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10 family budget tips

Small changes to your lifestyle can reap the biggest benefits

2014_savingtips
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Small changes to your lifestyle can reap the biggest benefits when it comes to managing the family budget. Time Out Kids asked Dubai-based Financial Advisor Jessica Cook to round up the 10 best ways to budget...

1 Sell unwanted household items
Every family accumulates things they no longer need, whether it’s clothes, furniture or toys. Dubai is a transient place with expats coming and going all of the time, so it’s the perfect place to attract buyers, be it newcomers or veteran expats. When it comes to getting rid of your unwanted goods, it’s well worth setting up a pitch at Dubai Flea Market; a second-hand market where you can sell and buy household items, home appliances, furniture, electrical equipment, DVD’s, clothes, and much more.

2 Collect spare change
Get into the habit of saving your spare dirhams! Keep a large jar in an easy-to-access spot and encourage all family members to throw spare change into the pot. You’ll be surprised how quickly it adds up. Have in mind something to save for as a family, such as a weekend trip away or a meal out. It will make the process more enjoyable if you know what you are saving for.

3 Buy local groceries
Imported goods will see your grocery bill soar. If you go into a supermarket in Dubai and compare the prices of imported goods to that of local produce, you will realise how much money you could be saving. We all have our favourite foodstuffs from our home country, but there is often little difference apart from the price.

4 Teach kids to be green
Turn off lights and air-conditioning when not needed. Not only is this a good habit for both you and your children to get into from an environmental point of view, but it will also see your DEWA bill drop dramatically. The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority advises to keep your thermostat set at 78 degree Fahrenheit. Each degree can mean up to 9% savings on cooling costs. Halogen type lights cost the most to run, so be sure to turn these off when not needed.

5 Create a family budget
This is an essential exercise if you want to start saving – and it’s even better if you get the kids involved to help them practice their maths! Creating a budget helps you to identify exactly what you’re spending and what you’re spending it on. It will also allow you to make cuts if need be.

6 Get kids to help around the house
It will be cheaper than paying a cleaner or maid to do it and will help your children learn the value of money. Kids are always eager to earn a bit of extra pocket money and if you get a nice shiny clean car at the end of it, it’s even better!

7 Use public transport
The public transport systems in Dubai are clean, reliable and cheap. Taxis are a plenty, but you will soon see the dirhams stack up if you replace your journey with a trip on the metro.

8 Make sure the whole family has full health insurance
Not only does this provide peace of mind, but it could save you a fortune as medical treatment can be extremely costly. Check the finer details of the policies you have in place, as it may be necessary to take additional policies. Maternity cover is something that is often not included in medical cover and if you are planning on having a child in the Middle East, it is advisable to take this out well in advance.

9 Insure your family pet
Many families in Dubai have pets and veterinary bills can be expensive. For a small amount of money each month, you can insure against your furry friend falling ill to avoid unwanted bills. The cost of veterinary care and medicine for pets can be very high, so insurance can be a big money saver.

10 Collect points
There are so many different ways to collect points that will allow you to save up for things as a family. From trips away, to waterpark days out, to free upgrades when you travel. Shop around for cards that offer the points system most relevant to you and your family. If you are a frequent flyer with Emirates, for example be sure to collect Skywards Miles. Many credit cards will allow you to collect extra points and stores will give airmiles when you spend with them.

By Time Out Dubai Kids staff
Time Out Dubai,

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