Panic shopping during Christmas and New Year’s Eve is not a solution, relax and enjoy the shopping experience says Ambareen Musa, CEO,

As many as 70 per cent of consumers in the UAE admit to spending more than usual when they shop under pressure, UAE-based financial and non-financial consumer comparison website finds out through independent consumer reviews.
Of these, 41 per cent spent ‘slightly more’ and 29 per cent ‘a lot more’ when stressed. While retail therapy is often sought as a cure for depression, it apparently does nothing of the kind. The advice from the website is to wait until you’re calm and relaxed before heading to the mall. It suggests five top tips on how to be smart on the shopping front.

• Make a list of the people you want to gift, so that you don’t get hassled when you’re shopping.
• Don’t buy the first thing you see, always compare prices and deals on offer.
• Research what your credit card offers for many banks have partnerships with retailers.
• Avoid peak hours.
• Plan ahead — last minute means limited choices and busy shops.

Ambareen Musa, CEO,, says many people come under real pressure during Christmas to spend over and above their means to buy loved ones expensive gifts. “My advice is to shop smart, stick to your budgets and make sure you are getting the best deal. By spending a little time planning your purchases, you can often find some great deals and make significant savings,” she adds.

Those that take heed could well have extra time left over to spend on calling friends, family and loved ones across the seas, but again, the dirhams could whittle away to nothing if they’re not careful.

Musa says there are many money-saving discounts and deals available that consumers may not be aware of and gives all these details.
Ideas for staying in touch without breaking the bank include opting for a prepaid card just for international phone calls, allowing the user to budget effectively. Users could also watch out for offers on international phone calls — one of du’s popular plans allows users ten minutes to call Bangladesh, China, India and Pakistan for as little as Dh5.

Plan the calls at times when your provider offers its cheapest international calls, for example, Etisalat offers a deal where users pay two fils per second on Fridays and after 5pm on international calls to Jordan, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and Palestine. allows consumers to search and compare more than 700 products online in both Arabic and English.

Published in Gulf News 13 Dec 2012