AFTER a long December holiday of overspending and poor planning, pawn-shop and second-hand dealers are expecting an influx of people desperately short of cash.
Meanwhile, debt rescue service providers say they see a dramatic increase in the number of people requesting their help at this time of year.
Tom Fuhri, chief executive of the Second-hand Dealers and Pawn Board, said the problem was the long break between December and January salaries, and that people did not properly plan and budget for their holidays.
“The people who end up in trouble in January, selling stuff, are the people who are spending money they don’t have,” he said.
“It really is a yearly phenomenon. Over December our shops are quiet because people go on holiday, but come January and February they find themselves in a difficult position and sell goods.
“Usually it is the small things like electronics and jewellery.”
Overspending and poor budgeting is nothing new, but Roy Peretz, a pawn shop and second-hand dealer, says there is a simple way to avoid having to see him in January.
“It is very simple. Don’t use credit. If you don’t have money, don’t spend. So in other words, spend what you have,” Peretz, the owner of Johannesburg’s Cash Inn, featured in Pawn Stars South Africa, said.
Peretz said it was very common for people to come into his shop after the holidays and sell or pawn any valuable items.
This could range from rich clients selling the Ferrari they can no longer afford, to middle-class people selling off electronic devices and jewellery.
“The poor sell the small things, while the rich sell the more valuable things,” he said.
Debt Rescue chief executive Neil Roets said debt counsellors usually saw an increase in people approaching them for help in January.
“After the December holidays, we see a dramatic increase in applications due to over-spending in that period,” Roets said.
“This is largely due to a lack of planning for this time, the need to ‘keep up with the Joneses’, self- gratification, and throwing caution to the wind,” he said.
“Add to that a combination of school fees, stationery and uniforms, and annual subscription renewals, and it makes for a difficult start to the new year,” he said.
“Many people max out their credit cards during the holidays.”
Roets said people could avoid the embarrassment of selling their goods in January by preparing better. “Budgeting is the best solution to keep track of your spending.
“Once you know how your money is spent, it is easy to take corrective action,” he said.