There’s change in the air. Can you feel it?
Listen to the coffee shop banter and school yard chatter and you’ll hear people saying the same thing: “It’s not like it used to be.”
This year, UAE residents have had a taste of this “real world” with the introduction of VAT, petrol price hikes and the announcement of new road tolls coming along soon. For the first time ever, the UAE is making the shift from a no-tax haven to a low-tax haven.
In addition to this, there has been an economic downturn with many companies downsizing and making budget cuts which are hitting UAE residents in the wallet. Salaries are not increasing and allowances and benefits are slowly being reduced, yet the cost of living continues to soar.
For my own family and for many of our friends, we have had tighten our belts and have started to make the mental shift to a more modest lifestyle to ensure we don’t get carried away with the tide.
My husband and I recently had some significant conversations to make sure we were on the same page in understanding our monthly financial earnings and obligations. We decided that we have to adjust our spending habits and set new financial goals if we want to have any level of financial security for our future.
Realising our Abu Dhabi lifestyle has been characterised by a more laissez faire approach to spending, we sat down and assessed our needs versus our greeds. For example, eating out has become a treat, not an every day occurrence. International holidays are now optional, not mandatory (REALITY CHECK: My seven and three year old children do not need multiple international vacations a year!). Bargain hunting has become a sport. And shopping sprees are a thing of the past.
And you know what? It feels really good! It’s actually freeing to know we can have more control over our spending, even if it means putting some realistic boundaries in place to protect us from our old habits.
For the first time in a long time we feel like we have a clear sense of direction with our finances and the open communication about our money has only had a positive impact on our relationship and general outlook on the future. Onward and upward, I say!
Have you noticed the shift? What kind of changes are you making to your lifestyle to ensure a greater sense of financial responsibility and to better secure your financial future?
Leave a note in the comments or share your ideas on Instagram using #TheShiftUAE.