Beware of the Black Friday Debt Trap

“Black Friday is the biggest shopping phenomenon – and it’s just around the corner! Before you think about taking part in the spending mania, take a look at our tips below and be aware of the Black Friday debt trap.”

In 2019, Black Friday falls on 29 November. If you are paid monthly on the 25th, Black Friday falls between your paycheck and your December debit orders. It also comes after the last paycheck you will earn before Christmas. All of this makes Black Friday 2019 (and indeed all of Cyber Weekend) a truly risky time to spend your hard-earned money. Be careful not to overextend the final bit of budget you have left for 2019. Better yet, avoid Black Friday altogether!

What is Black Friday?

The concept of Black Friday was born in the United States. It always falls on the day after Thanksgiving (which is celebrated on the last Thursday of November) and traditionally kicks off the Christmas holiday season – making it one of the busiest shopping days of the year. For retailers in South Africa’s difficult economy, Black Friday serves to tempt consumers to spend their money and “get that unmissable deal”.

Too good to be true.

Unfortunately, those “unmissable deals” are often too good to be true, and not bargains at all. Don’t be fooled by the “ON SALE” stickers. Do your research – you may well find that the sale price of an item only seems deeply discounted because the price was hiked ahead of Cyber Weekend.

FOMO is not real.

Don’t let the fear of missing out (FOMO) tempt you into throwing caution to the wind and spending your entire December budget on deceptive deals. It’s easy to get caught up in the hype and be lured by clever marketing tricks like online alerts warning you that there are only a few of the items you’re looking at left in stock – or gimmicks like: “There are 1023 people looking at this item, add it to your cart now to avoid missing out.”

Remember: If you don’t need to buy an item at full price, why do you need to get it when it’s on “sale”?

Impulsive spending.

Even for the most frugal shoppers, it can be difficult to avoid the excitement of scoring a bargain. But if you are someone who has a habit of making impulsive purchases, rather stay away from Black Friday entirely. Impulsive and unplanned spending can lead to you buying loads of stuff that you don’t even need – and possibly land you in financial trouble.

Spend the holidays with your loved ones, not with your debt.

We all tend to spend a bit extra during the festive season, whether it’s on a family holiday, socializing with friends, splurging on gifts or indulging in rich and festive foods. Even if you managed to get through Black Friday and Cyber Monday unscathed, the festive season frenzy of “last-minute-deals”, “super-Santa-savings”, and “crazy-Christmas-specials” could still be your downfall. 

While the holidays mean different things for different people, for most of us, the festive season is about quality time with the people we love – not with the stress of mounting debt. Rather stay strong and avoid shopping on credit, and focus on spending your time with those you care about, not spending your money.

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