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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 fourth Grocery Challenge of 2013

    If your new month starts early feel free to join this thread, or if you're still working on your March budget, then keep on posting in the:
    March 2013 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; 24-03-2013 at 10:36 AM.
    A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men
    Norn Iron club member #380

Page 15
    • rogue999
    • By rogue999 1st Apr 13, 6:05 PM
    • 160 Posts
    • 1,077 Thanks
    Called in Ald* today for Coffee, milk, tuna and fruit - spent 10 exactly (how often does that happen!). Kids are away at my parents this week so just me and DH and we have a couple of evenings out with Tesco Pizza Express rewards and a Groupon to use so should be fine for shopping until Saturday.
    • mummyyof5
    • By mummyyof5 1st Apr 13, 6:16 PM
    • 1,839 Posts
    • 39,830 Thanks
    Lost the plot in March so need to try again for April...My target will be 200 for the month..OH pays for all basics in L**l when hes home and most of the petfood....I pay for all top ups when he is away (coach driver,currently abroad more than at home ) and things we prefer from MrTs etc.

    Will either be Pies or spaghetti and meatballs tomorrow depending on what my kids fancy...we had chicken kiev,wedges and salad need more salad and cat biscuits...I have to get these from MrTs as they do Senior ones and my cats are getting on in years

    NSD today so good start xxx
    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.
    • Welsh Poppy
    • By Welsh Poppy 1st Apr 13, 6:19 PM
    • 980 Posts
    • 5,912 Thanks
    Welsh Poppy
    NSD here - hopefully the first of many for april.
    Been having a lazy day today and spent most of it sewing squares together for a blanket. Dont mind the knitting or the crocheting but not that keen on the sewing bit.
    Originally posted by Billie-jo
    I am the same love the crotching or knitting but hate sewing up.I must have over 50 squares to stitch.

    NSD today hopefully the first of many.

    Dinner was hungarian goulash and dumplings for OH I just had veggie sausage beans and poached egg on toast.

    menu planned for week
    Tuesday HM soup and rolls
    Wednesday Chicken curry and rice
    Thursday Cheese and potato pie with sausage and salad
    Friday HM Fish pie and broccoli
    Saturday Sausage ,mushy peas and chips
    Sunday Roast dinner.
    Weight loss challenge 66lb to go /59lb's lost

    Grocery Budget January 150/175
    Feb 150/
    • Welsh Poppy
    • By Welsh Poppy 1st Apr 13, 6:20 PM
    • 980 Posts
    • 5,912 Thanks
    Welsh Poppy
    My meals are vegetarian and need to work out what i want this week:-)
    Weight loss challenge 66lb to go /59lb's lost

    Grocery Budget January 150/175
    Feb 150/
    • DanielleNic87
    • By DanielleNic87 1st Apr 13, 6:20 PM
    • 1,038 Posts
    • 13,314 Thanks
    Spent 12 (rounded up) at Lidl on Saturday. Had to buy some Worcester sauce, eggs, crumpets, orange juice, cat treats. Also bought 40 bars of the white choc that was on offer. That has not come out of the GC budget as I use it for my baking.

    Annual GC 2017 1634.61/2200
    • craigywv
    • By craigywv 1st Apr 13, 6:38 PM
    • 1,976 Posts
    • 27,825 Thanks
    WELSH POPPY i would love the recipe for the goulash pls thks.
    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!!.
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 1st Apr 13, 7:15 PM
    • 3,984 Posts
    • 52,562 Thanks
    Impressive creative cooking there.I love the idea of keepig a bit back to make a another meal. This was a tip given to me by my dear Nan 50 years ago when I first got married. She said pretend you have an unexpected guest and stretch the meal to feed 3 instead of 2, worked a treat.
    Originally posted by meg72
    Great tip from your Nan.
    15 in 2015 1/15
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 1st Apr 13, 7:19 PM
    • 3,984 Posts
    • 52,562 Thanks
    NSD here.
    Had a quick meal from the freezer for dinner - something Mr F got when I was away. I am not a fan of sweet and sour but I ate it.

    15 in 2015 1/15
    • nannygladys
    • By nannygladys 1st Apr 13, 7:36 PM
    • 1,264 Posts
    • 13,697 Thanks
    Hi everyone, just calling in to say as I havent spent anything my GC money is still in tact.
    Had stir fry for dinner that was bought a couple of days ago, and I dont think I will be going to the bank for a couple of days so I should be able to keep it up!! I have plenty in my cupboards, fridge and freezer so I should be OK
    • Nicky Noo Na
    • By Nicky Noo Na 1st Apr 13, 7:42 PM
    • 760 Posts
    • 6,713 Thanks
    Nicky Noo Na
    Proper weekly shop done today at 28.18 which I thought was reasonable and included a few decent YS items with shops being shut y'day, but then nipped to MrT for one thing and spent 20.84! oops. Oh well I had intended to buy a leg of lamb as its reduced to 4/kg so that was almost 10 and can remove 5.75 as it was a b'day pressie for a friend. A few more bits bought were not needed yet but good to get them while on offer and we'll use at some point in April. So, 43.27 to add. Actually thats pretty bad considering we did top-ups earlier in the weekend too, booooo.

    I unexpectedly received the 5 off Mr Ts voucher as wasn't expecting to spend anywhere near 20 to receive one. Luckily it has a long date so planning a minimal spend next week and then maybe stock up the week after. Mr T isn't my usual supermarket so any ideas for good value non-perishables people like to get from there please let me know!!

    • mummyyof5
    • By mummyyof5 1st Apr 13, 7:46 PM
    • 1,839 Posts
    • 39,830 Thanks
    I love the 28p Tomato sauce..the cheap pasta and rice is pretty good too.

    I have to shop at MrTs when OH is away as its the only supermarket in our local town.
    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.
    • Bluegreen143
    • By Bluegreen143 1st Apr 13, 7:48 PM
    • 1,101 Posts
    • 12,692 Thanks
    Kitchenbunny - I have started a blog and so have already written and costed the recipe for that, so no problem at all to post it here

    Gnocchi with sage butter Serves two.

    Roughly 275g potatoes, kept whole and in their skins (I used four medium-small ones) 20p
    100g plain flour, sifted 3p
    1 egg, beaten (the recipe called for 1 egg for four portions, I just didn’t want to waste the other half of the egg) 17p
    160g roasted butternut squash, chopped into pieces (see note at the bottom re roasting squash) 23p
    60g walnut halves 70p
    35g butter 14p
    1 small handful fresh sage, roughly chopped (I used about a quarter of a pack, which was all I had, but would increase next time) 16p
    1-2 tblsp olive oil (to roast squash) 10p
    80g frozen peas 8p

    Boil the potatoes for about 20 minutes, until tender. Allow to cool a bit, slip the skins off with your fingers, cut into smaller pieces and press through a sieve to mash finely (mashing by hand will leave lumps in your finished gnocchi! I tried that last time).

    Add the flour and egg, and mix well, kneading – you can season a little here too. It will make quite a soft dough. Roll into a sausage about 1.5cm diameter (might be easier to handle if you make two sausages) and cut into 1cm thick pieces. Press the tines of a fork very lightly into each one to make the ridged gnocchi shape. The dough is quite soft, so you might need to flour the fork after every few or else it sticks. Chill.

    At this point, I roasted the squash. I roasted the whole squash in wedges, unpeeled, by tossing in a little olive oil, salt and pepper and cooking at 200C for about 30 minutes. You can eat the skin when it’s been roasted (it’s really good) so all I did then was pick out about 160g and chop into smaller pieces. The rest is in a tub in the fridge, ready to be added to meals all week. You can chuck into any curries or stews, toss through salads or serve as a side dish.

    In the last five minutes of roasting the squash, pop the walnuts in the oven to toast slightly before chopping. Boil the peas for a few minutes and set aside.

    Cook the gnocchi in a large pan of boiling water – I salted the water and cooked in two batches. They only take a couple of minutes and you know when they’re done as they float to the top. Remove with a slotted spoon so you can do the next batch.

    Meanwhile, heat the butter oven a low heat in a high-sided frying pan and cook the sage for one minute. Add the walnuts, peas and squash to warm through.

    91p per portion. Season and serve with a dusting of parmesan or similar if desired (13p for 10g Mr A Grana Padano) – we also had a side salad (50p for half a bag of salad leaves, plus 5p for olive oil and 2p for balsamic vinegar).
    Married 1 March 2014 DS born 06/12/15

    CC - 2,182.17/2,182.17
    Family loan 1 - 1,680/1,680
    Family loan 2 - 3,500/5,000
    • lbnblbnb
    • By lbnblbnb 1st Apr 13, 7:53 PM
    • 564 Posts
    • 5,881 Thanks
    I have to go back to Aldi tomorrow as I noticed when I was adding up my receipts that I was charged for a "Fishing bivvy" ...19.99
    I looked online and the last time they had fishing bivvys for sale waslast August. I have been racking my brains to think what I DID buy, but can't remember. None of the items I bought was very expensive. It would be the time I was in a tearing hurry and used my card, so I didn't notice. I guess I am not the only person this has happened to, the code must have been set wrong for another item.
    Grocery Challenge (2 adults 2 kids)
    19th June -18th July 91:15/150 61%

    Save 12,000 in 2013 No. 188 7382/12,000 62%
    2013 Frugal Living Challenge
    Debt free October 2012
    • Living proof
    • By Living proof 1st Apr 13, 7:53 PM
    • 1,567 Posts
    • 10,212 Thanks
    Living proof
    Started the month with 4.77 on Indian spices and 10.34 in Lidl, mainly with 30% off. I have had a bit of a sort out in the freezer and there is tons of stuff in there - home cooked ready meals and also joints and meats waiting to be cooked. I do find it difficult to keep up with what is where even now I have an upright freezer rather than a back-breaking chest one. I will have to run it down this month or there won't be any room after the next batch has been decanted (goulash - it must be the weather for it!). I am sure there will have been some bargains out there today but nothing is a bargain unless you need it so I will make do for as long as possible using up existing stocks.
    Solar Suntellite 250 x16 4kW Afore 3600TL dual 2KW E 2KW W no shade, DN15 March 14
    Mortgage and Debt Free. Unfortunately Pension Free too!
    • lbnblbnb
    • By lbnblbnb 1st Apr 13, 7:55 PM
    • 564 Posts
    • 5,881 Thanks
    bluegreen that looks lovely. We all love gnocchi and I have half a butternut squash already roasted in the fridge...!
    Would you mind sharing your blog? Always interested in delicious but frugal recipes. X
    Grocery Challenge (2 adults 2 kids)
    19th June -18th July 91:15/150 61%

    Save 12,000 in 2013 No. 188 7382/12,000 62%
    2013 Frugal Living Challenge
    Debt free October 2012
    • K9sandFelines
    • By K9sandFelines 1st Apr 13, 7:55 PM
    • 2,113 Posts
    • 18,217 Thanks
    Veggie meals ...
    My meals are vegetarian and need to work out what i want this week:-)
    Originally posted by Welsh Poppy
    Will be watching your meal plan for inspiration ... i'm trying to become vegetarian again, and eat vegetarian probably six out of seven meals of the week. Was one when i was fourteen to eighteen, and been thinking about reverting back for ages.
    GC 2017 3,434.09 GC 2018 2,250.95 GC 2019 Jan 268.24/200 Feb 158.01/200 Mar 220.05/200 April (moving) May (adjusting 270.73), Jun 72.43/280
    ~ Still learning the art of frugality ~
    • Wentthedaywell?
    • By Wentthedaywell? 1st Apr 13, 8:08 PM
    • 522 Posts
    • 2,952 Thanks
    I have to go back to Aldi tomorrow as I noticed when I was adding up my receipts that I was charged for a "Fishing bivvy" ...19.99
    Originally posted by lbnblbnb
    I'm sorry you'll have another trip lbnblbnb but I couldn't help but laugh. If someone was trying too pull a fast one, a fishing bivvy must be about the most conspicuous article to try sneak past you!
    Save 15k in 2019 # 4 May 11,000 (73%)
    • brighteyes1987
    • By brighteyes1987 1st Apr 13, 8:28 PM
    • 167 Posts
    • 1,751 Thanks
    Evening all,

    NSD to begin the month hopefully the first of many.

    Had a lovely day with dd & didn't spend a penny. I promised her we could do whatever she wanted as I have been working loads & haven't really spent a lot of time with her lately. I offered the usual expensive places but she wanted to stay home & play/ do craft etc.. We had a fab time!

    Hm lasagne for dinner (dd request) with jacket potato. Two portions left for freezer also.

    Hope everyone has enjoyed the long weekend, back to normality 2moro

    BE X
    March grocery challenge 147.28 / 150.00

    April grocery challenge 60.36 / 150.00
    • lbnblbnb
    • By lbnblbnb 1st Apr 13, 8:57 PM
    • 564 Posts
    • 5,881 Thanks
    I'm sorry you'll have another trip lbnblbnb but I couldn't help but laugh. If someone was trying too pull a fast one, a fishing bivvy must be about the most conspicuous article to try sneak past you!
    Originally posted by Wentthedaywell?
    Yes, you got me laughing too! Ridiculous.
    Grocery Challenge (2 adults 2 kids)
    19th June -18th July 91:15/150 61%

    Save 12,000 in 2013 No. 188 7382/12,000 62%
    2013 Frugal Living Challenge
    Debt free October 2012
  • Rachel021967
    /SIZE]Please put me down for 600.
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