Living in a city filled with great restaurants, bars, entertainment and many other awesome activities can be a stretch for your monthly budget. ‘But how can you resist a Friday brunch?!’ I can hear you say. And indeed, a lot of expats in Dubai struggle with saving money at the end of each month. So how can you get better at saving and how can you stretch your money to save more?
Here are some of our favourite money-saving hacks – tried and tested!
First and foremost, understand your why’s
Saving money is important, you heard it time and time again. And for a good reason. Having savings gives you:
Peace of mind
Having some money set aside can allow you to be prepared for the unexpected which in return will not leave you running around looking for money when you need them most.
A sense of independence
Your savings allow you to make better decisions without having to consider the financial implications. Whether it is quitting your job to dedicate your time to work fully on your startup idea or having the opportunity to volunteer for a month, with accumulated savings you can make these decisions easier.
An opportunity to make more
Savings can grow over time if you invest them. While there is always a risk involved, there is also a huge potential to see an increase in the money you accumulated.
So what are the reasons you want to save money? Find your why’s and write them down as it will help you stay dedicated to the cause.
Plan your budget and expenses
We covered budgeting and saving in our articles previously and we are hoping you are already planning your monthly budget like a pro. If you are not and want to find out more, our article about different budgeting styles is best for you. If you also need guidance to better understand how much you should be saving each month, we wrote about it too.
Having a plan and a budget gives you a crystal clear vision of how much money you have to play around with and how much you can realistically save. We also suggest going a step further and squeezing out more from the allocated budgets by cutting down on things that are not necessities.
Control your impulse shopping
Become numb to any advertising, newsletters and Instagram posts. If you feel they fuel your impulse buy – avoid them, unfollow them and unsubscribe. This is by far the best way to control your impulse spending habits. If you really struggle and believe you need that thing, sleep on it. Give yourself some time, we suggest 72 hours, to see if you will still be so inclined to make the purchase then. If you are one of those people who goes on a shopping spree on their payday, this article might help you too. Any savings you make that way can be immediately transferred to your savings account.
Minimise your everyday expenses
If you are recording your expenses or use a money management app, you can clearly see how much you spend on food and snacks every day. A latte a day adds up and it can quickly reach unexpected amounts. To get started, plan your meals, do your grocery shopping weekly and make sure you stick to your shopping list. Sometimes ordering groceries online can be easier and more cost-efficient as you don’t have to pass by all the tempting sweets aisles.
Moreover, look at swaps for your cravings:
Starbucks Iced Latte >>> homemade Iced Latte
Chocolate bar >>> homemade date energy balls
Takeaway sandwich >>> homemade wrap or salad
Bottled water >>> refillable water bottle and water from a dispenser.
These can help you make significant savings each month. If you want to make sure they end up in your savings account, set up an automatic transfer that’s equivalent to the savings you’ve made.
Review your subscriptions
Did you know that people spend as much as $1,100 a year on their forgotten subscriptions? Yes, you heard it right. Since payments come out of your account automatically it’s quite easy to forget to cancel your free trial or simply forget you had a subscription in the first place. Therefore, do a regular audit of your accounts to see if there are any subscriptions you no longer need. Set up an automatic transfer of the equivalent value to your savings account and watch your savings account grow each month.
Lower your regular bills
Companies now put up a great fight to get more customers and keep the existing ones, so contact your regular service providers and see if and how you can lower your bills. Maybe paying upfront for a year will lower the cost or maybe you are paying for a data package you don’t actually use? Shop around and speak to your provider to see what can be done.
Make extra cash on the side
If you have spare time on your hands, look at ways to make extra money that can fuel your savings account. We shared a list of 10 ways to make extra money in Dubai as well as a mega-list of all the ways you could be making a scalable or passive income. If you don’t feel like any of these will work for you, consider doing a sale of your pre-loved items that are just gathering dust nowadays. Many Facebook groups will allow you to do it, as well as websites and apps like Dubizzle, Poshmark, Bazaara and Depop.
This not only will give you a bit of a financial boost but will also help you declutter and make some space in your closet.
It’s no secret that to get your savings growing you need to start. And it doesn’t matter how much you are going to add to your savings account each month as long as you do, so find ways to cut your expenses further or increase your additional revenue streams and start putting the money aside to help support your future.