According to Nolene Parboo, senior manager of savings and investments at Standard Bank, noted that buying your groceries and household items in bulk can reduce costs by up to 10%, especially during the festive season when you might have catering costs to consider.
However, before hitting the shops, you need to do your homework. Around the festive season, many shops are having specials and deals where you can save money. These are advertised in flyers placed in your mailbox or in the advertising supplements of your local newspaper. You can also find these advertised on some stores’ websites.
Browse these advertisements to see what is on sale where and where you can get the best deal on the items that you are wanting to buy.
“Buying smart means doing a bit of homework; scanning retailers’ marketing leaflets is a great place to start. Without leaving home, you can get an idea of who is offering what, where the lowest prices are and how long the offers will last. Taking leaflets with you also enables you to quickly compare prices and benefits,” said Parboo.
However, just because something is cheap or it appears to be a good deal, doesn’t mean you have to buy it. If it’s something that you’re not going to use or don’t need, don’t get it.
Parboo highlighted that buying in bulk requires a stricter approach to the shopping process. She suggested taking your calculator with when shopping as it will help you quickly calculate unit prices, which will allow you to easily compare the price to a single unit, which would be sold in your local grocery store. Buying in bulk doesn’t guarantee that it will be cheaper than buying a single unit of the item.
Smartphones come with a calculator, so if you have one, there is no need to carry around an extra item when shopping.
When shopping it is important that you always check prices. Parboo pointed out that during sale times, store may sell some items at cost or below cost. If these are items that you usually purchase, get them while they are on sale.
“Once you have seen the benefits of shopping in bulk during the festive season, the obvious thing to do is to develop the habit further and apply it throughout the year. This way, you continually maximise your savings and also free some of your household budget for other things,” said Parboo.
The benefits of buying in bulk
Buying in bulk throughout the year can have its benefits, according to Parboo. She pointed out that these include:
- Using sales to buy several months’ supply of items in advance: For example, when stores have their back to school sales, you can buy stationary to last the year, or start stocking up for the next school year. It is also an idea to buy your Christmas cards and wrapping for next year during the Christmas sales this year to save you money.
- Buy new items at their discount prices: Parboo noted that when new, non-perishable items enter the market at discount prices, and if you have the storage space, buying in bulk can save you money.
- Avoid price increases: Throughout the year prices tend to increase. By buying in bulk, you can avoid these increases, at least as long as your supply lasts and you need to purchase the items again.
Parboo advised: “One of the greatest ways to extend your buying power and save more is by involving your family; set up a buying club with family or friends who live nearby, and share the costs of purchasing in bulk.”
Before purchasing anything in bulk, you need to consider if you have the storage space to keep the items until you use them.
While buying in bulk is ideally suited for non-perishable products and other household items, there are stores such as Fruit and Veg City and Food Lover’s Market that have bulk deals every week. If you club in with family or friends to buy fresh produce in bulk and split the items among yourselves, you can save money and ensure that the food doesn’t spoil before you have the chance to use it.
Furthermore, Parboo added: “Though bulk shopping does require some forward planning, the financial rewards are definitely worth it - particularly when your budget is already being stressed by other holiday commitments.”