Tight times call for tight shopping regimes

2016-09-22 06:00

IT’S expensive to eat, not only at restaurants, but at home too.

According to information released by Stats SA on Tuesday, household final consumption expenditure increased by one percent in the second quarter. The main sources of the increase were miscellaneous goods and services and health services.

Consumers are finding it difficult to put food on the table - literally - while some are cutting back on trips to the salon, eating at restaurants and other spoils, others have found a way to live and eat comfortably.

Samantha Nadel, a single Southport resident, says she spends roughly R500 a month on food.

So how does she do it - she bargain-hunts.

“I am the queen of bargain hunting. I go to stores and look for their ready-made meals, which have been marked down. They can be put into the freezer and then reheated or put into the oven when I’m ready to eat it,” she said.

Nadel added these items have not expired and she buys them for half the original price.

“I also scout certain shops when I am in certain areas and see what items they have on sale.”

Denise Botha, a single Ramsgate mother of two, says although times are tough, she manages to spoil her children and all she has done is shuffle her calendar.

“We used to eat out on a Friday or Saturday. Now we eat out on whichever day a restaurant is running a special where children eat free.

“It’s usually a Sunday or a Wednesday, but at least I still get to spoil my children without it making a huge dent in my pocket.”

With regards to grocery shopping, Botha advises mothers not to feel bad when buying “no-name” products

“Children are very picky and they want a certain brand, but you have to be realistic. If a cheaper brand tastes just as good and costs less, it’s only logical to purchase that.”

Pensioners are especially feeling the pinch.

Joleen Sinclair of Oslo Beach says she has no choice but to leave out certain items from her toiletries list, such as talcum powder.

“I can do without it. I have also cut down on buying meat products. Chicken is much cheaper so I buy that. The only thing that’s going to save us is a raise in our state pensions next year. Hopefully the cost of living has not escalated further,” she said.

• South African consumers use 25.6% of their gross salary to repay debt in the first quarter of 2016 - 23.1% higher than in the last quarter of 2015.

• A closer analysis of household debt in South Africa showed that consumers, who earn less than R10 000 a month, hold 6.7% of debt in the country, but are responsible for 18% of all instalments on debt.

• On the other hand, consumers who earn more than R80 000 per month hold 20% of the total debt, but are responsible for 15% of the debt repayments. - Fin24.

How to save money at the store:

• Make a grocery list and stick to it.

• Focus on sale items.

• Price-match and look at sale papers in the newspaper.

• Take a rain check if a store runs out of an item advertised on special.

• Buy first, then meal plan. Only write down sale items on your grocery list. Price-match the best deals each week and then research new meals to prepare with the items you bought on sale.

• Don’t shop hungry because you have less patience and less self-control.

• Know average prices so you can spot a good deal.

• If it’s on sale, stock up.

• Buy generic.

- cashcowcouple.com

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