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By Vukosi Maluleke

Digital Journalist

Are stokvels key to surviving SA’s tough economy?

Black Friday is the perfect time to harness the power of stokvels – expert.

It’s almost that time of the year again – when stokvel members gather around the table to distribute their hard-earned savings.

No doubt, social savings clubs have been part of South Africans’ saving habits since time immemorial, but can they withstand the current tough economic tide?

Spar Group’s national PR, communications and sponsorships manager Mpudi Maubane says absolutely.

“South Africans, ever resilient, are turning to the age-old concept of Ubuntu,” she said, adding the group had seen a growing number of groceries stokvels shopping in their stores.

Maubane said grocery stokvels provide a practical lifeline amid widespread financial constraints, giving members much-needed breathing room.

“Not only do [stokvels] enable members to stretch their budgets, ensuring a degree of financial and food security for their families; they offer a good starting point for consumers to learn and maintain control over their limited finances,” she explained.

ALSO READ: SA’s tough economy won’t keep stokvels down – deposits up by 42% 

Black Friday specials

Black Friday is looming in the horizon, coming just in time before the ink on your stokvel cheque dries up.

Marking the start of festive season shopping, Black Friday often comes with pocket-friendly prices on products that are typically expensive during the year.

“Many retailers offer substantial discounts on a wide range of products, including groceries. By coordinating stokvel purchases with Black Friday deals, consumers can maximise their savings even further,” she said.

Maubane suggested some useful tips to make the most of Black Friday.

  • Plan ahead: Black Friday deals in SA often span more than a day, so it’s key to do your homework on available deals and create a shopping list with stokvel members to ensure the best discounts aren’t missed.
  • Buy in bulk: Taking advantage of bulk grocery deals can result in significant long-term savings.
  • Shop responsibly: Whether in-store or online, stick to you budget. Avoid making impulsive purchases.
  • Don’t despair over missed deals: Remember, you can still make bulk purchases during month-end and mid-month sales, as well as amid promotions that are offered regularly.

ALSO READ: How to automate your savings

Stokvel 101

If you’re looking to join the thousands of South Africans reaping the benefits of being part of a stokvel, then Maubane shared some advice on how to get started.

As a starting point, she advised identifying a primary purpose for the stokvel. For grocery stokvels, this entails deciding what range of grocery items to save towards.

“The key to running a successful stokvel is to establish clear goals and rules upfront,” Maubane said.

Once that’s out of the way, your next step as a founder would be to gather your group of like-minded individuals.

Setting up ground rules and determining how much each member will contribute are some of the T’s and C’s you should iron out before the stokvel takes off.

Lastly, Maubane said building trust within your stokvel by maintaining transparency and clear communication is important.

“Honesty and open discussions are key to a successful group,” she said.

Stokvels have carried South Africans through difficult financial seasons in the past, and are likely to continue providing a comfort net for many for the foreseeable future.

“Grocery stokvels and community-based savings clubs are an economical way to shop for necessities, and we anticipate that these emerging trends will continue to shape the way consumers shop in the future,” Maubane concluded.

ALSO READ: ‘You want to die?’: Members open up about nightmare of investing in United African Stokvel

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