Before, when life was much simpler, people would have an idea of when they were about to get into debt because they would see cash leaving their wallet and know the balance in their account.
In times of plastic money, people tend to spend money blindly, as they are often not aware they are overspending both on credit cards and transactional accounts because they don’t see the money as it leaves their account.
Social media brings shopping malls into people's homes, and plastic has replaced cash, so buying what you want is just a click away. That click could be the beginning of a lot of financial troubles, like debt, especially if people are not disciplined with their money.
John Manyike, head of Financial Education at Old Mutual, said that going online and seeing the flashy lifestyles of others can trigger the desire to keep up with trends, which leads people to buy items they can’t afford.
Manyike said, “The greatest defence against digital or any excess spending is financial awareness. There is no substitute for getting financially educated and building a happy life based on simple money management principles.”
Manyike shares four ways people can avoid debt when shopping online:
– If people know that they can be influenced when they see colourful, enticing images online, then they should avoid scrolling through those sites.
– Have a list nearby of your "must-haves," which are your needs, and "nice-to-haves," which are your wants. Having the list on hand will remind you of what counts and what can be bought later, when your budget or wish list allows.
– People should avoid logging on if they are in the mood for some retail therapy because there is a high possibility that they will be tempted to do impulse buying.
– Following the 24-hour rule. If you see something you fancy online, take time out to think about your purchase. This will give you an idea of whether it is an impulse buy or something that you really need.