Stretch your dirham: The budgeting hacks to try this year

Stretch your dirham: The budgeting hacks to try this year
Allocate a reasonable amount in your budget towards recreational activities.

dubai - Without a budget, it is easy to lose sight of our long-term financial goals



By Ambareen Musa
 Viewpoint

Published: Sat 30 Jun 2018, 4:26 PM

Last updated: Sat 30 Jun 2018, 6:28 PM

Let's face it: Budgets are boring! And more often than not, they're also incredibly difficult to stick to. In a world driven by consumerism, we can't help but wonder - has the humble budget gone out of style?
The truth is that most of us have a finite amount of money to work with. And without a budget, it is easy to lose sight of our long-term financial goals. So, if there's a way to get budgeting back in vogue, we're all for it.
Say goodbye to old school budgeting with these brand new budgeting hacks.

Set up a budgeting app on your phone
Chances are that you reach for your smartphone more often than a budgeting journal. So why not install a budgeting app on your phone? Budgeting apps come in a variety of shapes and sizes. You can choose one that you find easiest to work with.
Here are three of the most popular apps to help you budget with ease:
> Wally: This is a globally recognised app that supports multiple foreign currencies. Its USP is that it alerts you of your remaining budget to prevent you from overspending.
> Fudget: This is an incredibly simple-to-navigate app that aims to uncomplicate money management. Its USP is that it lets you create as many monthly, weekly or daily budgets as you need.
> Goodbudget: This is a budgeting app that works on the 'envelope budgeting' principle. Its USP is that it allows users like spouses to sync and share their household budget.

Make use of supermarket circulars
Ever seen those little magazines or circulars at your favourite supermarket? Many supermarkets in the UAE display these at their entry and check out counters. These circulars are meant to alert you about current discounts and deals run by the supermarket on a wide variety of groceries and household items. The next time you happen to see one, grab a copy for yourself. If there's an attractive discount on items that don't expire soon, you could stock up and save a few bucks.
Some supermarkets will e-mail these alerts to you regularly - make sure you sign up. And you could even find these offers on the apps owned by bigger supermarket chains, like Carrefour. This would make it even easier for you to stay on top of supermarket sales.

Start a weekly meal plan
How many times have you ended up ordering food because you're too tired to cook? Or ended up buying overpriced groceries because you wanted a missing ingredient at the last minute? That's why a meal plan is a good idea.
You can create a meal plan for an entire week and make a shopping list accordingly. Not only will this make it easier for you to prepare meals all through the week, but it'll also help cut your shopping and dining bills.

Get a like-minded savings buddy
What's better than one saver? Two savers! Budgeting can feel a bit like walking a tightrope when most of your friends aren't exactly thrifty. Want to start and stick to your new budget? Bring a like-minded friend on board. You can both set a shared savings goal and help motivate each other, as well as hold each other accountable.
You could even turn this into a friendly competition - whoever saves the most by the end of the month gets treated to a movie or dinner.

Budget in the 'fun expenses'
Budgets often carry a negative connotation, especially for millennials who think it is all work and no fun. Of course, if your budget simply accounts for necessary expenses, debt repayments and savings, it is bound to make you feel burdened. Keep at it long enough and you could face a 'budget burnout'. This is exactly why you need to add a cautious dose of fun and allocate a reasonable amount in your budget towards recreational activities.

The writer is the founder and CEO of souqalmal.com. Views expressed are her own and do not reflect the newspaper's policy.


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