Get crunch-proof

The Dubai expat’s guide to surviving the crunch. Straighten your tie, stand up straight, and face it...

The Knowledge

Hands up if you’re fed-up of the credit crunch? Yup, us too, but we have to be realistic. This could be the start of a much bigger deal. Now’s the time to get real, and think smart.

Here, is the Time Out guide to making yourself crunch-proof as we all attempt to ride out the economic storm…

Don’t overstretch yourself…
Most of us need to take out loans to live. Whether they’re for rent, a car, or furnishing a new home, they’re a necessary evil. But be sensible.

Borrow the minimum amount that you can, over the shortest period of time. It’s better to make a few cut backs each month to make a higher repayment than to commit yourself to years of debt.

If you, like many others have been, get made redundant, you want to at least have a fighting chance of paying what you owe back or at least covering your rent while you look for another job.

Can the cards…
Credit cards are your enemy. Hidden costs, sky high interest, and the temptation to spend far more money than you’re going to earn encourage your spending to get out of control. If you lose your job, how are you going to pay off that essential pair of shoes, or fancy flat screen TV? You’re not, so leave your credit card at home when you hit the mall.

Cut down…
Do you really need that flash new car? No, you don’t. If you’re hiring a car, it’s time to downgrade, and if you’ve bought, just stick with what you’ve got. If you are one of the few people who has just landed in Dubai, think small and buy a car that you know you can afford, with reasonable repayments.

Wise-up…
Rumour has it, rents will drop even further in March so if you can hold off, then do it. And, if you find somewhere that you do like, don’t be afraid to make a low offer.

Get noticed…
Only for the right reasons, of course. Companies across Dubai are letting people go and yours may be one of them, so it’s time to up your game. Come in early, work late, bring new ideas to the table, in fact do whatever it takes, to make sure that if the day comes, your boss will see you as an asset worth holding onto. Sometimes, even this won’t make a difference as firms are forced to let go of staff they’d rather hold on to, but at least you’ll know you tried.

And finally…make a budget…
It’s an old piece of advice, but it never goes out of fashion. Make a budget, and stick to it. If you know that you have no self-control, take out a lump of cash each week and hide your bank card. You’ll be amazed how much less you can spend when you don’t have a card to swipe.

If you have any other tips on how to survive the credit crunch in Dubai, we’d love to hear them. Let us know…

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