By Sifiso Nkosi
Stokvels have grown significantly in South Africa and remained resilient during the pandemic, encouraging a culture of saving while helping members improve their financial wellbeing.
Over the years, stokvels have evolved to venture into new categories such as investments, property, farming and even travelling. However, burial societies, grocery and saving stokvels remain the most commonly used stokvels in South Africa.
With Black Friday fast approaching, stokvel groups can save immensely by taking advantage of the discounts on offer to stretch their yearly contributions towards bulk purchases of groceries ahead of the much-anticipated withdrawal season.
We are gearing up for peak stokvel withdrawal season between November and December, more so for the grocery type of stokvel groups. In this category, members typically contribute a fixed amount of money towards the purchase of groceries.
Therefore, we encourage these members to take advantage of the upcoming Black Friday specials to help them save and ensure that they have funds left in their accounts to redirect them into other group needs and priorities.
Here are five tips for stokvels to make the most of their contributions this year, by leveraging on Black Friday discounts:
1. Compare prices from trusted retailers
Don’t take the first price you see from the retailers. Use this time to collect catalogues from various trusted retailers as a collective and compare who is offering the best prices aligned to your requirements. When selecting a retailer, also consider if they will be able to cater to your bulk buying needs as a stokvel.
2. Draw up a grocery list
Draw up a grocery list in agreement with all the other stokvel members and go into Black Friday shopping with a game plan. Only buy the items on your grocery list. It is also important to buy grocery items or brands that you are familiar with and use often in the house. Consider buying non-perishable food items that you can store longer and that will not go to waste with the reoccurring load shedding. This includes items like canned food, maize meal, rice, cooking oil, and washing detergents, etc.
3. Form partnerships with direct wholesalers
The benefit of shopping directly from a wholesaler is that they offer even lower prices for bulk buying. Stokvel members are also able to negotiate for a further discount on the items. Most wholesalers also allow the public to buy directly from them, which further saves costs.
4. Avoid carrying large amounts of cash
Always be vigilant. Scammers are always looking for opportunities to defraud your Stokvel funds during this busy shopping period. Consider digitising your stokvel accounts to avoid carrying large amounts of cash.
5. Take advantage of the extended month-long specials
Most retailers are running month-long Black Friday specials. Don’t pressurise yourself into shopping on Black Friday. Take advantage of the extended month-long shopping days and go into the shops when it's less busy.
We urge members to exercise extreme caution with their money and always remember that there are safer ways to perform transactions on Black Friday. Lastly, we encourage members to save a portion of the funds left over from the Black Friday deals to help them survive the coming and dreaded January in the new year.
Sifiso Nkosi is head of Stokvels & Group Savings at FNB.