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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 30
    • Save Dosh
    • By Save Dosh 6th Jul 12, 11:38 AM
    • 1,318 Posts
    • 15,727 Thanks
    Save Dosh
    Ive read lots of people say they make sandwiches and the freeze them? Does the bread not go wet?? What kind of things do you put in them?? One Dd loves ham - which I guess would be fine, the other LOVES pate (the one in a tub - blugh in a sandwhich i think ) Would that be ok??
    Originally posted by mummy2mygirls

    Here is a freezing sandwich thread hth
    Last edited by Save Dosh; 06-07-2012 at 11:40 AM.
    July GC - Food £38.73/£80 - Alcohol £16.53/£20
    Bulk Funds - Food £0
    - Alcohol £0
    Save 12k in 2019 £1,300/£5,000 - #155
  • jumblejack
    If you didn't have any bacon you could use ham in Ikkle87's cheese savouries. We love what I think was originally a Jamie Oliver idea - split croissants, spread with a thin layer of mascarpone, add parma ham (or wafer thin ham if you are skint!), a thin slice of emmental and put the lid of the croissant back on, bake in a hot oven for about 6-8 mins. We have them as a treat breakfast when we have friends staying.
    But after school I have a houseful coming to watch the tennis and I am going to pop the cheese and bacon savouries in the oven and wait for them to be devoured!
    PS I am assuming the bacon does need to be pre-cooked.
    Originally posted by Possession
    Nom nom nommy

    I would NEVER have thought of savoury croissants!!!!!!!

    Florenceem, nice to see your pics again
    I love your fresh veg! I really need to work on a bigger selection for my own family. I tend to wait for whoopsies but that doesn't always happen

    I've got my wild cherries simmering away for a jelly. I tried stoning them but gave up after the first 5 so jelly it is!

    That reminds me, better get some jars cleaned up.......
    Every moment is a gift. That's why we call it the present.!
    Grocery Spend Weekly Challenge (Sat-Fri):£30.50/£40
    • Save Dosh
    • By Save Dosh 6th Jul 12, 11:43 AM
    • 1,318 Posts
    • 15,727 Thanks
    Save Dosh
    I've got my wild cherries simmering away for a jelly. I tried stoning them but gave up after the first 5 so jelly it is!
    Originally posted by jumblejack
    If you have a glut of them, you might also like to try cherry liquor, its really easy to make and a nice treat for xmas
    July GC - Food £38.73/£80 - Alcohol £16.53/£20
    Bulk Funds - Food £0
    - Alcohol £0
    Save 12k in 2019 £1,300/£5,000 - #155
  • sonastin
    Maybe this is just me but my pet hate is opening tinned tuna (we gets ours in brine) and it slopping all over the place whilst I try to squeeze the bring out. My tin opener take the top of the tin off flat instead of cutting into it if that makes sense, so you can't use the tin lid to squeeze the juice out. In fact - I will buy a new tin opener. However my point still stands, my hands always stink and I get in a right strop
    Originally posted by DebtFree2012
    I totally get where you're coming from. Combined with OH's dislike of all things "fish", this has pretty much stopped us eating tuna now! But, when I do occasionally open it, I tend to do it on the draining board or over the sink. I have one of the tin-openers that takes off the top and I've found it leaves a gap as it goes around. I tend to open about half-2/3 of the tin and then pour as much of the brine through that gap as I can get. Then open a bit more and let a bit more escape, etc. Once the lid is off, the tuna is fairly dry and it's much easier to "squeeze" that last bit out without tipping the whole tin down the sink as it floats away!


    BTW, what's the problem with apples? Why do they present more of a choking problem than other hard fruits/veg? Personally I'm not seeing much difference between say carrot sticks and apple. Not trying to belittle your fear, just trying to understand where it comes from.
    • Possession
    • By Possession 6th Jul 12, 11:51 AM
    • 3,140 Posts
    • 41,491 Thanks
    Nom nom nommy

    I would NEVER have thought of savoury croissants!!!!!!!
    Originally posted by jumblejack
    The veggie version using mushrooms is very lovely too but DH has a pathological hatred of mushrooms so I never get it.

    • purplesheila
    • By purplesheila 6th Jul 12, 12:17 PM
    • 24 Posts
    • 477 Thanks
    Well I have done this weeks shopping mainly in Ald!, so in theory I should have NSD for the rest of the week. I spent my budget of £65 including paying back 2nd purse. I have £50 stock in to pay back second purse.

    Just done a like for like comparison with Mysupermarket and I saved a total of £8 this week, It doesn’t sound much but over a year that adds up to over £400 per year.

    I will update my signature now
    April Grocery challenge £0/£160 (17th April-30th Apr)
    NSDs - 0/14
    • ikkle87
    • By ikkle87 6th Jul 12, 12:28 PM
    • 8,287 Posts
    • 179,665 Thanks

    ikkle87 am loving the pasties, stupid question really, do you pre cook the medallions.
    Originally posted by Save Dosh
    No hun, put them on the pastry raw. They cook in the oven and taste yummy

    It's a good way of saving money cos if OH buys lunch when he's at work it can cost about £4 after he's had a drink, a savoury etc. Like I say they are £1.25 each in Greggs and you could probably make 8 for £2 if you do it at home x
    You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.

    xx Mama to a gorgeous Cranio Baby xx
    • Bluegreen143
    • By Bluegreen143 6th Jul 12, 2:28 PM
    • 1,101 Posts
    • 12,692 Thanks
    Well I don't post for a couple of days then have 5 pages to read lol! Been quiet as I've not bought any food since shopping on Sunday! Went out for dinner last night but that's not from GC budget. I'm away now til late Sunday night so no spends til grocery delivery on Monday - great start to July! Entertainment budget has taken a hit though...
    Married 1 March 2014 DS born 06/12/15

    CC - £2,182.17/£2,182.17
    Family loan 1 - £1,680/£1,680
    Family loan 2 - £3,500/£5,000
    • mrs-moneypenny
    • By mrs-moneypenny 6th Jul 12, 2:55 PM
    • 15,518 Posts
    • 198,189 Thanks
    have just updated my sig, nipped down local sains at reduction time for some ryvita as id run out and got 5 loaves of wholemeal knigsmill for 34p each. thats next weeks bread in the freezer
    yongest DS has just come home from school with a rather nice looking quorn pasta bake for his tea (cookery lesson)
    just need to fed the rest of us now and do a shopping list for tomorrow.
    SPC~12 ot 124

    In a world that has decided that it's going to lose its mind, be more kind my friend, try to Be More Kind
    • nicknack
    • By nicknack 6th Jul 12, 3:19 PM
    • 89 Posts
    • 1,861 Thanks
    Been to Mr T today and spent £18.03. Used some coupons that I'd been sent recently to get £1 off cheese and 60p off cereal bars. Had to buy veg oil and olive oil too so spent more than I wanted to but these will last a while.

    I've been thinking about meals for next week and those cheese and bacon savouries sound right up my street, can't wait to try them! x

    • Welsh Poppy
    • By Welsh Poppy 6th Jul 12, 4:17 PM
    • 980 Posts
    • 5,912 Thanks
    Welsh Poppy
    Chilli Jam
    I went to mr M for bread yesterday as we ran out so spent £3.10 will update signature tomorrow is big shopping day so off to Moneysupermarket to save my pennies.

    Chilli Jam

    900gms tomatos
    5 red chillis
    4 cloves garlic
    3" root ginger
    120ml balsamic vinegar
    500gms granulated sugar

    Blitz everything together in food processor or blender
    Then boil for 45 mins
    Then bottle into jars that have been sterilized.

    Very easy peasy and very delic

    Strawberry Jam

    1.5kilos strawberrys
    1.5kilos granulated sugar

    freshly squeezed juice of 4 lemons.

    1.In a large glass bowl layer strawberries and sugar, then sprinkle the lemon juice.Cover with cling film and leave for 24 hours.
    2.Scrape contents of the bowl into a large heavy duty based pan and bring to a slow boil.Allow mixture to bubble over a low heat for around 5 minutes, remove from heat, cover and leave stand for 48 hours.
    3. Return pan to heat and bring mixture back to boiling point,Boil intil setting point reached.
    4.Remove from heat and bottle into sterilized jars.

    Keeps for around 9 months
    Weight loss challenge 66lb to go /59lb's lost

    Grocery Budget January £150/£175
    Feb £150/
    • NickJW
    • By NickJW 6th Jul 12, 4:39 PM
    • 678 Posts
    • 13,646 Thanks
    NickJW they do delivery on saturday (£3.75 for first order) and are very good. I don't have freezer space anymore but the chicken breast is amazing £5-6/kg and no water or junk, delicious.
    Originally posted by adelight
    hmm not sure , i think the last i order i did may have been a friday and it didnt come till monday. sorry not much help
    Originally posted by sistercas

    YAY! Managed to multi-quote!

    Thanks both. I like the look of both of those websites because they've priced the packs with grams. I hate it when they advertise packs in ounces, because I'm not used to imperial measurements I wish they would advertise both metric and imperial in all butchers, because I often don't bother because I can't compute what size I need.

    Anyway - onto spends - £3.80 spent in Mr S today on a broccoli, spinach and tomatoes. Doing Sausages with a cheddar and parsley mash with broccoli tonight and a slow cooked Lamb curry with basmati rice tomorrow.
    Grocery Challenge 14 Jan 14 £46.05/£130

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

    DFD 1st March 2011
    • keza
    • By keza 6th Jul 12, 4:53 PM
    • 1,300 Posts
    • 9,249 Thanks
    ok so we decided to separate the babys milk and nappies on the budget to come under 'baby' rather then 'groceries' as they are making our budget impossible to stick to at the price of them! so i have altered my budget spreadsheet and also my total in my sig

    £250 grocery budget and £50 for baby milk and nappies each month
    Current Mortgage balance - £395,999.
    CC to clear (Patio) - £5,095
    • JIL
    • By JIL 6th Jul 12, 5:11 PM
    • 4,415 Posts
    • 23,955 Thanks
    Nom nom nommy

    I would NEVER have thought of savoury croissants!!!!!!!

    Originally posted by jumblejack
    A few years ago when i spent money like it was going out of fashion, Tesc0 used to do a savoury croissant and it was stuffed with garlic mushrooms in a creamy cheese sauce. I loved them.

    I may now have a go at making some over the weekend. I am thinking of using philly cheese with garlic and herbs.
    Thank you for reminding me.
    • Hiddenidenity
    • By Hiddenidenity 6th Jul 12, 5:43 PM
    • 5,213 Posts
    • 26,759 Thanks
    Popping out of lurking to report a spend of £60.32, a little bit over budget for now but hopefully will even out x
    • rising from the ashes
    • By rising from the ashes 6th Jul 12, 5:54 PM
    • 12,321 Posts
    • 59,551 Thanks
    rising from the ashes
    Warning to all YS Hunters!!

    Just caught up on some broadcasts I download and there was an item this week saying that SMs have agreed to give nearly out of date food to charities that feed families that are struggling to feed themselves. I applaud charitable works and can only hope that they keep thinking of their YS Hunters and keep catering to that market - it's what keeps me looking in the SM at the moment. Let's hope their marketing and behavioural analysis shows them that is what draws the OS Board members in!
    Originally posted by Suffolk lass
    I'll probably be shot down in flames for this .... I would rather they all did this anyway - as long as the food goes to homeless charities & food banks etc.

    TBH the way some people are so greedy, shove people out the way (happens in stores near me) & rude and take way more than can possibly be needed by one family absolutely disgusts me - and it unfortunately extends beyond the YS isle - there were packets of pasta on sale in Mr T last year for around 20p (from memory) and people were taking 50 packets - seriously. Everyone has a right to benefits from offers and everyone is struggling just as much as the next person ...... (Sorry to those that treat it as it should be).
    Grocery Challenge £211/£455 (01/01-31/03)
    2016 Sell: £125/£250
    £1,000 Emergency Fund Challenge #78 £3.96 / £1,000
    Vet Fund: £410.93 / £1,000
    Debt free & determined to stay that way!
    • rising from the ashes
    • By rising from the ashes 6th Jul 12, 5:56 PM
    • 12,321 Posts
    • 59,551 Thanks
    rising from the ashes
    Smallish spend of £10 on 3 chickens at the Co*op - nice roast in the oven & 2 in the freezer ..... need to start replacing the stuff I lost in the defrosting incident a couple of weeks ago
    Grocery Challenge £211/£455 (01/01-31/03)
    2016 Sell: £125/£250
    £1,000 Emergency Fund Challenge #78 £3.96 / £1,000
    Vet Fund: £410.93 / £1,000
    Debt free & determined to stay that way!
    • mrs-moneypenny
    • By mrs-moneypenny 6th Jul 12, 6:19 PM
    • 15,518 Posts
    • 198,189 Thanks
    just going to peel some spuds for tea - leeky mash and lindaMc sausages with cabbage for us. eldest DS is having fish fingers chips and beans when his mates get round and youngest DS is having the pasta bake he made at school.
    might even throw a batch of muffins in the oven if im quick

    night all
    SPC~12 ot 124

    In a world that has decided that it's going to lose its mind, be more kind my friend, try to Be More Kind
    • bossymoo
    • By bossymoo 6th Jul 12, 6:27 PM
    • 6,817 Posts
    • 87,056 Thanks
    £43.50 at mr a this morning and got a drenching for my trouble.

    Still, the fridge is full, we have lots of goodies, and it should see us through a week. If DS will stop saying "mum I'm hungry" every 5 minutes. Wish he'd just get on and have his growth spurt its starting to annoy me now lol

    Intesting shopping as docs want me to reintroduce dairy to little DD now, so am not having to avoid biccies that have milk powder etc. makes shopping easier. And cheaper!

    Away with the fairies
    • savesummore
    • By savesummore 6th Jul 12, 6:27 PM
    • 943 Posts
    • 11,411 Thanks
    Hi All

    Spends- £8.50 to second purse, £10 on a takeaway lastnight

    Signature updated

    Thats for the thoughts on Sunday dinner and thanks to all who post recipes esp the Chilli Jam one!!!

    Cant wait to try this
    O/S weight loss 2.5 /10lbs (11st 8.0- 08.02)
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