R3000 Challenge: Where we shop, and how… kinda

You’re back! Nice to have you here… if you missed the intro, you can read it here.

Let’s start off with a few general thoughts. Follow me will you? These will come through again and again as we tiptoe through this month on our teeny tiny budget.

Firstly: I LOVE food! I LOOOOOOVE goood food; the flavours, textures and how communal it is.Β How creative it is, how delicate and bold, how it can inspire, fuel, satisfy and be enjoyed in so many ways. So this is exceptional and intentional and not long term. It’s intended to open our eyes and have us think a little more about our usual grocery-buying habits. Here we go…

I think, in general, we can eat less. Eat when hungry, and not spontaneously. I shop the sales, ALWAYS, esp at Woolies. I try not buy more than we need (something I put into practice intentionally today as I’m so often loading my trolley with 5 cans of tomatoes when I could easily do with only 2 or 3, or say 6 slabs of chocolate when I only need, well… less than that). The less you have the less you consume. Choose your purchases well, and buy different goods at different shops. It’s a pain I know, but if I can do it with 3 small kids, so can you. Food is very often a ‘you get what you pay for’ situation – so keep that in mind. Sometimes paying more for something is necessary and important, sometimes not.

Let me share how we usually do things around here. I generally shop at my local Good Food Club, Pick n Pay, Woolies, and our Elgin Free Range Chicken store.

I start the month at my Good Food Club: (Sorry, I know you don’t all have a Good Food Club – it’s buying direct from the farmer. Often cheaper-ish, sometimes not, but the quality of the food is way up there.)

Here I get 2 large trays of free range eggs, and hormone free cheese, butter and yoghurt. I usually buy dates and raisins (kid snacks), meat, olive oil, wine (but not this month!), honey, natural nut butters, bio wheat flour and some household goodies such as eco washing power/dishwashing liquid etc.

Next I shop at PnP for things such as:

Bread (for kids lunchboxes; hubby makes our own bread with the bio flour from our GFC), milk (usually in sachets unless the bottles are on special). Things such as some fruit and veg (see Woolies list below), wraps, cans of tomatoes and tomatoes paste, sauces, sandwich spreads, balsamic vinegar, spices, oats (our designated winter breakfast), and usually chocolates and treats (but not this month!) etc.

Then I hit up Woolies:

I’ve actually found that many Woolworths items (BARRING their pre-made, deli or specialty foods) are cheaper than PnP (and Checkers). At Woolies I buy almost all their specials – ALWAYS cherry tomatoes (my kids eat them like sweets) and apples (I can’t handle bruised floury ones I usually end up with from PnP). I get the lettuce packs (unless my garden is thriving) and COFFEE BEANS. I always buy the silver Organic bag – but alas, the budget is calling me toward the dark roast Italian beans at R40 less. The yoghurt tubs are often buy 3 for price of 2 and I prefer their yoghurt to PnP. At Woolies I buy the 4 huge bags of vegetables for R125 deal. I know PnP is cheaper but I can’t find large bags of sweet potatoes at PnP for the same deal. So I usually buy 2 x huge bags of sweet pot and 2 x huge bags of butternut – those are my BASE STARCHY VEGETABLES for most meals.

Elgin Free Range Chicken: I buy chicken breasts, whole chickens and their chicken sausage. It’s cheap.

A couple guidelines to our month of cheap. There are certain things I CAN NOT live without/will not compromise on:

Decent coffee beans, hormone free meats (for the most part), free range eggs, real butter, apples from Woolworths and avocados.


Restrictions: This month I have HAD to cut out chocolate/snacks (hubby and I LOOOVE chocolate), and… wine. I know. Sigh. Wine and chocolate will only appear should I have leftover cash (I’m not holding my breath).

We are also NOT eating out, or getting take out (unless it’s genuinely cheaper than cooking something). If you track spontaneous buying, you’ll be amazed at how much food is bought spontaneously. No coffees or nibbles on the go. Thanks to Discovery, I’ll still be able to grab a weekly Vida or Kauai – mahala.

Baking this month will be considered a luxury. Baking uses a ton of butter which is expensive, and all sorts of deliciousness which adds up FAST. But let’s remember, we’re not on diet, we’re saving money. And by not baking,Β my body will thank me later.


Hospitality Clause:Β There is always a hospitality clause. Hospitality always trumps a diet/budget/restrictions. People matter more.

Drinks: We don’t ever drink carbonated bevvies, unless it’s tonic for gin or Appletizer on special occasions. We are water, coffee (GOOD COFFEE) and wine people. Sometimes tea. The only time I buy juice is when I buy box juices for picnics or outings with the kids. Sorry kids – it’s water this month.

With no wine this month, cheaper coffee beans and water from the Newlands Brewery Spring means I’ve already saved around R550. Boom.

Next post: what we’re ACTUALLY eating…

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