November 2023 Grocery Challenge

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  • diminua
    diminua Posts: 316
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    Declaring with 35p left, which isn't too bad. 
    Fashion on the Ration 2024 - 54 coupons left
    march Grocery Challenge £0/£200 spent
    Declutter 52 things (net) in 2023 -29 in 63 out (18 left)
  • That's me done for November, with £154.73 left from my projected annual spend.  I've had a few money off vouchers from Sains and Tesco, and using them towards stocking up on staples and getting chocs as presents.  Maybe the odd treat crept in too, just to take it up to the minimum spend.
    Grocery challenge 2024: Annual budget £168.63/1200
  • Morning folks. I just have one more spend to declare. £1.49 at Farmfoods a couple days ago for milk. 

    £436.63 / £425.00 spent. £16.63 over budget.

    Compared to previous overages, this is pretty great. I’ll take it. Well done to everyone who came in under budget this month, especially with all the holiday stocking up. See you on the December thread!  
  • PipneyJane
    PipneyJane Posts: 3,945
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    Just quickly skimmed through 57 posts since I last caught up and also subscribed to the December thread.  I can see this is was because @elsiepac had still to finish setting it up and I wanted to nudge her to include Pip's wonderful post on page 7 of this month's thread. Here's a link to it.


    Thanks @Suffolk_lass.  That’s very sweet of you.

    I’m declaring for November at £138/£140.


    There’s £2 in change left in the GC Challenge Purse, plus a £20 note, but I’m convinced the latter belongs to DH.  He’s done several spends in Sainsbugs, using the hand-held scanner - which means paying by card - and not taken the cash back.  He does it to get better prices for things; if there’s nothing listed in the Nectar app that we want/need/use then he won’t buy it. (Yes, I have completely lost track.  I promise to be better in December.)

    Losing track is really annoying because he has access, on his phone, to the GC Challenge Spreadsheet or he could come home and access it via my iPad (which is what I’m using now).  

    - Pip
    "Be the type of woman that when you get out of bed in the morning, the devil says 'Oh crap. She's up.' "

    2024 Fashion on the Ration Challenge 66 coupons,
  • PipneyJane
    PipneyJane Posts: 3,945
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    @LadyWithAPlan I make a variant of Nadia’s Ham & Cheese Crown using pre-made puff pastry.  In my case, I use one portion of pastry, 5-6 slices of Gouda and the cheapest air-dried ham that I can find at L!dl (e.g. pancetta, black-forest, whichever is cheapest or is discounted).  The ketchup, etc, I keep as per the recipe.

    Hope the GF Puff- Pastry lives up to its promise.

    - Pip
    "Be the type of woman that when you get out of bed in the morning, the devil says 'Oh crap. She's up.' "

    2024 Fashion on the Ration Challenge 66 coupons,
  • @LadyWithAPlan I make a variant of Nadia’s Ham & Cheese Crown using pre-made puff pastry.  In my case, I use one portion of pastry, 5-6 slices of Gouda and the cheapest air-dried ham that I can find at L!dl (e.g. pancetta, black-forest, whichever is cheapest or is discounted).  The ketchup, etc, I keep as per the recipe.

    Hope the GF Puff- Pastry lives up to its promise.

    - Pip
    That is exactly what I am looking for - a fabulous treat you cant buy as GF  - thanks - will report back..

    No idea what the GF puff will be like - at £2.50 I hope great!
    There will always be a (beautiful stilettoed) foot in fabulous in LaPlan's life.
    I am choosing to be fabulously frugal to support some wonderful life changing and affirming financial goals including buying a London home I love.

    DON'T BUY STUFF (from Frugalwoods)
    No seriously, just don’t buy things. 99% of our success with our savings rate is attributed to the fact that we don’t buy things. You can’t really hack your way to frugal. You can and should take advantage of discounts, coupons, rewards points, and the like. But at the end of the day, the only way to truly save money is to not buy stuff.    Money doesn’t walk out of your wallet on its own accord.

    My March  streaks to track
    Track Minimalist game  items (Nov 310)   (Dec  95)  (Jan 90)   Feb 50
    Exercise streak  
    YNAB days:: Target 50 days -Age of money 29
    Track my NSD's - Target 13 days/ 0/13

    https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/discussion/6289577/future-proofing-my-life-deposit-saving-then-mfw-journey-in-under-13-years#latest
  • joedenise
    joedenise Posts: 16,402
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    Declaring for November at £101.35/£200.  Most of leftover money got moved to eating out as have eaten out every day of our holiday so needed a top up.  Some was moved to our UK holidays pot to start off next years holidays in the Motorhome.
  • CoffeeSonata
    CoffeeSonata Posts: 72
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    edited 1 December 2023 at 11:43PM
    @Soontobeoap thanks so much for the encouragement and support. It was doable, I just couldn't fully see it as seemed close, and was so low energy to cook from scratch it seemed in doubt.  I did really need to stick to that amount as a maximum as well.  The reminder everyone is different, and the budgets include different things is helpful. Mine is mostly food, but does include any extra cleaning supplies I pick up in supermarket and wet cat food, for one normal cat and one super hungry cat that eats for two though he's only small! Some bulk buys too. 
    You are right I would have spent much more without the challenge. I actually did come in £5 ish under budget! 
    I do need to work on cutting costs a little more, even with the increase cost of everything. I was doing the challenge but not posting much a while ago, maybe a year ago.  I think having been so ill, the cost of everything going up and trying to keep all plates spinning again has thrown me. Then I was always just on budget, or over. I stopped doing it so strictly as it was too much additional focus when unwell, and last year I caught covid six times between Jan and Jan/Feb this year, then I had major surgery in March with complications. 
    It threw everything now I'm adjusting to not being fully recovered and the rising costs of everything so whilst £410 seems a lot, with extra people and everything else it probably isn't too bad. 
    I do need to focus on gradually reducing it but realise I need to factor in energy levels too.

    @Blackcats - thanks. . I did take your advice and default to some cheap /cheerful meals, especially for my lunches (including oatcakes, apple and cheese a favourite and very low effort.) I feel like soup and sandwiches in evening is sometimes depriving my partner of a proper meal as doesn't get one at lunch, but it's really fine. I do sort of sometimes, cawl - welsh soup/stew- and bread and cheese. Maybe I need some more filling soups and just accept it's a healthy meal and if they want different or more effort, maybe they need to cook sometimes.  I haven't converted them to egg and chips yet though it's an absolute favourite of mine and I miss it- maybe I need to try harder. We did have fishfingers and chips, and fishcakes/tinned potatoes though!
    @goldfinches, thanks for the encouragement also. You helped me realize that it is a big mountain sometimes recovering and having been unwell to the planning and just mental load of it all, as well as the doing.  I think I was just frustrated as £410 seemed like a lot already for us and for 2 people/2 cats, and my energy was so low.  I'm keeping amount for December given christmas, then will assess lowering it to the level we need it to be, balancing with energy and practicality. 
    @LadyWithAPlan  - I saw your bulk fund amount and it interested me. I roll bulk things into the month's budget, though sometimes that skews it obviously.  How do you work out bulk fund?  Is it for things you know will span months? Do you buy in bulk- say costco or is it for any stocking up that you know will be used over two or more months/deals? I think that way of thinking about it might help me, as when well, and getting back to, I batch cook a lot and buy things to freeze in one go.  Which does make a strict monthly budget sometimes a bit more tricky to work out. 
    But the practically of working out monthly & bulk and dividing is something escaping me so far in conceptualizing amounts! 

    I did come in under budget £404.93/£410.

      Last shop was two lots of about £14/£15  each and some of that food carries us into next week. 
    So I'm super happy and grateful to everyone giving me a pep talk ! 


    So final totals for November £404.93 / £410 , £5.07 left. 



    Challenges for Feb (28th Feb updated)
    GC Feb: £320/£350 

    Make £5 a day: £161/£145 


    My Debt Free Diary: https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/discussion/6490048/a-cup-of-coffee-and-two-paracetamol-debt-disability-and-getting-organised-like-the-chickens


  • It threw everything now I'm adjusting to not being fully recovered and the rising costs of everything so whilst £410 seems a lot, with extra people and everything else it probably isn't too bad. 
    I do need to focus on gradually reducing it but realise I need to factor in energy levels too.

    @LadyWithAPlan  - I saw your bulk fund amount and it interested me. I roll bulk things into the month's budget, though sometimes that skews it obviously.  How do you work out bulk fund?  Is it for things you know will span months? Do you buy in bulk- say costco or is it for any stocking up that you know will be used over two or more months/deals? I think that way of thinking about it might help me, as when well, and getting back to, I batch cook a lot and buy things to freeze in one go.  Which does make a strict monthly budget sometimes a bit more tricky to work out. 
    But the practically of working out monthly & bulk and dividing is something escaping me so far in conceptualizing amounts! 

    I did come in under budget £404.93/£410.

      Last shop was two lots of about £14/£15  each and some of that food carries us into next week. 
    So I'm super happy and grateful to everyone giving me a pep talk ! 


    So final totals for November £404.93 / £410 , £5.07 left. 



    Hi I think we are all now moving on to Dec Grocery Challenge so hopefully see you there..
    I also batch cook and freeze. Sorry you had to have surgery - thats bound to throw you off. 

    The bulk idea  I got  from Suffolk Lass I believe  and its rules are whatever you want.... it is to ease your budget over the year and able you to grab bargains when you see them rather than the demotivating idea of  if i buy all that I will have no grocery budget for the rest of the month - so it saves money in the long run and makes it a bit less stressful

    For me bulk is where I am buying YS meat etc for the freezer which will run into next months, bulk items like indeed 10 packs of coffee - I just charge the whole lot to bulk, big olive oils etc that will last for well over the month. Or YS tins/or butter etc -
    I may think I will keep one tin  as 'grocery' but the other 4  tins i picked up I will count as bulk.
    Any time I buy bags of mung or dried beans, large bags of flour.. etc or indeed when I buy my vegan protein shake  - I count that all as bulk. Coconut oil is bulk.
    I am single so some stuff I use more slowly plus if the price tips my grocery budget over but it is a good buy then I use the bulk.
    Vegan protein pwder is £20+ and it takes me more than a month, the coffee was £24. 

    I followed the instructions at the start of each Groc challenge - so I started at a reasonable level and then whittled it down £10 per month - earlier this year I went from £200 to £140 grocery  - slowly reducing each month - I then travellled loads so I starting spending more on my return! Plus less in the freezer.

    I tend to have £50 per month as bulk. I always roll the bulk money over - so if I only use £10 this month of bulk next month I have £90 etc.. If mid year I have too much I will pause adding to it or it does get nabbed for other categories.

    Suffolk Lass I believe starts with £400 in bulk at the beginning of the year and then spends it down as she goes.. I like adding to it each month 

    Well done on coming in on budget £5.07 woohoo! So ideally set a target for £400 in Dec - or £395 ;)  Or say £375 + £50 bulk to test it ...you may need a bigger bulk for 2 people - though I live in London so its all expensive..  Xmas though is a weird month for food ... but also good to budget to grab some YS bargains for the freezer after xmas etc

    You might want a plan or a goal for money you come under budget - maybe that £5.07 goes into a mortgage OP or against a debt or even in a pedicure treat pot etc as that way you can see you having spent less means you can do something great with that money you saved.

    Are you using Green Jinn, Check out Smart and Shopmium for free or cashback ?
    Also make sure you are maximising SM reward points wherever you can 
    There will always be a (beautiful stilettoed) foot in fabulous in LaPlan's life.
    I am choosing to be fabulously frugal to support some wonderful life changing and affirming financial goals including buying a London home I love.

    DON'T BUY STUFF (from Frugalwoods)
    No seriously, just don’t buy things. 99% of our success with our savings rate is attributed to the fact that we don’t buy things. You can’t really hack your way to frugal. You can and should take advantage of discounts, coupons, rewards points, and the like. But at the end of the day, the only way to truly save money is to not buy stuff.    Money doesn’t walk out of your wallet on its own accord.

    My March  streaks to track
    Track Minimalist game  items (Nov 310)   (Dec  95)  (Jan 90)   Feb 50
    Exercise streak  
    YNAB days:: Target 50 days -Age of money 29
    Track my NSD's - Target 13 days/ 0/13

    https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/discussion/6289577/future-proofing-my-life-deposit-saving-then-mfw-journey-in-under-13-years#latest
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