“One of the main messages that we drive among consumers is encouraging them to shop within their means and sticking to a game plan to avoid buying things they don’t need only to regret later. Black Friday is one of the few days when consumers have the opportunity to score big discounts on various household items, however, caution should be practised to avoid buying things for the sake of buying because of FOMO “Fear Of Missing Out” or relying too much on credit which could lead to over-indebtedness,” says Benard Chiluzi, Financial Education Specialist at Old Mutual (MW) Limited.
According to Chiluzi, consumers would be better placed if they created a budget, sticking to a shopping list and shopping around for Black Friday shopping because it’s only through a well thought out game plan which is supported by strict budget that they can make the most of the Black Friday Discounts.
Discipline is very important during Black Friday shopping. Just because the crowd is doing a scrum over a particular item doesn’t mean you should also join in.
Consumers must remain mindful of how they spend, whether there are large discounts or not, we should always remember that there is life after Black Friday if you consider that there are other priorities such as servicing debts and taking care of children’s long term needs such as education. There’s a risk of being financially vulnerable over the long-term including the usual January financial pressures. It is prudent to reconsider how one intends to spend during Black Friday and to delay the gratification of unplanned purchases.
The following are suggestions that can help to cushion consumers against overspending during Black Friday:
Buy only the things you need
Consumers can easily get carried away when everything seems cheap or heavily discounted. Being able to differentiate between needs and wants is an important part of financial management, while consumers may score huge discounts the important question to ask remains: Do I really need this item? By practicing this type of self-control, consumers can remain focused and spend money only on items that will add value and won’t poke holes in their pockets unnecessarily.
Plan you Black Friday purchases
Black Friday has gained momentum over the last few years in Malawi. As part of planning for the day, consumers should campare prices from different retailers and make their purchase decisions earlier on. This approach increases chances of saving money and stretching the budget where possible. Also important is creating a shopping list to avoid impulse purchases.
Monitor your transaction activities
While shopping, it’s important for consumers to monitor their transaction activity to ensure they remain within budget. If a certain amount is set aside for Black Friday, it’s important to stick to that budget to avoid overspending.
Want it, save for it
Black Friday is a one-day event that happens once a year, this means you can save for whatever item you hope to buy. This would especially apply to big ticket items such as TVs or furniture. The benefit of saving for Black Friday purchases is not only the discounts but the peace of mind of knowing that your finances remain intact. If you don’t have a budget, don’t tempt yourself with window shopping on Black Friday.
Consider shopping online
Consumers should embrace online shopping practices to avoid the hassle of having to stand on long queues, wrestling with other enthusiastic, muscled shoppers, and to protect your soft ankles from the pain of colliding with solid iron trolleys there’s the convenient option of shopping online. Online shopping can be done from the comfort of your home, and may in fact result in savings because you won’t have to drive around and pay for parking. When you shop online the items can be delivered directly to your provided physical address. Consumers do, however, have to practice caution when shopping online to protect their personal information. Be careful of scammers and make sure you shop on authentic online sites. The last thing you want is for your personal details to be compromised and you fall victim to online scammers while chasing Black Friday specials.
It is the obvious fact that Black Friday has created its own heightened attention in the Malawi. Whilst this is good in general, I think it’s important for consumers to plan ahead so that they can take full advantages of the day and not have to worry about any regrets or financial setbacks. The trick is in the planning,” concludes Chiluzi.