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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 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 85
  • bodmin789
    Could I have some help please?

    Not sure how to get my posts to look like yours, please can someone advise??
    • sistercas
    • By sistercas 24th Feb 12, 7:29 PM
    • 4,841 Posts
    • 58,664 Thanks
    sistercas
    I bought a meat slicer from Lakeland, the best money I have spent for a long time, worth every penny. All joints go so much further with thinner slices, the machine I have can do wafer thin which is great is stretching the joint to another meal.
    Originally posted by Bikingbint
    i was just looking at the LAKELAND MEAT SLICER i like it , i had a look on @mazon and ebay and some are so expensive im very tempted but would have to save up for one

    NSD today
  • 123budget
    ELSIEPAC I have just spent ages looking through your spreadsheet - totally fantastic
    So good I forgot I had got dinner in the oven and burnt it all

    I'm not very computer literate but think I have got the hang of it. I have deleted your grocery/item list and just started listing mine from latest receipt and am going to try and find receipts from last month to put those on. You have saved me so much time but I think it may become a little obsessive.

    Can I just ask one question - On your shopping list page the column in pink with the prices - have you crossed them out as you have bought them also not sure what n/a meant (is that already in your stores?)
    Just wondered as when I put in my shopping list the prices came up with a line through them.
    Sealed Pot Challenge 2011 / no. 1205 110 made]Sealed Pot Challenge 2012/no 1205 target 300
    Jan g/c 355.83/450
    g/c Feb487.66/400
    March 411.03/450
    To feed 5 adults and 2 dogs includes toiletries & cleanining
  • Long tall sally
    Hi all. Declaring at 500 against my target of 450 and have already spent 20.02 for the month of March at Far*foods, Ho*ebargains & the market.

    Helen - I am happy to not be on the first page. I never look at it anyway.

    Thankyou to everyone for their posts and also to Helen, Rosieben & zippychick for running the thread.
    Grocery aim 450pm.Spent 519 August, 584 July, 544 June, 541 May, 549 April, 517 March, 517 Feb,555 Jan, 573 Dec, 465Nov, 561Oct, 493Sept, 426Aug,496 Jul, 528Jun, 506May,498April, 558 March, 500Feb, 500 Jan, 490 Dec, 555 Nov,566 Oct, 505Sept, 450Aug, 410 July, 437 June, 491 May, 471 April, 440 March, 552Feb, 462Jan
    • Gorgeestwo
    • By Gorgeestwo 24th Feb 12, 7:49 PM
    • 364 Posts
    • 5,889 Thanks
    Gorgeestwo
    Helenjelly, I'm also happy not to be on the front page and just put my amount in my sig. Thank you for all your hard work.

    Declaring 440 ish ( sort of lost track a bit towards the end) for February, but it was over budget anyway
    Going to aim for 450 in March, did my first March shop today and spent just over 92 but that includes about 25 of summer school uniform from Mr S, I'm going to leave that in this budget for now.
    Grocery challenge : January 2016 65.86/300
    For 2 adults, 2 children (10 & 9 yrs) 3 cats & 2 dogs.


    • Suffolk lass
    • By Suffolk lass 24th Feb 12, 7:56 PM
    • 3,058 Posts
    • 28,183 Thanks
    Suffolk lass
    Could I have some help please?

    Not sure how to get my posts to look like yours, please can someone advise??
    Originally posted by bodmin789
    bodmin789 Click on the "User CP" option at the top of the thread and then choose edit signature from the options on the left and away you go - have a play with the style you want and then you can preview before you save it to check for typos and other effects you might not want. When you are happy save it and then it automatically uses it when you post, unless you uncheck the box.

    HTH SL
    MFIT T5 target to clear our mortgage completely (59,998) Q1 26,828 or 44.71% paid - Mortgage Free Wannabes 2019 #37 78.13% 31,251.65 including July
    Save 12k in 2019 - #68 target is 7k 4,998.99 or 71.41% after May
    OS Grocery Challenge 2019 target is 3k - 46.03% spent so far, mid July
    My DFD is here
  • MumOf2Beasties
    How fast does this thread move?? Sooo much to catch up on, will go back a few pages after posting!

    Very Very annoyed with myself, completely over this month, and I go by calendar month so a few days to go yet!!

    So far I have spent roughly 264 of Febs GC

    Didn't get receipts for a few small spends on chocs with the kiddies, so more like 270

    I was so proud of myself in Jan, thought i'd cracked it and took my eye off the ball, back on it now though and i will not be having a total like this in March!!

    Hope everyone is well, off to catch up with all you lovely peeps and read back a bit, see what you've all been up to

    Take Care
    1 adult, 3 children-Newborn and ages 4 & 6, 1 rabbit
    budget of 250 is for food, toiletries, nappies, wipes, cleaning/washing products and pet supplies (litter, sawdust, food)
    • carolinerunner
    • By carolinerunner 24th Feb 12, 8:28 PM
    • 495 Posts
    • 6,305 Thanks
    carolinerunner

    For my dinner tonight, I had lo fish pie, followed by a nobbly bobbly


    Off now to check the te$co dtd thread, to see what I can buy tonight...

    PG x
    Originally posted by PennyGrabber
    PennyGrabber, what is a nobbly bobbly and what is the te$co dtd thread please?!

    I can't remember spending anything today so that must mean a NSD - I'm pretty sure...
    Erratically money saving
  • bodmin789
    Suffolk lass; Click on the "User CP" option at the top of the thread and then choose edit signature from the options on the left and away you go - have a play with the style you want and then you can preview before you save it to check for typos and other effects you might not want. When you are happy save it and then it automatically uses it when you post, unless you uncheck the box.

    HTH

    Thank you so much for the help
  • bupster
    Right. Have spent just under 40 on grub which is a ridiculous amount for the first week of the month BUT I will only need bread, milk, eggs and fruit for ages. So I might keep it to 60 in total (though I doubt it! ).

    Stripping out drinks and entertainment will give me a much clearer idea of what I'm spending on that. Part of me thinks I should not spend anything at all, but when I do that I get terribly isolated. I live alone, and though I do a lot of social stuff during the day and evenings, having to go home when others are off for a well-earned pint gets depressing. And I should be able to do it within my original budget for the month - if you look at January I was aiming at 300 for everything except bills and thinking it might be tight. I've learned so much since I started! Even 100 a month for groceries now seems like a mad amount!

    So today I actually looked at the shop I did at A*dis - I tell you what, lads, I'm not shopping anywhere else for basics. I bought a bacon joint, not really sure what it would be, cost 3.99 and I thought 'brilliant, I'll easily get four meals out of that'. FOUR? It's HUGE! I've sliced half of it into this tower of salted meat that looms at me whenever I open the fridge. That's a couple of sandwiches, the basis of my 'bottom of the fridge pasta bake' that I take into work - which itself is going to last until the middle of next week this time as I picked a load of purple sprouting broccoli off the allotment to have with some other veg so I can split the pasta bake into eight, not six - and I'll still have enough for another meal or three. And that's HALF of it! Any ideas what to do with a pig mountain ?

    I also got a whole free range chicken for a fiver, so that's another lord knows how many meals. And I've finally half-made the cauliflower cheese soup I've been meaning to make for a week. And used my storecupboard stuff to make enough home-made granola to eat for breakfast for a fortnight. All of this would be marvellous - I've enough food to hold out a siege - but I LIVE ON MY OWN.

    I think the only way out may be to eat myself to death.

    In the meantime, this evening a lovely lady DELIVERED a bookcase that she'd given to me through freecycle! That's the second bookcase I've had from there, and now I officially have no more space in my flat for books (until I shift the sofa forward a couple of feet ). Am going to try very hard to fill it with books, not cans of chopped tomatoes.

    OK, this is well off GC topic so will finish here - but just to say in high excitement that I am IN CREDIT at my bank this month. Granted, that's due to a one-off work bonus, but it's soooo nice to not have an overdraft, even though I know it won't last.

    (and finally - honest - I also don't need to be in a list on the front page, I never really look either. Will update sig).
    Grocery challenge - April 65.28/80
    Entertainment - 79

    Grocery challenge March 106.55/100
    Grocery challenge February 90.11/100
    Grocery challenge January 84.65/300
    • carolinerunner
    • By carolinerunner 24th Feb 12, 8:42 PM
    • 495 Posts
    • 6,305 Thanks
    carolinerunner
    bupster, I had to laugh this morning, someone posted a want on freecycle for 'a working iphone on Orange': rotfl::r otfl:

    Enough of that, huge congrats on your achievement, well done!
    Erratically money saving
    • Sue14
    • By Sue14 24th Feb 12, 9:00 PM
    • 899 Posts
    • 10,894 Thanks
    Sue14
    bupster, I had to laugh this morning, someone posted a want on freecycle for 'a working iphone on Orange': rotfl:
    Originally posted by carolinerunner
    Some people want the moon on a stick, lol! There's someone on our freecycle who is always asking for games consoles and games (mostly ps3/wii), and has also asked for iphone and blackberry phones and a laptop, only things she offers are things like vouchers she's got out of the newspaper!

    This week, although OH and I have both been off work, I have only spent 1.58 in Mr T's, 4 in shop and 8.07 in HB (I only went in for soda crystals, lol!).
    Weight loss challenge 3/10lbs
    Total weight loss 21lbs

    • skintmum2012
    • By skintmum2012 24th Feb 12, 9:20 PM
    • 458 Posts
    • 2,893 Thanks
    skintmum2012
    HI everyone I am going to stick with my 200 for this month. I am finding Yellow Sticker hunting very good for dealing with stress at the mo I love walking round and round the supermarket by myself so I am going to be using some of my "Pocket money" to buy stress food as well lol. I have already spent 28 for this week but that does include nappys.
    February GC 261.97/24 NSDS 10/12
    march 300/290 NSD 12/6
    ARPIL 300/ 238.23 NSD'S 10/3

    • lisakay
    • By lisakay 24th Feb 12, 9:35 PM
    • 434 Posts
    • 6,131 Thanks
    lisakay
    oh no no no no!!!!
    I have not posted in a while, I have been caught up in other stuff. while I have been gone I have been very good and was coming in on budget....until...DH decided, while I was at work, that the freezer, treat cupboard, beer fridge (yes, he has a fridge in the garage dedicated to beer!) needed restocking. so 2 days before payday, and in febs budget he goes shopping 190 later I am . so what to do now?

    write off feb as a bad job? split it between feb and march and be a bit over on both? not shop at all for a month?

    had set my budget to 180 for feb, by the way, and was going to come in at 182.

    and, and, and...he then checks the bank balance and says to me 'I think we need to cut back a bit this month, we've spent quite a bit' Noooo, really??? arrrrrrggghh!!!
    freecycler and skip diver extraordinnaire
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 24th Feb 12, 10:18 PM
    • 3,984 Posts
    • 52,562 Thanks
    Florenceem
    I also really enjoy the dinner photos Your plate always looks so lovely and with loads of veg
    Originally posted by Lovethenight
    We love our veg - like variety on a plate - looks appetising.
    15 in 2015 1/15
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 24th Feb 12, 10:22 PM
    • 3,984 Posts
    • 52,562 Thanks
    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
    Originally posted by elsiepac
    I cook my vegetables all in together - use a microwave tub with lid - from 99p/1 shop. So much easier than cooking vegetables in a saucepan - waiting for water to boil. Time to cook depends on what veg plus how much in the tub. I think the veg keep their colours so well - by this method. Onions are SO good for you - plus cheap at this time of year - I always try to eat seasonal fruit/veg.
    15 in 2015 1/15
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 24th Feb 12, 10:29 PM
    • 3,984 Posts
    • 52,562 Thanks
    Florenceem
    Friday.
    Managed another NSD.
    We had HM chilli wedges/salmon quiche and salad for dinner.

    15 in 2015 1/15
    • elsiepac
    • By elsiepac 24th Feb 12, 10:59 PM
    • 1,719 Posts
    • 12,651 Thanks
    elsiepac
    Sweet Pepper and Tomato Soup
    HM soup with some toasted pitta bread (also discovered in the freezer and forgotten)
    Originally posted by JackieO
    I did exactly the same - found an unopened pack! It felt like Christmas! (And i managed to lose that on one freezer shelf, so you can imagine how much I have CRAMMED in there!

    elsiepac any chance of your recipe for sweet pepper and tomato soup I have both in the fridge and it sounds really nice
    Originally posted by JackieO
    Of course, I got it from somewhere else originally and I tend to vary the quantities of things depending on what I have in, but this is the basics and what I did this time (was using up the wrinkly peppers):

    1 tbsp oil
    3 very small red and 1 big yellow pepper, in about 1cm pieces - small bites (2 big or 3 medium ones is fine, I'd avoid green though as it will make it bitter)
    2 cloves of garlic, diced finely
    1 onion, diced (I do this chunkily - red or white is fine, preferably red though tbh!)
    1 tin tomatoes (passata ok although less "substance" to it
    Roughly 700ml veg stock - up to you haow watery you want it though!
    Fresh basil, torn

    - Saute the onions, garlic and peppers in the oil until pretty much soft.
    - Add the tomatoes, stock and fresh basil
    - Cover and simmer on low for about 30 minutes
    - Season to taste!

    I always need a bread roll with this one as there's not much substance to it, but it's so yummy! If you don't have fresh basil then dried is ok, but I will be honest and say the fresh basil really makes it!

    Enjoy!

    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
    • elsiepac
    • By elsiepac 24th Feb 12, 11:10 PM
    • 1,719 Posts
    • 12,651 Thanks
    elsiepac
    Elsiepac - just had to tell you - I am soooo giddy with excitement - I have taught myself to add drop down lists on you spreadsheet so that my different meals are there to choose from. Thnakyou for giving me a cost free frugalistic new to play to play with!!
    Originally posted by Ninno820
    Fantastic, well done! Told you it wasn't too hard once you work it all out and get your head round what you're doing!

    Have fun...you'll soon become as obsessed as I am!
    Have you got the pricing bit sorted and you know where to update it?

    Also, I ALWAYS keep the Items page sorted alphabetically, because the drop down list will display exactly as they appear on there (or on your new lists...)

    Have fun

    ELSIEPAC I have just spent ages looking through your spreadsheet - totally fantastic
    So good I forgot I had got dinner in the oven and burnt it all

    I'm not very computer literate but think I have got the hang of it. I have deleted your grocery/item list and just started listing mine from latest receipt and am going to try and find receipts from last month to put those on. You have saved me so much time but I think it may become a little obsessive.

    Can I just ask one question - On your shopping list page the column in pink with the prices - have you crossed them out as you have bought them also not sure what n/a meant (is that already in your stores?)
    Just wondered as when I put in my shopping list the prices came up with a line through them.
    Originally posted by 123budget
    Oh no, I'm sorry you burnt the dinner!!! That's not very GC!

    You're on the right track with the Items list - I use the Mr T website to get the initial prices and then update if it's different when I get to the shop (but NOT if it's on offer because your Items list is to budget, so anything on offer is a bonus!). It does take time, but as I've said before, once you've got your common items on there, it doesn't take long each week or so, to add the odd extra thing in!

    With the prices and the items they are crossed out because they are remembering that I crossed them out. Yes, I cross them out once bought, I find it's easier to keep track.

    To "un" cross out all the cells in a sheet, follow these steps:
    1. Click in any cell on the sheet
    2. Press Ctrl + A at the same time (this just selects all cells in a sheet)
    3. Right click
    4. Choose Format Cells...
    5. Choose the Font tab (probably 3rd along) on the little window that comes up
    6. On the left hand side there is a little box called Effects, and in there a checkbox labelled Strikethrough. You'll need to click in the checkbox probably twice to clear it, which will uncross out cells.

    To cross out individual cells as you go through the month:
    1. Click the cell or cells you wish to cross out
    2. Right click
    3. Format cells...
    4. Font tab
    5. Check the Strikethrough box


    Regards the N/A where the price should be... I'll explain as simply as possible... the price cells contain a formula that basically says "find the item on the Items sheet that matches what is written in the cell to my left, and then display the price that is next to that item" When the price cell shows N/A, it means it cannot find a matching name in the Items sheet, to what you have in the cell next to it.. Does that make sense? So if you even change just one letter, or add a space or something, to the item description in the Items sheet, then it doesn't match so its way of saying I don't know the answer, is to write N/A.

    It will usually happen when you edit the name of something - easiest solution is to just re-select the correct item from the drop down box and you should find that the price updates automatically.

    If you need any other tech help, do you want to PM me? I've been signed off till next Friday again (3.5 weeks now!) and am now tearing my hair out, so I'll be happy to help or try and explain differently!

    HTH

    LC
    Last edited by elsiepac; 24-02-2012 at 11:35 PM.
    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
    • carolinerunner
    • By carolinerunner 24th Feb 12, 11:18 PM
    • 495 Posts
    • 6,305 Thanks
    carolinerunner
    lisakay I do feel for you. Mine is quite similar. After all this effort, he'll say 'yes but it's no use is it because you're not earning any money so it's still more on food than you've earned (ie nothing). Cheers. Or buy himself a takeaway lunch when he's at home not working. But the sheer amount of your DH's shop is extraordinary. Can you take any of it back?! Sell it on?! Make him pay for it out of a different account? Confiscate his debit card (maybe when he's not looking or when he's in the shower...'I'm sure it was by the bed with the other cards...'). Needs must... in my case, it includes basically not letting DH go shopping at all which is a pain as I have to do it all myself but is better in the end as I'm in control (which obviously is what I want really! )

    Good luck. There are earlier posts about making DH do spreadsheets so they can see the impact of their extravagance...
    Erratically money saving
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