By Jennifer Holman

The Coronavirus pandemic has certainly tightened the reign on our budget. So much has come to a screeching halt, and with the fear of an economic crisis, we’ve got to exercise caution on all our spend – including groceries. That’s when we’re not blowing it all on toilet paper and the like! 

Keeping an accurate budget

My husband told me in January, “We HAVE to keep an accurate budget”. This was painful to set up but I am really enjoying the benefits.

This is what I found:

  • I spend, on average, R7500 per month on food, cleaning agents, and personal items for 4 adults.
  • Shopping at Dischem, the local butcher, local fresh fruit and veggie shop and Pick & Pay has saved me a good deal.
  • I ALWAYS ask for a discount, no matter where I go and I usually get it! Like anyone, I look out for and shop specials.
  • Making a list helps me not to forget anything or buy unnecessary items.
  • The loyalty cards and schemes offered by various retailers are my best buddies in helping us save too, even if it is a few Rands per shop. 


Manage your kitchen – and your budget, with these tips:

I try very hard not to waste or throw away food. 

1. Wash veggies very well if you peel them. Keep the peels and either use fresh in a soup or freeze until needed.

2. Collect and freeze odd bits of cheese that have either dried out or are a bit old and use in a cheese sauce.

3. Don’t throw away your roast chicken bones. Make a soup with combination fresh veggies and frozen veggie skins.

4. Buy wraps and freeze them to use with leftover savoury mince / chilli con-carne / beef or chicken stew. Defrost wraps, heat the filling and put about 4 Tbsp filling inside, wrap and place in an oven proof baking dish. Cover with a bit of cheese sauce with extra cheese on the top and bake at 180 deg until the cheese has melted. Serve with sour cream or plain yoghurt mixed with lemon or lime juice and cilantro/parsley and some smashed avo.

5. Fresh parsley, lettuce, spring onions and coriander can be washed, completely dried (air and moisture are the enemy), wrapped in paper towels, placed in zip lock bags (remove air) and kept in the fridge for a month. Just check every few days and change the paper when necessary. It’s not perfect but it keeps you from throwing away lots of fresh greens.

6. I alternate meals, one day veg and next day meat.

7. Porridge is really inexpensive and filling and mostly lower carb.

8. Repack your fridge at least once a week so you know what’s in it and what state your goods are in. This way you don’t buy stuff you already have and arrange recipes around what you do! Same applies to your grocery / pantry.

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