Latest posts by Bilna Sandeep (see all)
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One of the major reason’s why we all consider to work and live in the UAE is the perk of a Tax Free Salary. When I wrote about my post on Reason’s to choose to live in the UAE, little was I thinking about the financial sides. Now that I am a mom, and more importantly a Stay at home Mom, has put a lot of restrictions on our finances too.
My hubby has always been the kind of guy who would do anything to save on his hard earned money. Many a times, I have had to face rejections from him when I wanted to buy some thing. He is the kind of person who considers the difference between “Want” and “Need”. He makes sure we have everything at home that we “Need”. But when it comes to our ‘wants’ he always has second thoughts. Though keep pulling his legs saying he is a Scrooge, he really is the kind of person who has the wisdom in financial matters. After all at least one person at home needs to have that kind of wisdom right? What I love the most about him is, he is never reluctant to help a soul who is badly in need of the money.
Expat life in UAE has the good and the bad sides. If you go on spending, then there is no limit to the fun and frolic you can have. With the bank loans and credit card systems being easier here, it could always be tempting to spend more on luxuries. The key to having a financially secure and peaceful expat life is never to spend more than what you can earn, and always be prepared for emergencies. While the concept on saving the money varies from person to person, here are a few tips from our household that we try to implement in our daily life. (Most of them comes from hubby. A few of them, I find it hard to follow 😉 )
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Save on Bills
From Utility Bills, Grocery Bills to credit card bills, we all have them popping up every month. As for the electricity and water bills, try your best to not waste them. It is both pocket friendly and environment friendly. Switch off all the lights and A/c when you go out. Well, it maybe just a few bucks. But they add up in an year to make a considerable difference. “Plus, you may be able to afford them, but our World and the Environment cannot afford that Energy Wastage.”
Try to use the texting services like Whatsapp, or use Skype for connecting with your loved ones back home. Helps you save a lot on the phone bills. If you have a landline, use them for local calls. Thank god, Landline to landline local calls are free here. When we go home on vacation for a month, we cut off our internet connection. You can check with Etisalat for the temporary disconnection feature.
As for the Grocery, check out our detailed post on “How to save Money on Grocery Shopping in the UAE?”
Other than the Grocery shopping, try to make use of the seasonal offers that comes up in Fashion stores. There are many offers that come up in the stores during festive seasons, back to school seasons etc. If its not an urgent purchase, it would be a good idea to wait till the best offers come up in the stores. Online shopping is another best option that I have always seen. I regularly check out the Deal of the Day page on Souq.com for the best offers. So for the items that are not urgent I try to buy them through Souq, when there is a good offer. You might need to wait upto a week for the delivery.
For many items like books, make-up, watches, jewellery etc. I usually buy them from India through Online Shopping again. When I am about to leave for a vacation, I check out Amazon and Flipkart for the items that I want to buy and order them in advance so that they arrive at our home by the time we reach there. There are some really super saver offers on Flipkart. Flipkart also has many spot offers on their Mobile App, so I usually keep checking for the good items and order them, so that I can get them when I am on my next vacation.
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Save on Rents
One of the major share of our income goes for the Rents here. Now this can vary from person to person. For some the rent may be paid by their employers. For others, it would be a good idea to look for accommodations which may be a little of town, but offering better space at lower costs. But this totally depends on your situation. For some, this saving might go off paying the Extra School Transport Fee for the kids. So this is something that can vary for everyone.
Weekends are the time for outings. There are so many variety on places in the UAE you could enjoy for FREE or on a Budget. Check out our post on “Things to do in the UAE on a BUDGET or for FREE”. I have also found lots of good DEALS for Staycations, Eat Outs and lots of more of things to do in Groupon.
When you book your yearly holiday or when you go home, always plan in advance and book your tickets early to get the best rates. Compare the best rates online as well as check with a few good travel agents. Always add up your Air Miles points during booking or travelling. Different flight operators have different Air Miles plans and you can redeem your points for later flights. Tuesdays and Wednesdays have the best rates usually for flights from UAE. So if its possible to arrange accordingly, try to plan your holidays accordingly.
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In my post on Quick Start Guide to Abu Dhabi, I had mentioned a few budget tips on starting a new home in Abu Dhabi, including buying second hand items through Dubizzle. Sometimes you get really lucky, when someone’s selling items because they have to leave the country unexpected.
De-clutter your home
Sell of anything and everything you no more need at home. This not only adds a few bucks, but also gives you more space and positive energy within your home.You can sell them all off through Dubizzle and get a few extra pennies for your savings. Recently we moved from a two bedroom apartment to a single bedroom apartment (yeah! you heard it right. Cost cutting 🙂 ) and we had a few items we do not use any more and we had no more space for them either. So selling them off gave me some bucks for my little piggy bank that I am saving up for a good holiday! Now that my boy is grown up, he doesn’t use his stroller any more (he rarely used them even when he was too little. He was always a mama’s boy who wanted to cling to me.) So I sold his strollers. It gave me some extra space under the bed to put one of our suitcases plus a little bucks for my little holiday fund. So dig your clutters and find the items you can sell off.
Coins that add up
So now that I have already told you about my little piggy bank, here’s how I have been filling it most of the time. Everytime we come back from shopping there are coins we get as balance. I put them into my little box. Well, now don’t go spend for buying a little Piggy Bank. I use one of the Almarai Milk Cans as my Piggy Bank.
Sending money Home
A majority of Indian expats dream to set up a secure life back home. When it comes to sending money home, always look for the best currency exchange rates available. My hubby is the kind of person who checks with at least 3 exchanges before sending money home. He says even if that means just a difference of 100 Rs, that is the value of our hard earned money. Now that depends on person to person. But yes, it is a good idea to check out for the best rates and best fees offers by different agencies for international money transfers. After all its your hard earned money and you do not want someone charging you extra for sending it home. Right?
Need few more tips?
- Use coupons, Loyalty programs etc. whenever available.
- Instead of going to the gym, work out from home, go for a outdoor jogging, walking etc , (well if you have the will power to do so).
- Check out the credit cards that have special offers. We always use FGB credit cards at Cine Royal as it is Buy one Get One FREE. But be sure not to activate too many credit cards and lose track of your spending.
- Always pay your credit card dues, loan dues etc on time to avoid unnecessary fines. Its always better to put on automatic alerts on your phone calendar not to miss them.
- Obey all the traffic rules to avoid speeding fines and other unexpected fines.
- Use Public Transport Whenever possible.
- Always have a means to track your expenses. There are many smart phones out there where in you can record your expenses. It gives you an idea at the end of the month on where all your money is been going.
We may not be able to follow all of them everyday. But may be a few of them??
Would love to hear the little Money Saving Tips you have at your home. Please do share with us 🙂
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