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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 13
    • Meekie
    • By Meekie 14th Oct 16, 5:38 PM
    • 39 Posts
    • 978 Thanks
    Hello all,

    Few spends this week. Popped into mr S for baby wipes and free odds and ends. Stocked up on tinned toms and chickpeas which were 25p per tin on offer. Then did veg shop at aldi.

    Total is now 126.98/ 360. Pleased with that-just need to stick to it for another fortnight!

    Mrs mcd- similarly my OH is not totally on board with saving money despite me being on maternity leave at the moment. I have decided that I'm not responsible for the choices he makes but I am responsible for mine. He will often pop out of an evening for soft drinks and sugary snacks which I don't consider part of the grocery bills. However he is becoming a little more careful as he sees me budgeting more so hopefully it will rub off on him longer term.
    • scottishbrummy
    • By scottishbrummy 14th Oct 16, 6:50 PM
    • 48 Posts
    • 106 Thanks
    Hi all!
    Why have I only just discovered this thread?! This is brilliant - will help keep me on track if I know I'm coming back to report on here - don't want to let anyone down! I get paid 4 weekly so will start from next Friday - not sure of budget, but I'm thinking 120 a month to start as I live alone...
    LBM - 30/3/16 - Someone save me from myself!!
    Overdraft: 1800/1800 - Credit card: 1400/1450 - Loan: 1257/4500
    Grand Total: 4457/7750
    • pinkypig
    • By pinkypig 14th Oct 16, 6:55 PM
    • 1,202 Posts
    • 9,911 Thanks
    £28.04 in Aldi on my last big shop of the month. This has everything for the next 2 weeks meal plans in it so I'm hoping to get away with some fresh fruit, veg and milk at the end of next week but that needs to be it if I'm going to come in on budget.
    PP x
    MFW 2018 #157 Target £15,000

    • Slowly57
    • By Slowly57 14th Oct 16, 6:55 PM
    • 338 Posts
    • 2,282 Thanks
    Ah - I've busted my guesstimate budget - but only on things that will future-feed us. It's that time of year when we both keep odd hours and seldom eat together, so I need to have some good tasty HM meals in the freezer. At the mo it is full of elements (meat, veggie, fish) that I bring together with fresh veg/salad/rice/pasta. I need to have some all-in-one meals so neither of us succumb to toast-as-a-meal lol

    I have a milk glut that I'll use up with instant mash and use it to top:
    chicken, mushroom + broccoli
    chicken + gravy
    sausage + gravy
    root veg in sauce
    cauliflower cheese

    And I can deffo do without a farm shop this week as the fridge is stuffed.

    I have learned so much this month - not least, the fact that I am a sleepwalking FOOD HOARDER. I'm using stuff left right and centre from my stash and freezer. Next month I'll nail the budget and then try to gradually reduce.

    Today I bought
    bacon chops (for pea + ham soup - to give to my Mum as she loves them)
    a kilo of chicken breast inner fillets from the market
    tray of low-fat pork sausage from the market (OH struggles to digest a lot of fat)
    a couple of small loaves for next weeks lunches
    Liddle instant mash (which is lovely - I thought it would be gross)
    small cheese sauce
    brown rice (running out of)
    red peppers (super cheap so bought them to grill/freeze)
    tunnocks wafers (OH lunch treat)
    chocolate (do I need to explain?)
    ice cream (shut up)

    For a spend of £42.81 - I'm done until payday
    Last edited by Slowly57; 14-10-2016 at 7:03 PM.
    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
    • ab_saver
    • By ab_saver 14th Oct 16, 9:03 PM
    • 334 Posts
    • 807 Thanks
    A few spends today - some YS bargains and some totally unnecessary chocolate - adds up to £1.89

    New total spend: £15.62
    House fund: ~£5000 / £10,000 _£1000 emergency fund #208 - £151.74/ 1000 _
    • PennyGrabber
    • By PennyGrabber 14th Oct 16, 9:06 PM
    • 1,267 Posts
    • 22,414 Thanks
    To make myself feel better after my freezer debacle, I have treated myself to a pie maker. I know, I could make them myself, but that means turning the whole oven on for one thing, plus it always feels a bit of a faff. Anyway, it was reduced from 80 to 30, so I thought why not?! I'll be making leftover pies, eg chicken casserole, etc. So, my question is this - what is your favourite/easiest/cheapest/quickest pie filling? (It doesn't have to fulfil ALL of those criteria at once!!)

    PG x

    Ps - savoury or sweet!
    Grocery challenge for family of three - me, dd(12) and ds(11), feeding dp 2 or 3 x a week too. Only food, not toiletries. Jan £87.97/£100 Feb £0/£100
    Frugal 2018 needed! Saving and NOT spending
    • lynnejk
    • By lynnejk 14th Oct 16, 10:57 PM
    • 5,343 Posts
    • 55,181 Thanks
    Evening all

    Managed another NSD here

    Hope you all have a super Saturday
    Bulk buy.......APR=233.76
    OS WL= -2/8 ......CC =00......Savings = £13,140
    • Nicki_Sue
    • By Nicki_Sue 15th Oct 16, 7:16 AM
    • 1,167 Posts
    • 6,952 Thanks
    Morning all.
    Spent a little yesterday, not all on food but it has to come out of this budget this week because I've not set up a "spends" budget at the mo. If anything it'll help rein spending in on food and ad-hoc items.

    -2.49 Paint for Husband
    -6.95 Gift & Card at local shop
    -16.08 Heron (inc. saver stamp)
    -2.00 Cokes @ Corner Shop (Doh, 17p for 2 litres at Mr T, spendthrift!)
    £52.48 to last until Friday.

    We're out at the library today so will pop into Mr L to get coffee, fruit, crisps and milk and get ourselves another scratchcard. I'm saving them up to redeem at once. I have 6 x cokes and 1 pack of chunky chips to claim so far.
    We've odds and sods in the chest freezer so we're having a use up week which will hopefully keep the spends down.

    Have a good Saturday all x
    10 YEARS ON MSE!
    2018 - The Year of The Savings
    APRIL £10 A DAY: £50.30/£300
    • t14cy t
    • By t14cy t 15th Oct 16, 8:29 AM
    • 694 Posts
    • 6,594 Thanks
    t14cy t
    nsd yesterday, yipee!! x
    • thriftwizard
    • By thriftwizard 15th Oct 16, 8:56 AM
    • 2,659 Posts
    • 33,257 Thanks
    I'm sunk. Although I bought less stuff at the market yesterday, it cost more - a whole lot more, in some cases. It's a combination of seasonality - summer fruit & vegetables are ending now - and wholesale prices skyrocketing, with the pound plummeting; market traders don't have the - ahem, influence - that supermarket buyers do. So instead of £50, I spent £70, on stuff that would have cost me £50 last week. And it's not likely to ease up; sometimes prices do leap upwards before falling back down again, like lamb at Easter or turkey at Christmas, but usually it's individual items and I can choose to buy something else. This, however, was pretty much global; just about everything except eggs had gone up, and we keep our own chickens!

    I'm lucky enough that this isn't disastrous; there's slack in the system and my targets are a challenge to myself, not an absolute necessity. Also that there is light at the end of our personal tunnel; DS2 & TDiL are currently negotiating to rent a nice little house of their own, and our bills will fall dramatically when they leave. But it's a slap in the face, budgetwise. We often observe, as market traders, that we're very much at the sharp end of the economy; price rises & falling confidence hit us first & hardest, and there's no safety net. People rightly have choices & will go elsewhere if we can't keep our prices reasonable, so when our suppliers jack the wholesale prices up, we're toast. The high street "names" will fight to keep prices down, betting that they'll even out after a while; we haven't the resources to do that. Fingers crossed for all our sakes that this is just another blip. I very much doubt it'll show up on the official inflation figures!

    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...
    • VickyV
    • By VickyV 15th Oct 16, 9:04 AM
    • 111 Posts
    • 1,348 Thanks
    Well, Mr V is in trouble. Unbeknownst to me, he's been raiding the food purse for bus fares and bits and bobs. Since I didn't keep receipts - you know, since I have a special purse for keeping track - I've had to estimate so up to yesterday, I reckon I'd spent £120.

    Bought some ham, mince and completely unnecessary chocolate for 6.43 so spent £126.43/320 and have enough in the house to need only eggs, milk and squash for the week now!
    August GC £138.50/£210
    Saving money, decluttering and getting fit. How hard can it be?
    • wintersunshine22
    • By wintersunshine22 15th Oct 16, 9:40 AM
    • 9 Posts
    • 67 Thanks
    Morning All

    Just popping in to update my budget, managed to only spend £16.03 between Tuesday and Friday. Today is the challenge as I need to buy some fresh vegetables - going to try the market and also only to buy the amount I will use.

    Monies so low as DM has given a couple of bags of food to use up for her so these have been added to my storecupboard.

    Have packed a flask of coffee in car as usually need a drink after shopping and a call in a cafe at the moment is no,no.

    Have a good day
    Out of debt, out of danger - Joan Jonker
    • Caeraugirl
    • By Caeraugirl 15th Oct 16, 11:37 AM
    • 290 Posts
    • 2,390 Thanks
    Popped into Sainsbob's yesterday to top up on fruit, veg, milk, bread, a couple of staples / lunchbox items and some treats for the boys for weekend, as thought I could get a 9p off per litre petrol voucher if spent £60 - managed to come in at £52.25....grrr!! So not only spent over odds for food, also ended up paying full price for petrol!! Only upside is that they're the cheapest pumps locally. Never mind, lesson learned! Signatures updated. No more NSD's, as have had a lovely bike ride / open air breakfast this morning but that was worth losing an NSD for - we take it in turns to pay and today was my turn - and fortunately it comes out of my "eating out" budget.

    Hope everyone is having a lovely weekend!
    • Suffolk lass
    • By Suffolk lass 15th Oct 16, 11:50 AM
    • 1,971 Posts
    • 20,599 Thanks
    Suffolk lass
    Well, Mr V is in trouble. Unbeknownst to me, he's been raiding the food purse for bus fares and bits and bobs. Since I didn't keep receipts - you know, since I have a special purse for keeping track - I've had to estimate so up to yesterday, I reckon I'd spent £120.
    Originally posted by VickyV
    Suffolk lad is also in trouble. He used my large bread tin (heavy gauge, non-stick professional, cost twice as much as a domestic gauge tin) and did not bother to grease it before putting his rather under-proved sourdough loaf in it and welded it to the inside of my tin. I made my first loaf since then using my ultra-reliable recipe and I had to throw it away as it was stuck fast, despite oiling the tin thoroughly. Devastated. It was a 4 lb tin too. Just small loaves from now on then.
    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
    • Sayschezza
    • By Sayschezza 15th Oct 16, 12:23 PM
    • 255 Posts
    • 2,334 Thanks
    Had to edit my sig totals today as I forgot to add the £5 declared the other day that I had spent in £land. Not much left now just £22.38 to last the rest of the month.
    • Lauralozzle
    • By Lauralozzle 15th Oct 16, 12:36 PM
    • 560 Posts
    • 4,955 Thanks
    Pets at Home spend - £7.98

    Total: £115.50/£250
    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
    • Nicki_Sue
    • By Nicki_Sue 15th Oct 16, 3:09 PM
    • 1,167 Posts
    • 6,952 Thanks
    Picked up the shopping I needed,
    £7.78in Co-op
    £11.30 Lidl

    Got a free pack of chocolate bars from a scratchcard a very kind lady gave me as I walked in as she wouldn't use it, and got a new scratchcard for us which gives us 24packets of crisps for free.

    I now have £33.40 until Friday but have lots of frozen veg, sandwich stuff, milk, juice, pack up bits, fruit, tins and at least 4 lots of meat in so we're all good. Tomorrow *should* be a NSD and probably Tuesday too. Might need milk on Weds.
    10 YEARS ON MSE!
    2018 - The Year of The Savings
    APRIL £10 A DAY: £50.30/£300
    • FrugalinShropshire
    • By FrugalinShropshire 15th Oct 16, 5:01 PM
    • 197 Posts
    • 1,772 Thanks
    I know we are in the middle of the month, but may I join in please?
    I am aiming for £100 for the rest of the month
    Proud to be mortgage and debt free
    • Save Dosh
    • By Save Dosh 15th Oct 16, 5:55 PM
    • 1,223 Posts
    • 14,631 Thanks
    Save Dosh
    Spent £5 (£4.97), £2 on some coffee syrups in Poundland,, in the hope of jazzing up this cheap coffee I bought and a couple of Flora Freedom spreads, which were on offer. Have updated sig.
    May Grocery Challenge - Food £39.82/80, Alcohol £15.25/£20
    Bulk Fund Left/Food £63.50 Bulk Fund/Alcohol
    Save 12k in 2018 #80 = £2,000/£5,000
    Yoga 30 Day Challenge 3/30
    Lose 12lbs - 5/12 - Goal 9st
    • pinkypig
    • By pinkypig 15th Oct 16, 9:02 PM
    • 1,202 Posts
    • 9,911 Thanks
    £1.45 on eggs and flour. The kids had eggs for breakfast so I didn't have enough for toad in the hole. Also, my flour had a really funny, unpleasant smell so I assumed it was rancid. It wasn't old and the container was airtight. It's never happened before so I think I've just been unlucky. I had to chuck it and buy some more.

    PP x
    MFW 2018 #157 Target £15,000

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