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    • zippychick
    • By zippychick 4th Jun 11, 11:19 AM
    • 9,343Posts
    • 17,889Thanks
    • #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'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!

    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 83
  • MunniMuncha
    Mr M have just launched a new range called M Savers where everything is under £1; here is the link if you would like to have a little peek!
    When you were born, you were crying and everyone around was smiling. Live your life so at the end, you're the one who is smiling and everyone around you is crying!

    June GC - £352.04/£350
    SP challenge 3P £171.28
    • tjak
    • By tjak 24th Feb 12, 8:01 AM
    • 139 Posts
    • 1,213 Thanks
    Hi all,

    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.
    Originally posted by carolinerunner
    I have wondered before if the monthly shop plan doesn't help, but we live so far from supermarkets that it wouldn't be cost effective with petrol to go each week. I also struggle to manage a big shop on my own, and as I am unable to work just now, don't feel its fair on DH to have to do it at the weekend.

    For me the idea is to meal plan before the monthly shop, and then to only need occasional fresh top ups during the month, but maybe that needs to change!
    Debt free and saving
    • tessie bear
    • By tessie bear 24th Feb 12, 8:11 AM
    • 4,329 Posts
    • 29,794 Thanks
    tessie bear to t£sco to have a whine in a mo....think i have been over charged...also going out for lunch with dh so thats nice
    we have a piece of pork from lidl for tea and i want to cook a chicken at the same time to use cold...i baked some apples last night and have 3 left ...they were nice and held their shape quite well...near where we are having lunch there is a fruit market so will pop over and have a look

    have a nice day tess
    onwards and upwards
    • carolinerunner
    • By carolinerunner 24th Feb 12, 8:18 AM
    • 495 Posts
    • 6,305 Thanks
    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!
    Originally posted by elsiepac
    Even free range birds spend time, especially overnight when they are shut in for safety, in large houses where litter can basically consist of manure, so they can get skin burns from the ammonia in the litter (their own wee basically). It's a sign of bad husbandry as I understand it so I always check SM birds (which I rarely buy, mainly from farm shop) to make sure I'm not buying birds kept like that. Having once worked in a chicken processing factory (yes, it was yuk!) I know many birds come through with physical damage, they are then portioned and the decent bits sold as portions, the yukky bits go for pet food. Even more reason to be shocked that the pet food cost more than the whole chicken!!
    Erratically money saving
    • carolinerunner
    • By carolinerunner 24th Feb 12, 8:21 AM
    • 495 Posts
    • 6,305 Thanks
    I have wondered before if the monthly shop plan doesn't help, but we live so far from supermarkets that it wouldn't be cost effective with petrol to go each week. I also struggle to manage a big shop on my own, and as I am unable to work just now, don't feel its fair on DH to have to do it at the weekend.

    For me the idea is to meal plan before the monthly shop, and then to only need occasional fresh top ups during the month, but maybe that needs to change!
    Originally posted by tjak
    IKWYM but have recently reflected that even at the price it is, my petrol cost is about 12p a mile, so a 16 mile trip to my nearest Asd@ actually costs about £2. That's significant, but psychologically not doing a big shop is probably a bigger factor in whether I overspend or not. I guess I've come to feel that the petrol is part of the equation to consider but not as big a part as I had been thinking. so weekly shops might still be better for me, despite petrol, but that's just me and my odd point of view!
    Erratically money saving
    • elsiepac
    • By elsiepac 24th Feb 12, 9:11 AM
    • 1,719 Posts
    • 12,651 Thanks
    Even free range birds spend time, especially overnight when they are shut in for safety, in large houses where litter can basically consist of manure, so they can get skin burns from the ammonia in the litter (their own wee basically). It's a sign of bad husbandry as I understand it so I always check SM birds (which I rarely buy, mainly from farm shop) to make sure I'm not buying birds kept like that. Having once worked in a chicken processing factory (yes, it was yuk!) I know many birds come through with physical damage, they are then portioned and the decent bits sold as portions, the yukky bits go for pet food. Even more reason to be shocked that the pet food cost more than the whole chicken!!
    Originally posted by carolinerunner
    Ah, it all makes sense! Thanks for clarifying, sometimes I'm so ignorant I'm ashamed of myself Can you tell me what they look like when they have the skin burns please so I can look out for this too?

    Today I have my Sweet Pepper and Tomato Soup for lunch with a HM bread roll.

    For tea I have taken a portion of lentil ragu from the freezer to defrost tonight, which I will have with some of my now enormous stock of spaghetti thanks to my friend!

    I would have some veggies with it, but have run out of fresh stuff now - it's a good thing as it was all starting to go over. I'm not buying any more this month, but I think I'll get plenty in, for example, my lunch today is about 2.5 portions of veg (pepper, bit of onion, tinned tomatoes), and the lentil ragu I think worked out at 3 or 4 portions. And I've just had a banana for breakfast.

    I've decided that next month I need to look at how to keep a small budget but still have lots of veg, as I think this is something I've slacked off on this month, what with trying to keep costs down. Historically, I've always been someone who eats something like 7 portions fruit/veg a day, easier as I don't have meat very often at all, but this month I think on average it would have been 2 or 3 max .

    So my mini challenge next month is to ensure I get my 5 a day. To do this, I am going to focus on nutrional cheaper veg, such as swede and carrots and other root veg. I will try and go for the ones that are higher in vitamins (I think swede has the highest vit C out of common root veg?). I will also try and take advantage of veg on offer a bit more, so instead of specifying certain veg on my meal plan, I'll make it a bit more fluid (which is where my items like "vegetable allowance" come in).

    Have a fantastic day everyone

    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 (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
    • cookiemum
    • By cookiemum 24th Feb 12, 9:12 AM
    • 131 Posts
    • 2,119 Thanks
    Pay Day today Declaring at £301.46 so an annoying £1.46 over budget but it was due to poorly DD needing cough medicine from local chemist so not too bad really.

    5 week month in March so upping budget to £350. I've got the Aldi voucher so planning a trip tomorrow after composing weekly meal planner. I used to carry out one big shop but found I was constantly popping out for small shops so overspending. Cupboards never feel full doing a weekly shop but at least I manage to keep nearer to budget!

    HelenJelly - I am happy to update my own Sig and not be on front page.

    Well done everybody - enjoy the weekend

    February Grocery Challenge £301.46/300
    To feed - Me, DH, DD, DS and 1 dog

  • zebbeddee
    Declaring £226.40 for February!!! Really pleased with how this is going.

    It makes such a change to look at the bank account and there actually be money in it rather than it looking more empty than ma hubbards cupboards!

    Would like to set my March budget for £250

    • JackieO
    • By JackieO 24th Feb 12, 10:37 AM
    • 16,793 Posts
    • 143,786 Thanks
    I am so pleased with how February has gone. Lots of freezer bits used up, but more than enough still in there to keep me going for awhile .I have cut right back on buying stuff epecially unnecessery bits. Its suprising sometimes if you add up the 'little' bits how much you are really spending .

    I decided not to bother buying a t.v. magazine after all I can get the listing from the 'net or even the t.v..Was going to buy some cloths for cleaning and decided that I had a couple of old 'holey' tea towels that I hemmed around instead.
    Its not only recycling stuff, its not cluttering your house up with stuff you can substitute for something else.I have not been near nor by a shop this week, and to be honest havn't missed them.
    If there was something I thought I had to put on my shopping list by the kettle I tried to substitute whatever it was for something else instead.result is I haven't spent a penny on food or odds and ends at all this week and if I can get through until next Thursday then I will have a nice little chunk of cash to go into the Holiday savings.

    When redoing my list on the freezer I discovered three packets of wraps at the bottom that I had forgotten about plus some HM soup in pouches so lunches this week have been either a wrap filled with grated cheese and salad or HM soup with some toasted pitta bread (also discovered in the freezer and forgotten) Every morning I look at what's available for that days menu that's already in my cupboards .
    I must admit I have had some strange and unusual meals One of my sandwiches was were mashed up sardines with mayo and a sliced tomato, the rest of the tin I used in the evening as a filling in a jacket spud. Fish twice in one day was o.k. and its already in the cupboard so no cash outlay for lunch or dinner .
    Today I have a wrap spread with sweet chilli philly and tomato and some chopped up celery and shedded lettuce.Tonights dinner will not be quite so healthy as I am going to my DDs as its my DGS 12th birthday and he wants pizza and chips as his birthday treat that will be followed by HM chocolate cake that my DD has made for him.But one unhealthy meal won't kill me and it is his birthday They normally aren't allowed 'junk food' but when its their birthday the child gets to choose what he fancies. She has four sons but their birthdays are spread around the year.
    Well done to all of you who have managed to save a bit on your bills for the month Next month I shall have again £100.00 in my food purse and see if I can save as much again .Every little helps when it comes to putting a bit away towards the holidays
    We should have a 'pat ourselves on the back button to press I think we all are doing magnificently in these hard days of streeetching the pennies to do the work of the pounds
    elsiepac any chance of your recipe for sweet pepper and tomato soup I have both in the fridge and it sounds really nice
    Last edited by JackieO; 24-02-2012 at 10:41 AM.
    Quot Libros,Quam Breve Tempus.
    • greent
    • By greent 24th Feb 12, 11:05 AM
    • 8,134 Posts
    • 82,590 Thanks
    Hmmm..... I have just under £30 to get me to month end - and a weekend to shop.... Theoretically possible... but I have a reasonable length shoppin list (although only about £40-45). We shall see... I'm really struggling to keep to £400 for 6 of us - it does include nappies, cleaning stuff, toiletries, newspapers (Sat & Sunday) and guinea pig food and bedding, so I'm not massively surprised - I think I set £400 almost 2 years ago now. Even my mum was complaining of food price hikes (she's 61, still in FT work and has became a higher rate taxpayer, so not short of a few £ & p (but does still have a mtge)) - for her to notice (convenience food and lots of brands) means something!!

    Helenjelly, don't worry about including me on the list at the front - am happy to be accountable to the figures in my signature.

    I do, though, think I'll go for £450 for March (well, it does include my birthday). Maybe I'll do 2 months at £450, then 1 at £400 and see how it goes

    I think the main thing is that this challenge focuses us all on how much we're spending (hopefully not wasting!) and how much prices are rising on a daily basis
    I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul
    Repaid mtge early (orig 11/25) 01/09 £124616 01/10 £104927 01/11 £89873 01/12 £76317 01/13 £52546 01/14 £35356 01/15 £12133 07/15 £NIL
    BTL Mtge 12/16 £69786 12/18 £54829 2019 OPs (#18) £2418.57/£5K
    Net sales 2019 £173.62/£500
  • 123budget
    well it's been a very busy week so haven't been on here much, didn't really meal plan and it shows as I blew the Feb budget goin over by £87.66
    Have put my March budget into my signature - it doesn't need to go on the front.
    Things are a bit tight financially this month so am debating wether to do a Costc* shop this weekend or wether just to try and do week to week. I MUST SIT DOWN AND DO MEAL PLANS!!
    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
    • mummygems
    • By mummygems 24th Feb 12, 11:42 AM
    • 340 Posts
    • 3,963 Thanks
    My new month starts today and have done my big monthly shop!

    I know what you mean when some of you say the monthly shopping sends you over your budget overall but my monthly shop consists of all the non-perishable items so nappies, baby wipes, tins, frozen veg, loo roll, deodrant, shampoo etc etc. Whatever I have left after the monthly spend I then divide by the weeks left before next pay day and try and stick to it like that.

    Done my meal plan for the month and also have listed each weeks shopping list out on another piece of paper to coincide with the meal plan and that way we can add to each week whatever else might be needed rather than popping to the shop just for that one thing and then grabbing whatever else takes our fancy!

    I agree how much the prices are rising is shocking. Am going to try the local farm shop for fruit and veg again and see how the prices compare. Problem is sometimes its either not as cheap as the supermarket or not up to much cop and goes off within 24/48hrs.
    2 adults and 3 children DD (12), DD (10) & DS (7) and 2 mental beagles
    • russetred
    • By russetred 24th Feb 12, 11:55 AM
    • 1,232 Posts
    • 9,385 Thanks
    Well that's me finished for February and on to update my siggy. I'm on track for the year and I've still been able to stock up on some stuff to last well into the year like coffee, fairy liquid and fabric softener. I dont tend to do a monthly big shop as I like to take advantage of an offer when I see it. My freezer was going down but its nearly full with the meal deal that gave back a nice JTD so anyone for potatoe dauphinoise?
    "Sometimes life sucks....but the alternative is unacceptable."
    • Cool Nanna
    • By Cool Nanna 24th Feb 12, 12:00 PM
    • 39 Posts
    • 911 Thanks
    Cool Nanna
    Yesterday I had some bits and bobs in the bottom of the fridge to use up and fancied a quiche but couldn't be bothered to mess about making some pastry so I made a quiche without pastry, it was really tasty and less calories. I also made some potato wedges for the first time and will definately being doing those again.

    First big shop of the month today, will update later. I was going to go to Mr M's but decided to go to Mr T's as it is closer, so pleased I did I got a lovely cardigan for £2
    Jan GC £300/£296 March GC £375/£336
    Feb GC £300290 April GC £300/£270
    May GC £250/£273
    • Suffolk lass
    • By Suffolk lass 24th Feb 12, 12:17 PM
    • 3,058 Posts
    • 28,183 Thanks
    Suffolk lass
    and of course, chocolate on offer has fewer calories!!!!! I wish!
    Had a NSD yesterday which I'm dead chuffed with, but looked at debts today so on a bit of a downer.
    Originally posted by mh2361
    mh2361 Don't be down on yourself about the debt. You are actively addressing it - you have paid off two of your CCs so even if the total is still high, the number of cards is fewer - ceremonially shredding them as you clear them is part of the celebration of clearing them (it was for me) - when I met my DH between us we owed more on CCs than the total of his mortgage and we cleared them over the next two years.

    We cut out all unnecessary spend and had no treats until it was clear. At one point I remember his German tax bill came in and the only way to clear it was to sell my car (which I loved) - so we did. We have two vehicles again now but it was about the debt then. In hindsight we should have carried on and cleared the mortgage too but we didn't.

    This GC is my first step towards controlling what I spend and I will clear the total debts before I retire - or rather, I will keep working until I have cleared them all. We each have a card we clear each month now and a third that is 0% for purchases to spread any emergencies out. The rest are gone. Then there is our mortgage (I have a plan for that though).

    There are loads of good practices on here and some who seem to live pretty much on no spends so plenty of top tips to learn from!
    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
    • Spiggle
    • By Spiggle 24th Feb 12, 12:54 PM
    • 1,751 Posts
    • 14,202 Thanks
    Hello everyone,

    I've had a busy week this week and lost control of where I was on here a few days ago. I don't think I'll manage to catch up today and so hugs to everyone who wants or needs them.

    We've had a few more smallish spends including the butcher greengrocer and coop today but OH forgot potatoes so will get them later today. I hope the weekend will be NSD so I will firmly remind him! The sig is up to date and we've got until Wednesday next until we finish Feb.

    I've just had the MrM email through and they're doing 15p off per litre of petrol for £60+ spend before 4th March so we've just decided to start a list now and then go to the nearest one next Friday. The voucher can be used up until the 11th and so I'll fill me car up just before then at the MrM near work (I only do it every two-ish weeks) as I filled it last on Monday.

    Right gonna eat the last of the pancakes left from Tuesday for my lunch.

    See you later,
    Mortgage Free October 2013
    • ms_night_ryder
    • By ms_night_ryder 24th Feb 12, 1:02 PM
    • 3,001 Posts
    • 11,582 Thanks
    yesterday i did a mini stock up of 2 parazone bleachs, 1 bottle of flash £2.64 left to spend until tuesday, i can do this! just need to buy beans for lunch tomorrow, the rest of stuff i already have in doors.
    Lose 28lb 3/28lb
    SPC Member 1522/2012-£264/ new pot 2013
    • nannygladys
    • By nannygladys 24th Feb 12, 2:04 PM
    • 1,264 Posts
    • 13,703 Thanks
    Hi everyone

    Well first day of new four week period for me and its a NSD tonight I am going out but it has been paid for by my DD, not a night out but a bingo night at GD's school, so should be good fun

    Have put a casserole in the oven, (should have put SC on before I went to work, but I was so tired when I got up - 4.45am I do usually manage it though) and bread maker is on. Really need to cut back this month so decided to use up more cupboard goods, even my coffee I have very sadly weighed out into four equal tubs and its not much, but Im determined not to buy any, but I have found 2 packets of coffee for the perc. so I will using that as well, heres hoping I have a good month
    Budgeting again, must try harder!!
    Sealed pot challenge no.31
    Frugal challenge 2019
    • linz4383
    • By linz4383 24th Feb 12, 2:11 PM
    • 287 Posts
    • 4,276 Thanks
    hi just wondered if anyone had a recipe for some GF and WF biscuits, its my DDs dads bday soon and rather than buy him something he doesnt need i thought we could make him something.. only thing is he has sooooo many allergies it needs to b something plain (no chocolate/jam/buttercream etc which is why i though biscuits rather than cakes) preferably something simple as im not really a cook and would like my daughter to b able to help thanks guys
    House deposit £0/£10000
    Loan £6,065.43- £5803.30
    credit card £3,932.25 - £4233.40
    • tigerfeet2006
    • By tigerfeet2006 24th Feb 12, 2:21 PM
    • 13,822 Posts
    • 29,889 Thanks
    There are two of the recipes that I do in the Recipe Collection. Give me a second and I will go and find them.

    My computer has just crashed so I am on my phone and can't link. There is a Peanut Butter biscuit with no flour which is lush, just four ingredients and can be made and cooked in half an hour. Also a ginger biscuit is very scrummy and I do a plain biscuit as well. I'll have a look later when I am up and running again. If they are not there I'll post them up for you.
    Last edited by tigerfeet2006; 24-02-2012 at 2:44 PM.
    The only stupid question is an unasked one
    Loving life as a Kernow Hippy
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