Ricochet News

South Africans will likely be feeling the pre-Festive Season Blues this Year

Oct 23, 2018
South Africans will likely be feeling the pre-Festive Season Blues this Year

With the festive season creeping up on us, it is expected that consumers will be tightening their belts a lot sooner than usual due to the increased economic and financial hurdles faced by South Africans this year.

The VAT increase that took effect in April this year, coupled with South Africa slumping into a recession a few months later, as well as continuous fuel increases, is taking its toll on consumers.

The Intelligent Debt Management (IDM) Group, comprising of two national debt counsellors, DebtBusters and Consumer Debt Help, has seen an increase of enquiries for debt assistance over the past three months.

“From September this year, we’ve been experiencing an unusual spike in debt management enquiries – up to 20% more than last year this time,” says Ian Wason, Chief Executive Officer of the IDM Group.

Even though retailers are already gearing up to showcase their festive campaigns, consumers may be more likely to turn to debt management services for help, which could impact retail spend significantly. The IDM Group is used to seeing a spike in debt assistance enquiries after the festive season, but the spike has come prematurely this year – and may continue to do so.

It is very important that consumers do not become desensitised to their personal finances during the festive season. To avoid the end of year and especially New Year money blues, it is important for consumers to take the appropriate measures in order to remain in control of their finances.

Here are some tips to ensure you stay out of debt this festive season:

  1. Put the plastic away

Committing to not using your credit card this festive season is a constructive step to take. Buying on credit makes it very easy to get further into debt and if you cannot afford to pay what you owe on your credit card at the end of the month, the deficit will grow and you will end up owing more and more.

  1. Draw up a holiday budget

Contrary to popular belief, a budget is not there to deprive you of the good life, but rather to enhance your lifestyle by guiding you to spend more purposefully and to help you keep track of where your money is going. Draw up a holiday budget which includes all of your expenses, prioritise your most important expenses and see if there are any areas where you can save such as homemade cards or not using Christmas crackers this year.

  1. Home is where the heart is

For a lot of us, the best part about the holiday season is that we get to spend quality time with those we love most, and to reconnect with people who we perhaps do not see as often as we’d like to. This quality time beats any exotic holiday destination or expensive gifts. When we reflect on what really makes us happy during the holiday season, spending money suddenly seems a lot less important.

  1. It is never too late

If you feel as though you are drowning in debt before the festive season has even begun, use this time to take steps toward seeking help with your finances. A debt counselling company such as DebtBusters can guide you to becoming debt free through a tailored debt solution.

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