With so many people out of work due to the current pandemic, money worries have been on the rise, leaving shoppers in a financial bind and resulting in a split between those who are tightening their budgets and those who are choosing to purchase items on a delayed payment plan.
A recent survey found that nearly 40% of shoppers have become more thrifty, opting to buy cheaper items and scrimp on luxuries in an attempt to save money for a rainy day. Those surveyed also cited a need to reduce what they spend to account for reduced incomes, preparing for the uncertainty of the economy.
For those not cutting back, particularly youngsters, a new “buy now, pay later” trend is sweeping the online shopping scene. Companies like Afterpay, Klarna, and Zip act as a middle man for businesses and customers, spreading purchases into smaller, and seemingly more manageable, payments over time. Instead of shelling out hundreds of dollars for a new outfit at the checkout, young consumers can break up the total into smaller payments across 2-3 months – the ultimate impulse buy.
With no fees or interest, it appears these companies are providing a much needed service. Money worries can make it hard to even start saving, and these companies offer consumers a way to purchase items without feeling the pressure of blowing their budgets.
However, when it comes to “buy now, pay later” plans, there are some pitfalls. For people who are already having money troubles, paying off these delayed payments in a timely manner can be difficult. And for those who are low on savings, these payments can end up draining their accounts over the long-term if they aren’t careful.
Ultimately, your personal financial circumstances are what will dictate whether you should stick to a tighter budget or not. Money worries exist for everyone right now, and it’s important to find a balance that works for you and prioritize your financial well-being while still making sure you get what you need.