Updated 01 August 2013

The big food price crunch

Every time you go grocery shopping you discover that the food prices have increased yet again. With every shopping trip, your money is worth less and you end up with fewer items.


Every time you go grocery shopping you discover that the the food prices have increased yet again. With every shopping trip, your money is worth less and you end up with fewer items in your basket. Unfortunately, judging from the news, it's only going to get worse - food inflation is expected to increase to between 12% and 15% in the next six to eight months. So what should you do?

  • Needless to say, if you want to start saving money immediately, fast foods, ready-made meals and favourite snacks such as chips, chocolates and biscuits are out of the question. Apart from the instant savings to be made, you'll also do your health a big favour as these foods are generally high in fat, sugar and salt which may lead to obesity and lifestyle diseases in the long run.

  • Forget about dining out. It’s simply too expensive. Rather celebrate special occasions at home by cooking a specially selected menu, having fun creating a beautiful table setting and ambience and spending quality time with friends, without having to worry about the final bill or the cleanliness of the restaurant kitchen.

  •  Pack lunch to work and steer clear of the canteen and the enticing deli around the corner. You can save a small fortune by cutting out those gourmet sandwiches, salads and cappuccinos. Rather pack a filling sandwich, yoghurt and fruit or last night’s leftovers in a small cooler lunch bag to ensure freshness.

  • Don't cut out fruit and vegetables to save costs - they contain many vital nutrients that help keep you healthy throughout the year. Fruits and veggies can still be affordable if you buy what’s in season. Fruits generally tend to be more expensive than vegetables, so don’t hesitate to stock up on extra veggies as they contain the same essential nutrients.

  • Save money first thing in the morning by having maize porridge for breakfast. Though the prize of maize meal has increased significantly over the last few years, it's still cheaper than oats or Maltabella, for example, and definitely far cheaper, and healthier, than instant cereals.

  • Buy unrefined foods whenever possible. Refining makes a product more expensive and the process strips it of fibre, vitamins and minerals. For example, standard brown bread is often cheaper than white bread, and generally much cheaper than special breads and rolls.

  • Limit red meat - it's not only very expensive, it's also fattening. You can get your protein from many other cheaper and healthier sources such as chicken (buy a whole chicken, divide into portions and freeze to save costs), eggs, tinned pilchards and tuna, and vegetable protein such as soya, beans and lentils.

  • Stretch your meals by making soups, stews and curries where you can add cheap ingredients such as lentils, beans, potatoes and other veggies which are very filling and nutritious.

  • Plan a week’s menu in advance and check local newspapers for specials and discount coupons for the ingredients you’ll need. Make sure you’re not hungry when shopping to avoid impulsive purchases. You could also team up with family or friends and buy groceries in bulk for greater discounts and savings.


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