DSS

Dubai Summer Surprises brings an array of discounts and special offers. The summer period is a good time to remodel the living room or upgrade your wardrobe. Plus, with temperatures close to 50 degrees Celsius outside, malls are a great way to escape the heat.

However, sales can leave you with larger credit-card bills than expected. But forewarned is forearmed, so follow these tips when you head to the mall for a spot of shopping.

1. Set a budget and stick to it. Itemising all your outgoings is an essential way to keep your expenses in control. It lets you know how much you’ve got left for discretionary purchases and if you know how much you can afford to spend, you are less likely to succumb to those pretty designer sandals. If you’re not going to be able to pay your phone bill, those sandals become suddenly less desirable.

2. Leave the credit card at home. This is basic common sense — you don’t spend money you don’t have. If you need to follow through on an unplanned purchase, you can always return the next day.

3. Only buy what fits and try on everything first. No matter how much you love that smart jacket, if it doesn’t fit you, you shouldn’t buy it. Sure, you may lose the weight required to fit into it, but will you really? Trials also work with make-up items and can prevent nasty allergic reactions.

4. Comparison shop. So store A has that new PlayStation console your nephew wants on sale? Check out a few other stores, including specialist retailers, before committing. Call around or Google the item while you’re in the store — and don’t be surprised if the very same shop is offering it cheaper online, delivery included.

5. Use your reward points. If you’re like many people in the UAE, you’re probably enrolled in a few stores’ loyalty programmes. Or every purchase on your credit card accumulates cash points. Now is the time to spend them! Don’t wait for them to collect so you can get an air ticket — not only will you be tempted to spend more, but you could see them expire because you don’t reach your goal fast enough. Far better to use the points when you want to make a purchase instead.

6. Don’t hesitate to ask for discounts, especially with white goods. With the Olympics beginning next month, you might want to buy an entertainment system. But remember that tech stores typically sell big-ticket items, so store managers have more discretion with prices. In a weak retail market, they may even extend their own personal discounts to you, or at the very least, they will throw in a few extras for free.

7. Take the no-discount test. Before you buy, ask yourself: Would I buy this if it weren’t on sale? If the answer is no, then you might not need or want the item and you’re only succumbing to the temptation of a great bargain. Unless a deal represents real value, you’re better off walking straight past.