5 tips for managing your finances

1. Choose the right bank

Choosing the right bank in the UAE or any country you are teaching in is incredibly important. There are many factors to take into account, such as low fees, customer service reviews, branch locations and benefits offered. If you regularly spend using your debit card and feel confident that you can work/spend within your means, then consider a bank that offers you a high rewards credit card. When used correctly, you can end up with amazing cash back offers on all spends as well having additional benefits such as discounted hotel and restaurant rates and complimentary airport lounge access. On the other hand, if you are likely to be tempted by high spending limits on a credit card, it’s best to avoid this!

2. Don’t be under any illusion

Don’t fall into the trap of Keeping Up with the Joneses! Many of the top international teaching destinations will provide you with opportunities to live an amazing lifestyle. In a place like Dubai, just because you are surrounding by luxury, doesn’t mean that you have buy into it. So many expats fall into huge amounts of debt in their first few years of living abroad which can be incredibly tough to escape once you get used to a particular way of life. Ease yourself into things in the first few months or year and get some money behind you before you start splashing out like The Wolf of Wallstreet!

3. Take away coffees

This may seem like an insignificant financial tip but take away coffees can really add up. If you invest initially in a good coffee machine you will end up eventually spending a fraction of these figures and have more (and tastier) coffees to show for it!

Take Away Coffee x5 Weekdays  AED  Euro  GBP
DailyAED 20  €5.50£5.00
WeeklyAED 100  €27.50£25.00
MonthlyAED 400  €110.00£100.00
AnnuallyAED 4800   €1,320.00£1200.00

4. Move your cash around

One tip that many financially savvy professionals find useful is allocating a monthly spend. You can do this by opening a free savings account with your bank alongside your current account. Each time you get paid, transfer a chunk of your money into this savings account. Set a spend limit for yourself (this is a figure that you personally decide on). For example, if your monthly salary comes to AED 15,000 then you may decide to transfer a third of this and work with AED 10,000 for the month. Once you have moved 5,000 into your other account try to forget it’s even there! Psychologically, we now feel like we need to be a little less trigger or tap happy as our account balance is smaller.

5. Invest wisely

Last, but certainly not least, we strongly recommend investing an amount (big or small) of your earnings monthly or quarterly. There are many books and videos on how to do this, but we found the best guidance and advice by reading Andrew Hallam’s Millionaire Teacher. This is not a get rich quick scheme by any means but will equip you with the knowledge to go about starting your own investment portfolio and provide you with a solid plan for the future. Do this one sooner rather than later! You can also try Millionaire Expat for a non teaching specific version.