Black Friday, what you need to know

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Black Friday is scheduled for November 29. It is a day which offers shoppers the opportunity to flock to stores, taking advantage of bargains, while prepping for the holiday season.

As shopping trips are planned, it seems that Black Friday is growing more and more popular within the South African market.

According to BankservAfrica, South Africans spent close to R3 billion on Black Friday sales in 2018. This is 15,92% more than that of 2017.

With people spending left, right and centre, hunting for bargains, Susan Steward from Budget Insurance encourages people to avoid feeling pressured in taking advantage of every deal they see. She says, it is important to first make provision for all the things you need to pay for, as a lack of control can easily land you in debt during the festive season.

Steward says before embarking on a shopping trip this Black Friday, shoppers should follow a handful of tips to avoid overspending:

  • Budget beforehand, as setting a budget will help you limit your spending.
  • Compare prices and don’t assume you are scoring a bargain at a certain store. It is important to do some research before making your purchase.
  • Plan what gifts you intend to purchase and shop with a purpose. This will help you refrain from walking around stores and overspending on items you do not need.
  • Remember that January is just around the corners. While shoppers might save on a variety of specials during the festive season, January is an expensive month. Especially for parents who need to pay for school uniforms, stationery and school fees.

While shoppers are planning to take advantage of the mass specials, it seems criminals are planning to take advantage of the shopping spree as well.

Charnel Hattingh, the National Marketing and Communications for Fidelity ADT, says the security service provider has noticed a spike in follow-home crime at this time of the year.

She explains in the bulk of the cases, shoppers are followed home from malls and hijacked in their driveways. Hattingh says this is because criminals know shoppers have newly purchased items in the vehicles and are generally easy targets, as shoppers are often distracted on their way home.

Despite criminals being more active this time of the year, shopping for victims, Hattingh claims there are steps people can follow in order to minimise the chances of falling victim to crime.
  • Be vigilant when leaving malls, taking note of the vehicles around you. If you suspect you are being followed, drive immediately to the police station or your security provider.
  • Carry as little as possible in your handbag or pockets at shopping centres, leaving unnecessary cards and a large amount of cash at home.
  • Never leave your handbag, purse or wallet in a trolley.
  • As criminals often target cellphones, it is important to keep your phone out of sight.
  • When drawing cash from an ATM, always try and take someone with you. This is so they can keep watch for any suspicious people at the ATM and on the way home.
  • When at home, if you have a motorised gate, wait in the road for the gate to open. This allows you to speed off if you see anyone suspicious. Furthermore, when you drive into the yard, wait for the gate to close before getting out of your vehicle.

By following these tips, you can make the most of your Black Friday shopping and not fret about your finances in January 2020.

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