Smart shopping key to avoid the debt trap
Smart shopping techniques can solve pocket draining. A number of economists highlighted the importance of introducing Saudi consumers to smart shopping concepts.
Such a way can be very fruitful in Ramadan when consumers are challenged by the increasing demands of the season. The holy month is followed by Eid Al-Fitr, then the school openings and Eid Al-Adha. Consumers say families come out laden with debts at the end of the season.
Smart shopping can help consumers reduce expenses by the careful planning of expenditure. Turki Fadaq, director of Al-Bilad research and advisory firm, confirmed the importance of organizing expenses. He said that the awareness of the mechanics of smart shopping vary from one segment to another. “Some people in society plan ahead of these seasons, purchase before the prices increase and benefit from company discounts,” Fadaq added.
He stressed the need for consumers to confine themselves to what they need and not what they like.
Fadaq said companies play on consumer emotions as many shoppers fall pray to advertisements and buy products or services because of an emotional connection to the advertisement and not on a need.
Fadaq explained that traders try to take advantage of all the seasons in hopes of increasing sales.
He emphasized the fact that priorities need to be identified beforehand, stressing the role of the educational system and the need for providing educational curricula that discuss smart shopping and consumer behavior at all educational level.
Economist Fadel Al-Buainain said that consumer behavior stems from two main points: consumption and purchase timing. He pointed out that the Saudis are a consumer society. “Most government employees are in a constant state of financial deficit as they fail to organize their expenses,” he said, explaining that consumerism becomes obvious in the form of excessive purchasing. “Up to 70 percent of purchases are a result of consumerism and this is the main problem facing households,” he added.
Al-Buainain says that consumerism stems from a culture that doesn’t understand the importance of saving. Many families pass on the spending culture to their children.
He advised shoppers not to delay the Eid purchases to the last minute, “Roads become crowded and prices go up as the family faces a difficult physiological situation,” he said, “leading families to hastily buying products without determining what is best for them.”
Al-Buainain warned families from the increased expenses in the next period as four main seasons approach.
He cited consumption and saving indexes in the Western world. “Whenever the saving index goes up, such countries gear up for a better economy,” he said. “Excluding businessmen, the saving index is near zero among Saudis and the proof is that employees depend on their families when they want to buy cars.”