Frugal shopping with specials, coupons and rewards is a topic I’ve been meaning to write about for a while now. As my family and friends know already, it is also probably the most useful advice I could give anyone when it comes to saving quite a few Rand each month when you’re out and about doing your month-end shopping.
Specials & Sales
There is no need to buy on impulse. A lot of what we ‘need’ ends up on special or goes on sale anyway. How many times have I needed an item, perhaps a small kitchen appliance or an item of clothing, but I resisted the urge to buy straight away, or couldn’t afford to buy it straight away, so I waited patiently for that discount or special to come – it does eventually. Summer clothes are cheapest at the end of summer and still wearable next year; winter clothes too, and usually half the price! Buying on sales and specials is one the easiest ways to save yourself a bit of money, even when you need to spend it.
I find our local Alberton Record, which has inserts of a whole lot of weekly specials at supermarkets, pharmacies, clothing stores, really useful. I go through these carefully if I’m looking for something that I need to buy. Sometimes I do this week after week after week until the special appears. I have also used Price Check occasionally when searching for appliances on special offer and wanted to compare brands, prices and stores. Look around before you buy: this will help you save.
Consider buying second-hand, if possible: clothes, furniture, pots, pans, appliances, etc. We have often bought second hand items that have lasted us several years; some we still use. Do you have any family or friends who are emigrating and having garage sales? Do you know of any charity shops in your area? Look around. Perhaps an SPCA in your area has second hand sales on Saturdays? We sometimes buy good quality, second-hand clothes from the SAINTs Animal Charity Shop for example (read more in my post Shop at charity stores in Johannesburg).
We all know that in South Africa we don’t get as many coupons as others do in other countries. But, the good news is that this trend seems to be changing. Over the past year, I’ve seen more and more coupons on various items in supermarkets and pharmacies, and I’ve picked up some really nice bargains. Usually these have been items that are new on the market while others have been around forever. This is a good time to stock up on an item that you actually use or if it’s a new item, cheaper than the brand(s) you normally buy, why not pick it up and give it a try? It’s still a saving, and the new product might actually taste better than what you’re used to.
Spar as well as Checkers and Shoprite have a whole lot of coupons available each month for a variety of products. If you’re a regular, or even an occasional, shopper at any one of these stores, it’s worth checking out the coupons available for items that are not on special that month. It’s also worth looking at some of the well-known South African brands’ websites, in the hope of finding promotions and special offers. Unilever Deals, for example, regularly offer coupons on Unilever products sold at Dis-Chem, Checkers, Pick ‘n’ Pay and Shoprite. You can read more about why I love Unilever Deals Coupons here.
Virtual Coupons & Vouchers
Over the past year, I’ve searched high and low for good, reliable coupon and voucher websites in South Africa that would allow me, the consumer, to save money at different stores. If you’ve done the same, you’ll know that there are quite a few websites in South Africa promoting in-store ‘vouchers’: spend R 1,500 at a store and receive a ‘saving’ of R 200. To my mind, that’s not a saving if I have to spend R 1,500 to be ‘given’ a saving of R 200 and usually for an item, or items, that I don’t actually need. In my opinion, that’s just what makes us spend money, not save it. I don’t go for those offers, as tempting as they may be sometimes. If you know of a website that does actually offer savings at various local stores, without asking us, the consumers, to spend an even bigger amount of money to get it, please leave a comment below – I would love to find at least one such website in South Africa and include it in my blog.
Loyalty Cards and Rewards
I love these! And I love doing as much as I can of my month-end shopping at stores that offer loyalty rewards. I also love it when I check my points balance a few months down the line and see that I’ve accumulated quite a nice little sum which I can then use for my next purchase. This regularly happens to me at Dis-Chem and Pick ‘n’ Pay where I’ve had several hundred Rand available at a time. This is a nice reward, especially at the end of the year when every little bit helps with Christmas shopping. What I also like about the reward points is that these accumulate on all the items that you buy, including those that are already on special or reduced so it feels like a double save, so to speak.
Pick ‘n’ Pay have also begun giving vouchers on items that you, as a Smart Shopper, regularly buy and this I find useful when an item I need is not on special, but I need to buy it. It’s definitely worth having a look at what’s available to you before you start shopping. Pick ‘n’ Pay also have Instant Savings available to customers who make use of their Smart Shopper loyalty card. Woolworths too offer Instant Savings for customers who make use of their WRewards loyalty programme. There are so many loyalty programmes in stores; wherever you shop, it’s good to make use of all the savings available to consumers.
What do you do to make your money go further each month?