UAE: How 24-yr-old Indian expat built monthly savings from Dh500 to Dh3000 in Dubai

Cindrella Sequeira


Dubai-based Indian expatriate Cindrella Sequeira: Here’s how she, now 24, built savings from teenage years, now setting aside money for family, charity
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Dubai: Financial planning requires discipline to consciously spend and consistently save for the future. Research indicates that a section of Generation Z aged anywhere between 18 and 24 years takes mindful financial decisions and starts saving sooner compared to the previous generations.

Take the example of Dubai-based Indian expatriate Cindrella Sequeira (now 24) who had started saving since she was a teenager. At 16 years, Sequeira opened her first bank account in India so she could start saving for the future from her internship income of Rs6,000 per month (Dh300). Along with her college and internship, she used to put in extra hours to do part-time event management work that fetched her an extra Rs600 per day (Dh30). During the busy months from November to February, she would earn a minimum of Rs7,200 per month from the events (Dh350), taking her monthly income to over Rs13,000 (Dh650).

Conscious about giving back

After her graduation Sequeira moved to Dubai in 2017 and started out with a contractual credit controller job with a logistics company earning a monthly salary of Dh3,000, including Dh500 commission. “After paying a monthly rent of Dh800 and another Dh400 on food, travel and miscellaneous expenses, most months I still managed to save around Dh500, keeping aside Dh 250-300 as ‘give back’ money,” she told Your Money from Gulf News.

A big believer in giving back, Sequeira has been conscious and consistent in her charity related endeavours. “Along with what I put aside every month, by skipping a couple of meals in a restaurant, I easily save another Dh200 to help someone in need,” she said.

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By building up her ‘give-back’ fund (amount of money made up of small amounts given by different people, used for an agreed purpose) over the years, Sequeira supports her cousin’s education in India, regularly buys grocery for an elderly lady suffering from Alzheimer’s and even supports animal shelters. Amid job losses during the pandemic, she also supported blue collar workers in her Dubai neighbourhood.

Sequeira has been conscious and consistent in her charity related endeavours.

Disciplined about saving

As Sequeira moved from a contractual to a full-time employment in the oil and gas industry last year, her monthly salary increased to around Dh10,000. Now she manages to save more and even funded her driving lessons. After getting her driving license, she also bought a pre-owned car from a family friend and now pays the monthly loan instalments.

Sequeira has three bank accounts – salary, savings and NRE – to carefully allocate money for different future goals. “As soon as I get my monthly salary, I transfer 20 per cent to my savings account with which I will partially fund my master’s degree in Human Resources that will cost Dh109,000. I have already built some savings to fund the rest. Once I complete my degree, I will save to set up a small restaurant for my father in our hometown Coorg in India. Having several years of experience as a chef in Kuwait, this will help in creating a sustainable source of income for my father.”

In addition, she has started investing Dh500 per month in mutual funds. At the end of the month she also transfers Dh500 to the NRE account that Sequeira is building up as an emergency fund.

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In terms of monthly expenses, Sequeira budgets for each part.

A close eye on expenses

In terms of monthly expenses, Sequeira budgets for each part. Her biggest monthly expense includes car installment (Dh1,500), telecom bills and fuel (Dh1,000), and gym membership (Dh450) that adds up to almost Dh3,000. Over the past couple of years, Sequeira has been living with her aunt, therein saving on rent. Food expenses are moderately low since she does occasional grocery shopping totalling Dh300 per month.

“However, I like to dine out or order in over the weekend spending a total of Dh500 per month. But I always use The Entertainer and Zomato Gold to avail discounts and offers, saving at least Dh100 on every dine out,” Sequeira pointed out.

In addition, Sequeira spends Dh200 per month on salon visits, and a maximum of Dh500 on shopping for clothes, accessories and make-up. Here too, I always look for promotions and offers both online and offline. Except for denims and footwear, I like to buy moderately priced clothes and accessories.”

After her monthly expenses, savings for the future and give back initiatives, Sequeira is usually left with approximately Dh1,500

After her monthly expenses, savings for the future and give back initiatives, Sequeira is usually left with approximately Dh1,500 with which she supports her younger brother with pocket money from time to time. She spends a portion of this money on special occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries, family get-togethers. In addition, she also puts aside a small amount of money to travel. Last year, she had kept aside Dh7,000 for international travel, but had to put her travel plans on hold due to the pandemic related restrictions.


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