“Every year there are a few ‘rituals’ that we usually take part in, like New Year’s, Easter, Christmas and (since it is November) the shopping phenomenon, Black Friday…

But, the COVID-19 pandemic has made it financially hard for consumers this year to enjoy or contribute to some of these upcoming events or shopping bonanzas,” says Carla Oberholzer (debt adviser at DebtSafe).

In the latest line of special events taking place, the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic and economic challenges have, unfortunately, not stopped retailers to encourage November ‘discounts’ and the latest trend – Black November.

Yes, an entire month allocated to South Africans to do more than a few days of Black Friday shopping trips or online purchases. Consumers, therefore, have to take caution when it comes to month-long ‘shoppertunities’ and should not overspend their monthly budget, especially if they have not planned for additional shopping/gift expenditures.

Here are four important things for consumers to remember when it comes to #BlackNovember:

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1.     Marketing gimmicks are real

Just think about the candy isles that are nearest to the pay stations/pay point section in a store, or continuous online (‘free delivery’ included) adverts on Social Media. Consumers should be aware of these marketing gimmicks, and not make use of various opportunities (during November) to buy extra stuff (either in-store or online).

Consumers should be aware of these marketing gimmicks

Retailers may also use the current ‘social distancing’ regulation as an excuse to lure consumers into thinking that they need to be part of the first bunch of consumers to get items on a ‘sale’. And to be a part of the ‘once-off deal’ (with only limited stock or items available). In other words, retailers use the ‘you snooze, you lose’ kind of marketing and communication messages.

2.     Don’t buy just because you want to, or ‘can’

Buyers should try to only stick to what they need and NOT what they want. And, if they have to purchase something during a so-called ‘sale’, they should also make sure that they can afford it so that they don’t overspend on their monthly/household budgets.

3.     Don’t become part of the debt-filled consumer culture

South Africans have been accumulating more and more debt each year. And, in most cases when consumers overextend their budgets and take on more credit, they can be sure to fall into a deep debt hole.

According to DebtSafe’s 2020 statistics households have already been feeling the pinch since the Coronavirus’ economic chaos started this 2020. And, consumers can, therefore, not afford to spend money that they do not have this time round. That would, unfortunately, be ‘financial suicide’.

4.     Fix debt problems instead of exacerbating them

Consumers can give Black November a skip this year to avoid financial ruin & use the opportunity to FIX their debt problems instead. Those consumers that have not budgeted should reconsider their decision to partake in the event of a sale. And, those that have enough debt already due to the hardship caused by recent COVID-19 ordeal an try and FIX their debt situation sustainably. They should not go it alone and can put their trust in regulated and registered experts in the debt solution industry and field.

Black November may be a good thing for the country’s economy. But, when it comes to the unique situation of the consumer, caution has to be taken when wanting to participate in month-long ‘discounts. No amount of shopping therapy can make debt woes go away. Now is a good a time as any for consumers to be thoughtful to keep debt to the bare minimum.

 

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