If you’re on the younger side, money is probably something you don’t think about much. After all, your family’s covering room, board as well as any additional expenses you might have. But being good at budgeting is a skill that serves you especially well when you’re in college or in the workforce (which, trust us, will happen sooner than you think), so why not start now?
Tip #1: Set an allowance with your parents
If this hasn’t happened already, make it your first step. Having this family talk not only makes you aware of how they feel about your spending habits but also allows you to decide on a reasonable spending limit that works for everybody.
Tip #2: Cash or card?
Both, naturally, have virtues and vices. Cards may be easy to carry around, but could lead to mindless spending, as Dave Ramsey, the star of his own eponymous show on money matters, explains on his blog daveramsey.com:
“Swiping plastic doesn’t hurt like spending your hard-earned cash. Once you’ve had some quality time with Benjamin Franklin, you’ll think twice before sending him to a cold, hard, cash-register coffin. To stretch his life a bit, you’ll shop around, look for deals, and naturally spend less.”
Tip #3: Limit the number of times you eat out monthly
According to Hotelier Middle East, a new study into eating habits in the UAE has shown that residents eat out 11 times a week on average. We know, we know- Jamie Oliver’s new pizzeria may have just opened in JLT, but eating out becomes incredibly costly when you add up all those restaurant visits with your friends.
Tip #4: Use public transportation when possible
Careem is great, but you know what’s also great? Being able to get from Rashidiya to UAE Exchange for 7 dirhams! If you’re spending over 10% of your allowance on transport, you should revise your options, according to Gulf News. All it takes is a little bit of planning ahead and a willingness to enjoy that window view- if you’re being really thrifty, you can even hop on one of RTA’s many buses to take you where you need to go.
Tip #5: Download a budgeting app (but only if it’s free!)
Use a free tool, like FinAid’s Student Budget Calculator or the one offered by Mint.com, to keep track of your finances. It’s harder to be frivolous when you see where your money is going. If that’s not your style, there are plenty of budgeting apps on the App Store that will fit your needs.
Tip #6: Size down on your phone plan
If your parents have been paying for your unlimited data plan till now and are suddenly putting their foot down, you could consider sizing down to a reasonable amount of data or even eschewing it altogether. Why slide into your friends’ DMs when you could just give them a call?