Black Friday fever is here, and consumers are cautioned against making reckless spending decisions, and avoiding unnecessary future financial difficulties.
Love it or hate it, Black Friday has become a big part of our shopping calendar. While it is relatively new in South Africa, its growth in popularity has been astounding. Black Friday is an informal name for the Friday after Thanksgiving in the US, which is regarded as the start of the Christmas shopping season.
Both the National Credit Regulator and the Credit Ombud are urging consumers to approach Black Friday in a wise and responsible manner.
“Consumers should never take for granted the value of planning and budgeting. By drawing up a list of your needs, income and expenditure, you avoid falling into the trap of buying things you do not need or cannot afford. By budgeting, you will be ensuring that your spending is within your means,” says Lebogang Selibi, Supervisor: Education & Communication at the National Credit Regulator, the body responsible for the regulation of the South African credit industry.
Kabelo Teme from the Office of the Credit Ombud agrees and says people need to stay disciplined to walk away from a sale if the item is not needed, and to avoid paying for these types of items on credit. “Avoid purchasing on credit and if you must, then ensure that you understand the total cost of credit. Always understand the added costs of buying on credit and consider your ability to repay the debt. Without this understanding, you may be signing up for financial troubles,” she says.
Remain financially savvy this Black Friday by taking account of the following key tips:
- Plan and draw up a list of what you need.
- Set a realistic budget of what you can afford to spend and stick to it.
- Check the items and prices before Black Friday to do a comparison on the prices and to ensure that you are getting a better deal.
- Should you decide to buy, stick to what is on the list.
- Avoid buying food on credit.
“Be vigilant when making purchases online. With the enhanced ease to shop online, there comes a corresponding risk relating to fraudulent activity. Protect yourself from buying from unknown sources and ensure that a secure payment method is used. Check your bank statements for any unusual debits,” says Teme.
“Reckless and impulsive buying on credit for unplanned Black Friday specials will not be saving consumers any money. Consumers should not allow Black Friday to lead to a ’Blacklisting’ and letting a one-day event lead to a lifetime of struggle,” Selibi says.
To contact The National Credit Regulator call 0860 627 627 or go to https://www.ncr.org.za.
Consumers can contact the office of the Credit Ombud at 0861 66 28 37 or by sending an SMS to 44786. Go HERE! for more information.
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