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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 first Grocery Challenge of 2013

    Hope you all have a happy 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 December budget, then keep on posting in the:
    December 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; 12-12-2012 at 1:40 PM.
    A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men
    Norn Iron club member #380

Page 82
    • Kitchenbunny
    • By Kitchenbunny 18th Jan 13, 3:34 PM
    • 1,861 Posts
    • 20,260 Thanks
    Afternoon everyone. Thought I'd pop on to post what's been going on the last few days - which, while it hasn't been much, has taken up quite a lot of time doing so. Have been somewhat stressed because of the weather - ugh, hate driving in snow.

    Anyway, I've managed a couple of NSDs and now it's the weekend I'm likely to have a couple more, unless we run out of milk. Will make it stretch as far as I can until Monday but we'll see. Might have to have a walk in the snow to Mr T. Other than that have managed a miniscule spend of 22p on 2 packets of instant noodles as I really felt the need for something hot for lunch at work. I'll update my sig now, and then I'm going to work on my shopping list and mealplan for the week ahead.

    Have a good evening, everyone. Stay warm.

    KB xx

    • Barbeduk
    • By Barbeduk 18th Jan 13, 3:41 PM
    • 819 Posts
    • 7,151 Thanks
    Oh my I am way behind on the thread! Will have a coffee in a minute and catch up.

    Have now spent a total of 55.91 for the week and have run out of fruit AGAIN! Don't really need anything else though as have been trying to restock the freezer with bargains.

    Going to try a SW recipe tonight, using quark and fromage frais instead of a cheese sauce on pasta. Let's just see if it passes the DH taste test!

    Stay warm everyone.
    June GC 288.01/400
    • lushlifesaver
    • By lushlifesaver 18th Jan 13, 4:34 PM
    • 2,312 Posts
    • 18,637 Thanks
    Tournament off - win as it makes for a cheaper weekend but still gutted

    Off out for dinner tonight with bfs parents - half the price it would have been at the tournament for us both though! And no take away now on Saturday or Sunday so money saved there too
    Perfect Princess born 26/03/14 <3
  • jumblejack
    Made my herby cheese breads today with Stilton. They are scrummy.

    We had past it peppers so made a pasta bake for dinner earlier.

    Soup in a be there in a min with the herby cheese breads and mini quiches for tomorrow's dinner will be rustled up before I sit down.

    Enjoyed going to the park with the kids this afternoon but so tired now.

    Hope you are all warm and not too many suffering from power cuts.

    Every moment is a gift. That's why we call it the present.!
    Grocery Spend Weekly Challenge (Sat-Fri):30.50/40
    • couldsavemore
    • By couldsavemore 18th Jan 13, 5:22 PM
    • 264 Posts
    • 2,470 Thanks
    I have pulled out some odd bits of meat that had previously been cooked oh made some home made chips served with some beans all together made another cheap meal from freezer

    it's good to see all the stored food in freezer going down still seems to be loads in there.

    we are planning to make a fresh curry tomorrow with chicken from the freezer.
    You can if you think you can .
    • tessie bear
    • By tessie bear 18th Jan 13, 5:39 PM
    • 4,361 Posts
    • 30,013 Thanks
    tessie bear
    xspender...chocolate banana bread ???? have u a recipe u could share...that sounds lovely

    ta tess
    onwards and upwards
    • Bluegreen143
    • By Bluegreen143 18th Jan 13, 6:39 PM
    • 1,108 Posts
    • 12,739 Thanks
    Yoghurt Curry with Pakoras
    Serves 4

    300g natural yoghurt
    150g gram flour (also called besan flour)
    1 fresh green chilli, finely sliced
    1/2 tsp turmeric powder
    2 tsp sugar
    Salt, to taste
    1 tsp cumin seeds
    10 black peppercorns
    6 cloves
    2 tbsp ghee (optional)
    1/2 tsp chilli powder

    For the pakoras
    150g gram flour
    1 medium onion, finely chopped
    Big pinch cumin seeds
    Four big handfuls frozen peas I added these as the recipe was a bit too "veg light" for me
    Vegetable oil for deep frying

    Whisk the yoghurt with the gram flour, green chilli, turmeric, sugar, salt and 300ml cold water.

    Heat a couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil in a pan and add the cumin seeds, peppercorns and cloves.

    Pour the well-blended yoghurt mix and cook, stirring regularly, until it has a thick consistency and doesn't smell or taste like raw flour. Take off the heat once cooked to avoid burning.

    To make the pakoras, make a thick batter with the ingredients and as much water as necessary (don't make this too thin).

    Heat the oil and when it starts smoking, reduce the heat and drop in 3 separate tsp of mixture. Cook for a few minutes until golden and scoop out with a slotted spoon, adding the next batch afterwards. Add to the yoghurt curry once cooked.

    Heat the ghee in a small pan and add the chilli powder. Alternatively, I poured out a couple of tablespoons of the hot frying oil and added the chilli powder. Pour over the curry and serve without stirring.

    I added roast butternut squash as well, as I had some in the fridge. You could add any veg such as cauliflower or mushrooms, or serve stir-fried veg on the side instead. I serve with chapattis, but naan breads or rice would also be nice. I actually halved the recipe to make two portions and it was lovely, and so unusual!

    I've added to the index.
    Married 1 March 2014 DS born 06 Dec 2014 DD born 14 Dec 2018
    • Bluegreen143
    • By Bluegreen143 18th Jan 13, 6:59 PM
    • 1,108 Posts
    • 12,739 Thanks
    Small spends today, went into Mr M to get some vodka (separate budget!) and also got YS white rolls for 35p (half price) and 99p for two pieces of haddock (reduced from 3.05 ). The rolls are for OH's bacon butties tomorrow and the haddock for making battered fish and chips next week (obviously have frozen it!)
    Married 1 March 2014 DS born 06 Dec 2014 DD born 14 Dec 2018
    • Solstice_3
    • By Solstice_3 18th Jan 13, 7:31 PM
    • 460 Posts
    • 5,018 Thanks
    NSD Today Yay! Spend of 5.48 yesterday on milk and other stuff, some treats included! Got to go out and buy veg for Sunday's roast tomorrow but other than that trying to get as many NSDs until 24th Jan!
    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
  • she who can not cook
    Still within my target this month-
    Has anyone berm to Asd* lately? They have an advert on TV saying lots at 50p?
    I'm afraid to go in , as I'm frightened I will spend loads!
    Just wondered if it worth going in just for the 50p items?
    Originally posted by loveasale
    not very frugal but my oh likes pot noodle i have never purchased so may i use the self service but to be honest it does matter what anyone thinks anyway my stuff is usually value/smart price anyway
    Last edited by she who can not cook; 18-01-2013 at 8:40 PM.
    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
    • WantToBeSE
    • By WantToBeSE 18th Jan 13, 8:12 PM
    • 6,795 Posts
    • 30,577 Thanks
    Hi everyone

    Right, i have never made soup before, so have been trying to come up with some nice ideas.
    So, my new slow cooker came with some recipes, and these 3 soups were included.
    I thought i'd post them here as i have heard a few people talking about soups, and i wrote them out earlier for a different thread where someone was asking about freezing soups.
    They are slow cooker, vegetarian soups.

    I am just about managing to stay within my budget, which is good. I think i'm going to start meal planning breakfasts and snacks, as it helps

    Anyway, here are the soups:

    All of these serve 4

    Leek and potato soup:
    25g butter
    250g thinly sliced potatoes
    900g thinly slices leeks
    15g Plain flour
    1pint veg stock
    Salt and pepper to taste
    1/4 pt milk.

    Heat the butter in a large pan and fry veg in it for 2-3mins
    Stir in the flour and add stock
    season to taste
    bring to boil, stirring continuously.
    place mixture in the slow cooker for 3-4hrs (HIGH) or 8-9hrs (LOW)
    Add milk for the last 30mins.

    Chunky Veg Chilli:

    1courgette, cut into 1cm pieces
    1pepper (any colour, i prefer red), chopped roughly
    75g chopped onion
    75g chopped celery
    2 cloves garlic, crushed
    1-3 tsp chilli powder (depending on your personal preference)
    1tsp dried oregano
    1/2 tsp ground cumin
    2xtins of chopped tomatoes
    1 tin sweetcorn
    1 tin kidney beans
    1 jar of salsa

    Add everything to the slow cooker, stir
    Cook on HIGH for 4-5 hrs, or LOW for 9-10hrs.

    Carrot and Lentil Soup:
    2tsp olive oil
    2tsp grated ginger
    1tsp each of cumin, chilli powder, curry powder and ground coriander
    1 and a half red onions, diced finely
    2 parsnips, chopped
    2 sticks celery
    600g carrots, slices
    180g red split lentils, washed
    50g brown basmati rice
    1.3 lires veg stock
    2tsp lime juice
    4tsp chopped coriander
    1 can coconut milk

    Heat oil in pan, add ginger, cumin, chilli powder, curry powder and ground coriander, fry on high heat for 3 mins.

    Turn down heat and add veggies.

    In a seperate pan, boil the lentils for 10mins.

    Drain lentils an add to the slow cooker, along with the contents of the other pan, plus the rice.

    Stir in the stock.

    Cook for 3-4hours (HIGH) or 6-7hours (LOW).

    Using a jug/ladle, remove half the soup and set aside.
    Add the coconut milk, lime juice and coriander to the slow cooker, and using a hand blender, liquidize the soup.

    Then return the un-blended half of the soup, to the slow cooker.

    Stir all together, and continue to heat on HIGH for another 20mins.
    10k of Debt

    Debt Free Diary
    • XSpender
    • By XSpender 18th Jan 13, 8:48 PM
    • 3,406 Posts
    • 34,882 Thanks
    xspender...chocolate banana bread ???? have u a recipe u could share...that sounds lovely

    ta tess
    Originally posted by tessie bear
    It is a gluten free recipe but I am sure it would work just the same with ordinary SR flour.

    This makes one 2lb loaf.

    150g of sultanas or 100g of dark choc chips (I use a mix of both)
    100g margarine
    125g sugar
    2 large eggs
    3 large ripe bananas mashed with a fork
    1 tsp vanilla essence (ok without it if you haven't got any in)
    150g gluten free SR flour
    50g of cocoa powder

    Preheat oven to 160 degrees or gas mark 3 and line a loaf tin.

    Cream the sugar and marg together then add the eggs bit by bit. Next add the sultanas/choc chips and then the bananas and the vanilla essence. Beat in the flour until it is all well mixed together.

    Pour into the tin and smooth the top. Bake for 50 minutes to an hour. Leave to cool in the tin for about 10 minutes.

    It tastes amazing when it is still warm. Even my DH who doesn't have a sweet tooth loves it
    October Grocery Challenge - 122.00/220
    • XSpender
    • By XSpender 18th Jan 13, 8:57 PM
    • 3,406 Posts
    • 34,882 Thanks
    Went to Mr S tonight at about 5.30pm and it looked like it had been hit by a plague of locusts I couldn't even get carrots

    I did very well on offers on things I wanted anyway and a couple of whoopsies and cannot believe I only spent 65 which included 12 on wine and 4 on tuna and enough dog food for 2 weeks. I did not buy any meat except a big pack of ham so this will have helped keep the cost down.

    The snow is falling heavily here now and I would love not to have to leave the house tomorrow but DS has a party to go to.
    October Grocery Challenge - 122.00/220
    • MadamMim2013
    • By MadamMim2013 18th Jan 13, 9:37 PM
    • 806 Posts
    • 10,228 Thanks
    NSD due to the snow... grrr bloomin hate the stuff.. looks beautiful but causes absolute mayhem! Hope everyone else had a good day despite the weather..
    "There's a little witch in all of us"
    2018 GC 93 2019 GC 3 2 JUNE GC 192.92/300
    : DEBT FREE 06/2018
  • katholicos
    Heavy snow fall here, as in other places in the uk.

    My food order was delivered today, wasn't expecting it because of the bad weather and on the online tracking it said mere would be a one day delay due to severe weather warning, but it was just a couple of hours late. Poor delivery man, really felt for him, he said he still had in excess of 30 deliveries to make and at that time it was about 4pm or so.

    One my own for tea so had frozen fish and chips. The fish was disappojting, lotsof grey/black looking bits in it, but it was youngs, so not a cruddy make i wouldn't have thought.
    Grocery Challenge for October: 135/200

    NSD Challenge: October 0/14
    • hm71
    • By hm71 18th Jan 13, 10:07 PM
    • 1,932 Posts
    • 2,685 Thanks
    ok so this week had a spend up as back into routine now 69 spent this week between sainsburys & iceland. have had 2 vouchers from milk and more so 2 X 4 pints of milk, 4 rolls of kitchen roll, 12 loo rolls, fruit/veg box and 1 loaf of bread 15 in total but that will come off next week- may be a little over this month but been laid up this week after op and have relied on other half for the shopping- i curse supermarket dvd sections.
    Duct tape is like the force. It has a light side, a dark side, and it holds the world together."

    FEB challenge 128/270 balance 142
    2 saving club 140
  • KatyReed+5
    A few days worth of spends to update.

    2 NSD's woo.

    Food - 8.82
    Household - 16.50
    Eating out - 29.41 ( MUST STOP DOING THIS )
    Fun - 5.70

    Had 3 teeth out this morning under GA so feeling a bit sorry for myself, so off to update sig now, then bed for me.

    June 0.00 GC / 200.00

    Family of 4 : 1 adult 3 kids ages 3,4 & 5.
  • katholicos

    Had 3 teeth out this morning under GA so feeling a bit sorry for myself, so off to update sig now, then bed for me.

    Originally posted by KatyReed+5

    Hope you don't have too much pain and discomfort.
    Grocery Challenge for October: 135/200

    NSD Challenge: October 0/14
    • skint breeder 5
    • By skint breeder 5 19th Jan 13, 12:28 AM
    • 922 Posts
    • 14,243 Thanks
    skint breeder 5
    another NSD today for me....although I will probably need to do an online shop in the next day or two rather than use the over priced local shop.....'i can't believe how just knowing I am going to check in on this thread is making me leave my purse behind, so I just don't nip in on the off chance

    night night one and all
    The cold never bothered me anyway
    • skilly
    • By skilly 19th Jan 13, 7:17 AM
    • 882 Posts
    • 10,225 Thanks
    Another nsd for me yesterday :-) been busy making soups over the last few days and using my Breadmaker so only thing that I am going to run out of soon will be milk .
    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
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