2015-12-01 06:00

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Stores around the city were inundated with residents who couldn’t wait to take part in Black Friday sales last week.

Shoppers queued for hours, their trolleys crammed full, to get in on the good deals.

And all because of that magic word: Sale.

Retailers know the effect that four-letter word has on a consumer’s mind.

You’ve never needed a five-speed kettle that lights up with three shades of LED lights before, but when it’s on sale you simply can’t live without it.

And while there’s nothing wrong with shopping around for the best price, that one simple word tricks us into thinking that we’re getting a good deal; even if it’s something we would never normally buy.

But that’s just it: It’s a trick.

You might be getting a reduction of 50% on the cost of a product, but that is still 50% of the price that is leaving your bank account.

And with South Africans cited as the biggest borrowers globally last year, it’s clear we’re spending money we don’t have.

We borrow almost double the global average of 40%.

Over 11m of our credit-active consumers have been called “over-indebted”, having debt they are unable to pay off timeously.

Being unable to pay off loans traps borrowers in a cycle of stress and poverty.

It’s time to become wiser with how we spend our money. Food prices are set to increase over the next year due to drought conditions and our exchange rate has not had the healthiest track record.

We need to start spending our money on what we can afford and making wise investments with any surplus.

So beware of the “sale” sign.

Think twice before swiping your card for an item you don’t need, no matter how much you might want it.

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