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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 39
  • jumblejack
    i CANT believe YOU of all people have never made jam lolyou and FLO are 2 of the most rescourcful people i have ever met (in cyber space) i dont mind if it goes in recipe index but PLEASE beware this jam does NOT SET i dont want people ranting at me for wasting their time and money on fruit etc.... its just a way that suits me it IS quite runny but as the tv ad says TASTE IS NOT MEASURED WITH A SPIRIT LEVEL so make and enjoy but if your a shop bought preferring peep DONT make it my way
    Originally posted by craigywv
    Hehe!!

    I am happy to admit that I have a lot to learn still which is why I LOVE this thread. Everyone has great ideas and it is a veritable storehouse of knowledge

    I don't mind jam that requires spooning on my scones!
    As long as it tastes yum, I'm happy.
    I bet using preserving sugar instead of regular could help it along a little.

    Cheers for sharing
    Every moment is a gift. That's why we call it the present.!
    Grocery Spend Weekly Challenge (Sat-Fri):£30.50/£40
    • NickJW
    • By NickJW 11th Jun 12, 2:37 PM
    • 678 Posts
    • 13,646 Thanks
    NickJW
    Welcome to all the new faces!

    No spend food wise but I do need to report £7.45 on some razor refills from Amaz0n - cheaper here than in the SM or B0ots/S.Drug
    Grocery Challenge 14 Jan 14 £46.05/£130

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

    DFD 1st March 2011
  • jumblejack
    Hello to all the newbies and welcome to the thread.



    I'm a bit worried by this, milk it the main source of calcium, are you sure that they still getting enough when their milk is diluted? Children can only use calcium to strengthen bones up to about 20 after that it is all about maintaining what you've already got. So if you don't get enough calcium as a child then there is nothing you can do about it later. It is important that we women keep our levels up too.

    http://www.osteoporosis.ca/index.php/ci_id/5535/la_id/1.htm

    I found this site, it is Canadian and they do recommend slightly higher daily amounts but the British sites are rubbish, they either talk about so many glasses of milk etc I don't know about everyone else but the glasses in my cupboard range from 30 ml(1floz) to 650 ml (a pint and a bit), or they have some convoluted point system to learn.
    Originally posted by Aldahbra
    I don't worry about it at all as they have a fab diet. They have yoghurts etc quite a lot too.

    A lot of folk dont even realise that coke/caffeine drinks prevent calcium absorption. My kids don't touch the stuff so their bodies can utilise all the calcium that their diet includes pretty well.

    I totally understand your point though
    Every moment is a gift. That's why we call it the present.!
    Grocery Spend Weekly Challenge (Sat-Fri):£30.50/£40
    • jedi82
    • By jedi82 11th Jun 12, 2:45 PM
    • 406 Posts
    • 3,548 Thanks
    jedi82
    No prob - it's nice sometimes to add a little chorizo too - just chopped and fried with the bacon When I have some extra budget money I buy one of the horseshoe shaped chorizos and use about a finger length at a time - makes things taste lovely and smoky.


    K xx
    Originally posted by Kitchenbunny
    I only discovered chorizo recently and can't believe what a difference it makes to things! It now has to go in my chilli, pasta sauces and the other day I fried it with some asparagus and then grated a tiny bit of cheese on top (parmesan would have been better but didn't have any) - it was delish!!!!!

    Jedi x
    Finally getting my life on track. Onwards and upwards.
    BSC No 327
    GC Jan £336.91/£450
    GC Feb £0/£400
    • sistercas
    • By sistercas 11th Jun 12, 2:56 PM
    • 4,841 Posts
    • 58,664 Thanks
    sistercas
    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
    thats brilliant

    nipped into £land with DD1 and spent £13 on weight w@tchers stuff then popped into morr!$ons and got some chocolate for fathers day £3 ish

    HM bolognaise with pasta and courgette pieces for tea and greek yoghurt for pud

    at work all day tomorrow so will sort some chicken legs to go in the slow cooker with some red peppers ( jar from AF), onion and seasoning
    • tjp70
    • By tjp70 11th Jun 12, 3:17 PM
    • 425 Posts
    • 2,188 Thanks
    tjp70
    PC is back up and running and I have calculated that I have spent £132 so far which puts me on track for my target.

    NSD today which is no surprise in view of the rain.

    Off to make JJ's herby bread for the first time.
    If Plan A fails, remember there are 25 more letters
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 11th Jun 12, 4:01 PM
    • 3,984 Posts
    • 52,562 Thanks
    Florenceem
    Hehe!!

    I am happy to admit that I have a lot to learn still which is why I LOVE this thread. Everyone has great ideas and it is a veritable storehouse of knowledge

    I don't mind jam that requires spooning on my scones!
    As long as it tastes yum, I'm happy.
    I bet using preserving sugar instead of regular could help it along a little.

    Cheers for sharing
    Originally posted by jumblejack
    I only ever used granulated sugar for jam making - cheaper and works fine.
    15 in 2015 1/15
  • cleggie
    Kitchenbunny- thanks for the risotto recipe, its YUM! Eating it as we 'speak'! Added chilli, garlic and some frozen veg too, and omg, i'll definitely be making it again!
    Wrote on the 'what are you having for dinner tonight' thread, and posted this recipe for someone else as they thought it sounded lovely too!
    Its already a hit!!
  • Samantha22
    Hi everyone,


    I've had to buy ice cream, and two litres of cranberry light juice, yesterday. So, have added £5.38 to my signature.

    Had stuffed roast pork for Sunday lunch, with hm roast potatoes, carrots, green beans, mashed potatoes, and gravy. We had apple strudel, and ice cream to follow.

    Yummy, but too many calories

    Plenty of pork left over, so will make some sort of concoction later on this evening.

    Hope you are all well, and that you had an enjoyable weekend, despite the rain.

    Regards,
    Sam22
    Feb GC: - £0/£200 beginning Feb 3rd 2015
    Multiple Catalogues: £3,500 due (approx.) Must sort!
    Capital One CC: £ 500.00 to be paid back asap
    Aqua CC: £ 250.00 to be paid back asap
    Vanquis CC: £500.00 to be paid back asap
    Current Weight: 13st 2lbs - Ideal weight: 10st
    • Possession
    • By Possession 11th Jun 12, 5:16 PM
    • 3,140 Posts
    • 41,491 Thanks
    Possession
    A £2.72 spend on milk today. Have made some cereal bars with a view to switching the children to packed lunches - they're still setting but they look gorgeous.


    Edit: they taste gorgeous too but have just realised I put nuts in them so can't put them in school packed lunches. Doh! Now have nothing to put in tomorrow's packed lunch.

    DH & I are having BBQ pork chops tonight, with couscous probably since we have tonnes of the stuff.
    My parents always made freezer strawberry jam and it was always runny but always delicious!
    Last edited by Possession; 11-06-2012 at 5:50 PM.

    • Barbeduk
    • By Barbeduk 11th Jun 12, 5:35 PM
    • 816 Posts
    • 7,150 Thanks
    Barbeduk
    Hi all, spent another £41.41 between mr m and a!d! Although that did include 2 bottles of wine (one hidden in the wardrobe for next week!). Should be stocked up on frozen stuff for a couple of weeks.

    Kids are having leftover sausages in a tomato sauce for tea, we're having 'leftovers' risotto and there's a bolognaise sauce bubbling away in the slow cooker for tomorrow/freezer.

    Right, must start tomorrow's packed lunches!
    June GC £288.01/£400
    • cattysmum
    • By cattysmum 11th Jun 12, 5:59 PM
    • 1,256 Posts
    • 21,417 Thanks
    cattysmum
    Just a little spend today at ts 3 free make a meal sausages 3 tubs of ambrosia using mocs came to £1.05 I think one of the mocs was scanned twice by checkout op. Mixed pasta with the smokey sausage and a jar of stir in pasta sauce with olives delish will up date my siggy.
    [B]SPC No. 295 - SPC No10 target £350
    #1603/
    SPC 2014 £150/SPC 2015 £256SPC 2016 £324
    Saving for Florida 2018
    Matched betting toe dipper.
  • chelseabun
    A £2.72 spend on milk today. Have made some cereal bars with a view to switching the children to packed lunches - they're still setting but they look gorgeous.


    Edit: they taste gorgeous too but have just realised I put nuts in them so can't put them in school packed lunches. Doh! Now have nothing to put in tomorrow's packed lunch.

    DH & I are having BBQ pork chops tonight, with couscous probably since we have tonnes of the stuff.
    My parents always made freezer strawberry jam and it was always runny but always delicious!
    Originally posted by Possession
    Those look gorgeous! Is the recipe on here?

    I only ever used granulated sugar for jam making - cheaper and works fine.
    Originally posted by Florenceem
    Yep, me too. They only add pectin to the preserving sugar, which you can get from lemon juice and not have to pay the extra for the 'special' stuff!

    NSD for me today, pleased with that. Have updated sig.

    We're having lamb burgers from the freezer (some of the 2007 stock!) with boiled potatoes and veg for tea. The freezer is gradually becoming less stuffed! I might even have room for a DR order in the near future!!!

    Have a good evening all! CBx
    GC2012 May £144.65 / £200, June £50.82 / £200
    2012 NSD
    May 12 / 31, June 3 / 30
    2nd Purse Challenge #58 Purse owed £35.90, Stockpile value £217.66

    BS
    C #210
    A slow cooker is a marvellous thing!

    • savesummore
    • By savesummore 11th Jun 12, 6:47 PM
    • 943 Posts
    • 11,411 Thanks
    savesummore
    Evening

    A NSD for me gosh how i NEEDED it!!

    Had some freezer soup for lunch today and slice of HM bread and then had freezer chilli with rice and LO apple and blackberry crumble- not great for the diet but yummy

    Meal plan going well to plan really . I have put down 7 evening meals but am prepared to shuffle the days around- its so much easier saying to OH do you want option 1 or option 2 for tea rather than saying what shall we have for tea and both of us dithering around!

    Im loving the sound of the bacon pasta with chirzo me and OH both love chirzo
    O/S weight loss 2.5 /10lbs (11st 8.0- 08.02)
    • Possession
    • By Possession 11th Jun 12, 6:49 PM
    • 3,140 Posts
    • 41,491 Thanks
    Possession
    Those look gorgeous! Is the recipe on here?
    Originally posted by chelseabun
    I used this recipe
    http://realfood.tesco.com/recipes/homemade-cereal-bars.html
    but adapted it to what I had, so used oats, rice crispies, trail mix, mixed seeds, flaked almonds, chopped apricots instead of the dry ingredients listed. They are quite sweet, I reckon I'd cut the sugar in half next time, but they are packed with flavour. From the comments, I think you can use any combination of ingredients as long as your wet/dry ingredient ratio is the same.

    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 11th Jun 12, 7:02 PM
    • 3,984 Posts
    • 52,562 Thanks
    Florenceem
    Monday.
    NSD here.
    We had HM garlic wedges, HM cheese & ham quiche with salad - celery, lettuce, spring onions, tomato + sunflower seeds for dinner.

    15 in 2015 1/15
    • Florenceem
    • By Florenceem 11th Jun 12, 7:14 PM
    • 3,984 Posts
    • 52,562 Thanks
    Florenceem
    Spent.
    I had a spend of £9.93 to add to sig - I thought my total was low!
    15 in 2015 1/15
    • hattifattener
    • By hattifattener 11th Jun 12, 7:47 PM
    • 147 Posts
    • 1,407 Thanks
    hattifattener
    Yummy looking cereal bars Possession. Should take a leaf from your book we spend a bomb on these for lunches.

    Little spend today. My packed lunch wasn't satisfying enough, so bought a sandwich from T Express for £1.05 - annoyed with myself as I've got loads of bread and cheese at home. Grr!
    • meg72
    • By meg72 11th Jun 12, 7:51 PM
    • 5,082 Posts
    • 46,072 Thanks
    meg72
    No prob - it's nice sometimes to add a little chorizo too - just chopped and fried with the bacon When I have some extra budget money I buy one of the horseshoe shaped chorizos and use about a finger length at a time - makes things taste lovely and smoky.

    Today is going to be another NSD! That makes a total of 5 for me for June so far! I am a very happy Kitchenbunny Tea tonight is a portion of Bolognese sauce from the freezer with some pasta. Have a lovely day everyone!

    K xx
    Originally posted by Kitchenbunny
    I only recently discovered chorozo, tried it when I some some reduced, now I love it. makes such a differene to lots of things,
    added a bit to sausage and mash last week, lovely.
    Last edited by meg72; 11-06-2012 at 8:26 PM.
    Slimming World at target
    • Bluegreen143
    • By Bluegreen143 11th Jun 12, 8:01 PM
    • 1,101 Posts
    • 12,692 Thanks
    Bluegreen143
    Hi! I have just discovered this thread (new to the forum) and wondered if I'm too late to join in for June? I have a spreadsheet with all my spending on it so I do know an accurate total for this month to date!

    We normally spend around £300 a month of food, toiletries and cleaning stuff, which seems a lot for me, OH and one small cat! I was veggie and still don't eat much meat, he eats a bit more but is happy to eat veggie stuff most of the time, so where is the money going??

    I'd like to reduce the total a bit so have set my June target to £275 and have spent £136.00 exactly already. Don't intend to buy any more food until Sunday so pretty hopeful I can do well this month!
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