25 Ways To Get Richer Instantly
1 Consolidate debt
If you’re juggling several credit cards, stop right there, warns Sheila Bryant, a chartered management accountant at IT consultancy firm Leading Resolutions. “Switch the balance to the one with the lowest APR, or consider signing up to a new provider if they offer an interest-free period on balance transfers.”
There’s no need to make life more difficult than necessary though. Bryant adds: “Before switching, it’s always worth negotiating with your existing provider to see if they will give you a better rate on your old debt.”
2 Hunt for a bargain
The feeling of dropping a little cash on a treat you can afford beats racking up credit card debt on an indulgence you can’t, so set yourself financial boundaries and stick to them advises Manisha Thakor, CEO of MoneyZen Wealth Management (www.moneyzen.com). “Challenge yourself to get the most amount of joy out of the amount of money you can comfortably afford to spend.”
The bonus? You’ll not only lose that anxious guilty knot in your stomach, but you’ll be forced to think outside the box. “In a world of seemingly limitless choices, financial boundaries – like a set spending limit – can bring out your creativity and ingenuity,” says Thakor.
3 Boost your income
If you are struggling to repay your credit card, look at ways in which you can boost your income, says Catey Hill, author of Shoo, Jimmy Choo! The Modern Girl’s Guide to Spending Less and Saving More.
Perhaps you could put in some overtime at the office, find a new money-spinning way to spend your free time or sell some old clothes on eBay. “This could be as simple as reaching out to your Facebook network to see if anyone would hire you to walk their dog, organise their closet, babysit or whatever kind of services you could provide,” says Hill.
4 Read the paperwork It’s tempting to throw them straight in the bin, but reading bank statements and bills is a huge step towards taking control of your finances, says wealth coach Sarupa Shah (www.sarupashah.com).
“Just simple things like checking bank statements can show up errors that are in your advantage to find,” says Shah. “Set aside time every week to go through your statements and bills. If you find the whole topic of money scary, then make it fun: try going to your favourite coffee house or even outdoors and doing it there,” Shah suggests.
5 Pay your futureself a salary
Along with direct debits to pay bills, you should look into setting up an automated payment for savings each month – it’s a painless way to squirrel money away for the future, says Jasmine Birtles, founder of www.moneymagpie.com. “The best thing to do is to pay yourself first, so set up a standing order into a savings account, stock market fund or other investment at the beginning of the month when you get your salary and when you pay your bills. Look after your future self now and you will not regret it!”
6 Do it digitally
You don’t need to wade through a mountain of paperwork to stay on top of your money: let your computer do the work for you. “Excel is a great and free tool to use to organise and monitor your bills. You can also use an online or mobile diary to remind you to pay certain bills which, in Dubai, are often not set up on direct debit,” says Osbourne.
7 Curb your rent
UAE rent prices may have taken a dip in recent years, but rent can still take a sizeable chunk out of your monthly earnings. You should be spending no more than a third of your salary on rent, ideally less. “I would say 20 to 25 per cent should be spent on rent,” says Osbourne. This means if you earn Dhs18,000 a month, you should be looking to spend no more than Dhs4,500 a month on rent.
8 Recognise the warning signs
If you’re only paying the minimum of your credit card, it’s a bad omen says Birtles. “It means you are out of control of your spending. Cut back on extras like eating out and buying coffees each month so that you can free up more money to pay off more of your debt each month.”
9 Be ready to barter
Haggling shouldn’t be confined to the souks – you can usually get a discount in store if you ask, says Bryant. “You can often do a deal on larger purchases like furniture or a car. It’s worth asking whenever you are spending a big amount.” She adds, “Smaller, independent outlets will have more discretion to offer discounts, whilst larger chains usually don’t.”
10 Eat healthily
Stocking up on veggies will make you slimmer and your purse fatter, says Birtles. “It’s best to cook from raw rather than buy pre-prepared meals,” she advises. “It’s healthier as well as being more cost-effective. Also, try replacing one or more meat-based meals with a veggie alternative each week.”
11 Carry cash
“Cash is king in helping you spend less!” says Hill. “It is simply too easy to swipe a credit card. But try counting out cash for that same purchase and you may think twice about it.” So work out how much you can afford to spend each week then take that out of the ATM on Sunday. Easy!
12 Eat out and save Saving doesn’t have to mean cancelling your social life altogether – the UAE is rife with meal deals, so go and find them. “This is a great way to experience good food, good conversation and leave some extra pocket change in your wallet,” says Thakor.
13 Make your money work
This means finding a savings account that offers an interest rate that is at least two per cent higher than the rate of inflation, advises Osbourne. “If not, then the value of your savings decreases.”
14 Don’t overlook little expenses
“Set yourself a monthly budget and stick to it. List all your regular outgoings and try to include absolutely everything you spend – it’s amazing how things add up. That daily latte can cost you Dhs3,500 a year,” says Bryant. ➤
15 Never shop hungry
To cut your monthly food bill, make a list before you go to the supermarket and stick to it – impulse buys add up quickly!
“Be sure to check your fridge to make sure you don’t already have the items you’re putting on the list. And finally, don’t shop hungry! That’s a sure-fire way to impulse buy food you don’t really need,” says Hill.
16 Make finance friends
Money is one of the last taboos when it comes to the stuff we can talk to our friends about, but don’t bottle up financial worries, says Thakor. “More heads are better than one, so the ideas for more mindful, conscious spending will multiply if you are around people who are looking for them!” she says. What’s more, unburdening will make you feel a great deal better instantly.
17 Shop smarter
Your nearest supermarket may not necessarily be the cheapest, so consider switching some of your weekly shop to a budget supermarket. “You could make big savings,” says Bryant. “Keep an eye out for special offers and buy in bulk where appropriate.”
18 Don’t ignore debt
If your debt is spiralling, it can be easy to stick your head in the sand hoping the problem will go away, but you have to confront it head on, says Shah. “Don’t be afraid of debt. When you are scared, your actions are really thwarted and you are probably spending more time worrying rather than taking action to get out of debt,” she says. “Seek help – but work on the emotional stuff too, not just the financial stuff.” The first step: cut your credit card up.
19 Invest in shares
“Interest rates on savings accounts are actually at an all-time low,” says Bryant. “If you can afford to put money away, then pay a regular amount into stocks and shares instead – over the long-term, shares significantly outperform savings accounts,” she adds.
20 Stop your procrastinating
Have you ever told yourself ‘I’ll start saving when I earn more money’? This is a classic money mistake says Thakor. “It’s no different than saying you’ll start dieting after you finish that pint of ice cream. Once you are making a living wage, the ability to save is a mindset.”
21 Treat yourself occasionally
If you’re going to be a successful saver, you need incentive, says Shah. “Never save for a rainy day but save for specific little indulgences. If you know a weekly massage, or a regular weekend away will help you feel really good about life then create a budget for that. It doesn’t matter if you earn a little, you can always create a list of inexpensive indulgences that will make you feel great about life.”
22 Cook in bulk
Being thrifty in the kitchen will help free up cash for the fun stuff, like shoes, so take this tip: “Plan your meals around what is in season and cook in bulk – stews, soups, large pasta dishes – then divide it into portions and freeze them to use later,” says Birtles.
23 Credit crunch
“Too many people fall into the trap of thinking their credit card is their new best friend,” warns Thakor. But if you make just the minimum monthly payment on an average card, you’ve effectively doubled the purchase price. This means that Dhs50 drink really cost you Dhs100 by the time you’ve paid off the interest. Bottom line? “Credit cards are not free money,” says Thakor.
24 Go for gold
Looking for a smart way to invest? “Gold and silver are a great way of keeping your money safe from fluctuating interest rates. Just remember to keep it somewhere very safe,” says Lavinia D Osbourne, a financial empowerment coach
25 Take a calculated risk
“Savings accounts are fine for the short-term but very bad for the long-term because they don’t keep up with inflation. Take the plunge and put money into riskier long-term investments that will net you more money for your retirement,” says Birtles.