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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 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 45
    • forever saving
    • By forever saving 24th Aug 12, 8:27 AM
    • 565 Posts
    • 8,850 Thanks
    forever saving
    I have spent another 20.22. That brings my total to 269.64 so far. It wasnt until i looked through my diary, this is a five week month for me. I have another week to go . I will try my best but i would say i will end up going over.
    Well done to everyone else.
    FS
    Jan GC 298.62/300 Feb 298.01/300 March 331.06/300 April 69.96/300
    Learning to accept the things i cannot change
    • lisakay
    • By lisakay 24th Aug 12, 8:38 AM
    • 434 Posts
    • 6,131 Thanks
    lisakay
    August challenge finished for me. I haven't been posting but I have been keeping track. The car had to have new tyres before it's mot, so we ran out of money.
    It meant I had the best gc ever....154/250 so 96 under budget!!! My cupboards and freezer are decimated (or dessicated as my grt nanna would have said!)
    Going off to write todays shopping list and set my budget for september
    Thanks for keeping the thread going x
    freecycler and skip diver extraordinnaire
  • rosieben
    cowboymum, I've added your Plum Chutney recipe to the list in September thread
    ... don't throw the string away. You always need string!

    C.R.A.P.R.O.L.L.Z Head Sharpener
    • NickJW
    • By NickJW 24th Aug 12, 10:12 AM
    • 678 Posts
    • 13,646 Thanks
    NickJW
    Totally forgot to say that I'm sorry to hear about your freezer situation PennyGrabber!

    Hope everyone else is well and sorry if I've missed any condolences.

    More spends to report from yesterday:

    1 on some wraps in Mr S
    14.16 in Mr W.

    Bought a kilo of chicken breasts on offer - all individually wrapped which is brillant for me since I can get out what I need!. Had Zataar chicken with LO salad, mayo and wraps for dinner last night.
    The rest of the chicken is in the freezer.
    Also bought pak choi, a small carrot, spring onions, ginger for recipes.
    Also got tempted by 2 packs of reduced sausages, reduced block of stilton, and reduced lemon merigues (2 indivdual servings would normally be 4.99 - reduced to 1.05). The lemon meringues were stunning but who would pay 4.99 for them!?

    I DID resist 3 things yesterday though:

    1. I saw that Charlie Bighams ready meals were reduced from 6 to 4.50 in Mr S. Nearly got them until I had a big think and realized that I could probably make a big batch of Macaroni cheese for a LOT cheaper than that myself? Bought wraps for the chicken instead.

    2. In Mr W, Charlie Bighams had their chicken and mushroom pie reduced to 4.89. It didn't say if they could be frozen though and since they come with ramekins I wasn't sure if they would crack in the freezer - resisted!

    3. Got an email from Mr T saying that they missed me, and I hadn't shopped with them for a while (I think it's only been 2 months), and here's a voucher for 7.50 off your next shop. Looked into it and I would need to spend 75 by the 1st September, and the delivery would be 3, so in essence that's 4.50 off. 6% off a 75 shop isn't going to sway me, since I have tons in the freezer and go on holiday on the 9th Sept anyway!

    So not perfect, but baby steps and all that lark!
    Last edited by NickJW; 24-08-2012 at 10:39 AM.
    Grocery Challenge 14 Jan 14 46.05/130

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

    DFD 1st March 2011
    • skilly
    • By skilly 24th Aug 12, 11:59 AM
    • 882 Posts
    • 10,225 Thanks
    skilly
    Hi all , well my total so far this month is already up to 282.19 got to add eggs & bread that i bought this morning and any thing else that I might buy next week
    27 Sealed pot challenge 3496/4706.75/5 376.74/6 645.08/ 7 861.34 /8 786.90/9610.49/10 722.03 / 11? / gold star from sue
    • Billie-jo
    • By Billie-jo 24th Aug 12, 12:38 PM
    • 1,221 Posts
    • 15,892 Thanks
    Billie-jo
    Well I managed to buy just what was on my list this week and spent 29.44 Pleased with that. Will need some fruit & veg at the weekend but I have been given a few runner beans and some tomatoes Also have done a inventory of the freezer in the kitchen, there is quite a lot in there so I will have to make a conscious effort to use some items up as been in a while. Just need to do the other freezer now and then the cupboards.

    Grandson here again today so off to make some rock cakes with him later on.

    Have half a cauliflower in that needs using up so tonight we will be having tomato tart and some cauliflower, cheese & onion fritters. These are lovely and a great way to use up cauli. Am going to try these with broccoli & sweet corn at some point. There's no huge cauliflower taste so probably ok for children who dont like their veg much.

    CAULIFLOWER, CHEESE & ONION FRITTERS
    • About 8 ozs. Cauliflower florets cut small
    • 8 ozs potato -peeled and cubed
    • 1 small onion - diced
    • 3 ozs strong cheese - grated
    • 2 eggs - separated
    • Oil
    Boil the potatoes till just tender and leave to drain.

    Boil the cauli and drain

    Now mash the potato well then beat in the egg yolks, add the grated cheese, onion and season.

    Whisk the egg whites till soft folds form then gently fold these and the cauliflower into the mashed potato mix.

    Heat the oil in a frying pan and carefully drop spoonfuls of the mixture into the oil. Cook for about 4 mins turn halfway then pull out and drain on kitchen roll. These can be served with some slices of sausage sprinkled over or crispy bacon or just as they are.

    NSD today for us.
    [COLOR="Purple"][B] MARCH 62.38/250 [B][COLOR="Purple"]
    • Possession
    • By Possession 24th Aug 12, 12:50 PM
    • 3,140 Posts
    • 41,491 Thanks
    Possession
    OK I've been to Aldi to use my voucher and spent 15.86 on groceries so I'm just over budget but my september starts in a couple of days so that's not bad considering it was school hols.

    • pajama
    • By pajama 24th Aug 12, 1:43 PM
    • 103 Posts
    • 1,586 Thanks
    pajama
    Well, I failed my GC. Not too bad though. An extra Aldi spend sent me over but that's it now for August. So, a grand total of 339.26 spent. Off to put myself down for the September challenge now
    Grocery Challenge - Sept 205.56/350.00



  • rosieben
    Billie-jo, I've added your Cauliflower, Cheese and Onion Fritters to the recipe list in the September thread
    ... don't throw the string away. You always need string!

    C.R.A.P.R.O.L.L.Z Head Sharpener
  • rosieben
    Well, I failed my GC. Not too bad though. An extra Aldi spend sent me over but that's it now for August. So, a grand total of 339.26 spent. Off to put myself down for the September challenge now
    Originally posted by pajama
    that's a very respectable result though pajama
    ... don't throw the string away. You always need string!

    C.R.A.P.R.O.L.L.Z Head Sharpener
    • mummyyof5
    • By mummyyof5 24th Aug 12, 3:45 PM
    • 1,839 Posts
    • 39,830 Thanks
    mummyyof5
    small spend of 15 over the last 2 days...mainly milk cereal and fruit

    Tea tonight is fry up with YS MrTs best sausages...saw these today at half price...2.29..I paid 40p a pack and got 6 packs at the time...the rest of the 69p bacon...1 pack of mushrooms 59p..tin of toms...31p an 2 tins beans..50p...so feeding 8 tonight for about 2.40...I love YS.

    Tomorrow will be baked pots...2 packs reduced to 17p a pack with beans, YS cheese and salad from the market...probably less than 3 to feed 8 again.

    No failures here pajama..its a very good result xx
    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.
  • Mrs Addicted to Spending
    Totally forgot to say that I'm sorry to hear about your freezer situation PennyGrabber!

    Hope everyone else is well and sorry if I've missed any condolences.

    More spends to report from yesterday:

    1 on some wraps in Mr S
    14.16 in Mr W.

    Bought a kilo of chicken breasts on offer - all individually wrapped which is brillant for me since I can get out what I need!. Had Zataar chicken with LO salad, mayo and wraps for dinner last night.
    The rest of the chicken is in the freezer.
    Also bought pak choi, a small carrot, spring onions, ginger for recipes.
    Also got tempted by 2 packs of reduced sausages, reduced block of stilton, and reduced lemon merigues (2 indivdual servings would normally be 4.99 - reduced to 1.05). The lemon meringues were stunning but who would pay 4.99 for them!?

    I DID resist 3 things yesterday though:

    1. I saw that Charlie Bighams ready meals were reduced from 6 to 4.50 in Mr S. Nearly got them until I had a big think and realized that I could probably make a big batch of Macaroni cheese for a LOT cheaper than that myself? Bought wraps for the chicken instead.

    2. In Mr W, Charlie Bighams had their chicken and mushroom pie reduced to 4.89. It didn't say if they could be frozen though and since they come with ramekins I wasn't sure if they would crack in the freezer - resisted!

    3. Got an email from Mr T saying that they missed me, and I hadn't shopped with them for a while (I think it's only been 2 months), and here's a voucher for 7.50 off your next shop. Looked into it and I would need to spend 75 by the 1st September, and the delivery would be 3, so in essence that's 4.50 off. 6% off a 75 shop isn't going to sway me, since I have tons in the freezer and go on holiday on the 9th Sept anyway!

    So not perfect, but baby steps and all that lark!
    Originally posted by NickJW
    How sweet .
    Mac cheese is really cheap to make, so you did well to avoid the temptation of that one, as well as all the others!
    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
    • Caterina
    • By Caterina 24th Aug 12, 4:01 PM
    • 5,813 Posts
    • 40,380 Thanks
    Caterina
    Thank you Billie-Jo for the cauliflower cheese fritters idea, this is going to be our dinner tonight as I have all the ingredients!

    I am going to say goodbye to the August thread a bit in advance, DH has just been paid, I have just paid the credit card bill in full with money we had left in the account (YIPPEE!!! No need to touch the savings this month) so today is a natural starter for my September GC.

    I think that I would have made it to 29th Aug within budget or thereabout, as we have lots of food stocked up and a fair amount of veg in the allotment, so I don't feel I am cheating.
    Finally I'm an OAP and can travel free (in London at least!).
    • mrs-moneypenny
    • By mrs-moneypenny 24th Aug 12, 5:27 PM
    • 15,518 Posts
    • 198,189 Thanks
    mrs-moneypenny
    been away for a week so need to work out my spends and do my total
    DH has been of this week so havent been on the puter much will update my sig in time to start again next month with a clean slate and a tighter belt
    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
    • NickJW
    • By NickJW 24th Aug 12, 8:59 PM
    • 678 Posts
    • 13,646 Thanks
    NickJW
    Well, I failed my GC. Not too bad though. An extra Aldi spend sent me over but that's it now for August. So, a grand total of 339.26 spent. Off to put myself down for the September challenge now
    Originally posted by pajama
    Not a failure at all! You get your good months and your bad months, but this is pretty good. On other months you may go slightly under or slightly over. The fact that you're monitoring your spends means that you're winning, because without it you would never know that you're over or under!
    Grocery Challenge 14 Jan 14 46.05/130

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

    DFD 1st March 2011
    • NickJW
    • By NickJW 24th Aug 12, 9:13 PM
    • 678 Posts
    • 13,646 Thanks
    NickJW
    How sweet .
    Mac cheese is really cheap to make, so you did well to avoid the temptation of that one, as well as all the others!
    Originally posted by Mrs Addicted to Spending
    I know - I was touched!

    I spoke to my mum and she said it was expensive and that I could make it cheaper from scratch. When I asked how she made Mac'n'Cheese she said she bought a Colmans cheese sauce packet, mixed it with milk, put it on the pasta and then put cheese on top! (rosieben - in case you're wondering, this does NOT need to go into the recipe list! )

    Hmm - think I'll try a macaroni cheese from the front page when the time comes to try it it. Kezlous looks nice!
    Grocery Challenge 14 Jan 14 46.05/130

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

    DFD 1st March 2011
    • MrsCD
    • By MrsCD 24th Aug 12, 9:17 PM
    • 753 Posts
    • 11,263 Thanks
    MrsCD
    NSD for me today.
    I made my first ever HM pizza with the recipe for pizza dough from the index last night and it was delicious
    Very cheap - just a drained tin of tomatoes as I didn't have any puree, a sprinkle of grated cheese, and some chopped pepper on top, served with other veggies. I think I will cook on a higher temp next time - 220 instead of 200C as it was slightly chewy in the middle but I could just make it thinner!
    • Bluegreen143
    • By Bluegreen143 24th Aug 12, 9:21 PM
    • 1,108 Posts
    • 12,739 Thanks
    Bluegreen143
    No grocery spends today. Had the most awful evening and had to stay late at work, ended up getting a taxi home and a take away pizza but these come out of fun money budget not grocery. Bit sad to have to use my fun money on it though

    Ordered Mr A shopping to be delivered on Sunday afternoon. Meal plan done for next week:

    Sun - mackerel for me, HM burger for OH, along with HM chips and salad

    Mon - veg chilli from freezer with rice

    Tues - veg tagine with cous cous

    Wed - spag bol from freezer with salad and/or garlic bread (depending on how much OH twists my arm lol)

    Thurs - veg curry or similar

    Fri - chicken drumsticks (from freezer) with potatoes and veg

    Sat - veg lasagne with salad

    Didn't need much at all for these but stocked up on flour, cat litter etc as had a decent amount of this week's budget left and September is a five weekend month for me. Guide price is 45 including delivery so should be well within target, allowing for some sneaky OH spends to materialise
    Married 1 March 2014 DS born 06 Dec 2014 DD born 14 Dec 2018
  • jumblejack
    Mychallenge this week is a bit mixed up. I did a great targeted shop today at Asda for an APG but I am unable to print it off (computer woes )

    I normally take off the price of the APG. Will try n get my head round it....
    Every moment is a gift. That's why we call it the present.!
    Grocery Spend Weekly Challenge (Sat-Fri):30.50/40
    • Suffolk lass
    • By Suffolk lass 25th Aug 12, 5:24 AM
    • 3,300 Posts
    • 29,339 Thanks
    Suffolk lass
    Up too early this morning as itchy - combination of discovering cats have fleas (both now double-treated with Stronghold and carpets and upholstery all done with rug patrol) - I have bites, and a mosi family that clearly thinks I'm dinner. I have bites in obscure places that itch like b***ery. Long and short is I was up before 5. Very domesticated at that time of day! Even logged onto bank account and DH has been paid a week earlier than expected

    Dilemma - stay another week in August GC challenge as planned, or bank underspend and move to Sept early? I know we have a large CC bill for Sept and moving now makes it a five Friday month. Might split it and shop today in Aug and then move...
    Last edited by Suffolk lass; 25-08-2012 at 5:36 AM.
    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
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