With black Friday and the festive season ahead, consumers become vulnerable and tend to spend monies on unbudgeted items or shop beyond their budget.
As custodians of Economic Development in the Free State, DESTEA cautions consumers to be wise spenders and save during the Black Friday and festive season.
The majority of consumers change their spending patterns during the festive season and indulge themselves in the situation of spending money that they do not have. As a result, they end up spending beyond their means and signing contractual agreements which they have not properly read.
MEC Makalo Mohale explained that: “Lack of financial education and planning are contributing factors because most consumers continue to spend without considering growing inflation and rising interest rates”.
During this time, criminals also turn to take advantage of the hype therefore consumers should be vigilant at all times with their hard-earned money, car keys, and bank cards.
Become a smart consumer on Black Friday and Festive season by saving or focusing on critical items such as next year’s school uniform, school fees, investments, etc.”.
Here are several ways to keep your spending under control during this festive season:
- Always plan ahead before you spend and work out what you can afford before you spend – Draw up a Budget.
- Always have a festive budget – putting down your income vs. 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 e.g. eating out, movies, daily takeaways, snacks, magazines, etc. It can all add up to one big debt burden.
- Avoid spending your 13th cheque/bonus on your “wants” instead of your “needs” e.g. expensive clothes are “wants” and school uniforms are “needs”.
- Always shop around for the best deals and prices before you make a purchase.
- Always be careful about the “buy now and pay later” deals.
- As you spend over the festive season, 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 money on repairs. E.g. cell phones.
N.B Always shop with January in mind.
Remember, “You have rights as a consumer. Understand them. Enforce them”.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of South African Government.