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Collectibles craze: Do the maths, avoid the madness

This weekend a mother posted a vent post on a community forum I am on. She complained about wasting her Saturday filling up a trolley at her nearest Checkers only to leave the trolley at the till when she found out that there were no Checkers Little Shop Minis – the tiny collectible replicas of actual grocery list items. She would have to go shopping again on Sunday. This time she would ask if they have Minis in stock first.

Her vent was met with disbelief and even anger from other forum members – how could she create so much work for the Checkers employee who would have to unpack the trolley full of groceries? What about the perishables that will be left in that trolley the whole day, is she going back to pay for it? She should feel ashamed of herself, placing so much worth on something so worthless…

What’s the hype about?Excited kid

In 2015 Pick n Pay’s Stickeez craze gripped parents all over South Africa, even non-parents were collecting. My sister somehow managed to collect a full set for all four of her young nieces and nephews. My toddler now uses hers for colour recognition and sorting; it’s a fun bath toy! My point is, I am not one to bash these things, but I do think it is important that parents keep a level head.

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This year Spar, Checkers and Pick n Pay all released these self-liquidating promotions at about the same time. Depending on the age and interest of your child you have most likely been compelled to do your shopping at one of the chain stores only. Even occasionally throwing something extra in your basket to make sure you reach the next interval of R150 so that you can max out the freebies from each shopping trip.

Believe me, I understand the thrill of collecting something but it is costing you money, even more so if you’ve been ignoring better deals at other shops in favour of completing a specific collection. Using digital promotional material from Pick n Pay, Checkers, Spar, and Woolies food, HomeTimes could compare the price of a basket of goods. This list is in no ways complete as it has been limited to include only comparative goods that were contained in promotional material prior to publishing. The shopping list assumes that a shopper has no brand loyalty or preference, opting for the cheapest product on offer at any one shop. The basket contains the following:

  • 1kg Frozen vegetables
  • Fresh chicken per kg (skin on)
  • 1kg Margarine
  • 2kg Rice
  • Breakfast cereal
  • 6x100g Yoghurt
  • 750ml Dishwashing liquid
  • Jumbo pack of disposable nappies

In calculating the total no shopper discount or savings associated with having membership cards at the various shops were taken into account. Here’s the results, from cheapest to most expensive:

Spar – R331,92

Checkers – R349,73

Pick n Pay – R369,79

Woolworths Food – R434,79

Basket Checkers Pick n Pay Spar Woolies Food
1kg frozen vegetables R22,79 R23,90 R21,99 R54,99
Fresh chicken per kg R36,99 R37,00 R39,99 R64,99
2x 1kg Margarine R32,99 R38,50 R35,99 R29,99
2kg rice R21,99 R21,80 R21,99 R27,95
Breakfast cereal R32,99 R25,90 R29,99 R39,95
6 x 100g yoghurt R11,00 R12,70 R12,99 R16,95
750ml dishwashing liquid R20,99 R20,00 R18,99 R19,99
Jumbo pack of disposable nappies R169,99 R189,99 R149,99 R179,95
Total R349,73 R369,79 R331,92 R434,76

The basket of goods will therefore cost a consumer least at Spar whilst Woolworths will be most expensive; it will cost a consumer R434,79 to purchase this basket of goods there, R102,84 more than at Spar. It must be added, however, that the chicken pieces at Woolies are free range, making the price per kg significantly more expensive.

While these collectibles are admittedly fun and makes for happy kids, sanity must prevail. When it comes to your hard-earned money and saving where you can you should do the maths before shopping for your household must-haves at a store because your 5-year old said so.


Mariette Steynberg is a qualified economist with a post-graduate diploma in financial planning. She has enjoyed working on holistic financial plans for clients in various stages of life, as well as a development economist assessing the socioeconomic impacts of new developments. When she is not working, Mariette enjoys parenting her quirky, delightful toddler girl. Cloth diapering, Eskimo kisses and the importance of reading to your child are all causes close to her heart. Mariette is passionate about financial education and hopes to use the experience she has gained to share knowledge with HomeTimes’ readership. Her goal is to provide information that is implementable by everyone.

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