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Shop more for less money, 12 smart shopping tips every African should learn

28 Jun 2024

Every shopper's dream is to buy more while spending less. It might seem like a contradiction to the laws of economics, but it's a common aspiration, particularly among savvy shoppers in Africa. Shopping smartly isn't just a skill; it's a strategy that anyone can adopt to maximize their spending power. Whether you're browsing online stores or visiting your local market, making thoughtful and informed choices can help you save money without compromising on quality.

 African vendors exchanging money

Imagine walking out of a store (online or offline) with a cart full of quality items and still having enough money left in your pocket to treat yourself. It sounds like a dream, right? But with a few strategic decisions, this can be your reality. From knowing when and where to shop to taking advantage of discounts and promotions, smart shopping is all about making your budget stretch further while avoiding common pitfalls that can drain your wallet.

In this blog post, we'll uncover how you can shop wisely and keep more money in your pocket with twelve essential tips. Though there are plenty of ways to do so, these particular strategies are designed to help you embrace a smart shopping mindset today and start seeing the benefits immediately. Together, let's explore the 12 practical and effective shopping choices, tailored to the African context that will help you keep more of your hard-earned money without sacrificing quality or convenience.

1. Make a List Before You Go Shopping

Before heading out to the market, supermarket or opening up an e-commerce platform to shop, make a detailed list of the items you need. This simple habit can prevent impulse purchases and ensure you stick to your budget. For example, if you're shopping groceries for a weekend ‘contri-njangi’ meeting, probably people from your village who will be expecting a traditional meal and you are charged with purchasing these stuffs, then list down in manner of preference, all that’s necessary for that meal before heading to the market, this will prevent you from picking up unnecessary snacks or luxury items along the way.

 A man looking at a shopping list while at the supermarket

2. Compare Prices Online and In-Store

Comparing prices helps you stay well informed and gives you a haggling edge over every vendor that tries to overprice you.. With the rise of e-commerce in Africa, there are now many E-commerce platforms that allow you to compare prices from different retailers.

A typical example would be to open the Buyam mobile application and check out prices of the same product with different vendors or visit other e-commerce websites like Jumia , Kilimall, Alibaba etc.

 African shopping online from her bed

3. Buy in Bulk

Buying in bulk can lead to significant savings, especially for non-perishable items. In many African markets, purchasing large quantities of rice, beans, or cooking oil can cost less per unit compared to smaller packages. Look for wholesale markets or co-operate with friends and family to buy in bulk and share the savings. This practice can particularly help you save you money on items that you use often. A typical example would be buying a packet of 'Maggi' which would probably last longer & cost less instead of daily purchases of few cubes.

4. Shop Off-Season

 Happy lady holding an umbrella

Purchasing items out of season can lead to substantial discounts. For example, buy raining season clothes during the dry season when demand is low and prices are reduced. Similarly, stock up on school supplies right after the school year starts when stores offer discounts to clear out their inventory.

5. Negotiate Prices

In every African market, haggling is a common practice; in fact, some people term it “the African superpower”. Don’t hesitate to negotiate prices, especially in informal markets or when buying in bulk. This can result in significant savings. For example, when purchasing fresh produce at a local market in Lagos, negotiating with vendors can help you get a better deal. On the Buyam e-commerce platform, Shoppers even have the ability to chart with vendors directly on what Sapp or via calls, this further enhances their ability to bargain prices and come to a satisfactory consensus.

6. Use Loyalty Programs

Many supermarkets and stores offer loyalty programs that reward you with points or discounts on future purchases. Sign up for these programs to take advantage of special offers. In South Africa, for instance, retailers like Pick n Pay and Woolworths have loyalty cards that provide savings on groceries and other items.

 7. Use Cash or a payment limited account.

Paying with cash or an amount restricted card can help you stick to your budget better than using a card. It limits your spending to the money you have on hand, preventing overspending. And in case you are visiting a local market, withdraw the amount you plan to spend before going shopping and leave your cards at home to avoid temptation.

 8. Look for Sales and Discounts

 Black Friday sales

Keep an eye out for sales, discounts, and special promotions. Many stores offer weekly or monthly deals, especially during holidays or special events. For instance, supermarkets in Kenya often have ‘discount days’ where prices on certain items are significantly reduced. Also think of Black Friday sales and how much you can save up from purchasing items at a price cheaper than usual.

9. Buy Generic Brands

Generic or store brands often provide the same quality as name brands at a lower price. Check the ingredients and nutritional information to ensure you're getting a comparable product. For example, many African supermarkets have their own brands for basic items like sugar, salt, and flour which are often cheaper than well-known brands. We have brands in Cameroon like Margo’s mode,  FonJ, that provide 100%  homemade quality products at fair prices.

10. Cut down on Convenience Foods

Convenience foods and pre-packaged items tend to be more expensive than their unprocessed counterparts. Preparing meals from scratch is not only healthier but also more cost-effective. For example, buying whole chickens and cutting them yourself can be cheaper than buying pre-cut pieces.  Plus African vendors often sell fine, refresh and organic products sometimes directly from the farm.

 A healthy African family with vegetables

11. Hiring Repairers cost less

Before throwing away an item that’s broken, consider repairing it. This is often cheaper than buying a new one. For example, instead of buying a new pair of shoes, Hire a local cobbler on an E-commerce platform like Buyam to fix them. This not only saves money but also supports local craftsmen.

12. Learn to grow some Produce

If you have the space, growing your own fruits and vegetables can save you money and provide fresher, healthier options. In many African countries, urban gardening is becoming popular. A small backyard garden or even container gardening can yield tomatoes, spinach, and herbs, reducing your grocery bills. For example, purchasing 1week old chicks on Buyam can cost you about 1500fcfa as opposed to buying a grown chicken at 12,000fcfa.

 A local African market with local organic produce

By incorporating these smart shopping choices into your routine, you can significantly enhance your ability to save money while still acquiring the items you need and love. Smart shopping is not just about cutting costs; it’s about making informed decisions that ensure you get the best value for your money. Remember, with a little planning and savvy decision-making, you can stretch your budget further than you ever thought possible.

At Buyam, we understand the importance of making every penny count. That’s why we offer inclusive discounts for shoppers across Cameroon. Our platform is designed to bring convenience and savings right to your fingertips. 

By shopping with Buyam, you can enjoy the luxury of browsing and purchasing quality items from the comfort of your own home. Our user-friendly interface and extensive product range mean you don’t have to compromise on quality to get the best deals.

Buyam's commitment to providing exceptional value ensures that you spend less while getting more. Our platform is dedicated to helping you maximize your savings through exclusive discounts, special promotions, and a seamless shopping experience. Whether you're looking for everyday essentials or special treats, Buyam has got you covered.

So why wait? Start integrating these smart shopping strategies into your routine today, and experience the difference it makes. With Buyam, you can shop with confidence, knowing that you’re getting the best possible deals without sacrificing quality or convenience. Join the growing community of savvy shoppers who are making the most of their money with Buyam, and watch your savings grow.

Thank you for reading our guide on 12 smart ways to help you save money while shopping. We hope these tips empower you to make more informed choices and enjoy a more rewarding shopping experience.

Please do Share some of these fun or crazy memorable shopping experiences with us...

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