on the money
Thinking of impressing a romantic interest? Believe you’ve found the one and dream of settling down and building a family? Well, if you’re serious about it, it turns out that instead of flashing the cash, you should be saving it instead.
A study by the University of Michigan Ross School of Business has found that saving money made people more attractive partners than those who spend.
And it stands to reason. If you think about it, after all, it takes discipline, commitment and believing in planning for the long term to save regularly. The same applies to other key qualities many would want in a life-partner, such as healthy eating, being fit, exercising, along with not succumbing to whims and temptations along life’s journey.
But it’s difficult, isn’t it? I’m talking about saving money. You know, many people I speak to say they can’t afford to, that they simply don’t have enough money to save.
I challenge that.
Because we all find the money to eat, dress, commute, go out and do things. So it’s more a case of: you have the money in your life, but you’re choosing to spend it on certain things – and that takes away your option of doing something else with it.
Having had many such conversations, I realised that even if we know what’s good for us, doing it, sticking with it and making it a habit – in other words, changing our behaviour – is immensely difficult. And many of us just don’t know how to get started.
And so, UAE Saves Week was born. Seven days of financial education, empowerment and fun, created by my financial platform. It’s all about small, can-do daily changes to our behaviour and thinking that will save us some money each day, and have a major effect on our lives and well-being in the long run.
These changes will not affect your lifestyle or standard of living, or take away your fun. But they really do make a difference to you, your finances and the rest of your life.
The idea is so very simple: each day has a theme. The theme is something we all do, have or use either daily or weekly.
We’re asking you to join us in bringing each day’s theme to life for the duration of the week – then on the last day, think about which habit(s) you will adopt, make a pledge, and stick to it!
We’re talking really basic stuff, like: pack your lunch on Monday (we’re providing yummy recipes to make it easier for you!), bring down your electricity bill on Tuesday (the UAE has the one of the largest carbon footprints per capita in the world), wise up to financial terms on Wednesday by posting questions to our platform or come along to a money clinic that day.
On Thursday we’re holding a spenders’ confessional, where we’re asking you to think about what your weakness is (shoes? toys for your children?). Figure it out and bring one along to our gathering – we’ll have a laugh, a chat, and also be tackling a serious matter which is our financial, and therefore general, well-being. I know someone who has many many thousands of dirhams frozen in the form of cookbooks, another who has the equivalent price of a small island in the way of handbags and shoes, and a third who wanted to cry when he worked out how much money he had spent on his son’s toys (the other epiphany for him was that it was more about his obsession with them rather than his son wanting or needing them). This person is scrimping and scraping by right now because he wants desperately to be part of an investment opportunity that has come his way – perhaps he could release the money stuck in the toys by selling them?
On Frugal Friday we’re having a picnic in Dubai’s Safa Park – it’s all about sharing experiences and memories and having fun for less.
As mentioned, on Saturday, our last day, we’re asking you to stick to one change in your life, and sharing what it is in our photo gallery – making a public pledge is great for your willpower, and gives other people in the same boat ideas, encouragement and support.
Oh. And did I mention that we kick it all off tomorrow with Savings Sunday? We’re asking you to save your Sunday’s wage. Do you even know what your day’s wage is? Work it out, then put it in your money jar, take a photo and post it to the gallery.
You see, it’s all about us thinking through what we do every single day without much thought. We all eat. We all use electricity. We all have access to money. What you are doing with yours every day takes you closer to or further away from your life goals.
I believe in practical, grassroots change. And UAE Saves Week is it. What do you want from life? How are you working towards it? Saving money is key — and we can show you how. Getting your ideal life partner to say yes could depend on it ...
Nima Abu Wardeh is the founder of the personal finance website www.cashy.me. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org