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Don’t let Black Friday lead to a blacklisting

Since 2019, Black Friday has become staggeringly popular in South Africa with retailers slashing prices of items in-store as well as online.

While South African household incomes are tightly squeezed by the high-interest rates and the ever-rising cost of living, many consumers are still looking forward to bagging a bargain with Black Friday sales and discounts.

ALSO READ: How to make the most of Black Friday

Since 2019, Black Friday has become staggeringly popular in South Africa with retailers slashing prices for items in-store as well as online.

However, consumers need to avoid the hype generated around Black Friday as it does not necessarily mean that every item on sale is a Black Friday bargain.

“Although it may make sense to take advantage of Black Friday sales and discounts to save money, beware of unplanned purchases driven by excitement, impulse buying and the fear of missing out on bargains,” said the education and communication manager at the National Credit Regulator (NCR), Poppy Kweyama.

ALSO READ: What to expect from this year’s Black Friday

“Sometimes it makes it much more tempting to buy on credit when you haven’t budgeted and don’t have cash.

“Irresponsible use of credit is not only expensive but risky as well. If one takes into account the interest and fees on the credit, it makes the purchase more expensive and you are not saving any money.

“Taking credit unnecessarily also becomes risky when you are unable to pay back the debt and default on the credit agreement.”

She added that buying on credit may be a convenient way of accessing goods and services you want now.

Sometimes it is worth waiting until your finances improve and you can save towards the purchase.

“Black Friday does not mean you must buy. Some items will be available on sale and discounts at other times or during or after the festive season.”

Practical tips on how to avoid being a victim of the Black Friday hype:

• Do your research.

Once you know what you want to buy, compare different stores to get the best deals. It may sound tedious but can save you money.

ALSO READ: How to navigate Black Friday

• Create a budget and stick to it.

Budgeting always helps to control your spending.

• Avoid impulsive buying.

List all items you intend to buy and do not buy something that you don’t need.

• Beware of costs and risks associated with online shopping.

Normally, online shopping needs credit or debit card details which may not only carry additional costs but may expose you to the risk of cybercrime.

• Do not spend more than you can afford.

Irresponsible use of credit may lead to excessive debt and blacklisting at the credit bureaus, which will damage your credit profile.

• If you are prone to impulse buying stay at home.

Do not go to shopping malls and stay offline.

“Avoid succumbing to Black Friday hype. Spend wisely if you have budgeted. Borrow wisely if you need a big-ticket item or have to make an emergency purchase that is discounted. Whatever you do, be credit smart,” said Kweyama.

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