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    • zippychick
    • By zippychick 4th Jun 11, 11:19 AM
    • 9,343Posts
    • 17,889Thanks
    • #1
    • 4th Jun 11, 11:19 AM
    4th Jun 11 at 11:19 AM
    Hi everyone,

    Welcome to the first Grocery Challenge of 2014

    If your new month starts early feel free to join this thread, or if you're still working on your December budget, then keep on posting in the:

    December grocery challenge - sorry cant seem to get the hyper link to work

    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; 30-12-2013 at 10:55 AM.
    A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men
    Norn Iron club member #380

Page 27
    • miss empty piggy
    • By miss empty piggy 6th Jan 14, 6:09 PM
    • 645 Posts
    • 6,663 Thanks
    miss empty piggy
    just popped in to report a NSD. Had to buy Petrol and was VERY tempted at the 12 pack of Hula Hoops for 1.49 (half price) but thought about how many crisps we actually have left so quite pleased with my little self. Well done everyone x x
    DFW Nerd No: 600
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 6th Jan 14, 6:19 PM
    • 3,984 Posts
    • 52,562 Thanks
    NSD here again.
    We had HM Egg & Bacon Pie + roast potatoes + roasted red/yellow peppers + red/white onions for dinner.
    15 in 2015 1/15
    • K9sandFelines
    • By K9sandFelines 6th Jan 14, 6:42 PM
    • 2,113 Posts
    • 18,217 Thanks
    NSD for me, as planned

    Made ariabatta sauce for tea to go with meatballs and spaghetti.

    Banana and chocolate cake, plum and poppy seed muffins and clementine and cranberry cake to use up some very tired looking fruit. Need to get back to meal planning now the schools are back, as Christmas went to pot a bit.
    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 ~
    • kayester
    • By kayester 6th Jan 14, 6:50 PM
    • 1,800 Posts
    • 9,338 Thanks
    How do u guys add photos?
    216/2018 (make in 2018)

    Grocery challenge
    Jan 227/400
    swagbucks target 2018 1452/27375
    • Billie-jo
    • By Billie-jo 6th Jan 14, 7:22 PM
    • 1,221 Posts
    • 15,892 Thanks
    Busy day today decluttering - lots to the charity shop and some cardboard recycled.
    Had two chicken carcasses in the freezer so made some stock and then made chicken, leek & mushroom soup which we had tonight with cheese rolls and there is plenty left for lunch time tomorrow plus some stock in freezer for next time.
    Another NSD here. Hope to clean out fridge tomorrow so as can keep an eye on what's in - I know we are running low on veg but may be able to manage until shopping day on Thurs as have a few carrots, a leek, onions and potatoes oh and think there is half a cabbage in the shed fridge - Hope so as could use that tomorrow with the carrots as we having meat & potato pie.
    [COLOR="Purple"][B] MARCH 62.38/250 [B][COLOR="Purple"]
    • Soworried
    • By Soworried 6th Jan 14, 7:43 PM
    • 2,144 Posts
    • 19,925 Thanks
    A spend of 11.95 today, this was on cheese, mushrooms and toilet rolls. I'll update my signature.
    One step must start each journey
    One word must start each prayer
    One hope will raise our spirits
    One touch can show you care
    • minicooper272
    • By minicooper272 6th Jan 14, 7:53 PM
    • 2,127 Posts
    • 16,678 Thanks
    First big stock-up shop of the year done. I have a fridge bursting with food now for a grand total of 19.81, which I thought was really good. I will need a top up at the weekend, but should be rolling in veg for a few weeks yet!
    • Magpye
    • By Magpye 6th Jan 14, 8:33 PM
    • 605 Posts
    • 1,807 Thanks
    Reporting a 31p spend on a bulb of garlic. HM GF Pizza was excellent, not too sure about the gluten free loaf I made - one of the Lauke mixes from Lakeland which had a really peculiar taste, imo.

    I miss bread but 3 a loaf for Genius is just beyond my budget atm.
    "All cruelty springs from weakness" - Lucius Annaeus Seneca
    Personal pronouns are they/them/their, please.

    I'm intolerant of wheat, citrus, grapes, grape products and dried vine fruits, tomato, and beetroot, and I am also somewhat caffeine sensitive.
    • sharronej
    • By sharronej 6th Jan 14, 8:35 PM
    • 563 Posts
    • 4,784 Thanks
    I was very proud of myself this morning, I did a shop yesterday but forgot fromage frais and beansprouts. I nipped into MrT this morning and remembered to use my 57p off voucher plus my beansprouts were reduced to 44p which made my total spend 49p!

    I have splurged on a bottle of red wine though as it's my Dad's 24th Anniversary and my dh has had a really bad day was only 3.79 from Aldo though. Can't believe it's 24 years since I saw my Dad, I'm still waiting for it to get easier!
    • Suzexxx
    • By Suzexxx 6th Jan 14, 8:40 PM
    • 173 Posts
    • 1,590 Thanks
    Hi all

    Nearly had a NSD today, but realised just as i was putting the tea in the oven i only had enough for one portion of chips so i sent DP out to buy some. Will update spends when i find out his reciept, but i'm sure it'll be around 2.50.

    2015 wins Sekonda watch, Harry Potter hardback book,
  • mags50
    Had a lovely day
    4 of the grandsons came while DD1 was at work. We had jam on toast for breakfast, tuna sandwiches, crisps, yogurt and biscuits for dinner, then SIL1 came and picked them up.
    Friends came for tea and helped us eat leftovers from yesterday and hubby made another treacle sponge with custard. We had a few games of UNO and they've just left.
    I've made an inventory of all the food in the house and have been sat trying to work a meal plan out....I think it's going to take me some time lol.
    It's really windy and wild weather here so it's been lovely to be tucked up in the warm
    Hope everyone is ok and managing to stick to their budgets x
    A family that eats together, stays together

    NSD 50/365
    GC JAN 259.63/400 FEB 346.41/350.00 MAR 212.57/300 APR 1/250
    • Bluegreen143
    • By Bluegreen143 6th Jan 14, 9:08 PM
    • 1,101 Posts
    • 12,692 Thanks
    XSpender - I've added your Chicken and Leek Gratin recipe to the index (sounds yum!)
    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
    • Bluegreen143
    • By Bluegreen143 6th Jan 14, 9:11 PM
    • 1,101 Posts
    • 12,692 Thanks
    DanielleNic87 - I've added your Slimming World Lamb Kebab recipe to the index too
    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
    • Bluegreen143
    • By Bluegreen143 6th Jan 14, 9:21 PM
    • 1,101 Posts
    • 12,692 Thanks
    Here's the Hot & Sour Lentil Soup recipe now it's up on the blog - it's soooo good! AND at only 19p per portion, a pretty frugal healthy lunch too.

    A great use for any homemade chicken (or turkey ) stock you have lying about too.

    Hot & Sour Lentil Soup (serves 6 at 19p per portion)
    • 250g red lentils 50p (3.98 for 2kg)
    • 100g frozen spinach or a couple of good handfuls fresh 13p (1.25 for 1kg)
    • 2 small onions, chopped 5p (98p for 2kg)
    • 1.8 litres chicken or veg stock (I used 2 litres homemade chicken stock and it was too watery until reduced, so I’d add less next time – counting as free)
    • Large thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and grated 10p (30p per 100g)
    • 3 cloves garlic, crushed 8p (1 for 4 bulbs)
    • 2-4 dried red chillies (or use crushed flakes – start with 1-2tsp and work from there, depending on your heat tolerance), 3p
    • Juice of one lemon 26p (1.29 for 5)
    • 1/2 tbsp veg oil or fat of choice, 1p (2 for 2 litres Crisp & Dry)
    • In your pressure cooker or large pot, heat the oil and add the onions on a medium heat. Cook for a few minutes, until soft, then add the dried chilli, ginger and garlic. Stir-fry for a minute, then add the hot stock and lentils.

    Put the lid on your pressure cooker, seal and bring to pressure. Cook for five minutes then use the quick release method to open the lid (if you don’t have a pressure cooker, just simmer on the hob until the lentils are done.

    Mash the lentils with a potato masher or blend slightly with a hand blender (you don’t have to but I like the texture when it’s slightly mashed). Add the fresh or frozen spinach and cook until defrosted/wilted down. Add the lemon juice and season well, particularly with black pepper.

    Serve with bread for lunch or as a starter.

    I'll add to the index too
    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
    • Ali-OK
    • By Ali-OK 6th Jan 14, 9:24 PM
    • 4,058 Posts
    • 16,645 Thanks
    Had a lovely day
    4 of the grandsons came while DD1 was at work. We had jam on toast for breakfast, tuna sandwiches, crisps, yogurt and biscuits for dinner, then SIL1 came and picked them up.
    Friends came for tea and helped us eat leftovers from yesterday and hubby made another treacle sponge with custard. We had a few games of UNO and they've just left.
    I've made an inventory of all the food in the house and have been sat trying to work a meal plan out....I think it's going to take me some time lol.
    It's really windy and wild weather here so it's been lovely to be tucked up in the warm
    Hope everyone is ok and managing to stick to their budgets x
    Originally posted by mags50
    UNO is a brilliant game, along with Rumnikub. Great ones for all the family and generations. Had those in our games drawer for 30 years now and still popular. DS has taught his friends.
    Back on the DFW Wagon:

    CC - 3,300 on 0% til 04/2020
    CC - 4,500 on 0% til 02/2019
    Loan - 12,063.84 as at 4/1/18
    • Upsy Staffordshire
    • By Upsy Staffordshire 7th Jan 14, 7:41 AM
    • 374 Posts
    • 3,791 Thanks
    Upsy Staffordshire
    Another NSD for us yesterday. OH did a long shift at work and he was based at a supermarket and he managed not to buy anything Apparently 2 of his co-workers were shocked when he got out his hm sandwiches instead of buying his lunch there, I don't think they're very MSE! OH is at another supermarket today, I made him sandwiches yesterday so hopefully he's remembered them and taken enough food with him that he won't buy anything again.
    Thank you to everyone who posts on here
    • kayester
    • By kayester 7th Jan 14, 8:47 AM
    • 1,800 Posts
    • 9,338 Thanks
    Been trying all night to post a photo on here from my phone but cant do it

    NSD here.
    Chicken and spinach cannelloni tonight using leftover chicken from last nights roast
    216/2018 (make in 2018)

    Grocery challenge
    Jan 227/400
    swagbucks target 2018 1452/27375
    • mrs-moneypenny
    • By mrs-moneypenny 7th Jan 14, 9:19 AM
    • 15,518 Posts
    • 198,189 Thanks
    morning all

    kayester, i use photobucket, i copy the photos from my memory card onto photo bucket and then copy them across from there to here if that makes sense. not sure how you'd do it off a phone im not that techy sorry.

    hoping for an NSD
    doing jacket pots for lunch then martial arts club starts again tonight so will be late meal for us, think ill do veggie burgers with portobella mushrooms topped with stilton and beef toms.
    got pizza in to do DSs early tea
    SPC~12 ot 124

    In a world that has decided that it's going to lose its mind, be more kind my friend, try to Be More Kind
    • Bluegreen143
    • By Bluegreen143 7th Jan 14, 9:20 AM
    • 1,101 Posts
    • 12,692 Thanks
    Hi kayester - you need to upload it to a hosting site - I use photobucket. Then when you're on this forum you press the little button above the reply box that looks like a postcard with a mountain on it, then paste in the IMG code from photobucket (you get it there by clicking "share" once you've uploaded your pic.

    Hope this helps!

    PS I've never made this work on my phone but I suppose I don't see any reason why it wouldn't... I do upload straight from my iphone to the photobucket app but tend to only post here using my computer.
    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
  • Hollygym
    Weekend away wasn't too bad - no food spend, but diesel cost a fortune! Broke my flask on the outwards journey and justified a new purchase instead of buying tea at the service station on the way home.

    Spent yesterday organising and cooking - home made lemon curd, pineapple upside down cake, HM bread and Bean Chilli. Only problem is, its all been eaten, and I have to start again today!!

    Did do a shop in L!dl ready for children back to school - my children adore and consume LOADS of cereal. Sig updated, and it seems to be well ahead of this months budget. Got a 50 milk bill to pay though . I know I could get my weekly 12 ltrs of milk cheaper, but I do feel quite good using our local milk lady (and it stops me going into the shops and impulse purchasing!!).

    Should be a NSD today and I'm aiming for the rest of the week too as we have a load of Christmas stuff to use up and 2 full freezers. I'll get a freezer inventory done this week to help with next weeks menu planning.
    sealed pot member 100. Saving for a dream holiday for 6!!

    100 SPC 6: 338.14
    Jan GC 220.66/400, Feb GC 469/360, March 308/380
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