New year is the perfect time to tackle your money matters
Time Out staff
Find out what you’re spending money on It might sound obvious, but it’s helpful to make a breakdown of where you spend most of your salary – and it may not be where you think. Spend a week making a note of everything you buy, even the small things. You’ll end up with a clear picture of your spending habits – which is the best place to start if you’re planning on changing them.
Cut out all of your unnecessary expenses If you realise you’re spending more than a couple of hundred dirhams a week on unnecessary expenses, be ruthless and chop them all out of your routine. This could be anything from cigarettes and after-work drinks, to going clothes shopping in your lunch break. As time goes on, you’ll form new habits and no longer feel as though you’re missing out on the treats you were once used to.
Set a savings target Once you’ve determined where you could be cutting back you can work out how much of your money you can afford to save each month and transfer it into a separate account. Once it’s out of sight, and out of mind, you won’t be as tempted to spend it. If you find it difficult to stick to the amount you’ve set yourself, try taking just cash with you on a daily basis and leave the bank card at home.
Work together If you share rent, meals, bills or other expenses with flatmates, take half an hour to sit down with them and work out where you could all be cutting back. The same goes for family budgeting, particularly if you have a joint bank account. Make sure you and your partner are aware of what the other is spending and see eye-to-eye on what your saving targets are.
Make sure you have a realistic target It’s hard to put away money just ‘for a rainy day’. Instead, focus on what you’ll use your savings for in the future. This could be anything from long-term targets such as your kids’ education to short term treats.
Make sure your bank suits your lifestyle Get stuck into the nitty gritty of what your bank offers you as a customer. If you’re abroad often, make sure there aren’t high charges for taking out money overseas. If you’re using your account for large savings, look into moving the money to a high interest account. Find out if any of their incentives, such as credit card points or discounts in certain stores, will help save you money. Reward yourself It doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom. If you’ve done well and hit your savings target for the month, buy yourself a small congratulatory present. Giving yourself a pat on the back will motivate you for the month ahead and make you feel the scrimping and saving is worth it.