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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 sixth Grocery Challenge of 2012

    If your new month starts early feel free to join this thread, or if you're still working on your March budget, then keep on posting in the:
    May 2012 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 and #6 on this thread.

    For everyones totals, see post #7 on this thread

    I hope everyone has a great month!

    Zip
    Last edited by zippychick; 11-05-2012 at 6:59 PM.
    A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men
    Norn Iron club member #380

Page 35
    • PennyGrabber
    • By PennyGrabber 10th Jun 12, 12:35 PM
    • 1,268 Posts
    • 22,438 Thanks
    PennyGrabber
    We went to te$co today, to get sweets and drinks for the cinema. 2.43 later, we'd only gone to those two aisles, and bought exactly what we'd planned.

    What? Is this actually me?!!

    Home for lunch now (was seriously tempted to have kfc or mcd as drove past both of those, but held out for my hotdogs with crispy fried onions - yummy!! Again, is this me?!!

    Just about to go and visit a friend who's recently moved house. We haven't seen her since, so that will involve a trip to a4da on the way, to get some flowers or something. Surely I can't make it three in a row???!!!??? I would be so proud of myself if I did!

    Dinner is sorted (los microwaved) and we'll have something like rice pudding for pudding, which I can then have for my lunches this week too. Or if not rp, we'll have tinned fruit or .. or .. or .. There are lots of options!

    Enjoy the last of the weekend, this is our last day of half term boo!!

    PG x
    Grocery challenge for family of three - me, dd(12) and ds(11), feeding dp 2 or 3 x a week too. Only food, not toiletries. Jan 87.97/100 Feb 0/100
    Frugal 2018 needed! Saving and NOT spending
  • sb88
    Back from our weekly shop! Was really really strict with myself.

    28 for the week!

    I'm also starting to buy an extra tin of something to build up a store cupboard, first time living away from home so this is all new to me !

    Picked up some extra tins of tomatoes and some cornedbeef that was on roleback to 2.
    Weightloss: 18lbs/28lbs (Start weight: 11st, Current 9st 10)
  • cleggie
    Went to Mr T, to get bread.
    Ended up getting:

    -4 salmon fillets breaded and with garlic butter- Was 8, reduced to 80p
    -Pack of 8 fancy (my word, not theirs!!) sausages- Was 3, reduced to 45p
    -Bag of satsumas-Was 1.50, reduced to 15p
    -6 bread rolls- Was 65p, reduced to 45p

    but totally forgot bread!!
    The salmon fillets must be my bargains of the past few months!!
  • archived user
    I'm quite pleased with myself now. Years ago in a previous life I used to make bacon & sweetcorn soda bread at the weekend as it was filling and yummy while we were all outdoors doing stuff. I couldn't find the recipe so I adapted JJs herby bread by replacing the herbs & cheese with fried bacon and sweetcorn - it's delicious and we've both had 3 pieces and are trying to resist the rest! I used the Lido bargain bacon, it was nice
    Then I reduced down some of the tomato sauce I made yesterday, until it was thick, and we had that like ketchup on the bread.
    Nom nom nom
    Rx
  • jumblejack
    I'm quite pleased with myself now. Years ago in a previous life I used to make bacon & sweetcorn soda bread at the weekend as it was filling and yummy while we were all outdoors doing stuff. I couldn't find the recipe so I adapted JJs herby bread by replacing the herbs & cheese with fried bacon and sweetcorn - it's delicious and we've both had 3 pieces and are trying to resist the rest! I used the Lido bargain bacon, it was nice
    Then I reduced down some of the tomato sauce I made yesterday, until it was thick, and we had that like ketchup on the bread.
    Nom nom nom
    Rx
    Originally posted by rosyq
    Oh WOW!!!

    What a fantastic idea!!!!!

    I have some bacon to use up!
    I bet I could throw some olives in instead of sweet corn to make it even more savoury!

    Nice one
    Every moment is a gift. That's why we call it the present.!
    Grocery Spend Weekly Challenge (Sat-Fri):30.50/40
    • hattifattener
    • By hattifattener 10th Jun 12, 2:16 PM
    • 147 Posts
    • 1,407 Thanks
    hattifattener
    Desperatley want to go out and buy some new running trousers, but I can't really afford to since I'm in my overdraft and trying to clear it. I couldn't justify the expense, however I'm finding it really hard not going out and getting some
    Originally posted by sb88
    You can do it! Think how satisfying it will be to resist them - almost as satisfying as having new running troons, eh? Why don't you line them up as a treat for when your OD is cleared - a reward for working at sticking to your budget?
    • Daisypop
    • By Daisypop 10th Jun 12, 2:21 PM
    • 63 Posts
    • 114 Thanks
    Daisypop
    Hi all

    Pretty new on here but i have today made my first batch of flapjacks and hobnobs and am very impressed! Think my hobnobs need to be a bit smaller and thinner but they taste good anyway! Been a right domestic goddess today, also made red pepper, tomato and onion soup and that smells delicious too.

    I cant wait to try some of the other recipes and it definately saves money rather than trying to find cheaper versions that taste good!

    Thanks all!
  • jumblejack
    Hi all

    Pretty new on here but i have today made my first batch of flapjacks and hobnobs and am very impressed! Think my hobnobs need to be a bit smaller and thinner but they taste good anyway! Been a right domestic goddess today, also made red pepper, tomato and onion soup and that smells delicious too.

    I cant wait to try some of the other recipes and it definately saves money rather than trying to find cheaper versions that taste good!

    Thanks all!
    Originally posted by Daisypop
    You will save on cookbooks too!

    I have got rid of most of mine which has cleared some shelf space
    Every moment is a gift. That's why we call it the present.!
    Grocery Spend Weekly Challenge (Sat-Fri):30.50/40
    • Daisypop
    • By Daisypop 10th Jun 12, 2:26 PM
    • 63 Posts
    • 114 Thanks
    Daisypop
    im away for a couple of days with work this week but will be having a look at other things when i come back
  • jumblejack
    Well for dinner today we had a choice of leftover veggie curry and basmati or leftover chilli and basmati as I had to clear some freezer space for a great pizza deal from Tesco.

    Tonight we have friends coming over so will be having pizzas!!!

    We are also going to have to force a Dr Who cake down our chops as I had to defrost it to sacrifice a wee bit more freezer space

    Can't wait to see what the next price drop leaflets have in from Tesco!

    Edit:
    The hog roast last night was awesome,
    The pig was organic and was being roasted by the same couple that raised it!
    The crackling was GORGEOUS!
    Every moment is a gift. That's why we call it the present.!
    Grocery Spend Weekly Challenge (Sat-Fri):30.50/40
    • **purpleprincess**
    • By **purpleprincess** 10th Jun 12, 3:09 PM
    • 3,516 Posts
    • 3,845 Thanks
    **purpleprincess**
    Just done my food shop and come in at 23.22 perfect. Got loads of stuff and have got plenty for meals for the week. Total for the month is now 126.21, so still got a fair bit for the rest of the month. We're going on a self catering holiday to Devon next week so can afford to spend a little more, but should come in at or under budget this month. Fabby!

    Dinner is going to be a roast gammon joint with baked potatoes and veggies nomnomnom
    Official DFW Nerd no. 082!
    Debt @ 01/01/2014 16,956 Debt now: 0.00
    Aims: clear debt, get married, buy a house ALL DONE!!
  • Guppycaz
    The boys sleepover went well yesterday and funny enough JJ they had pizza too

    Went to Mr T and spent 54 followed by A*DI spend of of 15, making a total spend of 69.. Much better than the 125 i used to spend!

    The freezers are full to the brim and I really need nothing else for the week. Just need to stay clear of the SM and I'll be fine!

    Have just found some belly pork strips at the bottom of the freezer, any ideas what to do with them?
    Grocery Challenge: June 92/500
    • savesummore
    • By savesummore 10th Jun 12, 3:19 PM
    • 943 Posts
    • 11,411 Thanks
    savesummore
    Afternoon all, last day of my week off today boo

    Yesterday OH made a beef and ale pie that we had with chips and peas yummy and today we are having LO pie with potatos and veg yummy!!

    Also OH has made a apple and blackberry crumble (inspired by FLO'S crumble pictured yesterday ) The blackberries are the last from our freeze that were foraged the end of last summer - cant wait for Blackberry season again so we can get them for free- cant believe the price of them in the sm!!!

    We have had quite afew crumbles and blackberry jam oh and blackberry ice lollies from what we got last year

    Anyway im rambling on!!! Spent 1.55 on custard and a carton of cream today
    O/S weight loss 2.5 /10lbs (11st 8.0- 08.02)
    • fozziebeartoo
    • By fozziebeartoo 10th Jun 12, 3:19 PM
    • 1,564 Posts
    • 12,675 Thanks
    fozziebeartoo
    Hi All,



    Mostly I just lurk, and read all your words of wisdom... sometimes I read the posts in the wrong order...


    I did that today, and look what I read... Lol! x



    #659
    On a better note, has anyone else tried MrA's SPrice shampoo for 20p? I've been using it this week, and I can't stop telling people about it! My hair is so soft, it feels like I've used some expensive conditioner, but it's just the shampoo


    #658
    Kitchenbunny - I have - it was OK but I would add a few drops of vanilla extract and some pureed fruit to make it less custardy - strawberries are good ...

    I'm still giggling now x
    Originally posted by Midnight Shopper



    Thank you for that!!

    I am glad I am not the only one who reads posts backwards some times
    • savesummore
    • By savesummore 10th Jun 12, 3:22 PM
    • 943 Posts
    • 11,411 Thanks
    savesummore

    Have just found some belly pork strips at the bottom of the freezer, any ideas what to do with them?
    Originally posted by Guppycaz
    Yum I love belly pork- OH just roasts them in the oven and we usually have them with veg in a Sunday dinner style- very simple but I love it
    O/S weight loss 2.5 /10lbs (11st 8.0- 08.02)
    • fozziebeartoo
    • By fozziebeartoo 10th Jun 12, 3:28 PM
    • 1,564 Posts
    • 12,675 Thanks
    fozziebeartoo
    Another NSD day here

    Just had late lunch/early dinner of HM chicken and veg curry.....took it out of the freezer and I have NO recollection of cooking it!! I know some people "sleep-eat".....wondering if I might "sleep-cook"!!

    Anyway, it was delicious and enough for 2 meals (I didnt think it would be but very filling when I got started) so maybe I will wrap the remains in a tortilla for lunch tomorrow.

    Will defrost some more HM stuff to make way for a meat delivery arriving tomorrow - hope I can squeeze it in
  • Guppycaz
    Thanks for that, the simpler the better in my case... Delia Smith I am not!
    Just found the recipe for belly pork on page 1, haven't got pears but guess I could use apples and have never even heard of caraway seeds!
    Grocery Challenge: June 92/500
    • meg72
    • By meg72 10th Jun 12, 3:32 PM
    • 5,082 Posts
    • 46,072 Thanks
    meg72
    Just seen my DGS off back home, had a lovely few days with him, My DIL bought a lot of the Asda reduced , 10 pound,so back in challenge, just need DD to get back from Florida and see what she wants and see how much I have to end of month.
    Slimming World at target
    • meg72
    • By meg72 10th Jun 12, 3:41 PM
    • 5,082 Posts
    • 46,072 Thanks
    meg72
    That made me laugh as well Midnight Shopper!

    Had a bit of a spendy day yesterday - the weather was nice and sunny for a change so wanted to make the most of it

    Soooo...

    4.24 in Pret on a sandwich and coffee. I don't know why these places are always so busy - it's been years since I've been to one and I was really disappointed. I won't be going there for a while since it wasn't worth the money!.
    Originally posted by NickJW
    I find just about any meal I buy out disappointing and not worth the money.
    Slimming World at target
  • sb88
    You can do it! Think how satisfying it will be to resist them - almost as satisfying as having new running troons, eh? Why don't you line them up as a treat for when your OD is cleared - a reward for working at sticking to your budget?
    Originally posted by hattifattener

    Thankyou for the encouragement!

    I think that is what I will do, a reward for resisting untill I can afford them! It sounds daft even considering buying them knowing I have an OD to pay off.

    I was hoping to buy them as an incentive to keep running! Although I enjoy going out, I find it SO hard to get motivated! nothing like spending money and having to get the wear out of them to get you out heh
    Weightloss: 18lbs/28lbs (Start weight: 11st, Current 9st 10)
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