Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

Welcome to the MSE Forums

We're home to a fantastic community of MoneySavers but anyone can post. Please exercise caution & report spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts/messages: click "report" or email forumteam@.

Search
  • 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 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 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 #6 and #7 on this thread.

    For everyones totals, see post #8 on this thread

    I hope everyone has a great month!

    Zip
    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 38
  • jumblejack
    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
    Originally posted by Caterina
    I love backbone methods like this. So easy to remember
    Nice one
    Every moment is a gift. That's why we call it the present.!
    Grocery Spend Weekly Challenge (Sat-Fri):30.50/40
    • bossymoo
    • By bossymoo 18th Aug 12, 5:35 PM
    • 6,817 Posts
    • 87,056 Thanks
    bossymoo
    Hi all

    Nsd here today. Haven't been out, except to dig up spuds with the kiddies. The garden is now empty. Can't find one single apple on our tree, which is usually laden with heavy branches by now...

    Kiddies had a picnic lunch including cheese toasties made with tortillas, some baby corn and cucumber sticks. I've had my leftover coleslaw with whatever was in the fridge. Will get some chicken out for a roast dinner tomorrow, DS wants "stuff" aka stuffing. Think I've got a few yorskhires in the freezer too.

    No grocery spends planned tomorrow, or indeed until Wednesday hopefully. But I do need to get DS measured for shoes. Hoping there's not a mad pre-term rush
    Bossymoo

    Away with the fairies
    • Suffolk lass
    • By Suffolk lass 18th Aug 12, 6:27 PM
    • 3,310 Posts
    • 29,414 Thanks
    Suffolk lass
    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
    Thanks
    Originally posted by MILLYMOLLY
    Hi MILLYMOLLY -

    You could go really simple with a lemon flavoured buttercream

    soften 50g (quarter block) butter or spread (if not butter add a few drops of vanlla extract) and gradually add
    about 3 tablespoons of icing sugar, and lemon juice to give it a tang (add more sugar if the lemon makes it too soft).

    Or more complicated if you wanted to add stuff like chopped pecans, dessicated coconut and or cream cheese. Add more vanilla if you add cream cheese - this is then the frosting that americans love

    SL
    Save 12k in 2019 - #68 target is 7k 8,766.30 after Sep
    OS Grocery Challenge 2019 target 3k - 57.28% spent after Sep
    Mortgage Free Wannabes 2019 #37 108.23% 43,292.24 including Sep - reducing now to avoid fees
    MFIT T5 target to clear our mortgage completely (59,998) Q2 30,085 or 50.14% paid
    My DFD is here
    • MrsCD
    • By MrsCD 18th Aug 12, 6:32 PM
    • 753 Posts
    • 11,263 Thanks
    MrsCD
    Well today was another NSD - I've lost count now for my sig

    I made cakes to take to work, and one of our volunteers came with a beautiful bunch of flowers to say thanks! That was lovely
    • meg72
    • By meg72 18th Aug 12, 7:22 PM
    • 5,082 Posts
    • 46,072 Thanks
    meg72
    Well I knew it would happen. I did get the few bits I needed and used my pinecone vouchers but I still needed a couple of bits. So today I went to Mr T and got them, including a free box of nestle cereal using my voucher and some sanex deo for 39p again using my voucher. Also found some laundry detergent that works out cheaper than powder and its the posh flavour ones. 25 washes and its 1, both Mr M and Mr T have them in.

    Anyhow will work out the damage and update my sign - that first week I blew 168 has haunted me all month, cant wait for my new month to start.

    Edit - worked out that I spent 30.61 today so has taken me over budget by 226.02. Hopefully wont need anything else now.
    Originally posted by jasmin10
    Some good bargains there but I dont think you mean you are over budget by 226.02.
    Slimming World at target
    • Caterina
    • By Caterina 18th Aug 12, 7:31 PM
    • 5,813 Posts
    • 40,382 Thanks
    Caterina
    Got to update my spend, bought a few things, mostly non GC related, but just found out the eBay seller Mr Suds Soap Factory and ordered the 10 kg bucket of broken dishwasher tablets, that's an amazing bargain! So will need to be extra careful in the next few days until I know that I am safely back within budget.
    Finally I'm an OAP and can travel free (in London at least!).
    • Make-it-3
    • By Make-it-3 18th Aug 12, 8:14 PM
    • 1,550 Posts
    • 7,040 Thanks
    Make-it-3
    A Mr S shop yesterday morning of 8.60 and 2.97 in the 99p shop in the afternoon so updating my total to 96.45/200.

    Gonna be a hot night, just got the fan out of the cellar and dusted it off. Must be a couple of years since it was last so hot that we needed it.
    We Made-it-3 on 28/01/11 with birth of our gorgeous DD.
  • jumblejack
    Coconut shy? Don't be!
    What to do if you come across a YS coconut:

    Having recently come across a couple of coconuts for 9p each, I thought I would tackle the challenge head on to get the most from them....

    Step 1
    I pierced 2 of the 3 eyes and drained the water. You may simply drink this healthy drink if you wish.

    I used this as part of the icing for my lime and coconut cupcakes this morning:



    Step 2:
    This evening I popped the hairy orb into the warm oven for about 10 mins then let it cool.

    This made it easier to crack with the back of a knife. I tapped it firmly all the way round the centre and prised it open.

    As it was partially dehydrated, the flesh was very easy to prise out!

    I then peeled off the hard skin with a Y peeler and cut the flesh into small chunks.

    This was chucked into a blender with about a litre of warm water and blended for a couple of mins:


    Step 3:
    Strain through a fine mesh sieve or flannel etc:


    Step 4:
    Behold the spoils of your labour: fresh frothy coconut milk and lots of fluffy coconut flesh for baking with

    Last edited by jumblejack; 18-08-2012 at 8:42 PM.
    Every moment is a gift. That's why we call it the present.!
    Grocery Spend Weekly Challenge (Sat-Fri):30.50/40
    • Baileys Babe
    • By Baileys Babe 18th Aug 12, 8:50 PM
    • 2,593 Posts
    • 13,568 Thanks
    Baileys Babe
    Ended up going shopping again today as we needed fruit and there was nothing suitable in Ald! last night.

    Today:
    Mr S 46.47

    Total spend for Aug 250.89/310

    We may just make it to the end of the month in budget but we will need milk and fruit before the end of the month and possibly some veg (some in the freezer along with plenty of HM meals full of veg) depending on what meals we have, I really need to get to grips with meal planning, for some reason I struggle. I have know idea what we are eating tomorrow and we are likely to have sausage meat plait either Monday or Friday, not exactly what you would call a plan.
    • MoneyQueen
    • By MoneyQueen 18th Aug 12, 8:50 PM
    • 907 Posts
    • 4,205 Thanks
    MoneyQueen
    I have had a moneysaving week as only spent 1.45 (1 on carrots from Lidl and 0.45 on a chocolate at work by DH). I even did a bit of baking today - made a big carrot and walnut cake and chocolate chip cookies. I am going to slice the cake and freeze individual portions to take to work everyday. I think will only need milk next week so all going well with the grocery challenge.

    MQ
  • helen jelly
    Evening everyone

    I've been away for a few days and I've just managed to catch up with your posts - I've skipped the majority of them - i was looking for budgets, apologies if I've missed something important

    Away to update the first page now

    Helen
    Projects made for craft fair - 40
    1st fair on 13/4/14
    • Soworried
    • By Soworried 19th Aug 12, 7:05 AM
    • 2,150 Posts
    • 19,990 Thanks
    Soworried
    JJ, you are amazing. Well done.

    Nothing is coming out of the freezer today and no shopping will be done either.
    I am out with family for the day and I baked all afternoon yesterday to take stuff with me.

    I hope everyone has a low or no spend day.
    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
    • cowboymum
    • By cowboymum 19th Aug 12, 7:48 AM
    • 234 Posts
    • 3,211 Thanks
    cowboymum
    Had a bit of a spendy day yesterday but I don't think any of it came out of grocery budget;

    7.70 on chutney making bits and flour (this come out of second purse as I charge myself for bread etc.
    7 on new bread pans (put this on credit card - will hopefully pay it from third purse)
    6.50 on pharmacy bits for me (out of my spend budget)

    Went on a bit of a forage on friday evening so yesterday made 4 jars wild plum jam, 4 jars plum chutney, 2loaves bread, 8 rolls and blackberry and apple tray bake! V pleased with myself!
    We also went to the beach yesterday - it was glorious! Lots of swimming in the sea. Spent 5.70 on ice lollies!!!! Going again today but no lolly money left.
    • Flat Eric
    • By Flat Eric 19th Aug 12, 8:30 AM
    • 3,993 Posts
    • 24,049 Thanks
    Flat Eric
    I was shopping last night for a home delivery today but I never got round to checking the order out.

    There were lots of things I was ordering *just because* they were on offer.

    I'm sure I can make do..... plus I hadn't meal planned so found myself struggling to work out what I needed and finding myself buying stuff *just in case*.

    I haven't been keeping tabs on my spends over the last few months but I will hopefully get back to budgeting properly and keeping proper track. It would be nice to save some pennies in advance of the 25th day of Month 12!

  • rosieben
    What to do if you come across a YS coconut: ..
    Originally posted by jumblejack
    that's a really useful post, jumblejack I've added it to the index under 'Cakes, Biscuits..'
    Last edited by rosieben; 19-08-2012 at 9:46 AM.
    ... don't throw the string away. You always need string!

    C.R.A.P.R.O.L.L.Z Head Sharpener
  • jumblejack
    that's a really useful post, jumblejack I've added it to the index under 'Cakes, Biscuits..'
    Originally posted by rosieben
    Cheers is there a miscellaneous section perhaps for things like HM coconut milk/coconut butter, etc? There was another great post yesterday with a method for making alternative milks. It inspired me to have a bash with the coconut

    I am gonna try making macaroons later and coconut and banana icecream. I can't wait to use up the ingredients now
    Every moment is a gift. That's why we call it the present.!
    Grocery Spend Weekly Challenge (Sat-Fri):30.50/40
  • KatyReed+5
    Hey, havnt posted in a couple of days as have been super busy doing fun things with the kids. Friday was a trip to a local forest with a massive range of outdoor play equipment, great for the wide range of kids ages, i bought a season pass for the car park which was 50 (not from the GC budget of course ) but now we can go whenever we like, its a bargain as it would cost 10 a day to park so once weve gone 5 times it's free Yesterday was a trip to the beach, Relativly cheap day although we did have chips and ice cream. I've yet to tot up the last few days sepends and add it to my sig will do that later.

    Also does anyone have any good recipies for using pork strips as got some cheap in C0-0P yesterday, nothing spicy, more of a pork casserole type thing, X

    Ok total spends are now

    61.04 - Household.
    80.26 - Diesel.
    468.72 - food.
    Last edited by KatyReed+5; 19-08-2012 at 1:44 PM.
    June 0.00 GC / 200.00

    Family of 4 : 1 adult 3 kids ages 3,4 & 5.
  • rosieben
    Cheers is there a miscellaneous section perhaps for things like HM coconut milk/coconut butter, etc? There was another great post yesterday with a method for making alternative milks. It inspired me to have a bash with the coconut
    ...
    Originally posted by jumblejack
    oh, thanks for the reminder, I meant to add that one.

    I promise I will catch up on the previous threads and get the sections sorted soon, been badly distracted by the olympics and RL things

    ETA: Have added Caterina'spost re Making milk and moved jumblejack's post re YS coconut to the new Miscellaneous section (in post #7 for now).
    Last edited by rosieben; 19-08-2012 at 2:01 PM.
    ... don't throw the string away. You always need string!

    C.R.A.P.R.O.L.L.Z Head Sharpener
    • Suffolk lass
    • By Suffolk lass 19th Aug 12, 2:01 PM
    • 3,310 Posts
    • 29,414 Thanks
    Suffolk lass
    Also does anyone have any good recipies for using pork strips as got some cheap in C0-0P yesterday, nothing spicy, more of a pork casserole type thing, X
    Originally posted by KatyReed+5
    KatyReed+5 - I bought some today. I will be making my own BBQ sauce which is a squeeze of ketchup, a dash of vinegar, a dash of worcester sauce and an optional dash of tabasco (leave this out for non spicy) and a squeeze of honey. I whisk this together and paint the pork belly strips then put them in a covered casserole on 160 degrees for an hour, turning them once. If it's a nice day we then bung them on the BBQ and use the juice as a marinade but they are cooked after an hour, the BBQ just makes them slightly treacle-coated and yummy. If you want them sticky but without the BBQ take the lid off the casserole and leave them in another 15-20 minutes, possibly turn them up to 175.

    We will be having them with mash and runner beans (from the garden)

    BTW I use a fan oven so add 10 degrees if yours isn't!

    HTH
    SL
    Save 12k in 2019 - #68 target is 7k 8,766.30 after Sep
    OS Grocery Challenge 2019 target 3k - 57.28% spent after Sep
    Mortgage Free Wannabes 2019 #37 108.23% 43,292.24 including Sep - reducing now to avoid fees
    MFIT T5 target to clear our mortgage completely (59,998) Q2 30,085 or 50.14% paid
    My DFD is here
  • rosieben
    Suffolk lass, I've added your pork strips in hm barbecue sauce to the recipe index. I've also added an entry for the HM barbecue sauce
    ... don't throw the string away. You always need string!

    C.R.A.P.R.O.L.L.Z Head Sharpener
Welcome to our new Forum!

Our aim is to save you money quickly and easily. We hope you like it!

Forum Team Contact us

Live Stats

1,083Posts Today

7,399Users online

Martin's Twitter