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    • zippychick
    • By zippychick 13th Oct 14, 12:54 PM
    • 9,343Posts
    • 17,881Thanks
    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.
    A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men
    Norn Iron club member #380

Page 10
    • carolinerunner
    • By carolinerunner 8th Oct 16, 5:47 PM
    • 468 Posts
    • 6,103 Thanks
    Evening all

    Spent 7.89 at Morrys on syrup, truvia and porridge

    Hope you all have a great Saturday
    Originally posted by lynnejk
    It must be nearly winter then !
    Erratically money saving
    • pamsdish
    • By pamsdish 8th Oct 16, 6:59 PM
    • 890 Posts
    • 5,029 Thanks
    Top ups at Tesco 23-82,
    • lynnejk
    • By lynnejk 8th Oct 16, 10:44 PM
    • 5,343 Posts
    • 55,181 Thanks
    Evening all

    Spent 51.65 at the butchers today on lots of mince and casserole beef to do some batch baking. This will come out of my bulk buy fund

    Hope you all having a super weekend
    Bulk buy.......APR=233.76
    OS WL= -2/8 ......CC =00......Savings = 13,140
    • wannalot
    • By wannalot 9th Oct 16, 1:54 AM
    • 129 Posts
    • 1,060 Thanks
    Hello all,

    I've been a bit annoying this week! I've been working late, and a couple of nights I had a takeaway amounting to 20 in total. I don't usually count this as part of my Grocery Challenge, but I think I should, since it is becoming a really bad habit!


    I did a good, sensible shop today. I went to Tosco to use up a 9 off 60 voucher. I was really happy that I went there today, because I found a nice new kitchen bin for half price, and then used the voucher too!

    I didn't need a really big shop today, but wanted the benefit of the voucher, so I used it to stock up on some beer and wine, as well as my groceries. I won't need to buy any more booze this year!

    My food shop bill came to 39.42. I timed it nicely for a YS run, and got some nice cold meat, brie, a couple of onions (2 pence!) a huge bag of loose mushrooms for 38p, 2 packs of cherry tomatoes, sandwich thins, nectarines. So tomorrow I'm planning to make mushroom soup for the first time.

    Anyway, I won't need any big shops for the rest of the month, which is good news, but I will need a few other bits of veg tomorrow, so I'll go for the Aldi special 6 tomorrow.

    Does anyone here freeze milk? I've never done it before, but I think I'm going to start since I always end up throwing a bit away at the end of the week. Does the quality of the milk suffer? I'm worried that it will taste awful in cereal!

    Oh dear, what a long post - apologies if it's dull!

    I hope everyone is having a great weekend!
    January GC: 0/110
    Aims for 2018:
    1. Stick to GC targets!
    2. No buying of books until I read what I have!
    4. Lose weight!
    5. Build up some savings!
    • t14cy t
    • By t14cy t 9th Oct 16, 7:34 AM
    • 694 Posts
    • 6,594 Thanks
    t14cy t
    hi wannalot i always freeze milk, usually because ive bought it YS for pennies!!xx
    • t14cy t
    • By t14cy t 9th Oct 16, 7:35 AM
    • 694 Posts
    • 6,594 Thanks
    t14cy t
    nsd yesterday. xx
    • Suffolk lass
    • By Suffolk lass 9th Oct 16, 7:54 AM
    • 1,978 Posts
    • 20,663 Thanks
    Suffolk lass

    Does anyone here freeze milk? I've never done it before, but I think I'm going to start since I always end up throwing a bit away at the end of the week. Does the quality of the milk suffer? I'm worried that it will taste awful in cereal!
    Originally posted by wannalot
    My experience of frozen milk - I find the fat in semi-skimmed milk forms tiny little white seeds so personally I prefer to use frozen milk in cooking (and I don't mind it on cereal) but not in tea, as it looks as though it has gone off.

    MFiT T4 #2 update 88.72% after Q9 tiny bit ahead of where I should be
    Save 12k in 2018 #53 - after March 19.96% 1,996.19/10,000 5.04% behind
    OS Grocery Challenge 2018 spent 721.33/3,000 including stores so far 24.04% of my annual budget at the end of April
    My DFD is here
    • Suffolk lass
    • By Suffolk lass 9th Oct 16, 8:24 AM
    • 1,978 Posts
    • 20,663 Thanks
    Suffolk lass
    Some ups, some downs
    DH offered to go shopping to earn brownie points yesterday (he has gone to Brightona today - the big motorcycle rally in Brighton). Unfortunately his substitutions and alternative purchases mean we have spent more than anticipated. I had a trip to the butcher and got a piece of rolled pork shoulder, some oxtail, bacon, eggs and chicken thighs and he got everything else from Asbo. Mine was 15.09 and 2.10 for jumbo organic oats from the Health Food shop - his was 67.23!

    He hates shopping so lose-lose but he meant well.

    In other developments we got the settlement cheque from the motor insurers and the VED refund from DVLA - both safely banked and restored to our emergency fund.

    So we are just over 4,500 worse off having bought a replacement car that we hope will cope with his commute (35 miles each way) until he retires in 3 academic years time

    Thank goodness we had an emergency fund! (thanks to these forums)

    MFiT T4 #2 update 88.72% after Q9 tiny bit ahead of where I should be
    Save 12k in 2018 #53 - after March 19.96% 1,996.19/10,000 5.04% behind
    OS Grocery Challenge 2018 spent 721.33/3,000 including stores so far 24.04% of my annual budget at the end of April
    My DFD is here
    • thriftwizard
    • By thriftwizard 9th Oct 16, 8:55 AM
    • 2,660 Posts
    • 33,268 Thanks
    NSD yesterday! Which was actually quite hard... had to keep myself busy so I didn't wander off up to town & accidentally spend money. I knew we didn't actually need anything, but still...

    GC May 18 326.16/400
    Bulk-buy purse '18 145.26/250, pet & livestock food '18 131.45/300

    Money's just a substitute for time & talent...
    • Lauralozzle
    • By Lauralozzle 9th Oct 16, 11:44 AM
    • 560 Posts
    • 4,955 Thanks
    First shop done 68.09/250

    I have a few more bits to add to this though, so will recalculate in a little while!
    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
    • flubberyzing
    • By flubberyzing 9th Oct 16, 3:56 PM
    • 953 Posts
    • 6,597 Thanks
    A 12.29 spend in Tescos yesterday. Just a few bits for breakfasts and lunches, as I'm still eating my way through the store cupboard and freezer! Spending more in the petrol station feeding the car at the moment than I am feeding myself!
    Because it's fun to have money!
    • lynnejk
    • By lynnejk 9th Oct 16, 4:12 PM
    • 5,343 Posts
    • 55,181 Thanks
    Afternoon all

    Spends today in Al*i of 27.40, mainly fruit, veggies and stuff for pack-ups plus some cereals and tea.

    Hope you all have a money-saving Monday
    Bulk buy.......APR=233.76
    OS WL= -2/8 ......CC =00......Savings = 13,140
    • Slowly57
    • By Slowly57 9th Oct 16, 4:40 PM
    • 338 Posts
    • 2,282 Thanks
    cheeky GC bonus
    I'm going to go over my GC guesstimate BUT in swapping out summer to winter coats and some bags - I have rounded up nearly 20 in change (and a load of old train/bus tickets)!! Will use this to pad out my budget if required! Now go and turn those pockets out lol
    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
    • BeTheChange
    • By BeTheChange 9th Oct 16, 6:57 PM
    • 89 Posts
    • 439 Thanks
    2 spend today so 98.54/250
    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
    • XSpender
    • By XSpender 9th Oct 16, 7:16 PM
    • 2,969 Posts
    • 30,622 Thanks
    We haven't spent much this week; 36 odd in Mr S using a 4.50 voucher and eggs, wine and shake n vac in B&M. My total is now 189.80/500 so I am back on track with my budget.

    I am away Tuesday to Friday so as long as DH keeps away from the sandwich van at work we shouldn't spend anything until our Mr S delivery on Thursday night (booked then to use a 10 of 50 voucher).

    We are overhauling our diet so I am off to do a meal plan
    Action Plan Part 1 - Clear First 3 Balances
    Target Debt Lloyds (Me) Part 1 666.22/0
    Target Debt Virgin (Me) Part 1 1176.49/0
    Target Debt Virgin (Me) Part 2 1038/995
    Big black hole of debt - 53,515.15 @ 16.12.17 52,811.64 @ 28.02.18, 50,638.77 @ 28.03.18, 49,778.78 @ 20.04.18, 46,093.32 @ 18.05.18
    • mrs motivated
    • By mrs motivated 9th Oct 16, 7:53 PM
    • 1,119 Posts
    • 4,329 Thanks
    mrs motivated
    Did the weekly shop yesterday which came in at 75 exactly ....although I went to lidl so still need to buy some condensed soup to use in a chicken and mushroom pie and they don't sell it, so will have a small spend later in the week.

    So that's a total of 156/420
    Well Behaved women seldom make history

    Accessible EF #152 1000/1000

    Vets EF 2000/2000
    • Florence J
    • By Florence J 9th Oct 16, 8:48 PM
    • 1,893 Posts
    • 11,183 Thanks
    Florence J
    Bought big listerine (3.99) and Bread (60p) today. My OH also spent 1.60 during the week whilst I was away.

    Budget a little tight this month but I'm sure we will survive.
    Sealed Pot Challenge 11 #553
    1000 Emergency Fund Challenge #253
    Wombling free 2017 = 2195.92
    Pay off all your debts by Xmas 2017 #53 (3168.45/3000)
    February 2018 Credit Card Debt: 3885
    • thriftwizard
    • By thriftwizard 9th Oct 16, 10:28 PM
    • 2,660 Posts
    • 33,268 Thanks
    11 spent at the market today, 3 on fruit and 8 on nuts, seeds & salt at the health food stall. The fruit will only last a few days but the salt, nuts & seeds should last until the end of November. Meals are planned for the rest of the week and the only things I will still need to buy are tinned chick peas & tomato puree for my veggie daughter, and bread, though I will also bake some.

    GC May 18 326.16/400
    Bulk-buy purse '18 145.26/250, pet & livestock food '18 131.45/300

    Money's just a substitute for time & talent...
    • t14cy t
    • By t14cy t 10th Oct 16, 6:22 AM
    • 694 Posts
    • 6,594 Thanks
    t14cy t
    spends of 11 yesterday, all YS goodies from morrisons and tesco. freezer now full again!! xx
    • pinkypig
    • By pinkypig 10th Oct 16, 8:42 AM
    • 1,212 Posts
    • 9,954 Thanks
    Hi everyone.
    41.51 this week which was a bit high really but as I've got a busy couple of weeks ahead I did buy some extra meat and have done lots of easy freezer meals. This will make life a bit easier and will hopefully means a lower spend this week and next.
    PP x
    MFW 2018 #157 Target 15,000

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