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    • zippychick
    • By zippychick 13th Oct 14, 12:54 PM
    • 9,147Posts
    • 17,082Thanks
    September 2016 Grocery Challenge
    • #1
    • 13th Oct 14, 12:54 PM
    September 2016 Grocery Challenge 13th Oct 14 at 12:54 PM
    Hi everyone,

    Welcome to the ninth Grocery Challenge of 2016 !!!!

    If your new month starts early feel free to join this thread, or if you're still working on your August budget, then keep on posting in the August 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.
    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,
    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 #6 #7 #8 & #9 on this thread (the list is growing!!!!!)

    For everyones totals, see post #10 on this thread

    I hope everyone has a great month!

    Last edited by zippychick; 05-08-2016 at 12:42 PM.
    I'm a Board Guide of Old Style MoneySaving, The Northern Ireland board,How Much Have you Saved? and Martin's Blogs.
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Page 19
    • tattycath
    • By tattycath 21st Sep 16, 7:25 PM
    • 6,558 Posts
    • 34,912 Thanks
    Managed not to get any grocery shopping today...I will need some potatoes tomorrow or Friday. I will probably get some flavoured carbonated water too.
    GE 36 *MFD December 2027-target 2020
    MFIT-T4 No 106
    EF 100/2000 - PF 650- SSF 1,275
    Mortgage : 5,935/10,000
    September 107.27/200
    Sept GC 232/200
    Savercard Christmas savings 208/288
    19/3/16 = 176lb
    • t14cy t
    • By t14cy t 22nd Sep 16, 7:22 AM
    • 690 Posts
    • 4,014 Thanks
    t14cy t
    spent 6 in morrisons yesterday on bleach, dishwasher tablets and a little dish meal. tabs were half price and i had a coupon too, and little dish meal was a freebie, brilliant! x
    • Ladyluck1
    • By Ladyluck1 22nd Sep 16, 8:02 AM
    • 744 Posts
    • 7,186 Thanks
    14 in Lidl and 33 in Morrisons.... That's all for this week I hope!
    Just shy of 60 left for the month. Pretty sure that's do able...
    Sausage casserole for dinner today done in the SC
    Last edited by Ladyluck1; 22-09-2016 at 8:04 AM.
    I'm C, Mummy to DS 29/11/2010 and DD 02/11/2013

    Overdraft PAID OFF
    GC Sept 141.17/200
    • buzzyzoe
    • By buzzyzoe 22nd Sep 16, 10:40 AM
    • 390 Posts
    • 890 Thanks
    Spent 3.10 on some store cupboard bits and 29p on YS parsley that I needed for a recipe! Felt quite lucky as I would have bought it at full price but just happened to be one of the only YS items there
    So currently on:
    Mortgage offer received 20/04/2014
    Mortgage at start - 72995
    Current mortgage - 47995
    Original mortgage free date - 09/2038
    Mortgage free wannabe date - 09/2020
    • purpleybat
    • By purpleybat 22nd Sep 16, 1:40 PM
    • 75 Posts
    • 357 Thanks
    2.38 at coop yesterday and 23.22 in lidl yesterday, still a week to go but nearly 50 of budget left so all is good there.
    grocery challenge for Sept 2016 160
    • Sayschezza
    • By Sayschezza 23rd Sep 16, 1:18 AM
    • 63 Posts
    • 536 Thanks
    I did my last big shop of the month 42.98 so bringing my total spends this month to 164.24. Doubt if I will need to buy anything else fingers crossed.
    GC 250 each month. Aug 187.35. Sept 174.44
    • t14cy t
    • By t14cy t 23rd Sep 16, 6:46 AM
    • 690 Posts
    • 4,014 Thanks
    t14cy t
    nsd yesterday, hoping to do a ys rampage tomorrow night in my old stomping ground of surrey! xx
    • Save Dosh
    • By Save Dosh 23rd Sep 16, 12:02 PM
    • 898 Posts
    • 11,000 Thanks
    Save Dosh
    Did a shop yesterday totalling 9.79 - not yellow stickered, but got such a lot - well I think so for normal priced stuff - some in Waitrose. I have updated Sig. Hopefully that will be it, but I will grab some avocados if I see some well priced ones.

    Hash Browns
    Garlic Baguette
    Free From Cheese Spread
    2 x Co Op Pies - Rhubarb & Cherry
    Alpro Yoghurt
    Red Cabbage
    Red Onions
    GC Ap 70.62/80 May-96.63/100 Jn 85.39/80 Jly 89.59/100Ag 89.20/50 Sep 51.07/60
    Change Jars 113.50 Overflow Jar 0, Argos Card /100
    Save 12k in 2016 #176 - 6.300 (52.5%)

    • ScotinLondon
    • By ScotinLondon 23rd Sep 16, 4:16 PM
    • 218 Posts
    • 2,639 Thanks
    Top-op shops done over the past few days - home stuff & work food totaling to 7.70, 23.67 left for tomorrow's shop - need a bits of veg, frozen pastry & toiletries.

    Sig updated - have a good rest of the day all!
    NSD J16 23/31; F16 19/29; M16 24/31; A16 24/30; M16 19/31; J16 20/30; J16 20/31; A16 25/31; S16 20/31
    GC Mar-Jun 620.04/760; July/Aug 109.53/140; Aug/Sept 116.33/140; Sept/Oct 0/140
    CCC 2016 31.43/400
    • pamsdish
    • By pamsdish 23rd Sep 16, 6:20 PM
    • 508 Posts
    • 2,343 Thanks
    26 in Tesco as my favourite coffee is on offer, got some cream, liver and my choc, 2 items for neighbour, 4 off 30 spend, couple of bits from wilkos, 6 I will be glad when all the reduced garden stuff gone.
    April 50 = 149, May 102=2.June 100 = 125 July 125 = 6 August= 97= 43/207=107
    Sept 125- 17= 108, -14=94, -7=87- 14 = 73, -15= 58, -26 = 32,18=14,
    Others 100= 321, inc car repairs.

    • Sayschezza
    • By Sayschezza 23rd Sep 16, 7:38 PM
    • 63 Posts
    • 536 Thanks
    Treated oh tonight with take away fish and chips. Well he has bought several milks this month which he hasn't taken the money for so fair dos.
    GC 250 each month. Aug 187.35. Sept 174.44
    • oceanspirit
    • By oceanspirit 23rd Sep 16, 10:51 PM
    • 372 Posts
    • 6,041 Thanks
    10.45 vegbox.
    September Grocery Challenge 86.27/95

    August Grocery Challenge 91.05/100
    July Grocery Challenge 89.17/100
    • purpleybat
    • By purpleybat 23rd Sep 16, 11:26 PM
    • 75 Posts
    • 357 Thanks
    oh dear, just looked through spicesofindia website and can see me spending lots. on the plus point there are a few of us splitting the order so we get the free postage.
    have been struggling getting lots of spices in morrys and I flatly refuse to go into tesclo, my other option is to go into town to find an indian grocers and I can see that being deadly for me

    think I may go over this month now.
    grocery challenge for Sept 2016 160
    • Fruball
    • By Fruball 24th Sep 16, 12:04 AM
    • 5,610 Posts
    • 36,564 Thanks
    I'm not very goodbat this. Lost track ages ago and definitely over budget which is why I'm in a mess!
    • t14cy t
    • By t14cy t 24th Sep 16, 7:11 AM
    • 690 Posts
    • 4,014 Thanks
    t14cy t
    nsd yesterday. off to a jumble sale later, yipee!! xx
    • Ladyluck1
    • By Ladyluck1 24th Sep 16, 5:16 PM
    • 744 Posts
    • 7,186 Thanks
    Got a bill to pay (deep joy) so hoping to spend only 20-25 next week.

    Meal plan is;
    Kung po chicken and rice
    Roast chicken, roasties and veg
    Steak (out freezer night before!) and homemade wedges, peas and grilled tom.
    Leftover chicken Risotto with chicken stock made from carcass.

    Tuna pasta bake

    Luckily I have most of the items for these meals I just need lunches and snacks and the chicken for roast
    I'm C, Mummy to DS 29/11/2010 and DD 02/11/2013

    Overdraft PAID OFF
    GC Sept 141.17/200
    • Florence J
    • By Florence J 24th Sep 16, 11:44 PM
    • 709 Posts
    • 3,377 Thanks
    Florence J
    Milk, Toilet Rolls, Spaghetti and Pasta Sauce bought so have 2.70 left to last tomorrow and monday. I may go and buy some bread and milk tomorrow so I know we are covered till Tuesday.

    I think I may have just managed it this month as well. Phew.
    Sealed Pot Challenge #553
    2016: Sell 1000 #51 (340.03/1000)
    Completely Crazy Clothes Challenge 2016 = 262.95/310
    Wombling free 2016 = 404.24
    • milasavesmoney
    • By milasavesmoney 25th Sep 16, 12:56 AM
    • 1,439 Posts
    • 10,989 Thanks
    Sam's Club visit. $98.33.

    I'm on track to meet my goal....if I'm good.
    Sept $424.41/$500 ~~ 3/6 EF #46 $11,273/$15,000 ~~ Xmas/Bday 2016 $3002/$6500 ~~ WL 2016 ~15 lb
    • t14cy t
    • By t14cy t 25th Sep 16, 7:56 AM
    • 690 Posts
    • 4,014 Thanks
    t14cy t
    morning all, not a bad ys haul last night, best bargain was a 4.99 lilac rose i paid 25p for! spent 6 so 19 left for this month. very dark and grey here, but still hopeful to get washing dry. xxx
    • Wysiwyg49
    • By Wysiwyg49 25th Sep 16, 9:38 AM
    • 72 Posts
    • 520 Thanks
    My record keeping has gone a bit off track so I'll try to make sense of the receipts I've got. I may have blown it a bit last week because didn't do a big shop, ended up with a few top-up shops...but they don't seem to add up to much. I sometimes wonder whether a big shop makes me buy too much and waste more! What does everyone else think?
    GC 2016: Sept 81.06 / 350 August 414.92 / 350
    Fell off wagon June/July
    Apr 374.15/360 Mar 451.62/400
    Feb 332.55/360 Jan 389.73/360
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