Getting your Woolworths fix on a budget

BY JESS JOHNSON - MAY 12, 2015

Its 5:30 in the afternoon, you have just picked up your 3rd child from their 4th sporting activity of the day, you have a splitting headache, not helped by the whines and complaints of hungry children. The fridge is now so bare that even tossing together your last few carrots and sprinkling mint on them whilst saying  “oh but it’s the latest thing dear” just isn’t going to cut it.

You have reached an all- time low when you begin to question your own sanity because you are debating with yourself on the pro’s and cons’ of military school . Like a light bulb moment that magic W appears and your problems are so easily solved by a quick ready- made lasagne from Woolworths. 

I think it is safe to say that we have all experienced our magic W moments at one point or another. They come to us in all sorts of ways; when we are looking for something exotic or delicious midday snack station. Whichever, , we all rely on Woolworths for its convenience, its variety and the quality of its deliciously fresh ingredients.

The conundrum we face however is that we want the delicious taste of Woolworths and its ever fresh quality, but, as budgeting  is a way of life for many of us,  it’s putting a slight damper on our magic W moments.

With a new baby on the way my husband and I often find ourselves having a “family meeting” to discuss budgeting for the month ahead. My heart always sinks because it usually results in no more Woolworths shopping or else the inevitable threat of dry mac and cheese for a month arises.

So I have decided to experiment on one of my favourite Woolworths dishes, a cheat if you will, a way to get my Woolworths fix and not break the budget.  I am always inspired by the beautiful selection that lines the shelves in Woolworths and in particular the ready - made selection.  

The Asian beef noodle salad has always been my go-to for a take away lunch, so I thought it apt to use for my experiment. Ingredients include noodles, spinach, beef strips, yellow peppers and the Asian style seasoning mix. Its costs me R45 and yes, I eat the entire thing (pregnant!).

I went ahead and brought the individual ingredients, simply tossed them together with a fresh packet of Woolworths spinach, a 250g box of Asian style noodles and threw in two yellow peppers for colour. This cost me R90 in total and was enough to feed both my husband and myself for dinner that evening and, more importantly, I still had a little left over for my ‘on the go’ lunch the next day.

Essentially, what we have done for the cost of  two  ready- made meals for one is create a dinner for two, and lunch for moi. I still get my Woolworths fix and I save a little at the same time. 

My experiment worked so well that I tested it on a few more ready - made favourites and found the results were just as good. It’s like having a recipe book on the shelves of Woolworths. I simply read the ingredients and get to shopping. It’s safe to say my husband is a much happier man these days. 

Shopping at Woolworths is a treat and not a treat that I am so willing to give up. So the next time you have your magic W moment and find yourself wondering into Woolworths for that quick fix take away lunch or dinner, give my experiment a try and hold that Woolworths card high!