Consumers urged not to overspend

2015-12-17 06:00

WITH the festive season already upon us, most consumers will be getting bonuses and some will be spending like there is no tomorrow.

The National Credit Regulator (NCR) warns consumers to spend wisely and think about January as it is just around the corner.

For many, the festive season is a time for giving and for people to spoil themselves for working hard throughout the year.

“However, it is important to note that spoiling oneself may come at a price,” says Mpho Ramapala, NCR education­ and communication manager.

“We need to budget and plan way in advance before we can actually spoil ourselves during the festive season. “If you want to go on holiday, you should start planning for the holiday and saving for it earlier in the year, not during the last month.”

For consumers who will be getting bonuses, plan accordingly, budget and save for January expenses. Most people will be paid around mid-December and again at the end of January, you need to ensure that your salary / bonus paid in December will last you up until your next pay in January.

Ramapala shares tips of spending wisely during and after the festive season:

• If you want to begin the new year in a financially sound position, be aware of how you spend your money during this period and save for the new year.

• Keep track of your spending by either jotting down or keeping the receipts of all your spending.

• Request a pre-agreement statement and quotation when applying for credit. This will enable you to shop around and do a comparison on the cost of credit.

• Do not leave your identity documents, bank cards and/or pins and Sassa cards with credit providers when applying for credit. This is a criminal offence. Report cases where your bank and/or Sassa cards and identity documents were taken by credit providers to your local police station.

• Be wary of “buy now, pay after three months deals” and then incurring additional credit during those three months.

• When going shopping, have a shopping list to avoid buying unnecessary items.

• Prioritise your home loan and rent.

• Items such as school stationery, uniforms or other useful items are a better investment. Choose presents that last long after Christmas.

• Entertain at home. Ask guests to bring something for the meal so you share the costs of your festive entertainment.

• Use your bonus to reduce your debt burden by paying off existing loans.

• Don’t forget to get a copy of your credit report from any credit bureau. This will assist you to know your financial standing. Should you require an additional copy of your credit report within the same year, there will be a fee that credit bureaus charge.

- Supplied.

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