Enjoy festive shopping without the January money blues

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Illustration photo by Getty images.
Illustration photo by Getty images.
  • There was no shortage of people trying to cash in this Black Friday as retailers try to offset the effects of our sluggish economic growth and losses from July’s looting, while consumers will be eager to stretch their hard-earned Rands as far as possible.
  • If you made some impulse purchases, you might want to ease down on the shopping during the festive season.
  • Shafeeqah Isaacs, head of financial education at specialist loan provider, DirectAxis and her colleagues combined some of their personal experiences and financial expertise to prepare some simple guidelines about shopping, without getting the blues afterwards because your bank account is in the red.

Inevitably not all sales will be as good as the marketing hype suggests and people will get caught up in the excitement, buy more than they had intended or things they don’t need or can’t afford. Here are a few tip to keep you far from regret when the festive season hype is over.

1. Do your homework: Avoid impulse buys. It’s a sure way to overspend. Prepare a shopping list beforehand and do some online research to compare prices. This way you’ll know if you’re getting a good deal and won’t end up with a pile of stuff that you’ve overpaid for and don’t really want or need.

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2. If you can’t afford it don’t buy it: Work out how much you can afford to spend and stick to that budget. If you can’t get what you need within the budget, then you can’t afford it now and will have to save until you can. Always protect your credit rating and avoid going into debt unnecessarily.

When consumers overextend themselves it affects their credit score. A poor credit score may result in future loan applications not being approved or having to pay more interest because you’re considered higher risk.

Your credit score tells everyone from landlords to credit providers how financially responsible you are. It’s worth thinking about the potential long-term consequences before going on a Black Friday binge.

READ MORE | South Africans queue outside Louis Vuitton daily, but African luxury prices make them flinch. Why?

3. Buy the brands you know: Big brands are usually well prepared for the festive season. They have the stock, IT and back-office systems in place to make sure their customers aren’t disappointed. They comply with the Consumer Protection Act and will have policies and procedures in place to deal with returns or damaged goods.

Don’t forget that scammers and con-artists are also looking to cash in on the hype around the festive season, which is another good reason to stick with recognised brands.

READ MORE | With all the Black Friday excitement, here's how to ensure that you're cyber-safe for Cyber Monday

 4. Think beyond Deccember: The festive season comes soon after Black Friday and it’s typically a time when people spend more than usual. If you max out your credit card at the end of November, you may have a miserable December holiday and an even worse January.

Also consider that many businesses pay their employees early in December. If you haven’t planned ahead this can make for a very long January, especially if you have school-going children. Remember that they only go back to school at the end of January, and you may have to pay for new uniforms, books, school fees and transport.

There’s a great quote that’s attributed to various people including Hollywood stars, a comedian and financial planners, “We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like.”

This festive season, don’t be that person.

For a free credit rating click here.

Credit: information provided by Meropa PR

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