I’m not starving, I’m just stingy

In my most recent blog entry I claimed that food was the centrepiece of my 2009 African adventure.

That was a bit of fallacy. As hungry as I was, I was also extremely stingy.

Ask my three housemates about the time I returned a discounted box of baby tomatoes to the local supermarket to claim a R10 ($1.50) refund.

Or perhaps you could ask them about my visit to the town’s brand new KFC. For months I had been awaiting the opening of this franchise, only to purchase two small chicken wings – the cheapest option on the menu – once the big day finally arrived.

My most notable cost-cutting achievement, however, took place before a five-day backpacking expedition to Swaziland.

I spent my time in Swaziland trekking past wild animals and cycling atop steep hilltops. It was a high-energy holiday, with little time for breaks.

To keep me going, it would have made sense to grab some meaty, high-carbohydrate meals.

But no, those were far too expensive.

Instead I settled for a couple of sandwiches and some cookies. Over those five days I spent just R43 on food, the equivalent of $6.45.

I am as thrifty as my appetite is large. And I’m willing to starve on occasion if it means saving money.

My menu for the week (click to enlarge).

This philosophy has made me the perfect candidate for Live Below the Line.

On Sunday night I went out shopping with my mother and together we sought out the best bargains. My best purchase came from the bargain trolley at the Chinese grocery store, where I picked up a large eggplant (roughly the size of two cricket balls) for 25 cents and a bag of lettuce for 50 cents.

On day one of my mission, both the eggplant and lettuce bag came in very handy, the former giving my dinner taste and the latter giving my lunch roll mass.

Below is my shopping list for my five-day diet:

1 x tuna in oil, 425g – $1.89
1 x soy linseed grain loaf – $1.50
7 x rolls – $0.97
8 x red apples – $0.83
7 x mandarins – $0.69
1 x pasta penne – $0.59
2 x tomatoes – $0.53
1 x lettuce – $0.50
1 x capsicum – $0.49
2 x potatoes – $0.42
1 x banana – $0.34
2 x eggs – $0.32
1 x eggplant – $0.25
1 x onion – $0.22
60g sultanas – $0.20
1 x carrot – $0.15
TOTAL = $10.01

Yes, I know; I went over the limit. If it’s any consolation I probably won’t eat all of my bread.

To donate to Live Below the Line, head to https://www.livebelowtheline.com/me/kevinhawkins

Not convinced yet? Tom Nice will make you think otherwise…