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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 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 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; 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 20
    • K9sandFelines
    • By K9sandFelines 3rd Apr 13, 7:44 PM
    • 2,113 Posts
    • 18,217 Thanks
    K9sandFelines
    Small spend today .... and Mushroom strogonoff with orzo
    1.15 on Lighter choices creme fraiche from C*-*p, to go with tonight's tea, and forgot to add it !! Managed to use up lots of mushrooms and the leftover Gammon from Sunday. Anyway it still tasted lovely, here it is ...




    Will go and update sig and be back shortly once i've caught up, to type up Szechuan recipe.
    Last edited by K9sandFelines; 03-04-2013 at 7:59 PM. Reason: Addition to post
    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 ~
    • K9sandFelines
    • By K9sandFelines 3rd Apr 13, 7:49 PM
    • 2,113 Posts
    • 18,217 Thanks
    K9sandFelines
    Depends on settings ....
    Another one who would love the recipe.
    If you join Photobucket do your pictures also go on facebook or other sites or can you just get them on here and no where else. If so could someone please email me what to do as would consider putting some photos on now and then but not that keen on them going on F/B or for loads to see.
    Originally posted by Billie-jo
    Not sure if anybody has replied yet.You can set different albums to be private or public by clicking on the little cog for each photo or each album. So i have set just photos of meals to Public; but the Photobucket account is synched to a Facebook account of mine purely for Slimming World. My personal one i have deactivated as i got bored of it!!! If you can't suss it out, i'll gladly PM you.

    About to type up recipe shortly
    Last edited by K9sandFelines; 03-04-2013 at 8:03 PM.
    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 ~
  • she who can not cook
    Anybody point me in the direction of some tried and tested recipes with mushrooms please? Bought YS punnet of, yesterday, and checked the fridge to find i already had some .... first hitch of meal planning!
    Originally posted by K9sandFelines
    I slices and cook and freeze mine i also cook in a bit of water and make soup out of it
    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
    • ImDoingItForMe
    • By ImDoingItForMe 3rd Apr 13, 7:54 PM
    • 870 Posts
    • 4,795 Thanks
    ImDoingItForMe
    Just another update. I spent another 4.50 today. I did quite well and bought a YS loaf, YS 1 x 4pints of milk (half of which i decanted into another empty 2 pint bottle and froze). YS hot x buns, YS diced beef, which i separated into 3 batches and froze and last but not least eggs. Think i done well today
    • Sweetie83
    • By Sweetie83 3rd Apr 13, 7:57 PM
    • 48 Posts
    • 669 Thanks
    Sweetie83
    Thanks K9sandFelines cos that dinner (post #342) looks amazing and would love to add to my meal plan!!xx
    Grocery Challenge: Jan 15 323/280, Feb 275/280
    One DH, 2 DD's aged 6 and 3 and a hungry cat!

    • K9sandFelines
    • By K9sandFelines 3rd Apr 13, 8:01 PM
    • 2,113 Posts
    • 18,217 Thanks
    K9sandFelines
    No room in the freezer!
    I slices and cook and freeze mine i also cook in a bit of water and make soup out of it
    Originally posted by she who can not cook
    Will have to eat as i go, and try not to overbuy again!
    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 ~
    • storytime
    • By storytime 3rd Apr 13, 8:20 PM
    • 331 Posts
    • 1,469 Thanks
    storytime
    Spends at Lidl 25.88 and Mr T 45.63. I had a 5 voucher if I spent 40. Won't need much next week but Mr T has given me another 5 voucher! I've decided to ignore it as I don't have any room in my cupboards or freezers.n
    My secret fantasy is having 2 men....
    1 cooking and 1 cleaning.
    • Kitchenbunny
    • By Kitchenbunny 3rd Apr 13, 8:23 PM
    • 1,860 Posts
    • 20,252 Thanks
    Kitchenbunny
    Happily reporting an NSD for me today First day back at work after Easter and I resisted the lure of the supermarket. Well, running late, defrosting the car and having to fill up meant I had little to no time so that did help

    Went around to Mum's tonight for tea and she made us a lovely pizza with some chips. Bless her, I hope I can return the favour for her soon, but she doesn't really like to go out too much. Going to do a jambalaya tomorrow so must remember to take a bit of chicken out of the freezer!

    Off to update my sig with NSD totals now. K9 am loving your meal pics! They look scrummy! Have a lovely evening everyone.

    KB xx

    • K9sandFelines
    • By K9sandFelines 3rd Apr 13, 8:24 PM
    • 2,113 Posts
    • 18,217 Thanks
    K9sandFelines
    Szechuan Seabass (chicken/pork etc)
    Serves 4
    I omitted Szechuan peppercorns and red chillies, so would be even nicer with ... and used dried spices.

    400g sea bass fillets, skin on (or equivalent)
    salt

    for the szechuan sauce
    cooking spray
    3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
    5cm piece root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
    2 red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
    6 spring onions, finely chopped
    2 tsp Szechuan peppercorns, crushed
    2 tbsp tomato puree
    1 level tbsp hot chilli paste ( also known as Sambal Oelek ... I used Harissa paste )
    2 tbsp dark soy sauce
    3 tbsp rice vinegar
    100ml chicken stock

    for the vegetables
    6 spring onions, diagonally cut into 3 cm lengths
    2 red peppers, deseeded and sliced
    4 pak choi, thickly sliced ( i omitted this and used babycorn)
    4 tbsp light soy sauce

    Method
    First make sauce by spraying wok with cooking spray/oil and place over a med heat. Stir fry the garlic, ginger, red chillies, and spring onions for two minutes until softened. Stir in the peppercorns, tomato puree and hot chilli sauce and continue to fry for a few seconds. Add the soy sauce, vinegar and stock and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cook for tw0 minutes or until thickened.

    Make three or four deep cuts into side of the fish/meat. ( i just cut up chicken, sealed and stirred into sauce on the hob). Place on a baking parchment, season with salt and brush all over with most of the Szechuan sauce. Place in the oven and bake for fifteen minutes or until the fish is cooked through.

    While the fish is in the oven, cook the vegetables. Spray a wok or large frying pan with cooking spray/oil and place over a high heat. Add the spring onions and stir-fry for two minutes or until softened. Add the red peppers, pak choi and five tablespoons of water and stir fry for a further four minutes until the vegetables are tender, then stir into soy sauce.

    Divide the vegetables between four serving plates, top each with sea bass fillet/ meat and spoon over the remaining Szechuan sauce.

    Serve with rice or noodles.

    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 ~
    • Guineapigsqueaks
    • By Guineapigsqueaks 3rd Apr 13, 8:26 PM
    • 302 Posts
    • 3,052 Thanks
    Guineapigsqueaks
    Leeks!
    Evening All

    Small spend at Mr S, leeks that I couldn't get Supersix at Ald*, four decent size ones, loose, 1.12. They are 2 a kilo like this, 4 a kilo trimmed and packaged and I didn't waste much buying loose, only very tops too coarse. Wanted to do HM leek and potato soup for sis who is bit poorly. Duly delivered soup, I had leftover portion for my tea.

    Also some Basics veg stock cubes, 15p (thought I'd try, look pretty much same ingredients as Mr S own brand ones which are 99p) and Basics fabric conditioner 60p.

    Total: 1.87. Will update signature.

    Hope everyone has restful night x


    Keep Smiling
    • K9sandFelines
    • By K9sandFelines 3rd Apr 13, 8:27 PM
    • 2,113 Posts
    • 18,217 Thanks
    K9sandFelines
    . K9 am loving your meal pics! They look scrummy! Have a lovely evening everyone.KB xx
    Originally posted by Kitchenbunny
    Glad i can share at last KB. I love cooking ... about as much as i love buying food , so nice to be able to give others ideas.
    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 ~
    • Eyebright
    • By Eyebright 3rd Apr 13, 8:31 PM
    • 860 Posts
    • 4,682 Thanks
    Eyebright
    53.39 spend @ AS*A today on the weekly shop, forgot onions but have 3 left. Will see if I can stretch them out until next week's shop rather than having to nip out for a top-up shop

    Feel like I have spent a fortune already this month, so will have to watch the pennies for the next few weeks. Hopefully shouldn't have to buy anymore cleaning products this month which always seem to drain the budget!

    Off to update my signature now
    DFD Feb 2018 Total debt now 12672.13 6919.63
    EFC #11 150/1000 = 15% achieved
    • NickJW
    • By NickJW 3rd Apr 13, 8:45 PM
    • 678 Posts
    • 13,646 Thanks
    NickJW
    So - I have had my Mr T delivery today - My share came to 49.82 after discounts.

    Also spent 7.05 in Mr S today.

    Got quite a lot of things to go with lunches along with turkey for meals for the next 2 weeks and household products.

    Will update signature in a bit.

    Still need to get some things from the supermarket because I didn't buy veg.

    Can see it's going to be another expensive month!
    Grocery Challenge 14 Jan 14 46.05/130

    Grocery Challenge 13 -spent 1453.06
    Grocery Challenge 12 -spent 1565.51

    DFD 1st March 2011
    • JIL
    • By JIL 3rd Apr 13, 9:12 PM
    • 4,177 Posts
    • 23,250 Thanks
    JIL
    Mushroom pate recipe
    Anybody point me in the direction of some tried and tested recipes with mushrooms please? Bought YS punnet of, yesterday, and checked the fridge to find i already had some .... first hitch of meal planning!
    Originally posted by K9sandFelines
    I make a vege mushroom pate, really easy and cheap and tastes like the shop bought Cauldron one.

    200g roughly chopped mushrooms, 1 small chopped onion
    100 g cream cheese best with the garlic and herb variety
    tablespoon of lemon juice.
    black pepper to taste

    gently fry the onion and mushrooms for about 10 mins in a little oil or butter. Let any liquid cook out. when it looks dry put in a blender and chop to get a chunky consistency.

    Mix with the cream cheese, lemon juice and pepper and put into a pot to cool and set in the fridge.

    Its lovely on toast, with pitta and in sandwiches.

    Keeps for about four days in the fridge.
    Last edited by JIL; 04-04-2013 at 9:25 PM.
    • PrincessLou
    • By PrincessLou 3rd Apr 13, 9:40 PM
    • 496 Posts
    • 1,928 Thanks
    PrincessLou
    Hi all,

    I have a question which i hope someone knows the answer to! I bought a pack of four chicken breasts and stuck them in the freezer a couple of weeks ago. I want to use half the pack this weekend but don't know how to get just two of the chicken breasts out of the pack to use without having to defrost the whole pack. The four pieces are frozen solid stuck together and i don't know what to do?

    Any advice much appreciated
    • slscarborough
    • By slscarborough 3rd Apr 13, 10:04 PM
    • 847 Posts
    • 1,934 Thanks
    slscarborough
    Can you please put me in for 350.00 again as with school holidays I think I will end up spending more than last month.
    • JIL
    • By JIL 3rd Apr 13, 10:16 PM
    • 4,177 Posts
    • 23,250 Thanks
    JIL
    Hi all,

    I have a question which i hope someone knows the answer to! I bought a pack of four chicken breasts and stuck them in the freezer a couple of weeks ago. I want to use half the pack this weekend but don't know how to get just two of the chicken breasts out of the pack to use without having to defrost the whole pack. The four pieces are frozen solid stuck together and i don't know what to do?

    Any advice much appreciated
    Originally posted by PrincessLou
    It may not be conventional and the results arent pretty but i would unwrap them and put them in a clean carrier bag. Tie the handles and either slam them against a hard floor or swing them against a wall. They will seperate.
    Then leave some to defrost and put the rest back in the freezer suitably wrapped!! this was a regular thing in my parents house many moons ago!!
    • K9sandFelines
    • By K9sandFelines 3rd Apr 13, 10:16 PM
    • 2,113 Posts
    • 18,217 Thanks
    K9sandFelines
    Ooh this sounds right up my street ....
    I make a vege mushroom pate, really easy and cheap and tastes like the shop bought Cauldron one.

    200g roughly chopped mushrooms, 1 small chopped onion
    100 g cream cheese best with the garlic and herb variety
    tablespoon of lemon juice.
    black pepper to taste

    gently fry the onion and mushrooms for about 10 mins in a little oil or butter. Let any liquid cook out. when it looks dry put in a blender and chop to get a chunky consistency.

    Mix with the cream cheese, lemon juice and pepper and put into a pot to cool and set in the fridge.

    Its lovely on toast, with pitta and in sandwiches.

    Keeps for about four days in the fridge.
    Originally posted by JIL
    Thanks for that. I haven't got any cream cheese in; but could quickly flick some Quark (this is good on SW ) to the online shopping and add some garlic and herbs to that. Might even have this for dinner tomorrow
    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 ~
    • MadamMim2013
    • By MadamMim2013 3rd Apr 13, 11:11 PM
    • 800 Posts
    • 10,130 Thanks
    MadamMim2013
    50.01 spend on groceries today at M*rrisons
    It's going to have to last a while or else it'll be the cat biscuits for tea..
    "There's a little witch in all of us"
    2018 GC 93 2019 GC 3 2 JUNE GC 170/300
    : DEBT FREE 06/2018
  • MissE001
    20 petrol and 1.98 in lidl today - garlic bread and orange juice
    SPC Member #112 Save 2k in 2014 # 160
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