The Black Friday week is upon us and while it’s the perfect time to stock up on the items on your wish list for a discounted amount. Experts warn that you should also be careful with your spending.
It is no surprise that South Africans buy into the attraction of Black Friday every year because it signals the beginning of the holiday shopping season. Retailers know that all too well and they find clever ways to convince us to swipe our cards and leave all rationality behind.
“With all of the deals to be had on Black Friday, there’s the temptation to break your budget, however, many shoppers report regret, stress and serious financial consequences after spending more than they can afford,” says James Williams, head of marketing at Wonga.
“Lack of financial discipline can easily lead to financial woes,” he warns.
With yet another interest rate hike expected the day before Black Friday, Farzana Botha – segment solutions manager at Sanlam Savings warns that these deals might not be all they’re cut out to be.
They give us tips on how to make the most out of Black Friday:
1. Determine wants vs. needs
It’s gratifying to get a discount on something you need or have wanted for a while, says Botha. It makes sense to delay a purchase until you are confident the item is reasonably marked down and within your budget.
“To do this, you need to know if an item is truly discounted or if the base price was inflated before the discount was applied. This requires some homework. For example, if you want to buy a new TV, monitor the average price and compare prices online and in-store so that you have a benchmark. That way, when it goes on sale, you know just how much you are saving – if anything,” explains Botha.
You should also budget for these items to avoid overspending. Buying something you want every now and then benefits you psychologicallysays Botha.
“It allows you to feel a sense of accomplishment and freedom. But it’s still important to plan and save for these purchases so that you can enjoy them without guilt or the long-term consequence of paying off the interest incurred if you bought the item on credit. True freedom is being debt-free,” she adds.
2. Avoid buying more to save on delivery fees
“Not all saving ideas are there to help you. Avoid adding small items to your cart to qualify for the waiver of shipping charges. If these are unnecessary items, you may be spending more than you save on shipping,” Williams says.
3. Compare prices to check out if it is a real deal
“Be wary of ‘was’ prices. Retailers shout about savings – often in bold, shouty text to grab attention as a way of influencing customers, which can be quite misleading. Check the price of the product across multiple websites, as well as the price history of the item you want to purchase. This will enable you to know whether Black Friday prices are genuinely worth getting excited about,” Williams adds.
4. Be cautious of interest rates from loans
Using credit or a loan to buy your item means you’ll be paying interest on that amount until the loan is paid off, says Botha.
“Depending on the interest rate, this could end up being double the price meaning you’re not actually getting a good deal. In comparison, if I choose to layby an item that isn’t on sale, I will pay interest-free instalments and have the item once that amount is paid. This is better than buying the item on sale using a credit card or loan,” she says.
If you’re fortunate, she adds, you’ll find an item on sale and the retailer might allow you to buy on layby anyway.
5. Stay energised to avoid ‘decision fatigue’
“Making multiple decisions, one after another, is mentally draining. It becomes much more difficult for you to make rational decisions when it comes to spending your hard-earned cash. Contemplate how much each item costs, how much you’ll use it, and whether it fits in with your budget goals,” Williams says.
6. Don’t be duped
Many retailers try to get rid of unwanted stock, pushing brands that have not performed well during the year. When it comes to tech, crazy deals might be an indication that new, improved models are about to be released. Once again, doing thorough research will help to ensure you’re investing in high-quality items that will last you for more than one season.
Bonus tip: Examine return policies because these can be quite different for Black Friday specials. And be sure to retain all receipts and proof of payments.
7. Choose when, and how, to shop
Many retailers hype up the idea that the best deals are found in-store, but there will be many major deals online too. This allows you to choose when and how you shop. Keep this in mind, as it’s likely to be one of the busiest Black Friday seasons ever, thanks to the worst of the pandemic finally being behind us.
Bonus tip: Online shopping also gives you the opportunity to save items in your wishlist or cart before checking out. This way you can think carefully about each purchase and compare prices with other retailers.