07 December 2015 - With the festive season drawing closer, South Africans are already planning for the holidays. With pricey family gatherings and Christmas shopping on the cards, it’s important that consumers make wise financial decisions.
This is according to Craig Whittaker, Head of Product at Wonga SA, who offers the following festive season advice to consumers in order to limit their financial strain going into 2016:
- Take note of your spending
It is important that consumers keep track of their expenses and understand where their money is going. To make this easier, consumers can draw a budget prior to the festive season and include all they may need, making an indication once that expense has been paid for. Obligatory expenditures, such as rent, cannot be avoided, however, consumers should make an effort to avoid spending on frivolous items, dining-out or expensive and unnecessary entertainment, if it doesn’t fit with their budget.
- Avoid further credit
Where possible, it’s better to buy items with cash. While buying on managed credit is a good way to create a credit profile, consumers are warned to use credit wisely and never to overspend. Being unable to repay your debt will only result in a negative credit rating. A bad credit rating could also prevent consumers from getting a larger loan, such as a car or home loan, in the future.
While credit is a helpful way to purchase larger expensive items such as big household appliances, consumers are advised to cut down on their unnecessary usage of credit.
- Compare prices
To get the best deal possible, it’s a good idea to compare prices of goods from different stores. This may include doing comparisons online between various major retail outlets, or going from store to store. Buying online can often work out cheaper than going in-store to purchase specialised items.
- Save for the New Year
To start the year on a good note, it’s important that consumers spend wisely over December. While it’s tempting, shoppers should opt not to spend their entire salary over the festive season. Equally, parents shouldn’t compromise their financial wellbeing in order to keep up their children’s expectations of a happy holiday. It’s important that parents don’t buckle under the effects of ‘pest power’ and consciously set aside enough money for school fees, uniforms and other essential goods in the New Year.
- Be cautious when purchasing online
While buying online has the potential to save money, consumers need to be cautious when making online purchases. It’s important that consumers are vigilant when visiting shopping and banking sites, by using only secure sites when making online transactions. It’s also important that shoppers update their online security settings over the festive season and keep all their personal information safe.
“The festive season comes with a lot of excitement. It’s a great time for friends and family to reconnect. However, with the holidays our expenses often tend to soar as we spoil ourselves and our loved ones. It’s important that consumers make financial decisions that won’t leave them financially strained in the New Year,” concludes Whittaker.