Give up: Weekly dinner delivery for two at Dhs5200 per year (Dhs100 x 52)
Swap for: Monthly cookery course with L’Atelier des Chefs at Dhs3000 (Dhs350 x 12)
With restaurant menus slotted under our doors on a seemingly daily basis and fast, hectic lifestyles, we all know how tempting it is to pick up the phone and order our dinner to be delivered to our door pronto. When we order several times a week at roughly Dhs100 a pop, however, it can send the family budget rocketing.
Give up just one delivery every week and you could be saving a staggering Dhs5200 per year – so why not put the extra cash to good use and enroll yourself on a gourmet cookery course once a month to boost your repertoire in the kitchen?
L’Atelier des Chefs offers a wide choice of interactive classes, all taken by professional chefs who will guide you through every step of the menu. Current classes include ‘Profiteroles Singing’, ‘Flavours of Italia’, ‘Impress your Guests’ and ‘Make your own burgers’, with the schedule changing on a monthly basis to build your skills quickly.
The classes are suitable for everybody, from complete novices to experienced cooks – and better still, every session concludes with the chance to sit down and enjoy the fruits of your labour.
Details: From Dhs120. L’Atelier des Chefs, Various locations including Le Méridien Dubai. http://www.atelierdeschefsdubai.com (056 690 0480)
Give up: Monthly waterpark visits for a family of four at Dhs7200 per year (Dhs610 x 12)
Swap for: 2 x Weekend Camping Trips to Dreamland Aqua Park at Dhs2400 (Dhs1200 x 2)
From whizzing through flumes, to keeping cool in fountains, to riding the rapids, it’s not difficult to work out why the brood keeps asking to go back to waterparks at the weekends – but heading there every month could be setting your family back a whopping Dhs7200 per year.
Why not turn the activity back into an occasional treat by limiting the fun (and spending) to two weekend breaks a year at Dreamland Aqua Park, located on the coastline at Umm Al Quwain? Not only is the attraction far more affordable than Dubai waterparks, but there is also the option to camp overnight in tents or cabanas alongside the water, cooking your meals al fresco on the cabana BBQ’s.
The waterpark facilities wont disappoint little adrenaline junkies either, with Dreamland Aqua Park being the largest waterpark in the region at 250,000 square meters.
Details: From Dhs800 for a family of 4 camping overnight (including full board and unlimited park access). Open daily 10am-6pm. Dreamland Aqua Park, Umm Al Quwain. www.dreamlanduae.com (06 768 1888)
Give up: Weekly soft play visits at Dhs1820 per year (Dhs35 x 52)
Swap for: Annual membership at The Old Library at Dhs250
We rely on soft play areas in the UAE, especially during the warmer months of the year when our weekday entertainment options are limited. The cost of regular visits, however, starts to add up, with even the most affordable venues costing Dhs35 per hour.
Cut out just one visit every week and you will be making an annual saving of at least Dhs1820 – so why not use that money to feed the minds of the little people in your family (and for that matter, the big ones too)?
Annual family membership of The Old Library, based at DUCTAC in Mall of the Emirates, costs just Dhs250 and it is worth every penny. The charming space is run by volunteers on a not-for-profit basis - and while it may not be that well-known, it has not just opened its doors. In fact, The Old Library is the oldest English language library in Dubai and was established back in 1969.
Your brood will love the dedicated Kid’s Area, packed with books to flick through and take out on loan – and if you visit on a Sunday morning, you can take part in the story time for pre-schoolers (just make sure you register your interest, as the activity is popular and gets booked up quickly).
Details: Dhs250 per annual membership. Open 10am-6pm Sat-Thurs (closed Friday and public holidays). The Old Library, DUCTAC, Mall of the Emirates. www.theoldlibrary.ae (04 341 4777).
Give up: Bi-monthly 5-star brunches for a family of 4 at Dhs9480 (Dhs1580 x 6)
Swap for: Bi-monthly brunches at Pascal Tepper French Bakery at Dhs2376 (Dhs396 x 6)
Whether it’s the glamour of the occasion, the platters of food as far as the eye can see, or the chance to socialise with groups of friends, there is something about Dubai brunches that has residents arriving at five-star hotels in their droves on a Friday lunchtime.
If you have fallen under their spell, the bad news is that treating your family to a brunch every other month could add up to a staggering Dhs9480 per year – so if you want to reign in the spending in 2014, finding a cheaper alternative is the perfect place to start.
Step forward Pascal Tepper French Bakery in Media City, where a fun-packed family brunch is hosted every Friday. The food is obviously the first pull, with a generous and tempting selection of salads, main meals, sandwiches, sweet and savoury pastries, plus an omelette and crepe station.
And when their tummies are full, kids definitely wont be bored, as a baking class runs every week at 12 noon to keep them entertained and face painting to make sure they look the part. And did we mention it’s only Dhs65 per child and Dhs95 per adult?
Details: Dhs65 (for kids), Dhs95 (for adults). Fridays 11am-3pm. www.pascaltepperfrenchbakery.com (04 454 2408).
Give up: Daily Takeaway Coffee at Dhs5500 per year (Dhs15 x 365 days)
Swap for: RAW Coffee Company Barista Training Course and monthly coffee delivery at Dhs2540 (Dhs500 for course, Dhs170 x 12 for coffee)
Sipping a cup of takeaway coffee when you’re out with the kids or sat at your desk is one of life’s little pleasures, but those daily Dhs15 purchases can rack up to an annual cost of over Dhs5500. That’s a lot to pay for a caffeine fix…
Instead of heading to a coffee shop to part with your cash, why not turn your love of coffee into a hobby at home? Dubai’s RAW Coffee Company has built a reputation as one of the tastiest coffees in the region and now the company is offering a series of training courses to teach coffee-lovers how to create the perfect cup at home.
The basic two-hour Domestic Barista Course is designed for the budding home barista. The RAW team trainers will teach the fundamentals of producing espresso based coffee, including knowledge of the espresso equipment and grinder, correct dosing and tamping, milk stretching and pouring, coffee tasting, and cleaning routine to ensure consistently good coffee.
And when you have honed your barista skills, why not order your ground coffee beans direct from the company? With home delivery available all over Dubai, you can drink high quality coffee throughout the year.
Details: Dhs500 for Domestic Barista Course, Dhs170 for 1kg of fairtrade coffee beans. www.rawcoffeecompany.com (04 339 5474).
Give up: Fortnightly manicures and pedicures at Dhs3900 (Dhs150 x 26)
Swap for: Monthly Mother and Daughter Manicure and Pedicures at Caboodle, City Walk at Dhs2520 (Dhs210 x 12)
For a lot of busy mums in Dubai, a trip to the nail spa provides a small slice of glamour and relaxation in the midst of tantrums, food fights, and painfully early mornings. Spending upwards of Dhs150 every fortnight to keep our talons neat and glossy, however, can leave the bank account nearly Dhs4000 lighter at the end of the year.
If you have a daughter, we suggest sacrificing your solo visits and heading to the new branch of Caboodle at Citywalk with your little lady on a monthly basis. Not only will your nails stay looking groomed and fabulous with monthly maintenance, but the Mother/Daughter Manicure and Pedicure service offers the perfect excuse for some valuable bonding time.
The spa area appeals to both kids and grown-ups, with bright furniture set against a backdrop of serene cream walls and warm wood. Little girls will love sitting in the big chairs and having their feet and hands tended to, whilst mummies can sit in the seat right next door and enjoy the same treatment. A hand and foot massage is included in the service, while drinks can be ordered from the Caboodle Café to sip as you natter.
And if she’s got some energy to burn after all that time in the chair, the play centre offers an hour’s play for Dhs50 (rather than usual price of Dhs70).
Details: Dhs210. Open daily 9am-10pm. Citywalk, Jumeirah 1. www.caboodle.ae (04 344 4270).
Give up: 6 months Gym Membership at Dhs4000
Swap for: Membership of Dubai Road Runners at Dhs260 (Dhs5 x 52)
Whether you are one of the countless people that sign up for gym membership and rarely make it through the door or one of the committed that needs a regular exercise fix, there’s no denying that an annual membership leaves a hole in the wallet.
With such fair weather in the UAE for half of the year, it makes perfect sense to cut your membership down to six months and spend the other six exercising outdoors – and when you can make friends in the process, save thousands of dirhams, and involve the kids in your workout, it makes the swap even sweeter.
Dubai Road Runners is the organisation to join. The family-friendly running club welcomes runners of any age or ability, with regular meet-ups throughout the week and special events organised throughout the year.
The club meets every Saturday evening at Safa Park at 6.30pm for a weekly time trial, with kids welcome to join in the 3.4km jog around the outer perimeter of the park. It costs just Dhs5 per adult and there’s no charge for kids. You can run once or twice around the track and every week, time trial results are posted online as an incentive to keep improving. The club runs 12 months of the year.
Details: Dhs5 (for adults on Saturday evenings), Free (for kids on Sat evenings and for adults Sun & Tues evenings). Time trial Sat 6.30pm, Gate 4, Safa Park. Training Sun and Tues 6pm, Al Barsha Park. www.dubairoadrunners.com.