Sunday, December 01, 2013

What do you spend on groceries?

Sometime this week Shayne posted a question on Facebook, "what do you spend on groceries every month?"

People's answers varied - a lot said R1500 a week.

I knew ours wasn't that much but I didn't know quite what it was.

So I said I don't know what it is but I'll do an analysis.

I delegated groceries to D, you see.

At one point I was doing everything financial and I got fed up and pushed a lot of it his way (Aug last year).

So while our savings accounts and long-term stuff is looking fabulous, the groceries hasn't been going all that well.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

I'd had the piles of receipts ready for about a month already because I knew I needed to look at it, so that night I crunched numbers from May to November, and .............

Our monthly groceries are, on average, R3011.

So for these R1500 a week people, that's not very much, but for me, it's a lot.

We are wasting FAR too much and I'm getting tired of it.

Every week I give Nanny S some unopened, prepared veg that needs to be used. It wouldn't bug me if we intentionally bought some groceries just for her to take home but this is just bad planning all round. Just tonight I threw out 2 bags of coleslaw and there's still 1 in the fridge.

This is not a big deal to some of you, maybe, but I hate, hate, HATE wasting food.

Laura then asked on that same thread what we're eating because she buys according to a meal plan and is not being wasteful either.

Okay, so here are my thoughts on why our budget is okay but not too bad:
  • We shop at PnP (people know I say things like, "can I get it at PnP?" because if PnP doesn't stock it, it kind-of doesn't exist for me :)) and once a month or so, I'll go into Woolies for my two things (Multigrain flakes and sundried tomato cream cheese) and come out with about R400 worth of food. For my overseas friends, Woolies is more expensive than PnP.
  • Included in that PnP shop is veg, fruit, meat and cleaning stuff. Oh, and pool cleaner. Most of the toiletries too although we do a Clicks run once a month too - prescriptions, and whichever toiletries are on the list at the time.
  • I don't buy a lot of cleaning stuff - washing powder, white vinegar (for fabric softener), stain remover (which lasts forever - at least 3 months), dishwashing liquid, toilet spray, Mr Muscle kitchen cleaner (I dilute the kitchen cleaner 1:3 and it still works and smells great).
  • I use a "green" thing for Handy Andy (multipurpose cleaner) which we have to dilute 5 ml into 750 ml of water so it goes a LONG way. The bottle costs R37 but I still haven't replaced it and I've had it a year.
  • I kind-of shop according to a meal plan but mostly it's when we are close to running out, we buy more. Growing up, my mother always ran out of things and that's probably why I run a tight ship.
  • Before babies and in the early baby years, I used to "shop from the pantry" once a month so consciously get creative and use up those cans/ odd things in the freezer. I LOVE clearing out things so this works well for me. It also saves money.
  • We (D) buy a lot of rubbish to eat too - chips, chocolates, biscuits (cookies), etc. This has actually got out of hand. I dumped all the stuff out - about HALF filled a laundry basket....
  • We don't have a dog. My mother has two big dogs and they cost a lot!

For the next couple of weeks I want to stop shopping except for yoghurts and fresh fruit/ veg, and shop the pantry and freezer til it's empty again.

I think I'll keep you updated if you're interested?

So if you're brave, tell me what you spend on groceries (stay anonymous if you're a bit shy). 

Also, please share your tips on how you keep the numbers down.


  1. We spend about R1300 a month on groceries. We could probably spend less, but this is pretty comfortable for now. We only buy frozen veg, because the fresh stuff goes off before we can use it up. I've told you about the dress from the left thing? Well cooking is about the same. I pack the freezer according to when we bought the stuff and we use them as their number comes up.

  2. I spend on average R6500 - R 7500 a month on Groceries. But having said that I feed four adults and two kids every day, I have seven dogs and three cats. I am getting better at the waste "thing". I tend to buy uncut veggies because they last longer (like butternut, cabbage, carrots). The prepacked stuff costs alot more and goes off much quicker. My husband is a "nibbler" so we always have chips, chocolates and biscuits in the house. Cleaning is my little obsession so I tend to try new products..however stick to domestos, handy andy, dettol and sunlight dishwashing liquid. We also feed my Bs workers go through a loaf and a half of bread everyday. I also buying loads of nappies....buying nappies and formulas are expenses. You spend R500 before you even start to shop. I am on a mission to cut our bills down. I have already stopped buying tins..using fresh ingredients instead

  3. We spend sround R2500 per month on groceries (up from around 2000). But we are wasting a bit at the moment. I buy all of our food from either PnP or the boeremark and try not to step into Woolies if at all possible because I always leave with more than planned. Also I do all our food shopping because dh cannot stick to the list.

  4. We shop far too much at Woollies. It started when I was vegetarian, and I told myself that I was allowed to spend all the money I was saving on meat, on good quality vegetables. There are only two of us and our groceries now hover around the 5000 to 6000 mark (but this also includes e.g. hardware and stuff for the garden). Partly this is also because since I have started eating meat again, I insist on free-range. But mostly it's because we don't censor ourselves at all in the supermarket, buy anything we want and we waste a lot. (Although I'm anal about not wasting meat, if an animal died to feed me I will not let it be for nothing). Also, there is next to no junk food in our house. Maybe once or twice a month we will buy chocolate or chips but it's a big treat. The bottom line is that if it's not in the house, we don't eat it. Almost everything we eat is fresh and unprocessed. This is an area that is marked with a bright yellow highlight on my annual budget, we seriously need to make a plan to get this figure down!

  5. I do all of those things - well most of them and I suppose we are more people in the house and I have to cater for 2 kids lunches at school and one snack.

    I only shop at Woolies if something is on special - sometimes there meat specials are very good.

    I budget about R4000 a month but it is often more. We don't waste - if there is left over then I will eat it for lunch but we really don't waste.

    I don't keep receipts but I think from next year I am going to analyse it better!

  6. Anonymous2:20 pm

    I am ashamed to say but I have no clue how much we spent on groceries a month. I suspect it is in the region of between R3000 - R5000. I think PnP is way more expensive than Checkers but just my perception not based on fact.

  7. We are about $150 a week, and that includes all cleaning and toiletries. That feels pretty incredible -- HIGH -- to me, but I don't worry with it too much. We eat lots and lots and lots of fruit, and that adds up quickly. We only eat out occasionally -- usually once a week as a family -- so we're not spending nearly what we did pre-babies.

    I clip coupons, which saves me probably $8 a week, on average. I also price match...I note the sale prices at other stores, and Walmart will match them. That can be a huge savings. (One store has been running pineapple for $.99 each, in comparison to Walmart's price of $2.50 - $'d better believe we stock up and eat a lot of pineapple those weeks!)

    I am very thankful I don't have to pinch our grocery budget too much. We cut back in other areas so that if I want to make a pot roast, I can....I don't have to wait for it to go on sale to add it to the menu.

  8. I really have NO idea of how much we spend on groceries, but I know we waste a lot!!!!! I buy most of the standards stuff, but Mr OL also does some shopping and I don't know how much he spends. He buys most of the meat and he LOVES roasts and steaks. We also have problem in that we (he) always buys salad stuff when ever he goes to the shops, even if we have and even worse - we have a veggie garden and it has lettuce in it as well. At a very rough guess I would say we spend R5000 - R7000 on groceries between us. We are only 2 adults and 1 kid. We do have 2 dogs and 2 cats as well though.

  9. Monthly shop for cleaning materials, basic groceries and some of MIL’s groceries = R1800.
    Weekly shop for fresh veg and perishables = R400 x 4 weeks.
    Therefore average monthly shop = R1800 + R1600 = approximately R3400. That is the absolute cheapest I can get it (and believe me, I do try to tweak this ALL THE TIME!) – It is more expensive to live in CT.

    We get all the prescriptions at Dischem – Clicks is too expensive. Yet, we don’t really get toiletries there unless there’s something that I forgot to get at Checkers.
    I don’t ever shop at Woolworths or even PNP. I find them both overpriced so only use Shoprite or Checkers.
    I don’t buy wine unless Lance and I REALLY feel for it.
    I buy vegetables at the market – supermarkets are VERY overpriced with fresh produce.
    We ONLY cook off a menu and even meat consists only of chicken, mince and lean cuts of beef or pork – I can’t afford lamb or ribs or anything else unless it’s marked down.
    There are no posh foods/delicacies like prawns on the menu. We can only afford one pack of bacon for the month as well.
    There’s no junk food on my shopping list. My Mom feels that I’m depriving my kids so she sends over a bag of luxuries every month. Very nice of her.
    Waste is NOT an option EVER and in fact, nothing makes me more livid than food wastage. Leftovers are always used for lunch the next day.
    Also, I don’t do this creative cooking that you speak of. If I’ve menu planned it, it will be there and if there’s leftovers then it will be used as part of another meal also on the menu plan.
    We don’t have pets – THIS is why. We simply can’t afford it.

    Btw…even if money wasn’t an issue in my life, I would still be VERY frugal with food, simply because I can’t stand waste and excess.
    Also. Families who are gluten-free (we are 60% gf at the moment because it’s a process) or lactose intolerant or who various allergies are going to have an even higher grocery bill because the substitute foods that one needs for those conditions are VERY overpriced.

  10. I am embarrassed to admit I have no cooking clue how much I spend on groceries a month. Our food bills have been excessive during the renovations mostly cos we have been eating microwave meals and haven't been able to cook much. I am also a terrible Woolies shopper - the convenience of it all has always made me validate how much I spend there. This is an area that I HAVE to get under control next year.

  11. We usually spend around R4000 for the month. Including our live in helper and twice a week gardener. Now that Byron is away, I've really made changes to the menu. I don't need to have meat in every meal (Byron loves his meat, a meal is not complete without meat for him), and we keep it really simple. Also, I find that one meal can stretch over two days now because it's just me and Zoleka and the two kids.. so the chicken roast with sides tonight, can be chicken toasties tomorrow with some cucumber, carrots, and tomatoes on the side for the kids. Simple meals. And this has helped the budget tremendously. I shop at PnP, only Woolies for selected items. I buy no name cleaning products as far as possible. The only item I don't like to compromise on is two ply toilet paper, but even that is becoming ridiculously overpriced!! I am not brand conscious, I will generally take the cheapest brand. Thank God I get most of my toiletries at a discounted rate from work.

  12. Including formula for Bacon, diapers and other toiletries and cleaning... probably $1000 a month easy.

  13. Our groceries are R4000 pm and this due to the fact that I buy fresh produce only from Woolworths as I find they stay fresher for longer. Meat and other groceries I keep my eye on pamphlets and online brochures for specials.

  14. Hey Marcia, again ;)

    I'm gonna comment on this because this is what spurred on Laura's post and how I found your blog, which I'm really enjoying btw, love reading all the old posts, I have alot of free time at work heh heh.

    WOW! I'm astounded at how little people are spending on groceries, it's just bizarre for me. Meat is an expensive part of the bill, but I'd rather be a vegetarian than eat meat from Checkers, P n Pay, Bluff MeatSupply etc etc, only buy from Woolworths or a good independent butcher. Cheese is another expensive item and we loveeee cheese, eat it everyday (obviously not processed cheese). Our dog gets viennas for breakfast with biscuits, and for lunch she has chicken breasts with rice or corned beef with rice, dogs are expensive! (Dogs get chicken breasts from Checkers or Spar not Woolworths heh heh) We just put down one *sniff* but two big dogs adds on alot to the bill. I don't know why my family spends so much more than others, I think it's because we buy all our groceries at Woolworths and we go through alot of things like jars of peppadews, I dunno.....Very enlightening to read how other people live, what a great post!


Thank you so much for leaving a comment and filling my love tank. I appreciate it!

I'd love to answer your email so please make sure your email address is enabled. In Blogger, go to Edit Profile, and under Privacy, tick the 3rd block and then Save Profile :)


Related Posts with Thumbnails