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    • zippychick
    • By zippychick 13th Oct 14, 12:54 PM
    • 9,147Posts
    • 17,084Thanks
    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 2
    • Meekie
    • By Meekie 20th Sep 16, 8:43 AM
    • 40 Posts
    • 288 Thanks
    I'm in again too please. I'll go for 360 this month as we had lots of visitors and fancy food last month so there's a lot of normal food left in the cupboards and the freezer is still well stocked.
    Sept GC 413.08/ 400. 26/8/16 - 25/9/16. 12 NSDs.
    Oct GC 0 / 350. 26/9/16 - 25/10/16.
    • buzzyzoe
    • By buzzyzoe 20th Sep 16, 11:42 AM
    • 391 Posts
    • 902 Thanks
    Please can I join again for 40 for the month?
    Last edited by buzzyzoe; 21-09-2016 at 10:50 AM.
    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
    • pajama
    • By pajama 20th Sep 16, 11:43 AM
    • 150 Posts
    • 1,162 Thanks
    It's a 5 week month for me so put me down for 450 please
    Grocery Challenge -
    Oct 450.00/
    Sept 358.79 /360.00
    Aug 404.09 /360.00
    July 372.13 /360.00

    • Coxy11
    • By Coxy11 20th Sep 16, 12:58 PM
    • 1,841 Posts
    • 22,822 Thanks
    Hi everyone,

    Thanks for the thread Zippy

    Budgets list updated to here

    Welcome/welcome back to:
    EverTheOptimist and ab_saver

    Good luck all
    Cross-stitch WIP #1: Collecting Shells by Nancy Cole
    Currently reading: The Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory
    • Tink_04
    • By Tink_04 20th Sep 16, 1:07 PM
    • 706 Posts
    • 3,178 Thanks
    Can I come back?

    I'd like to start a new month on 27th for 250 for a family of 4!
    2 Savers club
    Money Saving Mission 2016
    • Margaret_
    • By Margaret_ 21st Sep 16, 9:11 AM
    • 42 Posts
    • 230 Thanks
    Could you put me down for 45 for October starting on the 1st, please.
    • Slowly57
    • By Slowly57 21st Sep 16, 3:58 PM
    • 55 Posts
    • 273 Thanks
    Hello - can I have a go please? Committing in my sig - but I'll be doing it off-line anyway lol - aiming for a 200 spend between 28 September and 26 October (guessing the budget).
    getting my ducks in a row and my parachute ready Oct GC 28.98 / 200 28/9/16 - 26/10/16
    Saved nearly 100 each on car + home insurance 2016 by telling my insurer about better quotes elsewhere - feeling assertive - yay!
    • BeTheChange
    • By BeTheChange 21st Sep 16, 9:48 PM
    • 16 Posts
    • 22 Thanks
    Please may I join in? Starting on a new journey and need all the motivation I can find to keep me on track.

    I am aiming for 250 from 30th Sept to 27th Oct

    • Ladyluck1
    • By Ladyluck1 22nd Sep 16, 9:23 AM
    • 744 Posts
    • 7,204 Thanks
    200 again for me for October
    I'm C, Mummy to DS 29/11/2010 and DD 02/11/2013

    Overdraft PAID OFF
    GC Sept 141.17/200
    • stressedoutmumof1
    • By stressedoutmumof1 22nd Sep 16, 9:46 AM
    • 1,417 Posts
    • 10,073 Thanks
    Hi I'd like to join in if possible this month....

    There is me, DH and soon to be 18 year old DD.

    I'm rather ashamed of the fact we currently spend about 140 a week on food, drink and non-perishables And that's not including lunches which we all buy daily - so approximately another 70 a week on that - 210 in total

    I'd really like to get that down to 100 a week, including lunches, but baby steps... so my challenge for October is to make lunches and based on a 5 week month (shopping day is Friday) total spend to be 750 which would be a 300 reduction - fingers crossed!
    Squares knitted for my throw ~ 45 (only 45 to go )
    Squares made for my patchwork quilt ~ 37 (only 43 to go )
    Grocery Challenge October 750
    • Coxy11
    • By Coxy11 22nd Sep 16, 11:40 AM
    • 1,841 Posts
    • 22,822 Thanks
    Hi all,

    Budgets list updated to here

    Welcome/welcome back to:
    Slowly57, BeTheChange and stressedoutmumof1

    Good luck all,
    Cross-stitch WIP #1: Collecting Shells by Nancy Cole
    Currently reading: The Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory
    • Crowdpleaser
    • By Crowdpleaser 22nd Sep 16, 1:52 PM
    • 1,224 Posts
    • 10,882 Thanks
    Thanks zippy and coxy. September didn't go well.... onwards to October!

    Can I do 250 please! 2 adults, 2 kids, 2 hamsters! X
    Save 500 for christmas 2016 161/500
    GC March 16 252.91/300
    • pinkypig
    • By pinkypig 22nd Sep 16, 7:30 PM
    • 393 Posts
    • 4,457 Thanks
    Re-joining for October. I have been keeping a very watchful eye on food spends but need to be tighter than tight leading up to Christmas.

    Can you put me down for 150 for three of us and a dog please. This will all food, cleaning products and toiletries.
    PP x
    May GC 138.26 /150
    June GC 143.27/ 140
    July GC 100.91/140
    • ScotinLondon
    • By ScotinLondon 23rd Sep 16, 11:09 AM
    • 221 Posts
    • 2,675 Thanks
    Thanks for starting the new month.

    Am in again for 140 starting on 25/9/16.

    Will update all sigs etc for month ending tomorrow and the new month later on today.

    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 23/31
    GC Mar-Jun 620.04/760; July/Aug 109.53/140; Aug/Sept 138.88/140; Sept/Oct 0/140
    CCC 2016 31.43/400
    • purpleybat
    • By purpleybat 23rd Sep 16, 11:23 AM
    • 77 Posts
    • 371 Thanks
    i've not finished september yet cos I run my month from 1st to last day, but I'm in for october please.
    I'm thinking i'm going to come in under and still haven't made much inroads into my freezer stocks so i'd like to log a budget of 150 please.
    grocery challenge for Sept 2016 160
    • peony40
    • By peony40 23rd Sep 16, 3:10 PM
    • 453 Posts
    • 5,781 Thanks

    Please can you put me down for 180.This is to run from today until the 25th October. This will cover food for two adults.

    I have been absent for a long time, but I now need to be serious with money saving, hubby's job is looking precarious and I don't work due to ill health, so I need to make every penny work.

    I had my first shop today and it was 58.42 which leaves 121.58.

    Good Luck All.
    October Grocery Challenge 58.42/180.00
    • By 23rd Sep 16, 3:16 PM
    • 5 Posts
    • 31 Thanks
    Hi everyone! I'd like to join this please. I recently added up how much hubby and I spent on groceries, eating out/takeaways and other things such as coffee out in a month and it was more than 700 for just the two of us!

    I think the areas we could cut back on are wasting food (I always seem to end up throwing loads away in our food bin each week ) by being more organised and actually cooking what I planned to cook each night! And also by eating less takeaways and lunch out, which we almost always do at weekends.

    So I'm going to aim for a total of 600 in October (baby steps!) which includes all food, drinks, lunches, coffee, cleaning products and anything else we buy at the supermarket.
    • carolinerunner
    • By carolinerunner 23rd Sep 16, 10:06 PM
    • 461 Posts
    • 6,047 Thanks
    Back but embarrassed
    Hi all,
    It's a long time since I posted here. I have been an ostrich for a good while. I added up the spend for the last 30 days and it was beyond . Even I was shocked. Apart from the amount, it was the 35 separate transactions that got me. All those 'I only need 1 item for tonight's dinner' trips to the shops... I have well and truly fallen off the wagon. And as for DH's weekday lunches and coffees I shudder to think what they add up to on top.

    So I'm not going to set a budget but I do have one in my head and if I make that in Oct I might be able to set one that's not actively ridiculous for November, and actually post it on here.

    What gets in my way is:
    lack of time (erratic work hours, no 2 days the same, often work early evening when should be cooking)
    not knowing whether either or both of 2 DSs will be eating in
    If they do, they don't like a lot of what I want to cook - food that pleases 4 people is quite hard to devise
    DH likes meat at every meal or its not a proper meal
    no-one else in my house wants to do this tho there is much moaning about not having any money
    Pets cost a fortune!

    OK, I know lots of other people have the same problems, and I'm grateful to those who've posted in a similar vein here already, it's nice to know it's not just me. All solutions extremely welcome! I am reminding myself of all the good advice on here, just planned an online shop and done an A1di shop based on a 1 week meal plan to practise, and may try 2 weekly or even monthly meal planning... something has to change....
    • blubella
    • By blubella 24th Sep 16, 5:05 AM
    • 378 Posts
    • 2,089 Thanks
    Please can I join? My month will start 26th September and end 25th October.

    My son was home for 2 weeks this month and BF every weekend and a partial week. I spent nearly 300 just on groceries alone
    ...i'm aiming to halve that over the coming month to 150, that's mainly 1 adult but BF stays Fri-Mon usually.
    Light Bulb Moment Aug 2015 ~ 24758.52
    Dec 2015 ~ DEBT Cards 18046.78 Sep 2016 9610 + Bank of Mum & Dad 4687.60 - PAID

    Make 10 a Day 2016: JAN 299.11/310 FEB 404.19/290 MAR 315.20/310
    DFBX2016 ~ #101 13773.78/8750 DFBX2015 ~ #101 3811.87/3000

    Success is the good fortune that comes from aspiration, desperation, perspiration & inspiration ~ Evan Esar
    • Suffolk lass
    • By Suffolk lass 24th Sep 16, 7:11 AM
    • 758 Posts
    • 12,449 Thanks
    Suffolk lass

    Please can you put me down for 180.This is to run from today until the 25th October. This will cover food for two adults.

    I have been absent for a long time, but I now need to be serious with money saving, hubby's job is looking precarious and I don't work due to ill health, so I need to make every penny work.

    I had my first shop today and it was 58.42 which leaves 121.58.

    Good Luck All.
    Originally posted by peony40
    I remember you! welcome back and good luck
    MFiT T4 #2 Q2 update 10.11% after Q2
    Save 12k in 2016 thread #92 - so far 7,313/10,000 (target inc from 6000 in Aug)
    OS Grocery Challenge budget of 3000 - 67.89/69.23% so far
    Reading and learning about investing... lots to learn and I am consciously incompetent
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