It’s that time of the year again, when no matter what you are watching, listening to or reading, two simple words beckon you to part with your hard-earned money. Black Friday.
They seem innocuous enough but, if you are drawn in and let them tempt you, the results could be more than you bargained for.
Black Friday, taking place on 26 November this year, promises never-to-be-repeated discounts, deals and offers across a wide spectrum of products and services, from cinema-style TV screens to fridges and cars, holidays and even financial services. While the sale price might seem to be too good to be true, in many instances that is unfortunately the case, so it is important not to get caught up in the hype and media frenzy. The thrill of buying something at a real bargain price, whether you actually need it or not, can be very tempting.
The shopping drawcard that is Black Friday has grown exponentially over the years. According to the Unisa Bureau of Market Research, Black Friday 2021 will generate R11.3 billion – not as much as in 2019 when South Africans spent R15.4 billion, but slightly more than the R10.2 billion spent in 2020. This is due in part to the fact that while 2.1 million people lost their jobs during 2019 to 2020, only 733 000 new jobs were created in the period from 2020 to 2021.
“These are staggering figures, particularly at a time when many South Africans are facing financial pressures as they try to stretch their monthly budgets,” says Kutlwano Mogatusi, WesBank Motor Communications Specialist. “As such, if there is something you really want or need, and have been putting savings aside for the purchase, make sure you do your homework and shop around first to ensure you are getting the best deal.
“However, the thing about Black Friday is to approach it with caution, making sure that you have all your financial wits about you. First up, you need to do an honest appraisal of your budget, and carefully list your monthly expenses, line item by line item, against your income. Remember to include any personal loans, vehicle asset finance repayments and payments for store or credit cards. Skipping any of these payments to fill that space on the lounge wall with a cinema-size TV screen is not advisable.”
With online shopping increasing exponentially during this period, so too are the possibilities to get caught out in an online fraud, scam or phishing scheme. Be extra cautious when sharing any of your personal or banking details on a website, and double check that the site is safe, secure and reputable. Don’t let your guard down in the hype and excitement of landing the best Black Friday deal ever.
While Black Friday spending may pre-empt or even supersede the annual Christmas shopping spree, it is important to check your budget and only buy what you need and, more importantly, what you can actually afford within your budget.
“After another tough year marred by the ongoing COVID-19 lockdowns, job losses, economic pressures and emotional stresses, it is easy to throw caution to the wind at this time of the year and join the spending frenzy. The period between the December and January salary payments can seem endless, and it is important to start off the new year with a healthy balance sheet to pay all the bills and even settle some outstanding debts,” concludes Mogatusi.