Tightening belts: Needs, not wants, are what matter

2013-05-19 10:00

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

‘For us it’s about needs, no longer wants. The standard of living is very expensive,” says Toffie Grové (52).

Toffie and his wife, Esme, live in a three-bedroom house in Joburg on the grounds of the school where they both work, as a caretaker and office manager, respectively.

Food is one of the biggest expenses for their family of four.

“We spend more than R4?000 a month on food. Sometimes I buy the meat in bulk – that’s the rare times when we actually buy mutton,” says Toffie.

Esme adds: “But that only happens when there is money available, because we would be spending about R2?000 on meat.”

Their monthly grocery list includes basics such as eggs, rice and vegetables including butternut, baby marrow and salad greens.

Toffie says they try to save on food costs by making a stew that lasts for two to three meals, or macaroni and cheese.

Most meals cost them between R80 to R120 for them and their two children, who are both at university.

Esme says their salary increases don’t come close to covering the food, petrol and electricity price hikes that have been imposed in the past two years.

“We’ve had to cut back. We’ve gone to eating takeaways only two to three times a month, unlike we used to,” says Toffie, adding that sit-down meals at restaurants are more expensive because one has to leave a tip.

“Sometimes, when our two kids have gone out, we quickly make a turn to Spur or something and have a sit-down meal. It’s cheaper when its just the two of us,” says Esme.

The Grovés have not just cut out luxuries, but have downgraded their medical aid from a “very good one to just a good one”.

“And we do a lot of self-medicating for regular ailments like the flu. Compare R80 for over-the-counter medication to R500 when you visit a doctor. It only makes sense,” says Toffie.

Holidays, previously spent in the KwaZulu-Natal coastal town of Port Edward, are now planned to destinations in Limpopo and Mpumalanga “to save petrol”.

But they haven’t skimped on dog food.

“What we’ve found is that when you buy the more expensive dog food it actually lasts longer than the cheaper stuff. Boela (their bull terrier) gets all his nutrients and doesn’t need to eat a ton. We buy a bag for R140, which lasts for the month,” says Toffie.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.