Put necessities first this festive season, appeals Minister Alan Winde

Minister Alan Winde

Ministry of Finance, Economic Development and Tourism

Western Cape Government

The Western Cape Office of the Consumer Protector has embarked on a province-wide awareness campaign to encourage residents to spend their money wisely this festive season.

Alan Winde, Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Tourism, said the month-long campaign included slots of community radio stations and financial literacy workshops.

“I’d like to appeal to residents to plan carefully before they start their Christmas shopping. Have a budget and consider your savings and expenses in the new year. Reckless spending could have several-long term consequences, including a negative listing at the credit bureau,” said Minister Winde.

The Office of the Consumer Protector (OCP) traditionally receives a spike in January in consumer complaints and enquiries regarding goods and services bought over the festive season.

Ashley Searle, head of the Western Cape OCP, said some cash-strapped consumers turned to loan sharks at the start of the new year.

“If you plan your spending, you will not need to approach a loan shark for extra money. Loan sharks charge exorbitant interest rates that often condemn you to a lifetime of loan repayments. Responsible spending without incurring debt is a far healthier option for any household,” said Searle.

The Office of the Consumer Protector offers these Spend Wisely tips for the festive season:

  • Develop a budget;
  • Avoid making impulsive purchases;
  • Shop around / compare prices;
  • Research a large purchase before buying;
  • Where possible, negotiate to get the best deal;
  • Avoid purchasing counterfeit goods;
  • Use credit (cards) sparingly;
  • Beware of “buy now – pay later” offers that are prominent during this time of the year;
  • Save some money for use during the beginning of the year.  Remember: School fees, rates and taxes still need to be paid in January.

Organisations, schools, colleges, businesses and communities that would like to book workshops on financial literacy can contact the OCP on 021 483 9282.