You’ve just graduated from university and landed a dream job, one that comes with a fat pay cheque. Five months into employment, you realize you have zero savings, your food expenses has tripled since your university days, your credit card is always maxed out by the end of the month and you are struggling to keep up with payments. The rent is due and you need to go get this persistent fever checked but just don’t have enough funds to do so.

Many of us are in this dilemma or our spending habits are taking us there. After scraping pennies through university, it is easy to go overboard with that lump sum we get at the end of the month. Here are a few tips to ensure that you are not swimming in credit card bills and overdrafts:


This cannot be stressed enough. Go over your old receipts and make a note at where most of your money goes. Draw up a plan and allocate an amount for rent, utilities, transport and food. Make sure to include a small sum for entertainment. Every time you make a payment or purchase, it can be a Dhs100 grocery bill or a Dhs5 you donated at a Dubai Cares kiosk, keep track of it on a Microsoft Excel sheet. Have every fil accounted for.


Lock up your credit cards or bury it under a pile of laundry – the next time you head to the mall or out to dinner with your friends do not take your credit card with you. Credit cards tempt you to buy things you just cannot afford – and no, you will not be able to pay for it later. Saying no to plastic can be your way of saving the environment too.


Just because Mohamed is now driving around in a Porsche or Sarah’s new arm candy is a black Chanel 2.5 with gold hardware, does not mean you need to have it too. There’s nothing wrong with your Toyota Camry or Aldo tote – be proud of the fact that you bought those things with your hard earned cash.


Always put aside at least 1o% of your salary every month. Tomorrow your mother might fall very sick and you may have to foot her emergency medical bill. Trust me, you don’t want to find yourself in a situation where your bank balance is in the negative – it is unwanted stress.


When making plans for the weekend, suggest a day at the park or beach. A good game of football or beach volleyball will ensure that you keep fit without breaking the bank. A barbeque is a wholesome meal and a great way to bond with friends. Redirect the Dhs3=500 you were going to spend on your monthly beauty regime to your savings bank. Coconut oil is a great make up remover and rose water is an effective toner – there is always a home remedy with better results than chemical junk on your face.


Walk past the giant red “25-75% OFF FURTHER REDUCTIONS” sign. The BOGO offers is the easiest way to get rid of unwanted stock – do not fall for these marketing gimmicks. The 2 for 1 bargain on shoes includes sandals with crystals fallen off and gaudy gold buckled heels – you won’t be making any statements in those.


Want to spruce up your living room – grab a paint brush and add a burst of colour on one wall. Your significant other and you will enjoy the time together as well. Instead of opting for high-sodium, tasteless meals at the office cafeteria or splurging at the DIFC restaurants, pack your own lunch. A healthy salad or a grilled piece of meat is exactly what the doctor ordered. A trip to Gaucho or Caramel can be your monthly treat for being so kind to your bank balance.


A rack full of heels priced at Dhs60-100 bought during sales or a classic Louboutin black pump ideal for a day meeting clients at the office or a night out with the girls. Football jerseys bought at Dragon Mart in all colours or five bought at the Sun&Sands showroom. Take your pick. When buying furniture for your home, stick to the neutrals. This way when you are tired of the red accents in your white living room, you can revamp it with some blue or green cushions and ornaments.


At 25-30, you are not old. Bursting with energy, take up odd freelance or part time jobs. It’s an easy, fool-proof way to make a quick buck. Dubizzle has countless vacancies for mystery shoppers, promoters and those willing to dress up as clowns for kids’ parties. Do not fancy a red nose – tutor someone in Math or Physics!


QUESTION: Before buying that gold iPhone 5S – do your research. How are you going to afford the phone with a Dhs6000 starter salary? Do you use your phone for all the features or just to call, text, Whatsapp, Instagram and Facebook? The 32 inch plasma TV caught your eye – how many hours a day do you actually spend watching TV? How often are you at home? Do you prefer waiting for movies to come out on DVD?

Photo credit: Chronicle

Yusra Farzan
Dreamer, Writer, Activist, Baker, Shoe-lover – five words that describe Yusra Farzan to a tee! A journalist by profession, she has written for some of the biggest names in print media in Sri Lanka and UAE. Yusra hopes to use her talent to save the world, one article at a time. She loves Thai food and good dessert. Super talkative, the best way to get her to shut up is with a cup of coffee and a good book. Follow Yusra HERE.