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Live the Dream, Don’t Burn Holes in Your Pocket: Things You Shouldn’t Buy

Last Updated On Wed Mar 13 2024

Recently, I was at the Travel Symposium. Of the many things you could do, there was one that caught my fancy. It was a virtual reality tour of any destination you wanted to go to. Even though the classic biggies were right there in front of everyone, there was one destination everybody swarmed around. You might’ve guessed it by now, it was the UAE.

For many, Dubai is a dream destination. Period.

Dubai with its glittering skyscrapers, flamboyant cars, glitzy shopping malls is arguably one of the most luxurious cities in the world. Whether you own a business, are on a vacation or have just landed a job, Dubai never disappoints. However, let’s address the elephant in the room. Being a millennial with a job that demands every ounce of you and yet living the dream can be quite the challenge.

But, does that mean you cannot lead the life you’ve always wanted? Of course not.  Sure, Downtown makes you feel fancy. But what about Naif Road, Dragon Mart, Meena Bazaar? You see that outfit in Dubai Mall? I promise you, you’ll find something similar for half the price in our street stores. So, how do you live large without burning a hole in your pocket? Well, you rent some stuff. Here’s a list of top things you should never spend a penny on:


Probably the first luxury investment that crosses everyone’s minds. But you know what, cars are bad debt. For one, they’re depreciating assets, meaning they start losing value as soon as you start driving them around. There’s abysmal car loans and even worse, interest rates that skyrocket through the roof. Then, of course, there’s the fact that there are always newer, better models to buy. If you ask me, investing your hard-earned money on a car is an absolute waste when you realize that the resale price will never make up for the true cost of ownership (TCO). Just go ahead and subscribe to one instead. The best part? You can subscribe to as many different and fancy models from as many different brands you wish, without having to worry about a debt breathing down your neck.

Remember, you’re not Batman. So, don’t even think of spending on your batmobile.


Now, this one is a bit tricky. So, let’s start off with Malcolm Gladwell. In his book titled *Blink,*Gladwell demonstrates how often we are aware of the truth of a situation even before being able to articulate it well. To prove his conjecture, he asks his test subjects to choose from four packs of cards, two red and two blue. They’ve to pick the right combination to make money. It takes at least 50 tries for them to figure out that blue cards yield greater wealth over time. Red cards are much riskier in comparison even though they know subconsciously what the risks of each choice are, after 20/30 tries.

Now, the game aims to find out how long it takes for each participant to figure out the truth subconsciously than to rationalize their decision. The same is true of buying a home.

Everybody dreams of having a house of their own, made up just the way they want. Goes without saying, homes are expensive. We all know where real estate prices are headed, what remains is for us to come to terms with just how bad the situation can get in the coming days. To sum it up, don’t buy home. Rent it, use it, make it your own.


So, you like a game and really want to spend the weekend playing it with your boys on your XBox. You decide to buy it since the YouTube gameplays look crazy cool. You do end up buying it, only to discover you don’t play the game that often. The same goes for an exorbitant satellite TV connection or a stack of film DVDs. You may want to build a collection of your own, invest in a great 4k display unit and add stuff to entertainment library, but the amount you’ll spend in creating it won’t justify the time you actually spend on it. Believe me when I say that subscribe to an online streaming service platform like a Netflix, a Hulu or an Amazon Prime is a much better idea than buying your own DVDs.

You can subscribe to your games too, play a few trials before of blindly investing a ton of money in it.

Parking Space

The equation is simple. Why buy a parking space for your rented car? The rising real estate prices coupled with an ever-increasing population makes for a deadly combo which, quite obviously, affects the cost of parking spaces. You’d be surprised so know that getting a single parking space downtown can cost you as much as Dh125,000. Seriously, that’s a huge sum of money which you can probably spend on planning a lavish trip for two to Vegas. In all probability, the Vegas trip will cost you less than your parking space.

Why buy parking space when you can pay as you go?


“The two happiest days in a boat owner’s life: the day you buy the boat, and the day you sell the boat.”

Or a boat, if you so please. Sailing in the azure waters with the wind in your hair, your friends for company and a few pours of a Highland malt may be an unparalleled experience. But your pocket has its limit. Buying one, maintaining it and paying taxes for owning it is an expensive process. Do not forget the huge amount that will go for repair. Maintaining a boat or a yacht isn’t a matter of joke.

A certain Richard Branson might pull it off, but for a millennial investor, it makes little to no sense to invest in a boat or yacht. Rent it on days you’re feeling fancy and you can live your dream without spending a bomb on buying it.

Remember, long gone are the days when success was measured in terms of your postal address or the number of luxury cars in your garage.  Today, it is how intelligently you lead your life, doing everything you’d ever wished for but not going broke in the process that makes you a winner. So, as I reckon, live smart and live well. There, you have a good life without spending big bucks on it.


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