Retail Price Watch, www.retailpricewatch.co.za, the website which tracks the prices of more than 20 000 household goods across the country, offers the following five tips to consumers whose pockets are being hit by the recession and rising prices.
- Change your buying habits. Don’t just dump into your basket what you bought last time. Take thirty seconds to check the prices of similar goods on the shelves. In particular, compare the unit price – the price per kg/litre against the price per kg/litre of similar goods. Goods in similar packaging are sometimes widely divergent in weight, especially in the household cleaner category. If you don’t check, you might end up paying more for less.
- Buy seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables. Oranges and avocadoes are IN at present; soft fruit is OUT. The Fruit and Veg City website has an excellent chart showing you when fresh produce is in season. Fix it to your fridge and only buy what’s in season and reasonably priced.
- 3)Bulk up with dried beans, peas and lentils (legumes). These are low in fat, contain no cholesterol, and are high in potassium, iron and magnesium, fibre and protein. If you are making soups and stews, add soup mix, lentils or split peas at the start of the cooking process, and cut down on the meat. To top it all, dried legumes are inexpensive and last forever in your cupboard.
- 4)Buy “own’’ brands when they are cheaper. South Africans lead the way when it comes to buying “no name” brands, with more than 50% of purchases at major stores being in this category. Generally proprietary brands are of reasonable to high quality and you aren’t paying for the pricey packaging or advertising costs.
- 5)Check the drained weight of goods in cans. On Pick n Pay and Checkers own brands, the drained weight (after getting rid of the liquid) is on the front of the can, in the same place as the total weight. In many others, including some of your favourite brands, it’s on the back. You are quoted the price of the full weight even though almost half the can might be salt water or sugar water. Make sure that the can you buy has as much fruit or vegetable in it as possible.