Frugal Challenge: Surviving on R100 Of Food For Five Days in South Africa

Why would I punish myself this way? Many of you might not know but in South Africa, the minimum wage is R3500 per month. A large percentage of the population lives on this type of salary or even less. When I heard this I realized that I take too much for granted.

And complain too often.

I know who lives this way and I realized if I want to turn empathy into sympathy I first need to walk in the shoes of those I want to sympathize with.


The current problem is job scarcity and underpayment. It is estimated that 11 million people in the country live on less than 2000 calories per day. This means they are underfed and most likely nutrition deficient. What a massive impact this is going to have on the healthcare sector in a few years I can barely imagine.

There is also huge gender discrimination in South Africa’s labor market, and women suffer the most. This was identified when studies revealed,  households that are headed by women suffer more greatly. And that domestic violence increases(targetting women) when the income of the household decreases.

We are also in the top three most unequal countries in the world, which means there is a massive gap between our rich people’s income and the poor people’s income.

…over 51% of the people in our country live on less than R1,036.07 per month (2016)

The government has come up with a minimal wage formula to tackle the income gap amongst South Africans. They have decided on R3500 per month or R2o per hour. There is hope that a minimum wage will encourage the youth to start working and thereby reducing the unemployment crisis.

The farm workers and domestic workers will benefit the most once the legalization is in place.

Thank you to the South African Government who made the treasury available online and made it possible for me to use as an accurate and informative source for this article.

My Goal

I am going to share with you what I will eat in a week (trying to keep it as healthy as possible) while staying in a budget of R100. I am stretching this challenge over a five day period.

My husband agreed to join me in the challenge. That will help a lot since we can buy bulk and split the amount between us to save more.

My plan goes as follows, I am going to buy all the ingredients at once and then make the most of the food ahead of time. To ensure no temptation wins me over into buying outside of my budget. I am using my bread machine to bake my own bread. I am working full time during the week and I don’t want to worry about preparing food on weekdays. That is why I am planning ahead.

Here is a list of the things we bought:


More planning…

Unfortunately, there is no room for snacks or desserts. I am planning to drink some coffee and milk which is available to us at the office. Most of the jobs do offer these facilities to their employees. I know the retail industry does, so I thought appropriate to incorporate it into my meal plan. Since retail has a very large amount of employees.

As with any other diet plan, this one required me to plan and think ahead of time. I will have to watch the budget very closely while doing grocery shopping, as R100 is so little nowadays.

I  am going to make lentil and cabbage soup. Then I can alternate between the soup and cheese sandwich for dinner or lunch. Two on rye toast will be my breakfast.

Luckily I am not bothered by eating the same food every day.

What The Challenge Taught Me

I realized that I definitely live on so much more than I need. The society’s perception of ‘good living’ set such high standards that sometimes leaves us feeling deprived. This makes it difficult to feel content with what we have. After this challenge, I realized that I am so blessed! And I made a decision that:

I choose to compare myself with those less fortunate than me. So I can count my blessings. Rather than comparing myself with those who have more, only to feel deprived.

I hope that I inspired you to see the world out of a different perspective today. I wish that you will see all your blessings for what they are, true blessings!


2 thoughts on “Frugal Challenge: Surviving on R100 Of Food For Five Days in South Africa”

  1. Hi Anne
    Baie insiggewend en ‘n oulike ‘Block’ wat jy begin het!!
    Hou so aan en ons put ook oulike wenke van jou af, later as jy tyd het doen jy dit in Afrikaans ook haha!!
    Liefde T.Mariejtie


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