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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 eleventh Grocery Challenge of 2013

    If your new month starts early feel free to join this thread, or if you're still working on your October budget, then keep on posting in the:
    October 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; 21-10-2013 at 6:22 PM.
    A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men
    Norn Iron club member #380

Page 24
  • MummyBobble
    Think I may be very lucky with DD16 and DS13.

    On Wednesday DD came home from school and by the time I got in had used a pack of YS sausages, an onion, some manky mushrooms, a carton of smartprice tomatoes and half a jar of smartprice chilli sauce to make a spicy sausage pasta for tea.

    On Thursday DS decided it was his turn and made a shepherds pie with some YS lamb mince, onion, more of the aforementioned manky mushrooms, some even more manky carrots and some way past their use by date potatoes.

    Very pleased that they are already able to rummage around to see what we have in and make something from it (they're probably better at it than I am!). Now I just need to get them better trained on the clearing up as you go along and washing up...
    • zafiro1984
    • By zafiro1984 9th Nov 13, 12:11 PM
    • 1,541 Posts
    • 11,700 Thanks
    zafiro1984
    Think I may be very lucky with DD16 and DS13.

    On Wednesday DD came home from school and by the time I got in had used a pack of YS sausages, an onion, some manky mushrooms, a carton of smartprice tomatoes and half a jar of smartprice chilli sauce to make a spicy sausage pasta for tea.

    On Thursday DS decided it was his turn and made a shepherds pie with some YS lamb mince, onion, more of the aforementioned manky mushrooms, some even more manky carrots and some way past their use by date potatoes.

    Very pleased that they are already able to rummage around to see what we have in and make something from it (they're probably better at it than I am!). Now I just need to get them better trained on the clearing up as you go along and washing up...
    Originally posted by MummyBobble
    I bet you are not really feeling I bet you are feeling quite proud of DD and DS, and so you should be
    • lushlifesaver
    • By lushlifesaver 9th Nov 13, 1:03 PM
    • 2,312 Posts
    • 18,637 Thanks
    lushlifesaver
    I tried the flour tortilla/wrap recipe that is on the first page tonight, it worked really well and took only 5 minutes. I doubt I'll buy them any more now
    Originally posted by Soworried
    I've tried to make my own before but just don't seem able to cook them off properly... one day I will master them hopefully.

    For now it is time to get ready for bf's birthday surprises - the meal is coming out of money I saved just for this and the mini golf is so cheap its from my entertainment budget. My last 'real/proper' spends of the month - after this it's only bare essential or nothing!
    Perfect Princess born 26/03/14 <3
    • allie23
    • By allie23 9th Nov 13, 1:07 PM
    • 1,343 Posts
    • 14,647 Thanks
    allie23
    Happy Birthday Fairy3. I hope you are having a good day.
    February 2019 Grocery Challenge
    Frugal Living Challenge 2019
    Save £12k in 2019 - Challenger No 69 - £13,310/£40,000
    • hex2
    • By hex2 9th Nov 13, 1:45 PM
    • 4,722 Posts
    • 80,174 Thanks
    hex2
    Does anybody have a recipe for home made puff or flaky pastry please? The one on the first page no longer links.
    Originally posted by Soworried
    Hi,

    I make Delia's rough puff fairly regularly and have not had a bad batch. I usually make awful shortcrust pastry so this is a good result

    http://www.deliaonline.com/how-to-cook/baking/how-to-make-quick-flaky-pastry.html
    'If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need' Marcus Tullius Cicero
    • Billie-jo
    • By Billie-jo 9th Nov 13, 2:14 PM
    • 1,221 Posts
    • 15,892 Thanks
    Billie-jo
    Happy birthday Fairy3

    Spent £5.41 in Te$co £20.15 in A!di and £2.47 in Morrys so total spent is now £53.16 this month.
    Plain & simple beans on toast for tonight never the less will enjoy them. Have a chicken defrosting for tomorrow.
    [COLOR="Purple"][B] MARCH £62.38/250 [B][COLOR="Purple"]
    • minicooper272
    • By minicooper272 9th Nov 13, 2:36 PM
    • 2,127 Posts
    • 16,678 Thanks
    minicooper272
    I don't like our local Asdo's, you have to pay for parking, and you only get to claim it back if you spend over £10. I probably could have gotten away with spending about £5, but spent the extra so I could get the parking back (I wish I hadn't tried so hard now I think about it!)

    I've spent £8.51 (made up the extra with bits for the house), which takes my monthly total to £18.63/£80, which isn't bad at all. Looking at the food in the house this month, I think I'll have a pretty good amount left over.
    • just the two of us
    • By just the two of us 9th Nov 13, 3:50 PM
    • 1,142 Posts
    • 18,690 Thanks
    just the two of us
    Small spend today in L*dl to get two meat offers, bread and butter to make raisin and pumpkin seed flapjack £5.53 spent. Also bought 6 person hotpot out of GC to take to our neighbours for a last minute decision Fri night in - very tasty.

    Signature updated.
    July 16 £95/£200
    Nov 16 £0/£200


    "To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don't need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself." Thich Nhat Hahn
    • marris
    • By marris 9th Nov 13, 4:02 PM
    • 593 Posts
    • 4,704 Thanks
    marris
    NSD today , went to get pork loin in Lidl but all sold out. will go 2morrow
    Jan GC £66,82/100 Jan NSD 17/31; Feb GC £71,67/100 Feb NSD 14/28;Mar GC £81,82/100 Mar NSD 16/31;Apr GC £99,54/100 Apr NSD 14/30; May GC £127,20/100 May NSD 12/31; June GC £70,05/100 June NSD 17/30; July GC £47,52/100 NSD 05/31
    • Bookworm42
    • By Bookworm42 9th Nov 13, 4:21 PM
    • 46 Posts
    • 648 Thanks
    Bookworm42
    Evening everyone. Not doing too badly. Thursday and Friday were both NSDs. Today I spent £7.15 in Mr T. Off to update signature. Have a good evening everyone.
  • she who can not cook
    My first week of the challenge and I'm showing a spend of £34.38/£40 budget for the week BUT it was the first week of the month and I know last weekend I got some `extras` using my card rather than my food cash purse. This week I will be stricter and leave my card at home!

    I've decided I'm addicted to food shopping! Where others buy shoes and bags I don't seem to be able to cope without a full freezer and store cupboard. I reckon my 15 year old son and I could easily live for a month or two with what we have in but I keep on shopping! This thread has really helped me plan a but more and I'm not completely there but I'm much, .much better than I used to be.

    Having said all that I'm off to lidl now to stock up on their half price pork loin steaks offer so if anyone has any recipes for them I would be grateful :-)
    Originally posted by nearlytherenow
    I am the same with food... shopping like mad for food when there is no need
    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
    • candygirl
    • By candygirl 9th Nov 13, 4:45 PM
    • 27,589 Posts
    • 117,492 Thanks
    candygirl
    Spent £15 in ALD1 yest, will update at the end of the month again, but am havin a takeaway tonight cos cba cooking
    "You can't stop the waves, but you can learn to surf"

    (Kabat-Zinn 2004)
    • CountingPennies
    • By CountingPennies 9th Nov 13, 5:16 PM
    • 1,882 Posts
    • 15,036 Thanks
    CountingPennies
    Been to Mr T's. Had no intention of shopping this weekend however some extra shifts at work for both me and DH mean some packed lunches need doing or else a fortune will be spent in the canteen, so i also bought quite a few other bits and piece we were running low on. Anyway, £29.49p spent but did get quite a few bits.

    Kids had friends round for tea tonight, so simple sausage and actifry chips for tea were made.

    CP xx
    Slimming World Challenge 2017 0/30.5lb

    Grocery challenge 2017 JAN: £5.56/£350
    • NickJW
    • By NickJW 9th Nov 13, 5:21 PM
    • 678 Posts
    • 13,646 Thanks
    NickJW
    Hi NickJW please could you share your recipe for the chicken as it sounds delicious
    Originally posted by XSpender
    Hi XSpender - of course (though I'm pretty late responding I'm afraid)

    Garlic, Mushroom and Balsamic chicken

    Pack of chicken/diced turkey
    250g pack mushrooms
    About 200ml chicken/veg stock
    3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
    1 teaspoon dried thyme
    8 (garlic cloves, chopped. (less if you don't like garlic as much as me - you can always crush some in at a later stage if you want to up the flavour)
    2 tablespoons flour
    Salt and Pepper

    Chop the chicken (or place the pre chopped turkey) into a bowl, add flour and S+P and coat
    Heat some oil in a pan (medium heat), cook chicken for a few mins, then add garlic, turn over chicken, then add mushrooms. Cook for another couple of minutes, then add balsamic, stock and thyme. This also 'de glazes' the flour from the pan.
    I 'go by eye', so, cook away until the chicken is ready.

    Serve with pasta, mash or rice

    *Depending on whether you want the sauce 'saucy' or 'syrupy' you can of course add some extra cornflour mixed with cold water.

    **I've only had this with pasta, since I usually can't be bothered to peel potatoes when it comes to the end of the day

    ***Use enough chicken/turkey you would normally use per person when cooking. I'm a bit greedy...
    Grocery Challenge 14 Jan 14 £46.05/£130

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

    DFD 1st March 2011
    • Faete
    • By Faete 9th Nov 13, 5:46 PM
    • 171 Posts
    • 2,760 Thanks
    Faete
    Big shop today as I'm off on a girly 80s weekend at Butlins Bognor next week so I had to get supplies in for the BF when he's home alone. (my spending money was put by for this some weeks ago)

    £100.62, but it did include lots of things like loo rolls, toothpaste, laundry products etc. which all gets a bit expensive when they need replacing at the same time.

    Currently cooking a large vat of Jamie Oliver's beef rogan josh using YS meat - will do us for tonight and some for the freezer. Happy days!

    Fae xx
    “Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination." Oscar Wilde
    January Grocery Challenge - £189.44/£300.00
    Save
    Save
    • NickJW
    • By NickJW 9th Nov 13, 5:52 PM
    • 678 Posts
    • 13,646 Thanks
    NickJW
    Okay - another long stint from posting, but as always, I have been reading!

    Last Saturday didn't end up having the Balsamic chicken, because I wanted to try a new recipe - African Chicken in a red sauce. I made my own bebere (Ethiopian spice), and whilst it was cooking, it just smelt like chicken in mulled wine (the mix had cloves, cinnamon, cayenne etc)! It was nice in the end when it reduced and came more syrupy, but I'm not sure if it was worth the extra effort compared to my usual Indian curries.

    I have enough mix for another meal though, so I think I'll do some sort of rub/marinade, rather than the recipe I did.

    Meals this week have been/will be:

    Monday (housemate cooked): HM Chicken teriyaki with sushi rice and edaname beans.
    Tuesday (I cooked): the aforementioned Balsamic/garlic chicken
    Wednesday (I cooked): Stir fry using the very last of the sriracha sauce, chicken and l/o veg
    Thursday (I cooked): Chicken Biryani
    Friday (housemate cooked) - Harissa chicken with bulghur wheat and pine nuts
    Saturday (I'll cook): Tuna/pepper/mushroom tomato and chilli pasta.
    Sunday (housemate will cook): Roast Pork with all the trimmings.

    Spends this week include:

    £1 in Mr S on the 1st Nov
    £1.45 in Mr S on the 2nd Nov
    £1.10 in Mr S on the 4th Nov
    £3.04 in Mr S on the 5th Nov
    £50.37 on a Mr T delivery on the 5th Nov
    £1 in Mr T on the 5th Nov
    £7.36 in Mr S on the 7th Nov
    £3.77 in Mr S on the 9th Nov

    Total = £69.09

    Happy birthday Fairy3 and hope everyone has a good weekend.
    Grocery Challenge 14 Jan 14 £46.05/£130

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

    DFD 1st March 2011
    • meg72
    • By meg72 9th Nov 13, 5:59 PM
    • 5,082 Posts
    • 46,072 Thanks
    meg72
    Went to asda to get the £10 Baileys for my DD. Didn't need anything food wise and was determined to be good, BUT spotted £5 gammon joints reduced to 2.00 and a £2.00 chicken now I couldn't leave them could I, I got 2 gammon joints and the chicken, so a £6.00 spend but would have been £14. Don't need it this month but it will get used probably in the new year.

    Then I spotted the Halloween reductions, nail sets, yo-yos fancy hats , lipstick and nail lvarnish all at 10p instead of £1.00 and £1.50 so stocked up, will save my niece a fortune next year. Just have to remember I bought them and where I put them when the time comes.
    Slimming World at target
    • Soworried
    • By Soworried 9th Nov 13, 6:09 PM
    • 2,150 Posts
    • 19,990 Thanks
    Soworried
    Hi,

    I make Delia's rough puff fairly regularly and have not had a bad batch. I usually make awful shortcrust pastry so this is a good result

    http://www.deliaonline.com/how-to-cook/baking/how-to-make-quick-flaky-pastry.html
    Originally posted by hex2
    Thankyou hex, that sounds perfect. I'll try it on Monday and let you know how it goes. I normally buy it but it is going up and up.

    Happy birthday Fairy3

    A spend of £5.19 in the chemist today. I got myself so worried yesterday over making ends meet that I now have a whopping big coldsore I don't have a budget for this so I have taken out of the grocery cash.
    Last edited by Soworried; 09-11-2013 at 6:12 PM.
    £36/£240
    £5522
    One step must start each journey
    One word must start each prayer
    One hope will raise our spirits
    One touch can show you care
  • flyinggiraffe
    Okay - another long stint from posting, but as always, I have been reading!

    Last Saturday didn't end up having the Balsamic chicken, because I wanted to try a new recipe - African Chicken in a red sauce. I made my own bebere (Ethiopian spice), and whilst it was cooking, it just smelt like chicken in mulled wine (the mix had cloves, cinnamon, cayenne etc)! It was nice in the end when it reduced and came more syrupy, but I'm not sure if it was worth the extra effort compared to my usual Indian curries.

    I have enough mix for another meal though, so I think I'll do some sort of rub/marinade, rather than the recipe I did.

    Meals this week have been/will be:

    Monday (housemate cooked): HM Chicken teriyaki with sushi rice and edaname beans.
    Tuesday (I cooked): the aforementioned Balsamic/garlic chicken
    Wednesday (I cooked): Stir fry using the very last of the sriracha sauce, chicken and l/o veg
    Thursday (I cooked): Chicken Biryani
    Friday (housemate cooked) - Harissa chicken with bulghur wheat and pine nuts
    Saturday (I'll cook): Tuna/pepper/mushroom tomato and chilli pasta.
    Sunday (housemate will cook): Roast Pork with all the trimmings.
    .
    Originally posted by NickJW
    Nick, your meals always sound so tasty! Going to have to get looking for some new recipes to try myself as I've gone casserole mad recently.

    I bought a bar of chocolate and some squinty cream so I can have some hot chocolate and a nibble whilst watching rubbish tv tonight. After a busy week I'm looking forward to a night of absolutely nothing!

    £2 spend, which I think is fair.

    Signature updated
    • chocoholic_chick
    • By chocoholic_chick 9th Nov 13, 7:21 PM
    • 643 Posts
    • 3,260 Thanks
    chocoholic_chick
    Exactly £20 spend today, still have a fairly well stocked fridge and freezer so didn't need loads. Confident that I will come in on budget this month Need to sort out meal plan for next week but with us both working away or working late most of this coming week the prepared meals in the freezer will be coming in useful. No meal plan this week as it's just not practical, I'm away with work for 4 days so food will be provided and there's plenty of meals for 1 in the freezer for DH Just have to hope he uses those rather than ordering takeaways!!
    New House... New Mortgage! February 2017: £144,000
    Current Mortgage Balance: £101,657.85
    2017 OP's:£5,935 2018 OP's: £11,956.00 2019 OP's: £9,990
    Total Debt £29,209 £0 Debt free 6/8/16
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