There is a lot to love about living in Dubai. It is hard not to appreciate the wonder of a city in which you can ski on snow in the morning, lunch on a yacht and spend the afternoon dune bashing in the desert. Not to mention the sunshine and the tax-free income.
As a teacher you have unique opportunities for your career, diverse and inspiring classrooms and a community dedicated to innovation and growth in education. But one of the biggest challenges we hear people talk about are budgets. The intoxicating atmosphere of the city can quickly find you parted with cash and your plans for savings slip away. Many teachers are faced with wanting to enjoy the city in which they live, but needing to keep their finances in check. Many of us in the TELLAL office have lived in Dubai for many years and we are always swapping stories on where to get the best deals and the offers of the week! So we thought we would put together a little piece with our top tips on how to save money and still live life to the fullest!
- Network, network, network.There are so many super helpful groups on social media sites like Facebook that share tips on how to save, good deals in the shops and even swap vouchers for retail outlets, activities and restaurants. Shop Well for Less UAEis an excellent resource, but there are loads to choose from. Also your community groups are fantastic places to get second hand furniture (sometimes for free) or find out about the latest offers that might be useful. Even if your residential community doesn’t have one, there are groups for Mums, Dads and Expats that might work.
- All about the Apps. The Entertainer might be one of the most well-known money-saving apps around, but it definitely isn’t the only one. There are now so many to choose from (and we suggest having them all!) that you shouldn’t really ever have to go to dinner without grabbing a great saving on the meal. Voucherskout, Groupon, Cobone, The Entertainer, Zomato, U by Emaar, Isme by Jumeirah and VIP deals mean you can always find a bargain for the fun activities you want to do or when you want to treat yourself. Thanks to them, you can have a splash out brunch or luxury yacht trip without breaking the bank!
- Shop wisely. There are so many places to shop that don’t cost the earth and often have incredibly good quality name-brand products at super discounted prices. There is Shoe Warehouse in Al Quoz. United Hypermarket and Lulu have amazing deals for your grocery shop. You can get amazing fresh produce at the fruit and veg market and at the fish market, all at super low prices.
- Meal Prep. Okay, so we don’t necessarily mean like the super gym bunny type of meal prep (unless you are obsessed with the gains of course!), but a little bit of organisation in your weekly schedule could be a big saver. Think about your weekly shop and try to avoid those last minute trips to the nearest store (which usually comes with higher price tags). If you can plan ahead by making meals that can double as lunches, you can save valuable time and money. Think chilli, stews, casseroles, rice dishes and all the leftover dishes you can make as well like soups, salads and wraps. If you can also include snacks like chopped veg, apple slices, nuts or even home-made sweet treats, you won’t get tempted by the vending machine! You can also freeze leftovers so that you always have good meals in the freezer for the tighter weeks in the month.
- Explore the city. Dubai might look like a landscape of skyscrapers and high-fashion, but there are so many things to do and see that won’t cost the earth or are even free. Discover the cultural history of the city at the Dubai Museum (only AED 3), ask important questions at the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding and reveal in the diverse influences of the UAE at Global Village. You can even cut the costs further with this Time Out guide to the 50 best free activities in Dubai!
If you really would like to commit to saving more money, most financial experts agree that allocating a specific amount of your salary every month to a savings account is the way to go. If you can go a step further and put that money in a mutual fund, it could end up earning you a lot of cash in the future. Just make sure you always get advice about this from someone you trust. If that is a bit too much, try taking AED 1,000 out of your salary every month and putting it aside (either in another account or a good secure hiding place). See if you can manage without it for a few months and you might come to realise that saving isn’t beyond your means.
Saving doesn’t have to mean compromising on having fun, it just means taking a little bit more time to think things over, determine what is most important and shop around for the best deals. Saving up enough to buy that dream pair of shoes or that trip will feel so much better than taking a chance on a credit card that will only lead you down a dark hole!
How is your savings plan going? Do you have one? Would you like to? Let us know how you face the budget challenges in Dubai and if you have any great tips you would like to share! We love a bargain!