On Friday, November 26, South African consumers will start queuing at the break of dawn and online shoppers will be glued to their computer screens as the annual shopping craze begins.

The immense amount of advertising can be confusing and overwhelming to any Black Friday bargain hunter, it is therefore important to prepare well in advance.

Develop a shopping plan and do some careful research on the products you’re planning to buy, it will give you confidence in your purchases on the day and ensure that your Black Friday experience is a shopping success.

Here’s how to shop smart and stay out of trouble on Black Friday.

The problem during this period is that you can easily get carried away with all the deals on offer, there is thus a risk of overspending and buying items you don’t really need if you don’t arm yourself with a strict Black Friday budget.

The Eastern Cape Office of the Consumer Protector urges consumers to shop with caution. Proper planning and budgeting are vitally important to avoid unnecessary and spiralling debt.

Below are practical tips that shoppers can follow to stay out of trouble on Black Friday:

1. Make a shopping list

Making a list with only necessary items before the sales start will help you to focus on what you need when looking out for discounts. It is very easy to be tempted on the day, make sure you avoid impulse purchases and stick to your list!

2. Set clear budgets and stick to them

Budgeting is essential to avoid overspending. But having a budget and then not sticking to it is pointless, so it’s important to be disciplined. To avoid disappointment, make sure your budget is realistic. If you can’t afford a Black Friday budget, rather avoid temptation and stay away from the shopping malls on that day.

3. Look out for affordable gifts

With the festive season right around the corner and JanuWorry fast approaching too, you can get a head-start and save some money on gift and back-to-school shopping. Again, be smart about what you’re buying and know what you’re looking for.

4. Think ahead

Depending on your priorities, Black Friday is a good opportunity to buy non-perishable household items that you know you will always need and that won’t go off. Stocking up on cleaning products and toiletries while they’re on discount, for example, is not a bad idea. It can save you money and reduce your future monthly spending.

Keep in mind that while buying on credit allows you to get the item instantly, you will end up paying more in interest over time, possibly even cancelling out the discount and causing a lot of financial distress in the future.

6. Be alert

Whether or not you are shopping on Black Friday, always monitor your SMS notifications and report any suspicious transactions to your bank immediately as fraudsters are also shopping on Black Friday. Don’t let them use your money. If you’re shopping online, make sure you are transacting on legitimate sites.

With proper planning and self-discipline, bargain hunters can make the most of Black Friday deals without breaking the bank.

Budget well for the Black Friday shopping spree and make Black Friday 2021 a success.

For advice on becoming a “Smart Consumer”, you can contact the Eastern Cape Office of the Consumer Protector on:

Sharecall Number 0860 007 255

Email Charnette.Ferreira@dedea.gov.za.