Eight tips to budget shop like a pro
With prices going up and belts getting tighter, here are some simple tips to stretch your hard-earned rands even further.
Tip #1: Always shop with a list
Think of your list as a map to keep you on track. If you stick to it, you won’t give in to those impulse buys, and it will save you having to make a second trip to the shops for items you’ve forgotten. If you really want to go high tech, download an app like Out of Milk, which allows you to create and share shopping lists. Also, take a calculator with you so you can stick to your budget.
Tip #2: Never shop on an empty stomach
Make sure you’re not starving while you’re prowling the supermarket aisles. You’re far more likely to throw in some extra snacks or be tempted by the sweets in the checkout queue.
Tip #3: Plan your menu in advance
You’ll be taking all the guesswork out of your shopping list if you take a little time to plan what you’re going to feed your family in the week ahead, and buy accordingly.
Tip #4: Check out the specials
Supermarket specials are a great way to get more for your money, but always be cautious and make sure they really are good prices and not some clever marketing ploy. “Buy two and save R10” might not be so true when you compare the unit or per kilogram price of the item.
Tip #5: Work the rewards programmes
Just about every retailer has a rewards programme these days. They use data and analytics to see what items are most often on your shopping list, and customise coupons and specials to your shopping habits. So, if you work the system well, you’re likely to make some significant savings.
Tip #6: Keep track
Always check that the scanned prices at the till are the same as what’s on the shelf. It’s also a good idea to save your slips. That way you can track your expenditure. Remember also to compare prices between the different brands. The pricecheck.co.za app is useful, especially for big-ticket items and appliances.
Tip #7: Buy in bulk
We’re not saying go out there and buy 10kg of chicken (unless, of course, it’s at a very good price and you have a really big freezer). If you are planning to buy in bulk, stick to pantry goods with a shelf life, such as pasta and flour, and essentials like cleaning products and loo paper.
Tip #8: Buy in season
Fresh produce is much cheaper if you buy what’s in season. And while we’re talking fruit and veg, you’ll notice there’s quite a difference in price between loose produce and the nicely packaged, diced and peeled stuff. Remember, in the latter case, you’re going to be paying anything from R5 to R10 more for the convenience.
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