Throughout every age and generation, there has been evidence that people have always lived a “consumer” lifestyle. We have daily needs to take care of like food and shelter and needs we’ve developed for convenience sake, like better transport and fuel.
At the same time, our lives are constantly bombarded with new and interesting ways to spend our money. From fashion, gadgets, and entertainment, to home, kitchen and bathroom wares. Even just standing in line to pay for your goods, you’re surrounded by sweets, snacks, and electronic accessories vying for your hard-earned money.
If we are not careful, we can find ourselves running out of money without realising why. In an effort to help you save better, here are ways to help you manage your money by shopping smarter:
Have a Budget
A budget is the first and best way for you to make sure you’re spending right. You can use a budget to list and categorize your monthly expenses. This makes it easier to know what are needs and what are your general expenses.
- Make Lists: Get into the habit of making a list of your expenses like transport to work, take-away, data, and every little expense. You’ll soon learn what kind of spending habit you have, and how to best manage it.
- Set Stringent Spending: It’s easy to find yourself spending more than you initially planned to when you go shopping. Find ways to keep your spending down, like drawing exactly how much you’ll need in cash and only spending that amount.
Look Out for Sales/Deals
The current state of our economy and financial state has taken quite a knock, in light of the recent pandemic, resultant job losses, increased price of food products and higher VAT. As certain parts of life become expensive, it only makes sense to start looking for cheaper alternatives.
Research by Nielsen reveals that consumers have steadily become price sensitive over time. Tiger Brands have revealed that:
- Two-thirds of shoppers compare prices between brands.
- 70% of consumers will buy a bulk-pack or a bigger version of an item, if it’s on special.
If you spend time looking, you’ll find that there are sales and specials everywhere, that you can take advantage of.
- Print Media: Newspapers are still one of the main mediums people use to find specials. Most stores have leaflet pull-outs inside your local newspaper, listing their current specials. Use them.
- Apps: There’s been a big boom in the tech world, where companies now create custom apps for their stores and give discounts for using the app. Find out if your favourite store has an app and what discounts, specials or offers they have.
- Point and Cash Rewards: Check with your local stores if they have a Rewards card like a SmartShopper card. Some banks also offer ways to earn points or cash rewards to use across stores nationwide.
Take Care Buying On Credit or Loan
The reason buying on credit looks so pleasing is because the expensive item you want becomes an affordable buy. You feel you can manage setting aside a couple of Rands a month towards that TV, cellphone, etc.
While all of this is true, remember that you are then locked into a contract you’re obligated to pay for however long. Failure to pay can lead to getting blacklisted or having a low credit score.
- Prioritise Needs Over Wants: Ask yourself if you absolutely need to buy that item immediately. How will that money going out of your account affect your lifestyle for the next 12 to 24 months?
- Save First: Think about putting that monthly debit into a savings account instead. You can save your money until you have enough and escape the contract trap.
Use a Savings Group
Communities have been known for using a stokvel, to save money towards their goals. It works the same as putting money aside yourself, with the possible advantage of getting the money early in your rotation.
There are also Grocery stokvels where members put money together and buy groceries in bulk, and getting an equal share.
- Start a Stokvel: You might find others around you who could benefit from a grocery stokvel, like family, colleagues or hobby groups. You can set how often you do it and how much each person contributes.
Remember, smart saving doesn’t mean you have to live under your means, it means managing your money well. There are many ways for you to shop smart and still save big.
United African Stokvel offers different Savings Options you can use to save money towards your goals.
Start a 6-Month Flexi stokvel for example, and know that every six months you get a savings pay-out you can repeat. Planned right, you’ve got the cold June/July days sorted and December/January expenses covered.
Contact our consultants and find out how you can save towards financial freedom – even when you’re out shopping.
United African Stokvel is always looking for ways to help our members. This blog is intended to help our members think about their finances in a different way. This information is not intended to be a substitute for a financial advisor, you should consult with a financial advisor before relying on this information.