MONEY CLINIC | What should I look out for before buying into a special offer?

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When looking to bag a true bargain, the key is to differentiate between wants and needs. Do your homework before making a purchase.
When looking to bag a true bargain, the key is to differentiate between wants and needs. Do your homework before making a purchase.
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Retailers entice shoppers to visit their outlets and websites all year round. Still, marketing reaches a fever pitch during the festive season as special offers gather momentum with pre-Christmas sales. Festive season frenzy morphs into sales pitches to clear holiday stock in the New Year, followed by back-to-school specials during January. How do you differentiate between scoring a great deal and getting hooked into an impulse buy that you regret? What is a sensible purchase, and what will leave you with a pile of debt?

Shafeeka Anthony, Marketing Manager of JustMoney offers six tips to help you hunt down some real value-for-money opportunities:

1. Focus on your aspirations: You may dream of a university education to kickstart your career or buy your own apartment. Knowing your priorities will help you focus on your true goals instead of getting side-tracked by tempting offers. 

2. Compare prices: If you have decided that an item is a good buy, such as an air fryer for family meals, shop around first. Numerous sites showcase the best daily deals in South Africa. There are also clearance sites with stock overruns from previous seasons, factory outlets and distribution centres.

3. Differentiate between good and bad debt: Major purchases often require a loan. Understand the difference between good debt – such as a loan to revamp your house and increase its value – and bad debt, such as buying the latest fashions on credit. Avoid short-term, high-interest loans that could take months to repay.

4. Read the fine print: A South African consumer has the right to receive goods in working order, free of defects. Keep packaging and proof of payment. If you experience problems, contact the store as soon as possible. Bargains may come with specific terms, however, such as no returns on sales goods. Check the terms and conditions.

5. Shop at reputable outlets: This will increase your chance of obtaining quality goods, instead of counterfeit replicas that will soon fall apart. Read customer reviews. 

6. Be wary of scams: When searching online for bargains, use strong passwords. Pay with a credit card or a well-known payment platform. Some public WiFi hotspots are not secure, so use data from your network provider instead. 

Questions may be edited for brevity and clarity.

Disclaimer: News24 cannot be held liable for any investment decisions made based on the advice given by independent financial service providers. Under the ECT Act and to the fullest extent possible under the applicable law, News24 disclaims all responsibility or liability for any damages whatsoever resulting from the use of this site in any manner.

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