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5 things we know you are wasting money on

7 May 2024
5 minute read
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Even if you’ve cut out the cappuccinos, the monthly manicure and most of the TV subscriptions, you could still be wasting money! We chatted to savvy saver and founder of the 1 Family, 1 Stockpile Facebook group, Ncumisa Fandesi Ndelu, to find out where you can cut back and stop wasting your hard earned rands!

1.Shop wisely and mindfully to avoid wasting money

Ncumisa has always been an advocate for being present when you shop, to make sure you get the best price for items you really need and don’t spend where you don’t need to.

She uses the example of shoppers who walk around shops, absentmindedly putting items into their trolleys, ignoring lists and not looking for specials. “It’s your money, you have worked hard for it. Please be present when you spend it”

Her top three shopping tips to avoid wasting money are:

Shop no name or house brands

“There is no difference and no shame in buying the cheaper option.”

We found a difference of R5, (R27 versus R22) for tinned tuna, and R10 on 750ml of bleach (R27 versus R17). On these two items you could save R15 buying the no name brand, buy them twice a month and you are saving R360 a year. Now, what if you did this for 10 other items in your trolley?

Use cheaper cuts of meat and chicken

“Opt for the mid-cuts of beef rather than the loins (fillet, T-bone).  They taste just as good if you take your time preparing them. Remember, a cow is still a cow,” Ncumisa says. “And, if you are woman why are you not eating chicken feet? They are cheap, full of collagen and can be prepared in less than 30 minutes!”

Scanning the supermarket aisles, we found potjie beef at R85/kg (on special), versus the R100/kg T-bone club steak (on special), versus fillet at R280/kg!  Chicken breasts, skinless and boneless, came in at R85/kg, versus R36 for 1kg of cleaned chicken feet and R19/kg for chicken heads and feet. The savings are in the hundreds of rands, each month, if you opt for cheaper protein options.

Leave your kids at home

“As soon as you leave the house, they will be hungry. Even if you have just fed them!” Take your kids shopping and it’s a guarantee that items you don’t really want, priced higher than your budget allows, will find their way into your trolley!

2.Online shop but only if the price is right

There is a place for online shopping (see above!) and a place for in-store shopping.

“Online shopping is becoming my love and my hate,” Ncumisa says. Using online retailers may save her money when it comes to spectacle frames, and for shoes it has been a massive saver, but for grocery and food items she is wary.

“I have noticed that some shopping apps have items at inflated prices when you compare them to instore prices. Plus, you have to add delivery fees and a driver tip to the bill. Rather walk, or drive, to the shops and get the better price!”

We priced 2-ply toilet paper (18 rolls) at R180 online, plus at least R35 for delivery and R20 for tip, putting the total cost at over R200. In store the same item was on special at R150. That R50 a month not spent can add up and come in handy at the end of the year!

The bottom line: Compare online and in-store prices to find the best deal, and always remember to take delivery fees and driver tips into account!

3. Save for big ticket items to avoid wasting money on interest charges

Need a new TV or washing machine? Save for the full purchase price!

“Nothing will ever convince me that buying anything on hire-purchase is good for me,” says Ncumisa. “The interest is just not worth it.”

4. Know your price and you won’t waste money on “bargains”

Love the sales? Ncumisa says you shouldn’t buy without knowing the original price because you won’t be able to recognise the real bargains!

“Make it a habit to look at prices, even if you are not making a purchase at that moment, so that when you decide to buy, you can separate a real deal from a scam. Retailers have been caught changing the colour of the price tag as if an item is on sale, when it is not, so don’t fall for the tricks.”

Always check that a bargain is actually a bargain, especially when items are “on sale” for a limited time only!

5. Two more ways to avoid wasting what’s in your wallet

Yes, you will save if you ditch the fancy daily coffee, but also consider these two options….

Bank charges and interest rates

Check that your bank charges and interest on debt are as low as possible. Downgrade packages if you need to, to find lower fees, and always avoid bounced debit orders – the costs could be as high as R200!

Buy second hand

Second hand items such as clothes and appliances and cars are much cheaper than new and last just as long! Become an expert and search the neighbourhood WhatsApp groups, school communities and local papers. Test and view before you buy, but always investigate these much cheaper options!

6. Bonus tip! Don’t waste thousands on prescription spectacles

Spending thousands on frames and lenses? You don't need to! Ncumisa told us how she has saved on her prescription spectacles.

“I visit an optometrist annually and always ask for the prescription lenses only as I will supply my frames,” she says.

“I also shop at an online retailer offering discounts on frames from time to time. This year, I have my designer frames purchased at a discount of more than 50% and am ready for my lenses. Glasses that would have cost me R6 000+ will cost me around R2 800.”

And, she’s got the designer frames to wow!

Top tip: Always shop around to find the best deals! Find out what options are available for every item you need!

Be a savvy saver and wise shopper

If you have spent a lifetime shopping a certain way and buying certain items, change may not come quickly or feel easy! Don’t worry, there are ways you can change your expensive habits and stop wasting your money!

  • Start by making lists of what you really need for every item you plan to buy, and shop according to your list
  • Compare prices before you shop, for example in your local newspaper and online, or the specials retailers send on email and WhatsApp
  • Join groups such as 1 Family, 1 Stockpile to find more special deals and tips on how to make your money go further
  • Tell your friends about the special deals you find, and they will reciprocate, sharing deals they learnt about with you. That will at least double the items you can save on!

It’s a world of specials

Plan ahead and shop according to your list and you will stop wasting money on unnecessary and overpriced items! Always keep an eye out for specials for every item you plan to buy, from medical goods to holidays to toothpaste and food. The good deals are out there, waiting for you – and your much fatter wallet!  

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