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Don't let SA's R6 billion Black Friday turn your bank balance red

By Supplied Time of article published Nov 17, 2020

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With November in full swing, and many great Black Friday deals already available, Budget Insurance is urging South Africans to be safe and money smart with their shopping.

The Black Friday phenomenon was relatively unknown in South Africa ten years ago, but research shows that shopper interest – and spending frenzies – have spiked over the past five years.

According to retail tracker, Black Friday Global, South Africans’ interest jumped by 9 900% between 2014 and 2019, compared to global growth of 117% during the same period, as domestic retailers adapted trading strategies to include a discount push on Black Friday.

Bankserv reveals that Saffers swiped an astounding R6 billion worth of Black Friday transactions (both in-store and online) last year, up 106% from the R2.9 billion spent in 2018.

With Covid-19 and the ever-present threat of a second wave of infection, many retailers have introduced month-long specials and ramped up their online platforms to accommodate shoppers reluctant to brave the stores – not only increasing safety, but also providing more great opportunities for smart bargain hunters.

“After the year we have had, it may be tempting to splurge on great deals, but it would be prudent to exercise caution during this month as the Black Friday specials pour in. The key is remembering that the pandemic doesn’t hold back during sale time, that online shopping is the smarter way to go, that the ‘Black November’ trend means that there are great deals throughout November and that a good nose for a bargain and savvy spending will serve you well all year round.” says Susan Steward of Budget Insurance.

Budget Insurance offers the following tips:

  • Focus on what you need first: Create a list of things that you need to get or replace soon and prioritise those. Things that you want – luxuries - need to be second in line.
  • Set up a budget: Plan what you can afford to avoid being tempted into spending more than you have. The last thing you want is to go into December with debt and start off the new year on a poor financial footing.
  • Stay safe: Black Friday in-stores might not be as busy as previous years, but if you do take the risk of shopping in person, make sure you stay safe by wearing a mask, keeping a safe distance from others and using hand sanitiser.
  • Shop online rather than in-store: If you can avoid going into stores, rather shop online and grab the same discounts from the comfort (and safety) of your own home.
  • Research, research, research: Don’t get taken in by the hype and don’t fall into the trap of believing that Black Friday itself is the only time to find a good deal. Do your research and compare where necessary to make sure you really are getting the best price. You can use sites such as pricecheck.co.za to do this.
  • Set up online accounts in advance: Go to the sites of retailers you are likely to buy from and set up your online account in advance. This will include filling in your details, setting up your preferred delivery address and receiving a log-in and password. Doing this ahead of time means you will be able to buy quickly when deals go live.
  • Be prepared to take a step back: Avoid getting swept up in grabbing every bargain you can get your hands on. If you’re feeling unsure about a purchase, take a moment to step away from the store or computer screen to think about whether you are making a wise buying decision.
  • Use those loyalty rewards: You may have some points, discounts or cash back offers due to you. Make sure to use these to your advantage.
  • Check return policies: Understand the return policies and fees, and make sure you get a receipt.

“While the squeeze on your wallet might push you to spend money on deals so you can ‘save’, keep in mind that for most, there is a long gap between the December and January paydays. Make sure that you have all the essentials to start off 2021 on a good foot first, that you’ve paid your bills – maybe even settled some debt - and ensure that you have a good reserve fund in place, before considering the ‘big spend’.” Steward concludes.

PERSONAL FINANCE

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