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    • zippychick
    • By zippychick 13th Oct 14, 12:54 PM
    • 9,343Posts
    • 17,880Thanks
    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 12
    • Sayschezza
    • By Sayschezza 12th Oct 16, 12:07 AM
    • 247 Posts
    • 2,301 Thanks
    5 Spent today on foil containers and coffee
    • t14cy t
    • By t14cy t 12th Oct 16, 6:28 AM
    • 692 Posts
    • 6,582 Thanks
    t14cy t
    nsd yesterday, yipee!xx
    • pinkypig
    • By pinkypig 12th Oct 16, 9:28 AM
    • 1,145 Posts
    • 9,510 Thanks
    4.61 yesterday on salad stuff and fruit. All meals sorted out until Saturday so I'm determined not to spend anything until then.
    PP x
    MFW 2018 #157 Target 15,000

    • Soworried
    • By Soworried 12th Oct 16, 11:54 AM
    • 2,108 Posts
    • 19,821 Thanks
    I'm doing really well so far. I've spent just under 1/3 of my budget yet I'm almost half way through my month.

    I stocked up on the super six veg this morning, I'm trying to really cut down on my meat intake.
    GC Feb 240/180.84
    One step must start each journey
    One word must start each prayer
    One hope will raise our spirits
    One touch can show you care
    • oceanspirit
    • By oceanspirit 12th Oct 16, 1:35 PM
    • 503 Posts
    • 8,508 Thanks
    First spend of the month on a sm delivery 40.84. OH insisted on paying for the holiday spends which came to less than his usual weekly budget
    Decluttering 190/2018
    Deleting old emails 235/2018
    • Caeraugirl
    • By Caeraugirl 12th Oct 16, 5:54 PM
    • 290 Posts
    • 2,390 Thanks
    Have just realised I'd not updated my budget in a little while, now up to 238.75 for the month so far, which isn't brilliant but isn't bad either, considering we only need milk, bread and fresh fruit and veg in the next few days and the month is nearly half over. Still need to be more frugal for the second half though - will be manageable until half term when the eating machines are off for a! And I've also racked up 6 NSD's for the month so far - usually lucky to get three for the whole month,!
    • thriftwizard
    • By thriftwizard 12th Oct 16, 8:02 PM
    • 2,635 Posts
    • 32,938 Thanks
    Sigh - another 50 gone today, on a non-perishables stock-up - I'm beginning to panic! 3 weekends to go; my meal plans run from Friday to Friday as Friday is when I do my main food shop at the local market, and I'd only have 50 per weekend left to spend now. It's do-able, but I'm struggling! I am buying & stashing stuff towards Christmas too, but I usually do at this time of year, so it does need to be in this budgetary session. Need to get my thinking cap on, if I'm going to hit my target...

    GC April 18 413.33/450
    Bulk-buy purse 2018 280.08/435

    Money's just a substitute for time & talent...
    • lynnejk
    • By lynnejk 12th Oct 16, 11:28 PM
    • 5,343 Posts
    • 55,180 Thanks
    Evening all

    Managed another NSD today

    Pleased I have a good supply of marm*te in the cupboard, along with war-time rations of most things

    Will be on the hunt for washing powder and T rolls before the end of the week though

    Hope you all have a thrifty Thursday
    Bulk buy.......APR=233.76
    OS WL= -2/8 ......CC =00......Savings = 13,140
    • K9sandFelines
    • By K9sandFelines 13th Oct 16, 12:00 AM
    • 1,893 Posts
    • 16,086 Thanks
    I'm still on the total for the end of the year, although I am under budget for the year as obviously got this month, November and December left; I was approximately 4.00 odd over for last month, but can' t find the thread.

    The Co-op closing down sale was a little disappointing, which may have been my saving grace. Will try and catch up on thread when I get a chance, as haven't posted much throughout September.

    I will update my signature again at the end of October, as I am keeping tabs on my spending on YNAB.
    Last edited by K9sandFelines; 13-10-2016 at 12:03 AM.
    GC 2017 (4,000/3434.09) Jan 264.28, Feb 179.18, Mar 290.38/270, APR 134.98 up to 24th/270 p.m/3,250 p.a

    ~ Still learning the art of frugality ~
    • t14cy t
    • By t14cy t 13th Oct 16, 6:59 AM
    • 692 Posts
    • 6,582 Thanks
    t14cy t
    nsd yesterday, yipee!! x
    • Lauralozzle
    • By Lauralozzle 13th Oct 16, 6:06 PM
    • 560 Posts
    • 4,955 Thanks
    Today has been a NSD!!!
    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
    • Suffolk lass
    • By Suffolk lass 13th Oct 16, 6:54 PM
    • 1,919 Posts
    • 20,252 Thanks
    Suffolk lass
    See what happens when I abandon my stores for the next Suffolk siege!


    Just saying...
    Butterfly flaps its wings in a forest and all that
    MFiT T4 #2 update 51.75% after Q8 5,203 behind where I should be
    Save 12k in 2018 #53 - after Feb 13.3%/10,000
    OS Grocery Challenge 2018 spent 452.64/3,000 including stores so far
    My DFD is here
    • By 13th Oct 16, 8:50 PM
    • 7 Posts
    • 86 Thanks
    Hi all,

    I haven't been keeping up with this thread very well so far, but I have been keeping track of everything I've been spending on groceries and eating out etc. So at almost halfway through the month, DH and I have spent 310.28 out of a target of 600 for the month. So not doing too badly - and to be fair, about 100 of that was during a weekend away in the Lake District so we had to eat out for two days

    I think we could do a lot better, but part of the problem is that hubby is not really fully on board with trying to save money on groceries etc. The way he sees it is that we're both on reasonably good salaries, don't have any debt except for our mortgage, and already manage to save a good amount each month so he doesn't think it's worth the extra effort to save more on groceries. But my mindset has been changing recently and now I think of it as how much extra we could save toward other things if we spent less on groceries! I'm sure he will gradually get used to thinking this way too, but I'm not going to force it on him too much because it is his money too, after all

    Anyway, sorry for the rambling...hope everyone else is doing well with their grocery spending this month
    • lynnejk
    • By lynnejk 13th Oct 16, 11:16 PM
    • 5,343 Posts
    • 55,180 Thanks
    I think we could do a lot better, but part of the problem is that hubby is not really fully on board with trying to save money on groceries etc. The way he sees it is that we're both on reasonably good salaries, don't have any debt except for our mortgage, and already manage to save a good amount each month so he doesn't think it's worth the extra effort to save more on groceries. But my mindset has been changing recently and now I think of it as how much extra we could save toward other things if we spent less on groceries! I'm sure he will gradually get used to thinking this way too, but I'm not going to force it on him too much because it is his money too, after all
    Originally posted by
    I totally agree with you that it is about mind-set in your situation. I think you are going to have to be a bit sneaky if/when you want to reduce your spending. Maybe you can look at doing a quiet brand challenge and see if he notices. Also, doing batch-baking and using left-overs can save s. Another area you can maybe look at is waste management. Good luck with your challenge - it can be done.

    Another NSD here today

    Hope you all have a lovely Friday
    Bulk buy.......APR=233.76
    OS WL= -2/8 ......CC =00......Savings = 13,140
    • t14cy t
    • By t14cy t 14th Oct 16, 6:29 AM
    • 692 Posts
    • 6,582 Thanks
    t14cy t
    nsd yesterday, yippee!! xx
    • Nicki_Sue
    • By Nicki_Sue 14th Oct 16, 6:32 AM
    • 1,167 Posts
    • 6,952 Thanks
    Really late to the October party! I've not done a full month's challenge for a while and bad habits have kicked in! I've transferred 80 this morning to a different grocery account and that will have to last until another 80 goes in next Friday.
    I need to pull in the spends as Christmas aside I need to bulk up the savings pots and stop spending where I don't need to! I'm very on the ball will other things but groceries tend to get out of hand if I don't rein things in.
    10 YEARS ON MSE!
    2018 - The Year of The Savings
    APRIL 10 A DAY: 50.30/300
    • pamsdish
    • By pamsdish 14th Oct 16, 8:30 AM
    • 877 Posts
    • 4,876 Thanks
    Thought I was doing really well this month, grocery budget ticking over nicely, my other self imposed others budget was going great, until I realised I had not accounted for my c.c. payment, which I always pay IN FULL, for dogs boosters and worming tabs, so that`s shot for this month now.
    OCT200106NOV200CRUISE,DEC200XMAS.JAN 200=107FEB200=40,MARCH175=50
    APRIL200-5=195-22=173,-6=167,-28=139,-21=118,-10= 108,-12=96,-13=83,-15=68
    • oceanspirit
    • By oceanspirit 14th Oct 16, 9:26 AM
    • 503 Posts
    • 8,508 Thanks
    10.45 on vegbox.
    Decluttering 190/2018
    Deleting old emails 235/2018
    • Sayschezza
    • By Sayschezza 14th Oct 16, 11:03 AM
    • 247 Posts
    • 2,301 Thanks
    48.94 spent in mr M yesterday. Brings me to 202.62 spent leaving me with just 22.38 to last until the rest of the month.
    Last edited by Sayschezza; 15-10-2016 at 12:17 PM.
    • pamsdish
    • By pamsdish 14th Oct 16, 3:29 PM
    • 877 Posts
    • 4,876 Thanks
    18 in town, no grocery, b,day cards, reduced stuff in wilkos, and a couple of other bits, soon tots up.
    OCT200106NOV200CRUISE,DEC200XMAS.JAN 200=107FEB200=40,MARCH175=50
    APRIL200-5=195-22=173,-6=167,-28=139,-21=118,-10= 108,-12=96,-13=83,-15=68
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