As the holiday season approaches, consumers prepare for the festive times ahead by buying gifts, planning family meals and organising events and vacations; all activities that tempt people to spend more money than they might have budgeted for. On top of that, many people are paid their December salaries, and in some cases, bonuses or thirteenth cheques are paid earlier in the month, so by the time the New Year arrives, they are out of money.
Fortunately, banking has become faster, easier and smarter with channels such as cellphone banking, online banking, and the introduction of solutions such as InstantMoney and SnapScan, which help you to manage your finances effectively.
“Not only do all these digital advances and apps ensure that we don’t have to spend our holidays waiting in queues at the bank or the supermarket, but they also help us spend money safely and responsibly by removing the temptation to overspend,” says Kabelo Makeke.
For those consumers wanting to be shopping savvy this festive season, Mr Makeke suggests the following tips:
Use online banking rather than wasting petrol or money travelling to the bank. It is convenient and will save you time as you can make payments, transfer money between your accounts, view your bank statements, check your account balances and buy prepaid airtime, all at a click of a button.
With cellphone banking, you don’t have to leave the comfort of your house, your office or disturb your family holiday to make payments. You can check your balances, and buy prepaid airtime and prepaid electricity on the move, anytime and anywhere. You can also view your latest transactions for free and at any time so you are aware of what is going on with your accounts. If money leaves your account, you will get an SMS notification.
Purchase gifts through easy payment solutions, like SnapScan
Easy mobile payment solutions, such as SnapScan, allow you the convenience and safety of shopping without having to carry cash or swipe your credit and/or debit card.
To pay with SnapScan, simply open the SnapScan app, tap on ‘Scan’ and scan the SnapCode displayed at the shop. This identifies the shop and prompts you to enter the amount you want to pay. Enter your PIN to complete the transaction.
Shop when sales take place
Most stores have sale seasons when products can be bought for much less. You can become shopping savvy by not buying items in the festive season as prices are very high. Instead, you can wait for January when items are more affordable.Alternatively you can visit retail outlets which sell chain store overruns and big brand cancellations for lower prices.
Look for safe and convenient methods to send money home
The festive season is traditionally a time when we need to support family and friends, and often when we need to send money home. In some cases, it is not always possible to physically get money to the person in need and this is when easy-to-use money transfer solutions, such as Standard Bank’s InstantMoney, come into play.With InstantMoney, you can easily transfer money to family and friends anywhere in the country. The person sending the money and the recipient don’t need to have a bank account, they just need a cellphone number. The transaction is instant, so the recipient doesn’t have to wait for any bank clearances. This is made possible with a unique voucher that is sent to recipients via an SMS message allowing them to collect the money at various retail outlet stores.
Shop only when necessary
Consumers sometimes make the mistake of purchasing items just because they are caught up in the festive and holiday mood or because an item is a bargain or on sale. Shop only when you need things and if they fit into your budget.
Always try to buy the item at a cheaper rate
When shopping for items such as furniture or high-end electronics, look around at competing retailers. It always helps to compare prices to make sure that you are getting the best possible price at the most affordable rate.
Not all bargains are bargains
Be careful of false goods and cheap items that claim to be a specific brand on the label, but aren’t. The quality often isn’t good, so these products end up costing you more in the long-term. You can avoid counterfeit goods by buying at reputable stores.
“By shopping smart, we can save a huge amount of money, even in the holiday season,” says Mr Makeke. “All the money saved can be put towards something really worthwhile, such as saving for emergencies or planning for your child’s education. Savvy shopping combined with the latest technology is one way Standard Bank is helping you ensure the security of your financial future.”
Article by Standard Bank