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Curb Your Spending at the Mall  
By: Rasheda Khatun Khan

Financial Life Planner and Author of “Millionaire Mindset – 6 Steps to a Wealthy Life”

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We live in the city of malls. With over 72 shopping havens in Dubai alone and another eight under construction, Dubai has become one of the world’s most popular shopping destinations. Last year, a total of 56 million people visited the 19th Dubai Shopping Festival and spent about AED 145 billion. Around 50% of all luxury goods sold in Dubai last year came from The Dubai Mall, the ‘world’s most visited destination,’ of which 60% were UAE residents.

Now the question begs, what are you all buying? And do you really need it?

I get it – kids need so many things for school alone, from uniforms to sports kits and accessories. Not to mention, they keep growing out of everything. Then, the summer arrives and, if you are not away for the whole summer, you are going from mall to mall spending money. Life is full of expenses and there are many we cannot avoid, especially when it comes to our kids.

Meanwhile, credit/store card debt is increasing, families are not able to save and – worst of all – many couples do not even know how much they actually spend each month. This could lead to devastating financial consequences and commonly results in relationship problems.

We have to go back to our grandparents’ advice: “if you cannot afford it, do not buy it.” Going to malls makes it so easy to spend unnecessarily. It is time to curb that spending and become a smart shopper. That does not mean you cannot buy what you want, we just need to ask a few questions before we make that purchase.

Here are a few handy Do’s:

Before you go to the mall, have a list.

It is so easy to get distracted at the mall – that is how they are designed – to encourage impulse shopping. Avoid going to the mall for no reason. Just like your grocery list, make a list of what you need. Know which stores you need to go to and come home with only what was on your list.

Before you impulse-buy, ask another question.

Do I really need this? Do I really need this now? When is a better time to get it if not now?

Have a spending budget if you are going on a mall spending spree.

Going shopping can be so much fun, especially with friends. You have a bit of lunch, shop, get dessert and shop some more – it is a great afternoon out.

If you are not already in the habit of doing this, then try to start now: Give yourself a limit; this way, you get to enjoy your day out and not go overboard with your purchases. Do not be in the situation where you come home and are fearful of looking at your bank text messages totalling how much you had actually spent.

Wait for the shopping festival in January or the Summer Surprises for those big purchases.

Dubai has some good sales. Get to know when your favourite brands are having their sales over the year and try to schedule shopping trips then. Also, look out for the outlet stores where they have all the brands at discounted prices. Compare prices and get yourself the best deal.

When buying gifts for others, get creative.

We all love buying gifts for our loved ones. The look on their face is just priceless. Well, get creative and see what you can make yourself. Sentimental, handmade gifts are among the best ways of showing how much you care.

If it is a birthday party together with other parents, many mums these days do a round-up and get one bigger gift from everyone. This has worked really well as we all know how many birthday parties there are. Get involved and suggest it to your mum friends.

These are just a few ways to help you become a smart and savvy spender. Happy shopping!

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