News on Sunday

Lifestyle: How much does the middle class spend?

We all have expenses and financial commitments. However, the way and the amount we spend differ greatly. Middle class people would spend wisely to sustain their lifestyle while those from the upper middle class would spend lavishly without worrying about the bill. News on Sunday takes a look at the lifestyle of these two segments of the population. Food, house, car, clothes, make-up, leisure, overseas trips – we all wish we had the means to spend as much as we want going overboard. However, a reality check is that financial commitments hinder many from spending impulsively or going overboard while others have the means to take their notes and credit cards out without worrying about tomorrow. How do middle and upper middle classes spend for their lifestyles? Annabelle Fleury, fashion designer and stylist for seven years, has a clear cut idea of how much Mauritian people invest in their wardrobe. As she explains, the mentalities as well as the spending of Mauritians have seriously evolved through the years. “Mauritians were fashion victims but now they are more ‘fashionistas.’ They follow their own style. Years ago, there was also a gap in our fashion industry. Now, within one month after their release in Europe, the trendy clothes are in our stores.” [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"10538","attributes":{"class":"media-image aligncenter wp-image-19677 size-large","typeof":"foaf:Image","style":"","width":"960","height":"540","alt":"lifestyle"}}]] People spend more The fashion designer and stylist states that Mauritians are more aware of their body image. “People want to look good and they want to be in the trend. They are thus ready to invest for it. However the gap between the middle class and the upper middle class or even the elite has always been there and will always be. For example, middle class Mauritians would buy their clothes from major retailers – what we call ‘mass retailers’ / ‘mass distributors’ – as they offer trendy clothes at affordable prices. Fashion has, as we say, become more accessible. Middle class people would also wait for sales to buy. I have also observed that many would also think twice before spending as they have financial commitments. They prefer living within their means. On the other hand, the upper middle class or even the elite would look out for items that are uncommon, clothes that are tailor-made and ‘haute couture.’ They would spend according to their wishes and not to their purse.” As she deals with all classes of clients, Annabelle Fleury reveals that she has observed that middle class people sometimes also buy on compulsion and based on emotional decisions. “They do not necessary need it but they would buy it. I also have clients who would save their money for months to buy something exclusive and tailor-made.” How much do the Mauritians spend? “Between Rs 200 to Rs 70,000. The last sum may seem extravagant but I do have clients who are ready to spend that much for their wardrobe.” And how about make up and skin care? Shameerah Chotoy, who has been in the make up field for nearly ten years, explains that Mauritians now spend much more than before just to satisfy their pleasure and desire. “When I started working, not many people knew what a make-up artist was and many preferred to do their own make up. I had clients of all classes but I noticed that people would hire a make up artist only for very special occasions and would save so as to be able to afford the service. Today, people do not hesitate to spend to have the best of the best. For example, some clients hire a make up artist even for casual occasions. It is not necessarily newly weds who would hire make up artists now.” How much are Mauritians ready to invest in make-up? “As I offer a complete service, which may include hairstyle, bride’s dress up among others, the price may vary. Middle class people would spend around Rs 2500 to Rs 3000 for a make up service. Upper middle and above would spend Rs 5000 and over for a complete service. It can even go up to Rs 10,000.” Services provided And how about leisure? The director of Deals.mu, Uri Cypin, states that they have 300 offers on their website which suits every budget. “We target all Mauritians and offer different leisure activities going from night stay at hotels, day packages in hotels to spa activities and restaurants. We offer from low budget to luxury deals. For example we have offers from 2-star to 5-star hotels.” So how much are clients ready to spend for their leisure? “It all depends. Middle class people may opt for low budget deals starting as from Rs 1,500 for a night at the hotel or Rs 800 for a day package. On the other hand, those who are in the upper class may choose to stay for a night in a luxurious hotel at Rs 15,000 or even an exclusive candle light dinner for two at Rs 18,000.” Uri Cypin also explains that Mauritians look out for special offers and discount prices for leisure activities. “People are always tracking affordable deals and would take advantage of them. Since we have started Deals.mu, we have noticed that the number of clients has grown. We have 1,500 clients per month.” Are Mauritians thus ready to invest in their leisure time more than before? “Years ago it was not part of the culture for Mauritians to look out for online deals. Today this has increased and leisure time has become part of the Mauritian culture. The culture has changed. People are looking to spend more leisure time with their family in a more creative way outside the house.”

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