We have all been receiving the various emails, we’ve added to our wish lists, and we even have first preference on all “early bird specials” just so that we don’t miss out on all the wonderful Black Friday specials. Even if we want to avoid the euphoria, Black Friday is hardly a frenzy we can ignore.
We are already in the festive mood and are likely to increase our spending. Statistics from the National Credit Regulator – in the Consumer Credit Market Report – show that for the quarter that ended in June, credit facilities consisting mainly of credit cards, store cards and bank overdrafts increased from R20.26 billion to R21.11 billion, a quarter-on-quarter increase of 4.1%, while in December last year the quarter-on-quarter increase was 15%.
This indicates that as consumers we are likely to increase our usage on credit facilities during this time of the year. But we should not forget other obligations, such as back-to-school expenses, and expenses that normally come with the new year. We should be proactive and not find ourselves caught in the usual Januworry.
The Credit Ombud advises consumers to plan their expenditure prudently and make provisions for the expected and oftentimes unexpected increase in expenditure in the December and January period. This will assist in avoiding payment default and the negative consequences of being blacklisted by credit bureaus.
While looking out for good deals, we should also be on the lookout for deals which might lead to long-term credit depression. Using credit on Black Friday spending should be the last resort. Rather have a budget and be disciplined. Be money-savvy in the run-up to Black Friday, check your credit profile, understand your spending limitations and prepare to walk away from an unnecessary deal.
Should you have failed to make a budget and have no alternative, or see the need to purchase using credit, keep your monthly obligation according to your credit agreement and pay your instalments timeously. Pay a bit more if you are able to because this will help you pay off the debt faster.
Consumers can contact the office of the Credit Ombud for free assistance if they experience any issues relating to credit agreements with non-bank credit providers such as clothing and furniture retailers, as well as microlenders, fraudulent listings, emolument attachment orders/garnishee orders or general complaints about their credit bureau listings.
The office can be contacted on 0861 662 837; on the website creditombud.org.za; on email at firstname.lastname@example.org; or via SMS on 44786 and we will call you.
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