Black Friday Frenzy: Survival Guide To Careful Shopping

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Black Friday, traditionally the biggest shopping day of the year for many retailers, takes place on Friday 26 November. Shoppers who have continued working throughout the pandemic may be in search of luxury goods, while others will be on the lookout for household basics at bargain prices.

Whatever category you fall into, it’s important to plan ahead in order to avoid getting caught up in a shopping frenzy, advises Shafeeka Anthony, Marketing Manager of personal finance website

“There’s a lot of pent-up demand among South Africans for in-store shopping experiences, and those who’ve kept their jobs and saved income are in a powerful purchasing position. However, it’s important to keep in mind that Covid-19 will impact us for months, if not years to come.

“While it’s tempting to blow your savings on a holiday, or to refresh your wardrobe for social gatherings, the growth prospects for the South African economy are muted. Job layoffs and retrenchments remain a strong possibility. While you may enjoy good health at present, Covid-19 or another misfortune could impact your long-term earning ability.”

Shafeeka offers five tips to consider before you unleash your credit card at month-end:

Plan ahead:

Distinguish between what you and your family really need – such as school uniforms and medication – and nice-to-haves, like expensive festive season gifts.

Do your homework:

Having determined the items you require, begin your online research early. Compare prices to ensure you get the best value for your money and add chosen items to your shopping cart so that you are ready to buy before stocks sell out.

Set limits:

Determine what you are prepared to spend on your desired items and stick to your budget. Do your best to avoid impulsive purchases.

Be cyber-aware:

Crooks are equally excited about Black Friday. Shop on legitimate sites (look for a padlock icon preceding the website URL), read customer reviews, and always protect your personal financial information.

Avoid bad debt:

Store and credit cards enable you to buy items that you could not afford with a single payment. Paying your installments timeously shows you are a responsible borrower, which is good for your credit score. However, avoid being saddled with debt at high-interest rates. Opt for interest-free plans wherever possible, and be sure to pay the full credit card amount, or store card installment, every month.

Compare interest rates charged by leading retailers on store accounts.

“A final tip is to remember to insure expensive purchases once they are delivered to your door,” says Anthony. “If you’ve invested in a designer watch or statement art piece, you need to protect it against theft and damage. Homeowners’ insurance includes personal property protection, which you may wish to supplement for individual items.”

The JustMoney website offers articles, money management tools, and a full range of financial products and services, including free access to your credit score.

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