Tuesday, 31 March 2015

The Jozi WAHM's Ultimate Guide to Budget Shopping in Jozi

In Jozi, we are fortunate to have plenty of options when it comes to shopping. However, this can also cause a drain on ones budget if you are not shopping savvy. From physical retailers, online shopping and even shopping on gumtree.co.za, here is how to get the most bang for your buck in the city of gold.

Grocery Shopping

We have a few tips for getting the most out of your grocery budget:

First of all, have a budget and stick to it religiously. There is one exception to the rule- when you find a sale that is too good to miss and it is something you will use and would have bought anyway, just in smaller quantities later on. The items I typically shop around for and then stockpile when cheap are larger ticket non-perishables such as nappies and washing powder which are significantly cheaper on sale.

However, there are some things to avoid when it comes to buying on sale. Be wary of falling into the trap of buying things that you otherwise would not have just because they are cheap (even if those marked down chocolates are screaming your name). Also, be cautious of buying stuff that you will not use up before they expire, as you will not be saving anything if half is thrown away. Lastly, while it is sometimes worth your while to shop around when some things are cheaper at one store than another, work out the value of your petrol (and time) and do the maths as to whether you are actually saving. 

When you head to the grocery store, make sure you do not do so on an empty stomach as this is sure to result in impulse purchases.

Look out for coupon discounts. While we do not have those crazy discounts you see on those American couponing reality shows (unless there is something I do not know- in which case please tell me!), you can save some money with coupons. You can download the Shoprite and Checkers apps for digital coupons, or look on the Unilever website. Pick 'n Pay now sends personalised coupons (I was freaked out the first time I received one because it was so tailor-made to me that it felt like they were stalking me a bit, but at least they send vouchers you will actually use). Again, when using these coupons, avoid falling into the trap of buying things you do not need and would not otherwise have bought.

Clothing shopping

With children's clothing, it is well worth waiting for end of season sales and buying neutral staples which will not go out of fashion in a bigger size for the following season. Branded items are often significantly cheaper at factory shops. It is also worthwhile checking what is available online.

Online shopping

Online stores are often able to offer better prices due to not having to have physical store premises. You also save on petrol and time going to a physical store (not to mention the frustration of having an emergency nappy change or hungry child just as you get to the front of a long queue).

Look out for voucher codes- stores like Kalahari, Takealot, Zando, Spree and BabyGroup often have substantial discount voucher codes- just Google the voucher codes for the relevant store online. Look out for periods when there are no delivery fee, or wait till you need enough from the relevant store to qualify for a waiver of the delivery fee.

Buying and selling second hand

Things that will only be used for a short period of time (for example baby goodies) are often far cheaper if you buy them secondhand, using an established site such as Gumtree (where you can literally find everything under the sun). For armchair shoppers, this is ultra convenient since you can compare prices for new and used items and get a good feeling for what the best prices out there are and whether new or used is the way to go.

It is also worth your while to sell larger items that you no longer use on sites such as Gumtree. You will de-clutter while cashing in (to get money to buy more stuff on Gumtree of course) and someone else will get to use items that would otherwise have collected dust. 

They even have a very user friendly Android app which allows you to find advertisements for goods (or service providers) located in your vicinity from your smartphone. 

This is how easy it is to place an ad on Gumtree via the app

Gumtree sometimes gets an unfair reputation for scams, but remember it is a convenient platform for you to buy and sell. They just provide the market place to enable transactions, putting you in touch with other buyers and sellers and you can use this as you see fit.  You should ensure that this platform is used responsibly (exercise caution in providing personal details such as bank account details to others, if selling do not send the item before receiving payment and if purchasing something in person, meet in a public place and take someone with you). Provided these precautions are taken, you are promised a happy shopping experience and an opportunity to save on items which otherwise would have costed significantly more.