All things considered, January was a good month. I know that January can certainly be a very difficult month, which has also quite often been the case for us but not this year though, and I’m very grateful for that.


Towards the end of last year there were so many good specials and clearance sales, including Black Friday sales, and I’d managed to stock up on most of our basics for a lot longer than just a month ahead. This has been a huge money saver overall and so in January I didn’t have to do a whole lot of grocery shopping. In fact, this has now extended to February as well – I am still well below our grocery budget. I have been relying on quite a few items in my stockpile and have only had to replenish some of what we had used up over the past two months.


In terms of fresh produce, I relied quite a bit on reduced to clear/50% items from Checkers. We had plenty of fresh produce week after week for half the price. I also bought some items from the Apple Tree Food Market in Alberton. Over the past two months they’ve had some really good specials, for example, 1 whole bag of chillies for R14.99, a packet of 8 Sweetcorn for R4.99, 6 small Avos for R10.00, 1kg of Carrots for R7.99, 2 heads of Cabbage for R10.00, 1.5 kg box of Grapes for R20.00, Bananas for R5.00 per kg. I used the chillies to make fermented chilli relish, and the grapes to make grape konfyt, which will be lovely to enjoy in the coming winter months especially on pancakes or waffles.


Checkers, or rather this particular Checkers store that I often go to in our area, also had a variety of Padkos mixed dried fruit and nuts, and a number of healthy snack bars, on 50% clearance. These have come in handy for lunch boxes to take to work most of January and well into February as well. We’ve really enjoyed the dried ginger and naartjies in particular.


Throughout January, I carpooled which made it so much easier on our budget! Not only did I enjoy having company on the long drive to and from work, but sharing transportation costs really made a difference financially. It would be so nice if I had the opportunity to do that more often. And while I know that carpooling doesn’t make that much of a difference to national, or even global, rates of carbon emissions I like to think that I have done my bit, at least for a little while, by reducing my share in it.


January was also a month of lots and lots of sharing. I’ve made a few new friends, and not only did we enjoy sharing recipes and tips for a frugal living but we’ve also shared lots of homemade goodies. I had quite a few jars of peach jam, peach konfyt, grape konfyt and sweet pepper relish, as well as some lemons from our tree, and basil from my herb garden, to share and in return I was gifted a variety of chili sauces, curried brawn, homemade yoghurt, ginger biscuits and pickles as well as some fruits and veggies. This included a packet of broad beans which we have enjoyed and also planted some in our garden. These are now thriving at about 20 cm high in just over 3 weeks.


January is also a time when my car is generally due for its annual service. This is something that I budget for and the total cost is usually not a ‘surprise’, and this time it wasn’t either. However, a couple of small, additional items needed replacing as well, which was more of a shock to the system as we were asked to spend nearly R8,000.00 for this, and which we felt was just way too much. So we asked around and eventually found a garage that completed the job for R1,400.00, which included both the spare parts (unboxed, brand new) and the labour. It was just an hour’s work but what a huge difference in price! And what a relief for our budget! We’re still baffled as to why we were being asked to pay so much in the first place.


And to make January even better, I found out that I received R1,000.00 in my wallet from Snap ‘n’ Save just for referring the most number of friends in December! I was totally surprised to receive the phone call from Tifanny, from Snap ‘n’ Save, but absolutely thrilled nonetheless. Now that we have the option of transferring money from our Snap ‘n’ Save wallets to our bank account, it was so easy to incorporate my Snap ‘n’ Save cash back rewards I’d been saving up to use in January anyway, as well as my friend referral bonus, into our monthly, grocery budget for February. Thank you Snap ‘n’ Save!


Snap n Save Natalija Cameron December friend invite winner


So all in all, January was a good month.


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