With all the economic uncertainty going on right now, it’s probably the worst time to be taking out long-term debt because there’s no way of telling what tomorrow holds.

What if the stagnated economy results in you being retrenched or, with the ever-rising cost of food and petrol, what if you find yourself beyond financially stretched?

“It’s important to look at how we spend on certain items. If you’re dipping into your credit card to buy a new fridge, remember that later on, you’ll have to pay it back – with interest,” says Teljoy CFO Jonathan Hurvitz.

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“Back in July, 58% of South Africans were struggling to pay off their credit cards and this recession likely won’t help. Whether you’re one of those or not, you would do well to stay away from that credit card. If you need to make a big purchase, either save over time or consider a spending route that’s not interest-accruing.”

One such way is by making use of the rent-to-own model to purchase household goods like electronics, furniture and appliances. These days, you can even get baby goods like strollers, car seats and changing stations with the option of taking ownership after a pre-determined rental period.

With the rent-to-buy model, you are able to rent a product on a month-to-month basis, which you can cancel at anytime with a month’s written notice. Cancellation of the contract doesn’t come with any penalties or cancellation fees.

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If your financial situation suddenly changes, you have the flexibility of upgrading and downgrading your appliances at any stage so you’re not stuck with something you can’t afford anymore.

“Unlike a credit contract, you are not locked in and once you’ve rented the appliance for the pre-determined number of months, you have the option to take ownership,” he says.