Tag Archives: being thrifty

R3000 Challenge: I’m in trouble… 

YOI! I’m in trouble. I did a quick shop yesterday. (I’m surprised at how often I need to go to the shops, as it turns out – 5ppl can eat quite a lot).

I spent another R300, which, in my vague calculation (still unsure of total GFC order) leaves me around R600 for the rest of the month. 😳 I have meat, and staples. But today my confidence may have superseded the reality of my situation because I might have made some rash decisions.

I bought 2 x 3kg bags of butternut. Why 2? Did I need 2? I’m not so sure. I also needed tea. So I bought a box, of 107 teabags. Do I need all 107 teabags? Can I even drink that much in 15 more days? Not a chance. But the bulk buyer in me came to the party.

The saver came to the party too and I couldn’t refuse the Jungle Oats on sale, nor the Bubbly chocolate. If Bubbly is ever on sale, it’s almost sinful to say no. Surely? So I caved, and as I grabbed two slabs off the shelf I thought twice about my budget. And naively took the hit. 


I seeeeeeriously need to tighten the purse strings. Because I have a birthday boy coming up, and cake (and school party treats) will be a necessity shortly.

RIGHT! Two points that have been raised by numerous readers: FREEZING GLASS JARS.

Yes, I too believed one could never freeze glass, but, it turns out you can. A friend showed me or else I would’ve been way too scared to try. They must be decent glass jars and you must be sensible. Don’t freeze HOT food, straight from the oven into the freezer, and take care when defrosting. Don’t take it from the freezer and pop it straight in the microwave/oven. Go easy on your glass.

I buy my glass jars from Bonpak in Prime Park, Diep River. They’re the same size and shape as the Oh Mega Nut Butter jars.

RETHINKING FOOD:

A friend messaged me today, and she was reading my mind. Her message was as follows:

I love the challenge blah blah because… you “buy what you need, no need to overdo elaborate meals EVERY night, good for the hips, good for the world / enviro (cause not over consuming in this consumer crazy society etc etc). Every time I have made my “normal” purchases I think of you and how you’re exercising such restraint and it makes me see the “normal” purchase as a super spoil.”

Someone else (talking about something similar but different) spoke of our consumer culture like this: shopping (unnecessarily, in our case maybe for food/eating) is a way of “filling voids, eradicating boredom, fostering laziness, thwarting creativity, not to mention draining our bottom line“.

I sometimes imagine asking someone from the early 1900’s to watch our western culture. And I wonder how sensible popping into the same shop every 2nd day would seem? Especially in today’s unbelievably demanding lifestyle, when we don’t actually have the time to spare? Does buying a takeaway coffee look cool, indulgent or irresponsible? Is it a prerequisite to your morning? (Coffee is ABSOLUTELY a prerequisite to mine, and I thank the Good Lord for the creamy sweet nectar every morning as I sip it). Pre-cooked meals? Are they convenient, or necessary, or have we barely stopped to consider the joy and creativity involved in cooking we’re blindly robbing ourselves of? Nooooooo judgement here guys – I’m asking myself these exact questions… (and I could’ve fueled a small country on the amount of take away coffee I had last month…)

What is food? What have we made it? Where have we been sold a lemon by society? I’m ALL about good food. I’ve said this already. I love what it represents; different textures and colours, what humans are able to create with micro greens and edible flowers, the complexity of flavours and beauty and satisfaction in a delicately prepared meal. But when did we put it on autopilot?

R3000 Challenge: What we’ve been eating…

All you faithful readers – you’re keeping me going this month. There is so much accountability and interest in this 3k challenge, I’m so inspired. And whether we make it or not – lessons have already been learnt which have been so good for me.

For eg: Yesterday I popped into Checkers (a spare minute away from my kids) and I did a quick price check on some regular items. Some were more expensive, some were less. Saffas reading this, Checkers confuses me. Either way – I left with milk sachets, ginger, lemon (my winter drink of choice/necessity) and Bovril (for R39.90 the cheapest I’ve seen it). Total spent at Checkers R93.77.

Here are some tips and trick and what I’ve been eating:

I’ve fed my sweet tooth with the (massive) block of fondant that has been sitting in the freezer for over 2 years. I kid you not. It was taking up room, and with no spare budget for chocolate, ice cream, cookie dough etc. this was it. I’m glad to not have to relocate it after each new frozen food shop.


The boys have not had cracker bread this month. A quick simple snack – but at R21+ a box. Not this month. Also the juice boxes we spoke of? None of that either.

I’m limiting us to 1 big bulk bag of coffee beans and 1 tub of hot chocolate per month. That way we need to ration it all. Self control.

All in all, I’m much less impulsive in my shopping. Much less. We are not living on bread and butter (quite yet), but because I really don’t know what the end of the month will look like, I question my needs vs. wants.

This past Friday was Market Day at my Good Food Club. As I arrived to fetch my goodies, I saw this: a special. It is hard for me to refuse a special.

Yes friends, this is TOP quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil at such a good price. And I refused. Because it would’ve been too much for the budget. See my self control?

Saturday we scored huge. After a crazy busy morning with play dates and builders, we dropped everything (in my brother-in-law’s hands) to attended my cousins funeral. Hubby and I had barely eaten all day, so grabbed a handful of post-memorial snacks. Hungry again and on our way home, our brother and sister-in-law invited us to the Spur. We don’t frequent the Spur, but they had promised their kids a Spur treat and (super generously) offered money towards our bill. (How amazing!) My first thought was “for suuuure!” and my second was “oh wait, this is going to eat in the budget hard“. Pondering the situation we found ourselves in, hubby kept telling me to – quote – “tell your readers, we’ll take it from the Building Budget”. Pah, as if there is a building budget. 

So, because I feel so committed to you all and this challenge my conclusion, “right, it has to come out the 3k budget”. I was prepared to take the hit. Hospitality, remember? Long story short, our super generous family covered the whole bill, so Saturday was covered. Mahala.

Tips and tricks: find old sugary treats to keep you going and hint at family members to take you out.

WHAT WE’VE BEEN EATING:

Breakfast: Good ol’ fashion Jungle Oats, with a splash of milk and drizzle of honey. I have 3.5 kg’s of honey from my Good Food Club (paid for by this months budget). Brea has fancy yoghurt with some fruit and I usually have 7 cups of coffee. Or 1 cup, heated 7 times.

Lunch: My girlfriend and I joke about deconstructed meals.”I had a deconstructed fruit salad” she’ll say – when she means she had an apple, pear and orange, for eg. Ha. So I usually take a handful of paleo friendly goodies to work. First prize is always leftover dinner, otherwise I’ll grab some boiled eggs, butternut and avo, apple, carrot and cucumber sticks, cherry toms, banana etc.

Boys lunches: Always, a sandwich, cut up apple and cheery tomatoes. Their snacks are either raisins, dried mango (when on sale at my GFC), dates, sometimes nuts, boiled eggs, cut up cucumber, fruit etc. And water. All fresh. No prepackaged snacks.

Afternoon snack: Anything I can find in the fridge, tea (and fondant). Often fruit.

Dinner:

  • We’ve made 2 massive batches of soup and frozen them in jars (I buy glass jars from Bonpak).
  • We’ve had cheese, tomato and basil (home grown) toasted sarmies.
  • We’ve had chicken and cheese quesadillas with homemade salsa.
  • I cooked 500g of mince and added almost anything I could think of to beef if up (carrots, mushrooms, peppers, 2 cans tomatoes, and lots of lentils). I also divided the mince into jars and have frozen them for quick meals.
  • We’ve had cous cous with chicken (1 chicken breast), butternut, mint, feta and toasted almonds.
  • We’ve had chicken sausage (Elgin) on roasted sweet potato and rosemary chips.
  • Last night we had the pre-cooked frozen mince over sweet pot mash. Yum.

Soup recipes here: Sweet Pot & Bacon Soup and Roasted Butternut and Rosemary. 

Here was my initial meal plan idea – before this challenge was official. Friday night is movie night in our house so, hence the popcorn.

And as we stand, I’ve spent R1171.93 (EXCLUDING my Good Food Club food which should come in at around R1000ish). So I’m sitting on just under R2200.

How you doing? 🙂