By IAN FERGUSON
Christmas is typically the season where Bahamians and people the world over disregard saving patterns and fiscally responsible spending, in exchange for impulse buying and the satisfaction of extensive wish lists.
One only needs to visit the banks, malls, car lots and retail shopping districts, both in and outside the country, to see Bahamians making their holiday shopping moves. While local consumer spending is necessary for national economic strength, everything must be done in moderation.
A brief conversation with a young banking executive this week revealed the truth about the excessive, and uncalculated, buying patterns of Bahamians, who fall into temporary insanity for the entire month of December. They then drop into complete and utter depression for the entire first quarter of the following year.
Hence this article will provide consumers with five tips on responsible buying and spending:
- With Value-Added Tax (VAT) looming, and an imminent increase in consumer goods prices just around the corner, it is wise for Bahamians to begin their spending diet.
The wise Bahamian has a healthy ‘rainy day’ fund that can be accessed only in dire situations. With the ‘Christmas Bonus’, and extra tips and gratuities flowing this season, Bahamians are encouraged to up their saving game.
- ‘Buy Bahamian’ has become such a clich� that many simply turn a deaf ear and book their tickets in search of great Florida buys.
A secondary school lesson in economics provides you with sufficient evidence that supporting your local suppliers helps you in the long and short-term. We must guard against the ‘foreign is better’ mindset in our spending this season, and for always.
- The cardinal sin this season is impulse buying. The best way to avoid this whimsical and irresponsible spending is to determine what you are going to spend, create a list of what you will purchase and stick to the plan.
The marketing plans and gimmicks set up during this season are well-devised ploys to entice, ensnare and trap you into debt and despair. Buyer Beware!
- Repeat this statement and make it your mantra. Spend only what you have. That means no loans, no credit, no stealing and no begging. If you do not have it, do not spend it.
Be content this Christmas and teach your children this valuable lesson. Our parents and generations before us lived with a lot less, and they were the better for it.
- This final encouragement is one which perhaps expresses the true meaning and spirit of the season. It is to focus your buying on ‘GIVING’. No one in our country has to look long, hard or far to find the unfortunate or disadvantaged among us. Without casting judgment or over-analysing the causes of their dilemma, give LOVE in the form of something tangible this year.
• NB: Ian R. Ferguson is a talent management and organisational development consultant, having completed graduate studies with regional and international universities. He has served organsations, both locally and globally, providing relevant solutions to their business growth and development issues. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.