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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 43
    • Possession
    • By Possession 11th Jul 12, 8:05 AM
    • 3,140 Posts
    • 41,491 Thanks
    Flo your crumble looks so delicious I just have to make one with my 3 sorry looking Bramleys sitting in the fruit bowl. I think I shall make up a big lot of crumble mix and batch freeze it.
    Should be a NSD today, as I've decided the big store cupboard delivery today is coming out of savings. That seems pretty skewed thinking I know but it all comes out of the same pot in the end.

    • Soworried
    • By Soworried 11th Jul 12, 8:07 AM
    • 2,144 Posts
    • 19,925 Thanks
    I don't know if I am allowed to do this so if I am not please remove the link.

    It is a 1 off Nestle cereal code. Tesco have Nestle for 1 at the moment so you will get it free.
    Thankyou to the coupon thread on MSE for this.
    I hope it helps people who are finding the budget a bit tight x
    One step must start each journey
    One word must start each prayer
    One hope will raise our spirits
    One touch can show you care
    • Possession
    • By Possession 11th Jul 12, 8:12 AM
    • 3,140 Posts
    • 41,491 Thanks
    I don't know if I am allowed to do this so if I am not please remove the link.

    It is a 1 off Nestle cereal code. Tesco have Nestle for 1 at the moment so you will get it free.
    Thankyou to the coupon thread on MSE for this.
    I hope it helps people who are finding the budget a bit tight x
    Originally posted by Soworried
    I don't think you are allowed to put it here, but you can put it on the code and discount vouchers board and put a link to the thread here.

  • jumblejack
    I don't know if I am allowed to do this so if I am not please remove the link.

    It is a 1 off Nestle cereal code. Tesco have Nestle for 1 at the moment so you will get it free.
    Thankyou to the coupon thread on MSE for this.
    I hope it helps people who are finding the budget a bit tight x
    Originally posted by Soworried
    Thanks so much
    Every moment is a gift. That's why we call it the present.!
    Grocery Spend Weekly Challenge (Sat-Fri):30.50/40
    • tigerfeet2006
    • By tigerfeet2006 11th Jul 12, 9:41 AM
    • 13,812 Posts
    • 29,889 Thanks
    Gruffalo Crumble aka Vegetable and Blue Cheese Bake (GF)
    Sorry I have not been posting but life has been a bit hectic here while trying to get everything done so my time has been limited. Also I haven't really got a budget at the moment, it is a case of I have this much to spend this week so that is what I will have to try and do.

    Just had a delivery from Tesco which came to 55, will probably need to get some more veg, milk and bread later.

    Dinner last night was Gruffalo Crumble aka Veg and blue cheese bake.

    I cubed enough potatoes for 5 of us, 2 sweet potatoes, carrots and leeks. Put a knob of butter in a big pan and sauted them off with 3 or so crushed garlic cloves. I then added 300ml of milk and 300ml of veg. stock (I used Bisto Best) and then simmered it until the veg was cooked. Transfered it to an oval Pyrex and crumbled 250g of blue cheese of the top. I whizzed together butter and Doves GF flour to make a crumble topping and spread it over, (GF) bread crumbs should work just as well I think. Popped it in a 220degC oven for 30 mins (with my oven I would probably try 20-25 mins next time.) Clean plates all round.

    ETA: If you have people who just cannot do with out their meat then a couple of rashers of bacon chopped up and fried off and then added would be good. Or a couple of sausages cookked of and chopped up.
    Last edited by tigerfeet2006; 11-07-2012 at 11:34 AM.
    The only stupid question is an unasked one
    I now live in a country that is 4 hours ahead of the UK so you may now find I post at weird times
  • adelight
    I just went to mr S and on the way saw that there's a wednesday market nd it's so much better than the saturday one!! Good value, big variety of stuff and it's so organised with aisles and baskets. Got courgettes, aubergines, peppers, garlic, grapefruits and the biggest cauliflower ever. And milk and cheese from mr S. Must update my sig now.
    Living cheap in central London
  • Mrs Addicted to Spending
    Florenceem - have a good trip tomorrow!

    Bought a few more bits yesterday but still at 69/80 and not much left to get .
    Pay debt in 2012 #278 2347/5364
    Sealed Pot 5 #1713 78.57 //Crazy Clothes Challenge #97 79.49/100
    Grocery Challenge:
    Feb 359/360 Mar 390/450 Apr 335/320
    May 330/320 Jun 455/400 Jul 321/320
    Aug 399/370 Sep 345/300 Oct 421/400 Nov 0/320
    • keza
    • By keza 11th Jul 12, 10:42 AM
    • 1,300 Posts
    • 9,249 Thanks
    im toying with the idea of baking my own bread. is it truely cheaper as i begrudge paying over 1 for a loaf! and the cheap value stuff goes green so quickly (no room in freezer to freeze!)

    can any of you offer some advice from experience? also rolls too as we notice ours go stale quickly and would rather bake my own every few days if thats poss? thx
    Current Mortgage balance - 395,999.
    CC to clear (Patio) - 5,095
    • tigerfeet2006
    • By tigerfeet2006 11th Jul 12, 10:55 AM
    • 13,812 Posts
    • 29,889 Thanks
    It is definatly cheaper. Can work out to 30p-40p a loaf. I have a Panasonic bread maker (which is highly recommended on here) and love it. You can put the ingredients in the night before and just select dough and then do your rolls in the morning from it. I really should start using mine again, have just got out of the habit.
    The only stupid question is an unasked one
    I now live in a country that is 4 hours ahead of the UK so you may now find I post at weird times
    • craigywv
    • By craigywv 11th Jul 12, 11:12 AM
    • 1,976 Posts
    • 27,825 Thanks
    Sorry craigyvw...was busy with the LOs but see your question has been answered...I prefer the 18 packs..mainly as they have a handle so easier to carry..I rely on public transport as OH is rarely home...Coach driver in sunnier climates lol...but could only get 9 packs today...still bought 2 and struggled...pram toddler and shoppingxxx
    Originally posted by mummyyof5

    thank-you anyway
    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!!.
  • SusanP
    Special offer Tupperware...
    Just been to JS tupperware on sale, 1/3 off... 3 2l clip and lock for 8.66, I was pleased with that... Going to count up what I have and see if worth getting anymore. Bit of a rubbish day as my money is on Tupperware, OH has a golf trolley...something wrong somwhere?! :-) At least the weather is starting to brighten up a bit...the hours are getting away from me today, going to the library this afternoon or tomorrow morning to look for some books on excel and then I can start budget spreadsheets...maybe I should have on for golf?!!
  • sonastin
    Having stocked up on meat at C0stc0 at the weekend, I went and forgot to get some out of the freezer yesterday I hate cooking from frozen/defrosting in microwave & I had to get breadflour and marg anyway so bought yet more chicken breast while I was in L!dl. Another 12+ to add to the total.

    Already at 157.95 / 225 with 3 whole weeks to go, including a week's camping holiday and a day-and-a-half entertaining MIL and her sister

    I have enough meat to last into August (apart from what we buy on holiday) so should be OK on that front and August should be cheaper to make up for it. But I don't see how I'm gonna last to the end of the month at this rate!
  • dunworking
    Thought it was going to be a NSD today as I'm working from home and had homemade vege soup in the fridge and plans to make a cottage pie for tea, bulked out with everyones favourite the lentil!! But realised at the last minute I hadn't got any veg to go with it so nipped to corner shop and paid 1.29!!! on a bag of frozen broccoli as they didn't have any fresh.

    BTW does anyone remember a TV show in the 80s (I think) called The (Shirley) Goode Kitchen? I had her book way back (sadly not anymore) and particularly remember an illustration in it for reducing the cost of cooking by maximising your oven use. I was just wondering if I have found Flo's real identity Come on Florenceem admit it, you're Shirley Goode in disguise, spreading the wisdom by any means necessary!!
    Originally posted by Bonglecat
    shirley Goode writes a foodie blog every day called The goode kitchen.Her books are still available on amazon.hth
    • Make-it-3
    • By Make-it-3 11th Jul 12, 11:45 AM
    • 1,550 Posts
    • 7,040 Thanks
    Just milk and yoghurt purchased today (2.74), decided I can hold off till the weekend on anything else. This seems to be my new tactic, thinking can I hold on another few days before I buy it.

    GC total now stands at 80.23/200
    We Made-it-3 on 28/01/11 with birth of our gorgeous DD.
    • GreenFairy
    • By GreenFairy 11th Jul 12, 11:54 AM
    • 301 Posts
    • 3,786 Thanks
    Determined to have another NSD today. Have one big chicken fillet in the fridge for dinner and my first thought was to head to the shop for coconut milk to make a curry with it. It's never just that one item though, is it? Curse supermarkets and their "shelf psychology"!

    Am going to cook it, shred it and make chicken quesadillas for dinner instead. Have all the other bits for that in already, including a lock and lock of refried beans which I've just taken out to defrost. Made bread this morning so lunch is the classic choice of "in a sandwich" or "on toast".
    Feb GC 253.11/400
    Jan GC 203.37/400
    • Coxy11
    • By Coxy11 11th Jul 12, 1:56 PM
    • 2,295 Posts
    • 27,317 Thanks

    Hoping for no rain today as I have a little job doing a neighbours gardening and I need to cut their grass!!
    Originally posted by helen jelly
    Helen I feel your pain. As a 'jobbing' gardener I have been struggling to work at all lately - very frustrating!

    DID manage to work this morning tho' the heavens opened just as I was getting back in the car.

    NSD on the grocery front. Am going to try for another NSD tomorrow as I'm finishing off the painting I started at the weekend. Nothing like having a MrT plastic bag tied around your head to keep you out of the shops
    Cross-stitch WIP #1: Collecting Shells by Nancy Cole
    Cross-stitch WIP #2: Pretty Little London by Satsuma Street
    • jasmin10
    • By jasmin10 11th Jul 12, 2:17 PM
    • 893 Posts
    • 1,720 Thanks
    I'm another vote for hm bread. Today infact I had to have a couple of slices of shop bread out of the emergency backup loaf in the freezer as I had run out of flour. No way did it fill me up as much as mine, it just tasted and felt like air. My hm loaf feels a lot more filling.

    So, was shopping day today and did mr m, Aldo and mr t. Total of 39.73, under budget again. Really pleased, just need to pick my mood up now.

    Sig updated
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    My Little World
  • jumblejack
    Helen I feel your pain. As a 'jobbing' gardener I have been struggling to work at all lately - very frustrating!
    . Am going to try for another NSD tomorrow as I'm finishing off the painting I started at the weekend. Nothing like having a MrT plastic bag tied around your head to keep you out of the shops
    Originally posted by Coxy11
    the spectrum of tips we receive on here is amazing

    I am in a bit of a quandary on my elderflower champagne adventures. I need a clever clogs to come along and point me in the right direction.

    We had sausage (29p YS Cauldron meat free) with bacon, egg n beans for dinner followed with a fresh raspberry and strawberry milkshake with honey

    Might do a flan or frittata later as I have cooked bacon leftover now to use up. I will incorporate some more nasturtium leaves into it as I have a bumper crop available.

    A sunny spell is finally here

    Now do I grab the opportunity and go for a forage foray with the sprogs whilst the sun shines and finish our project later, hmmm? Decisions...

    Hope all are well n dandy. I'm not great today so could do with a sunshine pick me up

    When picking the soft fruits earlier, I noticed that the blackcurrant leaves smell lovely. I am not a herb tea lover but am about to give this a try:

    !!!The black currant tea is prepared from 2 teaspoons of leaves cut into small pieces, soaked in 250 ml of boiled water. It is consumed 3 cups per day, between meals, in long diets of 5-6 months.
    I am probably not the best judge though as so far I have yet to try a herb tea that I like!

    Will let you know.....
    Every moment is a gift. That's why we call it the present.!
    Grocery Spend Weekly Challenge (Sat-Fri):30.50/40
  • helen jelly
    Coxy - I only do 1 garden - hoping others realise my talents and ask me to do theirs lol

    Whoops - fell asleep on the sofa but I was up at 4!
    I've asked DH to get some bits from Aldi, hoping he onl;y gets what I've asked for!
    Tea tonight for DH and me is something nice that he'll be cooking - its our 3 year wedding anniversary, we have zero pennies so no cards or pressies but we're not bothered about that anyway :]]

    Catch up tomorrow, have nice evenings everyone

    Helen x
    Projects made for craft fair - 40
    1st fair on 13/4/14
  • jumblejack
    Congratulations Helen Jelly

    Have a lovely evening. Hopefully the weather will be nice enough for you to go for a nice hand in hand stroll after your dinner! Enjoy the meal
    Every moment is a gift. That's why we call it the present.!
    Grocery Spend Weekly Challenge (Sat-Fri):30.50/40
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