When I was living in Ankara, I would take my mom to a mall almost every weekend since there is not much else to do in a place as boring as the capital city of our nation. Besides, mom gets tired very easily therefore, a mall where there are many options to sit down and have a cup of tea or coffee seemed like a good choice to spend time.
Even if we had nothing to buy, we would always get something we thought we "needed" or spent money on coffee and a dessert or ice cream or a bite to eat. Do it every weekend and it adds up real quickly.
Now that I am back in Istanbul, I am not spending time at malls at all. In the last two months, I think, I have been to a mall just once to buy myself a couple of tops I needed. I ended up buying nothing because I could not find anything appropriate. I was in and out in a matter of 20 minutes. Had I chosen to window shop the rest of the mall, I am sure I would get something I actually do not need or at least sit down a for a cup of coffee and a desert.
Mindless wandering at a mall without a real purpose will make you spend money however trivial it may be. After all money does not grow on trees.
So what do I do when mom is visiting Istanbul? Istanbul is on the Bosphorus so it's very scenic. I sometimes pack a thermos full of tea, something to eat and we go sight seeing. Yes, taking the car means spending money on gas but it is not all that much. Besides, I plan my grocery shopping around these little excursions and save money on gas. We almost never go to malls here. My mom does not stay longer than three weeks so the expenses I incur while she is here are minimal and she likes to treat me as well. These visits are mini vacations for her.
I will go to Ankara for the New Year's and I am hoping to take her back with me. I am sure she will like that. I do enjoy spending time with her.