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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 41
    • XSpender
    • By XSpender 10th Jul 12, 9:11 AM
    • 3,406 Posts
    • 34,882 Thanks
    1.35 spent on a loaf last nigth as DH was complaining the stuff I'd bought from Mr A at the weekend wasn't very nice. " prescription charges for DH to add to the toal as well.

    I am over my target but I am going to do a breakdown at the end of the month (my month ends on the 19th) to see what was spent on what and then I can set a realistic budget for August. It's still a lot less than I spent last month
    October Grocery Challenge - 122.00/220
    • MrsCD
    • By MrsCD 10th Jul 12, 9:59 AM
    • 753 Posts
    • 11,263 Thanks
    Adelight - are you ok? We haven't heard from you for a while.
    • DebtFree2012
    • By DebtFree2012 10th Jul 12, 10:09 AM
    • 3,476 Posts
    • 9,584 Thanks
    Right I have sorted the money out following a weekend of madness. I have not stopped! Was fantastic though.

    OK so on Friday night I went to Mr T which I don't enjoy doing and bought things that I can't get in Ald1. This came to 25.62 and included nappies and things to allow me to make my HM wine - which if it works out will save me in the future on wine Then on Saturday I did my usual Aldi shop which came just under 22.

    Therefore for this week I have overspent however looking at what I have left in my envelope (42.10) I think I can still come in on budget - just. I have 2 w/e left before pay day which is when I do my shop so if I say 20 each time I should be ok. I have a well stocked freezer and the pantry isn't too bad though I am out of tinned tomatoes! Will just buy 1 or 2 to put me over. I don't need any toiletries or anything like that so here't to hoping. Going to get DH to get the next round of nappies.

    I've had to catch up with pages of the thread so just wanted to say thank you to all who helped with the tuna comments and to the person who asked about my worry of choking on apples but not carrots - my fear is probably OTT to most however it's the thought of DD taking a whole apple and biting a big chunk off which she could choke on (it happened as I said in other post and the little girl died, traumatic) where as the fruit I put in is chopped up small enough that I hope to avoid that. Carrots I could do the same with however they too are hard so we shall see. I just need to find fruit that I can buy on Sun and keep til Fri. The dried fruit I can chop up is a good option so thank you for your input.

    Hope everyone is having a 'within budget' day
    Debt - CCV 3792
    CCB 1383 (took a hit for a holiday)

    Loan 1 1787
    Loan 2 1683
    Total 8601 Was 39302
  • sneakyspender
    Was feeling realy positive and going for a NSD today,but have realised the dcs need some tombola prizes to take to school for the.fair tommorow (fair is on fridayso too early for cakes/biscuits).Going to have to go to shops to get something which will come out of GC as no other pot.
    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
    • liz-paul
    • By liz-paul 10th Jul 12, 11:14 AM
    • 895 Posts
    • 4,806 Thanks
    Can't decide waht to make for dinner:
    Coq au vin
    Macaroni cheese
    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
    • Soworried
    • By Soworried 10th Jul 12, 11:22 AM
    • 2,150 Posts
    • 19,990 Thanks
    Can't decide waht to make for dinner:
    Coq au vin
    Macaroni cheese
    Originally posted by liz-paul
    I would have coq au vin but I do not like macaroni
    One step must start each journey
    One word must start each prayer
    One hope will raise our spirits
    One touch can show you care
    • ikkle87
    • By ikkle87 10th Jul 12, 11:38 AM
    • 8,297 Posts
    • 179,884 Thanks
    I love macaroni cheese lol, it's what I want for my birthday meal out next month. Macaroni cheese, mushrooms, chicken and chilli sauce lol.

    A spend of 3.85 for us today on milk, icing sugar and pepsi max.

    We are having chicken fillets with new potatoes and vegetables for tea tonight. Can't quite believe how much food is still in our freezer either. Normally 3 days after food shopping it is empty as most of the grocery money gets spent on rubbish like crisps and sweets for OH.

    Total for the month so far is 89.76 out of 200. We have enough to last at least a week in so I am quite happy. Will be buying some more loo roll tomorrow as have a consultants appointment so will be in town so will go to HB for them. 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
    • liz-paul
    • By liz-paul 10th Jul 12, 12:06 PM
    • 895 Posts
    • 4,806 Thanks
    See I love macaroni cheese but not fussed on casserole type things. Whereas OH would have casseroles/stews over pasta any day! If the chicken defrosts in time I'll cook it tonight, otherwise I'll do it tomorrow. Same difference really, we're having those two meals tonight/tomorrow so it probably doesn't make much difference which days we have which meals I'm just ot good at deciding what to cook when I have a lot of options!
    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
    • little_miss_moneysaver
    • By little_miss_moneysaver 10th Jul 12, 1:20 PM
    • 1,229 Posts
    • 7,653 Thanks
    Oh I love macaroni cheese too I love anything with cheese on top!

    Tonight were having jacket pots with tuna and salad. OH is hoping to do a hour of DIY/tidying a night to get the nursery ready so wanted something that I can just put in the microwave when he's ready.
    Making chicken curry tomorrow for us, Dsis and her two kids so got chicken out of the freezer with have some AF naans too.

    Only have one lonely banana in the fruit bowl so will need to pop out later to restock. Will get milk and eggs too so I don't need to go out Gain later in the week.
    Spent 20 on c00p online. They're doing 30 things for 20! Mainly toiletries and it's free delivery for spends over 20. Got baby wipes and stocked up on shower gel that OH likes but I only buy on offer. This is the link to original post. Think items work out at 66.6p each.
    Will update sig later once all shopping has been done.

    Hugs to those who need them xx
    Baby boy arrived 22nd August 2012
    Second menace arrived safely 13th February 2014
    Debt Free Wannabee 2015
  • jumblejack
    JJs Nasturtium and Lettuce Soup
    Verdict: Nom

    Well the summer soup worked so I thought I'd share the idea.....

    Fry onions and thinly sliced potatoes in lashings of butter:

    Then cover with water or stock and simmer until the potatoes soften.

    Then add washed nasturtium leaves with stems removed and lettuce until wilted.

    Blend and season to taste.

    Serve with JJs herby cheese bread

    Every moment is a gift. That's why we call it the present.!
    Grocery Spend Weekly Challenge (Sat-Fri):30.50/40
    • keza
    • By keza 10th Jul 12, 2:57 PM
    • 1,300 Posts
    • 9,249 Thanks
    NSD here (at last ) ommellete and chips for us tonight to use up the eggs before they go out of date tomoro!
    Current Mortgage balance - 372006.55/395,999.
    MBNA - 4,760.45
    Barclaycard - 2,932
  • jumblejack
    NSD here (at last ) ommellete and chips for us tonight to use up the eggs before they go out of date tomoro!
    Originally posted by keza
    Don't worry about best before dates on eggs. There is an easy way of checking whether they are fit for consumption without breaking them open.

    Pop the egg in a jug of water.

    If the egg sinks, it is fresh as a daisy.

    If it floats half way, use it for baking.

    If it floats, sling it!

    The reason is that eggs are porous: they absorb air. The older they are, the bigger the egg sac inside. It is a foolproof method that you can rely on
    Every moment is a gift. That's why we call it the present.!
    Grocery Spend Weekly Challenge (Sat-Fri):30.50/40
    • Kitchenbunny
    • By Kitchenbunny 10th Jul 12, 3:44 PM
    • 1,861 Posts
    • 20,260 Thanks
    Wow, actually had an NSD today! That's something (at least). JJ that soup looks awesome - I really must give your cheese bread a go.

    I sat down and had a long think last night. I know I go through fits & starts where my willpower is concerned, so I've got to take that into account. Small steps, eh? Focus on the positives. I've just counted up the NSDs so far for July and I've managed 4. 4 out of 10 so far isn't bad. I'm happier now knowing I've managed that much even if I've spent a bit more than normal. Small steps.

    Tea tonight is just an omelette, although it might end up as a pasta bake depending on what Mr Kitchenbunny fancies when he gets back from work. I don't mind either way.

    Have a lovely evening, everyone. (((hugs))) to those a bit down or in need. Adelight - hope you're OK.

    K xx

    • GreenFairy
    • By GreenFairy 10th Jul 12, 4:20 PM
    • 301 Posts
    • 3,786 Thanks
    A low spend today. Seeing as it's payday and I get my teeny bit of pocket money, I bought myself a geranium and two chilli plants off the clearance rack in B&Q as a treat - a whole €2! Put some petrol in the car as well. Entirely avoided spending any dosh on grocery-related items. Wahoo!

    Forgot entirely that I have to meet friends in town this evening though. A very early dinner for us then, to avoid the lure of fast food outlets later. Hoping will get away with just buying a small pot of tea in town then. The little things really do add up and am trying desperately to keep them to a minimum - feel like a bit of a hermit some days though
    Feb GC 253.11/400
    Jan GC 203.37/400
    • katiegirl
    • By katiegirl 10th Jul 12, 4:27 PM
    • 17 Posts
    • 431 Thanks
    I've not been posting much as I've been busy getting things ready for when we move house. I've kept my signature up to date with my spending though and I'm doing okay so far! Hoping to maybe even come in under budget!

    I've just been working out my finances for when we move. Eek its going to be very tight for us to save up enough to go to India in February as well. Very, very tight! So will be be an avid member of the grocery challenge thread, walking as much as possible, not buying any new clothes or going out anywhere and trying to pick up a few extra shifts here and there....sounds fun!! Will be so worth it though, I'm determined we're going on this trip because I know I will look back with a lot of disappointment if we don't!

    Off to scour the forum for money saving/making ideas, and then after I take my daughter to Brownies I have some more stuff to list on ebay.

    I'm a bit disappointed I had to throw away a homemade potato salad because the potatoes tasted bitter, such a waste of money, and it looked lovely! Kicking myself for not tasting the potatoes before I made up the salad because it means not only they were wasted but the pancetta and dressing ingredients as well!

    Have another bag of the new potatoes but its put me off eating them completely now!
    Last edited by katiegirl; 10-07-2012 at 4:38 PM.
    September Grocery Challenge 160 78.62

    Getting back in control
    Debt 8,978.85
    • mummyyof5
    • By mummyyof5 10th Jul 12, 4:47 PM
    • 1,839 Posts
    • 39,830 Thanks
    Nipped to HB today..had to take DS1 to hospital appointment and its in the same town...short tram ride away but covered by same bus ticket so no extra spending...spent 9....pleased with that as included 18 toilet rolls...should last 2 weeks hopefully x
    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.
    • craigywv
    • By craigywv 10th Jul 12, 4:54 PM
    • 1,976 Posts
    • 27,825 Thanks
    Nipped to HB today..had to take DS1 to hospital appointment and its in the same town...short tram ride away but covered by same bus ticket so no extra spending...spent 9....pleased with that as included 18 toilet rolls...should last 2 weeks hopefully x
    Originally posted by mummyyof5

    hi hope you dont mind me asking but how much is the loo rolls in HB i heading there on sat for loo rolls and would like to know how much they are as my mum swears by them ............but cant rem how much they were lol thanks.
    C.R.A.P.R.O.L.L.Z #7 member N.I splinter-group co-ordinater I dont suffer from insanity....I enjoy every minute of it!!.
    • Aldahbra
    • By Aldahbra 10th Jul 12, 5:47 PM
    • 315 Posts
    • 3,684 Thanks
    Ignore this post - thought I was on another thread....
    Originally posted by liz-paul
    I have so nearly done that a couple of times

    Milk seems to be where a lot of my grocery budget goes, I seem to buy it everyday?!
    Originally posted by SusanP
    Buy milk with the longest shelf life and keep it in the fridge. It will last all week, maybe more. Buy enough to keep you going all week.
    "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
    • Barbeduk
    • By Barbeduk 10th Jul 12, 6:08 PM
    • 819 Posts
    • 7,151 Thanks
    Oops, damage limitation from now on as blew the budget on food and booze for our camping trip. We needed it though, sleeping in a tent in a red weather warning!

    Knew I sholdn't have started reading the old style threads again as now I'm starting my emergency winter store cupboard. This will also come in handy when the lovely supermarkets start putting their prices up for basic items in the run up to Christmas. Or am I just a cynic?!

    All I need for the rest of this week are mushrooms for sunday breakfast (famous last words) and hopefully the freezer and storecupboards will keep us going after that.

    Tonight is risotto with lo chicken and hm chicken stock. Tomorrow the last of the chicken made into curry. Still using up gammon from the freezer for our lunchtime sandwiches, nom.
    June GC 288.01/400
    • rising from the ashes
    • By rising from the ashes 10th Jul 12, 6:42 PM
    • 12,321 Posts
    • 59,551 Thanks
    rising from the ashes

    hi hope you dont mind me asking but how much is the loo rolls in HB i heading there on sat for loo rolls and would like to know how much they are as my mum swears by them ............but cant rem how much they were lol thanks.
    Originally posted by craigywv
    18 Nicky are 3.99 or 9 pack for 2 (not much difference!)

    I find the 18 packs easier to stack so always go for them (but do only go to HB every 3 months so get loads!)

    They do a cheaper (not quilted) range - or used to, not looked as don't use them- which were 3.59 for 18 but not 1/2 as good IMHO

    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!
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