x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Ways to save money

Six tips to help you cut back on your expenses.

1 Review weekly shopping bills. 

Ask yourself if you need to buy all your food from supermarkets and smaller convenience stores. Many products, especially fresh fruit, vegetables and other produce, are much cheaper at the larger hypermarkets. Switching shopping habits can save hundreds of dirhams each week in food costs.

2 Switch insurers. 

Shop around websites and brokers to see if you are paying too much for your car, home or life insurance. Likewise, if you have a mortgage or car loan, it's worth investigating whether you can get a cheaper rate elsewhere.

3 Consider car pooling. 

For commuters who drive to work by themselves, it may be worth considering car sharing, especially for those who make the daily journey between Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Sharing the driving can reduce petrol and Salik costs.

4 Cut back on nights out without curtailing your social life. 

Friday brunches and nights out can eat up a significant amount of monthly salaries, with some top brunches costing more than Dh350 per person, equating to nearly Dh3,000 a month for a couple going out every Friday. For those reluctant to contemplate the idea of staying in, trips to the cinema or the ice rink are inexpensive alternatives for evenings out.

5 Invest wisely. 

Although trimming expenditure is important, there is little point in building up huge sums of money while interest rates are low. This is because inflation can erode the spending power of your savings, effectively reducing their value. Instead, use your money more wisely by considering some of the lower-risk investments available as well as the riskier direct investment into the equity markets. Before looking to invest, it is a good idea to ensure sufficient cash reserves are in place in the event of an emergency, typically equal to six months' income. Now is a good time to review any existing investments in place to ensure that the overall asset allocation is aligned to attitude to investment risk.

6 Prioritise cutting debts. 

Review any outstanding debts such as credit cards and repay if possible because the interest charged on the debt is likely to be higher than the interest received for any cash in the bank. If you can't afford to repay the debt immediately, examine the terms of the debt to see whether you are able to increase payments each month to reduce the time it takes to repay.

* Tips courtesy of Darren Ashley, the managing director of Candour Consultancy, and Sarah Lord, the wealth planning director for Killik & Co.