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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 third Grocery Challenge of 2014

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


    February 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; 20-02-2014 at 1:23 PM.
    A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men
    Norn Iron club member #380

Page 17
    • Frizzle
    • By Frizzle 2nd Mar 14, 3:42 PM
    • 1,104 Posts
    • 15,700 Thanks
    Frizzle
    Ingredients

    7g sachet dried yeast
    4 tbsp sugar
    2 tsp salt
    450g bread flour
    poppy, fennel and/or sesame seeds to sprinkle on top (optional)

    Tip yeast and 1 tbsp sugar into a large bowl, pour over 100ml warm water. Leave for 10 mins until mixture becomes frothy.
    Pour 200ml warm water into the bowl, stir in the salt and half the flour. Keep adding remaining flour (you may not have to use it all) and mixing with your hands until you have a soft, but not sticky dough. Then knead for 10 mins until the dough feels smooth and elastic. Shape into a ball and put in a clean, lightly oiled bowl. Cover loosely with cling film and leave in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1hr.
    Heat oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7. On a lightly floured surface, divide the dough into 10 pieces, each about 85g. Shape each piece into a flattish ball, then take a wooden spoon and use the handle to make a hole in the middle of each ball. Slip the spoon into the hole, then twirl the bagel around the spoon to make a hole about 3cm wide. Cover the bagel loosely with cling film while you shape the remaining dough.
    Meanwhile, bring a large pan of water to the boil and tip in the remaining sugar. Slip the bagels into the boiling water - no more than four at a time. Cook for 1-2 mins, turning over in the water until the bagels have puffed slightly and a skin has formed. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain away any excess water. Sprinkle over your choice of topping and place on a baking tray lined with parchment. Bake in the oven for 25 mins until browned and crisp - the bases should sound hollow when tapped. Leave to cool on a wire rack, then serve with your favourite filling.
    Sorry a long recipe!
    Grocery challenge-
    J- 52.40/200 M- 187.56 A- 212.93 M-193.44 F-201.31 J- 240.62 D- 149.27 N- 210.69 O- 196.80
    S- 213.68 A- 213.03 J- 249.66 J-206.29, M- 252.91, A-250, M- 250

    debt free as of feb 2015. Now saving for deposit for new house! Moving in June 2015!!!
    • cw18
    • By cw18 2nd Mar 14, 3:53 PM
    • 8,045 Posts
    • 85,988 Thanks
    cw18
    Bake in the oven for 25 mins until browned and crisp!
    Originally posted by Frizzle
    I've never heard of oven baked bagels before - they're traditionally boiled.

    http://www.sophisticatedgourmet.com/2009/10/new-york-style-bagel-recipe/

    I made them this way a few times (16 years or so), and they were great. Really should try doing them again, as they're one thing I've rarely bought since pennies got a lot tighter!!


    (I'm not saying baked is wrong, just that I've never heard of it before)
    Cheryl
    • Frizzle
    • By Frizzle 2nd Mar 14, 4:12 PM
    • 1,104 Posts
    • 15,700 Thanks
    Frizzle
    [QUOTE=cw18;64858008]I've never heard of oven baked bagels before - they're traditionally boiled.


    It was on the bbc good food recipe. I am new to all this baking lark! So I am no expert. You did have to put them in boiling water for a couple of mins. They tasted like bagels. I would only put three in a saucepan at a time next time as when I put 4 in they didn't seem to get as big!
    Grocery challenge-
    J- 52.40/200 M- 187.56 A- 212.93 M-193.44 F-201.31 J- 240.62 D- 149.27 N- 210.69 O- 196.80
    S- 213.68 A- 213.03 J- 249.66 J-206.29, M- 252.91, A-250, M- 250

    debt free as of feb 2015. Now saving for deposit for new house! Moving in June 2015!!!
    • Frizzle
    • By Frizzle 2nd Mar 14, 4:15 PM
    • 1,104 Posts
    • 15,700 Thanks
    Frizzle
    I just read that bagel recipe and it is very similar. You need to put these ones in the oven for 20 mins x
    Grocery challenge-
    J- 52.40/200 M- 187.56 A- 212.93 M-193.44 F-201.31 J- 240.62 D- 149.27 N- 210.69 O- 196.80
    S- 213.68 A- 213.03 J- 249.66 J-206.29, M- 252.91, A-250, M- 250

    debt free as of feb 2015. Now saving for deposit for new house! Moving in June 2015!!!
    • cw18
    • By cw18 2nd Mar 14, 4:31 PM
    • 8,045 Posts
    • 85,988 Thanks
    cw18
    I just read that bagel recipe and it is very similar. You need to put these ones in the oven for 20 mins x
    Originally posted by Frizzle
    I missed seeing the baking stage on the one I linked to

    I honestly don't remember using the oven when I made them
    Cheryl
    • Busymumofthreeplusdog
    • By Busymumofthreeplusdog 2nd Mar 14, 7:31 PM
    • 304 Posts
    • 3,463 Thanks
    Busymumofthreeplusdog
    Mr A delivery ordered. 133, bit more than I had hoped but lots of essentials required like loo roll, washing powder etc. should arrive tomorrow night and last until hmmmmm, hopefully past the wkend!
    • GettingOrganised
    • By GettingOrganised 2nd Mar 14, 7:41 PM
    • 340 Posts
    • 1,899 Thanks
    GettingOrganised
    First shop of the month today. Spent 58.17 in Aldi and didn't need to go asda afterwards. Apart from bread, I shouldn't need anything else this week. Happy with the spend, as picked up some extra bits which will go towards meals later on in the month.
    SPC # 348 2014-169.07/2015 - 156.89
    GC 2014 Feb-Dec 2931.62
    GC 2015 Jan 216.93/220 Feb 291.97/215 Mar 213.64/220 Apr 207.62/220
    DFBXmas2015 #40 - 3,474.61/4,000
  • cinnamonpie
    I really enjoy reading how everyone is doing on this challenge as it helps me stay on track with my spending.

    I did a stock take of the freezer and cupboards today so I know what needs to be used up soon. I'll try to run down our stocks before buying new things.

    We had a beef roast with all the trimmings today. I tried a new cooking method. Had a 1.2kg topside roast and put it in the slow cooker for 5 hours and then transfered it to the oven for 10min to crisp it up a bit. It was delicious and so tender.
    March GC 122.25/ 120
    April GC 109.83/ 65
    • lushlifesaver
    • By lushlifesaver 2nd Mar 14, 7:59 PM
    • 2,312 Posts
    • 18,637 Thanks
    lushlifesaver
    I have been meaning to try making my own bagels for some time but have never managed to get round to it. I must get some wholemeal flour and yeast in now having heard of everyone's adventures.
    I thought all bagels were boiled then baked :S

    NSD here :-) plans for the evening meal changed so I used the potatoes I'd prepared along with an onion, a tin of tuna, some grated red Leicester and some dried breadcrumbs from the cupboard to make some fishcakes. I thought I'd get maybe six or eight but I must have made them much much smaller than most people would as I got 14! Cooked two off for tasting and am flat/open freezing the rest and will then pop them in an old ice cream tub to keep until I fancy them.

    Rather fancy getting myself some of the stackable freezer tubs from Lakeland but not sure if I can justify it just yet!
    Last edited by lushlifesaver; 02-03-2014 at 8:05 PM.
    Perfect Princess born 26/03/14 <3
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 2nd Mar 14, 8:18 PM
    • 3,984 Posts
    • 52,562 Thanks
    Florenceem
    Sunday.
    NSD.
    We had Bucks Bacon Badger + roast potatoes + roast parsnips + cabbage, carrots, onion + gravy for dinner.
    [IMG][/IMG]
    15 in 2015 1/15
  • Zippy001
    We had a beef roast with all the trimmings today. I tried a new cooking method. Had a 1.2kg topside roast and put it in the slow cooker for 5 hours and then transfered it to the oven for 10min to crisp it up a bit. It was delicious and so tender.
    Originally posted by cinnamonpie
    Thank you for this tip ....I too have started cooking my joints in the slow cooker , and the beef is always lovely, lamb rolled breast is also lovely done this way. and pork is also good with a drop of cider and quartered apples, this makes a great sauce poured over the meat. A great tip for instant thickening up the sauce in the slow cooker is to sprinkle some McDougall thickening granules, give it a stir and hey presto, spot on sauce. Also chicken thighs are good too reduced cooking time down so they dont fall apart.
    March GC 01-29th 458.77 / 500.00. NSD 6/15
    April GC 29th-30th 239.36 / 450.00 NSD 1/15
    For 2 adults, DS11, DD9 & 2dogs. Includes all food, toiletries, take-aways, lunches etc.
    • recovering spendaholic
    • By recovering spendaholic 2nd Mar 14, 9:24 PM
    • 3,049 Posts
    • 15,426 Thanks
    recovering spendaholic
    I have been meaning to try making my own bagels for some time but have never managed to get round to it. I must get some wholemeal flour and yeast in now having heard of everyone's adventures.
    I thought all bagels were boiled then baked :S

    NSD here :-) plans for the evening meal changed so I used the potatoes I'd prepared along with an onion, a tin of tuna, some grated red Leicester and some dried breadcrumbs from the cupboard to make some fishcakes. I thought I'd get maybe six or eight but I must have made them much much smaller than most people would as I got 14! Cooked two off for tasting and am flat/open freezing the rest and will then pop them in an old ice cream tub to keep until I fancy them.

    Rather fancy getting myself some of the stackable freezer tubs from Lakeland but not sure if I can justify it just yet!
    Originally posted by lushlifesaver
    Those fish cakes sound lovely!

    Stackable freezer tubs? Ooh - on my way to Lakeland site to investigate!
    Jane

    ENDIS. Employed, no disposable income or savings!
    • Frizzle
    • By Frizzle 2nd Mar 14, 10:00 PM
    • 1,104 Posts
    • 15,700 Thanks
    Frizzle
    So my dinner tonight was ....... Bolognaise!
    When I took it out of the freezer I wasn't sure if it was casserole or bolognaise! Good to use it up but hubby wasn't impressed that we were having bolognaise on a Sunday! Oh well! At least it's used up. He has invited people round next Sunday! I'm sure it was so we would have to have a roast dinner! Lol!
    Grocery challenge-
    J- 52.40/200 M- 187.56 A- 212.93 M-193.44 F-201.31 J- 240.62 D- 149.27 N- 210.69 O- 196.80
    S- 213.68 A- 213.03 J- 249.66 J-206.29, M- 252.91, A-250, M- 250

    debt free as of feb 2015. Now saving for deposit for new house! Moving in June 2015!!!
  • mags50
    2 NSD for me

    Had all the family around for tea today and friends tomorrow night to eat up leftovers with other stuff added

    Stay safe 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
    • tattycath
    • By tattycath 2nd Mar 14, 10:44 PM
    • 6,820 Posts
    • 35,979 Thanks
    tattycath
    Well done everyone so far.
    I'm loving the recipes and have print screened some so they're easily accessible without me having to trawl through the thread.
    We used up sausage out of freezer today with fresh mash and fresh veg.
    I also made some cheese scones today and another impossible pie.
    Impossible pie has nearly all gone already but I doubled the recipe for the cheese scones so we still have about a dozen left.
    Hoping to try and make bagels later this week-never made bagels.
    I'm also keen to try making fish cakes too-but maybe once we've used up the hoard of fish fingers we seem to have in the freezer.
    GE 36 *MFD
    MFIT-T4 No 83
    Mortgage overpayments:

    Emergency savings 100/2000
    Savercard Christmas savings 10
    12/3/17 175lb - 15/3/17 173lb - 28/6/17 167lb - 14/7/17 164lb - 12/9/17 160lb - 29/12/17 155lb
    • LittleBill
    • By LittleBill 2nd Mar 14, 10:49 PM
    • 1,500 Posts
    • 4,598 Thanks
    LittleBill
    Could try this recipe for 4 ingredient brownies? It does include flour but not very much - if you didn't have nutella then peanut butter would work just as well.
    Originally posted by SarahB1989
    Have a HUGE Jar of Nutella to use ... Thank you
    LittleBill ...

    "The riches of a man can be measured by what he can do without"

    January 2014 GC: 99.98 / 100
    / February 2014 GC: 198.72 / 200
    March
    2014 GC: 0 / 200 - NSD: 0/31
    • JIL
    • By JIL 2nd Mar 14, 11:38 PM
    • 4,143 Posts
    • 23,175 Thanks
    JIL
    Went out to Morrison's today and got two of the boxes of persil that were on offer as well as some of the half price red Leicester cheese and some shampoo and frozen fish.
    I really will have to stop spending that's now 80/180.
    I have an Aldi voucher to use so next weekend won't be less than 40 and there's pork chops on offer at Lidl next weekend.
    This month will be a big challenge!
    • Islandmaid
    • By Islandmaid 3rd Mar 14, 12:10 AM
    • 3,101 Posts
    • 42,181 Thanks
    Islandmaid
    Hi all,

    Can,t sleep so thought i,d post first spend of the month - 64 at Aldo,s this included a litre of scotch as OH likes a tipple at the weekend, so I thought i,d treat him.
    Note to self - STOP SPENDING MONEY !!
    • lynnejk
    • By lynnejk 3rd Mar 14, 12:15 AM
    • 5,343 Posts
    • 55,198 Thanks
    lynnejk
    Now ... Having begun January with an averagely stocked freezer (lots of bits and bobs plus some packs of meat) .. I had an-tip-u-lated having an empty freezer at some point!
    Freezer not empty! Where did i go wrong?
    Answers on a postcard
    LittleSorryForTheLongPostButMakingAPointAndWillNow MakeThemShorterBill
    Originally posted by LittleBill
    That made me laugh You are in same situation as me - but determined to get to the bottom of the mystery (and the freezer) I'm steadfastedly going to eat it all even though some strange meals are occurring !!

    My shop came to 60 but I ran it through the tesco website and picked the things I would have picked as if I had have gone there (so it includes offers and value products) and it worked at approx 92.00!!!!
    Originally posted by p-pincher
    It's mind-blowing isn't it !! I always make a list and go to Al*i first then get whatever they didn't have at Mr T. It does make you realise the huge price differences when you go the same day

    Rather fancy getting myself some of the stackable freezer tubs from Lakeland but not sure if I can justify it just yet!
    Originally posted by lushlifesaver
    I know I'm mean but I bought some square and some oblong from a shop and just re-use them over and over. I use poly bags, write on the bags and pop them in the tubs and then fill and tie. That way they are pretty uniform and you can take out when frozen and stack in carrier bags/boxes in the chest freezer and directly on the shelves in the upright


    Went shopping today and spent 8.49 in Mr T and 29.41 in Al*i. (Made up my shop with some drink in Mr T to use my 9 off voucher but that's a different budget )


    Had jacket pots, steamed courgette/carrots/cauli and snap peas with HM coq au vin(freezer) for dinner


    Hope you all have a money-saving Monday
    Lx
    10day.2014=3213/2015=3421/2016=3238/2017=2702/2018=498..APR=12.03/300
    GrocC.2014=2162/2015=2083/2016=218/2017=1996/2018=450..APR=17.13/200
    Bulk buy.......APR=233.76
    GC.NSD..2015=216/2016=213/2017=229/2018=39..APR=03/15
    SPC130x61..2014=1178/2015=1287/2016=4616/2017=3843
    OS WL= -2/8 ......CC =00......Savings = 13,140
    • lushlifesaver
    • By lushlifesaver 3rd Mar 14, 6:14 AM
    • 2,312 Posts
    • 18,637 Thanks
    lushlifesaver
    Those fish cakes sound lovely!

    Stackable freezer tubs? Ooh - on my way to Lakeland site to investigate!
    Originally posted by recovering spendaholic
    Very impressed with the fish cakes, just the right size to eat a couple with some salad for lunch/a light tea.

    These are the tub collection I'm hankering for: http://www.lakeland.co.uk/15648/Lakeland-Stack-a-Boxes-400ml

    You can get them in packs of 10 x 750ml, 10 x 400ml and 5 x 2.5lt each for around 9. They have fantastic reviews and some people I know have had them for years and they are still going strong! Currently I have a large Tupperware square box with chicken breasts in, a smaller rectangular one for mince then everything else just chucked in in sandwich bags but if you aren't careful everything can fall out when you open the door (we have an upright freezer)!

    Plus the boxes appeal to my slight ocd with them all matching and I could colour coordinate fish, red meat and white meats haha. Think I would continue using sandwich bags for my veggies as the boxes wouldn't fit in the draws.

    Today will have to be a NSD as I have no time to go to the shop - my mum is getting the train up to meet me for lunch and after work I want to get home asap to get the tea on
    Perfect Princess born 26/03/14 <3
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