The only store cards I have in my purse are loyalty cards. Those that you can accumulate points on every time you buy that you can redeem at a later stage by buying actual goods from the shop.
I also recently found that loyalty cards works across countries. For the past two months when I lived in South Africa, I could swipe my clicks card when I bought my groceries for the month.
But loyalty cards are not the only cards shops offer, they also offers you store cards that works like credit cards. You get assigned a limited that you can safely spend and repay it back in monthly installment and/or in a lump sum. Just like credit cards, the store also gives you an interest free period and if you do your math’s nicely, it might actually work out cheaper.
Here is the do’s and the don’ts when using your store cards
- The store is watching your spending and repayment pattern and if they see you are a regular shopper, they will offer you an increased limit. Simply decline the limit, just because you are spending more does not mean you have more money.
- Be careful when you walk in the shop. You do not have to buy every time you go in the shop , but the temptation may be strong. If you can, leave your card at home to avoid impulsive buys.
- Do not pay your card inside the shop. Remember the article on managing your bills? If you can pay online, do so. Have you seen people that walk in the shops to pay their accounts only to come out with plastics full of staffs?
- Shop around for a discount. Just because you have an Edgars card does not mean you cannot buty your top at PEP stores sometimes. Even if you are not paying for the item upfront, remember, you will need to pay for it comes month end.
- Avoid the traps of points and vouchers. Nothing is for free. Just because they promise a N$500 if you spend N$ 800 or more does not mean you have to buy that much. If the interest on your account will exceed the value of the voucher, then its not worth it. Unless you are buying cash but even in that case you must look at the opportunity cost of spending the money on that particular item.
Make the wise choices on a daily basis, it will help you along the way. My advise is to never skip on your monthly store card payment and if you can, pay it off faster as short term debt is expensive than long term debt.