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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 eighth Grocery Challenge of 2012 Holy majoly, where has the year gone?!?!?!?!!?

    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:
    July 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 #6 and #7 on this thread.

    For everyones totals, see post #8 on this thread

    I hope everyone has a great month!

    Last edited by zippychick; 22-07-2012 at 11:49 AM.
    A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men
    Norn Iron club member #380

Page 37
    • Baileys Babe
    • By Baileys Babe 17th Aug 12, 9:37 PM
    • 2,495 Posts
    • 12,887 Thanks
    Baileys Babe
    This weeks update:
    Ald! £6.55
    C0-0p £1.44
    EH afternoon tea £14.80

    Weeks total £22.79

    Spends so far this month £204.42/£310
    Last edited by Baileys Babe; 17-08-2012 at 9:41 PM.
    • NickJW
    • By NickJW 17th Aug 12, 10:32 PM
    • 678 Posts
    • 13,646 Thanks
    Went to a Chinese warehouse today and brought 1kg of deveined King Prawns for £8.50 I have no idea if this is a good price as personally I don’t like them but DH does. .
    Originally posted by Billie-jo
    For me, that would be very good price for prawns! Normally I get king prawns (frozen, only when on offer) for £2.50 for 225g so I think that's £11.11 per kilo. Your's work out for £8.50 per kilo so really good. I LOVE king prawns! Will have to check out the Chinese supermarkets now me-thinks! Thanks for this
    Grocery Challenge 14 Jan 14 £46.05/£130

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

    DFD 1st March 2011
    • Soworried
    • By Soworried 18th Aug 12, 7:37 AM
    • 2,143 Posts
    • 19,921 Thanks
    Cheddar and carrot soup has come out for lunch with some buns. A carbonnara sauce has come out for dinner. I need to start using up some pasta.
    I have 1 empty draw now out of two freezers.

    Shame I am going to fill it again with the Lidl half price pork joints.

    Yesterday was a NSD.

    I hope everyone is well. 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
  • jumblejack
    Added to the usual weekend Lidl offers that I mentioned last week (24p skimmed milk, cheap 5kg onions etc) there is also half price utterly butterly 89p and Pepsi and 7up 89p

    Next week's (25th & 26th) weekend offers:

    Fresh vine tomatoes 99p kilo
    Branston 520g 69p
    Mild coloured cheddar 400g 99p
    Sliced cooked meats (ham, turkey or chicken) 125g 69p
    Every moment is a gift. That's why we call it the present.!
    Grocery Spend Weekly Challenge (Sat-Fri):£30.50/£40
    • Possession
    • By Possession 18th Aug 12, 8:18 AM
    • 3,140 Posts
    • 41,491 Thanks
    I wish we had a Lidl but I am grateful we now have an Aldi! I am trying to have another NSD today (4th in a row i think) which means rationing the milk, and them I'll go to Aldi tomorrow with hopefully some new inspiring fruit & veg offers. We're out this afternoon but I'm not sure what we're being fed, possibly scones so it's tricky to know what to get out of the freezer. I might make soup for lunch and force DS to eat it....

  • jumblejack
    Forgot to say, guess who's going on another swap afternoon?!

    Yay!. Managed to find loads more things that I never wear/use.
    If there is a third swap party, I will struggle to find anything as I wave been ruthlessly efficient. My clutter is all but gone

    I am going to make lime and coconut cupcakes as a refreshments contribution. Never tried them before so looking forward to it. I got coconuts for 6p and a bag of limes for 20p reduced to clear so they should be nice.

    Last weeks grocery challenge was so successful that I was even able to add on our chippy chips total on the geocache day last week and also our ikea restaurant bill of £6 last night that we had on the way back home (4x £1.50 kids meal-5 meatballs, mash, peas, gravy and free piece of fruit. Free hot drinks with family card too!). Even with these 2 added indulgences, my total was still a few quid less than my budget of £30

    I am resetting my signature now for a new week. This has been kicked off with a spend at Lidl. Only managed 2 packs of the chicken from the weekend offers as both Lidls were out of chicken even at 8.30 am
    Last edited by jumblejack; 18-08-2012 at 8:57 AM.
    Every moment is a gift. That's why we call it the present.!
    Grocery Spend Weekly Challenge (Sat-Fri):£30.50/£40
    • Soworried
    • By Soworried 18th Aug 12, 8:42 AM
    • 2,143 Posts
    • 19,921 Thanks
    Cheddar and carrot soup has come out for lunch with some buns. A carbonnara sauce has come out for dinner. I need to start using up some pasta.
    I have 1 empty draw now out of two freezers.

    Shame I am going to fill it again with the Lidl half price pork joints.

    Yesterday was a NSD.

    I hope everyone is well. x
    Originally posted by Soworried
    It is now full again after 6 joints have went in.

    A spend of £32 but I am really pleased with how I am doing this month.
    One step must start each journey
    One word must start each prayer
    One hope will raise our spirits
    One touch can show you care
  • Mrs Addicted to Spending
    Well done Caterina over the wine order - so impressive !

    A £24.24 spend yesterday in Sainsbugs which included food for my parents coming for dinner today. I've bought frozen chicken breasts and as I've never used them before, it'll be interesting to compare them to the fresh we usually buy and see if there's any difference as they were a really good price (£6.99 for 9).

    So I now have £26 to last the week if I'm to keep within this month's budget . I have prawns, chicken breasts x 3, sausages x 8, tuna, fishcakes and fishfingers in stock as well as pasta, rice etc. Will do an evening meal plan quite easily with this I think. So as long as I can keep the rest of the spending down (lunches, snacks for hungry DSx2 on school hols etc ) then I might just make it .
    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
    • mummyyof5
    • By mummyyof5 18th Aug 12, 9:23 AM
    • 1,839 Posts
    • 39,830 Thanks
    £3 spend on fruit yesterday...and almost all gone..oh well they will have to wait till tomorrow now as today is a NSD...DS needs my mega rider and Im out with the girls tonight.

    Will do a big shop tomorrow hitting L**ls...MrAs and I**land.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.
    • vanoonoo
    • By vanoonoo 18th Aug 12, 9:24 AM
    • 1,860 Posts
    • 7,742 Thanks
    ok - now the kitchen is almost sorted I am gonna join the GC! we generally budget for £50.00 per week for 2 adults, 2 cats, 1 dog and that includes all the cleaning and household products, some lunch items and my diet coke addiction plus any booze we need to buy for socialising. it doesnt include meals out or take away - generally 1 of each per week but not always. I want to get this down before christmas.

    I am currently dairy intolerant so I struggle with meal planning as my husband is particularly fussy and his fave meal is lasagne in a tray from tesco *sigh* not old style and defo not dairy free!

    if anyone has a heads up for milk alternatives on offer I'd appreciate it! alpr0 is sooooo expensive! I prefer the sweetened ones as the unsweetened is vile and leaves my mouth feeling dry. I'd also like to get away from the soya ones so all suggestions greatfully received
    Last edited by vanoonoo; 18-08-2012 at 9:40 AM. Reason: non milk milky stuff
    • Caterina
    • By Caterina 18th Aug 12, 9:28 AM
    • 5,786 Posts
    • 40,161 Thanks
    Thanks for the wine congratulations, I hope I have made the right decision! My family always want a glass of wine at the end of the day, with dinner. I feel that if we have it in the house we will all drink more, but sometimes DH and DS will just go out and buy a "cheap" but expensive wine at the newsagents down the road! Planning to stock up on beer for the next few hot sunny days, it should keep them happy!

    I just updated my grocery signature, but not gone to do today's shopping yet, so will have to re-update later. Meanwhile I just checked the non-grocery spend and it is HIGH! We had a few extra expenses but I also indulged in booking a leg wax for myself to be had before my trip to Italy, then I got a few gifts and a large bottle of Aveda shampoo. Just thinking, perhaps I should count the shampoo into the groceries, as it is a daily thing, then again it is a "stock-up" item as it is bought in advance to take advantage of a voucher (if I spent £100 I got £20 off). Perhaps I shall just add it to the grocery and take it off the Misc. category. Decisions, decisions...

    Off to get some dishwasher tablets now and some salt. Ah, and some beer for the menfolk!

    Enjoy the weather, all!

    Edited to say, I have corrected the expenditure to add the shampoo, now I have to be more cautious for the next 10 days, as my month started on 30th July. However I feel confident we should make it amply!
    Last edited by Caterina; 18-08-2012 at 9:35 AM. Reason: To correct expenditure
    Finally I'm an OAP and can travel free (in London at least!).
    • savesummore
    • By savesummore 18th Aug 12, 10:04 AM
    • 943 Posts
    • 11,411 Thanks
    Hi Everyone,

    Spends for today:

    Mr A: £46.61 including £6 on a birthday cake for me to take to work Tuesday- it massive and chocolate and I want to eat it now To be honest I dont feel I got alot for my money but I think it because you can go to A!di and get a big trolley full for £40

    2nd Purse £10

    This takes me over £322.81 from a budget of £300!!!! I will have more spends to add tonight as we are eating out but that should be it then until September () GC

    Every month Im spending less and I fairly happy with the progress considering how much time I have to dedicate to it (not alot lol)
    O/S weight loss 2.5 /10lbs (11st 8.0- 08.02)
    • Barbeduk
    • By Barbeduk 18th Aug 12, 10:17 AM
    • 816 Posts
    • 7,150 Thanks
    Hi all, just popping in to use the lemon drizzle recipe on the front page. I've decided to have a little break from recording my spends for the duration of the summer holidays but don't worry, i'm not doing any silly spending! As well as the lemon drizzle cake in the oven, there's chicken stock simmering away and a gammon joint in the slow cooker.

    Hope everyone is having a good August and I'm really looking forward to starting again from 1st September.
    June GC £288.01/£400
    • Suffolk lass
    • By Suffolk lass 18th Aug 12, 10:47 AM
    • 2,872 Posts
    • 27,220 Thanks
    Suffolk lass
    if anyone has a heads up for milk alternatives on offer I'd appreciate it! alpr0 is sooooo expensive! I prefer the sweetened ones as the unsweetened is vile and leaves my mouth feeling dry. I'd also like to get away from the soya ones so all suggestions greatfully received
    Originally posted by vanoonoo
    vanoonoo - If you are looking for dairy free and soya free I think you are looking at rice milk, oat milk and nut (almond or hazelnut, usually) milk. As to offers, I just did a quick comparison on mysupermarket and all the options are 90p a litre or more. Mostly rice milk is in the region of £1.39 but if you only wanted to ditch Alpro there are some good own brand soya milks. I think Elsiepac tried them all a few months ago and from memory, I think she ended up with something she dilutes with water (lots of us do that with milk too).

    If you are feeling adventurous there are several rice milk recipes on-line. You would need to consider fortifying non-commercial rice milk though as it won't have the same nutrients as shop bought. It depends how you want to be

    Good luck
    MFIT T5 target to clear our mortgage completely (£59,998) Q1 £26,828 or 44.71% paid - Mortgage Free Wannabes 2019 #37 £29,215.99 after May
    Save £12k in 2019 - #68 target is £7k £4,998.99 or 71.41% after May
    OS Grocery Challenge 2019 target is £3k - 36.16% spent so far, after May
    My DFD is here
    • Caterina
    • By Caterina 18th Aug 12, 12:12 PM
    • 5,786 Posts
    • 40,161 Thanks
    Vanoonoo you can also make your own nut milk with almonds, cashews or even with sunflower seeds. I am sure you can find plenty of recipes online but the basics are: soak a handful of nuts or seeds in a Lt of water in a jug or jar in the fridge overnight. Add any sweetener of your choice if you like it sweet. In the morning, put through blender, strain through cheesecloth. Use the liquid as milk and the strained pulp to make burgers, rissoles etc.

    This method is not suitable for making soya milk, that is a longer process and it involves cooking the milk, plenty of recipes for this online too. HTH
    Finally I'm an OAP and can travel free (in London at least!).
    • vanoonoo
    • By vanoonoo 18th Aug 12, 1:23 PM
    • 1,860 Posts
    • 7,742 Thanks
    thanks ladies - I hadnt considered making my own but it might actually be feasible esp over the winter - I managed to find alpro in a shop called bargain buys today for 49p for a litre - result! need to adjust my signature now
    • By MILLYMOLLY 18th Aug 12, 2:27 PM
    • 1,056 Posts
    • 10,632 Thanks
    Hi everyone
    can someone help

    I have made a banana cake in sandwich tins but I'm not sure what to put in the middle has anybody got an easy recipe please
    Starting to save £2 coins again, but it is a struggleNot doing very well keep spending them
    • Billie-jo
    • By Billie-jo 18th Aug 12, 2:38 PM
    • 1,221 Posts
    • 15,892 Thanks
    All I needed to get today was fruit & veg - needless to say brought more than those two items and ended up spending £22.04

    I nipped to Lidl for some of their onions on offer today and the skimmed milk but none of either item left.

    I have some peppers and tomatoes roasting in the oven which will be turned into soup and have also done some minced beef & veg for cottage pies, there will be enough for at least 8 portions maybe more. These will be frozen if can find the room if not they will have to go in mum’s freezer for now.

    May need some eggs in the week but that’s all I am buying until Thursday (well that’s the plan anyway)

    This weeks ‘new’ recipe for me to try is Huevos a la Flemenca (basically eggs with ham and tomatoes)

    If anyone uses Daddies Brown sauce its half price in Morrison’s

    • 1 onion - peeled and cut into 4
    • 1 courgette - cut into 3-4 chunks - optional
    • Garlic clove - just flattened
    • 3-4 peppers (any but green) halved and deseeded. Today I used red, orange and yellow
    • Tomatoes - cut in half - How many depends on what I have that need using but probably 4-5 large ones and a few smaller ones
    • Oil
    • Chicken or veg stock - fresh or from cube
    Put onion, courgette, garlic, peppers and tomatoes in a baking dish, drizzle over oil and add some rock salt if you wish. Roast in the oven till softened then when cool enough to handle peel of the skin from the peppers (you can also do the tomatoes but I don’t bother )

    Squash the garlic out and then blend the garlic, and vegetables together till smooth. Add some stock and season. Serve with a sprinkle of parsley/basil , swirl of cream or some croutons.

    If you have other veg to use up then add these as well. I have in the past used up carrot, potato and leek in this soup.
    [COLOR="Purple"][B] MARCH £62.38/250 [B][COLOR="Purple"]
    • prophecy_grrl
    • By prophecy_grrl 18th Aug 12, 2:53 PM
    • 668 Posts
    • 3,379 Thanks
    Just a flying visit to update £62.19 spent so far this month - I will need to do a shop this week but that'll be it - Really pleased with myself!

    I heart gc!!!
    *** PROPHECY_GRRL***
    *** DEBT FREE AS OF 17/10/11 - I DID IT!!! ***
  • rosieben
    Billie-jo, I've added your Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup to the recipe index
    ... don't throw the string away. You always need string!

    C.R.A.P.R.O.L.L.Z Head Sharpener
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