. On Friday evening
    - they are meeting up with a cousin from Australia who is on a world
    I am SO tired - I arrived in Dartford via Chatham at 4pm on
    Friday afternoon. YD met me on her way home from school.
    Her apartment is lovely - you can watch the boats going up and down
    the Thames. They are building more blocks so eventually her view will
    be more restricted but she knew that when she bought the place.
    On Saturday morning we went to Lewisham - the market there is mainly
    fruit and vegetables - very good prices. We found the material shop
    that was advertised on the Internet - it was very busy. YD wanted
    silk to lengthen the curtains - she got a very good colour match to
    the Laura Ashley raised pattern fabric she had as the original
    curtains. I got some lace trim for cards.
    In the afternoon we went for a walk along the Thames path and saw
    The Cutty Sark. Then we went into Greenwich - there are some lovely
    little shops and a big indoor market. The market is hand crafted goods
    - pottery/leather/jewellery/some fabric goods. I persuaded YD to
    start Christmas shopping. I bought some lovely French lace trim.
    I started cutting the linings and interfacing for the silk in the
    evening. Next morning when I started to cut the silk for the curtains
    - realised it was too narrow! I turned it to use the width as the
    length. So I didn't have enough for the last curtain - without joining
    two pieces - YD didn't like this idea - one little bit! There
    were four LA curtains - two are going in YD's bedroom and one
    each in the other two bedrooms. Her window is wider than the
    other two bedroom windows.
    I worked on the curtains all day Sunday plus all day on Monday. On
    Monday after school YD went back to Lewisham to get more silk -
    they only had a metre - she needed 1 metre 40 cms. So I stitched
    two pieces together after convincing her that once the curtains are
    gathered up by the hanging tape - the seam can be hidden in the fabric
    folds. YD found out that the silk was on special offer - at
    10.50 per metre - if they get more in it will be - 26 a metre!. So
    if she wanted one piece on the last curtain - it will cost her + 36. I
    have told her - if you don't like the curtain when it is up - I will
    take it apart and redo it - somehow - I don't think that will happen.
    On Tuesday I finished the curtains and 2 of the tie backs - I needed
    more cotton and D rings to finish the other 2. YD is bringing her
    school choir to Broadstairs soon so can collect them then. So I have
    worked 36 hours sewing! I got more thanks for altering the curtains to
    fit from YD's lodger than I did from her.
    ED phoned yesterday - could I go and stay for a week while the
    builders do her bathroom conversion - in late
    August - early September - no I can't - I am away again.
    This has been an essay!
    Originally posted by Florenceem
    Crikey Flo I am exhausted just reading this, take care of yourself love.
    Slimming World at target
  • sneakyspender
    This thread is great. Have spent less and have far more in the cupboards.

    Went shopping today as had run out of fresh fruit. Thanks to all the posters with ideas for end of week alturnatives,will give them a try.

    Spent 70 between Mr M and Mr L.Got enough packed lunch stuff till the end of the month. Will spend 10 ish in butchers on saturday. Then ahould have just one more shop till the end of the month.

    80 left should be able to do it
    GC July 345/325Aug GC 297.50/300 GC Sept 251/300
    GC Oct 235/275 Nov GC 72/250
    NSD 5/30
    My month runs 22nd -22nd
    • mummyyof5
    • By mummyyof5 5th Jul 12, 8:04 PM
    • 1,839 Posts
    • 39,830 Thanks
    Thanks everyone..will be making them on Sunday now xx
    Feeding 6 Adults 1 Teen a 8 year old with hollow legs and a very fussy 5 year old. Also 3 cats and 3 fishies
    To include all Food,Toiletries and Petfood.
  • sneakyspender
    Apologies for strange smilies in text. Not sure how.that happened.
    GC July 345/325Aug GC 297.50/300 GC Sept 251/300
    GC Oct 235/275 Nov GC 72/250
    NSD 5/30
    My month runs 22nd -22nd
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 5th Jul 12, 8:17 PM
    • 3,984 Posts
    • 52,562 Thanks
    Mr F spent 10.23 so I will go and add it to my sig.
    I do need rubber gloves, toilet rolls, panti liners, toilet blue blocks and small freezer bags so a visit to Wilkos soon.
    15 in 2015 1/15
    • meg72
    • By meg72 5th Jul 12, 8:20 PM
    • 5,082 Posts
    • 46,072 Thanks
    Hi All

    How long will tinned tuna last if I make it up with salad cream on Sunday eve then keep in tuppaware for packed lunches, will it make it until Friday's packed lunch?

    I HATE opening tuna.

    Originally posted by DebtFree2012
    I really wouldnt do this, I have a three day rule for things stored in the fridge. I would open the tuna and take half mix with salad cream, and freeze the other half to do the same 3 days later.

    Edit, being nosey here Why do you hate opening Tuna?
    Slimming World at target
  • nicky s
    Been to Mr T today and spent 26.35 on loads of value items. Hopefully won't spend anything for the next 4 days as working (at least 12 hour shifts aren't conducive to spending)
    Target July Grocery Challenge: 350
    Target so far:83.56
    • Kitchenbunny
    • By Kitchenbunny 6th Jul 12, 5:55 AM
    • 1,860 Posts
    • 20,252 Thanks
    Savesummore - here's a link to this week's mealplan thread - I've got mine posted there so it may give you some ideas for your Sunday meal.

    Am determined to have an NSD today!!!!!


    K xx

    • JackieO
    • By JackieO 6th Jul 12, 5:55 AM
    • 16,733 Posts
    • 143,373 Thanks
    I live in London so not sure where I could go to forage...will have a google as berries are pricy!
    Originally posted by kettlenic
    Even in London its not too much of a problem depending whereabouts.I lived in London for most of my life and with a little head scratching usually managed to find somewhere.Plus of course you have some smashing street markets which have died out a lot where I live now .As long as you remember where to pick on a blackberry bush in the city.Nowhere lower than about 18 inches from the ground (dogs etc ) I was on a 'city walk' a few weeks ago along the Thames pathway and saw lots of blackberry bushes growing wild along the towpath If you have anyone who is ....erm a little on the elderly side get chatting to them and ask about areas locally.Most old dears like me love to help if we can one good thing about blackberries they will grow almost anywhere
    Quot Libros,Quam Breve Tempus.
  • Peabel
    Not sure if you can do it in UK but when we lived in Ireland we cancelled Sky and used the box to get "free to air" satellite channels. Free to air and free to view are not quite the same. We had to programme some of them in but I think there is site on Wikipedia? that has all the codes. The BBC codes change from time to time but you can usually track them down. We got stuff like Granada and some of the commercial channels too. HTH.
    • Popperwell
    • By Popperwell 6th Jul 12, 6:44 AM
    • 4,637 Posts
    • 48,466 Thanks
    Cancel Sky and the box becomes all but Freesat in name.
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