Spend Wisely Campaign 2019
Spending Patterns Campaign
Download the Financial Literacy Booklet for more information on how to save!
The festive season is a time of giving, but unfortunately also a time of reckless overspending. The Western Cape Office of the Consumer Protector has decided to conduct a pro-active and positive campaign to raise awareness amongst consumers about the advantages of spending wisely during this period. The aim of this campaign is not to take the joy of giving away from this season, but to create mass awareness amongst consumers about the pitfalls of overspending and debt during the festive season.
Savings Tips for the Festive Season:
Make a budget: There are several different ways to set a holiday budget. You might want to establish a general spending cap or try allocating a specific amount to each person on your gift list. Create your budget now, before the season hits full steam and revisit it often to make sure you’re spending within your means.
Set priorities: Analyze your expenses and focus on those which are the most important. You may want to buy so many things all of them seem necessary, but take your time and simplify your spending.
Cut back on extras: We’re all guilty of indulging a little more than we should, simply because it’s the holiday season. However, you can’t get stuck in a trap where constant spending on “extras” eats into your budget. Cutting back on those extras can have a big impact. Before you splurge on a “little treat,” make sure it is worth the price.
Choose cheaper traditions: Traditions are what make the holiday so special, but they can be a financial burden. If your traditions include holiday travel, paying for special attractions or surprising your kids with extravagant gifts, you might find yourself going significantly over budget.
Use a savings jar: You would be surprised what a few loose coins and notes can do to get December’s expenses covered.
Use coupons: Coupons can save you a lot of money so don’t underestimate them. Loads of coupons are available during December and can significantly cut your spending.
Make use of pre-holiday sales: A sale prior to December always come in handy. However, the items you buy should be something you need and not want.
Know when to stop: When your list is finished and you checked it twice, it’s time to go shopping. Know when you are finished and avoid stopping by the mall “just to see what they have,” This can lead to poorly planned purchases and blowing your budget.
Get everything done on the cheap: It’s important to keep in mind that your holiday to-do list shouldn’t overwhelm your budget. December comes with numerous money saving opportunities. All you should do is make a list and look for discounts and special offers.
Make the most of after-Christmas sales: Fortunately, holiday sales do not end when Christmas comes. After Christmas you can still take advantage of sale prices for numerous items, so don’t waste an opportunity to get a great deal. Make a list of items you are interested in and head to the stores when the holiday fever will be almost over.
BEWARE OF ACCOMMODATION SCAMS
Vacation rental scam stories are all over the internet. The scenario usually involves a fake listing, a request for payment by EFT and after you paid, an end to communication from the property “owner.” When the dust settles, your money is gone and you have no place to stay.
Here are 5 tips that can help you detect and avoid holiday rental scammers.
Good Deal, or Too Good to be True
“If it looks too good to be true, it is.” This old saying is applicable in many situations, and you should keep it in mind when researching vacation rentals. While vacation rental prices vary based on factors such as number of rooms, amenities and location, you should be wary of any apartment of cottage that is offered at a discount. Always check rental prices for several properties in the neighbourhood you would like to stay in so that you have a good understanding of the going rates for that area.
Consider the Website’s Payment Methods and Security Policies
The safest way to pay for your vacation rental is by credit card. Regardless of where you live, credit cards offer more consumer protection than any other payment method. If there is a problem with your rental, or if you are the victim of a vacation rental scam, you can dispute the charges with your credit card company and have them taken off your bill until the matter is investigated.
Verify that the Property Exists
Use Google Maps or another mapping application to verify that the cottage or apartment you want to rent, actually exists.
Scammers have been known to use false addresses or to use addresses of actual buildings that turned out to be warehouses, offices or vacant lots. If you know someone who lives near the apartment of cottage, ask them to look at the property for you.
Conduct Online Searches
Before paying a deposit, do some research on your chosen property and its owner. Conduct an online search for the owner’s name, the property address, and images of the property, and if possible, who owns the rental website and who pays the property taxes. If you notice any discrepancies, or if you find the same advertising text or photos posted by two different owners, think twice about renting the property, especially if you have been asked to pay the rent in full by EFT or a similar method.
Rent Known Properties
If possible, rent a cottage or apartment that someone you know has already stayed in. You will be able to ask the previous renter about payment methods, rental policies and any other concerns you might have. As you begin to plan your trip, ask family members and friends if they know of available rental properties in the places you would like to visit.