December 2019: The holiday season is famous for lazing around and spending time with family and friends. It is a great time to catch up and relax however during this time, we also tend to overindulge on those unhealthy food choices which can be a bit costly and add a few extra centimetres to our waistline.
While it’s great to let your hair down during the holiday season, we urge consumers to watch their spend on food items. “Food costs have escalated due to rising inflation and economic pressures. Your monthly budget needs to be monitored regularly. Besides the increase in the cost of food items, our food choices during this period are quite unhealthy as we choose to celebrate and unwind as the year draws to a close,” says Ester Ochse, Head of product Money Management.
Budgeting is of utmost importance during the year. It will not only help you identify where you need to save more but also help you identify where your debt has increased.
Whilst many consumers choose to cook their own food and have carefully curated grocery lists, there are some that opt to buy pre-cooked meals or fast-food daily. “A home cooked meal is healthy, lets you be creative with meal preparation and ensures that there less food wastage. It is also a great opportunity to get the family involved and bond as a family,” says Ochse. “On the other hand, those consumers that prefer pre-cooked meals or fast-food need to factor extra costs into their monthly budgets as food costs can escalate quite quickly.”
As you start the New Year, compare your weekly ‘home cooked’ and ‘fast food’ purchases and see which one will cost you more. “Cooking is not a tedious activity and can be quite relaxing especially if you are organised and know what you are making. Limit the easy 24-hour fast food outlets. Whilst these are convenient and easily accessible, they are unhealthy and costly. This does not mean you should not have take-aways at all, but rather use them for a special occasion or as a treat”
Ochse identifies her ideal food checklist over the holiday season:
- Ensure that you plan your meals. This will help you determine what you will be making each day. Work on a 5-day week as we spend much of our time over the weekends out and about with family and friends. Also if you do meal prep once a week this has the benefit of opening up time in the rest of the week of some relaxation.
- Create a grocery list of what you going to buy. This will also help you estimate how much your meals will cost on a weekly basis. It also allows you to be creative and try different meals each day. Estimated cost per week: R 900
- Look through adverts for the latest food discounts or specials. That extra percentage can help you save which can be used elsewhere in your budget such as reducing short term debt.
- Limit fast foods to once a week or ideally over the weekend or when you out with friends. Ensure that you factor this into your entertainment budget and try not to go over. Estimated cost R 300 per person
- Those daily coffees do add up. Rather invest in a coffee flask and make your own coffee at home to get you started on your day. There is also the environmental benefit.
- Consider buying non-perishable items in bulk. You will not only save a bit more but it will also save you the time and petrol to run to the shops everyday.
We all love good food and it tastes even better when we with friends and family. “Bottom line is to manage your budgets and ensure that you stay within your limits, so that you don’t overspend, waste and add those KGS that you tried to lose during the year,” concludes Ochse.
INFO SUPPLIED BY FNB. Ester Ochse, is Head of product Money Management at FNB.
Pic sourced from Google.