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Having a family, regardless of its size, means that there are many financial   obligations you need to manage, including your housing, shopping, tuition fees,   and everyday spending. It is crucial to be organized in managing your income and   spending to keep things running smoothly. Be mindful of your options and   decisions to ensure that you have an effective saving plan in place ahead of   time.

Saving

First thing’s first: saving is essential for any family. You have to learn how to set aside a certain amount of money from your monthly income in order to be able to afford items you need. Learning how to be an efficient saver will help whether you intend to buy a car, plan a summer getaway, or for the education of your children.

In order to figure out how much you need to save, you need to consider your income and how much you need to spend on essential household expenses. Doing so allows you to make informed decisions on the amount you can set aside in your savings.

One of the popular saving instruments is a savings account. Unlike a current account, this tool allows you to receive annual interest on your money. Bonds can also be used as a saving instrument. Bonds basically allow you to lend a fixed amount of money for a predetermined amount of time to a bank or other institution. Terms for bonds differ, but all bonds entail the repayment of the full amount of the capital placed after completing the specified time (usually referred to as maturity rate) with additional interest rates according to fixed intervals. You can choose to invest in bonds at both national and international banks.

Housing

Whether you are renting or purchasing a house or apartment, housing presents one of the major expenses you need to consider and budget for. There are many things to take into consideration such as the location, price, facilities, maintenance fees, and parking spaces available in the area.

The most important thing to remember is to take your time. Be open to many options before making your final decision and research the market extensively before you begin negotiating the asking price.

Another aspect that you should consider is furnishing your house. Your furniture reflects your taste and personality; it is one of the most important aspects of your house. You should allocate a budget for each element of furnishing and stick to that budget.

Housing Tips

  • When choosing an appropriate location for your residence, think of the values that are important to you. For instance, do you want your house to be close to your family or next to a good school?
  • Aim for housing you can afford. If you plan on taking a loan, make sure it is one you are able to repay. Also check for interest rates and payment periods.
  • Different areas within the city have different renting or purchasing rates. Research the market really well in order to choose options that fit your budget.
  • Check for vacancies in classifieds and newspapers to familiarize yourself with available options. There are also real estate agents available to aid you in searching for houses and apartments.
  • Bargain and negotiate! You can really make a difference if you negotiate the asking price for any residence.
  • Be mindful of any changes you would like to implement within the house or apartment. For instance, if you decide to add an extra room, you need to include that as part of the cost.

There are a number of options available to aid you in purchasing or renting your home. You can apply for a loan, which all banks offer at different rates and usually require a repayment period of around 25 years.

A number of government organizations also offer housing assistance, loans and land or housing grants which are subject to certain rules and criteria.

To learn more, please visit the following sites:

The Sheikh Zayed Housing Program:
http://www.szhp.gov.ae/Default.aspx

Purchasing a car

Your car is one of the most important purchases you will be making. With so many options, price ranges and brands out there, it is important that you take the time to research the market properly and find the car that best suits you both in terms of your preferences and affordability.

First, you need to determine your price range. Make sure that your car is within the limits that you will be able to afford in addition to the other expenses you have such as rent and bills. Research the market really well, and take your time before buying your car.  Visit the different car dealerships and compare prices. Remember that the asking price of the car does not include other costs such as insurance and licensing.

After enquiring about the features and facilities of the car, it is also a good idea to ask about the resale value of the vehicle to be better aware of its worth. Other issues to keep in mind include maintenance and repair costs and how much you will need to pay for spare parts.

You might decide to take a car loan in order to finance your vehicle, which is a good option if it is managed, researched, and budgeted correctly. Make sure you study the market well and are aware of the different rates and options banks offer.

Guidelines when applying for a car loan:

  • Do not apply for the first loan you find. Rather than depending on the recommendations of your friends or relatives, or applying for a loan at your own bank, make sure you do your research. Look at aspects like interest rates, monthly installments, and hidden fees.
  • Some banks offer service charges for loans such as processing fees. Ask to pay for those separately so as not to include them within the principal amount which is interest applicable.
  • Try to opt for loans that offer the option of an early settlement. The faster you pay off the loan, the less interest you will accumulate.

Car Loan Comparison Table

Your car insurance is another crucial aspect of your purchase, as you cannot register your car in the UAE without it.  Often, when budgeting for a car, some people forget to include insurance fees as part of the cost of the vehicle. However, although it involves a steady payment, quality car insurance can save you a lot of money in case of an accident. Therefore, it is important to be selective when deciding which insurance company you want to deal with.

Insurance tips:

  • Do not settle for the first offer. Try to negotiate with the insurance company for the best rates possible.
  • Make sure you understand the policy really well and know what it covers.
  • Different car values have different insurance rates, which is an issue worth considering when purchasing your car.
  • Be aware of the different options available for insurance coverage.
Education

Education can be broken into two areas: preparing for your children’s   education and teaching your children about financial awareness.

Each family needs to give serious consideration to paying for their   children’s education. Some families may prefer to enroll their children in   private schools and the sooner you start saving for this, the better. You will   need to cover costs such as tuition fees, cost of books, and transportation.

It is extremely important to work on your child's financial awareness from an   early age. Teaching them to use their allowance wisely will result in a building   a solid foundation for good savings and smart spending, habits that will stay   with them for a lifetime, and contribute in making them financially literate   adults.

Planning for a trip

When planning for a trip locally or abroad, there are many things you can do to save yourself some extra cash. For instance, rather than booking your flight through an agent, you can book it online and receive cheaper rates. Also, when booking a ticket for a vacation, make sure you do so well ahead of time. The longer you wait, the more costly your trip may become as last minute bookings cost much higher.

Budgeting

When faced with many financial obligations, careful planning becomes essential to balance income and spending and make sure all essential expenses are covered. You need to balance the amount you make with the amount you spend in order to avoid debt and other unfavourable situations.

An effective way of making a budget for your monthly expenses is by listing all the essential costs that you have such as the amount you want to save , phone bills, electric bills, rent, car payments, etc. You then need to calculate how much you will have leftover for your other expenses.

It is also advisable that you save a certain amount every month from your income, in order to be able to afford things that you cannot immediately purchase. Furthermore, it is crucial to have some money set aside in case of unexpected emergencies.

Budgeting Tips:

  • Make a list of all your daily expenses including your daily cup of coffee, meals and other purchases. It may seem like the cost of these items are insignificant but getting into this habit will prevent you from losing track of your expenses.
  • Make a budgeting sheet. Whether you prefer using a plain paper and pen to jot down all your expenses or other methods such as certain templates you find on this website, organizing your finances is a must. Take the time every month to organize your expenses, loans and debts.
  • To avoid falling into debt, make sure that whatever items you opt to purchase, you have a steady source of income to cover the cost. Taking loans or credit without carefully considering how to repay them is a crucial error and can lead to serious consequences.
  • Differentiate between “good debt” and “bad debt”. You incur good debt to make a purchase that is likely to increase in value (e.g. house) and contribute to improving your overall financial situation. Bad debt is using loans for purchases you don’t need or can’t afford and at a high interest rate.
  • When paying back your credit card debt, make sure you pay the entire amount, not the minimum charge, or the money you owe will just keep piling up with higher interest rates.
  • Try to minimize the number of credit cards you have as too many will probably get you into a debt situation.

Budgeting as a couple:

Tips:

  • Prioritize your spending together as a couple. Try to agree on what your monthly expenses will be.
  • Discuss your short and long-term goals to keep them in mind when budgeting.
  • Discuss your finances on a regular basis to effectively track your expenditure and savings.
  • Make sure you have a backup plan for emergencies. Save some money aside for unforeseen circumstances.

Family Expenses

Family Monthly Budget

Spending

The golden rule is that you should not spend more than you earn. As a family,   you need to prioritize and manage your expenditures according to the monthly   income you receive. Careful thought must be applied to purchases before they are   made to assess whether they are affordable and necessary at that particular   point in time. Setting fixed allowances for children is a great way to reinforce   these principles. Having to limit their spending to a certain amount will teach   your children how to budget, plan and save, which are skills that will aid them   in the future.

Spending tips:
Be a smart shopper

  • Before you head out for a shopping trip, whether for grocery shopping or   buying clothes, make sure you determine what you need
  • Learn to prioritize your shopping list; buying items you need the most   first.
  • Try to stick to your pre-planned budget when shopping.
Banking Guideline

Banks offer many services and products to customers. It is crucial to be familiar with all these features, conditions and penalties. Deciding what type of account you would like to open and which bank you would like to deal with depends on a number of variables. You need to find the bank that is right for you.

Accounts

  • Current account: It is an account where you deposit your money with intent to withdraw later. Usually, a current account is where your salary gets transferred. In addition to the services offered in a basic account, a current account allows you to write cheques as well.
  • Savings account: It is similar to a current account, in that you can withdraw the money at any time via a card. However, saving accounts are usually created to place money with the intention of saving it over a period of time. Usually, you can ask your bank to transfer a set amount monthly from your salary to your savings account, where you will receive an annual interest, allowing your savings to grow.
  • Shariah-compliant account: A current or savings account that is run according to Islamic law.

Credit cards

A credit card is different from a debit card. Credit cards allow you to borrow money, which you do not possess, from the bank up to a certain limit. If you pay off the outstanding balance on your credit card before the due date, you will not be required to pay any interest.  As a rule of thumb, the longer you take, the more you will pay. Once you reach your limit, you can no longer use your card until you repay some of your debt.

There are different categories of cards you can acquire, which differ in benefits, credit range and interest rates. The first category is standard cards, which most people own. Prestige cards such as silver, gold and platinum cards, usually offer a higher credit limit and lower interest.

Features of credit cards differ from one bank to another. There is no uniform set of rules for these cards and you need to ensure that you fully understand the features you can enjoy before applying for the category you want.

Online shopping credit cards are used solely for one purpose, and thereby allow you to keep personal information retaining to your main bank account safe. Furthermore, many banks offer temporary credit online shopping cards that provide high level of security to protect you from hackers.

Credit card tips:

  • Keep a track of your monthly credit card statement
  • Try to pay your entire outstanding amount to not accumulate interest.
  • Try to purchase items you know you are able to pay for. Otherwise, refrain from doing so.
 

 
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