How to make your money go further on monthly groceries


You’re on your way home from a long day at work and your thoughts turn to what you’re going to make for dinner. Realising your cupboards and fridge are a little bare – a common phenomenon, especially if it’s between the middle and the end of the month – you pull into your local supermarket and do a quick dash around to stock up on essentials. As each item is scanned and the total grows steadily higher, you wonder if there is some mistake. But no: those two or three bags of essentials do, in fact, cost over R300.  

This unavoidable fact is what makes groceries one of the most stable spend categories for South African households, and also what drove a turnover that was more than double the inflation rate in the first three months of 2018.  

Making use of rewards programmes 

“More than just finding the cheapest price and buying the product in bulk, though, South Africans are looking for the best value for their money – and using rewards programmes is a progressively more viable option for consumers who want to be smart about their shopping options,” says Sonja Fourie, Head of Absa Rewards and VAS. 

Several other tips you can consider to save some much-needed money include:     

Write a shopping list and stick to it

Simple, but effective – knowing what you need and avoiding impulse buying will help you stick to your budget.

Snack before you go

Have you ever gone grocery shopping on an empty stomach before? If you have, you’ve probably walked out the shop with tasty treats that you don’t actually need. It’s much harder to resist the many temptations of the ready-to-go counter or the chocolates winking at you as you queue at the tills.

Check the unit prices of the products you are buying

This may seem like nit-picking in the extreme, but you’ll be surprised how much it can save you in the long run. This is particularly useful when it comes to items such as cheese, milk and meat. Even if a 20 or 50 cent difference in price doesn’t seem like much, remember it all mounts up.

South Africans are going to have to find more creative ways to make our money go further, particularly for non-negotiables like groceries – but the good news is that with some savvy changes in the way we shop and solutions like rewards programme partnerships between our banks and grocery stores, it is easier than we think.

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