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When I say times are hard, you all know what I mean. It seems like every single day there is
something happening in our country and usually not for the better. I’ve seen how gradually
“Mama-me-time,” when going grocery shopping has turned into “Mama-horror-time.”
If you’re a stay-at-home mum, you’ll know just how important “me-time” is. You
bargain, borrow and beg to be alone. Grocery shopping was a great time for me to be out and
about and to forget that I had children, ha-ha! Lately, trips to the shops feel like
another pandemic altogether. The hike in the prices has been insane! I’ve even started playing hooky with grocery trips.
Since our last baby’s arrival, my poor husband now gets more requests to go to the shops. Though he dislikes shopping, he does it for me. Still, on most days I’m forced to put on my big girl panties and buck up for the shops. With that being said, it is time to share my personal guide to surviving grocery shopping in these tough times.
You may have heard these tips before, maybe some for the first time. This is just a friendly
reminder from one Mama to another that there is a reward in planning for your family’s groceries.
1. Meal Plan
Okay, I will confess that though I do this often, I abandon it just as much. Mostly due to shrinking funds and unexpected changes that happen overnight. (I’m sure you can guess one or two).
I’d be ready with a plan drafted ‘Sunday – Saturday’ but your girl fails
after some weeks. I’ve survived with meal planning for at least two months now, so it is doable.
It saves time and money. Time because you won’t be too confused and waste time trying to plan what to eat that day. Money because planning ahead means you’re intentional with your shopping list.
Check out our wide variety of meal ideas for your family. From local favourites, easy to make, savoury and sweet dishes for all times of the day, friendly for kids of all ages.
2. Make A Grocery List
Don’t guess when you get to the store.
Look in your pantry, look in your fridge and freezer, then take note of everything you have in
there. From there take a look at your meal plan and then make a grocery list.
List everything you need. While doing that, make sure that you rank everything in terms of priority. This will help you differentiate between what you need and what you REALLY need when you go to the shops.
3. Eat Before You Go Shopping
Today I am here spilling all the tea for you; never shop on an empty stomach!
If you go to the shops on an empty stomach, you WILL find all the food smells in the shop too tempting. They will literally be calling your name, and you may be swayed and spend money you shouldn’t… money
that you may not even have. So, eat first.
4. Look Out For Specials
In this day and age, shop specials are key. Shops like Spar have rewards that are extremely
helpful. Wholesalers such as Fours and Sefalana can be worth your time too, the only downside is
the queues can be long, so you really need to block out a couple of hours for a trip, or go during the week.
5. Pick One Or Two Shops
Most women do like shopping, and shopping on a budget.
My Mama taught me to shop around first before making a purchase. This is where collecting the shop’s monthly specials papers comes in hand.
In Palapye where I live, I already know which shops are best for buying fruit, and dry
goods, nappies, wipes, and even affordable meats.
It is important to know your local shops and to choose the ones that work for you. Make sure to narrow them down based on location too, as fuel and public transport add to the budget.
When you are already in the shop, FOCUS!
Don’t be easily swayed by things you are not there to purchase. Remember, there is a reason why shops put snacks like sweets, chips and drinks atnthe till, don’t be a statistic!
Should you go to the shops with your kids, make sure they understand the assignment BEFORE you leave for the house. Let them know they’ll be a reward waiting for them at home if they have stick to the agreement.
7. The Phone Calculator
When I carry my phone to the shops, I make sure I have the calculator on to make sure I stay within the budget.
For every item I put in the trolley or take out, I add and subtract the amounts on the calculator. By the time I get to the till I would know how exactly much I have to pay to avoid surprises, especially when shopping in bulk. It does happen at times for the price at the till to not match the price on the shelve, this is where I spot any inconsistencies.
TOP TIP: Instead of using cash, swipe for your purchases. This will help you stay on budget and keep track of your spending. Unlike cash, every transaction is followed with a notification that you can refer to when you need it. Plus, making this a habit pays off when the FNBB Rewards notification comes in.
8. Contribute For Meats With Your Friends
Ever find yourself in a bind when it comes to the meal plan situation? My issue is always the meat, and being able to afford a variety.
My go to hack? Where possible get a friend or two (or family) and buy a goat together and you can split the meat among yourselves. That will save you money compared to buying small amounts from the store. Try this and let me know if you notice any difference when spending on your meats.
We also have plant-based meals every now and then to help keep our bodies and pockets healthy.
9. Take Your Shopping Bags With You
In Palapye my people at the shops already know I’m the bag lady.
Such that some even question me if I show up without my bags, “Ao, e kae beke Ausi?”, followed by a good laugh. Trust me the P0.60t/ P1.00 you pay for shopping bags may seem small in one trip, but it all adds up.
10. Buy From Street Vendors
In our household, we make sure to buy what we can from street vendors, especially vegetables. They’re mostly affordable and usually come in a variety pack. The added bonus is that you get to support a small business and change someone’s life.
I hope you find these helpful. A reminder every now and then can feel like a hug, plus there always are some hacks to make things a little lighter. Have anything to add? I would love to hear it in the comments
Thank you FNBB, for supporting families by sharing money saving stories.
** This article is proudly sponsored by FNB Botswana**