The month of March has certainly flown by! It has been a busy month for us too with so much happening and on top of that, I’ve been waiting to see how the recent economic developments in South Africa will affect us, the consumers, and ultimately how this will affect our monthly budget.
Everything has already gone up in the shops. The annual increases in medical aid costs as well as other types of insurance has already come into effect in January this year. The price of electricity has gone up effective 1st April. The repo and prime interest rates, which affect everyone with any kind of debt, including the bond on your home if you have one with a variable interest rate, has also increased. Even one of my chronic monthly medication has cost more in March meaning that I will be paying about R500 more in 2016 for this item alone. Absolutely every single item or bill that we’ve had to pay for in March has cost us more than it did last month. And with an increase in fuel prices due on 6th April I suppose we can only expect the prices in shops to go up yet again and very soon at that too.
I have had to make some serious adjustments to our budget in March. It was a choice between spending the same amount and being able to buy less or having to spend more in order to be able to afford to buy the same amount as last month. I honestly didn’t feel like I had a choice. I was very, very careful in choosing where to shop and what to buy for us for the month and this has been a bit more difficult simply because even the specials and deals were priced higher than they were in February. At one point I felt like I hadn’t saved on anything this month – I just had to pay more overall in spite of how careful I was! So even though I am about to share some of my savings and finds for the month of March, honestly, considering everything, I am still feeling a tad bit discouraged with all of my efforts.
I received a R200 e-voucher from Toluna which I used at Takealot. I’ve been using Toluna for a while now, completing surveys and earning points. When I have 20,000 points in my account I can then redeem this amount of points for a R100 e-voucher to spend at Takealot. I would definitely recommend Toluna to everyone: they send surveys very often and it doesn’t take that long before you can redeem your first e-voucher. I found that the large bag of dog chunks that I usually buy for our doggies was R40 cheaper at Takealot than in any of the shops, so I placed an order for two of those. While I had to add a bit more cash to pay for this, I didn’t have to pay for delivery as I ordered via the Takealot app again, so all in all, I did save quite a bit on this item for the month. I also spent some of our Ebucks at Takealot and bought 6 tins of dog food so that was practically a freebie!
I did most of our grocery and toiletries shopping in March at Pick ‘n’ Pay and Dis-Chem and I also bought some items at Checkers, Spar and Woolworths. I feel so grateful that all of these shops are in close proximity to each other in our area so I don’t spend that much fuel driving to all the different shops each month. I used a few Pick ‘n’ Pay vouchers that were available to Smart Shoppers and I also chose to redeem the points I had on my card with them. This was a bit of a saving on my total grocery bill at the shop but nonetheless a saving. Pick ‘n’ Pay also offered all Smart Shoppers a free copy of their Fresh Living magazine, March issue, which I thought was a nice gesture.
Dis-Chem had awesome 3 for 2 specials on certain items so for example I was able to buy 3 packs of hair dye for the price of 2, and the price had already been reduced. This will last me the next few months and has cost me about R130 less in total. Dis-Chem also had certain deodorants for about R10 less than elsewhere which was a good find. Ariel auto washing powder as well as Comfort fabric softeners were also the cheapest at Dis-Chem. I eventually ended up using a few Checkers Eezi coupons as well as Spar coupons to get a few items which were not as cheap elsewhere. I was also happy to receive 2 discount vouchers for Raid products from the Home Tester Club and this couldn’t have come at a better time as we were running low on our mosquito repellent liquid.
With all these savings, that’s a total of about R645 that I did not spend in March although we did spend a bit more on our total bill for groceries and toiletries than we did in February. This is despite my best efforts. Had I not been careful and had I not shopped around we probably would have spent even more.
What were some of your finds and savings for the month of March?
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