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    • elsiepac
    • By elsiepac 28th Jul 18, 10:09 PM
    • 1,698Posts
    • 12,517Thanks
    October 2018 Grocery Challenge
    • #1
    • 28th Jul 18, 10:09 PM
    October 2018 Grocery Challenge 28th Jul 18 at 10:09 PM
    Hi everyone,

    Welcome to the tenth Grocery Challenge of 2018 !!!!

    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; 18-09-2018 at 9:32 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: Apr 19 59.94/200
    Vegan 27-8-13
Page 4
    • bellyflop
    • By bellyflop 1st Oct 18, 6:52 AM
    • 15 Posts
    • 119 Thanks
    Hi everyone, a newbie here. Please can I join with a budget of 250 for 2 people? This will include all household spends: food, toiletries, cleaning products etc.
    • XSpender
    • By XSpender 1st Oct 18, 8:54 AM
    • 3,346 Posts
    • 34,469 Thanks
    Please can I rejoin with a budget of 360? We really need to get control of our grocery spending as it is impacting on our budget in other areas.

    I have split different types of spends into categories so I can see where we can cut back.

    My budget will run from 1st to 31st of October. We are on holiday for a week and away for a weekend but food spends then are from a different budget.

    Meal Plan for this week:

    M - HM veggie pasties with wedges and mushy peas
    T - Chicken and chorizo spanish rice
    W - Cheese and bacon omelette, beans and chips
    Th - Pork loin, mash, cabbage, carrots and gravy
    F - Vegan chilli and rice
    S - Beef/bean burgers and wedges, corn on the cob
    Su - Sausage, mash, cabbage, carrots
    • flubberyzing
    • By flubberyzing 1st Oct 18, 9:12 AM
    • 1,262 Posts
    • 8,508 Thanks
    I'm now onto the October spend.

    I did a very small shop this morning, but was still using September's cash. There shouldn't be another grocery spend until next Monday.

    I did make an impulse purchase on loo roll today, which was on special... I'll say now, that "nice" loo roll is about the only thing I won't compromise on! Life is too short for the horrible, thin stuff! So got 9 rolls of Andrex Quilted for 3.50. I don't normally see it that cheap. And as a singleton, 9 rolls, plus the two I already still have at home, will see me WELL into next year.
    I rarely make impulse purchases, or buy something not on my list, but that seemed a good deal.
    Because it's fun to have money!
    65.41/70 June GC
    January-May 2019 = 291.53/350

    • chocolatelover93
    • By chocolatelover93 1st Oct 18, 11:21 AM
    • 985 Posts
    • 6,845 Thanks
    Spent 4.10 on drink out with friend and 3 on car food and zoflora
    Read my diaryHere
    • thriftwizard
    • By thriftwizard 1st Oct 18, 12:33 PM
    • 3,016 Posts
    • 37,474 Thanks
    I'm up & running in October proper now, having spent 37 at the market on Saturday morning; 22 on meat and 15 on cheese, fruit & veg. Then another 10 today, on 14 lovely big plaice from our allotment neighbour, who has a boat & goes out after plaice & mackerel of a weekend. So that's tonight's tea sorted (plaice, refried potatoes, HG runner beans & courgette) and 10 lovely fish in the freezer for later reference; that'll do two full meals and a "pescatarian option" when OH & I are having something a little more red-blooded.

    I'm about to buy oats, raisins & cake fruit out of the "bulk-buy" purse, which will hopefully see us through into the New Year, and I can make some mincemeat from our own HG apples. I'll need to order flour as well, but will leave that to next month as stocks aren't that low yet, and I'd prefer to source some sensible-sized storage tins before buying more; we go through 8Kg sacks well-within their BB4 date, so it's large rectangular tins I'm looking for! (ETA: bulk order done, still inside budget with room for flour!)

    I also need to order a delivery of logs (which cut down on the household fuel bills - swings & roundabouts really as the CH goes off when the stove's alight) and get the boiler serviced, but if I can keep the grocery bill under control and all three vehicles from dilapidating any further, we should be back under control well before Christmas. Touch wood!
    Last edited by thriftwizard; 01-10-2018 at 12:46 PM.

    GC June 19 - 429.75/400

    Money's just a substitute for time & talent...
    • taka
    • By taka 1st Oct 18, 12:44 PM
    • 3,250 Posts
    • 17,357 Thanks
    Meal Plan for this week:

    M - HM veggie pasties with wedges and mushy peas
    Originally posted by XSpender
    Hi XSpender Do you by any chance have a link to your HM veggie pasty recipe please?

    First spend of the month on a couple of items that I couldn't get yesterday: 2.90 spent. The bonus was I miraculously had enough Ho11and & B@rrett points (for the 1st time since I got a loyalty card for there several years ago) to get 50p off my tub of Marigold bouillon. Thank you very much!
    2019 MFW #51 364.10/500
    MFiT-5 no 45
    You can't fly with one foot on the ground!
    • medsdemon
    • By medsdemon 1st Oct 18, 12:47 PM
    • 745 Posts
    • 6,098 Thanks
    Can you please add me for 250for October please starting today till 24th when my new month will begin. That will include all cat food and toiletries/cleaning products.

    I recently left my job, and just back from holiday, so need to tighten our belts in some areas ( and be healthier &#128522.

    First big shop done today at A*da of 72.77 leaves 177.23.

    Should have plenty in for the week apart from a milk top up.
    Grocery challenge October: 228.28/250.00 NSD 4 ( not completed)
    Grocery challenge November : 291.65/300.00 NSD 10
    Grocery challenge December : 0/240.00 NSD
    • XSpender
    • By XSpender 1st Oct 18, 1:25 PM
    • 3,346 Posts
    • 34,469 Thanks
    RECIPE: Veggie Pasties
    Hi XSpender Do you by any chance have a link to your HM veggie pasty recipe please?
    Originally posted by taka
    This recipe is from a cooking for 2 book and make 2 pasties but I usually double it to make 1 for me, 2 for my hungry DH and have one for my lunch the next day. They are just as nice warmed up and DH will even eat them cold.

    4oz shortcrust pastry (or tortilla wraps which I am using tonight)
    3oz frozen mixed veg
    1 tbsp baked beans (I always add more)
    2oz cheese, diced small
    1 tblsp chutney (I use sandwich pickle for a bit of bite)
    Salt and pepper
    1 egg yolk (you can leave this out if you want)
    Milk to glaze

    Preheat oven to 190/375/gas mark 5.

    Mix together veg, beans, cheese, chutney and most of the egg yolk. Season to taste.

    Divide and roll pastry into 2 6" circles if using. Divide mixture between circles or wraps. Leave a small border around the edge. Add a little milk to the remaining bit of egg yolk and brush pastry edges. Fold pastry or wrap over to enclose filing and crimp the edges.

    Place pasties on a baking sheet and make slits in the top and brush tops with any leftover egg/milk mixture.

    Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes. The wraps cook quicker.

    It works with gluten free wraps too but they don't seal, taste good though.
    • Hopeless Case
    • By Hopeless Case 1st Oct 18, 2:51 PM
    • 942 Posts
    • 5,821 Thanks
    Hopeless Case
    24.63 spent today which makes 54.31 out of 200 but I'm quite relaxed as it includes 10 on a bag of dog food which will last about 6 weeks, and 15 on a birthday present which I didn't buy last month and had to 'steal' from food budget as there's no where else for it to come from , and we're quite well-stocked, so not a problem atm!!
    Feb GC 54.80/200
    NSD target: Jan 15/20
    Bring Your Lunch to Work Target Jan 13/18
    1 a day: Jan 22.7/35
    Tesco CC Aug 18 10,151.56 9753.37 0% 30mnths, First Direct CC Aug 18 4321.80 3627.85 0% til Feb 20
    • NeverendingDMP
    • By NeverendingDMP 1st Oct 18, 2:52 PM
    • 377 Posts
    • 1,359 Thanks
    So I finished last week at 120. Was aiming for 100 a week so am already playing catch up. Aaaaargh. Really need to make budget this month as will be our third trip to the vets since Thursday....
    Still working my budget across the month but monitoring weekly. Spends so far this week is 53.90 when it's delivered later on. X
    Good luck all
    35,213 - Jan 2018, 28979 remaining.
    Mortgage 77230- 73364 remaining.
    Make 2019- 1123 /2019 EF =62
    • Mrs Cheshire
    • By Mrs Cheshire 1st Oct 18, 8:10 PM
    • 861 Posts
    • 9,053 Thanks
    Mrs Cheshire
    Had my first spend today in B%M, spent around 6 but will update once I have the receipt to hand.
    Does anyone have an good treat recipes that can be frozen, thinking cookies, cupcakes etc!
    SPC #148 2014-25 2015-5.50 My stars from Sue-UU

    Grocery Challenge 2019
    Jan 396.91/400, Feb /400
    • taka
    • By taka 1st Oct 18, 8:34 PM
    • 3,250 Posts
    • 17,357 Thanks
    Thanks XSpender... Great, think these may well be tested this week at mine as I think I have everything in! I'm on the look out for a veggie not very cheesy pastie so these fit the bill perfectly!
    2019 MFW #51 364.10/500
    MFiT-5 no 45
    You can't fly with one foot on the ground!
    • Merlin's Beard
    • By Merlin's Beard 1st Oct 18, 8:57 PM
    • 284 Posts
    • 2,374 Thanks
    Merlin's Beard
    First shop of the month, and lots of store-type things and lots of things that I buy anyway on offer. Very bitty shop - once you add in all the bits and bobs that aren't even food (razors, matches, bin bags etc) of stores stuf (about 6 months of cereal!) and a lot I've managed to spend a lot and come home with exactly one meal (a pizza that'll get frozen for emergencies).

    Never mind - I'm set up for a lot of store type stuff for months. 30.30/100.
    • smiling_saver
    • By smiling_saver 2nd Oct 18, 2:30 AM
    • 33 Posts
    • 330 Thanks
    A $48.00 spend today on cat food, drinks and laundry pods that A!di don't stock. Off there tomorrow. I'm making pulled pork in the SC for dinner tomorrow, which is already defrosted in the fridge. Leftover chili for lunch.DH had some for dinner this evening. He wanted more and I had to fend him off with chocolate pudding. (sorted chocolate mug cake mmm). Leaves me $202 for the month.
    • oldtractor
    • By oldtractor 2nd Oct 18, 7:12 AM
    • 2,207 Posts
    • 15,032 Thanks
    can I join in please? I normally allow myself 80 for the 2 of us per week. this includes toiletries and cleaning things as well as dog food. So I'm going for 350 for this month and will see if I Can save anything.
    • stoopy
    • By stoopy 2nd Oct 18, 11:51 AM
    • 54 Posts
    • 428 Thanks

    Since I've been over last couple of months I want to keep my budget the same please at 475.

    I've already done one shop on Monday which should last me till Friday and then there are 4 weekly shops, hoping each 100 or under. First shop 53.43. I thought that was a little high since I bought hardly any meat but we will see.

    The ONLY thing is I need to go to Asda for cat food and spices, wooden spoons, pegs, baby bibs. But will try to get enough cat food for the month to stop me having to go back.
    Grocery Challenge Jul 380.75 Aug 637 Sep 539.82 Oct 53.43 / 475
    EF 3-6 challenge #104 739.25/10000
    MFW2018 #183 0/2000
    • PipneyJane
    • By PipneyJane 2nd Oct 18, 12:13 PM
    • 1,125 Posts
    • 8,514 Thanks

    I'm about to buy oats, raisins & cake fruit out of the "bulk-buy" purse, which will hopefully see us through into the New Year, and I can make some mincemeat from our own HG apples. I'll need to order flour as well, but will leave that to next month as stocks aren't that low yet, and I'd prefer to source some sensible-sized storage tins before buying more; we go through 8Kg sacks well-within their BB4 date, so it's large rectangular tins I'm looking for! (ETA: bulk order done, still inside budget with room for flour!)
    Originally posted by thriftwizard
    I buy my flour in 10kg sacks and store it in the largest size of Lock'n'Lock box. I'd recommend them if you're looking for storage containers. One of those easily takes 5kg of flour so we split each sack in 2 and the boxes are airtight, critter-tight and moisture-proof. One sack will last us between 8 months and a year.

    What price are you expecting to pay for the flour? I buy Atta/chappatti flour, which is (usually) a light wholemeal bread flour and never pay more than 4 for 10kg. The last sack was 3. Sometimes it's Elephant brand, sometimes MrT's own brand, sometimes Mr T's value brand - they're all the same to me. I've only once had flour that was a poor riser for bread making and I fixed that with an additive I bought at Lakeland "dough improver".


    - Pip (no spends for me yet. We still have to take the October GC money out of the bank)
    "Be the type of woman that when you get out of bed in the morning, the devil says 'Oh crap. She's up.' "

    C.R.A.P R.O.L.L.Z. #47 Official Brain Harvesting Body Counter
    • Doom_and_Gloom
    • By Doom_and_Gloom 2nd Oct 18, 1:45 PM
    • 3,784 Posts
    • 12,948 Thanks
    So far we have spent 49.42.

    It sounds bad but a little over 9 of that was on a joint of beef OH bought. It was reduced down from 15ish. Will last him a while at least as much of it has gone in the freezer.

    150.58 left.
    I am a vegan woman. My OH is a lovely omni guy
    • thriftwizard
    • By thriftwizard 2nd Oct 18, 1:59 PM
    • 3,016 Posts
    • 37,474 Thanks
    Thank you, PipneyJane, that's useful about the Lock'n'Lock boxes, but I think we're going to go for metal bread-bins; mice can (& do) get through plastic! We get our flour from a mill not too far away; we do pay a fair bit more but it's organic, stone-ground stuff, and we don't have a lot of oriental grocers (or large supermarkets with decent "world foods" departments) hereabouts. I shall try Atta flour next time I see it, though, which will probably be next time I visit DS2 over in the next city east.

    In the meantime - AAAAARGH! 130 gone this morning on non-perishables at L!dls & the wholesalers; actually it was more, but some of it came out of the Entertainment & Christmas budgets. Again, I'm slightly baffled; a good 30 of that is stuff that needed to be replaced after the Great Cupboard Cleanout, but what cost me 80-odd before the summer now adds up to well over 90. And the rest? I had DD1 with me, a number of things sneaked into the trolley like goat's cheese, flowers and extra baking chocolate. Just what we needed... So - care needed for the next 4 weeks, but really we should be able to manage; all the basics are covered as far as I can see.

    GC June 19 - 429.75/400

    Money's just a substitute for time & talent...
    • pamsdish
    • By pamsdish 2nd Oct 18, 3:53 PM
    • 1,258 Posts
    • 7,899 Thanks
    First spends of October, 4.50 in Tesco 2 loaves and a celeriac, 11.11 in Aldi on veg eggs and some toiletries.
    2018 2285/2149
    2019 2000=1071-15=1056-11=1045-6=1039-20=1019-59=960-59=901-8=893
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