I just had lunch for under R25. And it was PROPER good. Colour me surprised!

Now wait – just before you go off on a tangent accusing me of being all sorts of overpaid white male privilege, which I am not, let me explain my surprise.

Back in 2012 when I started my new job in Stellenbosch, I was very firmly ensconced in a scarcity mentality – and the cost of everything was too much. I was fresh into my new sober life and had spent several months without a salary, so eating out or buying lunch was a luxury I couldn’t consider. But at Mxit, we were given a digital lunch wallet that allowed us to spend around R40 a day buying lunch from local eateries – a properly nice work perk to have! I decided to try something from as many of the local eateries as possible, and write a blog series on the perfect sub-R30 lunch.

Life didn’t work out that way. My inability to exercise any form of moderation meant that I spent the full month’s budget on lavish lunches within the first few days. And then I’d had to dip into my salary for more of the same for the rest of the month, where “the rest of the month” was usually until the 9th or the 10th before I was on financially imposed rations of 2-minute noodles, or more often than not – nothing at all for lunch.

It is two and a half years later and slowly the rules of moderation are coming to bear fruit. I have my own Tupperware and often make my own lunch of sandwiches and treats and sometimes, even, healthy food. My mother would be proud. But when I am not taking my own, I buy lunch – and that old habit of overspending is still a thing. Sushi or whole trays of buffet lunches and all the attendant havoc this plays with my monthly budget.

To be honest, I was starting to believe that a sub-R30 lunch was impossible, unless you were just having a sad Pick-n-Pay sandwich. You know the ones. They taste of sadness and despair and cardboard, without salt. Until today. Because Pick-n-Pay in Claremont completely surprised me with their lunch offerings. I picked up a freshly-baked steak pie, an energy drink of the most sugar-and-caffeine-infused-sort and a pack of crisps – all for just less than R25! And it was good food! Not the taste-impoverished, stale fare I was used to from Stellenbosch’s Dorp Street Checkers deli counter.

Bargain, yet tasty
Bargain, yet tasty

Of course it would be cheaper if I just made my own lunch at home and brought it to work with me. But laziness and dysamania prevail most mornings. It’s taken two and a half years, but finally – a more than palatable lunch has been unearthed for under R30! Cross that item off my bucket list, then!

In fact, I would conclude that #NotAllLunches under R30 are shit.

© Dave Luis 2014. All Rights Reserved.

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