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Your guide to Black Friday spending

Avoid any financial hangover this Black Friday by making conscious comparisons and purchases.

South Africans are embracing the opportunities that come with Black Friday specials. In the past three years, online shopping and e-commerce have been picking up, especially with retailers promoting specials days before the big day. But traditional retailers remain jam-packed.

Certified customer experience professional (CCXP), Julia Ahlfeldt said such promotional days certainly stimulate spending activity, and boost economies.

“It can be very beneficial in terms of catalysing spending for consumers who can maximise discounts.”

With the purchasing frenzy in the air with Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the festive season approaching, many shoppers give in to the temptation of every good deal.

Marketing manager of Budget Insurance, Susan Steward advised that shoppers must rather ensure that they budget for their needs before splashing on all the things they want.

“Don’t feel pressured to take advantage of every deal you see,” she added.

Budget Insurance offers 10 tips on how to control your spending this Black Friday.

  1. Early-bird budgeting – setting a budget will help you guide and limit your spending. If you’re purchasing gifts, budget per person so that you know exactly what you can afford to spend on each person.
  2. Compare prices, pronto – since it’s the year’s biggest promotional event, you may assume you’re getting the best prices but this isn’t always the case. To avoid getting duped, research and compare prices and offers before making your purchase.
  3. Shop smart with your smartphone – download money saving and budgeting apps like Spending Tracker, which allows you to set your budget, log your transactions, and track your spending.
  4. Shop online – Shopping in-store is a dangerous strategy for anyone on a budget. It’s easier to spend less online because you can move from site to site instead of running from store to store to compare prices. In addition, you avoid frenzied shoppers and pumping holiday music, which can be a hidden spending trigger.

RunwaySale CEO, Karl Hammerschmidt says consumers are becoming more comfortable with buying online.

“The fact is South Africans love to bargain hunt. Online is just so much easier. With a click of a button you can buy a high-end pair of shoes/dress/bag at up to 80% off, delivered to your door! No fighting the crowds.  It’s about shopping in the comfort of your own home, at any time of day, while saving money.”

However, Ahlfeldt said there’s place for both in-store and online shopping experiences. Some items are best bought over the counter while others delivered to either your home or office.

  1. Curb you credit card enthusiasm –  For last minute temptation buys, don’t simply reach for your credit card. Think about how you would want to start the New Year – with a clean financial slate or looking at debt management and debt consolidation options?
  2. Give your wish list a reality check – manage your kids’ expectations when it comes to their wish lists. A survey done by US asset company, T Rowe, showed that many parents dipped into their retirement or emergency funds after overspending on their kids’ gifts. At least 53% of respondents agreed that they would get everything on their kids’ list, no matter the cost.
  3. Opt for a gift card A gift card is a quick and easy way of gifting someone. Most retailers, whether online or traditionally offer gift vouchers. A gift card offers more choice to the person, compared to buying them something like clothes or shoes. A survey done by shopping site Splender, showed that these were items most likely to be returned.
  4. Secret Santa can be super – adapting the Secret Santa tradition can drastically reduce your gifting budget. Each person chooses one member of the family to buy a gift for, instead of buying for each person. Everyone agrees to spend the same amount of money.
  5. An expensive month is around the corner – December is the most popular spending month. While January is an expensive month. It requires new spending, especially for parents who need to pay for school uniforms and school fees. Consider the coming months, and save accordingly.
  6. Be safe – Online shopping is a growing sector, if you are shopping online, ensure you are buying from a reputable retailer with a credible payment service. It is high-tide for phishing and financial fraud, be wary of your purchases.

Seeing specials and promotions all around is enticing and to further guide shoppers, John Manyike, head of financial education at Old Mutual said to avoid a financial hangover at the end of the spree, shoppers should certainly shop consciously. He advises:

  • Don’t be an emotional spender;
  • Don’t buy on credit;
  • Don’t increase your credit card limit for the Black Friday frenzy;
  • Save from the beginning of the year for Black Friday specials, so you are in a better financial position to spend during this time;
  • Remember being emotionally committed to your finances will serve you in the end. Don’t justify every purchase;
  • If you are going to buy items on the Black Friday sale, remember how much you budgeted for and keep to it. Keep your calculator close to you to punch in purchases to make sure you are still within your budget;
  • Know when to stop.

Hammerschmidt said going forward, Black Friday is expected to keep growing. Online sales are only around 1% of total retail sales in South Africa and, Black Friday is still very young. The future looks bright, he said, if you’ve got the capability to reach out and grab it.

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This is the day people buy things they don’t need and cannot afford. While there they spend the “saving” in something else they don’t need which has been marked up to cover other discounts. Oldest marketing trick in the book.

My kids say I am stupid, I never buy on specials and I don’t hunt around for the cheapest, I buy what I need at the first reputable dealer I find.

Don’t be an emotional spender – People are emotional beings by nature, smart advertising takes advantage of this fact.

Don’t buy on credit – SA has 24 million credit active people.

Don’t increase your credit card limit for the Black Friday frenzy – Don’t buy on credit.

Save from the beginning of the year for Black Friday specials, so you are in a better financial position to spend during this time – Save towards having an emergency fund first.

Remember being emotionally committed to your finances will serve you in the end. Don’t justify every purchase – Learn to control the person in the mirror. Money only goes where you tell it to go.

If you are going to buy items on the Black Friday sale, remember how much you budgeted for and keep to it. Keep your calculator close to you to punch in purchases to make sure you are still within your budget – 61% of US adults don’t budget… how many South Africans do?

Know when to stop – Easy for you to say. Shopping has an addictive quality.

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