As the year draws to a close, consumers are gearing up for a whirlwind of sales, with Black Friday this month and the December festive season sales promising exciting deals and discounts.
Financial experts have cautioned consumers to exercise financial prudence to prevent unwanted debt and financial stress in “Januworry”, the month that is often seen as the longest due to post-holiday financial strains.
Craig Newborn, CEO at PayJustNow, a zero-interest financial solution institution, has emphasised the importance of not relying on credit cards for unnecessary expenditures as they can lead to accumulating debt that will haunt consumers into the new year.
As is, according to Newborn, eight out of 10 South African consumers are bearing the brunt of the high cost of living crises and stagflation, while a significant portion is struggling to pay off their existing debts.
Newborn provides five common year-end purchases where consumers often fall into the trap of excessive credit card spending and how they can make smarter choices:
Road Trips: South Africans love hitting the open road during the December holidays. However, unexpected expenses like worn-out tyres or punctures can quickly eat into holiday budgets.
Family Holidays: For those who prefer flying, last-minute flights can be expensive. Consumers are advised to consider all available payment options and pick one best for their pocket.
Gatherings: The year-end is synonymous with gatherings and celebrations, often requiring additional spending on decor, furniture, linen, and other essentials. Newborn advises consumers to plan for these costs in advance, seeking special deals and promotions.
Christmas gifts: December is the season of giving, but consumers should resist the temptation to use interest-bearing credit for Christmas gifts, Newborn said. Plan your gifting and only purchase items within your budget.
“If you need to stretch your budget a little further to make that one special purchase, a growing list of retailers have adopted buy-now-pay-later, which gives you the benefit of splitting your purchase into three interest-free payments,” said Newborn.
“Think everything from Toy Kingdom for your little one, to NWJ for that special someone.”
Back-to-school supplies: As the holidays wind down and the new year approaches, parents will start preparing for the upcoming school year. School uniforms, stationery, and other essentials can strain budgets.
Newborn recommends seeking financing options that fit your budget to cover these purchases. “In the current economy, this requires smart thinking around how to budget and how to use innovative payment options to maintain healthy cash flow.”