Short on cash? Here are 50 ways to save as the credit crunch creeps up on Dubai
General savings 1. Turn your A/C and water heaters off when you’re out of the house for long periods, and use 30 degree cycles for your laundry instead of 40 or 60. Not only will you save money, you’ll also help save the planet. Approximate saving: Dhs10,000 per year
2. Your cat swallows an earplug. Want to know how much the subsequent treatment and surgery will cost you, if you’re minus pet insurance? Around Dhs5,500. Mia-Ooow. Our tip is Royal Sun Alliance at www.royalsunalliance.ae/petins.asp. Approximate saving: Dhs5,000 (depending on the manginess of your moggy)
3. So you started puffing here because the packets were so cheap? Think again, Smoky Jo. A plan has been prepared by the UAE’s National Tobacco Control Team to quadruple prices of cigarettes this year, and raise them between Dhs19.8 and Dhs49.9 a packet. Currently cigarettes are cheaper than chickpeas here, compared to the rest of the world (packs of 20 cost about Dhs7 in the UAE, but Dhs26 in the US). Even while they are currently cheap, do you know how much we spend in the UAE on tobacco each year? Dhs400million, all up in smoke. Approximate saving: If prices are put up to the highest estimate, and you smoke two packs a week…Dhs5,918
4. With the tide of people now leaving Dubai, there has never been a better time for those of us left behind to pick up second-hand furniture. Very often things are only a few month’s old, but cost around 70 per cent less than they are in certain Nordic mega-stores. Keep an eye on notice boards at work, in your building and in supermarkets for bargains. Don’t miss out on the hand-me-down culture of this expat city. Approximate saving: Dhs1,500 per piece of furniture
5. Dig out your old CDs and DVDs, your unread books and once-worn clothes and enjoy them anew. Alternatively, if you used to be a Goth and are now far too tanned and happy for your old wardrobe – get to the next flea market in Safa Park on February 1 from 9am, nearest gate five. See www.dubai-fleamarket.com. Approximate saving: Dhs2,100 if you normally buy a new DVD and CD every month
6. Leave your credit card at home. For some reason, it’s always harder to part with cash, so you’re more likely to say no to that new handbag. Approximate saving: Dhs5,600 for the designer handbag
7. If parting with your credit card causes you sweet sorrow, instead ensure you have one with good benefits. With the Emirate Citibank card you can tot up Emirates air miles, perhaps allowing you one free flight a year. Approximate saving: Dhs3,000 per average long-haul flight
8. For those of you privileged enough to have your own garden, get down on your hands and knees and start doing your own weeding, instead of leaving it to a gardener. Same goes for you jammy lot with pools – start cleaning it yourself and you’ll save enough cash to buy new cossies. Approximate saving: Dhs8,400 per year (Dhs700 a month)
9. You already know those Dhs20 lattes are bad for your health, breath and bank balance. If you don’t mind the first two implications, take a flask to work. Think of the New York couple who stopped going to Starbucks (also known as Four-bucks) and bought a house with the money they saved. True story (we think) Approximate saving: If you have one every work day…Dhs5,200 per year
10. Just go to restaurants at the weekends . That way ,you can stay up late and digest your food properly! You can also cook food at home for dinner, and then make extra for lunch the next day. Less hassle, less money. Approximate saving: If you spend Dhs200 out twice every week…Dhs20,800
11. With the recent hike in food prices, convenience stores are becoming only that – convenient, and far from economical. To save a sizeable amount of cash, head to the giants: Lulu, HyperPanda and Carrefour, and buy in bulk (unless you want more unusual items, in which case Spinney’s is still the best). Yes, it’s a pain, but maybe one trip through the mania per week is equal to the anguish of nipping to your nearest, expensive mini-mart every day. And a whole lot cheaper. Approximate saving: If you have a big appetite…Dhs40,000 per year
12. If you can’t stomach the idea of shopping in another soulless supermarket – and are keen to get even more bang for your buck, go down to Deira. The markets for fruit and veg, meat and fish are by far the cheapest places to stock up on the finest fresh produce from around the world. We recently picked up Australian mangoes and Chinese lychees, for example.Haggle and you can get prices ridiculously low (we’re talking Dhs5 for a large punnet of strawberries). Buy meat and fish for the month and freeze it – good beef costs a mere Dhs22-25 and you can pick up all sorts of sea life, which you can get gutted for free. The best part? The lively market atmosphere – and how willing tradesmen are to pose for photos alongside their produce. Located near Shindagha Tunnel, Deira. Opening Hours: Sat - Fri 7:30am - 11am & 4:30pm - 10pm. Approximate saving: If you save Dhs200 per week…Dhs10,400 per year
13. Once you’ve stocked up on bargain produce, cook what’s fresh, leaving the tinned and frozen food until you’ve run out of perishables. It's less wasteful and you’ll maximise its nutritional value. Approximate saving: If you save Dhs30 a week…Dhs1,560
14. We’ve been informed that Tom Yam Koko noodles, found in any supermarket, make for quick, budget and tasty meals. Priced around Dhs5 per pack, three packs between two create just the right-size of portion. Be careful though, we’ve also been told they’ll blow your head off if you’re not a spice lover. Approximate saving: If you eat them every meal….Dhs60,000
15. Instead of simply ignoring the tray of pickles and veg at Arabic restaurants, take it home and use it to cook something creative. Or use the cucumber and peppers, at least. Approximate saving: Your annual cucumber and pepper expenditure…Dhs1,040
16. Dubai restaurants have never heard of portion control. Fact. So instead of always feeling like you have to finish your meal (and thus piling on the flab), ask for a doggy bag instead. No matter how exclusive the joint, they’ll foil everything up for you in a jiffy. Approximate saving: Dhs100 per week on dinners…Dhs5,200
17. Freeze leftover red wine and use the cubes for cooking. Because you always have leftover red wine. Approximate saving: Dhs60 per year
18. Get takeaway from India House (Bur Dubai, near Dubai Museum) Live like a king on Dhs20 a day - their veggie curries laced with ghee are phenomenal and their parathas are also first-rate. You can even get a Dhs10 lunchbox deal delivered to your place of work. Call 04 352 6006. Open 7am-12 midnight daily Approximate saving: If you eat it everyday…Dhs30,000 per year
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Marilyn Sep 10, 2009 01:18 pm
Very practical indeed and do-able.
Burn the calories and save the money plus improve on home cooking...
Candice Jul 12, 2009 08:51 pm
I am what you call a tight ass, scrooge, penny saver and i love this stuff. Good work guys keep it coming:)
helen Jun 22, 2009 01:07 pm
i just tried to take your advice and get my puppy insured but when i called Royal Sun Alliance i was told that they are no longer doing pet insurance and that there is currently no other companies that provide insurance for pets. if anyone knows different please let me know! thanks
Jennifer May 21, 2009 07:26 am
Excellent Tips, gonna put them to use. I like the comment from Princess Manishada; Food For Thought!!!!!!!!!!!!
Mohammad May 19, 2009 07:59 am
Another aweosmeeee articlee.. by TIMEOUT !!!!! lol... :)