Black Friday Sales: 3 Cold Truths Every South African Shopper Needs to Know…

Black Friday is one of those great American inventions, like bubble gum. Black Friday Sales were cleverly created as a way of getting American’s to start their Christmas shopping straight after Thanksgiving.

And like bubble gum, Black Friday Sales, although seemingly sweet and harmless can cause a lot of damage. Rather than putting unnecessary holes in your teeth, Black Friday likes to put unnecessary holes in your pockets.

Let’s not forget the bumper sticker: “Despite the cost of living, it’s still popular”

Despite the cost of living it's still quite popular

Here are 5 Black Friday home truths every South African should know:

1. Black Friday Sales Work Around Profit

Although it may seem that we are getting a bargain deal, and yes sometimes you do, it’s important to remember that retailers use Black Friday to make profit.

It’s well known that in the world of accounting:

Black ink on a company’s books symbolises profit, red ink stands for losses.

So how does this work when it seems like we are getting a bargain? Are the stores not losing money?

Well no…

The principle is quite simple really. Discounts drive more sales and encourage unnecessary purchases. And unfortunately, consumers like using Black Friday as an opportunity to buy things they usually can’t afford and very often don’t need.

See: Why consumers fall for ‘sales’

Want another hard truth? Retailers usually only put low-performing products or older models with high stock levels on promotion to give them a sales boost. Don’t fall for the gimmick and get yourself into debt or spend your hard-earned money on things you normally wouldn’t buy, simply because it’s on sale.

It’s easy to forget that profit is still the biggest reason why retailers push for Black Friday. Although you can and will find amazing deals, remember not to fall for unnecessary purchases simply because it’s on sale…

2. Black Friday Targets Budget-Conscious Customers

The allure of a massive sale is one we all too often fall for when times are tough. When prices only seem to be rising and the old purse strings are beginning to fray, the thought of a sale fairly wets the lips. Particularly when it’s close to Christmas.

It’s no surprise that in our struggling economy, Black Friday seems like an ideal opportunity to make up for our increased cost of living with “huge savings”. The budget-conscious consumer is most heavily targeted with promotions and it’s not just TV’s that fly off the shelf.

Riots have broken out over discounted toilet rolls and potato chips. But let’s be honest, buying toilet paper is probably a better option over potato chips and out of date tech products…

Although in hindsight, people flooding through shopping doors in utter chaos in seek of a bargain may seem insane. We all tend to fall for the discount frenzy from time to time.

WATCH: Glass shatters with Black Friday Stampede

But if you don’t NEED it, LEAVE it.

Don’t be sucked in by the marketing hype of Black Friday Sales, believing that you are getting that flat-screen TV or that laptop or that cell phone for a brilliant price. Bargain or not, you still may end up in unnecessary debt.

It is very unwise to pay attention to such sales and promises of bargains. Yes of course, if you have put the cash away for the right moment to buy, because you saved up and waited, well that’s an entirely different story. It’s also a different story if you can afford it.

But if you are already struggling financially, then you need to think carefully before you turn Black Friday into Bleak Friday, which leaves you scrounging around in January for money to pay the school fees.

3. Black Friday Sales Encourage Debt

The marketing message of many credit cards has been based on the idea of “buy now, pay later.” We agree – you buy now, but you pay much more later. Aside from the interest, you may end up with a debt problem that you cannot get out of, and that could have all sorts of life-changing consequences.

With the promise of a bargain, we begin maxing out our store accounts and credit cards, believing we are cleverly budgeting for presents and “necessities” while Christmas fast approaches…

So many people are paid early in December, meaning a lot of us have to wait a long extra two weeks for our next paycheck in January. For a piece of plastic, it can cost a lot in the long run… hence Januworry.

On average, 80% of a South African’s salary goes towards their debt repayments. Ouch. Not only does this cycle continue as you need to borrow more to survive, but you could end up losing your home, car and everything you have worked hard to build.

If you’re already struggling, don’t be afraid to ask for help!

Debt Rescue is regulated by the NCR to ensure fair practice to those who are struggling to live due to debt. We reduce your monthly payments while legally protecting you and your assets from creditors. Our aim is to help you get out of debt, while still being able to afford living expenses such as food and rent.

As Black Friday rolls around, be sensible with how you spend your money.

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