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  • FIRST POST
    • Pink.
    • By Pink. 26th Dec 08, 12:15 PM
    • 17,431Posts
    • 40,365Thanks
    Pink.
    January 2009 Grocery Challenge
    • #1
    • 26th Dec 08, 12:15 PM
    January 2009 Grocery Challenge 26th Dec 08 at 12:15 PM
    Hello everyone,

    Welcome to the first Grocery Challenge of 2009.

    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

    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 Galtizz
    For guidelines on posting in this thread please read the second post in this thread.

    For everyone's targets and totals for the month please read posts #3 and #4 on this thread.

    For the Grocery challenge Recipe Index please see posts #5 and #6 on this thread.


    I hope everyone has a great month and can I take this opportunity to wish you all a very Happy New Year.

    Pink
    Last edited by Pink.; 28-12-2008 at 1:18 PM.
Page 52
  • hannamint
    I have a problem at the minute, my partner and I end up wasting so much money on take-aways because at the end of my working day i'm just too tired to make an effort (sometimes as late as 9pm). I love cooking and experimenting, i'm only 19 so it doesn't always turn out how i planned it! but we just can't seem to stop wasting our money on a quick food fix. We're both going to end up fat and unhealthy. I just wondered if anyone has any ideas?
    • angelatgraceland
    • By angelatgraceland 10th Jan 09, 11:19 PM
    • 3,318 Posts
    • 23,074 Thanks
    angelatgraceland
    Well I take it that you are working in the week and home weekends? When you have a day off-batchcook a couple of meals such as chilli or spag bol. Put these in the freezer and use them during the week. Over time it will build up-it is a bit of planning and work at first but heres how to do it. Assuming you get 2 days off:
    Dayoff 1 batchcook chilli-enough for 8 portions. Eat 2 freeze 6
    Dayoff 2 batchcook curry and rice-enough for 8 portions. Eat 2 freeze 6.
    You now have 12 portions in the freezer. During the week use one meal of chilli and one of curry for each of you-you now have 8 portions in the freezer.
    Dayoff 3: batchcook lasagne-enough for 8 portions(freeze 6 portions)
    Dayoff 4 batchcook spag bol(freeze 6 portions)
    So at the end of 2 weeks and 4 cooking sessions you will have 20 portions
    You now have 4 different meals in the freezer so this is 4 worknights covered. Fom the third week on you can chill out and only batchcook one day per week or until you have sufficient variety and sufficient to feed yourselves.
    I suggest 8 portions as its more economical for gas/electric and saves a lot of washing up. Im assuming you have a decent freezer and a microwave. You need to invest in some decent tubs to freeze it in which you can then put into the micro to reheat. I swear by baco tubits. Freeze the cooked stuff when its cold and portioned into tubs. They cannot go into an oven though.
    Thats just a few ideas-not counting stuff like pizzas,fish and chips, omellets etc etc. I also batch cook cakes muffins etc and ration them out to last. Some people do this with premade sandwiches too so if you feel inspired you could butter up a loaf, make sarnies and freeze them also.
    Annual Grocery budget 2018 is 1500 pa 125 calendar month 28.84 pw for 3 adults
  • elizabunny
    I have a problem at the minute, my partner and I end up wasting so much money on take-aways because at the end of my working day i'm just too tired to make an effort (sometimes as late as 9pm). I love cooking and experimenting, i'm only 19 so it doesn't always turn out how i planned it! but we just can't seem to stop wasting our money on a quick food fix. We're both going to end up fat and unhealthy. I just wondered if anyone has any ideas?
    Originally posted by hannamint

    hannamint -Well done for all your cooking efforts! Don't worry -It doesn't matter that it doesn't always turn out the way you expected. I've been cooking for 40+ years now and it still doesn't always work out the way I want it to. I think by experimenting and sometimes by not quite suceeding this is how will all learn to be better cooks. I'm sure you will get some great ideas on here, but if it's any help, I 've just re-instated my old slo-cooker/crock pot. This wonderful invention enables you to prepare scrummy and healthy meals well in advance and have them ready and waiting for you, when you get home tired after a busy day. There is a 'What's in my slow cooker' thread in these forums. Sorry I'm not much good at 'linking' to things but if you put in a 'search' I'm sure you will find it. Good luck!
    Sealed Pot Challenge 7 Member 022
    5:2 Diet started 28/1/2013 only 13lbs lost due to Xmas 2013 blip.
  • hannamint
    thanks for those wonderful ideas. I did do a batch of cooking one day, and it worked quite well, only problem was I used smart price mince and it was horrible so it sorta put me off. I'll have another go on my next day off. If I wasn't so lazy i'd get up in the morning and cook for the night, but sometimes because i finish work so late, I can't sleep till about 2am.. then i don't get up till I absolutely have to.. which is too late to cook! I'll have to make more of an effort on batch cooking i think. clear all my rubbish out of my freezer and fill it with good grub. Thanks so much
  • clutterydrawer
    I have a problem at the minute, my partner and I end up wasting so much money on take-aways because at the end of my working day i'm just too tired to make an effort (sometimes as late as 9pm). I love cooking and experimenting, i'm only 19 so it doesn't always turn out how i planned it! but we just can't seem to stop wasting our money on a quick food fix. We're both going to end up fat and unhealthy. I just wondered if anyone has any ideas?
    Originally posted by hannamint

    What sort of things are you cooking/trying to cook? Batch cooking is great, but also try to learn a few really quick, simple recipes....you can make a stir fry in a few minutes, and toad in the hole is pretty fast too.
    August grocery challenge: 50
    Spent so far: 37.40
  • hannamint
    i tend to do stupid stuff like sweet n sour noodles cuz t'other half loves it and it costs about 1.50. either that or just any old oven bake simple stuff because i just don't have time at the end of the day. i'm contemplating the slow cooker thing but not sure because my brothers house ended up egtting burnt down because they left theirs on or something.. (too young for boring details) but yeah i cook pastas a lot because they're fast, but my partner isn't keen.
    • booklover
    • By booklover 11th Jan 09, 12:06 AM
    • 864 Posts
    • 822 Thanks
    booklover
    Can I Please Join The January Grocery Challenge? I'm Going To Aim For

    175 For Whole Of January 2009 as we still have a lot of food in the freezer.

    Sorry this is so late but I have been really sick with the flu and a bad ear infection.

    A belated Happy and Healthy New Year to everyone!

    Fiona xx
    • dumpling
    • By dumpling 11th Jan 09, 12:19 AM
    • 1,776 Posts
    • 24,532 Thanks
    dumpling
    Hi,
    I did an online shop this week with Sainsbugs and managed to get a whole weeks worth of meals for 71.07 so off to update signature now. I found this a better way to buy what I wanted without getting distracted by 'end of aisle offers' that I hadn't budgeted for. Will still need to buy milk and bread midweek though....if I can clear space in my freezer then I can get a whole weeks worth at once (7 loaves and 24 pints of milk - we LIKE milk in our house!)

  • hannamint
    hey, I just realised that some of you who 'almost' manage nsd would manage it if you thought about what you were buying. Fair enough if it's bread and milk and stuff, but like one person said they managed it except some mushrooms for a veggie lasagne. I don't know for sure, nut perhaps just substitute it with something else so you stick to your goals. Also this stops you 'popping in' and coming out with a basket full. People do it at my work all the time, come in for one thing, but they come out spending a fortune.
    I'm not at all criticising, i'm just watching how you all do it so i might join in next time, and noting a few things that crop up. Just thought it might be worth saying to you all what i notice xx
  • SuziQ
    Hi there, sorry if you had a reply to this already, i could not see it on thread....

    Personally I buy full fat milk and water this down. Its like turning full fat into semi skimmed IYSWIM.

    Its up to you how much you water it down by, some people will add 1pint water to 4 pints milk. I usually do 1&half pints water to 4 pints milk.
    Doing this means milk lasts longer here.
    I tend to buy Mr T's pure milk as it got a long date on it.
    ATM its on offer at 2x2litre bottles for 2.60, offer on until end of feb i think.


    Also wanting to update spends. Popped to Mr T for a few things last night and spent a total of 11.05
    Originally posted by carolt2
    Just be aware that this milk may not be suitable for children under 3,or even under 5 due to the fact you are reducing the calcium content. When milk is skimmed the fat is removed,but in effect the calcium increases slightly. If you water milk down you are diluting ALL of it including the calcium content. I used to work closely with a dietician in an out patients when I was Health Visiting and she was always very clear about this.
    Tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it!
    • angelatgraceland
    • By angelatgraceland 11th Jan 09, 2:01 AM
    • 3,318 Posts
    • 23,074 Thanks
    angelatgraceland
    hey, I just realised that some of you who 'almost' manage nsd would manage it if you thought about what you were buying. Fair enough if it's bread and milk and stuff, but like one person said they managed it except some mushrooms for a veggie lasagne. I don't know for sure, nut perhaps just substitute it with something else so you stick to your goals. Also this stops you 'popping in' and coming out with a basket full. People do it at my work all the time, come in for one thing, but they come out spending a fortune.
    I'm not at all criticising, i'm just watching how you all do it so i might join in next time, and noting a few things that crop up. Just thought it might be worth saying to you all what i notice xx
    Originally posted by hannamint
    Yes I agree with you-I'm a substituter rather than one who pops in somewhere for something. If not-I alter my menu. What I cook depends on what I have rather than a recipe. I adapt all recipes-thats the fun of it!
    Annual Grocery budget 2018 is 1500 pa 125 calendar month 28.84 pw for 3 adults
    • CRANKY40
    • By CRANKY40 11th Jan 09, 8:58 AM
    • 3,374 Posts
    • 36,731 Thanks
    CRANKY40
    Just be aware that this milk may not be suitable for children under 3,or even under 5 due to the fact you are reducing the calcium content. When milk is skimmed the fat is removed,but in effect the calcium increases slightly. If you water milk down you are diluting ALL of it including the calcium content. I used to work closely with a dietician in an out patients when I was Health Visiting and she was always very clear about this.
    Originally posted by SuziQ
    That's why I don't do it. Most of the milk in my house goes into the 4 year old. I'm more than happy for him to have it as it is.
  • Changingme
    Thanks for tip on milk am going to give this ago,went shopping again yesterday afternoon and brought airer I seem to have so much washing this week 8.81 out of wilkinsons on special bigger than the one have at moment,also picked up sugar and toilet rolls in Home Bargins.

    I will only get milk and bread in week.
    I will only get milk and bread in week.

    If I keep repeating this I might just get there.
    Save 4500 in 2014
    • nickynoo08
    • By nickynoo08 11th Jan 09, 9:42 AM
    • 1,835 Posts
    • 17,030 Thanks
    nickynoo08
    Morning everyone, spent 2.74 on my lunch and milk yesterday. I was so dissapointed with myself coz i always take my own lunch and then when i got home i realised i'd bought the wrong milk too.
    I've just realised i've got less than 20 to last me the month now eeekkk. Once i've bought my milk for the rest of the month (i have a little un) i'll have about a 11 left for anything else i'll need. I know i've got loads in the freezer but i always panic when i've got a tiny budget thinking how am i going to manage. I'm determined to come in on budget this month, i'll just have to get creative, only i'm not too creative
    What would you buy with your last tenner?
    Debt 1 1111.23 0% until March 19 pay by xmas 0/1111.23
    Debt 2 2100 0% until August 19
    Debt 3 2161.86 0% until August 19
    Debt 4 1846.98 0% until December 19
    Saving for xmas 5/120
    1 debt at a time! We can do this!!
  • JayJay14
    What would you buy with your last tenner?
    Originally posted by nickynoo08

    A chinese

    (Our local takeaway does this meal for two - sweet and sour chicken, chicken and mushroom, 2 x egg fried rice, huge bag of prawn crackers and 2 x fortune cookies, 9.50. We've never been able to eat it all yet but it's our monthly treat if we have enough left over on the GC)
  • gillst
    I have a problem at the minute, my partner and I end up wasting so much money on take-aways because at the end of my working day i'm just too tired to make an effort (sometimes as late as 9pm). I love cooking and experimenting, i'm only 19 so it doesn't always turn out how i planned it! but we just can't seem to stop wasting our money on a quick food fix. We're both going to end up fat and unhealthy. I just wondered if anyone has any ideas?
    Originally posted by hannamint
    Could you perhaps do pasta and sauce, with grated cheese on top, and a side salad, or a pasta bake. Both nice and easy and quick and do not cost a lot, even if you have to resort to the ready made pasta sauces.

    We had toad in the hole, mash, carrots and peas last night, which was lovely, especially as DH cooked , followed by a HM rice pudding (which I made!). Today we will have roast chicken and I will boil the carcus and make some soups for packed lunches. Will need to do some bread in the BM to go with this. Have just found out that DS1 will be eating tonight at his girlfriends. My DD is coming round to dinner so the chicken only needs feed 3 of us, so will have plenty left. The soup may actually become a stew for dinner tomorrow.
    Probably a silly question, but being a newbie I was wondering how and when you get your stars.
    • Cat Addict
    • By Cat Addict 11th Jan 09, 10:34 AM
    • 348 Posts
    • 1,770 Thanks
    Cat Addict
    Hannamint, I really would try to develop the slow cooker habit. It just takes a bit of organising then becomes second nature. Meals cooked in there tend to be cheap by nature, you can bulk out with dried country soup mixes, lentils, oats and barley. Bung it all in on low before you go to work and its lovely not having to think "what shall we have tonight?" And modern slow cookers are very safe. If you were terribly worried you could buy one with a timer setting on it or buy a timer switch to ensure you never leave it on for longer than you intended.

    Then also as someone else suggested, pasta meals are fab, cheap, quick, easy and gorgeous. My OH is still raving about the one I did two nights ago. Cooked some penne, sweated an onion and some mushrooms in butter and olive oil, chopped up the left over gammon from Christmas which had been in the freezer, dropped that in the saucepan with a tin of condensed chicken soup, added some milk, poured over the penne, topped with grated cheese and baked for 25 mins. It fed five of us and cost very very little.
    Wendy x
    • mookybargirl
    • By mookybargirl 11th Jan 09, 10:38 AM
    • 1,370 Posts
    • 2,640 Thanks
    mookybargirl
    I've not joined the challenge for quite a few months now, but after a shocking December, I've never had so little cash. I have 13.45 to get us to the end of the month . I've raided the cupboards and listed everything and made meals from what I have in (as my freezer is full). I actually managed to get enough meals out, as long as we eat 2 Sunday's at the MIL - guess where we're off to today I only need milk potatoes & veg, a bit of chorizo and a garlic bread. I really hope we can make it!
    Last edited by mookybargirl; 11-01-2009 at 10:44 AM.
    Love MSE, Las Vegas and chocolate!
    • Cat Addict
    • By Cat Addict 11th Jan 09, 10:53 AM
    • 348 Posts
    • 1,770 Thanks
    Cat Addict
    That really is a storecupboard challenge. And if you can do it and live on what you have, it bodes well for how much you can save in the coming months - good luck!
    Wendy x
  • SavvyStudent
    Hello everyone, I'm a bit disappointed today - the OH went out to MrA last night for a *little* top up shop for todays pizza-party (yeast, cheese etc) and ended up spending 60! Which puts us 22 or so over budget and it isn't even the middle of the month! At least he bought useful stuff - stocked up on a load of cupboard essentials, the 3 meats for 10 offer, veg etc - the cupboards and fridge are literally stuffed to bursting and some things won't fit in. I've frozen all the meat etc so heres hoping with a bit of eeking out I'll only have to get bread and milk for the rest of the month! Still tho - its disheartening!

    Hannahmint - when I was 19 and a student for the first time I felt like I couldn't cook either! Turns out if you slowly build up your range of meals you'll get to the stage where you can have a crack at almost anything and it seems to work! My learning to cook was fuelled by hunger / necessity (no money for takeaways!) / and moving to England on my own...! 6 years on and now the OH is raving about everything I bring to the table which must be a good sign. I would suggest learning to roast a chicken - it's really hard to mess up and gives loads of tasty useful meat for relatively cheap for curries, pies, pasta etc and you can make soup from the carcass. xx
    Proud to live a frugal shabby chic life!
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