Money worries in Dubai

You're in Dubai to save money, right? Easier said than done

The Knowledge

Melanie smith has decided to take control of her finances for 2015 and to get out of the doldrums she’s been living in for the past two-and-a-half years in Dubai.

Saving money has been on my agenda since I moved to Dubai. Two-and-a-half-years later, I’ve struggled to save a penny.

A number of things have scuppered my attempts to get out of the savings doldrums. When I first arrived, I decided to rent a fully furnished apartment to save on buying any furniture myself. Everything has been provided for me, even down to my dishes. But I’ve managed to break almost every plate, drinking glass, mug and bowl, and I’ve had to spend money on replacing them.

More recently, I had to shell out on getting a blocked and leaking toilet fixed. In another stroke of bad luck, I’d seen that my credit card details had been compromised – I started getting notifications of someone requesting PINs to make transactions for hundreds of dirhams online. But perhaps the biggest strain on my attempt to save was my decision to start paying my own bills (not being able to contact my landlord to purchase the World Cup TV package for the duration of the competition being the major deciding factor). It meant I’d have the freedom to choose my own packages, bringing the overall cost of my bills down.

Though, paying the significant deposits for my du, Dewa and A/C accounts felt like pouring my potential savings down the drain. But I would, after all, get all of that money back, so I thought that was okay.

So on the day I was to have my all-new money-saving du package installed, I decided to spring clean my apartment, having finally spruced up my finances. I grabbed a bin bag full of rubbish and my keys, left the flat – shutting the door behind me – and quickly made for chute and back, so as not to miss the du engineer. But when I got back and tried to unlock the door, the key wouldn’t go fully into the lock. I’d left the spare key in the lock on the inside. Yet again I could see my savings flitting away as I called out a locksmith to break me in. While standing outside my apartment feeling sorry for myself, my diminishing bank balance and like I’d hit an all-time financial low, the du technician arrived. Having to explain to him that he’d need to wait for the locksmith to let us was awkward and embarrassing to say the least. Thirty long minutes later (having convinced him to stay), the problem was resolved and my package installed.

I’ve since decided to take much better care of my finances and I’ve made a new plan (including a fund for emergencies). And thanks to this week’s money-saving issue of Time Out Dubai, I also now know where to go out, eat out and even replace any more broken furniture without breaking my strict budget. I’m positive my plan will work this time around. This time next year, I think I’ll be quids in.

Melanie Smith is our chief sub editor. We’re buying her lunch for the next 12 months.

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