Living In Dubai: 6 Tips And Tricks For Saving Money
Whether you’re an expat who decided to settle down in Dubai or someone who has lived there all your life, you need to know that living in the City of Gold can be so much more comfortable if you have money saved up.
Take note that this isn’t a task that should be taken lightly, no matter where you live. If you truly wish to have a fulfilling life, you need to find ways to ensure that your finances are kept in good shape.
Not sure where to begin? Here are six tips and tricks you can use to save money while living in Dubai:
1. Have a savings plan
Residing in Dubai is like living a dream for many. However, you need to watch your spending, as living there can get expensive if you don’t plan your expenditures well.
If you’re new to the city, you need to remember that significant purchases can cost more than you might be expecting. So, if you’re buying something big, like an electronic appliance or a new car, you need easy access to your money through a digital bank account.
Of course, you should also consider the net returns when choosing a bank, especially if you’re not planning to make a big purchase anytime soon. This way, your money is easily accessible and is still growing bit by bit at the same time.
When choosing a digital bank, read all the terms and conditions, especially the lock-in periods, opening and closing fees, and other charges.
2. Develop a budget and follow it religiously
Before you decide to save or invest (or both), there are plenty of things you need to consider. But don’t be overwhelmed – you just need to know the ideal formula and the right starting point to make an informed choice.
The easiest way to begin is by computing for your monthly basic living expenses. This can include housing costs, transportation, food, utilities, health insurance, and others. Add or remove anything according to your lifestyle.
Then, compare it to the popular 50-30-20 rule: 50 percent for monthly expenses, 30 percent for hobbies and leisure, and 20 percent for your savings.
It would help to segregate your money every payday. One way to do this is to have a bank account dedicated to monthly expenses and another for savings. Whatever is left could be your monthly disposable income for non-essential things (e.g., hobbies, shopping, food take-outs or dinners out).
Take note that this can vary from one individual to another. You can choose to spend more or less for your wants, just remember to be realistic and only do so if you actually have money left over for the month.
Pro Tip: Take advantage of the budget templates and spreadsheets available online to monitor your budget and keep track of your expenditures. This way, you’ll know to spend whatever is left from your salary only after you are able to save.
3. Shop for groceries in bulk
One of the biggest expenses managed by residents in Dubai – or anywhere else, for that matter – is food and accommodation. While you may not be able to do something with accommodation if it’s already set in stone, you can cook your own food rather than eating out.
But even that can become quite expensive.
Do you know how Dubai residents save even more from this? By buying groceries in bulk.
Many supermarkets sell basic ingredients at a much lower price than convenience stores and smaller minimarts. You can also buy online to save on transportation costs (just be on the lookout for delivery charges). This could work if you’re buying from minimarts because you want to save on transportation costs (and effort).
4. Reconsider your use of plastic money
Credit and debit cards make shopping so much easier. If you look at it from the convenience point of view, it can help you save time and energy since it removes extra trips to the ATM or bank.
But there’s also a downside to this.
Since shopping is so easy with plastic money, you are more likely to let additional expenses slide even if they’re not included in your budget. With cash, you get a certain level of control because you can only spend whatever is on hand.
Card purchases are not all bad, of course, especially if there are cashback and point rewards you get for using them.
But with those perks removed from the equation, it would be better to withdraw a lump sum from your bank account for your groceries and other basic monthly expenses. Then, only use whatever is left to cover your wants.
5. Use personal loans to consolidate debts
If you’ve been living in Dubai for quite some time now and found yourself already knee-deep in debt, you should consider looking for ways to settle them so you can focus on financial growth. One way to do this is by taking advantage of financial products, like personal loans.
Personal loans for UAE nationals have many advantages. For one, you can use these to consolidate credit card debts.
Since personal loans usually have lower average interest charges compared to credit cards, taking out this type of loan to pay off your debts could help you save on added charges. There are even lenders who create personal loans that are designed specifically for debt consolidation.
6. Maintain an emergency fund
Financial experts also strongly recommend setting aside at least three to six months’ worth of living expenses saved up in the form of an emergency fund. As the name suggests, this fund covers unforeseen expenses and your daily bills and expenditures in case you become ill or unexpectedly lose your primary source of income.
In order to save, you also need to be ready for emergencies. This is where an emergency fund becomes useful.
Situations that either lead to a big expenditure, like medical emergencies and unexpected car or home repairs, or a stoppage of your regular income source (e.g., job loss) can harm your finances.
That is, of course, unless you have some money set aside to serve as a buffer when a financial crisis arises.
Most people rely on unplanned loans that tend to come with high-interest rates during emergencies. With an emergency fund, you’re protected from this. It also adds to your sense of security, especially if you’ve prepared to cover your basic expenses for three to six months.
Being money-wise isn’t just about earning more than other people. In most cases, it’s all about knowing how to save on little things and safeguarding your financial growth even during unexpected situations.