How to Shop When You’re Broke

I don’t know about you but around the 15th of every month I find myself counting down the days till pay day. I believe the best way to describe my situation is: “It’s Rough!” The money I have left on me has to somehow stretch till the end of the month. It was fine until I realised that I needed to go grocery shopping – not out of fun; but out of necessity.

Before I went to Checkers – not Woolworths – I made a list and set my budget. There was no way I was going spend beyond my means only to face stares from strangers as the cashier says, “mam, your card has been declined”.

I went down the aisles saying “NO” to the likes of Jacobs Krönung Coffee, and then quickly turning around to whisper, “I’ll come back for you when the time is right”. Suddenly the accountant in me came out and I started questioning everything before it went into the basket.

Why did I need to buy lunch from the canteen or make my own lunch when 2Minute Noodles cost R3,99 and seem like a balanced meal? Why did I need that Nivea 48hr moisture care lotion when I could go for a cheaper brand that would have me apply two maybe three times a day? Why did I need wine? Actually never mind … Cereal vs. old school tea and bread – a massive money saver if you think about it. But my best savings was buying the One Ply No Name Brand toilet paper instead of the expensive Two Ply Baby-Soft silky-smooth heaven-sent ones with the mini baby doggies on them oooo… no need for that stuff.

Eish… It’s times like these that I pull out my note pad and workout my income and expenses. After I’m done I feel as if I have control over my expenses, but then I never see that page again. But as they say “that’s all part of growing up”.

Many lessons learnt(ish) this month so this is my plan for next month:

  • Make a budget – I won’t fall for the “I just got paid so now I feel rich effect”… I won’t make it rain.
  • If someone offers to pay – I won’t say “no”. In fact I’m not even going to do the reach for my wallet thing.
I won’t be doing this.


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