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  • FIRST POST
    • zippychick
    • By zippychick 4th Jun 11, 11:19 AM
    • 9,343Posts
    • 17,889Thanks
    zippychick
    • #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 competition....it'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,
    Spigs
    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!

    Zip
    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 46
  • jumblejack
    Tea break time!

    Right, I have managed to make 11 rice patties/burgers with the leftover bacon and rice which are cooling now and heading for the freezer.
    Also made a leftover curry pie. I had some asparagus to use up, so thought I'd make a top layer under the pie lid. Ive also experimented with some quickie lavender biscuits which are in the oven now as I type.
    If my recipe works, I will share it on here later.

    Just got to clean up the kitchen... Again

    Washing on the line drying nicely
    Shopping list done too for later.

    Can't wait til the indoor jobs are over so I can enjoy the garden jobs instead. I LOVE being in the garden
    Last edited by jumblejack; 12-07-2012 at 11:33 AM.
    Every moment is a gift. That's why we call it the present.!
    Grocery Spend Weekly Challenge (Sat-Fri):30.50/40
    • GreenFairy
    • By GreenFairy 12th Jul 12, 11:33 AM
    • 301 Posts
    • 3,786 Thanks
    GreenFairy

    We don't eat puddings but I do like something sweet at work and tend to bake a cake and biscuits for me to eat during the week. I am going to make better use of my prescription certificate and get flour mixes to bake with. I have only had one scrip so far so I am still learning what items work best for me.
    Originally posted by XSpender
    I found that shopping alone really cut my bill down. No sneaky treats or bottle of wine making its way into the trolley. I also use either a basket or a small trolley, not a big one, as it lets me better see what I have.

    Not sure if you can get it on prescription, but I find the Doves Farm flour blends amazing. They sub straight into gluten-y recipes, you just need a couple of tbsp more liquid as the flour soaks a lot. I use it for baking, making sauces, the lot.

    I've also found an amazing recipe for GF pastry after bloomin years of looking. It's crumbly and kind of shortbready and makes amazing tarts and pies. Wouldn't even miss the gluten. I found ready made gluten free pastries to be universally horrible - like bonio, but less tasty!
    Feb GC 253.11/400
    Jan GC 203.37/400
  • jumblejack
    Just saw this weekend's meat offer at my local Lidl:


    Fresh British Pork Spare Rib Chops
    1.34* was 2.69
    Per 600g Pack

    Every moment is a gift. That's why we call it the present.!
    Grocery Spend Weekly Challenge (Sat-Fri):30.50/40
    • Welsh Poppy
    • By Welsh Poppy 12th Jul 12, 11:47 AM
    • 980 Posts
    • 5,912 Thanks
    Welsh Poppy
    Thank you for the tips GreenFairy and Jasmin10.


    I have just started eating meat again after 25 years and haven't progressed to red meat yet and my coeliac disease means I can't eat quorn mince anymore but I have a lot of sausages in the freezer to make into a casserole and I would like to make a nice chicken casserole if I can find a good recipe.

    I am going to have another look at my meal plan and add in a couple of pasta bakes as I have 2 tonnes of GF pasta in the larder from lots of freebie samples and the leftovers will do for DH lunch.

    We don't eat puddings but I do like something sweet at work and tend to bake a cake and biscuits for me to eat during the week. I am going to make better use of my prescription certificate and get flour mixes to bake with. I have only had one scrip so far so I am still learning what items work best for me.

    Our dinner plates are quite large but I have 2 smaller ones I might start using to cut our portions. Our waistlines will thank us I am sure
    Originally posted by XSpender
    I dont know enought about CD but can you use tesco veggie mince or Morrions version?
    Weight loss challenge 66lb to go /59lb's lost

    Grocery Budget January 150/175
    Feb 150/
    • Soworried
    • By Soworried 12th Jul 12, 11:49 AM
    • 2,150 Posts
    • 19,990 Thanks
    Soworried
    Just got back from Mr M and I bought 4 x packs of the cheese for 7.20 and lot's of YS sausages for 1.55. Total spend of 12.71 added to signature.
    I hope for a no spend day tomorrow.
    36/240
    5522
    One step must start each journey
    One word must start each prayer
    One hope will raise our spirits
    One touch can show you care
    • Welsh Poppy
    • By Welsh Poppy 12th Jul 12, 11:55 AM
    • 980 Posts
    • 5,912 Thanks
    Welsh Poppy
    Afternoon,

    I spent 7.45 in Butcher for DH yesterday on a chicken breast and stewing beef for Goulash which I make in batches enough for 6 weeks.
    Today Mr T and spent 40 DH was with me and he always scuppers my plans as adds extras he thinks I will like as I am veggie...but pleased we have stuck to budget but no bargains as such...we like batchelors mushroom cup of soup to take on picnics every other variety was on 2 for 1.50 but not mushroom!!! BUT dairylea is 1.95 but you send in to claim the money back so a free box .

    Helen

    Thanks for Birthday wishes
    Happy belated anniversary
    Weight loss challenge 66lb to go /59lb's lost

    Grocery Budget January 150/175
    Feb 150/
  • jumblejack
    Lavendar biscuits worked out ok...

    2oz butter
    3oz sugar
    4oz plain flour
    6 lavendar heads
    Splash of milk to make into a ball of dough.
    Roll into balls and flatten with back of fork.
    10 mins (or less) in moderate oven


    Here they are along with the leftover curry pie and leftover rice patties:


    Right, now I'm out to tackle the garden jobs
    Every moment is a gift. That's why we call it the present.!
    Grocery Spend Weekly Challenge (Sat-Fri):30.50/40
    • mummyyof5
    • By mummyyof5 12th Jul 12, 12:54 PM
    • 1,839 Posts
    • 39,830 Thanks
    mummyyof5
    http://a6.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/s720x720/487245_335539546527697_1394041548_n.jpg
    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.
    • mummyyof5
    • By mummyyof5 12th Jul 12, 12:56 PM
    • 1,839 Posts
    • 39,830 Thanks
    mummyyof5
    Hope link works...just made these this morning for LOs summer fair tomorrow..hope they sell..the theme is olympics..hence the colours on 2 of them 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.
    • fozziebeartoo
    • By fozziebeartoo 12th Jul 12, 12:58 PM
    • 1,566 Posts
    • 12,676 Thanks
    fozziebeartoo
    Hope link works...just made these this morning for LOs summer fair tomorrow..hope they sell..the theme is olympics..hence the colours on 2 of them x
    Originally posted by mummyyof5

    They look great!!
    • Make-it-3
    • By Make-it-3 12th Jul 12, 1:05 PM
    • 1,550 Posts
    • 7,040 Thanks
    Make-it-3
    Jumblejack you make me feel so inadequate in the kitchen!

    Just been to get some lunch and found the bread has gone mouldy again - 3/4 of an unused loaf - urghh! I am NOT going to the supermarket again. Guiltily, we do have a breadmaker, I just don't know how to use it. Think I'm going to go hunt for the instruction manual ....
    We Made-it-3 on 28/01/11 with birth of our gorgeous DD.
    • liz-paul
    • By liz-paul 12th Jul 12, 1:13 PM
    • 895 Posts
    • 4,806 Thanks
    liz-paul
    Just back from tescos & I have gone about 40 over my budget and I still have to get to next friday
    I should only need bread & milk next week. And maybe ham. Oh well, will try to minimise the damage and August should be a low spend.....
    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 12th Jul 12, 1:38 PM
    • 2,150 Posts
    • 19,990 Thanks
    Soworried
    Jumblejack you make me feel so inadequate in the kitchen!

    Just been to get some lunch and found the bread has gone mouldy again - 3/4 of an unused loaf - urghh! I am NOT going to the supermarket again. Guiltily, we do have a breadmaker, I just don't know how to use it. Think I'm going to go hunt for the instruction manual ....
    Originally posted by Make-it-3
    Hi
    What make is your bread maker? One of us may have the me one so we can help you.
    36/240
    5522
    One step must start each journey
    One word must start each prayer
    One hope will raise our spirits
    One touch can show you care
    • wannabe sybil
    • By wannabe sybil 12th Jul 12, 1:43 PM
    • 2,726 Posts
    • 18,881 Thanks
    wannabe sybil
    Down to 70.65
    Ankh Morpork Sunshine Sanctuary for Sick Dragons - don't let my flame go out!
  • jumblejack
    They look fab!

    Make it 3,
    Don't feel inadequate. I make plenty of blunders!
    I can give you a very recent example...
    I made a wild cherry jelly but left it on too long. It set so hard that it would stick your teeth together if you dared try it.
    I have managed to finally get it out of the jar and have reheated it but with added water. It seems to be a better consistency but I will see when it goes cold.
    I am not going to bottle this one up now but make a WHOPPING batch of jam tarts until it is all used up. I will then try freezing the surplus tarts (anyone ever tried freezing jam tarts?).
    That will be on my to do list for tonight now though.
    Every moment is a gift. That's why we call it the present.!
    Grocery Spend Weekly Challenge (Sat-Fri):30.50/40
    • Honey Bear
    • By Honey Bear 12th Jul 12, 2:15 PM
    • 5,966 Posts
    • 57,720 Thanks
    Honey Bear
    Jam Making Problems
    Long time lurker, posting because she needs help. Having decided the box of apricots I bought were too woolly-flavoured to eat as fruit, I made them into jam yesterday and everything went fine.

    However, when I tried to make the marrow and ginger jam I planned, it never seemed to get to setting point. I split the recipe between two pans, and the smaller one was fine, but the bigger pan almost caremalised in the pan. I potted it up but this morning it still hadn't set and the jam has no flavour. This has happened to me in the past with batches of marmalade.

    If it were a lack of pectin, the smaller pan wouldn't have reached setting point, so I'm very confused.

    I use the saucer in the fridge test because the sugar thermometer I bought years ago was utterly useless. Does anyone have any suggestions as to what it is I must be consistently (but not always) doing wrong?
    Last edited by Honey Bear; 12-07-2012 at 2:33 PM. Reason: No heading
    • XSpender
    • By XSpender 12th Jul 12, 2:48 PM
    • 3,412 Posts
    • 34,917 Thanks
    XSpender
    It sounds like you are doing all of the right things XSpender. You could use dried soya mince instead of the Quorn which is cheaper than Quorn anyway The only thing I can think of, though obviously I don't know the reasons you have begun eating meat again, pulses and nuts are usually a much cheaper source of protein and iron.
    Originally posted by Boodle
    I started meat again after struggling to eat a balanced vegetarian diet after being diagnosed with Coeliac diease. All the usual things I ate like veggie sausages and qu0rn pieces are not gluten free and with a full time job, a toddler and 2 professional qualification courses to complete by next summer I don't have the time or the energy to make everything from scratch. The funny thing was I missed my veg. I would have 'something' with veg and pots or salad and because I wasn't having the 'something' I wasn't having my usual veg.

    I couldn't think why I actually stopped eating meat even though I was never a big fan of it, more as a reaction to my parents divorce I think than any moral reason. Something that had never crossed my mind as a reason in the last 25 years until I started questioning it.

    I dont know enought about CD but can you use tesco veggie mince or Morrions version?
    Originally posted by Welsh Poppy
    I can eat the dried soya mince that Mr T sell in the wholefoods section but not frozen veggie mince as it contains gluten.

    I recently made a lovely veggie chilli using green lentils from a Rose Elliott recipe I discovered in May and have also made lentil bolognaise with some batches frozen for future use. I haven't tried the bolognaise yet. I made it on a batch cooking day when I was trying to stay veggie and popped all the portions in the freezer.

    I am adjusting my meal plan to split the meat meals and veggie ones 60/40 to try and stretch the meat and cut costs.

    My shopping list for tomorrow consists of lots of fruit, mainly Ald1 super 6, milk, bread, gravy powder, baby wipes, frozen veg, ham, orange juice, cider and either some garlic butter to convert some GF rolls(freebie) into garlic bread or some GF garlic bread. I am hoping to spend 40 or less.

    Today will be a NSD, I didn't even buy a cup of tea at work!
    Last edited by XSpender; 12-07-2012 at 2:50 PM.
    October Grocery Challenge - 277.74/220
    • bossymoo
    • By bossymoo 12th Jul 12, 2:55 PM
    • 6,817 Posts
    • 87,056 Thanks
    bossymoo
    Been to sainsbobs on way home today and filled fridge and some costly storecupboard items and spent nearly 70 oops.

    We have plenty in though now, so shouldn't need anything till the end of next week.
    Bossymoo

    Away with the fairies
    • mrs-moneypenny
    • By mrs-moneypenny 12th Jul 12, 3:01 PM
    • 15,518 Posts
    • 198,189 Thanks
    mrs-moneypenny
    mummyof5 cakes look fanastic and are bound to sell
    went Ts yesterday and this morning so need to update sig

    veggie sausage stirfry for tea tonight
    need to make some cakes as well
    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
  • sb88
    Hii everyone! So far this month i've spent 82.26 on grocerys ( 2 adults, a dog a tortoise and a bearded dragon)

    I have gone over budget, i manged to spend 61 in my first week, twice as much as I planned (I had some good news and was somewhat distracted shopping)

    The good thing is I've really taken on board some lessons . I love reading your posts, I don't get to post often but I do read them! I spent 20 this week on grocerys, and have really tried hard with making do with what we already had in the house!

    OH has been fantastic, he is normally very fussy eating, but he tried the morrisons own brand pot noodles! (And liked them) and he joined me eating falafel! (I get a dry mix and soak with cold water)

    Slowly he's trying new things and not eating meat at every meal. I'm so grateful to this site ! I am learning new things everyday and hopefully it will set me up for a old style life!

    on another note! Finally it isn't raining and I can get some washing out!
    Weightloss: 18lbs/28lbs (Start weight: 11st, Current 9st 10)
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