Tips How To Save Money In Dubai
Many people who plan to move to Dubai say: I will move to Dubai for a couple of years, earn a lot of money, save money, come back home and will be able to afford a great lifestyle!
Some others are tempted by the idea of a tax free income and the posh and shiny Dubai lifestyle.
In Dubai especially, it is easy to lose touch to reality and get carried away with spending.
And despite the attractive salary packages and allowances, it very often ends up in overspending and dept and not saving for your social security.
Let me tell you that it took me 5 years in Dubai to understand the importance of saving and financial planning and the same amount of time to learn how to actually put money aside.
The trick is before you purchase anything, ask yourself, “would I spend this much in my home country”?
Read on, for a few tips that will help you save money and still enjoy the Dubai life!
Set A Budget
Before you even start setting up a plan and budget, you need to know how much you are currently spending. This is important.
If you don’t know, write down all your fixed monthly cost and and your daily expenses over a period of one month.
Once done, determinate a budget. The best way is to come up with a fixed % you like to save from your salary. Remember that between 25% to 30% of your income is likely to be soaked up by your fixed expenses like rent and utility bills.
Also bear in mind that you hardly have any social security in Dubai. Include a % amount for your pension, health related expenses etc.
Set weekly and monthly targets and break them down into categories. For example AED 700 per week for groceries, AED 1500 for activities and so on.
Determine what you can live without. Do you need a brunch every weekend or is it enough to go once a month? Do you need a gym membership during the winter months or can you exercise outdoors instead?
As with any budget it goes without saying that the most important part is to stick to it! But be realistic.
It helps to shift the % you like to save to a separate savings account as soon as you receive your salary.
Time Your Clothes Shopping
Sales and outlets are legendary in Dubai. There are plenty of sales everywhere across the year so keep your urges for retail therapy on the leash for just a little past season’s peak and you will be able to save a lot of money.
Buy your winter clothes in summer, your summer clothes in winter, etc…
Unless you really, really want to have a specific item and you are not sure it will still be there later, wait until the next sale.
I bought a lot of clothes for the full prize and got really upset when I saw the same clothes at half price a month later.
There are so many discounts available in Dubai. Whether it is for activities, eating out or even goods, sites like groupon.ae and cobone can really save you loads of money.
Purchasing the Entertainer books or App always pays off as well and you will see the return for your investments after using the first 2-3 vouchers.
Choose Restaurants That Don’t Serve Alcohol
I am not saying don’t go out for drinks anymore, but be considerate about it.
The really cheap restaurants are mostly outside of hotels and therefore can’t serve alcohol.
Food in hotel restaurants ranges from moderately expensive to very expensive. You hardly won’t be able to find cheap restaurants and alcohol together.
Ok, one glass of wine won’t break the bank, but more than that will add a significant amount to your final bill. And in addition, you have the cost of getting a taxi home (unless you are lucky and have a sober driver in your party).
Again, taxis are fairly cheap but if you drive from one side of Dubai to the other, a round trip by taxi can cost you more than AED 200.
Another great way of saving on alcohol expenses is by attending happy hours and for the ladies, the famous ladies nights.
Pick The Right Supermarket
There will be items such as fresh meat that you would want to buy from more expensive supermarkets such as Waitrose, Spinneys or the Organic Food Cafe, but there are others things you can buy at cheaper stores.
Carrefour, Geant or Co-Op are significantly less expensive for most of your groceries and not at all of lower quality.
Also consider buying local food instead of imported items. It is cheaper and more environmentally friendly. Potatoes from Lebanon or the the air-freighted potatoes from the US, half a globe away?
Apples from New Zealand or Iran? Eggs from the UAE or France?
You will quickly get the picture.
Don’t Be A Lazy Consumer
Prepare your own meals instead of ordering food all the time. I get it, it’s convenient. And it’s okay to do every now and then, but find a good balance. Don’t get tempted too much and order your lunch to the office every day just because your co-workers do.
It is often not only cheaper cooking your own food, but also healthier.
Many people say the hectic Dubai life doesn’t leave enough time to cook, but it’s all about organizing yourself. There are meals that don’t take much time to prepare and you can also cook more and put some portions in the freezer for some other days.
Same goes for the obligatory morning coffee.
When you write down your weekly spending’s, you will be surprised how much money goes into getting your coffee from Starbucks, Costa Coffee etc.
Make your own coffee at home in the morning and take to work in a mug – it’s not that difficult.
Avoid Having Many Credit Cards
Don’t go into credit card debt! It can build up quickly and the interest alone is wasted money. Only spend what you actually have on your account.
Most banks will start of cautiously with a credit limited depending on your monthly income, but will increase it if you show being reliable with payments. But again, if you don’t pay your monthly bills on time they get into you with very high interest fees.
Have one debit card and one credit card, not more than that. You will keep receiving calls from all kind of banks with very attractive offers, but don’t get tempted.
The more cards you have, the more difficult it is to keep the overview.