Shop smart for your groceries

PEOPLE think that you only have to be savvy when shopping for big items. But the reality is that you need to keep your eyes wide open even when you shop for your groceries because shops charge differently to meet their profits.


Food has become expensive and the lack of rain has also seen food prices escalating. With the holiday season here, people will be celebrating by throwing parties and hosting gatherings. Stokvels that save throughout the year for groceries are also buying groceries to share among members. But you should not fall into the trap of spending more than you should on groceries. Move! speaks to Busisiwe Mdingi, a manager at one of the leading food wholesale stores in Gauteng, who provides valuable tips on grocery shopping.


According to Busisiwe, during this time of the year, prices go up and people don’t notice because they have money from their bonuses. “They pay without thinking twice. If they took the time to do a price comparison across all major retailers and wholesalers, they would save big time,” she says. Essentially, what cost you R20 at one shop can cost you less in another. Busi advises consumers to collect flyers from different shops and do a price comparison. “If you notice that prices are relatively lower at a particular shop, you should go and buy there.”

Move Tip: Speak to other people about where they shop and hear their views on why they shop there. This could save you a lot of money on your grocery bill. 


There are advantages and disadvantages to shopping at either a wholesale or retail shop. Wholesale shops tend to be cheaper than retail shops. This is because they do not invest much into how the shop looks. They also do not invest much into the positioning and display of products like retail shops do. “Because wholesale shops are sometimes cheaper, they become packed and don’t give you the convenience that you would get at a retail shop,” advises Busi. It is important to note that most wholesale shops are usually located in central business districts while retail shops can be found in residential and business districts.

Move Tip: Wholesale shops tend to have strict trading hours while retail shops can open up till late at night, making it easy to choose the hours when you want to do your shopping. You can even do your shopping when you come back from work.


People get paid early in December, meaning that when they buy groceries they have to cater for half of December and the whole of JanuaryIf you buy little food in December, it will certainly run out in the middle of January when you don’t have money. This is why buying in bulk is wise as it is much cheaper than buying individual items. “We see many stokvels buying in bulk so that they can share the groceries among the members. But what they don’t know is that because they are spending a lot of money at one go, they can negotiate a discount with the store. All they need to do is to speak to the manager and see what discounts they qualify for,” says Busi. 

Move Tip: Gather your friends and family and buy groceries together to see what discounts you can get as you'll be shopping as a group.


People tend to naturally buy brands they are familiar with but sometimes the quality of the brand you are loyal to is the same as that of a more affordable brand. Sometimes the cheaper brand can even be of a better quality. With the economy not performing well, it is crucial to save every cent we can. Why not try a different but affordable brand? Buy it on a small scale to try it out. If you are satisfied with the quality, then buy it in bulk. 

Move Tip: There are many shops with in-house brands. Try cleaning and food products and see which ones best suit your needs. These are sometimes cheaper than branded products.


Busisiwe says most people leave grocery shopping for the last minute and shop when most stores have increased their prices. It is better to shop early and take advantage of the sales just before the festive season. Many people may complain that they can’t shop early because they don’t have money but Busisiwe says, “Consumers must enquire in the shops and see if they have a saving scheme or stamps for groceries. You can buy the stamps on a monthly basis and use them to buy your groceries in November.” This is exactly what most stokvels do and because they plan on time, they get more value for their money.

Move Tip: Make sure you buy stamps or invest in a reputable grocery savings scheme. Ask your family and friends to see which ones are reliable so that you don’t end up losing your money in a fly-by-night savings scheme