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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 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'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 #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!

    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 29
    • JIL
    • By JIL 8th Oct 12, 6:42 PM
    • 4,945 Posts
    • 25,059 Thanks
    Just noticed advertised on BBC1 theres a new TV programme with Nigel Slater based around meal planning and cooking with what you have in already.
    • MrsCD
    • By MrsCD 8th Oct 12, 6:50 PM
    • 753 Posts
    • 11,263 Thanks
    Congratulations Lulabelle.
    You are starting off on the right foot - being careful with your cash! I wish you a long and happy life together.
    • tessie bear
    • By tessie bear 8th Oct 12, 6:53 PM
    • 4,361 Posts
    • 30,013 Thanks
    tessie bear
    hi...been out today and got a turkey crown for christmas...fingers crossed the freezer stays frozen...shouldnt need much else this week but i thought i might do a bit of baking later in the week

    we are having shepherds pie for tea to use up leftover mash as its fingers for the kids as they arent keen....

    yake care tess
    onwards and upwards
    • MrsCD
    • By MrsCD 8th Oct 12, 6:58 PM
    • 753 Posts
    • 11,263 Thanks
    Mrs Moneypenny - have you tried making sandwiches with frozen sliced bread? They defrost by the time you want to eat them and they don't go mouldy!

    I've been so good today - another NSD I've spent the day doing the washing, balancing the bank account, and a trip to the council tip with junk from the garage.
    • Bluegreen143
    • By Bluegreen143 8th Oct 12, 7:06 PM
    • 1,108 Posts
    • 12,739 Thanks
    Oh do hope you get it back, why is it when you are trying to be especially frugal something like this always seems to happen?
    Originally posted by meg72
    Thank you, it is always when you're trying to be frugal! Don't think I will get it back as no joy so far

    Bluegreen143 - would you mind giving me your recipe for the peach upside down cake? We have about 5-6 tins of peaches in the house and would love to use some of them up!
    Originally posted by theatregirl4
    It's this BBC recipe but obviously using peaches instead of pineapple (I used a small tin but could have fitted lots more peach on if I had had any more) and I omitted the glace cherries. Oh and used granulated sugar instead of golden caster and it turned out fine.

    No grocery spends today (lots on public transport though!) and I made the most delicious dinner ever

    Goats cheese and spring vegetable spaghetti Serves 2
    This is supposed to use tagliatelle but I only had spaghetti. It's the only change I made to the orginal recipe (from a cookbook called The New Vegetarian Kitchen) except chucking the veg into the pasta water instead of steaming and forgetting to add basil at the end

    150-200g spaghetti/tagliatelle
    175g asparagus tips
    1 courgette, sliced in half lengthwise then into long thin strips
    2 spring onions, sliced diagonally
    Juice of 1/2 lemon
    100g soft goats cheese, crumbled

    1 cup/55g fresh breadcrumbs
    1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
    1 small red chilli, finely chopped
    Grated zest of 1/2 lemon

    Put the spaghetti on to boil for 10 minutes, adding the asparagus 3 minutes in and the courgette 2 minutes later (not sure of timings if using tagliatelle).

    Meanwhile, fry the breadcrumbs in a generous glug of olive oil for two minutes, add the garlic, chilli & lemon zest and keep frying for two more minutes, adding more olive oil if needed. Remove and wipe pan down. Heat a little more oil and cook spring onion for 1 minute until soft.

    Drain pasta and veg, reserving a few tablespoons of the water to add back in, and add to the spring onions, along with the lemon juice and half the breadcrumbs (and fresh basil if you have some/remember!). When heated, dish into two bowls and top with the rest of the breadcrumbs and crumbled goats cheese. I had it with salad and it was the most delicious new thing I've made for a very very long time
    Married 1 March 2014 DS born 06 Dec 2014 DD born 14 Dec 2018
    • theatregirl4
    • By theatregirl4 8th Oct 12, 7:09 PM
    • 1,110 Posts
    • 7,033 Thanks
    Thanks for the recipe! If I get a chance over the weekend I might take a stab at it!

    • Bluegreen143
    • By Bluegreen143 8th Oct 12, 7:11 PM
    • 1,108 Posts
    • 12,739 Thanks
    Oh my it has all gone wrong!! I have absolutely no idea what I have spent this last week. Went to London Tuesday but only overnight but OH proposed while we were away so my head has been in clouds! I am going to go for a weekly budget of 40. and then go back to a monthly budget next month. Especially need to save money now I have a wedding to pay for!! Hope everyone is well. Need to catch up on the board. xx
    Originally posted by Lulabelle06
    Somehow when catching up with the thread I skipped a page and so just wanted to say many many congrats Lullabelle!! Slightly jealous as my OH took me to London for my birthday at the end of August and I was convinced he would propose but he didn't Best wishes for a very MSE wedding and debt-free future together
    Last edited by Bluegreen143; 08-10-2012 at 7:14 PM.
    Married 1 March 2014 DS born 06 Dec 2014 DD born 14 Dec 2018
  • rosieben
    Bluegreen, I've added your Goats cheese and spring vegetable spaghetti recipe to the front page index
    ... don't throw the string away. You always need string!

    C.R.A.P.R.O.L.L.Z Head Sharpener
  • katholicos
    The day isn't over yet, but so far i haven't spent any money on groceries today. For tea we had home made quiche with corn on cobs, new potatoes and carrots.
    • xx_Jo_xx
    • By xx_Jo_xx 8th Oct 12, 7:58 PM
    • 2,854 Posts
    • 62,609 Thanks
    Oh my... Ive only gone and done it!

    Im really struggling without having a freezer - buying fresh all the time is expensive and sometimes wasteful... although I do try to be very careful that I waste as little as possible!

    Ive been trying to save for a Fridge Freezer (No room for seperates) but have always needed the money for something more urgent! Anyway - someone offered me one in great condition for 70 as they had are having a new kitchen in...

    So..... I now have a new fridge freezer which will make life soooooo much cheaper and easier in the long run --- but the money will have to come out of my grocery budget!!

    I like a challenge I do! As if 250 wasnt going to be tight enough, lets go for 180 and a new freezer!

    If I can do this, I think Ill manage just about anything

    PS - Congrats on the Engagement!!!

    ETA - Mrs Addicted... I dont buy anything when Im out at uni... I take a pack up every day or flask of soup etc and if I see something I fancy, I just go without. I dont mind paying 25p for a bar of chocolate but Id never pay nearly 1! Flask of tea though is a great idea thank you
    Last edited by xx_Jo_xx; 08-10-2012 at 9:40 PM.
    Sometimes lurking, sometimes posting, but always flying
    You are supposed to be the leading lady of your own life, for God's sake! - The Holiday
    DFW August 2013... Debt total 15,475.56 - Jan 15 11,738.66 - DEBT FREE by 2015
    Feb GC 48.02/250 (201.98)
    I will declutter my house and debts
  • Taranaman
    Just making a quick note of two little shops before I forget. 1.19 for milk yesterday and a perishables shop of 14.92 today. Got a triple points voucher with my receipt - those supermarkets just know how to get you spending don't they - expiry 21 October so not even like I can wait until next month!

    Just about to go back and read everybody's posts - engagements, upside own cake and goat's cheese. This thread is better than chick lit!
    January GC 299/300
    February GC 295/270
    March GC 92/243 then lost the plot and stopped recording for two months and went way over
    May GC 372/250 still looking for the plot
    June GC 118/250
    • Save Dosh
    • By Save Dosh 8th Oct 12, 9:23 PM
    • 1,329 Posts
    • 15,828 Thanks
    Save Dosh
    Nicki_Sue Good luck with the move.
    MrsAddicted thanks for the update on the teabags
    Lulabelle congratulations
    JIL thanks for pointing out the Nigel Slater programme, i have set a reminder on my electronic guide
    Bluegreen aww never mind, this is a leap year and you are allowed to do the proposing
    xxjoxx think of all the savings you'll make when youve got it filled

    I am on a fiscal fast for a week, so no spends for me of any kind, except fares and bills.
    August GC - Food 55.56/80 Alcohol 17.24/20
    Bulk Funds - Food 19.73
    Save 12k in 2019 1,300/5,000 - #155
    • jedi82
    • By jedi82 9th Oct 12, 9:04 AM
    • 406 Posts
    • 3,548 Thanks
    Morning, it is throwing it down here! NSD yesterday and was planning on one today but DD1 is off from school and has a yellow tinge to her eyes so been to the docs and she is going for blood tests (thankfully doc didn't seem majorly concerned cos I googled it yesterday and was having a fit!). Anyway, might go to Boots and stock up on kiddies vitamins...

    Congrats Lulabelle on your engagement xx

    Take care, jedi x
    Finally getting my life on track. Onwards and upwards.
    BSC No 327
    GC Jan 336.91/450
    GC Feb 0/400
    • tessie bear
    • By tessie bear 9th Oct 12, 9:53 AM
    • 4,361 Posts
    • 30,013 Thanks
    tessie bear
    hi...made flapjacks today and have eaten one...they are nice...also got a rice pudding and sheperds pie base on the go in the slow cooker...planning a nsd today and quite possibly a ns rest of the week but will see how that goes

    take care tess
    onwards and upwards
    • Billie-jo
    • By Billie-jo 9th Oct 12, 10:55 AM
    • 1,221 Posts
    • 15,892 Thanks
    Lulabelle06 - congratulations hope you have a healthy, happy and long life together.

    Jo - good luck with the reduced budget

    4.83 spent today in A$da plus also brought some of the soup for 50p but that is out of 2nd purse. They only had 8 and they are now all sitting in the cupboard Spends now up to 74.11

    Made soup yesterday and two lots have been frozen for later.

    Have been busy saving - Have reduced the car insurance by 50 with exactly same cover and also have said goodbye to BT and their expensive line rental and call charges and am getting both phone and broadband for same price if not less than BTs phone calls alone. I am not to hot on things like this so hope I have done the right thing, time will tell and I do know that BT are expensive but only from reading these threads. Oh well if its wrong all I can say is - we live and learn.
    [COLOR="Purple"][B] MARCH 62.38/250 [B][COLOR="Purple"]
    • meg72
    • By meg72 9th Oct 12, 11:36 AM
    • 5,082 Posts
    • 46,072 Thanks
    Ran out of chips for lunch so had to get some from the corner shop.1.89 for a little bag....what a rip-off! Problem is my freezer is full of naan breads from Approved Food so I can't get to the bottom to see what I've got hiding in there. By the way, if anyone has some ideas what I could do with the naan's except for having with curry obviously that would be great.
    Originally posted by dumpling
    I have found the naan`s make a great pizza base.
    Slimming World at target
    • Save Dosh
    • By Save Dosh 9th Oct 12, 12:00 PM
    • 1,329 Posts
    • 15,828 Thanks
    Save Dosh
    Ok, it is with great shame, that i have to report my fiscal fast for the week lasted 1 day. This morning, i kept saying walk past Morrisons, but no, my feet just went on in. Did not do too much damage and bought.

    1 bag rooster potatoes
    1 large bag mushrooms
    1 bag parsnips
    1 mahoosive brocolli
    1 bag of pod peas
    1 carton uht milk
    2 x scotch eggs

    It all came to 3.32. Not too bad, as i was looking for some extra veg to make up a veg stew. Off to update sig.
    August GC - Food 55.56/80 Alcohol 17.24/20
    Bulk Funds - Food 19.73
    Save 12k in 2019 1,300/5,000 - #155
    • theatregirl4
    • By theatregirl4 9th Oct 12, 12:01 PM
    • 1,110 Posts
    • 7,033 Thanks
    14.40 across Greggs & Mr A's today.

    Used four coupons and got some whoopsied green beans that we can have with dinner.

    Will update sig shortly.

  • mummy2mygirls
    Lulabelle06 Congratulatyions on the engaement Lovely news x

    JO Good luck nwith the new tighter budget You will be able to save on YS things and save any leftovers which will help no end

    I have just had todays MrT delivery. 51.48. It was more but they subbed some dishwasher tabs which were on offer and a pack of 52 for a pack of 40 for the same rice So sent them back. Will try and order them again next delivery and see if I get the ones on offer.....

    Today I have a sausage casserol in the slow cooker - its a kind of made up along the way as had no receipy so will see how it turns out Ive also made some cakes for the kids and jelly with some fruit in for pudding (and two tubs for tomorrows pack ups ) So I feel a little organsied for a change

    Hope everyone is having a good day x
    GC: Nov: 60.22/450 Oct: 338.48/450, July: 363.05/450, June 447.98/500
    2 savers No68: 104/100

    mummy to: 8yr, 5yr, 3yr, 2yr, 1yr. No6 Due Mar 2013 My world.
    • meg72
    • By meg72 9th Oct 12, 12:16 PM
    • 5,082 Posts
    • 46,072 Thanks
    Went to Wilkinsons yesterday as they have Galaxy choclate on offer for 50p it is my Brothers favourite so got 6 bars to put with his Christmas present. I then spotted reduced bacon, 50p instead of 1.39 so got 6 to freeze, so a 6.00 spend but only 3.00 out of grocery budget as the chocolate comes out of the Cristmas fund.
    Slimming World at target
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