With the Black Friday and holiday season approaching, the Consumer Protection Office (CPO) has warned customers to spend their hard-earned money wisely.
This comes as many retail stores start to offer special deals and promotions that are enticing to consumers, who then get excited and end up spending money unnecessarily.
The CPO, which is under the umbrella of the Department of Economic, Small Business Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, has since cautioned consumers to be careful about overspending during the festive season.
“The majority of consumers change their spending patterns during Black Friday and the festive season and indulge themselves, which leads to people spending money that they do not have,” the statement read.
“Some consumers receive their bonuses or the thirteenth cheques in December, so a lot of stores will be using seductive marketing tactics to lure consumers to buy. As a result, they end up spending beyond their means and signing contractual agreements, which they have not properly read.”
During this time, the CPO said criminals also tend to take advantage of the hype.
Therefore, the organisation is urging consumers to be vigilant at all times with their money, important documents, car keys and bank cards.
“Becoming a smart consumer on Black Friday and spending and saving during the festive season is key.”
Before shoppers hit the mall or organise a big party, the CPO is advising to have a comprehensive plan in place to know exactly where your money is going this holiday season.
“That way, you can go into the New Year with celebration rather than panic.”
Ways to manage your spending during this period:
Always plan before you spend and work out what you can afford before you spend – draw up a budget.
Always have a festive budget – putting down your income versus daily living expenses and debt. This will help you to be realistic on what you can spend on gifts, travel, accommodation, and other entertainment over this period.
Always pay your creditors (store accounts, insurances and medical scheme) on time during the festive season.
Avoid little purchases such as eating out, movies, daily takeaways, snacks, magazines and so on. It can all add up to one big debt burden.
Avoid spending your bonus on your “wants” instead of your “needs”. For instance, expensive clothes are “wants” and school uniforms are “needs”.
Always shop around for the best deals and prices before you make a purchase.
Always be careful about the “buy now and pay later” deals.
As you spend over the festive season, always remember that some bills such as electricity, water and telephones do not go on holiday over the festive season and will need to be paid in the New Year.
Avoid wasting money on inferior quality products because you will spend more money on repairs.
Always shop with January in mind.
Remember, “You have rights as a consumer. Understand them. Enforce them”.
Source: South African Government News Agency