UAE Saves Week 2013 : Ambassadors : Anita Bhatia

Anita Bhatia

‘You think it’s a safety net? You couldn’t be more wrong…’

cashy money makeover story Anita Bhatia talks getting into debt, the resolve to get out of it, and leading a ‘cashy’ life

When we heard Anita Bhatia’s story we were struck not only by the all-too-familiar sound of those suffering with debt problems, but also with her incredible positivity and resolve to find solutions to her troubles, rather than wallowing in them. Today, she is our UAE Saves Week ambassador for Stick With It Saturday because she is taking a pledge, facing her shortcomings head-on, and putting her plans to work. Anita, we applaud you.

Anita, you represent every cashy community member - you reached out to us to seek help with your money situation and get empowered financially. What made you reach out? I've been thinking of being a regular saver for a long time now. A financial planner telemarketer called me a couple of weeks back, the regional manager came down to meet me, set a budget for me etc. He advised that I don’t have enough cash to go around and rightfully so, since most of it goes on rent/bill payments/socialising etc. I tweeted about this and commented on recent activity on cashy’s instagram. cashy’s founder, Nima, asked me if I'd like to do a money makeover, and I said yes!

Where were you in your money story when you did reach out to cashy? My salary's not great, but I do believe that money can be saved on any salary. I know what I'm doing wrong... I guess I need to learn to reiterate it to myself more!

What kind of a life had you led before getting into debt financially? I've always had a comfortable, decent life, not overly extravagant or miserly before my financial debt. 

You mentioned to us that you relied on help from your parents, and wanted to break out of the habit. What made you realize it was time to change and seek professional help? I’ve made a break from asking my parents for money - thankfully! I just need to save enough to be able to pay back the money I borrowed earlier. My dad recently underwent an operation to remove a tumour and over the last 6 months, I realised how important it is for me to pay my debts to them - they need to have considerable financial security as well.

You were born and grew up here in the UAE. Do you feel like the country has changed? Do you think this has affected your lifestyle? Oh yes, this country has changed! My lifestyle habits when it came to shopping were careless and flamboyant when I started working... That's under control now, and yes I'd say it’s very easy to spend in a place like this - but where there's a will, there's a way. I do however need to cut down on my socialising now, I guess.

You also mentioned having some credit debt - you're certainly not alone! Increasing credit card debt is a huge problem in the UAE. Why do you think so many people rely on credit cards in this country? Credit card reliance is huge here because of the ease of getting one, I suppose.

What would you say to anyone still relying on their parents/credit cards and getting further into debt? To anyone relying on any other income apart from their own, I'd say STOP before it's too late - you think it's a safety net, a Plan B? You couldn't be more wrong.

Pick three words for how you felt towards money before you looked for help: Despondent, Dependant, Helpless

Pick three words for how you want to feel about your money in the future: Independent, Self-Reliant, Raring To Go

What goals are you working towards right now? What are your short-term and long-term money goals? I’d like pay off my debts in the short term. Longer term, my goal is to have enough savings in the bank in order for me to travel every quarter; and one day enough to open a business of my own.

How will you be celebrating UAE Saves Week with us? I'll be celebrating the week with you by streamlining my budget, making sure where each & every dirham goes! I recently downloaded the Toshl app to help me input my every expense and help me with this goal!

Join Anita today in Getting Out Of Debt - write down your pay-off plan, take a photo and upload to our gallery! Even better? Cut your credit cards in half and upload a picture of them!