As 2015 comes to an end, it’s time to review how this year fared for your finances and set new goals for the coming year. You might be pleasantly surprised at how planning your spending for the next 12 months can help you save. Below we help you get started on your financial resolutions for 2016.
Switch to the alternative
It might be painful, but sit down and find out how much you approximately spent last year. Draw a map of what your monthly expenditures looked like and see what you could have done differently. Once you have identified things you should have spent less on, come up with a list of substitutes for these. For example; given the 5% hike in taxi fares in 2015, switch to the metro if it’s an option. Take the bus wherever you can and walk the shorter distances.
Don’t ignore the negligible
Although you might think of some expenses to be negligible, the total sum spent on these add up to be of substantial value. According to a survey by KPMG in June 2015, 66 percent of UAE residents dine out at least once per week with an average spend of Dhs 120 per head when dining outside. Expenses such as take out and food orders on a daily basis are just a few examples of such expenses. When you tally up such expenses, you could’ve used this money to pay off a credit card debt or even had the cash to spend on other necessities.
[Related: What’s your holiday saving strategy?]
Plan the big expenses
Want to buy a new car or move into a bigger apartment? Planning in advance is a must. Most of us pay the rent quarterly and are reminded of this only when we are close to the due date. Be sure to deduct your rent from your usable income every month, so that you don’t end up using all of it. You can also maintain a separate account for rent and deposit money into this account every month. The first quarter of 2015 saw an increase in rents of three bedroom apartments of up to 5.7% and an increase of 3.3% for one bedroom apartments, as reported by Gulf News.
Convert into easy monthly installments
We happen to make a lot of big purchases with our credit cards. Converting these payments into smaller monthly installments helps you spread them over a number of months and pay them off with ease and convenience. Many banks have a tie up with retailers and offer 0% interest rate for such easy monthly installments.
Plan your travel
Findings from a survey by Expedia suggest that 86% of all UAE residents report travelling for leisure at least once per year. Results of the Global Travel Intentions study 2015 also reveal that travelers from the UAE on an average spend AED 9,240 ($2,518) per trip. If you are sure about your travel plans for the coming year, you might want to make your bookings well in advance. Do your bit of research to find out about the best deals and discounts available. Check out how many miles you have on your card which can be redeemed for tickets.
Convert your debt
The total personal debt in the UAE is over AED 420 billion. One of the methods of loan repayment is debt stacking. Debt stacking helps you get rid of the most expensive loan you owe, sooner. For this, first you need to rank all your loans based on interest rate in a descending order. The aim is to pay off the top ranking loan with the highest interest rate first by using your extra money or savings towards this loan followed by the others.
[Related: How can you pay off your loans faster?]