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Highlights

Several polls have indicated that UAE residents have been saving more than ever before. Here is one such instance where a Dubai-based Pakistani expat paid for his daughter's wedding on savings alone - despite being without a job for over two years!

Dubai: A former Dubai-based Pakistani expat and father of two daughters, S. Anzari, 53, had late last year celebrated the wedding of his eldest back in his hometown. But this wedding was special. The reason being that he managed to pull off the wedding despite being jobless the past couple of years.

It was only possible because much of the expenses for the wedding and the miscellaneous expenditure was met thanks to the prudence Anzari exercised as a regular saver. Here is a recount of how he went about it.

Timely savings come to the rescue

“During my career as a taxi driver, both in Dubai and in Pakistan, I have faced the misfortune of losing my job on a couple of occasions,” says Anzari. “I’m aware of the problems that being jobless can bring on the family and decided to start saving early on.”

Therefore, when Anzari lost his job two years ago, he already had an emergency fund stashed away. He had about about Dh45,000 saved up when he lost his job, which translated to over 1.5 million Pakistani Rupees, his home currency, which he saved up in close to seven years - savings that his wife and children were initially not aware of.

“My kids were pleasantly surprised when I told them about my savings, and the relief on my wife’s face was magical, especially considering we had just started searching for a suitable groom for our daughter,” recollects Anzari. Needless to say, Anzari went ahead with the plans for his daughter’s wedding. The wedding, Anzari said, cost a little over Dh30,000, and he remarked that he was glad that he still had money left over for any future expense.

“I managed to secure a job just a couple of months before the wedding and credit for this goes to the good luck that my wife and two daughters brought into my life,” says Anzari. Humble and benevolent though the proud father and husband may be, the reality he cannot deny is that if he hadn't started saving earlier on he would have been heavily distressed and pressured.

Anzari is currently in Peshawar, Pakistan and works as a taxi driver. When in Dubai he used to earned about Dh3,700 a month, doing the same job, and was able to save about Dh500 on average a month, on and off. Although he currently doesn't earn as much now as he did earlier when he was in Dubai, and is actively looking to return to the city, he continues to look back and be greatful that he took the decision to save, while also encouraging others to do the same as well.

Cannot be stressed enough: Start saving early!

The importance of regular savings cannot be stressed enough, allowing one to remain financially secure and providing a safety net in case of emergencies, a fact that UAE residents are quickly cottoning on to.

A late 2019 poll conducted to gauge the savings habits of UAE residents revealed that people are saving more than ever before. More than half of the poll respondents came through saying they saved on a regular basis.

However, in an elaborate Gulf News poll that was conducted a year earlier, it did not paint the same picture. When over 2,000 UAE residents were asked if they have at least Dh1,000 tucked away for an emergency. Some 50.11 per cent said they don’t have even Dh1,000 saved up while the remaining 49.88 per cent said they do.

According to a savings report from the UK financial institution Lloyd’s Bank, 74 per cent of regular savers felt happy, compared to only a third of non-savers. Three-quarters also felt that the saving habit made them feel less anxious and insecure, with half saying that having a saving plan had a positive impact on their mental health.

Having an emergency fund of three to six months’ worth of expenses allows savers to be prepared for unfortunate events, to have better relationships as you never have to ask for money and to take more risks. And once you can take care of yourself, savings can even help you take care of others around you or to support global causes.