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    • zippychick
    • By zippychick 13th Oct 14, 12:54 PM
    • 9,342Posts
    • 17,877Thanks
    October 2016 Grocery Challenge
    • #1
    • 13th Oct 14, 12:54 PM
    October 2016 Grocery Challenge 13th Oct 14 at 12:54 PM
    Hi everyone,

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

    If your new month starts early feel free to join this thread, or if you're still working on your September budget, then keep on posting in the September 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 12:43 PM.
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Page 11
    • hazeldreams
    • By hazeldreams 10th Oct 16, 9:29 AM
    • 210 Posts
    • 374 Thanks

    Just popping by to report spends so far for October of £180.79/400

    Hoping to come in under budget this month!
    £40,156.88 /£75,146.41(start 1/9/14) 53.4% paid off
    £34,989.53 left to go
    DFD target February 2018 July 2019
    May Challenges: NSDs 0/16; Groceries £0/£400
    • Slowly57
    • By Slowly57 10th Oct 16, 10:08 AM
    • 337 Posts
    • 2,282 Thanks
    Getting close to spent up - but not far out for a guesstimate - this is my first GC.

    I think if I can stop food hoarding, and just spend as I need (and bank any underspend in a 'security' jar so I can see there's no need to panic if the fridge looks empty - bless) then I can probably keep under £200 next month. Have compensated for not buying a hoard of food by going mad with making a hoard of freezer meals lol

    Anyhoo - £19.26 on a farm shop - will prolly just need bread + a bit of dairy after that
    Last edited by Slowly57; 10-10-2016 at 10:12 AM.
    2016 | Dec GC £170.00/£200.00 | Nov GC £233.00/£200 | Oct GC £243.82/£200
    2017 | Additional annual YS & "it's a bargain!" float £000.00/£100.00
    • VickyV
    • By VickyV 10th Oct 16, 10:28 AM
    • 111 Posts
    • 1,348 Thanks
    Hi all,
    It's been a long time since I did the grocery challenge but I'd like to try again for October, if I may?
    Budget is £320 for a family of 5 including toiletries, baby milk, nappies, etc.
    My month started on Friday the 7th and will run to Friday the 4th November. Spend so far (monthly staples, nappies, wipes and this week's food) £90.
    • Wysiwyg49
    • By Wysiwyg49 10th Oct 16, 5:42 PM
    • 184 Posts
    • 1,647 Thanks
    £85.27 in Sainsb yesterday but hoping that will be about all for this week. Today was a rare NSD for me as I took packed lunch to work and didn't buy anything extra!

    The spiced potato/caul soup was great - from A Girl Called Jack, first recipe book.

    Meals this week:

    Sun - chicken casserole (one pot with dumplings)
    Mon - spag bol and HM garlic pizza bread
    Tue - gammon steaks and stuffed mushrooms, baked potatoes
    Wed - cheat's moussaka (mince with tin of ratatouille topped with sliced potatoes)
    Thurs - kids chicken burgers, chips n peas, us Thai green chicken curry n rice
    Fri - kids fish fingers or sausages, us sausage casserole
    GC Mar £239.57/£360 : Feb £352.71/£320
    • BeTheChange
    • By BeTheChange 10th Oct 16, 9:06 PM
    • 89 Posts
    • 439 Thanks
    A non grocery spend today and should be fine until my weekly shop day on Thursday.
    I am going to forgo my online A$da shop and do the hike to L!dl to see how I get on with that. Would have been a better idea to start this in the summer!
    Debt @ Sept '16 = £51804 Oct '16= £51,095 1.37% paid off
    Oct grocery challenge = £229.05/£250
    Oct AFD challenge = 20/31
    Oct NSD = 13/18
    Emergency Fund member #209 = 376/1000
    • lynnejk
    • By lynnejk 10th Oct 16, 11:26 PM
    • 5,324 Posts
    • 54,972 Thanks
    A non grocery spend today and should be fine until my weekly shop day on Thursday.
    I am going to forgo my online A$da shop and do the hike to L!dl to see how I get on with that. Would have been a better idea to start this in the summer!
    Originally posted by BeTheChange
    Brave move Hope you get on ok

    Another NSD here today

    Hope you all have a super Tuesday
    Bulk buy.......MAR=159.75
    OS WL= -2/8 ......CC =00......Savings = £13,140
    • Lauralozzle
    • By Lauralozzle 11th Oct 16, 7:09 AM
    • 560 Posts
    • 4,953 Thanks
    Asda trip to buy lunch bits ended up being £39.43

    Total is now £107.52/£250
    Credit Card 1: £0.00 (0%) | Credit Card 2: £1,951.50 (0%) | Credit Card 3: £764.20 (0%) Car Finance: £7,491 (7.9% APR) | Mortgage: £110,794 (2.79% APR) | Emergency Fund: £69.68/£1000 | Honeymoon Fund: £1,042
    • t14cy t
    • By t14cy t 11th Oct 16, 7:54 AM
    • 683 Posts
    • 6,581 Thanks
    t14cy t
    nsd yesterday. xx
    • wintersunshine22
    • By wintersunshine22 11th Oct 16, 8:47 AM
    • 9 Posts
    • 67 Thanks

    Been lurking for a while, but now I need to join you, if I may, as grocery budget cut drastically to only £25 per week for two adults as DH is out of work from Friday so will be living on my small wage for a while.
    • Margaret_
    • By Margaret_ 11th Oct 16, 9:40 AM
    • 26 Posts
    • 300 Thanks
    Welcome Wintersunshine - sorry to hear about your husband's job, I hope he finds something soon.

    My second shop of the month and I've spent £4.43, only because I filled my freezer last week. I also spent £1 on milk over the weekend so all in all I'm up to £19.65 which is about right. I am still hoping to come in a bit under this month but we shall see!
    Last edited by Margaret_; 11-10-2016 at 9:42 AM. Reason: My terrible punctuation!
    Oct GC £19.65/£45
    OS Weight Loss 4lbs/12lbs
    • Slowly57
    • By Slowly57 11th Oct 16, 10:51 AM
    • 337 Posts
    • 2,282 Thanks
    Morning! Been lurking for a while, but now I need to join you, if I may, as grocery budget cut drastically to only £25 per week for two adults as DH is out of work from Friday so will be living on my small wage for a while.
    Originally posted by wintersunshine22
    Oh how rotten - hope things get better for you both - its awful having this kind of situation hanging over you. The folks on this forum can help you with your budget and remember to pop into one of the daily/garden fence threads for a bit of chat xx
    2016 | Dec GC £170.00/£200.00 | Nov GC £233.00/£200 | Oct GC £243.82/£200
    2017 | Additional annual YS & "it's a bargain!" float £000.00/£100.00
    • mrs motivated
    • By mrs motivated 11th Oct 16, 2:15 PM
    • 1,119 Posts
    • 4,329 Thanks
    mrs motivated
    Just checking in to report a £2 spend on 3 tins of condensed soup to be used for pie fillings, I only need one this week, but as they were on offer I thought I may as well get an extra 2 for the store cupboard.

    so thats me checking in at £158/£420
    Well Behaved women seldom make history

    Accessible EF #152 £1000/£1000

    Vets EF £2000/£2000
    • pajama
    • By pajama 11th Oct 16, 4:50 PM
    • 103 Posts
    • 1,586 Thanks
    Shopping done this morning and a spend of £8.96 on a stock up of dog salmon chews and a couple of packet of reduced crisps. Then onto my favourite shop Aldi and spent £42.96.

    Loving the lovely different small squashes they have in at the moment. Bought two to roast with butter, herbs and garlic then mash in some feta when cooked.

    Finished off at MrT and spent £11.17. Need to visit local butcher tomorrow for a chicken kiev and some sausages so that should not be too much of a spend.
    Grocery Challenge - Sept £205.56/£350.00

    • wintersunshine22
    • By wintersunshine22 11th Oct 16, 5:04 PM
    • 9 Posts
    • 67 Thanks
    NSD for me & I don't plan to go near a shop until Friday. Weekends tend to be the challenge as pop in for one item and buy a basket full
    Out of debt, out of danger - Joan Jonker
    • Suffolk lass
    • By Suffolk lass 11th Oct 16, 5:36 PM
    • 1,807 Posts
    • 19,779 Thanks
    Suffolk lass
    Just checking in to report a £2 spend on 3 tins of condensed soup to be used for pie fillings, I only need one this week, but as they were on offer I thought I may as well get an extra 2 for the store cupboard.

    so thats me checking in at £158/£420
    Originally posted by mrs motivated
    Your post reminds me of my Mum's chicken pie filling -

    Leftover roast chicken, usually just the pickings off the carcass and the wing meat, maybe a drumstick or two, with a tin of campbell's condensed chicken soup and a tin of sweetcorn, all mixed up it make a wonderful quick pie filling - a real family favourite in our house to this day.

    MFiT T4 #2 update 51.75% after Q8 £5,203 behind where I should be
    Save £12k in 2018 #53 - after Jan £634.93/£10,000
    OS Grocery Challenge 2018 spent £238.47/£3,500 including stores so far
    My DFD is here
    • ScotinLondon
    • By ScotinLondon 11th Oct 16, 9:12 PM
    • 315 Posts
    • 3,659 Thanks
    Had a few spends this week, need to tot up receipts. Slowly57 - thanks for the my supermarket tip. Morrie's do do pecorino cheese just couldn't find it on the day I wrote about it, but did find if the next day.

    However, the whole recipe was a disaster. We will maybe try it again but use smaller measurements for the ingredients as we had z lot left over & tasted a bit too eggy...but the main thing is that we tried & thus one didn't work out. Will try it again but probably change bits of it.

    Have a good evening all.
    D17/J18 £75.27; J/F18 £64.79; F/M £67.38/£130
    CCC - £20.96
    Lunch2work 14/20 J18; 10/19 F18; 0/17 M18
    GNSD 18/31 J18; 15/28 F18; 7/31 M18
    • PennyGrabber
    • By PennyGrabber 11th Oct 16, 9:27 PM
    • 1,246 Posts
    • 22,103 Thanks
    I have to report some sad news. I went out to my outside freezer on Thursday, to get something for dinner and to refill the inside freezer that I'd just turfed rank-looking stuff from, only to find that the door was open and the stuff had defrosted. The freezer is as tall as me, with six shelves full of hm soups, batch cooked meals, ys bargains, etc etc etc. I had to walk away and let dp deal with it, otherwise I'd have cried!

    I have decided to leave it off for now, and I'll turn it on when/if I buy some Christmas ys meat bargains.

    So, I now have my tiny indoor freezer, with one shelf for bread, fruit and veg, one for meat, and one for meals and puddings.

    It now means that I'm limited as to ys shopping, but what I do have, is good stuff. Bit of careful planning required from now on, I think!

    Made a cottage pie for dinner tonight; did the three of us for dinner, and I have two lunch portions for tom and thurs. I'm determined to not buy lunch out this year!

    PG x
    Grocery challenge for family of three - me, dd(12) and ds(11), feeding dp 2 or 3 x a week too. Only food, not toiletries. Jan £87.97/£100 Feb £0/£100
    Frugal 2018 needed! Saving and NOT spending
    • BeTheChange
    • By BeTheChange 11th Oct 16, 10:52 PM
    • 89 Posts
    • 439 Thanks
    Oh PG I could cry for you

    £2 spend for me today on milk and some sweets for DD.
    Debt @ Sept '16 = £51804 Oct '16= £51,095 1.37% paid off
    Oct grocery challenge = £229.05/£250
    Oct AFD challenge = 20/31
    Oct NSD = 13/18
    Emergency Fund member #209 = 376/1000
    • Save Dosh
    • By Save Dosh 11th Oct 16, 11:12 PM
    • 1,203 Posts
    • 14,368 Thanks
    Save Dosh
    I had a mini spend, avocado, beetroot, carrots, cherry tomatoes, some strawberry cider and a daiquiri. I have updated sig.
    March Grocery Challenge - Food £23.96/80, Alcohol £21.14/£20
    Bulk Buy Fund Left - Food £15.58, Alcohol £3.46
    Save 12k in 2018 #80 = £1,000/£5,000
    Yoga 30 Day Challenge, Guitar, Lose Weight 5/7
    Feb To Do-Cupboards-Pantry-Paper-PAINT Spare Room, kitchen & Stairwell
    • lynnejk
    • By lynnejk 11th Oct 16, 11:40 PM
    • 5,324 Posts
    • 54,972 Thanks
    ... I went out to my outside freezer on Thursday, .. only to find that the door was open and the stuff had defrosted.
    PG x
    Originally posted by PennyGrabber
    Oh dear - I'm soo sorry to hear that. I know it can be devastating as my freezer gave up the ghost earlier in the year. Fortunately, it was a chest freezer and I managed to salvage about half of the stuff in there as still frozen in the middle. If you're like me, and rely on it for stocking up bargains and batch-baking, I'm sure you'll soon want another one. BTW, chest freezers tend to be more reliable and cheaper to run

    Delivery today from Mr T was £26.74 of grocery products and used another £5 MOC

    Hope you all have a wonderful Wednesday
    Bulk buy.......MAR=159.75
    OS WL= -2/8 ......CC =00......Savings = £13,140
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