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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 tenth Grocery Challenge of 2012 EEEEEKKKKK!!!!, Terrifying how quickly the year has flown in!

    If your new month starts early feel free to join this thread, or if you're still working on your September budget, then keep on posting in the:
    September 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 #7 #8 & #9 on this thread (the list is growing!!!!!)

    For everyones totals, see post #10 on this thread

    I hope everyone has a great month!

    Zip
    Last edited by zippychick; 21-09-2012 at 4:34 PM.
    A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men
    Norn Iron club member #380

Page 6
  • Redouble
    I am back and I WILL NOT FAIL!

    I will have 226.25 in my grocery account as of the 3rd Oct (currenty 75 in debit ) so that is my budget for a family of 5.
    NSDs 7/20
    Make 10 a day 403.74/310
  • Redouble
    I wonder if anyone can help me find a thread/link I remember seeing a while ago, about feeding a family of 4 for 100 but it included the 5 a day fruit/veg?
    I am really hoping I didn't imagine it!
    NSDs 7/20
    Make 10 a day 403.74/310
  • rosieben
    Redouble, here's the Feed a Family for 100 thread, but bear in mind its 2011 so the prices will be ood. Good luck with your GC challenge
    Last edited by rosieben; 25-09-2012 at 6:03 AM.
    ... don't throw the string away. You always need string!

    C.R.A.P.R.O.L.L.Z Head Sharpener
  • Redouble
    Redouble, here's the Feed a Family for 100 thread, but bear in mind its 2011 so the prices will be ood. Good luck with your GC challenge
    Originally posted by rosieben
    Thank you, I'm not planning to follow it entirely but use as a base, I really need a good kick start and that will be a great help. Thank you again xx
    NSDs 7/20
    Make 10 a day 403.74/310
  • JayJay14
    Thank you, I'm not planning to follow it entirely but use as a base, I really need a good kick start and that will be a great help. Thank you again xx
    Originally posted by Redouble
    Don't forget this one too

    http://www.cheap-family-recipes.org.uk/

    Weezl built this one on MSE with lots of people from here testing for her.
    • Lulabelle06
    • By Lulabelle06 25th Sep 12, 7:58 AM
    • 39 Posts
    • 573 Thanks
    Lulabelle06
    My budget for October is 250.I am still posting in Septembers atm. and my month runs 1st-31st.
  • helen jelly
    mummygems - we love Aldi! You can't get everything you want from there but we try lol. We check out MrT etc on the web for their offers, buy what we can from Aldi and then go to the supermarkets to top up what we can't get from Aldi/Lidl. Sometimes the supermarkets are cheaper most of the time they're not. We have given up on market fruit and veg for the same reasons - going off the next day - can't afford to double buy!

    Helen
    Projects made for craft fair - 40
    1st fair on 13/4/14
  • rosieben
    I've added Lulabelle's Waffle Berry Pie recipe (from Sept thread) to the index on here
    ... don't throw the string away. You always need string!

    C.R.A.P.R.O.L.L.Z Head Sharpener
    • Pearla*Merle
    • By Pearla*Merle 25th Sep 12, 12:09 PM
    • 1,589 Posts
    • 9,401 Thanks
    Pearla*Merle
    Hello folks! Going to have another stab at this. The first attempt in August failed miserably thanks to moving house/having no internet for several weeks/general awryness. September went out the window thanks to my birthday and being knocked out with illness, lets hope it's third time lucky!

    I'm going to try 200 from now until the end of Oct. This is for me & the OH. Spent a bit too much on birthday fun last month so we really have to tighten our belts this month - should be easy-ish though, as the storecupboard is fair brimming with goodies. But that all depends on how much Mr Merle attempts to undermine my schemes with sneaky treats as he is wont to do! Time will tell!

    PS. Thanks MrsCD on the info about the Asda Price Guarantee!

    PPS. Thanks JJ for the heads up on the Tesco canned pears!

    If anyone's looking for things to do with their pears, Nigella has a wonderful http://www.nigella.com/recipes/view/chocolate-pear-pudding-102]chocolate pear pudding recipe here from Nigella Express... which I'm now salivating about!

    & for ease...

    Ingredients
    830 grams Pear halves (2 cans in juice)
    125 grams Plain flour
    25 grams cocoa powder
    125 grams caster sugar
    150 grams butter soft (plus extra for greasing)
    1 teaspoon(s) Baking powder
    teaspoon(s) bicarbonate of soda
    2 medium Eggs
    2 teaspoon(s) vanilla extract

    Method
    Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6 and grease a 22cm square ovenproof dish with butter.

    Drain the pears and arrange them on the base of the dish.

    Put all the remaining ingredients in a food processor and blitz until you have a batter with a soft dropping consistency.

    Spread the brown batter over the pears, and bake in the oven for 30 minutes.

    Let stand out of the oven for 5 or 10 minutes and then cut into slabs - I cut 2 down and 2 across to make 9 slices - and serve with chocolate sauce.

    x
    a penny picker upper. every penny's a prisoner!
    26.65 til OnePoll payout! Round six! | Save 9400/15,000
    Normality is a paved road; it's comfortable to walk, but no flowers grow on it.
    Whatever you're meant to do, do it now. The conditions are always impossible.
    The only thing you absolutely have to know, is the location of the library.
    • Pearla*Merle
    • By Pearla*Merle 25th Sep 12, 12:23 PM
    • 1,589 Posts
    • 9,401 Thanks
    Pearla*Merle
    Oh, now I've got Nigella in mind, I remember ages ago someone saying that they had a glut of onions. Just wanted to share this recipe of hers (from How To Be A Domestic Goddess) as it's one of my ultimate faves.

    Supper Onion Pie

    Cook 4 red onions (cut into 6ths or 8ths) in 1 tbsp oil and 1 tbsp butter on low heat for about 1/2 hr. (I'm lazy & only do this for about 15 mins).

    Add 3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp dried thyme to the onions and place in a buttered pie dish. (I don't bother with the buttering, but each to their own).

    Grate 150g of strong cheddar or gruyere (tbh, I use goats cheese) and sprinkle 1/3 of it over the onions.

    Place the remaining cheese in a bowl with 250g plain flour and 1 tsp baking powder. Mix.

    Add 40g melted butter (I do this in the frying pan I've used before, so it picks up any leftover thyme), 100ml milk, 1 tsp english mustard (I just use powder) and a beaten egg to a separate bowl and mix with a fork. (I tend not to beat the egg separately - more of a chuck it all in and whisk away kind of girl).

    Mix your wet ingredients with the dry and turn out your dough, shape it into a circle big enough to make your pie lid, it'll probably be a bit sticky. Then press over the onions. (As I often use gluten-free flour, I add extra milk in so the dough is almost like cake mixture, and just spoon it on top. I don't see why you couldn't do this whatever ingredients you use and save some time. I suppose it depends on the sturdiness of your dough. Just spread the mixture till it covers the pie).

    Cook for 15 mins at 200 deg C then reduce to 180 deg C and cook for a further 10 mins. Take it out, let it stop bubbling for a few moments, then put a place over the dish and turn it over. Voila!

    Cheap and delicious! I tend to eat a good third of the pie with some salad (spinach, rocket). Nigella reckons you should just munch a mere sixth of it, but it's really too tasty for such nonsense.
    a penny picker upper. every penny's a prisoner!
    26.65 til OnePoll payout! Round six! | Save 9400/15,000
    Normality is a paved road; it's comfortable to walk, but no flowers grow on it.
    Whatever you're meant to do, do it now. The conditions are always impossible.
    The only thing you absolutely have to know, is the location of the library.
    • Businessgirl
    • By Businessgirl 25th Sep 12, 3:39 PM
    • 73 Posts
    • 584 Thanks
    Businessgirl
    Well today was pay day and off to Lidl I went. 36 later (along with flabbergasting the till check out guy with my constant exclamations of 'but thats 1/3 of my budget!' - but I got home and reassured myself that I DID buy well..and all is ok with the budget! I do love Lidl.

    I also arrived home to a notice from the postoffice saying something I'd purchased online from the USA had arrived but I had to pay 11 customs duty on it. I'm contacting the company as I paid rather exhorbitant fees for postage on it in the first place and its only a tiny parcel!

    Not happy.

    Other than that...alls well in my world. I've got some chocolate and nuts so making chocolate covered cocoa nib and nut drops later... thats my treats for the next few weeks sorted!

    GC January 2015 - 0/120
    • smartcat04
    • By smartcat04 25th Sep 12, 4:41 PM
    • 612 Posts
    • 1,821 Thanks
    smartcat04
    Hi,
    Can you put me down for 200 please.
    We've just bought a house and really need to cut back on takeaways and be more organised. I've got a pretty full freezer and a decent stock of toiletries and cleaning products but the 200 will cover any I run out of.
    My month will start tomorrow 26th September as that is when I get paid.
    Thanks
    April 5 a day challenge- 15.05/150
    • meg72
    • By meg72 25th Sep 12, 4:57 PM
    • 5,082 Posts
    • 46,072 Thanks
    meg72
    Well today was pay day and off to Lidl I went. 36 later (along with flabbergasting the till check out guy with my constant exclamations of 'but thats 1/3 of my budget!' - but I got home and reassured myself that I DID buy well..and all is ok with the budget! I do love Lidl.

    I also arrived home to a notice from the postoffice saying something I'd purchased online from the USA had arrived but I had to pay 11 customs duty on it. I'm contacting the company as I paid rather exhorbitant fees for postage on it in the first place and its only a tiny parcel!

    Not happy.

    Other than that...alls well in my world. I've got some chocolate and nuts so making chocolate covered cocoa nib and nut drops later... thats my treats for the next few weeks sorted!

    Originally posted by Businessgirl
    Hi I feel for you I had a 13.00 customs charge because I thought I would save on postage I bought two of the same item, it seems you are now only allowed to buy something for 13.00, if I had made two separate buys I would not have incurred the charge, postage is not counted in this, thankfullly as I would have had to pay more custom charge.
    Slimming World at target
    • Coxy11
    • By Coxy11 25th Sep 12, 5:13 PM
    • 2,296 Posts
    • 27,318 Thanks
    Coxy11
    Budgets done to here
    Cross-stitch WIP #1: Collecting Shells by Nancy Cole
    Cross-stitch WIP #2: Pretty Little London by Satsuma Street
  • rosieben
    Pearla*Merle, I've added your Chocolate Pear Pudding and Supper Onion Pie 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
    • tessie bear
    • By tessie bear 25th Sep 12, 6:13 PM
    • 4,324 Posts
    • 29,765 Thanks
    tessie bear
    hi...on the subject of aldi we love it...super 6 veg/fruit is ace...39p at the mo for carrots and broccoli amongst other things...cooked meat is great and the fresh meat i have tried is good...we had left over chicken in sauce with pasta for tea and have a casserole for our tea tomorrow...also got a small ham from aldi for 2.99 which i thought we could have with egg and chips for our tea later in the week

    we seem to have a lot in so hopefully no more shopping this week
    take care tess
    onwards and upwards
    • mossy
    • By mossy 25th Sep 12, 6:16 PM
    • 1,142 Posts
    • 8,199 Thanks
    mossy
    Hello peeps, have managed to muster up the energy to catch up on some posts despite almost dying from man-flu!!

    As most of our income comes in between the 20th and 24th of the month I have decided to run the monthly budgets from the 20th of each month instead. So October is 20th Sept to 20th Oct.

    Have had some spends from this months budget and need to work them all out which I'll do soon.

    Thanks Coxy for putting this months budget on the list for me already.

    It's 13 weeks until Christmas...eeek....so excited!! If I'm well enough (cough splutter cough) I'm hoping to nip in to Brighton on Saturday to do some Christmas shopping.
    Last edited by mossy; 25-09-2012 at 6:44 PM.
    Saving for Disney again ...to big a target to face up to yet!
    Emergency Fund Savings - #148 - 10/1000 1%
    #083 SPC6 63 - SPC7 90 - SPC8 63 - SPC9 54 - SPC10 26 - SPC12
  • she who can not cook
    Don't forget this one too

    http://www.cheap-family-recipes.org.uk/

    Weezl built this one on MSE with lots of people from here testing for her.
    Originally posted by JayJay14
    this is in my fav lol thanks to the people on here
    Gc 2013 +26 -5. -4 -7 -14 -15 -10.-8.20 +15p+30+5.80 Dec +9 GROCERY challenge 2014 Jan -2Feb -3 March -1.50 April +5.40 May +4.90 June -3.July 16.50/85

    God bless my sweet "old man" Goldie that died in the early hours of 27 th March please see him on my avatar
  • she who can not cook
    I too am a lover on aldi i go there most days the reduced is not as good as they used to be but not bad
    Gc 2013 +26 -5. -4 -7 -14 -15 -10.-8.20 +15p+30+5.80 Dec +9 GROCERY challenge 2014 Jan -2Feb -3 March -1.50 April +5.40 May +4.90 June -3.July 16.50/85

    God bless my sweet "old man" Goldie that died in the early hours of 27 th March please see him on my avatar
  • moonpixiewitch
    Please can I rejoin ? I have been missing this thread and my food bills have spiralled out of control again ! I will aim for 300 this month with a view to getting it down further by Christmas
    Started my own business and loving being my own boss
    march gc 144/230
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