While many Bahamians plan to spend today – Cyber Monday, the largest online shopping day – cashing in on savings, they are being advised to spend responsibly and locally.
Former Chief Executive Officer of the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers’ Confederation Edison Sumner said it’s important for Bahamians to remember to exercise financial prudence.
“Don’t spend what you cannot afford, do not spend what you do not have and those who do go to the banks to get credit would also be encouraged to do that responsibly, because bear in mind that Christmas is a period where effectively you’re working towards a particular day, but the habits you exercise for that day are going to last you for a very long time after that. So, consumers are encouraged to spend responsibly,” he said in an interview with Guardian Business.
“If you get bonuses this year, my advice is not to spend it all, save some for a rainy day because January is the longest month of the year. Most people get paid before the Christmas holiday and they don’t see pay day again until the end of January, so you’re talking about essentially a six-week period for many persons before they receive another salary.”
In the United States, shoppers are expected to spend a combined $8 billion. Some of that – albeit a small percentage – will come from Bahamian shoppers. And with the country’s challenging economic conditions, particularly in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, Sumner said Bahamians need to spend their disposable dollars in The Bahamas in order to keep the economy afloat.
“There’s a double-edged sword there. In the one case we have got to spend money for the economy to continue to move. Money moves the economy, money is currency and the only way currency gets to keep its vibrancy, it’s going to have to continue to move, it flows,” Sumner said.
“Spending is encouraged because if we don’t spend the economy is going to contract and nobody wants that to happen, but you have to spend responsibly. So, for us not to get ourselves into a depressed state where the economy becomes too stagnant, then there has to be movement of currency around the economy. So spending is encouraged, but it is encouraged spending with a level of responsibility.”
In The Bahamas, the weeks leading up to December 25 and the days following are considered the most important time for local businesses, that anticipate earning up to 60 percent of their annual revenues.