KUALA LUMPUR, JULY 25 – Ramadan was only heading towards its second week, but many shopping complexes had begun the ‘Ramadan Sales Carnival.’
Temporary bazaars selling various items such as clothes and interior decorative items had sprouted, adding glitter and excitement to the festive atmosphere.
During the festive season, clothes on sale come in various designs to cater to the diverse tastes of consumers and people of all age groups. The clothes are also in line with the current fashion trends.
Many traders offer ‘attractive’ packages such as ‘slash down’ prices and other incentives such as the age-old ‘buy one, get one free’ offer to entice shoppers.
Consumers, particularly Muslims, have been advised to spend wisely for this festive season to avoid getting entangled in financial problems after the celebration ended.
What do consumer activists have to say on this matter?
“One should spend rationally and realistically,” advised university lecturer Amin Iskandar, who is a consumer and social activist.
According to Amin, consumers should spend wisely, based on their financial capacity, and they should avoid going on shopping sprees to pander to their whims and fancies.
He said during Aidilfitri, everything need not be new; in fact, certain decorative items can be reused.
“Why not reuse home decorative items (that are in good condition)?” he questioned.
“Before stepping out of the house to purchase items for Hari Raya, prepare a checklist with items that you require and those that are available at home.
“Spend within your budget by setting a spending limit,” he advised.
Amin said consumers get carried away by promotions and the sales carnival and tend to exceed their budget by purchasing items they do not require.
Amin explained that consumers need to ask themselves if they require certain items. They should not get carried away by attractive offers in stores.
“Do I need (to purchase this item)? Is it within my budget (do I have enough money)?” these are some of the questions that consumers should ask themselves.
Amin advised consumers to spend wisely, especially during festive seasons such as Aidilfitri.
“Wise consumers understand what an offer entails before purchasing items on sale. One should not purchase items just because they are cheap.
“Compare prices first, and purchase items that are being offered at the cheapest price.
“You should make your purchases when traders reduce the prices of goods to finish their stock before Hari Raya,” he said.
ALL ITEMS NEED NOT BE REPLACED
“Even for grand festivals such as Aidilfitri, all items need not be replaced. Decorative items that were used last year could be used this year too.
“These include furniture, crockery and curtains, to name a few,” Amin explained.
According to Amin, during festive seasons, employers give salaries in advance, and this is when consumers should be cautious.
“If you spend this money quickly, you may not have sufficient funds before you get your next month’s salary.
“Then, you would be compelled to borrow or take loans, which are infectious diseases,” he said.
Amin advised consumers to use cash to make purchases instead of using a credit card.
“When you make purchases with cash, you will be aware of your budget and constraints. On the other hand, if you make purchases with a credit card, there is a tendency to overspend,” he added.
AVOID USING CREDIT CARDS TO WITHDRAW CASH
“There are consumers who use credit cards to withdraw cash when they run out of cash. This is a very bad and unhealthy habit and should not be encouraged at all.
“When you use credit cards to withdraw cash, you will be charged a high interest rate by banks on the amount that you had withdrawn,” he said.
Amin advised consumers to plan and spend wisely to prevent getting entangled in financial problems after the festive season.
Be financially secure this festive season; perform the fasting ‘ibadah’ and celebrate Aidilfitri without financial worries.