Smart ways to sort your festive spending

For all the time spent wishing the year-end holidays would come faster, consumers are also wishing there were more paydays between now and then, notes Richard Mukheibir, CEO of Cash Converters.

“The best way to resolve this dilemma is to confront it,” he says. “Apply a two-step solution – establish your budget and shop smartly.” Even those who are number-phobic feel more relaxed after spending a short time allocating the cash they have available to different types of spend, he believes.

“You will be much less stressed if you prevent too much money flying out of your pockets by remembering the basics of financial common sense,” he says.

Make two lists – everything you need to spend and everything you want to spend, he suggests. The first list covers necessities such as your basic food budget, municipal bill and transport costs. The second list covers what you would like to spend on gifts, holidays, entertainment, decorations and new clothing.

After adding these two totals together, check whether your income will cover this. If not, activate your shopping smarts. Cut extra food costs, for example, by watching for special discounts and coupons. These can particularly help you build up stocks of non-perishables.

“For gifts and even interesting outfits and accessories, capitalise on the popularity of vintage and second-hand finds,” advises Mukheibir. “These purchases are right on trend currently and offer excellent value to help you stretch your cash.

“Jewellery always makes a wonderful gift, for example. Buying second-hand gives you an opportunity to snap up basics such as rings and chains at a fraction of their price new. We also resell unusual and quirky pieces – from a buyer’s point of view, they prove you have put personal thought into the gift.”

When buying second-hand, it is important to shop with dealers who operate in accordance the Second-Hand Goods Act and other applicable laws, such as the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) The act came into force nearly a decade ago but many consumers still do not realise that they have the reassurance of CPA protection when buying both new and second-hand goods, Mukheibir believes. This includes second-hand electronic goods, from TVs and phones to laptops and gaming equipment.
Usually these have been sold on by early adopters keen to get the latest upgrade, yet are still in very good condition.

Consumers keen to buy second-hand can be further reassured that Cash Converters, for example, has zero tolerance of handling stolen goods. It is an active member of the National Association of Second-Hand Franchised Dealers, abiding by its rules and Code of Conduct. This association is in turn accredited by the South African Police Services.

When buying second-hand, make sure that the seller is ready and able to comply with the warranty conditions introduced under the Consumer Protection Act, Mukheibir advises. Cash Converters’ six-month warranty extends to most second-hand goods with some of the main exceptions being: scuba gear, batteries, non-professionally installed car audio, electronic games, speakers, CDs, DVDs and a few other items that staff specify at the time of purchase.

Otherwise, customers can enjoy the reassurance that faulty second-hand goods returned within six months of purchase can be repaired at the seller’s expense, replaced with an item of similar value, or refunded at the price purchased.

“Buying second-hand gives you access to nearly new items at great prices,” says Mukheibir. “It is definitely a smart way to give yourself much more month for your money over the festive season.”