After Christmas overspending, debt-ridden consumers swap valuables for cash
FTER a long December holiday of over-spending and poor planning, pawnshop and second-hand dealers are expecting an influx of people desperately short of cash in January.
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, CEO of the secondhand dealers and pawn board, said the problem was the long break between December and January salaries, and that people don’t 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 people find themselves in a difficult position and come to sell goods. Usually it is the small things like electronics and jewellery,” he said.
Over-spending and poor budgeting is nothing new, but Roy Peretz, a pawn shop and secondhand dealer, says there is a simple way to avoid having to meet 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,” said Peretz, the owner of Cash Inn, a well-known second-hand dealer and pawn shop in Johannesburg.
He said it is very common for people to come into his shop after the holidays and sell or pawn any valuable items.
This can range from rich clients selling the Ferrari they can no longer afford, or 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.
Neil Roets, CEO of Debt Rescue, said debt counsellors usually see an increase in people approaching them for help after in January.
“After the December holidays, we see a dramatic increase in applications, due to over-spending in that period,” said Roets.
“This is largely due to a combination of a few factors, which includes 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, as well as annual subscription renewals, it makes for a difficult start to the new year.
“Many people max out their credit cards during the holidays and have no other means to cover their living expenses as well as repaying their debt instalments,” said Roets.
Roets said people can avoid the embarrassment of selling their goods in January or making use of a debt counselling service 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.”