How you can stop the urge to splurge on Black Friday

Instead of letting the craze of Black Friday get to them, people should exercise financial discipline and resist the temptation to break their budgets. Picture: The Telegraph

Instead of letting the craze of Black Friday get to them, people should exercise financial discipline and resist the temptation to break their budgets. Picture: The Telegraph

Published Nov 17, 2022

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By James Williams

When it comes to Black Friday shopping, we have all been there.

When you see something you like, all you can think about is how much you want it and sometimes your good judgement usually goes out the window.

Black Friday reigns supreme in the retail realm, signalling the beginning of the holiday shopping season. It is no surprise that South Africans buy into the attraction of Black Friday every year.

Retailers know that all too well, and they find clever ways to convince us to swipe our cards and leave all rationality behind.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday have melded together to form a weekend-long shopping extravaganza, with deals beginning on Black Friday, continuing through Saturday and Sunday, and persisting with new deals on Cyber Monday.

With all of the deals to be had on Black Friday, there’s the temptation to break your budget, however many shoppers report regret, stress and serious financial consequences after spending more than they can afford.

Lack of financial discipline can easily lead to financial woes. While most people have undoubtedly spent more than they intended to at one point or another, the consequences for doing so vary.

For some, the material harm might be minimal. For others, an unpaid bill could lead to a cycle of debt with unaffordable interest, missed payments and penalties.

Here are six tips on how to avoid the urge to spend all of your money:

Avoid buying more to save on delivery fees.

Not all saving ideas are there to help you. Avoid adding small items to your cart to qualify for the waiver of shipping charges. If these are unnecessary items, you may be spending more than you save on shipping.

Plan a purchase of a big-ticket item that you may need, but avoid buying anything else on your way to checkout.

Being aware of your spending behaviour is the first step to managing it. So, when you are shopping, keep this in mind. Grab the discounted item you need and make it to checkout without adding anything else to your cart.

Compare prices to check out if it is a real deal.

Be wary of “was” prices. Retailers shout about savings – often in bold, shouty text to grab attention as a way of influencing customers which can be quite misleading. Check the price of the product across multiple websites, as well as the price history of the item you want to purchase. This will enable you to know whether Black Friday prices are genuinely worth getting excited about.

Stay energised to avoid ‘decision fatigue’.

Making multiple decisions, one after another, is mentally draining. It becomes much more difficult for you to make rational decisions when it comes to spending your hard-earned cash. Contemplate how much each items costs, how much you’ll use it, and whether it fits in with your budget goals.

Don’t fall for ‘FREE’.

Something strange happens when we see the word “free”. We stop thinking clearly and go out of our way to get it. Don’t make an extra purchase to satisfy your need for “free”. Your purchase will probably end up being something you don’t need and never use.

Pay with cash.

Research shows that while people are initially loss averse, once they start losing money, this aversion fades. The amount of pain we experience lessens with every additional rand spent after our first purchase. One way to combat this is to shop with cash, rather than a credit card. Research shows that paying with cash makes the loss feel more concrete.

Create a budget and stick to it

Whether you’re a spreadsheet junkie or a compulsive list-maker, put your budgeting plan in writing. Keep your plan with you, such as on your phone or a notepad, so it’s easy to reference while you shop.

With inflation and interest rates surging, making the right Black Friday purchases can help you avoid overspending for the holidays and pick up some necessities that will help you weather the year ahead.

Before you find yourself with a mountain of things you don’t need and bills you cannot afford, consider your financial priorities.

James Williams, head of marketing, Wonga.

*The views expressed here are not necessarily those of IOL or of title sites.

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