Faisal Shah Abdul Nazar, 31, Indian, QAQC Engineer
“For Indians, the main purpose to come to the Gulf is to be able to save money. Because I saved money from my previous jobs in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, saving in the UAE is not a problem. The living expenses in other countries are lower than in the UAE. Here they provide more facilities so if we have money, [it’s tempting] to spend but it’s saving is for our own good. We can save and enjoy life, we can do both. In other countries, though you can save money life is not as comfortable as in the UAE.
“I save money so I can build a house back home. I have bought two pieces of land in India in my eight years in the Gulf. One day, I will go back to my so I need to invest now so when I return [perhaps when I’m 50 years old], I can relax and enjoy the fruits of my labour.
“Right now, I am saving 70 per cent of my salary. But I am planning to bring my wife and child here in two to three months which means my savings will be reduced by 40 to 50 per cent.
Marie Camille Edpao, 34, Filipina, flight stewardess
“My husband and I follow the cash envelope saving system. One advice given to us when we got married was that we should put away money for emergencies, savings, monthly and leisure. We added an envelope for our daughter, Zoe, dedicated for her school expense as soon as she was born.
(*most flight crew don’t get salaries when they get pregnant; some can do ground work but the salary they get won’t be as much as when they’re inflight)
“We have agreed to pool in a certain percentage of our income and we work out how much goes to each ‘envelope’ accordingly. By doing this, we get a clear idea where our money/income goes each month. I am blessed with a husband who is a good leader and planner. Since we use the cash envelope system, ‘future’ expenses are somehow taken care of already — maybe not fully – but at least we have a good head start.
“My husband and I agree that God wants us to be good stewards of his financial blessings. We made a decision early on in our marriage that we need to be wise in our spending. Praying for guidance, planning ahead and being conscientious on where our money goes, I think are key. We list down our monthly expenses and also make room for contingencies.”
Indian mother of one, 38
“I don’t have a monthly budget. I’ve never done it in my life. That may be the reason why I don’t know where my money goes each month. So when you ask me to account for my savings throughout my working years in the UAE, I panic. I don’t have any and I felt really bad. I don’t have anything left to save after each month.
“When a need arises, I just spend. I don’t think about it. I’ll say to myself, ‘Tomorrow, I’ll be able to save’. But I never get to do it. Being a single-income family, it’s hard. I invested in property in India in the past but that’s it. All my salary now is eaten by rent, loans and credit card payments and living expenses.”