As it's now half way through the month of October, I thought I'd do a quick update about where I am in terms of my Stoptober challenge. The aim this month was to avoid any expenditure save for essential groceries, toiletries and household products.
I started off the month by sending off a large order to Ethical Superstore for some organic food cupboard staples i.e. rice, flour, pasta, pasta sauces, tinned goods, agave syrup, sugar, a few toiletries and a 5L bottle of eco toilet cleaner. As I now have bulk sized washing up liquid, washing liquid and toilet cleaner, there's now not much I am likely to need with regard to household products for quite a while. In addition, due to the size of my order, which I incidentally got 20% off, I got free delivery, which definitely made it worthwhile placing it.
I also placed an order with Approved Foods at the beginning of the month, for more of the same. I haven't placed an order with them for a few months now, since their delivery prices went up to £5.99. I'd been waiting for a free delivery offer, but none was forthcoming. Anyway, there was a voucher code for 10% off your purchases with AF on Money Saving Expert at the beginning of the month, which I used to reduce postage to £1.99 and made it worth placing an order on this occasion. In this order I managed to bag some of our dog's favourite dry food and some dog biscuits, plus more cupboard staples, snacks and some other food and drinks.
As a consequence of the above orders, my cupboards were looking pretty full and hence the first few weekly shops weren't too large and were done mostly at Tesco and Lidl, as they kindly supplied me with vouchers for £3 or £4 off £30 plus spends (Tesco) and £5 off a £40 spend (Lidl). At least by shopping at Tesco I am adding to my clubcard points, which should enable me to re-order a couple of free magazine subscriptions next year.
As part of Stoptober, for the first time ever, I've given myself a finite budget for food and another for toiletries, pet care and household products this month and as I have spent money on these things, I have deducted expenditure from the total allocated. It's an experiment to see how I get on with a new budgeting system and seems to be working well enough so far, although I have gone over on the toiletry/household budget already (probably due to over stocking on several items).
I'm still well within on the food budget though and the one remaining shop this month, shouldn't require me to buy too much food as we will only need enough to last a couple of days. Hopefully, using this new system might mean that I start to take more control of our monthly budget and it might even lead to a gradual reduction of it over time.
It will help that we are going away for a few days during half term, towards the end of the month, to attend a family wedding and visit family, so staying within the food budget shouldn't be too difficult.
So, Stoptober has gone reasonably well so far, but I do have a bit of a confession to make, namely that I have been doing a little Christmas shopping in the last couple of weeks, using my credit cards (which get paid off in full every month). I saw a few sale bargains I couldn't resist, whilst out and about the other weekend and also decided to get a few other bits and pieces for presents, in an attempt at getting a head start on this year's gift buying.
It does feel good to get a few presents bought and put away and I'm trying to convince myself that they are essential purchases, in that I would have to purchase them at some point between now and Christmas anyway. I have been good in terms of purchasing things for myself though, this month. I'll let you know how I get on with the remainder of the challenge in my final Stoptober post at the end of the month.