The TV is not fixed…Using a workaround…We stumbled on a way to save on groceries and eat like royalty…Who knew it could be done?…

A thick-tailed bush baby enjoying yogurt we left out for her. These larger bush babies aren’t as cute as the little species.

Late yesterday afternoon, the owner of this condo, Zoltan, stopped by to help us get the sound to work when plugging my laptop into the HDMI cord. Zoltan brought a new HDMI cord to see if that was the problem. It was not. We spent at least an hour trying to find a setting or solution to keep us from having to use our JBL Bluetooth portable speaker.

Alas, we didn’t find a solution. However, after making many changes to the settings on the TV, we found ourselves unable to revert to our initial workaround using our speaker. We had no sound using any method. Determined as I was working with Zoltan, I asked him if we could retrace our steps and get our original workaround working once again. That took another half hour.

Finally, we resolved the issue and returned to the original setup we’d been using. Whew! Once we leave here on March 31, Zoltan will have to find a way for other renters to stream shows using their laptops. However, the Samsung TV is a Smart TV, and if I had known all the passwords for the multiple streaming services we use, we could have used the various links offered on the TV.

In most countries, the TV monitors are not Smart TVs, and we haven’t ever used the features provided to get into Netflix, Prime, and Hula, for example. But we are also currently using Paramount+, Peacock, and others. I didn’t feel like going in to change all the passwords, many of which we’d had for years. Many of our passwords are automatically set up by Google, and the system remembers them when we try to log in.

Oh well, we’re back to our initial setup, and we’re okay with that for the remainder of the time we are here another two months. We leave here on March 31. Gosh, the time is flying by quickly.

Tonight, Richard and his girlfriend are coming here to see our place, and then the four of us will walk down the one flight of stairs for the short walk to Luna Rossa, where we’ll have dinner. I made the reservations for 6:45, so we’ll eat later than usual, as we did last night. We are excited to share this lovely condo and its location with our first visitors since we arrived almost six weeks ago.

I wanted to share what we consider somewhat of a phenomenon, although on a small scale, of how we’re saving hundreds of dollars on groceries each month. I know we’ve mentioned this in the past. But this morning, I submitted this week’s online order from Smith’s Marketplace, delivered by Instacart using our Boost membership as described below. (Kroger owns Smith’s):

“Kroger Boost membership fees are $59 per year for next-day delivery or $99 per year for same-day delivery. Both options require a minimum order of $35. 

Boost is part of Kroger’s Kroger Plus loyalty program. Kroger Loyalty program members can enroll in Boost online and pay the fee with a credit or debit card. Members can cancel their Boost membership before the end of their first year by visiting their membership page.”
When we arrived here, we shopped a few times in person to get essential supplies, most of which we’ve since used, except for about $30 in various spices I ordered on Amazon. As shown above, we selected the annual fee of $59 since we plan ahead enough not to need same-day delivery.
As the weeks marched on, I noticed that our weekly/monthly grocery bill now averages about $150 weekly. This is about $75 less per week than we’d spend if we shopped in person at the market. How is this possible? See our list below:

1. The elimination of impulse buying. Also, when preparing the online order, I don’t do so when I’m hungry, which is often suggested for those who suffer from impulse buying.

2. Planning a menu for the week, most often using recipes, and only buying the times needed as indicated on the recipes(s)

3. When running low or out of an item, instead of writing it down, go to the app and enter the item(s) immediately on the list of other items to be ordered.

4. Be willing to eat leftovers not only to save money but also to save time. I often make a recipe we love to last for three nights.

5. Submit the order based on your selected program, either next-day or same-day delivery, to avoid paying extra fees.

6. Pay special attention to coupons offered in the app. We often save $10 to $15 on needed coupon items, but… if the item is not required, don’t add it. Most often, it’s a one-click process to use the coupon, which will automatically be reflected in the total bill.

7. Tips are automatically included in the total price. Stick with the tips suggested by the system instead of paying an additional amount. If you pay more, pay it in cash when the delivery is ordered to avoid the system automatically filtering the higher amount for subsequent orders.

8. Use up your perishables to avoid food waste. It is a rare occasion that we’ll throw out any food. The only exception to that was when we were in South Africa during lengthy power outages (load shedding). We have no food waste with the inverter system in the house we usually rent.

9. Be willing to freeze uneaten leftovers. Each time I make a more time-consuming recipe, I purposely store a fourth portion in the freezer. Those are when we may have planned to go out to dinner and changed our minds, preferring to eat at home. Also, frozen leftovers are ideal for busy days when there isn’t ample time to make a new meal. Often, on those occasions, all I have to do is make a fresh salad and cook the frozen entree in the oven or microwave, whichever you prefer.

Our food bill may be less than others since we don’t buy unhealthy snack items such as chips, cookies, cakes, and candy. However, if you are trying to save money in these tough economic times with increased costs, it might be a good time to rethink such purchases and put hundreds of dollars back in your pocket.

When we were in the US on past visits, spending up to $250 a week was easy, considering we ate high-quality meats and vegetables. Right now, we are spending an average of $150 a week, although, on occasion, we may purchase some staples from Amazon. Yesterday, I saw Amazon had a great price on garbage bags and zippered gallons for storage bags. I had both items on the grocery app but removed them to ensure no duplicates were purchased. I ordered the two items and received them in less than 24 hours without a shipping fee since we also belong to Prime.

In most countries and other US cities, you can set up a regular online grocery order app that works for you. It’s not exclusively through Kroger/Smith’s, delivered by Instacart.

That’s it for today, folks. Have a fantastic “hump day.”

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, January 24, 2014:

A pair of waterbucks, posing from afar, across the Crocodile River. Waterbucks do not live in Marloth Park. But they can be seen on the banks of the river on the Kruger National Park side. For more, please click here.