Did you struggle to keep up with your monthly budget last year? Chances are you ended up knowingly or unknowingly wasting your money on expenses that were totally avoidable.

These pandemic-ridden times have made it even more crucial for you to look into your finances and build savings that can tide you over during uncertain times.

We’ve rounded up four simple and effective ways to help you plug the money drain and manage your finances better in 2021…

Bank fees and charges

Did you know that banks in the UAE charge AED 25 a month if you don’t maintain the required minimum balance in your account? That’s not all – If you’re not careful about how you manage your bank accounts and loans, you will end up spending a significant amount of money on unnecessary bank fees.

It’s also time to stop being reckless with your credit cards. If you’ve missed your monthly payments in the past, you would have racked up hefty late payment fees, which can be around AED 200-300 a month.

Credit card over-limit fees, cash advance fees, foreign exchange conversion fees are also some of the other fees that you can easily avoid by using your credit card more carefully.

Store-bought lunch & coffee

Let’s say you spend AED 15 on a cup of coffee every weekday, that’s AED 75 over a week and upwards of AED 300 over the whole month. Imagine saving all that money if you only took ten minutes out of your schedule to prepare and pack your own coffee.

Similarly, store-bought lunches will also eat into your monthly expenses. If eating out or ordering in made a serious dent in your finances last year, you should resolve to cook more often this year. You can save a lot more if you plan your meals ahead of time, buy your own groceries, and pack your own lunch every day.

Unused subscriptions & memberships

Take stock of everything you’ve subscribed to or have a membership of – TV package, magazines, apps, gym membership and so on. The aim should be to get rid of all the unused subscriptions and downgrade all the underutilized ones. For example, you can cancel your expensive gym membership if you barely ever use it, and try working out at home instead. You can also downgrade your TV package if you only watch a few channels and are wasting money on the rest.

If you rein in all this unnecessary spending, you’ll end up with a considerably fatter bank account at the end of 2021.

Impulse purchases

Have you ever been to the mall with no shopping list and still ended up coming back with both hands lugging ‘stuff’? If you can’t go on a shopping trip without filling your cart with items you don’t really need, it’s time to reassess your spending behavior.

Here are some tips to help you curb that shopping impulse:

  • Leave your credit card at home the next time you visit the mall. It’s more difficult to part with cash than it is to swipe your card.
  • Like something you see? Go back home and sleep on it. You’ll have enough time to consider whether you really need it or not.
  • Don’t compensate for a bad mood with a shopping trip.
  • Plan your purchases ahead. Always carry a shopping list and stick to it.
  • Unsubscribe from alerts and newsletters from online shopping sites.
  • Space out your mall trips, and avoid going altogether if you can.

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