One thing this Village knows about is how to squeeze some extra cash out of the monthly food shopping budget. And we’re always happy to share.
Suggestion 1: “Make sure you buy things like pasta when it is on sale for eg the PNP No Name brand was 8,99 and another brand was 15,99 for the same amount of pasta. I buy things like chicken and fish in 10kg and 3kg of fish as well as pork packs, beef the bigger pieces and freeze that to make smaller portions for each evening. Veg most shops sell veg at reduced prices after 6pm, buy mixed veg to keep that in the freezer. Check when food lovers have their sale at month end and Wednesday’s.”
Suggestion 2: “Whole chicken is cheaper than chicken pieces. I make a roast chicken and that lasts us two nights (just me and two kids. Hubby is vegetarian). It goes a lot further than chicken pieces. Leftovers can be used to make sandwiches and in winter I make chicken soup with the leftovers, which is a whole meal in itself.’
Suggestion 3: “What saved us was a monthly menu and buying exact ingredients. So we decided on 4 mince, 4 chicken dishes, 4 meat etc and bought around that so we ensured we had enough pasta to make Bolognese or lasagne and chicken a la king. It took some getting used to but after a few months we were making it to the end”
Suggestion 4: “Ham and cheese is actually really expensive. The are both over R100 per kilo. Meat and chicken are under R100 per kilo. Good, healthy meals like stews, bolognese, etc will work out cheaper, especially if you load up on the rice, potatoes and pasta. Soups are real budget friendly if you make them from scratch.”
Suggestion 5: “Meat once a week is more than sufficient. Cut out the expensive cheese and ham and replace with wonderful eggs, which provide all the nutrients your family needs. Omelettes, scrambled, poached etc. Add veges wherever you can. Soups are nutritious and filling. Refuse to buy expensive sugar laden kids cereals, introducing your kids to things like oats porridge now will save a fortune in the long run. Have a look at Shoprite Checkers, the new Canal Walk store is awesome. I was shocked to see what a rip off other supermarkets are on basics. Have a very specific weekly shopping list and dont buy expensive processed junk! “
Suggestion 6: “Vegetables are cheap. I spend R350 a week on veg for my daughter – we are vegetaria The meat for my hubby and son cost double that. Add more veg!”
Suggestion 7: “Buy fresh veg and fruit and make that the base of your meals. Butternut is species appropriate source of protein minerals and vitamins for humans cats, dogs and horses, as is pumpkin. (I prefer the taste of butternut).
And use Buttermilk instead of yoghurt. It’s cheaper and a lot better for nutrient and probiotic value.
My mixed grill: boiled whole beetroot cut into thick steaks and pangrilled in olive oil, served with a bit of soy sauce, and grilled mushrooms and tomatoes and fresh Basil. Grow your own fresh herbs.
Learn to cook Indian. Make a large pot of tadka dhal and eat it with a scoop of basmati rice. It is simple, heavenly and comforting/”
Suggestion 8: “don’t waste your money on boxed cereals. They are pure junk food, loaded with sugar and synthetic trash. Make your own muesli with good quality oats, raisins, dessicated coconut as a base. Soak in Buttermilk overnight for bircher muesli and add fresh fruit eg bananas, chopped or grated apple and cinnamon. Far more satiating and nourishing and tastes a whole lot better too. Add raw honey for sweetness.”
Suggestion 9: “ Every day after 2pm all Woolies store have less 30% on their meat if the shelf life expires on that day.”
Suggestion 10: “Shop at Checkers late in the afternoons, from 4pm on. They mark down a lot of produce and cheeses by 50%. I don’t eat meat but I’ve seen the processed meats on 50% too. Avoid Woolies, as everything there costs more. Visit the People’s Market as well as the hokkies outside at the Epping Fresh Produce Market. You will get all your fresh produce there for a mere fraction of what we pay in the shops. e.g. 8kgs plums for R10,j 10 exquisite mangos for R25, 7kg grapes for R60, 8kg pocket of +-100 avos for R200(in season), pocket of lemons R30. Find a friend to share the bulk and the shlep.
Suggestion 11: “Can you grow salad in your garden? A tray of lettuce and spinach in the garden you can pick a leaf off each plant almost daily and it grows back. Cocktail tomatoes. Buy the off ones in shop and plant them. You get more tomatoes than you can eat! Onions grow too easy and radishes….VERY rewarding. Fruit trees give such a yield!! We planted watermelon in October and we gave away watermelons. They were vine ripened and juicy and stunning. My lemon tree has lemons right through the year. spice is expensive yet everything seems to be flavourful with a bit of lemon juice in my cooking!”
Suggestion 12: “Also great to grow your own fresh herbs as they are so expensive in the shops! I had too much basil so froze it and have frozen basil in the freezer to add to pasta dishes. Good idea to freeze all fruit that has not been eaten and starting to turn… great in smoothies and eliminates wastage.”
Suggestion 13: “Lentils, beans and rice are ready for bulking up meals. I add a cup of lentils and some grated carrots to any mince dish I make and it can easily double the quantity without compromising the flavor. Cheese is a killer for us – it’s prohibitively expensive! If you’re close to Milnerton/ Killarney Gardens then the Faircape dairy factory shop is really cheap but you have to go in the middle of the month or they have no stock…
Visit the market. Grab pockets of veg and make big batches of soup (most freeze well in portions). Whole chickens from Elgin free range factory shop. I roast it and shred all the meat off the bones then put the bones plus some veggies (even off-cuts and peels work here), fresh herbs from the garden, a little salt and pepper and a dash of vinegar into the slow cooker and leave it on overnight. Strain it the next morning and you’ve got really good stock as a base for soup, risotto, etc.”
Suggestion 14: “ I don’t buy tinned food. There are some you need to but for example I don’t buy tin tomato but make my own with fresh tomatoes, beans but dry beans and cook and freeze them by potion, fridge fruit if they are getting old to make smoothes etc. I also avoid branded stuff cause they are just more expensive. And watch this – Eat Well for less in Youtube from BBC. Once you start you will get a lot more creative, so go for it, you will be grand!”
Suggestion 15: Don’t drop your standards where it matters! And there are certain things I don’t compromise. Real butter, extra virgin olive oil and fresh milk. (long life is no cheaper and it tastes revolting) and I wouldn’t dream of having margarine anywhere near my home, it’s deadly and unhealthy and is the surest way to ruin an otherwise good meal. The good stuff is affordable if you use it economically. It lasts me a long time