83 ways to save money in Dubai

Dubai’s experts in cost efficient living share their tips Discuss this article

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Looking for a way to reduce the amount you spend? Dubai’s experts in cost efficient living share their tips.

Many expats arrive in Dubai dreaming of streets paved with gold and of leaving with savings in their pocket. But the relative expense and luxurious temptations of the city mean many find themselves spending more and saving less and even plunging in to debt. As recent reports cite the spiralling costs of rent, we enlist Dubai experts to learn how to lower our cost of living. Though we recommend you seek advice from your own advisor or accountant before making big changes to your finances, there’s huge potential for reducing your outgoings. From deals on dining to free haircuts, we’ve tapped the expertise of financial advisors, fashion bloggers and everyone in between to bring you 83 tips to help slash your bills.

James Thomas
Regional director at Acuma Independent Financial Advice www.acuma.ae (04 332 8582).
Phone bill: Try using your home phone instead of your mobile phone as there are generally better rates for landline phone usage. Alternatively try using an instant messaging service to chat with friends overseas instead of via your mobile phone.

You should be mindful of leaving the lights and the TV on in your house. You’ll be surprised at how much electricity and therefore money this wastes. Also be mindful of how much water you’re using. Do you have extra-long showers or even baths? Do you let the water run when you brush your teeth?

Are you paying too much rent and living in an apartment beyond your budget? The rule of thumb is that you shouldn’t spend more than 25 percent of your income on rent. Consider how much you can afford and don’t spend beyond your means.

Consider how much money you are spending towards car maintenance, petrol and taxis. Taking the metro is friendlier towards your wallet and the environment too.

Ask yourself the question ‘do I need this new shirt or do I want this new shirt?’ If it’s the latter then you should bypass it. Better yet, bypass shopping malls altogether because window shopping often turns into actual shopping. Don’t tempt yourself.

Personal loan:
If you have a personal loan, initiate a conversation with your lender to see if the monthly or annual fee can be waived or reduced. Banks are often open to the idea of renegotiating lending fees, so it certainly won’t do you any harm to ask the question.

Dry cleaning:
Instead of paying for dry cleaning, think about whether or not those clothes will clean themselves in the washing machine. This may seem like a minor cost, but it all adds up. If you must get your clothes dry cleaned, make sure you do as many of your clothes at once as possible.

Insurance: You should ensure you always have adequate insurance. If something were to happen to your health and you were unable to work, or if you injure yourself and were handed a hefty medical bill, you will feel the financial pinch. It’s best to insure yourself and have peace of mind that if something were to happen to you, your finances will remain in order. Remember that some costs are worth it.

Zaigham Haque
Founder of SCAFA Follow @SCAFAltd on Twitter, www.scafa.ae (04 379 4044).
Eating Out: Learn to make all those fabulous things you love to eat in restaurants for yourself. You can take a beginners class at SCAFA. Stir fry, spaghetti Bolognese, baked potatoes and bangers and mash are all dishes that are quick and easy to make and only need a few, cheap ingredients.

When it comes to food be smart about your cooking and use what you have. Don’t buy one batch of herbs and never use them again. Look into how you can apply them to a number of recipes.

Shopping: Buy store brand items. These are usually just as good as the fancy ones, especially for items such as chopped tomatoes or baked beans.

Graham Wolverson
Asset and wealth manager at Pinnacle Asset & Wealth Management, graham@pinnaclewm.com (050 884 1799).
Itemise: Keep the receipts for everything you buy, if only for a few months. Start making a list of what you bought, when and for how much. Add in the regular payments you make from your bank account or credit cards. It will not take too long for a pattern to emerge and to work out where you are wasting money.

Going out:
Most bars have happy hours and most restaurants have special deals. By simply adjusting the time of your social plans you will start to save money.

Credit cards: Make sure you clear the debt on credit cards at the end of each month before you pick up charges. Never use them to draw cash from an ATM. Use your debit card for that and you will have fewer costs.

Renu Ojha
Founder, Blue Planet Green People www.blueplanetgreenpeople.com (04 369 5209).
Groceries: Buy local-organic products where possible, especially vegetables and fruit. It is not only 30-40 percent cheaper than imported organic vegetables in the supermarket but also fresher.

Go with a list and stick to it to help avoid impulse buys.

Shopping: Don’t fall for bulk-buying bundle offers – it just leads to wastage with half empty-bottles forcefully finished or binned out of frustration.

Cosmetics and cleaning products: Try DIY and simple homemade alternatives. For example, use shea butter as moisturizer, organic cold pressed coconut oil on skin and hair, lemon, baking soda and vinegar for cleaning and so on. It is completely toxin free and also more economical.

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By Penelope Walsh
Time Out Dubai,

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