Feeling the pinch? Make the most of your money with our top tips for being a smarter shopper. By Lisa Templeton
When the going gets tough, the tough get canny. There is little we can do about the economy, but we
can be clever about how we spend our hard-earned money. Our grannies would tell us: ‘waste not, want not’, and with that old saying in mind, here are some tips to get more bang for your buck.
Pop your food bills on a diet
Statistics show that our single biggest chunk of household expenditure – up to 25% – goes towards food, drink and tobacco. Time to trim it.
• Don’t just stick with your favourite supermarket. By shopping around, you may find better prices elsewhere.
• Not only that, but it could be more economical to split your shop, buying fruit and veg at one store and other groceries at another.
• Keep an eye out for special offers in newspapers and knock-and-drop fliers on items you buy often, and stock up when you find them at a good price.
• Buy in-season, local fruit and veg – transport costs drive up prices.
• Compare the prices of supermarket house brands, which can be cheaper than regular brands.
• Here is a sneaky one: do your big shop before you get paid.
• Buy in bulk and stash away. Toilet rolls in bulk, for example, can save you R1 per roll. Don’t forget, pet food is often a lot more economical in bulk too. Team up with your family or the neighbours if necessary.
• Cut out costly takeaways – rather whip up your own pizzas at home, even if you buy ready-made bases.
• Taking a fresh, home-made lunch or last night’s leftovers to work can save you R30 a day on average.
What your granny would say Shop with a list, don’t shop hungry and be disciplined about only buying what you need.
Be smart about looking smart
Knowing that you look great in what you’re wearing is good for the ego, but there is little worse for the ego than money woes, so be clever when going clothes shopping.
• Never forget the meat-and-potatoes rule: 70% of our wardrobes should be clothes we wear every day, either to work or on weekends. That does not mean that you don’t need some more glamorous date-night items, though. Most retail stores have end-of-season sales and discount deals, so check in store and hit some bargains.
• Ask yourself if the item works with at least three other items already in your cupboard. The old advice to mix and match still holds true.
What your granny would say Try to buy better quality clothes. While this means spending a bit more per item, beautifully manufactured clothes that are well stitched in good cloth with a great fit, or good quality shoes, will last a lot longer than cheap items.
Don’t let your spend on household goods go through the roof
Being house-proud is good. Spending on flatscreens or top-shelf microwaves you can easily live without, is not.
Try this exercise
For one month, commit to writing down everything you spend – absolutely every cent. At the end of the month, highlight areas where you may be wasting money. You may well find that those music downloads, fast-food lunches and nice coffees have cost you more than you think.