THE behavioural science of shopping explains why Mzansi shoppers can’t stop spending! Consider this the next time you shop in-store or online.

So said Derick Ferreira, head of product management at Old Mutual Personal Finance. He said Mzansi shoppers need to be aware of retail tactics that may lure them to spend more when they know they shouldn’t.

He emphasised the importance of developing better spending habits. “In tough times, the temptation to get further into debt is a challenge, but it’s in times like these that minimising debt and maximising savings should be a priority,” he said.

Recent results released in the 2016 Old Mutual Savings and Investment Monitor show a concerning increase in the proportion of household income being used to service debt, increasing from 12% in 2015 to 16% in 2016.

It also reveals that only 13% of Mzansi households are paying their credit card off in full at the end of the month while the incidence of accounts being cleared monthly is even poorer than for credit cards.

Ferreira will do a roadshow, speaking to Mzansi’s shoppers about:
- Some of the retail tactics that affect consumer behaviour and Mzansi’s ability to save.
- How South Africans can resist overspending and putting themselves into further debt.
- Why the secret to a stable financial future lies in shoppers’ everyday spending decisions.
- The impact of a tough economic climate on shopper spending.
- How high interest rates are impacting the cost of debt, making high-interest short-term debt such as credit cards and store accounts particularly expensive.

Here’s some advice:
- Save 29% by not taking the kids along when you go shopping..
- Leave your credit cards at home.
- Avoid “just popping into” a shopping mall.
- Wait 48 hours before buying. On larger purchases, give yourself time to think about whether you really need it.
- Instead of meeting friends at the mall, rather meet at the park, beach or outside.
- Shop wisely by writing down a shopping list and sticking to it.
- Buy needs, not wants.

Ferreira said: “There’s a perception that only wealthy people can afford to see a financial adviser. A financial adviser can help shoppers formulate a plan based on their goals and priorities.”