How I’m keeping our grocery budget to R3000 this month. 

Anyone else feeling slightly nauseous at the prices of groceries recently? I get that I’m now buying for a (solid food eating) family of 5, but it seems like every trip to the shops seems to deplete my bank account more than it should, and it’s significant. And I know others feel the same.

We recently had veeeeery dear friends visiting us from Vancouver. Despite paying for 4 doctors appointments and numerous meds in 6 days the week prior, we decided that we’d enjoy the holiday and have fun and not be scared off by our growing credit card bill. We’d also endured a car break in (in hubby’s car), the need for new brakes on my car, new glasses for our son, and random renovation payments. But whatevs. We were going to have fun. Oh, and FUN we did! I’m sure I’ll blog alllll about it another time. Cape Town is spectacular.

Right, so on Sunday evening through tears we bid our friends farewell. Our time together had deeply satisfied our hearts, our minds, our emotions, certainly our stomachs, and most definitely the ones reaping benefits from the interest we pay on our Discovery Card.

And so, in the spirit of FUN, and not despair (this is important) we decided that we needed to replenish the available funds and be HARDCORE about it. So I set myself the most ridiculous challenge of keeping our food budget this month to R3000. We’re only allowed to spend R3000 on food this month. Can we do it? When I shared my new challenge with my girlfriends, one actually texted back “that’s impossible”. Maybe it is, we’ll soon see.

Before anyone throws any eye-rolling judgemental glances my way – I have a few DISCLAIMERS:

1) This does not include the existing food I have in my house (although I assure you there wasn’t heaps – if I did it would defeat the point).

2) While I will do my best not to deplete EVERYTHING in my pantry before 1 July, I do want to rummage through and use things that have been there a while. Use up before buying new.

3) This is not an exact science or mathematical formulae on how much each meal costs. I have given myself a R3k limit, but obviously, as with most lessons we teach ourselves, it’s more about opening our eyes to how we do things (in auto pilot) and then rethinking them…

4) Since we eat mostly paleo, we will have to be reaaaaally flexible when it comes to what we eat. Some nights very well might be bread and butter (not margarine, NEVER margarine).

5) I know that for some, R3000 for food alone can seem like a LUXURY. Budgets and money are sensitive topics – but most people in my demographic easily spend more than double that on food. Again, it’s bringing into question numerous thoughts and ways of doing things which deserve attention from time to time.

Let’s get into it, in the post to follow. This is not a bait-and-switch, I just know the most people don’t like to read long posts… so keep your eyes peeled for the next installment.

Join me! This will be fun.

13 thoughts on “How I’m keeping our grocery budget to R3000 this month. 

  1. Ohhh . I think your idea is going to be a challenge especially finding butter . Butter is at R45 the cheapest. I would love to know if you find it cheeper .

    1. Hi Diane, it’s not so much about finding butter as it is appreciating butter more and cutting costs elsewhere… that’s my thinking currently… but we’ll let you know how we go! Stay tuned! Xxx

  2. So excited to follow along on this! We’ve been trying to cut back and minimise our grocery spending as well – we have baked beans on toast every other Sunday night, but rather than feel deprived, we see it as a fun little family tradition 🙂 Good luck! Looking forward to your tips x

  3. Great idea, think we could all do this. Tonight I bought the Ww chunky vegetable soup pack (bulk 1.5kg) Cost R44 and an hour of cooking. It fed our family of 5 with enough left to pop in the freezer for another meal. Add a French loaf and the meal cost R60 divide that in 2 so R30 for the meal. Pretty impressive. If you have the time I’m sure you could buy all the veg and cut chop ect yourself.

  4. This is the most brilliant exercise for every family to try! I have been astonished at how much we’ve been spending on food every month (and there are just 2 of us!)! I started this challenge a couple of months ago in an effort to 1) save money…2) eat less (because we eat WAY too much generally) and 3) to cut down on waste (like soggy lettuce in unopened bags and tomatoes that go all wrinkly because we just never ate them).
    It has been eye opening and a lot more challenging than I thought! But I can honestly say that we are changing our habits and its becoming a lot easier! Looking forward to reading how it goes because R3k for a family of 5 is less than I can manage for me and my Hub! Good luck and well done so far!

    1. Thanks so much for the encouragement Jules! Love your three thoughts. And think you’re on the money – it’s about opening our eyes to how we use our money in relation to food and creating newer, healthier, more life-giving decisions around it. Well down to you! Keep the thoughts coming… 😉

  5. Ahhh am super keen to follow along – we are also cringing whenever we go to the grocery store…not just because my 6 year old is hanging upside down from the trolley handle (yes like batwoman), my 4 year old is vanishing down every aisle and my 2 year old is insisting on pushing the trolley and her big sister with her fingertips on tiptoes… but because we just can’t afford the groceries, it’s insane and I do think simplifying meals is the way to go! Trick is getting everyone to eat said meal and be full enough not to come grumbling at 2am to mom and dad that they are hungry oh ad then how to manage snacks …probably in the Johnston house of continuous grazing…snacks need to go or be dramatically cheaper!

    1. Kat, I totally hear you. I’ve simplified snacks here. It’s an apple, orange or banana – TAKE YOUR PIC. In special circumstances it’s raisins or dates or yoghurt. No more crackerbread or treats. I also feel like my kids constantly graze. I often make my kids a no-cook meal if it’s a hectic night. Eating ones colours, it’s often cherry toms/apple/avo/carrot/egg/cheese/a meat maybe. They can polish that off and I know they’re getting lots of good stuff down. It’s such a juggle. I can’t believe now that Ryler is in proper Playschool how much bread I’m going through. T and I don’t eat bread and I’m still buying 2/3 loaves at a time. 😳. We must do coffee!! X

  6. Hey Deb. It is only by chance I read your post. We have decided to do something similar as from 1 July. Even though we are countries apart….will be good to see how you go. We are also a family of five….my kids most favorite saying…..”I’m hungry”….its insane how much my kids eat not to mention the husband haha. We are coming for a little visit at the end of the year….would be lovely to catch up? Keep well and all the best. Ilza.

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