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Ensure you don’t buy what you can’t afford, land in debt

Be smart about how you do your shopping during holidays

Sibongile Mashaba Deputy News Editor
With Black Friday and festive season approaching, it’s best if you track prices of what you want to buy.
With Black Friday and festive season approaching, it’s best if you track prices of what you want to buy.
Image: 123RF

At the weekend, I browsed the website of one of the stores I bought appliances from midyear.

It was Christmas in July as the store had really good prices, so I kept going back to buy more stuff in August because I thought of loved one’s birthdays that were coming up.

On Saturday, I checked my savings and realised I had saved up enough money since August to be able to buy more appliances, including a handheld vacuum cleaner and a stand mixer.

I’ve become so intentional about getting a great deal and saving money that I track the price of whatever I want to buy.

Once I’ve bought the item, I avoid looking at its price because I don’t want a heartbreak should the price be lower than what I paid.

I take screenshots of the items I want and when there are promotions, I look back at what the price was over the past couple of months before deciding whether to buy or wait.

Taking screenshots makes it easier for me to decide where to buy and when.

I’ve seen that the biggest sales happen in September, October and sometimes beginning of November. I don’t really shop in January but there are people who’ve found great deals.

But this year, it was a first for me to find really great deals in July. I bought kettles, electric blankets and an iron.

For instance, the kettle I bought retails at R800. It was on sale and there was a 40% discount when I bought three electrical appliances.

I paid R383.40 for it.

Another example is two electric blankets for queen size beds at a total of R838.80, including the 40% discount, instead of R1,400 for both at normal retail price.

I saved hundreds of rand.

But now, these items are back to normal price and there’s a discount of 20% on the kettle, meaning if you bought it now, you’d pay R640, only saving only R160.

That’s not a great deal.

When shopping for toiletries, I open two web pages and compare prices.

Someone actually laughed when I posted about this but I’m laughing all the way to the bank.

Every cent counts in these tough economic times.

With Black Friday and the festive season fast approaching, it’s best if you track the prices of what you want to buy.

If you find that the item is pricey, rather hold off on purchasing it.

Be smart about how you do your shopping – know where and when to buy.

This will go a long way in ensuring that you do not buy what you cannot afford and land yourself in debt.

CreditSmart Financial Services managing director Wikus Olivier says overspending and overstretching your pocket this festive season will only leave you in debt – the wrong foot to start the new year on.

“You can be financially mindful this #BlackNovember by avoiding impulse spending and being fully aware of your financial position – focusing your attention on your budget and ‘real needs’ instead of those unnecessary wants.

“The shopping season is in full swing with anticipated discounts and various Black November sale frenzies going on. But if there is one thing you can do to make sure you end your 2023 year off on a high note is to reject overconsumption and, instead, practice mindful spending if you have budgeted [for it] of course,” says Olivier.

Olivier gives five money-mindful tips on how to ensure a responsible shopping silly season and money saving:

Know your current money situation: Safeguard your financial health and look at the holistic picture of your financial situation. An overall view will allow you to know if you should rather shy away from inviting “sales” this month, entirely, or to what extent you can go (money-wise) to take part in the shopping phenomenon of the year.

Specify your budget amount: Make sure you have a separate Black November/Friday budget set up before doing any online browsing or outlet visits. Exercise self-control and stick to your allocated budget amount as shopping in the current period is more tempting than ever. Focus on essentials or ‘needs’ and not your “wants”.

Pause before making a purchase: Before committing to buying something, take a minute and ask yourself, “Is this an essential or just something I want?” and “Am I still within my budget if I buy this item?”

Duck Black November retailer tricks: Know what items cost as this will help you to point out if a sale is reflecting an actual discounted deal or not. Remember: Retailers tend to raise prices above the usual asking price and they market aggressively – creating a false sense of urgency, clouding your judgement to do a thoughtless “mpulse buy”. Overpriced impulse purchases are usually followed by guilt, regret and even uncontrolled debt.

The most mindful thing you can do is to not spend money at all: Don’t take part in the consumption chaos if you have not budgeted and don’t want to accumulate extra debt. Over-indebtedness is real and can creep in unexpectedly. If, however, you are already feeling the debt pinch, be #CreditSmart and seek the best registered solution to help you break free from the shackles of debt.


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