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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 28
    • K9sandFelines
    • By K9sandFelines 8th Apr 13, 9:20 AM
    • 2,127 Posts
    • 18,279 Thanks
    K9sandFelines
    Taucheo chicken and Five spice ...
    Thursday - Taucheo chicken with soy bean paste, mushrooms, soy beans, spring onions, ginger and garlic served with rice (have about 2 meals left to have with this paste)

    Is this spicy or bland?

    Saturday - Five spice chicken with garlic ginger, spring onions, soy beans, carrots served with rice [/QUOTE]

    Do you have any recipes for these Nick, or a link you can point me in the direction of please? They both sound great.

    Enjoy your Cajun chicken. I had that yesterday, as my Dad took me out, it was fab!
    Last edited by K9sandFelines; 08-04-2013 at 4:36 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 291.01/280 Jul 344.31/300 Aug 232.48/300 Sep 320.91/300 Oct 92.97/300
    ~ Still learning the art of frugality ~
  • goldopals
    Updating spends: $20 on groceries (including chocolate for end of turn treat for the kids)

    Meal Plan for this week:
    Monday: porridge, HM sausage stirfry, HM lasagna
    Tuesday: porridge, HM sausage stirfry, HM lemongrass chicken stirfry
    Wednesday: porridge, HM lasagna, HM chicken curry sandwich
    Thursday: porridge, HM quiche, HM chicken curry with rice
    Friday: porridge, YS meat pie (good old Aussie classic), whatever mum cooks

    My freezer is full of HM ready meals; it is easier for me to cook after a busy day of work. I do not like to cook meals with multiple parts (meat, veg, potatoes) and prefer stirfries where it is served in one lot.
    Fortnightly budget: $50/$60
    On my way towards saving for America!
    • Coxy11
    • By Coxy11 8th Apr 13, 9:39 AM
    • 2,322 Posts
    • 27,347 Thanks
    Coxy11
    Hi everyone,

    NickJW - that turkey sounds gross! Hope SAINSBURYS do the decent thing hehe!

    Well I'm officially a dingbat, because I did forget to get the beef shin out of the freezer yesterday Therefore tonight we will have chicken and chorizo pasta from the index. Casserole tomorrow instead.

    I did some fundraising on Saturday, bagpacking in Sainsbury with the Scouts. Amazed at how many carrier bags we got through in the 2.5 hours. Over 100 on my checkout alone. I think we should definitely start charging like they do in Wales, and I hear today in N.Ireland they are starting something similar. We could pay the country's deficit off in no time

    Still have 6 children here (3 of DDs friends slept over last night) so just waiting for them to be picked up then off for a brisk walk with the dog.

    Have a good day all.
    Coxy
    Cross-stitch WIP: Pretty Little London by Satsuma Street
    • ImDoingItForMe
    • By ImDoingItForMe 8th Apr 13, 9:43 AM
    • 870 Posts
    • 4,795 Thanks
    ImDoingItForMe
    Hi, ive just been shopping and overspent on this months budget by 3.26, which isnt too bad. I wanted to use all my coupons and also some of the offers run out today and tomorrow at Mr.T, so i took advantage of it today whilst i had the time to sort them out. The shoping would have come to 21.54, but i combined a clothing voucher and used my social spends money for those, but took the 5 off 40 shop off my food allowance. So saved 14.40 It took a lot of working out to do though. But worth it.
    Last edited by ImDoingItForMe; 08-04-2013 at 9:51 AM.
    • Sligo
    • By Sligo 8th Apr 13, 10:18 AM
    • 209 Posts
    • 1,067 Thanks
    Sligo
    Morning all! I've had to change my budget this month. Pushing my 5 week month out to next month so I'm changing my budget for this month to 600.

    This weekends shop brings my spend up to 276.96/600 so far. It's on target, the freezer has a small surplus in it and the hens are laying so there'll be baking done to use up the eggs! Looking good!

    • rowsew
    • By rowsew 8th Apr 13, 10:45 AM
    • 168 Posts
    • 953 Thanks
    rowsew
    Running in late (got another cold, bleurgh) to say please put me down for 215 for April. I was 24 over for March, but I still persist. If I can stay within budget it would be great, but the way food prices are moving up (again) I'm not sure if it will happen. If it warms up I will be able to start planting on the lotty, which will help a bit, but we've only got kale left up there for now. God help us all if it starts raining like last year.
    2 savers club (no. 153) 20
    GC 2013 Jan 223.48/150, Feb 241.45/200, Mar 244.24/220, Apr 215.85/215, May 0/210
    • xxlouisexx56
    • By xxlouisexx56 8th Apr 13, 11:49 AM
    • 2,191 Posts
    • 30,133 Thanks
    xxlouisexx56
    Yesterday was a NsD for GC.

    Took DD1 to the cinema and bought sweets popcorn and fizzy drinks it was a nice treat! Then we had McDonald's and bought McDonald's home for DP and DD2.

    Today I need to go to morrisons tonight to get rolls for our picnic tomorrow.
    We are going to peppa pig world for dd2's birthday tomorrow. We need snacks for weds too although we will eat a couple of meals out, taking one picnic and snacks will cut down some costs
    • sweetpea26
    • By sweetpea26 8th Apr 13, 12:10 PM
    • 780 Posts
    • 5,775 Thanks
    sweetpea26
    Afternoon all

    took youngest giant son to shop last night to pick up some snacks as promised ....cost me 6.76 !

    Trip to MrTea's

    spent 46.53 and for that I bought

    reduced lamb shoulder
    reduced Finest burgers
    reduced Lean Mince x3
    reduced Chicken x 5
    reduced Gammon Steaks giant size pack of 2's.... x4

    Strong White flower on offer 3 for 2 so bought 6 packs @ 80p which worked out at each costing 40p

    Large pack mushrooms
    loose carrots
    bag value onions
    bag red onions
    bag of tomatoes
    bag val peppers
    3 kg of Bananas
    2 seeded loaves
    3 lt milk SS
    Jordans cereal on offer at 2
    Tesco cereal for son

    oh and a pack of 4 fresh cream eclairs reduced to 59p

    All in all a good shop as I rarely shop there as I find it very expensive.

    All the best and keep going.
    Last edited by sweetpea26; 08-04-2013 at 12:14 PM.
    [B]2019 Weight Loss Declutter Goal 45lbs
    12 / 45
    September Grocery Challenge /400
    • bargainbetty
    • By bargainbetty 8th Apr 13, 12:46 PM
    • 3,107 Posts
    • 7,162 Thanks
    bargainbetty
    Hello all,

    Been off work for a little bit, so had time to sort out the cupboards, fridge and freezer. I have 20 HM ready meals to work my way through, so intend to be a good girl and use up the stash before buying more meat (unless it's a really good bargain).

    With any luck, I can keep this month down to as little as possible! I'm saving hard for a mortgage overpayment, and possibly a holiday this summer too!

    Hoping everyone is doing as well as they can with the gifts they've got...
    BBx
    Some days, it's just not worth chewing through the leather straps....
    LB moment - March 2006. DFD - 1 June 2012!!! DEBT FREE!
    MFW - Joined May 2012, aiming to cut the mortgage by an extra two months every year. (Overpaid 3000 so far)
    , only 11 years to go.

    • budgeteer
    • By budgeteer 8th Apr 13, 1:36 PM
    • 682 Posts
    • 4,308 Thanks
    budgeteer
    My total since the 1st April is 44, which is within budget (180) for the month. However, I have plenty of food in the cupboards and freezer so I'm hoping to come out under budget in the end.

    It is interesting to find that I'm finding more ways to save by 'making it myself'. I thought I was already doing pretty well in that area, but we have recently been enjoying home-made pizza using watered down tomato puree - just enough to make it easy to spread on the base, before adding cheese and a little bacon or leftover smoked sausage.

    One thing I would like to find out is how to make simple but enjoyable curries, using just mild or medium curry powder - rather than jars or more complicated blends.
    • Billie-jo
    • By Billie-jo 8th Apr 13, 2:20 PM
    • 1,221 Posts
    • 15,892 Thanks
    Billie-jo
    One thing I would like to find out is how to make simple but enjoyable curries, using just mild or medium curry powder - rather than jars or more complicated blends.
    Originally posted by budgeteer
    I have a very old cookery book that was MIL first published in 1952 and they have a 'Simple Beef Curry' in it -

    1lb uncooked steak (I used skirt beef)
    2oz fat
    2 onions sliced
    1 DSP curry powder
    1 DSP curry paste
    1 DSP flour
    1/2 pint stock
    1TBSP grated coconut

    Fry the onions, curry powder, curry paste and the flour then add the meat and cook for few minutes. Stir in the stock then add the coconut. Cover and cook slowly until meat is tender 1-2 hours. I have also added some chopped peppers, mushrooms, garlic and added a squirt of tomato puree. I also add more curry powder but that's personal taste and either a chopped up apple or some sultanas . I was surprised on how tasty it was with it not having many spice ingredients in.
    [COLOR="Purple"][B] MARCH 62.38/250 [B][COLOR="Purple"]
    • budgeteer
    • By budgeteer 8th Apr 13, 3:01 PM
    • 682 Posts
    • 4,308 Thanks
    budgeteer
    I have a very old cookery book that was MIL first published in 1952 and they have a 'Simple Beef Curry' in it -

    1lb uncooked steak (I used skirt beef)
    2oz fat
    2 onions sliced
    1 DSP curry powder
    1 DSP curry paste
    1 DSP flour
    1/2 pint stock
    1TBSP grated coconut

    Fry the onions, curry powder, curry paste and the flour then add the meat and cook for few minutes. Stir in the stock then add the coconut. Cover and cook slowly until meat is tender 1-2 hours. I have also added some chopped peppers, mushrooms, garlic and added a squirt of tomato puree. I also add more curry powder but that's personal taste and either a chopped up apple or some sultanas . I was surprised on how tasty it was with it not having many spice ingredients in.
    Originally posted by Billie-jo
    Thank you so much for taking the time to post this recipe. It is just the kind of thing I was looking for and your added advice about how you used it yourself is especially helpful.
    • Welsh Poppy
    • By Welsh Poppy 8th Apr 13, 3:36 PM
    • 980 Posts
    • 5,912 Thanks
    Welsh Poppy
    Afternoon
    The first spend day of April 6.50
    I got 2 loaves bread, 1/2 dozen eggs from farm,bananas,2 packs quorn peppered steaks plenty till weekend.
    Dinner will be poached eggs and beans on toast OH will have 2 rashers of bacon as well.
    Weight loss challenge 66lb to go /59lb's lost

    Grocery Budget January 150/175
    Feb 150/
    • hex2
    • By hex2 8th Apr 13, 3:48 PM
    • 4,722 Posts
    • 80,174 Thanks
    hex2
    Strong White flower on offer 3 for 2 so bought 6 packs @ 80p which worked out at each costing 40p
    Originally posted by sweetpea26
    Almost worth suffering for at that price! Is it 3 for 2 on all the baking again?

    Leek and potato soup on the hob, also finally made a start on the sausage casserole.

    Milk, bread, reduced veg and 2 big packs of reduced chicken thighs in the co-op plus sweets for the boy to take into school for his recent birthday (who started that custom -PIA!) came in at 10.14. Chicken thighs in freezer till I think of something to do with them.
    'If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need' Marcus Tullius Cicero
    • Kitchenbunny
    • By Kitchenbunny 8th Apr 13, 4:07 PM
    • 1,861 Posts
    • 20,260 Thanks
    Kitchenbunny
    Afternoon, popping on to update my challenge for April with a spend of 10.27 at Mr M. I didn't get time to do a full shop today, so the rest will be done during the week.

    Going to have a try at making crispy chilli beef tonight with noodles - from a jar though so not really cooking from scratch!

    Have a good evening, everyone.

    KB xx

    • K9sandFelines
    • By K9sandFelines 8th Apr 13, 4:35 PM
    • 2,127 Posts
    • 18,279 Thanks
    K9sandFelines
    Managed a NSD ( will update sig shortly)
    I did have a spend in the charity shop on a lovely record book (where you record addresses/birthdays etc) which contained lots of blank kitty cards ... and a new purse; but no groceries, even though i did look in C*-*p to check out the YS section.
    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 291.01/280 Jul 344.31/300 Aug 232.48/300 Sep 320.91/300 Oct 92.97/300
    ~ Still learning the art of frugality ~
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 8th Apr 13, 6:00 PM
    • 3,996 Posts
    • 52,590 Thanks
    Florenceem
    If you do buy one, can you let me know if they are quite big please as they look it!?
    Originally posted by K9sandFelines
    They are big - worth the money - I got a pink one.
    15 in 2015 1/15
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 8th Apr 13, 6:03 PM
    • 3,996 Posts
    • 52,590 Thanks
    Florenceem
    Florenceen

    I fancy one of the bowls I but wanted to know how big I have a collection of M&C bowls and love them.
    7 NSD on the trot using up what we have although we are out of eggs and bread and 2 things we cant live without.

    Dinner today will be roast potatoes,swede and carrots sausage and gravy.
    I spent most of yesterday mashing a sack of potatoes for freezer as well as 2 tray wedges.
    Originally posted by Welsh Poppy
    I have a large authentic colour M&C.
    The bowls are a very good size for 6.99 at Aldi - my one only had a couple of pink and blue ones.
    15 in 2015 1/15
    • sistercas
    • By sistercas 8th Apr 13, 6:08 PM
    • 4,842 Posts
    • 58,667 Thanks
    sistercas
    Another NSD today as I've been at work. I did chicken and roasted veg for dinner using up some bottom of the fridge veg , everyone really liked it

    Not sure what's for dinner tomorrow as dd2 wants to make it as I don't finish work till 6 ish . I've made soup for lunch from the LO roasted veg , stock and a little cream ,so ill take that with me and some bread

    Off for a cuppa now
    • K9sandFelines
    • By K9sandFelines 8th Apr 13, 6:09 PM
    • 2,127 Posts
    • 18,279 Thanks
    K9sandFelines
    They are big - worth the money - I got a pink one.
    Originally posted by Florenceem
    Great, i hope i manage to get one . Thank you
    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 291.01/280 Jul 344.31/300 Aug 232.48/300 Sep 320.91/300 Oct 92.97/300
    ~ Still learning the art of frugality ~
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