Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

Welcome to the MSE Forums

We're home to a fantastic community of MoneySavers but anyone can post. Please exercise caution & report spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts/messages: click "report" or email forumteam@.

Search
  • 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 February Grocery Challenge of 2012

    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 January 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.
    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 squeaky; 30-01-2012 at 6:27 AM.
    A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men
    Norn Iron club member #380

Page 82
    • rising from the ashes
    • By rising from the ashes 23rd Feb 12, 4:52 PM
    • 12,321 Posts
    • 59,551 Thanks
    rising from the ashes
    I've updated my signature to show it's just me I feed on my giant budget, as per previous posts!
    Originally posted by elsiepac
    Mine's even bigger ...... tbh I'd really struggle on less as milk accounts for over 20% of my budget (lactose intolerant) - add on the wheat free things too and .......

    I've become completely obsessed with this thread and the OS boards in general. Now I'm debt free (still hasn't sunk in!) I need to stay really focussed as I know how little willpower I sometimes have, and I DO NOT EVER want to be in debt again (excluding a mortgage in the future if I go down that road again!).
    Originally posted by elsiepac
    Me too - I'm much more paranoid (and obsessive) now I'm debt free ... probably a good thing really but I do think I need to lighten up a bit sometimes


    Florenceem I love seeing the pics of your dinners! Quick question tho .... who has to wait before being able to dig in every night!


    Still fairly on track this month (after last month's stocking up) - have the £5 off £40 or £7 off £50 Mr T voucher to be used this weekend but need to have a shuffle in the freezers to see if I've room to get more stuff in.

    Ideally I'd like to stock up on whole chickens as love the amount of meals you can get off one - but they take up sooooo much room in the freezer so will have to wait and see once the re-jig has happened.

    If I can get them on the 4 for £12 offer that would last me a good couple of months and would help balance the books a bit!
    Grocery Challenge £211/£455 (01/01-31/03)
    2016 Sell: £125/£250
    £1,000 Emergency Fund Challenge #78 £3.96 / £1,000
    Vet Fund: £410.93 / £1,000
    Debt free & determined to stay that way!
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 23rd Feb 12, 5:08 PM
    • 3,984 Posts
    • 52,562 Thanks
    Florenceem
    The photos is of my dinner - Mr F doesn't have to wait but he does.
    15 in 2015 1/15
    • elsiepac
    • By elsiepac 23rd Feb 12, 5:19 PM
    • 1,701 Posts
    • 12,587 Thanks
    elsiepac
    Mine's even bigger ...... tbh I'd really struggle on less as milk accounts for over 20% of my budget (lactose intolerant) - add on the wheat free things too and .......
    Originally posted by rising from the ashes

    I guess you're only ever going to be able to get the spends down so much... they make all the special diet things so expensive, I think it's really unfair! I'm sure I've heard people say you can get certain gluten free things from the Dr if you're a coeliac? Not sure if you are, but it's the only thing I can think of!!!

    I'm much more paranoid (and obsessive) now I'm debt free ... probably a good thing really but I do think I need to lighten up a bit sometimes
    Originally posted by rising from the ashes
    Me too, my friends take the mick, but on the other hand, one of them who is her and her husband, and their 2 year old daughter, the mum text me the other day and said she was so proud as she managed to get her weeks shopping for £56! Then she said "i'm sure I've forgotten loads of important stuff". They normally spend about £90 a week I think, and the bit that gets me is they are always saying how they have no money, but they are the types who won't compromise and they have desserts every day, meat or fish every day, steak once a week, Finext products, etc. As I said, nothing wrong with it, just don't say you haven't got any money! I scrimp on some things so I can have more to go out or socialise! It's one or the other! anyway, point was, I do sometimes feel smug, although a sad spreadsheet obsessive (to the penny!)

    The photos is of my dinner - Mr F doesn't have to wait but he does.
    Originally posted by Florenceem
    I love seeing your dinner pics too. I keep meaning to take pictures when I have something different (as I tend to have the same thing a few nights running), but every time I leave my phone upstairs, and frankly I'd rather eat while it's hot than run up to get the phone to do pics!!!

    Last portion of roast chicken risotto tonight, having it with the dregs of my sorry looking broccoli and the green beans I have left.

    I've run my shelf in the fridge down quite well, but as I've frozen most of the loaf and rolls I made earlier, I've filled up my freezer shelf again!!! Still, it's all on the plan to slowly go down, so not failed yet!

    LC
    I'm a Board Guide on the Old Style, Greenfingered, Energy & Going Out Deals boards which means I'm a volunteer to help the boards run smoothly and I can move and merge threads there. Please remember, board guides don't read every post. If you spot an illegal or inappropriate post then please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com (it's not part of my role to deal with this) Any views are mine and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.
    SPC No 074
    GC: Apr 19 £59.94/£200
    Vegan 27-8-13
  • Ninno820

    I've become completely obsessed with this thread and the OS boards in general.
    Originally posted by elsiepac
    So am I - its reading this thread every day thats keeping me in gear. Not only that but I started to look at your spreasheet today and think that I could get hooked on that as well!

    Its the first day of my March budget today and its great thinking that there's some cash in the bank. I am trying for a strict money diet this month and will start by NOT buying the mirror for the voucher - it was the spending spree this time last month that led to my february downfall I spent £4 at the local shop on cheese and a treat for dessert. The cheese wasn't cheap but its a 40 minute round trip to the nearest supermarket and I would get tempted. This month my meal plan uses everything in stock and the budget is for the additional bits - cheese on a burger for example!
    44 day challenge


    1. Pay £650 off overdraft (£ 288/ £650)
    2. Lose 12 lbs (4.5/ 12)
    3. Use YNAB everyday (6/44)
    • meg72
    • By meg72 23rd Feb 12, 5:42 PM
    • 5,082 Posts
    • 46,072 Thanks
    meg72

    Ideally I'd like to stock up on whole chickens as love the amount of meals you can get off one - but they take up sooooo much room in the freezer so will have to wait and see once the re-jig has happened.

    If I can get them on the 4 for £12 offer that would last me a good couple of months and would help balance the books a bit!
    Originally posted by rising from the ashes
    Just a thought have your considered cutting them in half,I do this and find I can get two in the space that one would normally take up.Dont take as long to cook either.
    Slimming World at target
    • NickJW
    • By NickJW 23rd Feb 12, 5:43 PM
    • 678 Posts
    • 13,646 Thanks
    NickJW
    NSD day today - just grabbing a Mr W pizza out of the freezer and using up the rest of the salad. Very lazy of me!

    Mr T has just sent me 4 vouchers which are £6 off a £30 spend for the next four weeks. I guess it's because I haven't used Mr T much recently and they are trying to entice me back. Anyway - 20% off a £30 shop seems too good to turn down especially since I can use it to stock up on a few things. IF I manage to get everything I need for the following week it will be worth it rather than relying on my little Mr S near work. I'm doing things on Sunday so I guess it all depends on whether I fancy going to Mr T on a Saturday!

    Having said that, if I do use the vouchers I will definitely go over this month. But then, if that does happen, I'll deduct money from March as penance..........
    Grocery Challenge 14 Jan 14 £46.05/£130

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

    DFD 1st March 2011
    • EverTheOptimist
    • By EverTheOptimist 23rd Feb 12, 6:28 PM
    • 2,655 Posts
    • 15,729 Thanks
    EverTheOptimist
    Evening all.

    Just popped into the SM for a few bits... famous last words.

    Oh well, ended up doing a weekly shop, and spent £34.01 how did that happen. And think it puts me about £45 over budget.

    Well to balance the books i am going to take that from my petrol money, which i think was going to be over anyway.

    Problem is i still don't get paid until Tuesday. I am pretty sure i have everything i need, very well stocked up on fruit, and pretty sure bunny is sorted too. and obviously he is the most important one.

    Still can't quite declare yet.

    Had a chicken, mushroom and tomato pasta this evening, which i thought would be 2 meals, turns out i can get 3 out of it. Cos i decided not to be a little piggy.

    Well done to everyone who is still under budget, i think i will increase mine slightly next month as i seem to be around the £180 mark.
    DEBT: Loan £6000 Bank of mum and dad £13000
    SPC 12 #005 Target £200 /
    • ModestyB
    • By ModestyB 23rd Feb 12, 6:45 PM
    • 1,573 Posts
    • 15,283 Thanks
    ModestyB
    Hi all, Dh spent £8.28 in Mr. M's yesterday and we spent £26.64 in Ald! and £4.17 in Mr. S today. Not long ago, this would been a lot more in S and M's, I'm so glad we have an Ald! now.
    All this adds another £39.09 to the budget. The best thing about it was using cash instead of a card. I gave DH a £20 note yesterday with a list and said to get everything on the list and I wanted £19 change. . He did quite well actually and only got what I'd written.

    Hope everyone's had a good day and BIG hugs to all who need one.

    Helenjelly, I don't mind not being on the front page either. Thanks for all your hard work keeping us going.
    S.P.C. 9 2016 No. 062 Banked £337.50
    My Gold Stars off Sue.
    • rising from the ashes
    • By rising from the ashes 23rd Feb 12, 6:49 PM
    • 12,321 Posts
    • 59,551 Thanks
    rising from the ashes
    Just a thought have your considered cutting them in half,I do this and find I can get two in the space that one would normally take up.Dont take as long to cook either.
    Originally posted by meg72
    Not thought of that Meg .... how long would you roast the 1/2 chicken for? (usually do them in a roasting tin with a lid)

    Mr T has just sent me 4 vouchers which are £6 off a £30 spend for the next four weeks. I guess it's because I haven't used Mr T much recently and they are trying to entice me back.
    Originally posted by NickJW
    Yup, I find that too .... as well as my £7 off £50 to be used by this weekend, I've also got several others too (not fantastic at £5 off £50 and as they're doing £5 off £40 instore unlikely they'll be used)


    I guess you're only ever going to be able to get the spends down so much... they make all the special diet things so expensive, I think it's really unfair! I'm sure I've heard people say you can get certain gluten free things from the Dr if you're a coeliac? Not sure if you are, but it's the only thing I can think of!!
    Originally posted by elsiepac
    Not quite sure this will come out right in words & wouldn't wish coeliac disease on anyone .... so hope no offence to anyone .... don't want to say the word "unfortunately" when saying I'm not a coeliac - but can't think of another way to put it mmmm maybe the best tack would be to say that unfortunately I can't get anything on prescription.

    I have Crohn's which unfortunately restricts my diet severely - the lactose thing is really hard as the "free from" milk and cheese is soooooo expensive - even if I wasn't lactose intolerant, I really shouldn't eat diary (which I love) having Crohn's ... so .... I guess it does stop me eating it ....

    After many years of living with it, I've found out what I can eat and what is best avoided (except for maybe a very special occasion) and what I can have now & then. Unfortunately, wheat doesn't do me "any good at all" and I will usually suffer after eating it - I try to use wheat free products (some are urgh!) as much as I can but do use wheat flour in the odd thing I'm cooking now & then (tastes much better!).

    Sorry, rambling - heading off to bed as totally beat ...
    Grocery Challenge £211/£455 (01/01-31/03)
    2016 Sell: £125/£250
    £1,000 Emergency Fund Challenge #78 £3.96 / £1,000
    Vet Fund: £410.93 / £1,000
    Debt free & determined to stay that way!
    • PennyGrabber
    • By PennyGrabber 23rd Feb 12, 7:33 PM
    • 1,268 Posts
    • 22,438 Thanks
    PennyGrabber
    i like your thinking

    been cooking this afternoon. made a base mince and from that made 2 pasta bakes ( one for tonight and one for the freezer) and there were two lots of mince left - so thats bagged up in the freezer.
    i have cooked a gammon joint and sliced it - there seems to be loads so i think it may be cheaper to do that than buy ham. i might look into a meat slicer as my slices are quite thick even with the electric knife
    Originally posted by sistercas
    Ooh, if you find a good bargain, can you share?! I've been thinking about cooking my own ham for sandwiches for a while, but I'm absolutely rubbish at cutting with a knife!

    Me too - I'm much more paranoid (and obsessive) now I'm debt free ... probably a good thing really but I do think I need to lighten up a bit sometimes
    Originally posted by rising from the ashes
    I'm the same - I got used to living in debt as a uni student, and if I wasn't at the end of my overdraft, then result -I had money to spend!! It was really hard to get out of that way of thinking, and now I am debt free and determined not to go back, it does make me more obsessive. Well, debt free except for my cc, which snuck up on me before Christmas last year, hence the dfd!!
    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
  • bodmin789
    I've watched this site on and off for a few years now, but never actually took part, well that's changing as of today!

    Not sure what budget to set as yet, there are 2 adults and 2 cats, one of which is very old and fussy and we have a tendency to pander to her . So for this month we're just going to test the waters and set a tentative budget of £50 per week and see how we get on.

    One good thing is that the other half is keen as well, so that should help make things a bit easier.

    We live in a fairly rural location, but are lucky enough to now have a Sains, but all other supermarkets are about a 20 mile round trip, so will try to fit in trips to the other shops when we're taking the car out, and will try NOT to make special journeys in the car for food shopping!
    • XSpender
    • By XSpender 23rd Feb 12, 8:38 PM
    • 3,348 Posts
    • 34,483 Thanks
    XSpender
    I have decided to set my budget at £90/wk this month so a total budget of £360 from yesterday until 21st Feb as I will have 4 Fridays in that period.

    HelenJelly - No need to add me to the front page I will keep track in my signature. I just like to post it then my budget has been recorded and have a target to achieve.

    Spent £16 in Mr S on chicken soup and lucozade for poorly DH and some quorn, rinse aid and a few bits I can't get at Ald1 including some biscuits for the joiner who fitted shelves in 2 big cupboards for me today so I can store all my baking and cooking equipment and food stores £1.62 also spent on teas at work.

    These spends have come out of the £90 I took out in cash yesterday. I have put this is in a seperate purse and am hoping this method will help me stick to the budget.

    Most of the fruit and veg I bought last week is still sat there as DH has tonsilitus so hasn't been eating and I can't be bothered to cook for myself so have been eating stuff from the freezer.
    • carolinerunner
    • By carolinerunner 23rd Feb 12, 9:11 PM
    • 495 Posts
    • 6,305 Thanks
    carolinerunner
    Hi all,
    Result yesterday, 2 FR chickens from Ald1 for £2.50 each, what a treat! Nice too, no nasty skin burns on legs etc. meal plan now rejigged, roast chicken last night, curry tonight, still plenty in the firdge for another meal and carcasses in the SC for more stock. Also made beef stock from the huge amount of free bones from the farm shop, strained it thro an old napkin and boiled it down to about 1/2 a pint of really really concentrated viscous liquid. Ideal for adding to all sorts of things. Whole house smells of it!

    To the OP (can't recall who) who said in Jan (I think) that they freeze portions of chopped onion, celery, carrot etc for base for cooking - had to laugh as M%S have exactly that now in their freezer section about £2.50 a kilo which I have to say is not cheap. this is from me who does buy chopped onions at about £1.50 a kilo cos it saves so much time and fuss.

    Just over the £500 mark with not much left to buy till the 29th. Not running on fumes really, and pretty well stocked with many things, so far so good. Oddly the cats don't like the Amaz0n Sheb@ (exact same variety they usually eat) which is tricky as I bought 32 packs. I am not happy about the fact that the Ald1 chickens worked out far cheaper/100g than the Sheb@. Maybe we should feed the cats real meat rather than cat food? How weird to pay more for it than real chicken, when it's so gross.

    I agree with those who say that doing a big 'monthly' shop in the first week of a month blows the budget. It's that feeling of release from the shackles of the end-of-month situation, I think. I will try the idea of taking out the week's money in cash in a purse, I now have a separate one tho as it's also black I can never find it in my bag, which goes down a storm at Ald1 as they're rushing me thro! Talking of which, haven't trieed it yet but the other bargain there was Macon Villages at £4.99, can be £7.50+ so if it's nice, will stock up a bit. One of my faves. Have stuck to the '2 dry days a week' thing so far this year though, pathetically proud of that!

    Had an interview today and should get some freelance work out of it, no guarantee of hours but a good chance, and a good hourly rate at least. Things may be looking up!

    Gnight all
    Erratically money saving
    • DundeeDoll
    • By DundeeDoll 23rd Feb 12, 9:36 PM
    • 3,505 Posts
    • 39,663 Thanks
    DundeeDoll

    Ideally I'd like to stock up on whole chickens as love the amount of meals you can get off one - but they take up sooooo much room in the freezer so will have to wait and see once the re-jig has happened.

    If I can get them on the 4 for £12 offer that would last me a good couple of months and would help balance the books a bit!
    Originally posted by rising from the ashes
    Just a thought, could you cook them, carve, strip and freeze? Mind you, probs make quite a bit of stock. But would be able to freeze in bags which might fit better (i put mine in bags in containers then remove from container whn frozen)
    Be like a postage stamp—stick to one thing until you get there.
    • elsiepac
    • By elsiepac 23rd Feb 12, 10:21 PM
    • 1,701 Posts
    • 12,587 Thanks
    elsiepac
    Hi all,
    Result yesterday, 2 FR chickens from Ald1 for £2.50 each, what a treat! Nice too, no nasty skin burns on legs etc.
    Originally posted by carolinerunner
    I think I'm just being naive here as I really don't buy meat that often, but what do you mean by skin burns on legs? I first assumed it was something to do with how they were reared, but then realised they are FR, so I'm completely confused!

    Now down to 4 bread rolls in the freezer... (I made 8)... I had mine for lunch, but then mum and dad both broke their diets tonight with a cheese and onion roll each... I had two out on the side for me for the next couple of days and they haven't got any bread in due to this stupid no carb diet, so of course I gave them my rolls. So took one from freezer to defrost to have with my Sweet Pepper and Tomato Soup for lunch tomorrow, leaving the 4. Feel slightly cheated after all that kneading! I SOOOOOOO want a bread maker!

    True NSD for me today which was nice

    Night all

    LC
    I'm a Board Guide on the Old Style, Greenfingered, Energy & Going Out Deals boards which means I'm a volunteer to help the boards run smoothly and I can move and merge threads there. Please remember, board guides don't read every post. If you spot an illegal or inappropriate post then please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com (it's not part of my role to deal with this) Any views are mine and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.
    SPC No 074
    GC: Apr 19 £59.94/£200
    Vegan 27-8-13
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 23rd Feb 12, 10:25 PM
    • 3,984 Posts
    • 52,562 Thanks
    Florenceem
    Thursday.
    Had to spend on shopping today - £6.92 so I have altered my sig.
    For dinner we had cheese and onion pastie with roast potatoes/carrot/onion/ swede.



    I have three days left of my month to achieve my target NSD.
    15 in 2015 1/15
  • Lovethenight
    The photos is of my dinner - Mr F doesn't have to wait but he does.
    Originally posted by Florenceem
    I also really enjoy the dinner photos Your plate always looks so lovely and with loads of veg
    • elsiepac
    • By elsiepac 23rd Feb 12, 10:51 PM
    • 1,701 Posts
    • 12,587 Thanks
    elsiepac
    Had to spend on shopping today - £6.92 so I have altered my sig.
    For dinner we had cheese and onion pastie with roast potatoes/carrot/onion/ swede.



    I have three days left of my month to achieve my target NSD.
    Originally posted by Florenceem
    Looks lovely as usual! May I ask... I've noticed you quite often have onion in with your veg medley, which had never occured to me before... how do you cook it when you do it like this? Is it all boiled together or some other method?

    Thanks

    LC
    I'm a Board Guide on the Old Style, Greenfingered, Energy & Going Out Deals boards which means I'm a volunteer to help the boards run smoothly and I can move and merge threads there. Please remember, board guides don't read every post. If you spot an illegal or inappropriate post then please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com (it's not part of my role to deal with this) Any views are mine and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.
    SPC No 074
    GC: Apr 19 £59.94/£200
    Vegan 27-8-13
    • tigerfeet2006
    • By tigerfeet2006 23rd Feb 12, 11:25 PM
    • 13,817 Posts
    • 29,889 Thanks
    tigerfeet2006
    Dinner tonight was GF sausages with herby gravy, served with what should dhave been potatoes, carrots and butternut squash with honey and thyme roasted in the micro ( my micro has convenction and grill and combi as well). I went to put the roasting tin in and it was too big, the door kept popping open. So I had to put it on the hob and do them that way. Took an age but they tasted ok. Empty plates all round anyway we had pineapple chunks for pudding.
    BSCno.87
    The only stupid question is an unasked one
    Loving life as a Kernow Hippy
  • SAVVYMUMMY
    Good morning all, haven`t been on for a while, but have kept a note of my shopping spends. Updated siggy and so far spent £230.25, for this month, but will have to update with the butchers bill a few days into march. i`ve been trying to run the cupboards and freezer down, just to use up the old stuff, still a few bits to use up, so will only need to get fruit, veg, bread and milk, I hope.

    Well done everyone.
    Grocery Challenge 2013: July week 1 £90/£87.41
    week 2 £90.00/£118.38 week 3 £90/£60.54week4 £90/£79.90 week5 £45/£00
    End of mortgage april 2030
    Mortgage overpayment from june 2013 aiming for £400 a month: £451
    Emergency fund 2013 from june £70
Welcome to our new Forum!

Our aim is to save you money quickly and easily. We hope you like it!

Forum Team Contact us

Live Stats

3,205Posts Today

7,229Users online

Martin's Twitter