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Wednesday, August 17, 2022

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Under pressure: A cheap grocery list to help you save when on a tight budget

With the recent petrol hikes and the rising cost of food, many South Africans are struggling to make that pay-cheque last to the end of the month. Picture: UNSPLASH

With the recent petrol hikes and the rising cost of food, many South Africans are struggling to make that pay-cheque last to the end of the month. Picture: UNSPLASH

Published Aug 1, 2022

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With petrol hikes and the rising cost of food everywhere, many South Africans are struggling to make that pay cheque last to the end of the month.

The truth is, no matter how broke you are, you have to eat. But managing to feed yourself and your family when you have very little money is not exactly easy.

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Here is my list of cheap foods to buy when you are broke or when on a tight budget:

IF YOU are looking for some inspiration for those mid-week meals, we suggest swapping mince for lentils. | Pexels/Alesia Kozik

Frozen vegetables

Frozen vegetables are both affordable and nutritious, and they can serve as go-tos when your pantry and fridge are running low.

You can buy them in the store or freeze extra produce from your garden or the local farmer's market.

Frozen vegetables are an especially good idea if not many fresh vegetables are in season. Serve them as a side dish, toss them into pasta sauce or soup, or incorporate them into a vegetable omelette.

Lentils

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You can also buy lentils very cheaply, and they are another great protein option when money is tight. There are lots of recipes for lentil soups and other dishes with lentils, such as this lentil stew.

Milk

Besides being cheap, milk is a refreshing drink packed with protein and several important nutrients. It is also a key ingredient in many money-saving recipes. You can make pancake batter, soups, mac and cheese, desserts, and more with milk.

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Here are some delicious milk-based recipes to try at home.

Bread

Potjie Bread | Brenton Geach Reporter Jeanne Viall

Bread is something you are always going to want to have on hand when you are struggling to make ends meet.

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It can be the cornerstone of breakfast and lunch. Forget about the expensive artisan stuff and go for the store-brand loaves. Wholewheat costs a little more, but it’s still cheap.

Meat

There are certain cuts and types of meat that will always be more affordable than others.

This does not mean that meat is not more expensive than produce, because it certainly is, but meat is a staple in millions of people’s diets, so it is worth exploring the ways to cut costs where you can.

Versatile and inexpensive, pasta is a pantry staple of many cost-conscious shoppers. Picture: Pexels/Engin Akyurt

Pasta

Versatile and inexpensive, pasta is a pantry staple of many cost-conscious shoppers. It is the ultimate cheap food and has plenty of beneficial nutrients, too. Thanks to the versatility of pasta, you can pair the dish with a variety of inexpensive ingredients.

Rice

Rice is another dish amply suited for the cheapest groceries list. White rice is not the healthiest option, and it also isn’t super filling, but it is cheap and fairly versatile. Brown rice is healthier and not much more expensive.

Baking ingredients

There are many cheap foods you can make with flour, baking soda, baking powder, yeast and things you probably have on hand like sugar, salt, butter, and water. Picture: Brendan Magaar African News Agency (ANA)

There are many cheap foods you can make with flour, baking soda, baking powder, yeast and things you probably have on hand like sugar, salt, butter, and water. Keep these super cheap ingredients in your cupboard and make homemade bread, pancakes, pasta, tortillas, muffins, cookies, cakes, and more.

Have you checked out the latest IOL Food & Drinks digital magazine? Read it here.

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