Bulk shopping can lead to year-long savings

The festive season is an expensive time, but the holidays also offer an opportunity to develop ‘smart shopping’ habits that can reduce your holiday catering costs by up to 10 percent, and also work for you throughout the year.


Getting the best value for your groceries and household needs involves learning to buy in bulk, says Nolene Parboo, Senior Manager: Savings and Investments at Standard Bank. Although changing shopping habits will initially take some planning, the effort will be more than rewarded by the savings that can be achieved.


“The festive season is a good time to develop smart, bulk buying habits,” Ms Parboo says. “Prices are competitive and there are plenty of ‘specials’ on offer. 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.”


Getting into bulk buying mode means taking a stricter approach to shopping. Mrs Parboo suggests that:


  • Take a calculator with you:


This helps you quickly calculate unit prices and will provide a direct cost against items quoted singly.


  • Check prices carefully:


During sale times, retailers often sell some items at cost or below cost. A clever shopper will buy just the promotional items and leave.


“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,” Ms Parboo continues. “This way, you continually maximise your savings and also free some of your household budget for other things.”


The benefits of bulk buying during the year are:


  • Using sales to buy several months’- or even a year’s – needs, in advance:


During January, for instance, many retailers have ‘back to school’ promotions. Buying pens, pencils, folders, exercise books and other stationery items in bulk means getting them cheaper, and not having to rush out to a shop when your child suddenly needs an exercise book or pen at short notice.


  • Stocking up on items that are ‘new’ to market can produce significant savings:


The good thing about bulk buying is that, if you have storage space, you can buy non-perishable items when they are introduced to the market at discounted prices.


  • You can avoid the inevitable price increases that are introduced during the year:


There is nothing better for a true bulk buyer than seeing an item bought at a good price a month or more before, being offered for a higher price on retailers’ shelves.


“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,” advises Ms Parboo.


To get even more benefit from your bulk shopping, the following tips can be considered:


  • Occasionally skip shopping trips to finish the items in your cupboards.
  • Make grocery lists and stick to them – don’t be tempted to buy things you don’t need this festive season. Also search your cupboards and fridge before going shopping, so you don’t buy what you don’t need.
  • Be prepared by having essential things stored (e.g. long-life milk).


“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,” Mrs Parboo concludes.

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