We challenged the most frugal Time Outers to save half their annual earnings. A year and a half on and they’re still managing it. How?
Time Out Dubai Staff
We challenged the most frugal Time Outers to save half their annual earnings. A year and a half on and they’re still managing it. How? Here are their secrets
Save! Dhs2,657 If you have it for lunch five times a week: The super-saver’s dinner recipe jacket potato with tuna and sweetcorn. It covers all food groups and, most importantly, it’s cheap.
Save! Dhs7,301 If you skip three Dhs50 classes a week (minus the cost of Wii-Fit): Invest in a Wii-Fit. The initial cost is, admittedly, more than a gym class (Dhs499), but in the long run this keep-fit videogame will save you gym fees and even a personal trainer if you set up a special fitness plan for yourself (it tells you off if you miss a class, and asks if you’re okay if you leave the room mid-session. Scary).
Save! Dhs8,085 If you currently spend Dhs35 each day taking a taxi to work: Fit the metro into your commute. Yes, there aren’t enough stops at the moment, and the news that the red line won’t be ready until April is a blow. But each station has a shuttle bus stop, or you could invest in a cheap bike (buy one for as little as Dhs180 from the shops on Satwa Road) to get to the station. Switching from a car or taxis to the metro will score you a big saving.
Save! Dhs6,000 Through experience: Tuck your credit cards away into a drawer (or, even better, cut them up) and spend only the cash you have. It really makes you think about what you’re spending. Trust us – it works!
Save! Dhs2,000 If you miss 10 Dhs200 brunches a year: In Dubai it seems to be acceptable to ask your mates to spend at least Dhs200 on food and drink at a brunch if it’s your birthday. But Dhs200 is a lot of dough – especially if you have a lot of mates. Instead, if the brunch is particularly pricey and you just can’t afford it, meet up with them for drinks afterwards. Save the expensive brunches for your own special occasions, or try leaving page 62 of this issue lying around so your mates can see it (it’s packed with special meal deals).
Save! Dhs999 That’s how much is in our pot!: Every time you’re given a Dhs5 note or Dhs1 coin, put it in a big pot. Do it for long enough and you’ll have a healthy holiday fund.
Save! Dhs5,475 If you currently spend Dhs15 a day on taxis: If you have to go out, make it somewhere you can get to via the metro or on foot to avoid taxi fares. Despite common myths, taxis aren’t actually that cheap here (they’re more expensive than Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, according to our latest Time Out global survey).
Save! Dhs2,500 Through experience: Plan your holidays in advance to ensure you get a good deal and avoid any potentially disappointing visa fiascos, which could cause you to either miss your flight or change your dates at extra cost.
Save! Dhs5,775 If you currently spend Dhs25 on lunch every day: Taking a packed lunch to work every day is the number one way to save money, as is cooking dinner at home (if you make your ingredients last several days).
Save! Dhs7,200 Through experience: Once you’ve broken your card addiction, move to the next stage. On pay day, get your money out of the bank (except what’s going into savings, of course). Put amounts into different envelopes for your regular outgoings. Whatever is left is yours. Dealing with physical cash, for some reason, helps us avoid over-spending.
Save! Dhs324 If you save Dhs27 a month: Switch from daily contact lenses to monthlies. Not only do they cost a lot less – monthlies cost Dhs103 per month from at Yateem Opticians (04 434 0266) in The Dubai Mall, while dailies cost Dhs130 – but they’re also better for your eyes because they’re made from more porous material. There’s also laser eye surgery, which, in the long run, could save you at least half of a year’s salary.
Save! Dhs5,500 Through experience: Want some new music? Try www.tunechecker.com. It scours the UK top 40 album and singles charts and locates the cheapest downloads (which you can download in the UAE).
Save! Dhs1,500 Through experience: Book tickets for overseas breaks using www.travelocity.com, which picks the best flight and hotel deals from several companies. A great place to start.
Save! Dhs1,825 If you start tipping Dhs5 a day instead of Dhs10: If you usually tip generously, you could try tipping less. This may sound mean, but many believe tipping only when service is top-notch encourages higher standards across the hospitality industry.
Save! Dhs1,800 A guesstimate from experience: Shop around just because a supermarket is in a cheap area doesn’t mean it’s better value. You may find somewhere like Waitrose has more competitive prices (and nicer food) than the local mini-mart.
Save! Dhs1,848 If you currently spend Dhs8 a day on tolls travelling to work: Avoid the Salik gates by taking alternative routes to work. The toll is only Dhs4 a pop, but it soon mounts up. Don’t want to add extra time to your journey? Use the Salik routes, but see if you can give a colleague a lift to work if they pay the toll. After all, you’ve paid for the car and the petrol!
Save! Dhs7,800 If you cut your spend from Dhs450 to Dhs300 each week: Plan all your meals each week. Then you’ll only buy the ingredients you need, leaving no food wasted at the end of the week. It’s possible to spend Dhs300 a week on food for two people (we know – we do it!), and that includes breakfast, lunch and evening meals.
Save! Dhs25,000 The average saving made by users of the website: Check out www.moneysavingexpert.com. The website is run by UK financial guru Martin Lewis, whose tips can be used the world over (and everyone raves about them). One of his pearls of dosh-saving wisdom: ‘Be aware that the more expensive products in supermarkets are placed at adult’s (or children’s) eye level. So the old adage “look high and low’’ really does apply.’ The lesson? Crane your neck and save some money for extra potatoes.
Save! Dhs520 If you save Dhs10 a week: Hang your washing out rather than tumbledry it, and open a window instead of using A/C in the winter. Also, keep your shopping bags and use them as bin liners. Bags too small for your rubbish bin? Buy a smaller bin. You’ll save in the long run.
Save! Dhs600 From experience: Keep an eye on exchange rates at www.xe.com to decide when to move money around. Transfer cash home via Western Union (www.westernunion.com) instead of via your bank –
it’s nearly always cheaper.