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Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Study addresses why Qataris overspend, how to tackle irrational consumer behavior


Qataris must seize control of their spending and start working harder to save money, a new study by the Supreme Council of Family Affairs has found.

Though it is the wealthiest country in the world per capita, up to 75 percent of Qatar’s citizens are in debt, according to the 2011 National Development Strategy.

Another report issued last year found that, though wealth in Qatar grew six-fold in 10 years, debt increased nine-fold. 

There are five main reasons Qataris spend irrationally, according to SCFA’s study:

  • Lack of planning;
  • Over-reliance on credit cards, which make spending easier;
  • Frequent visits to malls;
  • Competitive behavior; and
  • Failure to distinguish between necessities and luxuries.

A 2009 SCFA study adds “a change in income” and a “change in family objectives” to the list.

To tackle these problems, the study recommends that local families spend more time planning and budgeting their expenses in order to also boost their ability to save.

The Peninsula reports:

The study, highlighting the random (at times unreasonable) purchasing behaviour of people said that they should not only classify their list of items as necessary, optional and luxury, but also avoid buying things that they do not require at all…

It also says that while preparing a household budget, families should first siphon the amount that goes to routine expenditures every month, such as tuition or education fees for the children, bank instalments or health insurance premium and similar other expenditures.

Whether this advice will prove helpful remains to be seen.

Previous calls to spend wisely, including a “debt is disgraceful” campaign held last Ramadan, have thus far gone unheeded.


Credit: Photo by 401(k) 2012

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