We are about to publish the latest Brand Atlas Frugality Report. This is a large sample (n = 8264) survey of economically active South Africans designed to measure the steps that they have already taken, or think they might take in future in order to make ends meet.

We devised 105 ways in which consumers could make their household income stretch a bit further and asked them to identify the ones they have already adopted, as well as those they may well consider adopting in future.

Here’s a list of the top 10 steps which consumers have already taken – most of them are very rational and have to do with grocery expenditure:

  1. Eat more chicken
  2. Hunt for special offers before making a purchase
  3. Use more loyalty programmes / use them more often
  4. Cut back on convenience products like heat and eat meals
  5. Buy cheaper cuts of meat
  6. Buy groceries from cheaper stores
  7. Buy cheaper grocery brands
  8. Eat less meat
  9. Eat less fish
  10. Buy fewer magazines and newspapers

Now here’s a list of the things that far more people would like to do in order to make their budgets stretch than have already done so. These are the things which people fantasise most about doing, but in all probability are far less likely to do:

  1. Move your home loan to a bank with a cheaper rate
  2. Raise cash by selling investment products
  3. Find ways to pay less tax
  4. Buy solar panels for your roof
  5. Replace your car with a motorbike or scooter
  6. Sell your house and buy cheaper one
  7. Join a lift club
  8. Rent your house to a tenant and rent somewhere cheaper yourself
  9. Spend more on the national lottery
  10. Use Uber / metered taxis more often

The report covers the consumers’ ‘frugality’ behaviours across these broad expenditure categories:

  1. Grocery shopping
  2. Banking and finance
  3. Deals and specials
  4. Transport and travel
  5. Health and grooming (including clothes)
  6. Home and garden
  7. Cell phones, the Internet and subscriptions
  8. Holidays
  9. Entertainment and leisure