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
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).