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I Tried to Grocery Shop on a Measly $35

Full time uni and full time poor - Debate’s Sophia Romanos gave the humble aisles of Pak’nSave a go to see if you can still get bang for your buck.

You don’t need to have a smartass business double major friend to know Auckland living is approximately way too much.

According to incredibly reliable source Barfoot and Thompson, Auckland rent prices are, on average, $184 per person per week. That’s 70.7 cheeseburgers. Once we chuck a good $30 on there for bills and internet that’ll support your MAFS streaming addiction - you’re poor, cheeseburgerless and hanging around for the next Tuesday payment again.

As much as their Six60 waiting music makes me want to hurl my phone at the wall, Studylink can really save your ass and I appreciate that $220 as much as the next student. I’m now at the point where I’m re-thinking the purchase of cheese for the top of my tacos. I know, that’s pretty fucking low. I still buy the avocado obviously, I’m not a complete animal.

And so, my dear, broke friends, I hit up the faithful Pak’nSave we know and love. Throwing it back to my first year budget of $35, I thought I’d see what it would get me these days. Here’s what I bought with my luxurious total:

Carrot: $0.14 Just one. Grate it in your taco but don’t go crazy. That’s enough veggies for one day.

Bananas (x3): $1.23 Did someone say protein gains? No, they just said “cheapest fruit to ever exist”. Cool, cool, cool. Why three? Well you can chop up half a banana on your muesli each morning and it’ll last you almost the whole week. You’re welcome.

Bread: $2.79 Breakfast, lunch and poor dinner. Don’t underestimate the versatility of the humble bread loaf. Multigrain is also available. Health.

Almond milk: $3.00 Not because I’m vegan, but because I’m a huge wanker. Doesn’t go off as quickly as normal milk so you can pour tiny splashes into your muesli for three solid weeks. Don’t take my word on that.

Pesto: $3.89 The perfect accompaniment to the pasta you have yet to find in aisle 3.

Pasta: $0.94 You even get the luxury of spiral or penne!? What a great world we live in.

Toilet paper: $2.99 Don’t be the flatmate that never buys anything to contribute to the flat. Two ply, 12 pack. Don’t splurge more than necessary, your bum won’t mind waiting until you get a real job and can afford three ply.

Shitty Pinot Gris: $8.79 Always get a pinot over a sav when you’re paying this dirty price - it tastes less like the shit it is. This one had the nerve to be called ‘First Pick’. Funny, because if I had real income this would be my last fucking pick. One bottle will do the job for a night unless you’re one of those filthy people who travel to Dunedin especially for O Week and back again. Then maybe get a second bottle.

Shapes: $3.00 One of those things you unload at the checkout last in case you can’t afford it or get over your craving. Great snack for uni though...or to rip into on the car ride home.

Tacos: $3.00 Easiest thing to make since your Kmart tent at R&V.

Avocado: $5.99 They only sold a two pack and now I’ve broken the bank. Slap it on your Tip Top loaf and you will feel as rich as your friends that still live at home.

Chili beans: $2.25 No one wants an empty taco...and you can’t afford chicken.

TOTAL: $38.01

Crap, I forgot muesli and I’m still over budget. Is it too late to move back home?

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