A Ministry of Finance initiative in alignment with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

Simple, sensible financial advice brought to you by the Ministry of Finance



Be grateful for what you have


Create a monthly budget and stick to it


Practice patience and save the cash for things you want


Do all you can to stay out of debt


Establish a balanced portfolio of investments

Financial health & the importance of saving

When you’re on top of your money, life feels easier. You can channel your energy into things that bring you and your family happiness.

There is always an excuse not to save, but failing to be disciplined about saving today can quickly become a source of stress and anxiety. Instead of making excuses or splashing out on things you want but don’t really need, sit down and make a list of financial goals that will get you the things you and your family really deserve. Saving today:

  • Puts you in control of your money
  • Gives you unbeatable peace of mind
  • Opens the doors to options and opportunities
  • Helps you reach important life goals
  • Makes it easier to accumulate wealth over time

Saving vs Investments: What is the difference?

The main difference between saving and investing is the length of time you hold onto that money. With saving, money is stashed away somewhere safe for a specific use in not much more than a few years. Investment are larger saved amounts used to grow wealth over years.

Once you’ve paid off your debts and established an emergency reserve, your finances will probably be in good shape. Now is the time for you to put some of your hard-earned money to work by investing for long-term goals, like retirement. This takes time – years or even decades – and investments do come with some risk, but also the potential for substantially higher growth. Wise investors will spread that risk by investing in different countries through a diversified portfolio. Low-cost, low- to mid-risk exchange traded funds (ETFs) are one popular way to achieve this.

An early start to your savings plan can make an astonishing difference to the growth of your nest egg. A 20-year-old student who puts away just a hundred dirhams a month, for example, could wind up much richer than if he had only started saving at 30! Even so, it’s never too late to start. Whether your big dream is to start your own business, own your own home or retire debt free, we encourage you to formulate your very own savings strategy and put it into action. Today!

Planning & achieving your financial goals

"A dream written down with a date becomes a goal. A goal broken down into steps becomes a plan. Putting your plan into action can make your dreams come true."

What do you really want?

Money doesn’t solve every problem, but it can help you to achieve life-changing goals. In writing down these dreams and putting deadlines to them, something magical starts to happen: they start moving closer to reality. Take some time to write down your dreams for the future – and make them attainable by putting deadlines to each. Now you have a timeline:


Short-Term Financial Goals

(settling your smallest debts, for example, or having enough in your account for an exotic holiday)

Short-Term Financial Goals

(a more reliable car, a deposit on your first house or capital to launch your own business)

Long-Term Financial Goalsa

(being totally debt free, covering your children’s university fees or ensuring a comfortable retirement)

The 50/30/20 Formula

This simple formula is one popular way that monthly income (money you have available to spend) can be divided for allocation into three broad categories. You can adjust the ratio to suit your needs and your goals:




Expenses necessary for survival, like rent, groceries and utilities. Minimum debt payments (say, your credit card or car finance) also fall into this category.



A new smartphone or a romantic dinner out… you deserve to enjoy life’s little extras now and then, as long as you can afford them.



Allocations every month for extra debt reduction, money towards your emergency fund, or contributions to an investment fund account.

Basic Budgeting - Be the Boss of Your Money!

"A budget is telling your money where to go, instead of wondering where it went."

So, you’re excited about the prospect of saving… but where will the money come from? Establishing and sticking to a budget is our top tip for saving!

First, create a monthly plan

We’ve made it easy for you to start with this simple, customizable budget on an Excel spreadsheet. Simply click to safely download this small file (around 500KB) to your system and freely edit the categories to suit your purposes.

A basic budget consists of different categories that list every payment you must make during the month (your needs) and would like to make (your wants), as well as the payments that will go towards the money you hope to spend in the future (your savings). You could also add a category for money you’d like to share (charitable giving). Start with your needs and savings, then allocate whatever is left over until it all balances. Here’s how:

Know your income

Note your monthly or weekly salary, as well as any income you may receive from interest or property rental, extra work, and even cash gifts or things you’ve sold.

List all your expenses

You can create categories for your expenses (such as Household bills, Children, Insurances). Some of these costs will be Fixed (your bond, car repayments etc.) and others will be Variable (like groceries and entertainment).


Pay yourself first

This means that you include amounts for your savings (extra debt repayments, emergency fund savings or long-term investments) as a top priority.


Balance the books

If you are lucky enough to have money left over once you’ve deducted all your expenses from your income, decide where every extra dirham will go (boost your savings or splash out on something nice).


This is the plan you will use to keep track of your cashflow and guide your spending through the month. By creating a strategy that can move you from debt to riches, you’re moving in the right direction.


Smart Tips for Daily Saving in the UAE

"Do not save what is left after spending; spend what is left after saving."

So, you’re excited about the prospect of saving… but where will the money come from? Establishing and sticking to a budget is our top tip for saving!

When you think you can’t possibly find the extra money to save…

Make a start by selling some stuff you don’t use.

Put your budget under the microscope and cut back on luxuries.

Make your emergency fund a ‘payment due’ every month. However small, it will increase.

Control your credit card. Settle the balance in full every month – or leave your card at home.

At the Store


Plan meals ahead

Check your shelves and
always make a list.


Avoid comfort shopping

Do something else if you’re
feeling bored, down or hungry!


Buy generic

Cleaning supplies and staple food
items all do the same thing.


Shop around the edge

Fresh, healthy foods (vegetables, meat, dairy brand breads) are positioned around the sides of the store, processed dry goods in the middle.

At Home & At Play


Put your AC on a timer and maintain the temperature at 24°C. This is the most cost effective option in the UAE’s summer heat. According to DEWA, power charges are higher between 12pm and 6pm, so watch consumption during this time of day.


Choose only favourite subscriptions and memberships.


Learn to cook – Invite friends around for a relaxed evening with simple food, laughter and your warm hospitality.


Pack school and work lunches – Yup, those takeout coffees and fast foods are quick and easy, but they add up to make a hefty dent in your monthly budget.


Use discount coupons – Switch on to the fantastic coupon and discount programmes in the UAE for big savings. This is also the land of super sales and special deals. Take advantage of them and only shop within your budget.


Use discount coupons – Switch on to the fantastic coupon and discount programmes in the UAE for big savings. This is also the land of super sales and special deals. Take advantage of them and only shop within your budget.


Have free fun – Winter days are gorgeous on the UAE’s beautiful beaches.

Reuse and Recycle

Electronics and Appliances

Cellphones, laptops and TV models improve so regularly now that it’s almost impossible to keep up. There is no need to keep on upgrading. Be patient and save to pay cash if you love to have the latest.

Look for pre loved

Many people only stay in the UAE for a few years, so there are always good quality furniture, electronics and cars for sale. Shop around for second-hand goods online or via community social media channels.

Sell your stuff

You can also make extra cash by selling your unwanted goods in the same way. Someone else might love that painting you hate or jet ski you'll never use - and you will have cash in the bank!

Lastly, practice the happiness habit. Think about all you have and remind yourself to feel gratitude.

Are you ready for more financial tips?

Simply click here to open MoF’s digital magazine and read more in-depth savings and budgeting advice

Sharing meaningful financial knowledge


The Ministry of Finance proudly supports the United Nations global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The aim of this widely shared savings advice is to promote resilience and shared responsibility in our society for a brighter future for all. Here’s how it contributes to 9 of the 17 SDGs:


No Poverty

Encouraging financial stability and responsible use of economic resources

Good Health and Well-being

Promoting mental health and well-being by reducing financial stress

Quality Education

Supporting lifelong learning with meaningful financial information

Gender Equality

Promoting equal opportunities for women to manage their own finances

Decent work and Economic Growth

Spreading awareness about financial services and resource efficiency

Reduced Inequalities

Providing all readers with the tools for financial stability

Sustainable Cities and Communities

Equipping UAE communities with advice for sustainable quality of life

Responsible Consumption and Production

Encouraging mindful spending and a culture of recycling and reduced waste

Partnership for the Goals

Partnering with civil society through knowledge sharing