It’s been six years since SA’s biggest online retailer, Takealot, brought the American retail phenomenon known as Black Friday to this country, and they were thrilled at doing sales of R1 million that one day.
This year, they’re expecting that figure to be around R350 million, 80% up on last year’s R196 million.
The consumers who get the most out of BF plan for it months in advance, delaying buying their TV, fridge and other big-ticket items until they can score that massive BF discount. They also know the “normal” prices very well, so they can’t be misled by the over-stated “70%” off claims, of which there are many.
And here’s the most important part – they save up to make that purchase with money they have, instead of money they borrow from banks and then have to pay back at high interest rates.
Inevitably, much of this year’s BF spend-fest is going to be done on credit, as in previous years, which is why the National Credit Regulator issued a warning at the weekend: “Don’t let Black Friday lead to ‘Blacklisting’!”
Separate needs from wants
“To be smart and avoid unnecessary future financial troubles, consumers are advised to first draw up a list, separating ‘needs’ from ‘wants’, then look into the budget to check whether the available money is enough,” the regulator said.
“If it’s not enough and you have an option to buy on credit, consider the credit-related costs that you will have to pay over time, your ability to repay the debt and decide whether it is worth spending on credit for Black Friday.”
The reality is that with impulse clothing buys on credit, the appeal of the purchase often wears off before you’ve paid it off.
And if you can’t make those minimum repayments, in full and on time, things get ugly, fast.
With an adverse listing – better known as a blacklisting, you’ll be unlikely to get any new credit, and if you do, it will come at higher interest rates.
It can also affect your finance-related job prospects.
BF spend limit
So, as with gambling – set yourself a BF-sensible spend limit and stick to it, no matter what. And find out what the retailer’s returns policies are in case you have a change-of-heart when BF fever wears off.
If you buy in a shop, you only have a legal right of return, for cash or an exchange, if there’s something wrong with the product.
They get to make the rules around “buyer’s remorse” returns.
But if you buy online, you have the legal right to return anything you buy, even if there’s nothing wrong with it, within seven days of delivery.
Yet another reason to avoid those mad crowds and click-shop in your PJs!
And remember, the best saving you get is from the thing you didn’t buy.