A Jordanian couple’s saving habits have changed after three children.
Tough to save for this family
A few years ago, Ruba Ahmad Al Sharif and her husband, Shadi Hasan Qtishat, moved from Jordan to join Eagle Environmental Services & Pest Control in Abu Dhabi. But with twins born in the same year as their relocation and a daughter born two years later, Mr Qtishat and Mrs Al Sharif, both 33, found they were unable to save once they started paying for food, schools and entertainment. Mrs Al Sharif, a private contract manager, and Mr Qtishat, an operations manager, discuss the role of money in their family.
How would you describe your financial journey so far?
Al Sharif: Difficult. So difficult. Qtishat: Because you don’t know what’s going to happen in the next month, or the month you take your salary. Where will you spend your money? You try to plan, but your salary isn’t always as much as you need, or you like. Sometimes we plan to go for holidays here or there, but then your kids get sick. We don’t know how to spend for them.
Would you describe yourselves as spenders or savers?
Al Sharif: We are spenders, not savers. Why’s that? Because of the needs of the life, the kids, the school, your house, your family. And there is also the fact that our salary is not much, so there is no space to save.
Qtishat: For us, we spend 100 per cent of our money here. You know, people usually come from abroad and work here to save money for the future. But now we cannot save. Before, when we didn’t have kids, we saved some. But not now. So we spend both of our salaries.
Is money important to you?
Qtishat: Money is the last thing on our list of priorities in life. Why? Because I can guarantee you, at the end of the month you will not find any money with us.
Have you made any financial mistakes along the way?
Al Sharif: Oh, yes.
Qtishat: It’s happened to us several times that we buy something we don’t actually need, but we still buy it. If you ask us later why we bought it, we don’t know. But khalas – we bought it.
What’s your biggest financial lesson?
Qtishat: Save money, because you don’t know the future or what the future hides from you.
Al Sharif: Don’t take out any loans.
Qtishat: There is a saying in Arabic: save your white money for your black day. Because you don’t know what will happen in the future.
Al Sharif: Actually the Egyptian people use this saying more, but we use it too.
How do you plan for the future?
Al Sharif: We ought to plan for the future. Luckily something will change for us: he had a loan from before which will be soon paid off.
Qtishat: It depends on where you are working and what salary you receive. If you receive the same salary every month, you will not plan for the long term and the future. You will just copy and paste what you made in the previous month. But your plan changes when your salary changes.
What do you spend your money on?
Qtishat: We spend it on my kids’ school, our housemaid – she takes care of our kids and of the work in our home – the daily needs for the kids and for us, and the weekend. Every week we have to do something. We take our kids to the mall or to the parks, we have barbecues. One time we went to Yas Waterworld for the kids.