New year resolution – Save More. So will you have to earn more or spend less? Not necessarily. Our analysis shows that by comparing and selecting the best financial product for your needs, with better value, lower fees and more additional benefits you can make sizeable savings. For example, just moving your unused cash from a current account into a fixed deposit can reap 3 times more interest. One way to keep your New Year’s resolution of saving more is to make your money work for you. The UAE is one of the most competitive markets especially for financial products: making the effort to look around, compare and pick the best fitting product can bring real savings with little effort.
What are the quick wins for Saving more for 2013?
Savings Account – Make your money work for you and earn ~ AED 1,600
The average balance on a current account in the UAE is ~ 40,000 AED. By moving funds you do not need for everyday spending to a savings or Fixed deposit account at 4%, you can earn ~ AED 1,600 for the year. The Citibank NRI account is giving 4% currently, followed by Noor Islamic Bank at 2.3%. Make sure however you look properly at the fees associated such as monthly maintenance fees of the account.
Credit Cards balance – 0% balance transfer and save ~ AED 850*
It is best to pay off your credit card at the end of every month. However, banks are promoting their balance transfer credit cards to offer customers a way to ease the repayments. The average balance on a credit card in the UAE is ~ AED 2,800 and with an average monthly of 3% rate, your interests for the year would amount to ~ AED 900. By transferring to a 0% balance transfer for first 12 months, you can save up to ~AED 850 taking into consideration an average of 1% processing fee for the transfer. Remember that it is always best to pay off your outstanding balance monthly and if you decide to transfer, always look into the fine prints such as processing fee or the rate applied after the 0% transfer period is over.
Personal loans – salary transfer or not? Potential savings of 50% on your interest*
Most personal loans in the country require a salary transfer. Without a salary transfer, the rates are normally higher. If you can afford to move over your salary and you meet the actual eligibility criteria like minimum salary, your rate can significantly decrease. E.g Barclays’s personal instalment loan without salary transfer starts at a reducing balance rate of 19.99% whereas its salary transfer loan starts at 6.49% on a reducing balance calculation. On an average loan of AED 100,000 over 5 years, your first year savings would be AED 13,500 and total savings over 5 years would be AED 40,500. Just make sure you check on early settlement fee which is generally around 1% if you decide to switch.
Car insurance – tips to save on your renewal
While insurance is essential for peace of mind and in case of unexpected events, it’s important consumers ensure they are doing everything they can to get the best premium on renewal. First of all, get a quote from different providers, make sure you have asked for your No Claims certificate from your current insurer and make sure you check the items covered on your premium. Very often the premium is packed with benefits which you do not require but you pay for e.g do you need GCC cover? How much are you willing to pay for your excess?
Phone calls to parents abroad – Cut your international calls bills by 50%
Plan when you make phone calls to your parents and family abroad. We are all busy but a little planning can potentially save quite a significant amount on your phone bill at the end of the month. For example, 1 minute call to Jordan at peak rate is AED 2.4 a minute but on the offer of 2 fils a second the minute comes to AED 1.2 per minute if you call after 9 pm on a Du Plan or after 5 pm on an Etisalat plan. Make sure you do spend time comparing different products to see what fits best. It is worth the savings. To compare all the different financial, insurance and telecoms, visit www.souqalmal.com
*All calculations are based on information provided by the banks. Products and rates may change since publishing of this article. No products noted above are considered as advice – consult a financial advisor if you need help in deciding what is best for you.