Don’t let VAT spoil your appetite!

Written by Your Future Now

Former Finance Minister, Malusi Gigaba, announced the 1% increase in VAT in his budget speech. This is not the best news for many South Africans. Fortunately, there are ways to dodge this bullet. One of these ways includes being a savvy grocery shopper.

VAT-free food list

In South Africa, we don’t pay VAT on these 19 types of food:

  • Brown bread
  • maize meal
  • Brown wheaten meal
  • Dried beans
  • Dried mealies
  • Mealie rice
  • Pilchards
  • Samp
  • Lentils
  • Milk powder
  • Milk
  • Dairy powder blend
  • Cultured milk
  • Rice
  • Fresh vegetables
  • Fresh fruits
  • Vegetable oil
  • Eggs
  • Legumes

This list is not as simple as you may think. For example. a loaf of brown bread is VAT free, but you would pay VAT on a brown bread sandwich. The basic principle is that if a food item has been processed then you pay VAT on it. This also applies to items that are part of a ready-made meal.

The 19 types of food can go a long way to keeping your food budget under control. It can help you lead a healthier lifestyle. You can’t go wrong with fresh fruit and vegetable. Eggs, legumes, and pilchards are also nutritious for you.

You can create a shopping list and meal plan from the list above. Check out the seven -day meal plan out together using the same list. This was compiled by the Nutrition Information Centre from the University of Stellenbosch.

Low-VAT Meal Plan

Being aware of how you do your grocery shopping fits right in with the principles of knowing, planning, controlling and growing your money.

  1. Know your money: understand your needs, wants and future goals.
  2. Plan your money: budget monthly and set aside money for special occasions and for special treats.
  3. Control your money: only spend money you have and keep track of your expenses. Never pay for goods on credit if you can not afford to repay it.
  4. Grow your money: save for life’s major events in advance and include your partner in sharing your money plans and goals.


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