How To ... Shop (and save) like a pro

2013-05-11 09:56

Feeling the pinch because of rising prices? Shopping smartly is within reach.

Clothes and home decor

Cheaper is not necessarily better, says Corne van de Venter, personal shopper and owner of Shopping-4-u.

When you shop for clothing, “quality is always better than quantity”.

But with decor, it’s always better to look for affordable items, she says. “It’s better to buy a scatter cushion or accessory for R20 and replace them in the long run than buying an expensive item that even if you wanted to change it would be hard because of the money spent on it,” said Van de Venter.

» More tips on fashion shopping:

1. Strike a balance between what you need and want;

2. Don’t just buy something because it’s on sale;

3. Don’t shop impulsively – plan ahead;

4. Take your time, rather then rushing in and out of a store. “It helps to have a clear plan so you can compare prices between products,” says Van de Venter;

5. Stick to your style – don’t be a fashion or label slave;

6. Try haggling at markets.

Fuel consumption

Your driving behaviour can save you money, says head of public affairs of the Automobile Association (AA) Gary Ronald.

“There is a huge correlation [between] saving fuel and driving safely,” he says.

Choosing a small car or motorbike and using diesel instead of petrol are other fuel-saving options.

Ronald says it’s “harder to get a bargain (because petrol prices are regulated) but it’s a different case for diesel car drivers”.

» More tips


Van de Venter says shopping for non-perishable goods should be done during “off-peak seasons”. She says retailers tend to raise prices during holidays such as Easter and Christmas.

“Stock up on things that do not have an expiry date because they are expensive during holidays.

“Retailers increase prices on these because they know there’s high demand,” she adds.

Practical tips from a shopper who knows how to get the best bargains

Get your finances in order

Drawing up a budget is key to sound spending habits, says debt counsellor Madoda Siqaza.

» More tips:

1. Save an amount regularly towards an emergency fund. “A real emergency does not include buying trousers or dress on a special that is about to end,” he says.

2. When it comes to shopping for bargains, he advises people to approach advertised ones with caution. “The decision to participate in a bargain should not be based on what the bargain advert says. You should have made a conscious and prudent decision that you need an item and will buy it only when it is on bargain,” says Siqaza.

3. He urges consumers to familiarise themselves with the acts that apply to spending because, “many companies prey on the ignorance of people and entice them, through various means”.

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