As Black Friday and the festive season looms closer, consumers become vulnerable and tend to spend money on unbudgeted items or shop beyond their budget.
South Africa has adopted the concept of Black Friday, a colloquial term for the Friday after Thanksgiving in the United States.
Black Friday, which will be on 25 November this year, encourages local stores to offer big discounts.
The Free State government has since cautioned consumers to be wise spenders and save during Black Friday and Christmas time.
The provincial Department of Small Business Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (DESTEA), says the majority of consumers change their spending patterns during the festive season and overspend money that they do not even have.
“As a result, they end up spending beyond their means and signing contractual agreements, which they have not properly read.”
According to MEC Makalo Mohale, during this time, criminals also take advantage of the hype and the department is urging consumers to be vigilant at all times with their hard-earned money, car keys and bank cards.
“Lack of financial education and planning are contributing factors because most consumers continue to spend without considering growing inflation and rising interest rates,” the MEC explained.
The department is pleading with consumers to become smart during this period by saving or focusing on critical items such as next year’s school uniform, school fees and investments.
“Remember, you have rights as a consumer. Understand them. Enforce them.”
Tips to keep your spending under control this festive season:
- Draw up a budget and always plan before you spend and work out what you can afford before you swipe that card.
- Always have a festive budget – putting down your income versus daily living expenses and debt. This will help you to be realistic about what you can spend on gifts, travel, accommodation, and other entertainment over this period.
- Always pay your creditors (store accounts, insurance, and medical scheme) on time during the festive season.
- Avoid little purchases, such as eating out, movies, daily takeaways, snacks, magazines and so on. It can all add up to one big debt burden.
- Avoid spending your 13th cheque or bonus on your “wants” instead of your “needs”. For example, expensive clothes are “wants” and school uniforms are “needs”.
- Always shop around for the best deals and prices before purchasing.
- Always be careful about the “buy now and pay later” deals.
- Always remember that some bills such as electricity, water, and telephones do not go on holiday over the festive season and will need to be paid in the New Year.
- Avoid wasting money on inferior quality products because you will spend more on repairs.
- Always shop with January in mind. – SAnews.gov.za