Money & Me: Boutique owner finds the right balance
Yulia Skryabina is a co-owner of Home Matters Online Boutique, an e-commerce store that sells home decor goods. She is also the operations manager of a financial advisory and investment firm in Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). The 29-year-old, from Uzbekistan, moved to the UAE with her family in 2001. She spent her teenage years in Abu Dhabi before moving to Dubai to work. An animal lover, she lives with two rescued dogs and a cat.
How did your upbringing shape your attitude towards money?
Growing up I always knew that money comes with hard work, while simultaneously I was taught to appreciate quality and as my wise great grandmother used to say: “we are not rich enough to buy cheap things”, an approach that has passed along the family. I always strive to pursue quality regardless of my financial situation but still I always appreciate the value of money.
How much did you get paid for your first job?
I was an English language tutor for a couple of kids when I was about 16, which paid me a whopping US$5 per hour.
Are you spender or saver?
I have always been more of a spender, but over the past couple of years I have reevaluated. It’s hard to achieve that perfect balance between not overspending and saving enough, especially in a place like Dubai, which is without a doubt a shopper’s heaven. Nevertheless my spending habits have changed and I now avoid splurging on unnecessary things.
Have you ever had a month when you feared you could not pay the bills?
Yes, there have been some tough periods, especially when unexpected high expenses came up along with rent and other similar expenses. At the same time I am fortunate to have a supportive family that I can always rely on.
Where do you save?
Currently in a savings account, but in the future I will invest in areas such as market securities and commodities, which will potentially give better returns.
Do you prefer paying by credit card or in cash?
My strong preference is to use cash or debit card, which disciplines me to remain within my financial means. In principle I always try to avoid any and all forms of debt, in fact I got my first credit card recently and made it a point to only have one. I use it every now and then, only when necessary. I use it as a means to build a sound credit history.
What has been your best investment?
A recently purchased apartment in Moscow. It was a good deal, which has already appreciated in value. I particularly take pride in this given the hard work that went into saving the funds for this purchase.
What do you most regret spending money on?
I generally have a “no regret” attitude, but there are a few somewhat expensive items in my wardrobe that were either never worn or worn once or twice.
What financial advice would you offer your younger self?
Be rational with spending, but at the same time don’t compromise on things that involve personal development. I would also tell myself to put some money away even if it is a small amount, which over the years will build up to be a sizeable safety cushion.
Do you have a plan for the future?
My current future plan is mostly around my professional growth and personal development. I believe all other things will naturally fall in place. From a financial security standpoint, I would like to further invest in real estate. On a personal level, I want to travel more and explore the world. I want to learn a new language so I have started taking Arabic classes now and I want time to start piano classes.
If you won Dh1 million, what would you do with it?
I would invest the majority in real estate and gold. I would buy a high-value art deco piece and I’d support an orphanage in my hometown. Part of the money would also go to animal welfare groups as I am a big animal lover and support several rescue groups in UAE.
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Updated: February 24, 2017 04:00 AM