Black Friday 2020

The ‘feel good’ psychology of buying is evidently from the release of dopamine in the human body.  With us consistently searching for enjoyable feelings, sales have been targeted at delving into the psyche of making us feel satisfied and fulfilled by buying things.  ‘Black Friday’ is no exception to making us buy. 

Advertising goes further in making us believe that purchasing items during Black Friday and Cyber Monday is a sure way of ensuring that we take full advantage of alluring, not-to-be repeated bargains.  We are intuitively predisposed to the fear of missing out and the belief that the item is of a higher value than what it was worth therefore almost giving us the go-ahead to thoughtlessly purchase items not needed. 

With the invent and subsequent continuance of the frenzy of purchasing on Black Friday internationally and in South Africa, there are certainly incredible purchase-offerings from which consumers may benefit.  The Credit Ombud is not vilifying the value that Black Friday may hold for many consumers nor the opportunity that it presents to retailers to market their products.  Black Friday should be approached strategically, giving you the chance to capitalize from your dedicated savings plan to purchase the item.  If you did not budget for the item and the item was a ‘want’ as opposed to a need, you must stay disciplined to walk away from the sale.  Purchasing the item on credit will inevitably raise the cost of the item and is not a ‘win’ situation.  Set yourself a target in that you pay case for the item.

We would advise consumers who have either not planned or budgeted for items they need, to resist the impulse to purchase during Black Friday and defer the purchase to a later time.  If Black Friday does not work for you, remember that Christmas is on the horizon and sales will again feature prominently. 

The Credit Ombud asks that consumers be alert to Black Friday excitement and to remain financially savvy by taking account the following key tips; 

  1. Plan and budget for the items you wish to purchase and if the item is not on the budget, it should not appear in your shopping cart and your shopping bag. We suggest that you compile a list of your monthly income and expenses and subtract your expenses (including debt obligations) from your income.  Use that as an indicator to budget for your Black Friday purchases.
  2. Be vigilant when making purchases online.  With the enhanced ease to shop online, there comes a corresponding risk relating to fraud activity. Protect yourself from buying from unknown sources and ensure that a secure payment method is used.
  3. Check your bank statements for any unusual debits.
  4. Avoid purchasing on credit and if you must, then ensure that you satisfactorily understand the total cost of credit. You do not pay the same price for the item if it is paid in cash and if you purchase on credit. Make sure you can afford the items before you purchase them. Always enter into credit agreements with registered credit providers.
  5. Shop around for the item you wish to purchase by comparing prices between service and credit providers to source the best deals.
  6. Your credit score is your credit reputation. It is one of the useful information that credit providers use to decide whether to extend credit to you or not. One of the important factors when calculating a credit score is your monthly payment behavior.  Past credit behavior is an indicator of future payment behavior. Your credit score offers some telling insights into the state of your finances. Keep up to date with your credit profile and watch for any warning signs that might lead to a negative credit assessment by lenders.