SHOPPING RIGHT

The holiday season is the best time of the year where there is always lots of entertainment, relaxing on the beach, cooking and best of all shopping.  This is also the time when most retail and clothing stores aim to reach their target and use smart tricks to entice customers.  But beware of false advertising and get wise to what they are doing to you to part with your cash.

Big, colourful and flashy boards are always a must this time of the year that indicates huge discounts and massive savings.  Then there is always the small print which indicates how items you must buy in order to get one free. Try to avoid this deliberately misleading tactics by these few simple tips.

Compare prices – when visiting your local supermarket, you will notice a greeting of isles of fresh produce, pre-packed bags of mixed vegetables and a large sign which always reads “only R10”.  Loose vegetables are much cheaper than the pre-packed ones and the best part of this is that you are able to choose how many you would require and also select the perfect firm items.  Make sure that you go for the cheaper option in order that you save money.

Choose can from the back of the shelves – the staff take utmost care in packing the shelves and they make sure that all old canned foods and other items are packed in the front and fresh items are stored in the back.  Reach out for those at the back of the shelf and check the dates.  Canned foods should have an expiry date of two weeks or more.  It is also important to check dates on bakery products and fresh produce in order that you prevent wastage and save money.  Make sure that you look at the ‘use-by’ date.

Aisle promotions – big signs such as ‘save’ and ‘special offer’ may not always be a saving at all.  Some supermarkets have a separate promotional aisle for certain products but this may not always be the case.  Check the regular price first before you buy.  This is a clever tactic to confuse shoppers.

Eye level products – more expensive items are kept at eye level where you can see them clearly.  Look for the similar items on the shelves below and compare prices.  There are also some colourful items aimed at the kids and put at their eye line so make sure that you look at the bottom shelves for cheaper options.

Bulk buying – non-perishables such as toilet paper, soap and washing powder will save you money in the long run but do not be tempted to buy products that you cannot freeze or use by the expiry date,  you will end up throwing them away and lose a lot of money.

The most common basic rule is to never shop when you are hungry as you will end up buying products that you do not need.  Make use of vouchers and loyalty cards to get the best offers and save money.  Plan your meals and make a grocery list before shopping, this will save you time and money.  Take control of your money and be wise when shopping this season.

roxyk@48hours.co.za

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