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    • elsiepac
    • By elsiepac 28th Jul 18, 11:09 PM
    • 1,800Posts
    • 12,960Thanks
    October 2019 Grocery Challenge
    • #1
    • 28th Jul 18, 11:09 PM
    October 2019 Grocery Challenge 28th Jul 18 at 11:09 PM
    Hi everyone,

    Welcome to the tenth Grocery Challenge of 2019 !!!!

    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. Mr M 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 bread maker - 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. Obviously 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 health wise.

    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 guidelines 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 everyone's totals, see post #3 on this thread

    I hope everyone has a great month!

    Last edited by elsiepac; 18-09-2019 at 8:15 AM.
    I'm a Board Guide on the Old Style, Greenfingered, Energy & Going Out Deals boards which means I'm a volunteer to help the boards run smoothly and I can move and merge threads there. Please remember, board guides don't read every post. If you spot an illegal or inappropriate post then please report it to (it's not part of my role to deal with this) Any views are mine and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.
    SPC No 074
    GC: Jan 20 tbc/250
    Vegan 27-8-13
Page 4
    • Merlin's Beard
    • By Merlin's Beard 1st Oct 19, 8:38 PM
    • 315 Posts
    • 2,588 Thanks
    Merlin's Beard
    Cheesy hotpot with leeks and cabbage and potatoes today... proper cold weather food!

    34.71 spent today, but I've got a freezer drawer full of farm shop sausages and bacon and chicken that will probably last me until Christmas, or serve me for the apocalypse, whichever comes first.
    • ditty1234
    • By ditty1234 1st Oct 19, 8:49 PM
    • 394 Posts
    • 2,925 Thanks
    Hi just signing on for 290 for October
    LBM Jan 2019 - 25.928/-24.260 6% paid off - EF 55.53 Dec 2019
    • Saver-upper
    • By Saver-upper 2nd Oct 19, 12:11 AM
    • 1,904 Posts
    • 14,304 Thanks
    Thank you Pipney Jane,Merlin's Beard,Suffolk Lass,Joedenise and Van Lady for all the vegetarian/vegan recommendations.I appreciate you taking the time to post ideas.About to start looking now
    SPC #108 x 8.SPC7=751.10 SPC8=651.04 SPC9=843.00 SPC10=872.76
    Pinecone 301,Valued Opinions 10.50

    • quintwins
    • By quintwins 2nd Oct 19, 9:41 AM
    • 5,058 Posts
    • 29,580 Thanks
    tiny top up shop in Tesco on the way back from the school run for strawberries, bread and coleslaw 3.82

    117.70 spent so far.
    OCT GC 196.12/200
    • XSpender
    • By XSpender 2nd Oct 19, 10:43 AM
    • 3,470 Posts
    • 35,415 Thanks
    XSpender that veggie chilli sounds really good. Care to share the recipe please?

    Originally posted by joedenise
    Here you go
    • joedenise
    • By joedenise 2nd Oct 19, 1:16 PM
    • 7,213 Posts
    • 51,602 Thanks
    Many thanks XSpender. I've bookmarked the page so I can find it easily again.

    Been to the butchers this morning and bought the meat for this month, some of which will also carry forward to next month. A total spend of 36.87, this included 7 for a couple of bits for my DD2 so won't include that in my GC budget as she will pay that back by transferring the money to my bank account.

    • tessie bear
    • By tessie bear 2nd Oct 19, 2:24 PM
    • 4,394 Posts
    • 30,215 Thanks
    tessie bear
    i went to lidl today and got one of the 1.50 boxes they can be great value i got 4 jp-s celery peppers apples loads of grapes also a bag of salad for a lot of uht for my store cupboard all in 15 spent so not bad
    onwards and upwards
    • pamsdish
    • By pamsdish 2nd Oct 19, 3:04 PM
    • 1,471 Posts
    • 8,650 Thanks
    76p spent in tosco, that was after using up 23 remaining on my gift card, don`t think my running total is accurate, will see the year out and revert to monthly.
    2018 2285/2149
    2019 2000=107-22=85-4=81-18=63
    • EmberJayde
    • By EmberJayde 2nd Oct 19, 5:25 PM
    • 5 Posts
    • 27 Thanks
    Can I join please? Im aiming for )125 for the month, my month runs four weekly, and is the 3rd-31st this month. Thats for me, one cat and my long distant partner for 2 out of the 4 weeks.

    Never done this before, hoping it works! Off to read everything I can find on meal planning etc now. Thank you!
    • joedenise
    • By joedenise 2nd Oct 19, 6:41 PM
    • 7,213 Posts
    • 51,602 Thanks
    Welcome EmberJayde. I rejoined last month after lapsing for a couple of years. My budget was getting out of control and posting on here certainly helped me to cut back!

    There is lots of information in the first few posts, including lists of links to loads of recipes and other websites with useful information.

    I think it's always a bit of a guess for the first few months of doing challenge and have to say I was really pleased to come in a couple of pounds under budget last month and I'm on track so far this month with just one more smallish shop to do tomorrow to top up on fruit, veg & fridge stuff.

    • XSpender
    • By XSpender 2nd Oct 19, 7:11 PM
    • 3,470 Posts
    • 35,415 Thanks
    9.00 spent on some slightly reduced GF sausages in M&S as worked out cheaper than 30 for 10 at Asdaaa. DH and DS had them with some JPs I had precooked before we went to school meeting this evening. I had a veggie pastie rescued from the bottom of the freezer with mine which was the first proper food I had today after 2 fillings first thing this morning!

    Now on 19.10/220
    • EmberJayde
    • By EmberJayde 2nd Oct 19, 7:39 PM
    • 5 Posts
    • 27 Thanks
    Joedenise, Ive spent my afternoon working through all of those and have written my first meal plan in about two years! Actually feeling very hopeful too, and planning in lots of batch cooking. I know a lot of the info already, it was drummed into me growing up, but I needed to remind myself. Just hoping I stay on budget now!
    • joedenise
    • By joedenise 2nd Oct 19, 8:44 PM
    • 7,213 Posts
    • 51,602 Thanks
    Good luck for your first month on the challenge.

    • jam2019
    • By jam2019 2nd Oct 19, 9:39 PM
    • 32 Posts
    • 219 Thanks
    First spend of the month and it's a big one (for me!) 25.21/40, including a load of frozen Quorn, loo roll, lentils, squash, and oodles of spaghetti and tinned tomatoes. With any luck that will do me for the rest of the month, so still hoping to come in under budget.
    Grocery Challenge
    December: 19.23 / 40
    November: 30.31 / 32.15
    October: 47.85 / 40
    September: 37.12 / 40
    August: 31.69 / 60
    • K9sandFelines
    • By K9sandFelines 2nd Oct 19, 9:56 PM
    • 2,131 Posts
    • 18,305 Thanks
    300 again for me and the rest of my clan.

    Slightly over for last month, as milk we bulk buy fortnightly is running out quicker than usual, due to my 2.5 yr old GD wanting top ups of cereal and milk and biscuits . So all still a bit of alearning curve.
    Still need to tot up the exact total for last month.

    I've only spent about a fiver so far this month. My DD1 has picked up a few bits for me though also, and keeps forgetting to keep the receipts, so i never know how much i owe her .

    Work still busy, but day off today. I've never normally got time to post, let alone catch up.

    Good luck for October everybody.
    Last edited by K9sandFelines; 02-10-2019 at 9:59 PM.
    GC 2017 3,434.09 GC 2018 2,250.95 GC 2019 Jan 268.24/200 Feb 158.01/200 Mar 220.05/200 April (moving) May (adjusting 270.73), Jun 291.01/280 Jul 344.31/300 Aug 232.48/300 Sep 320.91/300 Oct 295.86/300 Nov 341.93/300 Dec 181.40/320 (up to and incl 8/12)
    ~ Still learning the art of frugality ~
    • MandM90
    • By MandM90 3rd Oct 19, 9:18 AM
    • 1,706 Posts
    • 9,223 Thanks
    34.42/190 spent in Lidl this morning

    155.58 remaining

    This weekend I'll pop into holland and barrett for veggie mince, and also need to get DH some posh plant milk for the coffee machine he's bought. Then that should be it for me until next Saturday, unless we run out of squash.
    I'm a Board Guide on the Marriages & Family,
    Old Style, Mortgage Free Wannabe, Green & Ethical
    boards. I'm a volunteer to help the boards run smoothly, and I can move and merge threads there. Any views are mine and not the official line of Board guides are not moderators. If you spot an inappropriate or illegal post then please report it to
    • thriftwizard
    • By thriftwizard 3rd Oct 19, 11:45 AM
    • 3,227 Posts
    • 39,090 Thanks
    And I'm galloping off into October's allowance with a very-moderate 22.50 spent on fresh bread, fruit & veg & a top-up of a couple of store-cupboard items this morning. I've been away for a couple of days & various things have just plain vanished, possibly under the chaos that's accumulated over the last few days!

    Main weekly shop at the market will happen tomorrow, and a non-perishables run needs to occur in the next few days, or early next week. Plus a bit of ordering of cat-food - I'll soon be wondering where it's all gone again - sigh!

    GC Dec 19 - 298.96/450
    2019 Fashion on the Ration Challenge: 2 coupons left out of 66

    (Money's just a substitute for time & talent...)
    • joedenise
    • By joedenise 3rd Oct 19, 1:25 PM
    • 7,213 Posts
    • 51,602 Thanks
    A smallish shop this morning at Mr Ts of 18.49 but 2 is owed to me by my friend for a couple of bits I got her so I'll deduct that from the total.
    • Doom_and_Gloom
    • By Doom_and_Gloom 3rd Oct 19, 3:49 PM
    • 3,889 Posts
    • 13,486 Thanks
    We have spent 10.29 since last post.

    1.2kg easy peelers, 420g carrots, 200g spinach, cheese topped rolls, 800g bread, 500g butter and a joint (790g) of silverside.

    I'm having vegetable stew pie for dinner again.
    OH isn't sure what he'll have. Probably a stir fry.

    155.81 Left.
    Last edited by Doom_and_Gloom; 05-10-2019 at 1:50 PM.
    I am a vegan woman. My OH is a lovely omni guy
    • MadamMim2013
    • By MadamMim2013 3rd Oct 19, 5:05 PM
    • 812 Posts
    • 10,289 Thanks
    Eeeek.. have kept receipts.. will have a nosey though I think Im in the dog house with myself already
    "There's a little witch in all of us"
    2018 GC 93 2019 GC 3 7 [B] NOV GC 0/300
    : DEBT FREE 06/2018
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