How much money you save when you buy household goods in bulk in SA

With a tough economy leading South African households to pinch their pennies at the till, consumers are looking at more ways to save money on groceries and other household products.

One way to cut costs is to shop smarter – by purchasing some of the most-used household items in bulk, and subsequently cutting down on having to stock up on the products every week or so.

Some smaller communities and social groups have even turned to “bulk-buying clubs”, where everyone pays in to get specific items in bulk, saving money in the process.

There is some debate over whether or not bulk buying is an effect cost-saving tool – with analysts arguing that having an abundance of a specific item may lead to heavier consumption, or that shoppers simply by items that they wouldn’t typically use.

It has been suggested that it’s more cost-effective to simply use less, or to switch to a cheaper brand.

However, for those who are sticklers for specific brands – and know which products they use regularly – buying bulk could help you save money in the long-run.

BusinessTech looked at the prices of bulk costs (from Makro) versus individual costs of some popular most-used products in South Africa, and determined how much shoppers would save.

Product Type Amount Bulk Price Bulk Per item cost Individual Price Total at bulk amount Saving (%)
Cereal Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, 500g 28 R779.95 R27.86 R29.99 R839.72 7.1%
Coffee Frisco, 250g 6 R188.95 R31.49 R31.99 R191.94 1.6%
Flour Snowflake Self Raising Flour, 2.5kg 8 R260.00 R32.50 R34.99 R279.92 7.1%
Laundry OMO Multiactive, 500g 36 R626.95 R17.42 R18.99 R683.64 8.3%
Nappies Huggies Dry Comfort Size 4 4 R589.95 R147.49 R168.90 R675.60 12.7%
Spread Black Cat Peanut Butter No Sugar, 400g 14 R333.75 R23.84 R26.99 R377.86 11.7%
Rice Tastic Parboiled rice, 2kg 10 R263.95 R26.40 R26.99 R269.90 2.2%
Salt Cerebos Table Salt, 500g 20 R248.00 R12.40 R13.89 R277.80 10.7%
Sugar Selati White Sugar, 2.5kg 10 R343.95 R34.40 R38.99 R389.90 11.8%
Tea Five Roses tagless teabags, 100s 48 R1 546.95 R32.23 R32.99 R1 583.52 2.3%
Total R5 182.40 R358.15 R394.72 R5 569.80 7.0%

Overall, buying the listed items on an individual basis in the same quantity would be 7.5% more expensive than buying the items in bulk.

Of course, the value of bulk buying extends only so far as consumers are able to pay the up-front cost of buying in such large quantities.

Notably, in hunting down the prices for the comparison above, it must be noted that several promotions were taking place on individual items (prices presented are non-promotional for comparative purposes).

This reinforces sentiments that, if saving money is your ultimate goal, looking for good deals can sometimes yield better savings than simply buying in bulk.

But because promotions and deals are temporary and not always consistent, consumers may need to shop around to benefit.

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