Can you be financially responsible and at the same time enjoy a few luxuries here and there? Or is austerity the only way to live a financially secure life?
If you regularly meet your financial goals, stick to your monthly or annual budget, and avoid unnecessary spending, it isn’t a bad idea to treat yourself to something nice every once in a while. If anything, the rewards of being financially savvy will act as motivation for you to manage your day-to-day finances better. Here’s how you can maintain the habit of saving and conscious spending, while still finding financial wiggle room to enjoy the finer things in life.
Set a saving goal
Set regular saving goals for yourself. Whether it is every month, every quarter or every six months, you can set a date for meeting your saving target. For example, you can set a goal to save a month’s salary every quarter or four months. Make sure to set a realistic goal taking into account your fixed expenses like rent, utility bills, groceries etc.
Create a budget for yourself
Once the goal is in sight, the next step is to analyze how you’re going to get there. Create a budget for yourself, be it on paper or through an app on your smartphone. Keep track of your past expenses and allocate a maximum spending limit for each spend category. Keep some room for unforeseen expenses. If you don’t end up spending on these, it will only be a bonus at the end of the month.
Stick to the plan and make cutbacks where required
Creating a budget is the easy part, now comes the follow-through. Staying committed to your plan is the most important thing, even though there may be distractions along the way. If your bigger goal is to save up enough for a trip to one of your favorite holiday destinations, then missing that concert or occasional expensive dinner with a bunch of friends could make all the difference between meeting your financial goal in the end or not.
Making small cutbacks like avoiding taking the taxi when a metro route is a viable option or cooking and bringing your own lunch to work instead of spending AED 30-50 everyday, can help you save anywhere between AED 500-1,500 every month.
Reward yourself when you meet your goal
Finally after all the conscious spending and trimming the avoidable expenses, it’s time to assess how you performed vis-a-vis the goal you had set at the beginning. If you met your goal or over-achieved by a certain percentage, it’s time to celebrate and indulge yourself. Whether your goal from the start was to be able to pay for a nice watch or a vacation to a destination you’ve always wanted to explore, or simply to create a pool of money for the future, you can treat yourself without the guilt now. Even something small like a spa day or a weekend retreat is a great idea to pamper yourself.
Besides the high rents and overall cost of living, the glitz and glamour of Dubai doesn’t make saving easy for most of us. If you’re not a big saver, it’s never too late to start with a small amount that you can set aside. Saving and spending are habits that can be formed if you’re disciplined and motivated, and you can always let the reward be the incentive that keeps you going.
[Related: Your 2016 financial New Year’s resolutions]