Am I The Only One Spending A Fortune On Groceries Every Month?

9720776256_bea4cf4f25_oThis post has been in draft for a while, but after yet another month of enormous shopping bills – I thought I would share my frustration.

Here is some context: Kurt and I moved in together in 2006 and we were on a very tight budget, having just started out and bought our first home. I clearly remember budgeting about R500 a month for groceries and toiletries – and believe it or not, it was enough.

Well, fast forward 10 years and we are now spending more than 10 times that amount!

Yes, our family has doubled in size and yes inflation happens… but seriously spending thousands a month to feed my family is just ridiculous. I am not very extravagant with our shopping list but I don’t budge on quality. I also don’t shop at only one supermarket, as I find that in some stores the quality of certain things are just better. For example, the quality of fresh fruit and veg at some stores are just pathetic. If you buy a bag of apples that is perhaps cheaper than at another store, you come home and unpack the bag  – only to find that there are 3 or 4 rotten ones that have to be thrown away!

We also eat and cook a lot of healthy meals and although we are part of healthy eating rewards program, I still find that our shopping bill is on the high end. In fact, it feels as if we are being penalised for eating this way!

Then on top of the high prices, we as parents fall target of the marketing campaigns of these stores who entice you to spend that little bit more to make up another R150 to get that little toy or card.

Maybe I’m doing something wrong, or maybe I just don’t have the time to shop around enough for bargains but there must be a way for me to save.

I thought I would share my grocery shopping “pattern” and perhaps I could get some tips from other shoppers? Any tips would be helpful in my quest, because this seriously cannot go on.

So this is how I shop:

  • I do 1 “big” shop for groceries each month at a “reasonably priced” store.
  • I purchase all our toiletries from another store once a month (I’ve always done this). I recieve cash back and points etc. – it makes sense for me 🙂
  • Weekly, I spend another few hundred at a “pricier” store for fresh items such as fruit, veg, yoghurt, bread, juices, snacks, 1 or 2 packs of meat/chicken/fish and a few fresh cooked meals for the kids

I don’t think this is extravagant because there are still times when I open the fridge and it’s almost empty, just days after I’ve shopped!

What am I doing wrong?

It seems the price of groceries will just keep on rising as it has over the last few months, so I’m sure I’m not the only one feeling it. Are there any families out there who have found some great ways to save and manage their costs? I would really love to hear from you!






  1. Zoe Hawkins August 15, 2016

    OMG, I could have written this exact post! I’m still a small family, just me, husband and 8-month old baby, and yet I’m spending a fortune on food, only to find at least once a month that I have nothing in the house. Has food just become that expensive, or is it because I insist on always having veggies with every meal, and those veggies must come from a store that doesn’t sell rotten produce?!

    • Hayley August 15, 2016

      Hi Zoe

      It’s insane, the prices are definitely increasing! I’ve started taking note of prices and everything is gradually increase every month.
      It’s just so frustrating when you get home and unpack your fruit and veg, to have to immediately throw things out!!!

      • chene quickfall April 27, 2017

        HI HAYLEY
        I find buying frozen vegi’s are better. according to Jamie Oliver cheaper & healthier too. I buy big 1kg bags but separate them into 4 smaller bags. Works out a lot cheaper. Just one idea to save.

        • Hayley April 28, 2017

          Hey Chene. That’s an awesome tip. We throw away a lot of unused veg every week, so that could work for us. I will chat to the Cook (aka Kurt) about it 🙂

  2. catjuggles August 15, 2016

    Oh I feel your pain – I am almost at the point where I feel I cannot cope with all it costs to keep the family fed and clean

    • Hayley August 15, 2016

      Ah…It’s not great!

  3. Julie August 15, 2016

    This weekend there was a wine sale at one of the bigger supermarkets so we decided to cash in on our hard earned loyalty points which we’ve been collecting for about 2 years – R2000 of ‘free ‘ wine. But when we looked at how much money we had spent, we were gobsmacked – about R200 000 in 2 years at one store!!!

    • Hayley August 15, 2016

      Wow. And here we think we are saving with these cash back rewards.

  4. Faziela August 15, 2016

    I swear I wrote this post. Hubby and I were just chatting about how we were able to live on R1000 for the month and it was more than enough. Now it barely covers the cost of electricity, I go about saving and pinching where I can but it’s like an endless battle. Even with a small veggie garden going, unfortunately can’t be a one income household in todays economy

  5. […] rocket, basil, cherry tomatoes, salad tomatoes, lemon balm, rosemary, and coriander. If you read my previous post, you will know how fed up I am with rotten store bought produce – so hopefully we can save […]

  6. Carina August 20, 2016

    Love your blog, so real.

    • Hayley August 20, 2016

      Ah thank you Carina x

  7. tanith August 23, 2016

    Things have become increasingly expensive, and i am finding that loyalty rewards points are not always handy – at a certain retailer they take forever to build and you are spending thousands just for a r100 back. even on double points days, which is just an incentive to make you spend more. The best rewards programme i’ve found is one affiliated with a major bank where you can shop at various stores and earn money. over the past two years hubby and i have used these points to buy our baby’s high chair as well as another big purchase for him (cannot recall off hand what it was), without adding anything extra to this. We are now saving these points for christmas presents.
    I understand that with the drought etc the quality of goods is not great, but then surely the price should reflect that quality – we are being charged ridiculous amounts for poor quality.

    • Hayley August 24, 2016

      Hi Tanith
      I agree – the quality of goods at some stores are not fair to consumers. They lower their prices but half of the goods is not edible! This is why many of us pay extra at other stores instead of wasting!
      Since I posted this, I am increasingly becoming encouraged to save and find other ways of saving, which I will share 🙂

  8. Natalija Cameron August 31, 2016

    Hi Hayley we used to have the same frustrations each month. But we’re managing to spend a lot less now than what we used to a year or two ago. I share how we manage each month on my blog. But prices have generally gone up a LOT. Especially since February. We’re also feeling the pinch and we don’t even have kids yet.

    • Hayley August 31, 2016

      Yep, there’s definitely been a spike in prices since the start of this year.
      Awesome – I’m going to check out your blog right now 🙂

  9. […] a concept I still have to wrap my mind around. Earlier this month, when I posted my thoughts on my exorbitant grocery shopping bills  a reader commented and gave me a really good idea. She said that she actually saves a lot of money […]

  10. Sally-ann September 15, 2016

    I feel exactly the same about grocery shopping. Its amazing how much we are spending on food. What I have also noticed is how stores or should I say suppliers are trying to rip us off by seemingly keeping the prices the same but making the packaging smaller. Take for instance a cadbury chocolate; it use to be 100g now 80g. We don’t notice immediately and they get away with it by making us think the stuff is on special. Aaargh. I get so frustrated by this. I would rather have the sizes the same and know I am paying more.

    • Hayley September 15, 2016

      That’s a very good observation Sally-Ann! I’ve especially noticed that with takeaways, the size of burgers and the rolls seem to get smaller every time we buy but the price keeps going up!

  11. […] over 6 weeks ago, I shared my frustration about the enormous amount of money I’ve been spending on groceries. Judging by the responses to the post, it seems that I am not the only one who’s feeling the […]

  12. […] over 6 weeks ago, I shared my frustration about the enormous amount of money I’ve been spending on groceries. Judging by the responses to the post, it seems that I am not the only one who’s feeling the […]

  13. Juwayra October 17, 2016

    Same here…I have a family of 5 and I too spend a fortune on groceries each month. It’s getting ridiculous!

  14. […] now know for sure that I’m not alone in my frustration with exorbitant grocery bills and its evident that most of us are looking for ways to save on this massive […]

  15. How much for a t-shirt? October 21, 2016

    […] Hayley recently started looking at how expensive grocery shopping is and wrote a few blog posts about it. Can I just add my 2 cents to it by saying that children’s clothing are also expensive? […]

  16. […] the blog, I moaned a lot about how much I was spending and got the conversation going about ways to save on that monthly […]

  17. […] year, after sharing my frustrations about high food prices, Daily Dish challenged me and my family to try out their service. Kurt, being the chef in our […]

  18. Donna May 1, 2017

    We’re a family of 4 …our daughters are aged 7 years and baby 8 months.
    We shop at one store for bulk of groceries but if items are cheaper everywhere else we go there. For fresh produce I go to woolies… only because their things stay fresher for so much longer… Like my mom says… sometimes.. goedkoop is duur koop… in English… loosely translated basically buying cheap can end up costing more… as you’ll have to throw away rotten things to buy the same thing 2 days later. So you end up spending more.
    I hunt around for specials where I can. All the time. and almost store has a loyalty card which helps Alot.. although you spend so much and only get a little back it does help.


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