Become a ‘smart shopper’ part 2

Remember all those times you have popped out to the grocery store, just to pick up a few small items, and came home with 3 shopping bags full?

Can you remember what happened when you got to the shops to cause this?  Shopping can be rewarding or maddening. We buy stuff we need. We buy stuff we want.And sometimes we buy stuff we neither need nor want, not always knowing why.

Last week, we gave you the first 4 tips - this week, we will give you the final pointers to help you on the road to making your pay packet go further.

Price Comparisons - Am I going to the right shop?

When you shop, how do you know that you are going to the right shop? For example:

Which shop do you think is the cheapest for Milk?

How sure are you that this shop is the cheapest?

When did you last check prices at different shops?

Keep a list of the items you buy most often. When you see a product, check the price and write it down.

This way you will learn over time where the best places to buy your weekly and monthly goods are.

Plan your shopping trip

It’s important to plan your shopping trips - and how often you shop. Some groceries can last months, some only a week.  If you shop once a month where it  is cheapest to buy your long-life staples, the rest of the month you can pick a closer shop for your fresh items. This technique will save you money, but you have to be organised. You must:

Plan your main shopping trip carefully, so you don’t forget anything.

Be aware which shops offer the best monthly specials on your staples

Continue to compare prices with the other shops you visit the rest of the month.

Ask yourself, “are transport costs going erode the value of the discounts I get?”

By doing your main shopping at the beginning of the month, you’ll be able to plan the rest of the month’s money. If you run low on money later in the month, you’ll know you can still feed your family.

The Hidden Extras

Even remembering small things like brining your own shopping bags will save you money.

For example:  If you buy 6 bags for your big monthly shop and 3 every week for your fresh groceries that is 18 bags a month. That is 216 bags per year - and at 45t per bag it is costing you P97.20

Although that is not a huge amount of money, it is wasted money you could have used for more important needs - by simply planning ahead and re-using your bags.


Beware of Specials

and Advertising

It has become a tradition that we expect to be offered specials and items that are ‘on sale.’ This is because advertising is trying to tell us that we need to buy things today.‘get it now while stocks last’ ‘limited offer - expires at end of month’ ‘buy now, pay later’.

It’s important to plan your purchases rather than to buy on impulse or because credit is available. The questions you have to ask yourself are:


How important is it to

have something NOW?

Do I NEED it, or just want it?

Can I afford to pay the extra to have it now, or … can I plan and save for it? Advertising also gets us to buy more than we need: ‘get 2 for the price of 1’ ‘buy 6 get 1 free’ ‘free gift with every purchase’

Are these specials really going to help? If you have only planned to buy 1 on your grocery list, but you are offered a special that allows you to buy 3 for the price of 2, can you afford to take advantage of the special?

If the item you are buying is going to ‘go off’ there may be no point buying 3 of them - you end up throwing things away when it goes off because you haven’t had time to use it.

Research has shown that on average we throw away 15 percent to 50 percent of food products because they have expired! Do not forget it is actual money you are throwing away, so shop smart!


“Brand Awareness - Are you

a ‘conditioned’ shopper?

Often, we do not look for the cheapest goods on the shelf – we are conditioned by branding in our choice of product.

Are you buying this brand out of ‘tradition’? Many of us make buying decisions based on our tradition – e.g. “Which product did my Mother choose?”

Are you buying this brand because of advertising?

Others of us will choose the brand based on what advertising has told us, we are often influenced by which one has the better advert, or has managed to make their names stick in our minds.

Why is that we often refer to washing powder as Omo, or when we picture a can of baked beans we think Koo, or we think Coke when we want a cool drink.

By choosing products by brand name, you may be overlooking areas where you can save some money in your grocery budget.

Ask yourself: Is the brand you buy the cheapest on the shelf? Is it the best product on the shelf? Does it do the job well? Is it the tastiest? Is it the best quality?

If you have tested all the brands and you still choose the most expensive, then you’re making an educated choice. If you have not tested the other brands, you are buying out of habit, tradition, or clever marketing. Ask yourself “Can I afford to waste this money by choosing a brand?”


Author: Somo Modikwa – Business Development Manager with S.C.I. Training (Pty) Ltd. © S.C.I. Training is a BQA accredited training institution specialising in Financial Education. We also offer Ethical Collection services for companies with debtors and Debt Counselling services for those in financial distress. For help and information contact 3180111 or 75114375 or [email protected]

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