how I grocery shop and plan my meals

Grocery shopping is my worst but unfortunately it’s a necessary evil. It’s no secret that food prices have soared in recent months and so I have been making a really big effort to keep to our grocery budget every month but still make delicious dinners, because let’s face it, there’s nothing worse than dull, boring food.

The biggest trick that I have learnt is to plan for the week ahead. I like to do a weekly shop as opposed to a monthly shop, I find that I end up spending less money and there is also a lot less wastage. Usually I know if/when we will be going out for dinner so I will know how many meals I need to make for the week. I then sit down, recipe books in hand and I literally write down every single dinner that we will be eating. For my breakfast, I try to have egg on toast most mornings with some avo (now that it’s in season and isn’t costing an arm and a leg) and a smoothie. For lunch I normally have left overs, a tuna salad or a sandwich and then I tend to have a smoothie again when the late afternoon hunger pangs hit. Dan has the same thing every day for work (apparently that’s how he likes it, heaven knows why!): dry cereal for breakfast (he just adds milk at work), two ham and cheese rolls for lunch and then some biscuits for a snack. So for example, here is what we are eating for dinner this week :

Sweet and sour pork

Pumpkin and bacon risotto

Mexican mince wraps

Steak and veggies

Roast chicken, potatoes and veggies

Chourizo pasta

Chilli con carne

I don’t really plan my lunches, I just always make sure there is some tuna in the cupboard and salad goodies in the fridge so if there aren’t any left overs, I can still have something yummy but also healthy.

Now that I know what we will be eating, I go through the list and write down everything that I need to buy to make those dishes. Out of the 4 weeks in the month, there will be a grocery shop that is more expensive, around R800. The reason for this is that I need to stock up on goodies like olive oil, washing powder, handy andy, garlic, potatoes, that sort of thing. But the other 3 weeks are usually around the R550 mark. Here’s what my shopping list looked like when I went shopping yesterday for the week :

Chai seeds

Baby wipes (we still haven’t bought any nappies because we stock piled while I was pregnant, read about that here)

Natural peanut butter


Pork fillet

Whole chicken

Porterhouse steak



Streaky bacon


Fresh spinach

Sandwich ham


10 hamburger rolls

2 avocardo’s

Loaf of bread



2 bags filter coffee




Jolly jammers

That came to a grand total of R860,64. Not bad for 7 dinner, lunches, smoothies and a few odds and ends we needed!

If you shop at Pick n Pay or Spar and haven’t signed up for one of their loyalty cards, you really should, it is so worth your while! I generally only shop at Pick n Pay (just because it’s so close to my home) and using my Smart Shopper card definitely saves me some cash every month with their promotions. Not huge amounts, around R100 or so but every penny counts. The biggest advantage though is when you cash out all of your points that you have been accumulating. I tend to do that twice a year. I did it last month and only ended up paying R60 for my groceries instead of R660 – win! It really  helps in January when everyone is slightly poor after over indulging in December. Oh, don’t forget that Dischem and Clicks also have great loyalty cards – a sneaky excuse to buy more make up…

Another nifty little tool that I have discovered recently is the Snapnsave app. It works like this: every Friday, new discounts are loaded onto the app.

You then book the deals that you want, there are only a certain amount per deal so sometimes you need to be quick! If you miss out on a deal, you can ask to be notified when one becomes available. After you’ve booked the deal, you have 48 hours to use it. So you go and do your shopping as normal, but when you get home, you snap pictures of your till slip using the app. This shows Snapsave that you bought the discounted item that you booked.

Once the till slip has been approved, the discounted money goes into your virtual wallet. You can cash this out at any point at any of their participating stores (Pick n Pay, Checkers, Spar, Baby City, Dischem, there are a whole lot!). So although you buy the item at full price, you will still be accumulating the saving and you can use it when it suits you. My plan is to do a big ol’ Dischem haul!

*** If you haven’t downloaded the app yet, there’s a wonderful promo running until 20 July 2016, all the details are up on my Facebook page. ***

Unlike my dear husband, I get really bored of eating the same meals all the time and so I decided that I wanted to try out some new recipes. Trouble is, so many of the recipes called for exotic ingredients and those cost a pretty penny! One day I picked up the Pick n Pay Fresh Living magazine (it’s free if you have a Smart Shopper card). I was blown away by the variety of recipes and the fact that they were so affordable! So now, every month I pick one up and take inspiration form them when planning my meals. The Yuppiechef website also has a whole bunch of delicious recipes. In fact, I’m going to be making this chilli con carne for dinner tonight. It makes so much that I’m going to freeze the left overs and use it for our Mexican wraps later this week. Making larger quantities is always so handy, especially for those crazy days when you don’t have time to cook. I often make big batches of stew, chicken a la king or even lasagne. It’s not much effort because I’m making that for dinner anyway, I’m just making more of it now.

And so there you have it, my tips and tricks on how to keep your grocery shopping bill down but still have delicious meals. What are your fail proof ways of getting out of the grocery store without spending a fortune?Save

South African Influencer Sarah Booyens

I’m Sarah, shameless coffee addict, brazen beauty fiend, mid-size style gal and the heart behind parentingbeauty and lifestyle blog, Mascara & Mimosas.


  1. Thanks for this post. Now that baby Lea-Mari has arrived I don’t have the luxury of free time to quickly go shopping anymore. I will have to start planning a weekly menu (good idea) and shopping should be easier then. Thank you for the inspiration.

    • So glad that you enjoyed the post Corlia! Meal planning has definitely made my life a whole lot easier 🙂



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