Retailers started getting shoppers revved up for the holidays with festive season advertising last month, and mania around Black Friday and Cyber Monday is no exception.
Black Friday falls on November 23, the traditional kick-off to the shopping season and often the busiest shopping day of the year. November 26 is Cyber Monday, born out of retailers trying to persuade customers to shop online.
“South Africa is the latest country to follow these two shopping crazes, and while there are some great deals to be found, consumers need to watch their spending, especially in the current economy where downsizing and restructuring is leading to retrenchments,” said Rita Cool, Certified Financial Planner at Alexander Forbes.
Cool says there are a number of ways to ensure that you remain a responsible shopper.
“Know your prices, as a discount is not always a bargain; Only buy with a list to keep spending in check. Don’t just look around as you might be tempted to buy something you didn’t need; Keep a budget in mind- not only what you can spend but also how you will pay it back if you are buying on credit; Keep the interest on the credit card in mind as the discount might not be as good as you think when you have to buy on credit; and, If you are already in debt, avoid temptation and stay away from the shops on Black Friday.”
How does a financially-savvy person make Black Friday sales work best for them? Cool offers the following tips to ensure you don’t finish your Black Friday shopping in the red:
- Shop online as early as possible when the sales open if you are really shopping for something specific.
- Save your money by not surfing the web aimlessly on the day as this will open you up to temptations.
- Research products beforehand so you know the exact product you want. The model number on sale might not be the one you wanted and in your haste to “save” you could end up buying the incorrect item.
- Save up over the year if you know you want to buy something big.
- Start checking prices during the year as some companies might increase their prices leading up to the end of the year so that it can appear that they are discounting a lot whereas they are actually just discounting a little on average prices. Overseas companies have to indicate the longer term prices on an item before they can claim a specific discount.
- Ask yourself if you are buying for a need or a want. You don’t have to have the newest gadgets each year, especially if you can’t afford it.