OPINION: Consumers in COVID splurge will pay dearly

Raelene HallMidwest Times
So-called retail therapy is often just a short-term fix.
Camera IconSo-called retail therapy is often just a short-term fix. Credit: valentinrussanov/Getty Images

COVID-19 has certainly created a storm in 2020, and we don’t how long it will take to abate.

However, I have concerns there will be a real upsurge in the storm after the Christmas-new year period — not because of the virus but because of people spending unrealistically throughout this year and through the forthcoming festive season.

Every year the news highlights those who are struggling to pay credit card debt after the big spend-up of Christmas, new year and the holiday sales.

There are so many who see these credit cards as their saviours, but so often they become their worst nightmare.

It’s not just the credit card companies and their high interest rates that are an issue.

The advertisements seen on TV by furniture retailers and others, for interest-free offers of up to 48 or even 60 months, sound wonderful in theory but unless you pay it off early or put the money aside each week towards paying it off, you may well find yourself reaching the end of the interest-free period without the necessary funds to pay for an item which, may be out of date or even worn out.

So, do you go into more debt or pay absurd interest rates?

Even more worrying, I feel, are the ads which promise people money with just a simple phone call and within minutes you can have money in your account for whatever you fancy.

Instant satisfaction at its best (or worst). I have never used or contacted one of these businesses, so cannot comment on their terms or conditions.

To my mind, though, no one lends money quickly and easily without people jumping through some hoops.

I worry these promotions, and the small print, may be appealing to some who are financially vulnerable, leaving them in a grim situation.

With people feeling so uncertain about life in general, spending money is a time- honoured way for many to cheer themselves up. Spending money on the house or garden instead of holidays is fabulous, provided you don’t suddenly find yourself forgetting to consider your budget. At present some people are supported by government payments but it is necessary we all remember this can’t, and won’t, last forever.

Don’t wait for reality to hit.

If you are losing sleep over finances, seek help now.

That’s the true pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

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