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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 final Grocery Challenge of 2012 EEEEEKKKKK!!!!, Terrifying how quickly the year has flown in! I genuinely am in shock it's december grocery challenge.

    Hope you all have a happy poposturus prosperous Christmas and new year. Here's to 2013!!!

    If your new month starts early feel free to join this thread, or if you're still working on your November budget, then keep on posting in the:
    November 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; 18-11-2012 at 2:53 PM.
    A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men
    Norn Iron club member #380

Page 15
    • mossy
    • By mossy 3rd Dec 12, 4:45 PM
    • 1,143 Posts
    • 8,206 Thanks
    mossy
    Welcome to the challenge Solstice_3

    Is it just me or does any-one else find that now we are declaring what we spend on groceries, we are more hesitant to buy things?
    D80
    Originally posted by Dreamer80
    Errr sadly no!! Although I certainly don't overspend as much as I used to as I'm keeping track of it. Now it's on my siggy so I can't get away from it, so actually I guess yeah a bit!!

    Small spend of 1.50 today. 50p on crisps for DD to munch on while I was having my hair cut (should have been more organised and packed something for her) and 1 in to my sealed pot for something that I took out of Mossy's Market.
    Last edited by mossy; 03-12-2012 at 4:48 PM.
    Saving for Disney again, oops why book one Disney holiday when you can book two!

    Emergency Fund Savings - #148 - 10/1000 1%
    #083 SPC6 63 - SPC7 90 - SPC8 63 - SPC9 54 - SPC10 26 - SPC12 70
  • jumblejack
    Quick lentil and carrot soup with JJs herby cheese bread for tea



    I also made my first 2 granny squares today


    Yay
    Every moment is a gift. That's why we call it the present.!
    Grocery Spend Weekly Challenge (Sat-Fri):30.50/40
    • nicknack
    • By nicknack 3rd Dec 12, 5:54 PM
    • 89 Posts
    • 1,861 Thanks
    nicknack
    Hi all

    First of all, could I please have this month's budget as the usual 200? I know it's Christmas but I'm hoping not to spend too much more than usual and have already got a few bits stashed away.

    I've already spent 56.46 but have got tons of stuff in the freezer so am going to do my very best to come in under budget.

    By the way, does anyone have an email address for Tesco to complain about a product? I've searched on their website but can't see one. I bought their EV Rice Snaps last week - we've been having these for a few months now and really like them, actually can't tell the difference between these and the branded ones - but this time round they are absolutely disgusting. I don't know if they've changed the recipe or if we just got a bad box but both OH and I took a mouthful of them and then had to scrap them, they just had a bizarre taste. Anyone else had this problem? TIA.


    • Bluegreen143
    • By Bluegreen143 3rd Dec 12, 6:18 PM
    • 1,108 Posts
    • 12,739 Thanks
    Bluegreen143
    Solstice_3 Welcome to the GC and best of luck for your first month

    Small spend of 1.60 today on Value Laundry Liquid, unplanned as I knocked over our bottle yesterday and spilled it all obviously can't go a week without doing laundry so had to nip into Mr M today. On the plus side, this makes this the second value bottle we've bought and I'm perfectly happy with it so far

    Making butternut squash, caramelised red onion and feta pie for dinner with a big salad, new recipe so dying to see if it's nice
    Married 1 March 2014 DS born 06 Dec 2014 DD born 14 Dec 2018
    • Save Dosh
    • By Save Dosh 3rd Dec 12, 6:23 PM
    • 1,329 Posts
    • 15,828 Thanks
    Save Dosh
    Coxy - sorry im late - can you put me down for 120. This is going to include everything, except for xmas booze. I have had a couple of spends and have updated 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
  • jumblejack
    Loving the sound of your tea, bluegreen
    Every moment is a gift. That's why we call it the present.!
    Grocery Spend Weekly Challenge (Sat-Fri):30.50/40
    • Bluegreen143
    • By Bluegreen143 3rd Dec 12, 7:05 PM
    • 1,108 Posts
    • 12,739 Thanks
    Bluegreen143
    Well I'm really impressed with my new recipe - not very cheap but pretty healthy and very tasty. Definitely making it again

    Butternut squash, caramelised red onion & feta pie

    1 red onion, chopped into slices
    350g butternut squash, chopped into chunks most of a small one or half a big one
    100g feta cheese I used value and it was fine
    1/2 tbsp chopped rosemary fresh from the garden but dried is fine I think
    1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
    1/2 tbsp brown sugar
    2 cloves garlic, kept in their skins
    For the pastry
    125g plain flour
    55g butter or similar
    Pinch salt I skipped as used salted butter
    1. Preheat the oven to 200C. Toss the squash and garlic in olive oil, salt and pepper and roast for 25 minutes or so.
    2. Gently fry the red onion in olive oil for a few minutes until soft. Add the vinegar and sugar and cook for 10 minutes or until caramelised but not burnt. Add the onions and rosemary to the squash once it's roasted, squeeze the garlic out of its skins and mix through, then leave the mix to cool completely.
    3. Make the pastry by rubbing the fat into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add a little water at a time until the mixture sticks into a ball shape. Leave in the fridge for at least 20 minutes.
    4. Roll out the pastry into a rough circle. Add the feta to the cold squash and onion mix and pile into the pastry. Pull the edges up to make a rough pasty (you could also make an open tart in a tin, I just fancied a pasty). Egg or milk wash and bake for 25-30 minutes or until nicely golden.

    Served the two of us with a lovely green salad.

    Married 1 March 2014 DS born 06 Dec 2014 DD born 14 Dec 2018
    • Nicky Noo Na
    • By Nicky Noo Na 3rd Dec 12, 7:15 PM
    • 760 Posts
    • 6,713 Thanks
    Nicky Noo Na
    20.05 + 8.66 spent at the weekend - not bad for a whole weeks shopping although we do have a 5 week month this time round!

    • DanielleNic87
    • By DanielleNic87 3rd Dec 12, 7:34 PM
    • 1,038 Posts
    • 13,314 Thanks
    DanielleNic87
    1.20 spent on 2 small loaves of bread. Really thinking about starting to make my own.
    [COLOR="Magenta"]

    Annual GC 2017 1634.61/2200
    • mummyyof5
    • By mummyyof5 3rd Dec 12, 7:43 PM
    • 1,839 Posts
    • 39,830 Thanks
    mummyyof5
    nicknack...dont think you had a bad box...been buying these and the EV cocopops for a while...kids loved them ,then last week they refused to eat both boxes as they were"terrible"...not fussy kids they are 18 and 16...rice pops are almost white now..Im NOT impressed.
    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.
    • XSpender
    • By XSpender 3rd Dec 12, 7:46 PM
    • 3,412 Posts
    • 34,917 Thanks
    XSpender
    No, it's never too late to make a Christmas cake. I've heard of people baking, marzipanning (?) and icing a cake all on Christmas Eve! You just won't have as long to 'feed' it if that's what you usually do.
    Originally posted by MrsCD
    Thanks MrsCD

    I am going to prep the fruit to soak in brandy overnight and bake it tomorrow after work. I haven't got any lemon or orange zest to add but I am sure it won't make too much difference. I just hope there I enough brandy as DH has nicked a couple of glasses worth;

    NSD today but need to send DH to Mr T tomorrow for Italian herbs as I have run out and have 2 swede in my veg box this week to turn into ww Italian veg soup as its DH favourite and he has promised some to one of his staff who is very overweight but working hard at losing it.
    October Grocery Challenge - 277.74/220
    • mummyyof5
    • By mummyyof5 3rd Dec 12, 7:49 PM
    • 1,839 Posts
    • 39,830 Thanks
    mummyyof5
    Small spends today 1.80 on eggs

    1 on conditioner
    1 on kitkats (Los packup)
    2.10 in MrTs..cheesestrings (on Offer)...SP yoghurts and SP blackcurrant squash.

    Will add 6 to sig just to keep things straight


    Need teabags tomorrow...none in the house..I dont drink it but Teens are mightily fed up lol xx..must be Y***shire too apparently..hope MrTs are on offer
    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.
    • CRANKY40
    • By CRANKY40 3rd Dec 12, 8:01 PM
    • 3,367 Posts
    • 36,681 Thanks
    CRANKY40
    Sorry I haven't posted much. I'm a bit uninspired at the moment, and the boy has had a tummy bug this weekend, so he hasn't eaten anything much and I've only had a toasted muffin for breakfast and some oven chips this evening. Too tired to face food and definitely not in the mood to cook it.

    I have some vegetarian meatballs in the freezer, so I may do a meatball pasta bake later in the week. That was a good idea whoever had it on their meal plan (sorry, no sleep last night). I've plenty of food in, but have one of those pesky 5 off a 40 shop in @sda this week. It would be a shame to turn down 5 of free food wouldn't it?
    • wmf
    • By wmf 3rd Dec 12, 8:36 PM
    • 1,821 Posts
    • 21,855 Thanks
    wmf
    Sorry I haven't posted much. I'm a bit uninspired at the moment, and the boy has had a tummy bug this weekend, so he hasn't eaten anything much and I've only had a toasted muffin for breakfast and some oven chips this evening. Too tired to face food and definitely not in the mood to cook it.

    I have some vegetarian meatballs in the freezer, so I may do a meatball pasta bake later in the week. That was a good idea whoever had it on their meal plan (sorry, no sleep last night). I've plenty of food in, but have one of those pesky 5 off a 40 shop in @sda this week. It would be a shame to turn down 5 of free food wouldn't it?
    Originally posted by CRANKY40

    Sorry wee lad unwell - hope he's feeling a bit better.
    Re the 5 free food - the way I look at it is that it is their way of luring you in and making sure you buy 40 of stuff. I use them if I need to buy the food but I don't use them if I have plenty in or have to have a good think about how I'm going to spend 40 in order to gain 5. Hope this makes sense . Sometimes life just gets in the way of spending enough to get 5 off. Hope you get more energy.

    Spent small amount on milk and bread - enjoying M0rrisons batard at the moment - nice and filling and makes fab lunches for me to take to work.

    Have spent about 13 so far this month. Am sure this will change though

    Off to walk doggie and have early night.
    W
  • she who can not cook
    Hi,

    Is it just me or does any-one else find that now we are declaring what we spend on groceries, we are more hesitant to buy things? It's the 3rd day into my month ad I haven't spent anything yet! Likely to change over the next couple of days as I have my eye on some half price Port (for Christmas) and tea bags in the Co-*p

    D80
    Originally posted by Dreamer80
    i yes i agree
    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
    • craigywv
    • By craigywv 3rd Dec 12, 8:51 PM
    • 1,976 Posts
    • 27,825 Thanks
    craigywv
    loving the food photos and your crochet is coming on grand JJ ,i havent started my painting project just yet but will talk about that on shabby chic thread. Well went to butchers as i have a christmas club with him and add 5 quid a week been doing it for couple of months now even though i not doing any of the "dinners" this christmas (my turn last year) i shall keep paying up to christmas week and it will do for into the new year so i will have about 70 quid to start me for 2013 for meat buying . Today i got 2 lbs mince and 2lbs beef sausages and 1 lb chicken breast for 10.20 so have it divided up and frozen will get at least 7 pots of spag bol or chilli thats giving me 3 servings per pot so 21 meals from the mince and 5 dinners from the sausages maybe more depending how greedy we feel, and a couple of chicken pies , may i add that each meal will be well bulked out with veg and lentils thats how it will streeeeeeeeeeech to so many meals. will update sig. Also went into LEEEEDLES cant get chicken legs anywhere even they had run out, i dont mean drumsticks i want the thigh and drummer added on anyone have any ideas ...must be cheap please anyway i have rambled on here too much sorry xxxx
    C.R.A.P.R.O.L.L.Z #7 member N.I splinter-group co-ordinater I dont suffer from insanity....I enjoy every minute of it!!.
    • Suffolk lass
    • By Suffolk lass 3rd Dec 12, 9:23 PM
    • 3,310 Posts
    • 29,414 Thanks
    Suffolk lass
    Thanks MrsCD

    I am going to prep the fruit to soak in brandy overnight and bake it tomorrow after work. I haven't got any lemon or orange zest to add but I am sure it won't make too much difference. I just hope there I enough brandy as DH has nicked a couple of glasses worth;

    NSD today but need to send DH to Mr T tomorrow for Italian herbs as I have run out and have 2 swede in my veg box this week to turn into ww Italian veg soup as its DH favourite and he has promised some to one of his staff who is very overweight but working hard at losing it.
    Originally posted by XSpender
    I was watching Queen Delia on Food Network while baking yesterday and she spoke about a Creole Christmas Cake where you soak all the fruit in booze for a week before baking. I have the recipe and she uses 3 tablespoons each of Rum, Brandy, port, cherry brandy and water!! Then there's 1.5 teaspoons of bitters and vanilla extract.When she did the original programme (20 years ago and sadly I still remember it ) I remember her saying this was fine to make right up to the last minute. In the book she says it can be served as if it's a pudding with whipped cream too. The recipe is online here.

    Best of luck
    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
    • Solstice_3
    • By Solstice_3 3rd Dec 12, 9:29 PM
    • 460 Posts
    • 5,018 Thanks
    Solstice_3
    Thanks for the welcomes

    Re the 5 free food - the way I look at it is that it is their way of luring you in and making sure you buy 40 of stuff. I use them if I need to buy the food but I don't use them if I have plenty in or have to have a good think about how I'm going to spend 40 in order to gain 5. Hope this makes sense . Sometimes life just gets in the way of spending enough to get 5 off. Hope you get more energy.
    Originally posted by wmf
    I agree that makes sense I had a 5 off T**cos shop which I do online, I bought the heavy items, that I would need over the next 2 weeks, maybe 3 and used the money off to cover delivery charges. Oh also bought 6 bottles of wine for Christmas and gifts at 25% off. Means with my other shopping I am almost halfway through my budget already but I should only need to do small shops for fresh veg and milk, fingers crossed lol
    Stay at home Mum to DS Oct 2011 and DD Dec 2013
    Grocery Challenge

    April 298.08/300.00 NSD 14 May 213.56/300 NSD 4
    • meg72
    • By meg72 4th Dec 12, 8:38 AM
    • 5,082 Posts
    • 46,072 Thanks
    meg72
    Hi,

    Is it just me or does any-one else find that now we are declaring what we spend on groceries, we are more hesitant to buy things? It's the 3rd day into my month ad I haven't spent anything yet! Likely to change over the next couple of days as I have my eye on some half price Port (for Christmas) and tea bags in the Co-*p

    D80
    Originally posted by Dreamer80
    Yes I agree it really helps to curb the impulse to go shopping.

    This is my 18th Grocery Challenge and I am getting quite addicted to saving, or rather getting a real buzz from not letting the SMarkets get my money.
    Slimming World at target
    • CRANKY40
    • By CRANKY40 4th Dec 12, 9:09 AM
    • 3,367 Posts
    • 36,681 Thanks
    CRANKY40
    Sorry wee lad unwell - hope he's feeling a bit better.
    Re the 5 free food - the way I look at it is that it is their way of luring you in and making sure you buy 40 of stuff. I use them if I need to buy the food but I don't use them if I have plenty in or have to have a good think about how I'm going to spend 40 in order to gain 5. Hope this makes sense . Sometimes life just gets in the way of spending enough to get 5 off. Hope you get more energy.

    Spent small amount on milk and bread - enjoying M0rrisons batard at the moment - nice and filling and makes fab lunches for me to take to work.

    Have spent about 13 so far this month. Am sure this will change though

    Off to walk doggie and have early night.
    W
    Originally posted by wmf
    He's a lot better today thank you and we had a good night's sleep last night. It's not too hard to make up the 40 as my shopping this week should come to about 30 (list made) and I can make up the difference with cat food and cat litter which can just stay in the car boot out of the way and may come in handy if we have snow or bad weather. Not sure when the offer runs out but if I get another one this week my friend can have it.
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