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    • zippychick
    • By zippychick 13th Oct 14, 12:54 PM
    • 9,342Posts
    • 17,803Thanks
    November 2017 Grocery Challenge
    • #1
    • 13th Oct 14, 12:54 PM
    November 2017 Grocery Challenge 13th Oct 14 at 12:54 PM
    Hi everyone,

    Welcome to the eleventh Grocery Challenge of 2017 !!!!

    If your new month starts early feel free to join this thread, or if you're still working on your October budget, then keep on posting in the October cchallenge.

    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 #4 to #10 this thread (the list is growing!!!!!)

    For everyones totals, see post #3 on this thread

    I hope everyone has a great month!

    Last edited by zippychick; 20-10-2017 at 12:17 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 17
    • chocoholic_chick
    • By chocoholic_chick 29th Nov 17, 5:03 PM
    • 622 Posts
    • 3,077 Thanks
    Tesco order last night came to £41.47. That included £20 on a couple of cases of corona which might last until Christmas, depending on how many visitors we have before then (already had a extra mouths to feed on two occasions this week!), a box of heroes to put away and some nice tonic.

    I've also started getting milk delivered which I forgot to include so £3.58 there. Won't be buying anything else now until December so declaring at £194.70 for the month which I'm really pleased with! Will see you over on the December thread
    New House... New Mortgage! February 2017: £144,000
    Current Mortgage Balance: £133,394.13
    2017 OP's:£5,935
    December Grocery Challenge: £109.11/500
    Total Debt £29,209 £0 Debt free 6/8/16
    • Merlin's Beard
    • By Merlin's Beard 29th Nov 17, 6:37 PM
    • 179 Posts
    • 839 Thanks
    Merlin's Beard
    Declaring at £88.94/£100, happy with that! I guess being ill for a week is quite a thrifty thing to do
    Grocery Challenge June 17 onward; aim: £100/month; leftovers to date: £8.79
    • Save Dosh
    • By Save Dosh 30th Nov 17, 12:28 PM
    • 1,119 Posts
    • 13,412 Thanks
    Save Dosh
    Foods that combat inflammation. Include plenty of these anti-inflammatory foods in your diet:
    • tomatoes
    • olive oil
    • green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale, and collards
    • nuts like almonds and walnuts
    • fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, cherries, and oranges
    Originally posted by elsiepac
    Thanks Elsie. I knew lemons were, but read oranges weren't, looks like they are though. I eat all those foods, apart from the nuts, so that's good. I think spooning a half jar of the large 'Biscoff', found in the back of a cupboard, probably acted as a trigger.

    Off work 'till Monday. Need to clean this health hazard I call home, I find it hard to think in 'mess'. It won't take long, but it IS bad, tomorrow Xmas shopping, get that charade out of the way - wow such a jolly elf am I. Have a lovely w/e everyone.
    Last edited by Save Dosh; 30-11-2017 at 2:14 PM.
    GC December £49.04/£80, Alcohol £20/£20, Bulk Buy £46.33 (left)
    Save 12k in 2017 #132 = £2,160/£5,000 (43.2%)
    KonMari: Clothes, Wardrobe, Drawers, shoes, bags, Papers
    Bedding, Books, Toiletries,Bric a Brac, Kitchen, Pantry

    • YorksLass
    • By YorksLass 30th Nov 17, 3:21 PM
    • 351 Posts
    • 4,384 Thanks
    Declaring now for November and ended up slightly over budget by £2.60, so not disastrous. Looking back over my receipts book I can pinpoint the overspend to last week on a local top-up shop by DH but at least everything he got either has been or will be used up, so no waste.

    Well done those who managed to keep in or below budget and commiserations to those who didn't quite get there.

    Have a good weekend all and will "see" you in December.
    Be kind to others and to yourself too. Life has its ups and downs, use the ups to overcome the downs!

    Dec £66.03/£160 9/28 NSDs
    Nov -£2.60 Oct +£9.92 Sep +£42.85 Aug +£84.62 July +£7.98 June -£3.13 May +£10.37

    • Doom_and_Gloom
    • By Doom_and_Gloom 30th Nov 17, 4:35 PM
    • 3,422 Posts
    • 10,540 Thanks
    Okay so both OH and I went over our personal budgets a little, however I'm calling this month a win as we came within our over all budget...just.

    Bulk - £28.45/£30.
    OH - £50.12/£50. - £0.12.
    Me - £31.42/£30. - £1.42

    So I can declare the following;
    Total budget
    £0.01 left.

    Well done all that came in budget, however close. Those that didn't remember it would likely be worse if you weren't on this thread.
    28 year old vegan woman. My OH is a lovely omni guy
    • XSpender
    • By XSpender 30th Nov 17, 7:38 PM
    • 2,706 Posts
    • 27,966 Thanks
    Declaring £541.48/£500. £20 not budgeted for DS going back on school diners but over the £100/week max I aim for.
    EF £1000 - £0
    • pamsdish
    • By pamsdish 1st Dec 17, 10:50 AM
    • 769 Posts
    • 4,175 Thanks
    Declaring defeat in November, too much re-stocking after holiday, hey ho on to December.
    OCTOBER, £200=£106
    DECEMBER,£200-£27.34=£172.66-£24=£148,- £40=£108,-£25=£83, -£71=£12
    • PipneyJane
    • By PipneyJane 2nd Dec 17, 9:23 AM
    • 614 Posts
    • 3,893 Thanks
    Declaring at £133.49
    Good morning all

    I’m declaring at £133.49, after a late spend by DH of £8.89. (We went to the football on Wednesday. He bought stuff to make wraps and then scored a large lump of YS Wensleydale with cranberries. Yum!)

    For anyone who’s keeping track and thinking “hang on, your spends this month don’t add up!” it is because of the coins we collect/save. We spent £105.80 but we were left with £22.20 in the purse to roll forward to December. That means £27.69 change was received in 1p, 2p, 5p and £2 coins. Seriously we must have had 13 x £2 coins this month in change. I know, last Sunday I received 4.

    To sum up, I’m declaring at £133.49/£155.69. See you in December.
    "Be the type of woman that when you get out of bed in the morning, the devil says 'Oh crap. She's up.' "

    C.R.A.P R.O.L.L.Z. #47 Official Brain Harvesting Body Counter
    • taka
    • By taka 2nd Dec 17, 9:29 PM
    • 3,155 Posts
    • 16,415 Thanks
    Yay I actually managed it! I'm declaring at £147.96 / £150. The £2.04 undespend will be carried over to December.I even managed to buy in a few christmas treats this month too... Now I just need to not eat them all before christmas actually comes!
    MFiT-4 no 30

    You can't fly with one foot on the ground!
    • dingdongsaving
    • By dingdongsaving 3rd Dec 17, 7:17 PM
    • 377 Posts
    • 4,165 Thanks
    £402.71. Budget was £400, so a tad over, but happy with the month overall. Now to confirm the budget for December...
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