SAV­ING MAKES ME SMILE

Call her cheap or crazy, but Ncumisa Ndelu is un­doubt­edly the stock­pile queen of Mzansi. She tells us how she does it

DRUM - - News - BY NADIM NYKER

SHE’S trav­elled to Hong Kong and Dubai, been to China twice and treated her daugh­ter to a trip to Dis­ney­land. And she’s done it all by sav­ing . . . thou­sands of rands each year af­ter tur­ning her home into a store­room that’s al­most bet­ter stocked than the av­er­age su­per­mar­ket.

The stock­pile queen of South Africa – that’s what Ncumisa Ndelu could be called. Her ef­forts take buy­ing in bulk to a whole new level and she’s in­spir­ing thou­sands of other women to fol­low her ex­am­ple.

Ncumisa, a 40-year-old mom of two, is the spokesper­son for the KwaZulu-Natal MEC of so­cial de­vel­op­ment, but that’s just her day job. Her pas­sion is stock­pil-

HOW IT ALL BE­GAN

ing and to say it’s changed her life is no ex­ag­ger­a­tion.

“When I started I didn’t even know it was called stock­pil­ing,” she says. “I just knew I didn’t like pay­ing full price for any­thing.” Ncumisa has al­ways been a fan of buy­ing non-per­ish­able goods on spe­cial in bulk and stor­ing them in ev­ery avail­able space.

She kept her habit pretty much to her­self un­til 2014 when she joined a women’s group on Face­book that dis­cussed house­hold-re­lated is­sues.

“We talked about how to re­move a beet­root stain, that sort of thing,” she re­calls. “I no­ticed my con­tri­bu­tion to the group was al­ways telling women which items were on sale and how much they could save by buy­ing in bulk. And peo­ple would fo­cus on my con­tri­bu­tions.”

Ncumisa took up stock­pil­ing in Fe­bru­ary last year af­ter start­ing her own Face­book group, 1 Fam­ily 1 Stock­pile. She then asked the women in the ini­tial group to join her.

“Be­fore I knew it Face­book had sent me a no­ti­fi­ca­tion that the group had reached a mile­stone of 1 000 mem­bers and in June this year I had 4 000.

“I love it. Pay­ing less any­time gives me a high,” she says.

The only rule for join­ing her club? You have to be a woman and when you see a spe­cial, you have to post it.

SO WHAT EX­ACTLY IS STOCK­PIL­ING?

It’s all about buy­ing goods in bulk when they’re on spe­cial and stor­ing them at home. This gen­er­ally in­cludes things

such as dry foods, de­ter­gents and toi­letries – items you’d gen­er­ally spend money on. By stock­pil­ing them you not only re­duce your monthly shop­ping bill in the long run, you also spend less time in the shops.

HOW TO DO IT

Don’t leave the house with­out a plan, Ncumisa says. “Plan your shop­ping in advance. All the stores we use have Face­book pages, web­sites or apps so com­pare prices and look for spe­cials.

“It’s okay to walk away from the prod­uct if the price isn’t right for you. Don’t buy stuff be­cause you need it in that mo­ment, be­cause you pay what the re­tail­ers want you to pay and it isn’t nec­es­sar­ily good for your wal­let.”

Know what you have in your home and how much you have of it, she urges. When your stocks start to dip, look around for spe­cials where you can re­plen­ish them at a frac­tion of the cost you’d pay for one item at top price.

Ncumisa gen­er­ally does her shop­ping in a mall that houses the var­i­ous stores she uses. That way she can com­pare prices and doesn’t have to travel far to get the deal she wants.

“It drove my hus­band, Nkulu, nuts at first and ini­tially he hated go­ing shop­ping with me. But now that he’s seen the ben­e­fits and un­der­stands what I’m do­ing, I get calls from him telling me about spe­cials.”

Her chil­dren, Chu­mile (16) and Chu­masande (three months), also ben­e­fit from their mother’s sav­ing habit.

When she was preg­nant with lit­tle Chu­masande, she called baby prod­uct man­u­fac­tur­ers to check their prod­ucts’ shelf life.

“I sent mes­sages to all of them. And I have a stock­pile for my baby now.

“By the time she ar­rived I had no need to go to the store be­cause every­thing I needed was right here in my house.”

In the past year she has stock­piled de­ter­gents, cos­met­ics, soap and toi­letries.

“So I just go to the next room and get what­ever I want. When Chu­mile comes home from board­ing school there’s no need for us to go to the shops – she sim­ply goes into the store­room, gets soap, fabric soft­ener, lo­tion, roll-on, pads, what­ever, and she goes off.”

HOW STOCK­PIL­ING SAVES

The av­er­age stock­pile lasts Ncumisa 12 to 18 months. This has made her month- lyly gro­cery shop­ping a breeze. She used to spend around R3 500 a month on aver-av­er­age – now her bill is be­tween R2 000 and R2 500 a month.

“My low­est bill was R1 146 for the month,” she says.

Last month she ran out and had to re­plen­ish her stock – but by us­ing coupons and shop­ping around for spe­cials, she kept her bill down to R3 500.

“Now when I go shop­ping I don’t buy nap­pies or baby wipes, Handy Andy, wash­ing pow­der or toi­letries be­cause I have lots of those things in my stock­pile. And that’s all money off my monthly gro­cery bill.”

And the cash she saves she uses to in­dulge her true love: trav­el­ling. Which makes her fam­ily happy too as they of­ten get to go along with her.

WHERE TO STORE THE STOCK­PILE

Space can al­ways be found, Ncumisa tells us. “I have an un­used room in the house where we keep every­thing.”

But even with­out a ded­i­cated sep­a­rate room you can make a plan, she says. Clear out your clut­ter or store stock un­der beds and on top of cup­boards. It’s worth it, she says.

LEFT: Ncumisa Ndelu is proud of her stock­pil­ing ef­forts. BELOW LEFT: Her whop­ping sav­ing. RIGHT: She’s used the ex­tra cash to travel to Hong Kong and Dubai with hubby Nkulu (FAR RIGHT) and daugh­ter Chu­mile (BELOW).

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