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The only people in Dubai who don’t know that the cost of living is on the rise again are young children. Everyone else knows just how much everything – food, utilities, entertainment and leisure – has increased. It all ties in together, because you can’t have rising oil prices without it affecting the food prices, you can’t have higher food costs without it affecting the restaurant and coffee shops bills. It is like a domino effect that ends somewhere that’s kind of scary for a lot of Dubai residents.
Unless you are wealthy or you have learned to survive on very little, you are feeling the pinch of the cost of living. Until the economy improves, here are 10 ways you can survive the rising cost of living, or what has become a difficult time for a lot of us:
Limit the shopping mall visits
1. Dubai shopping malls are very tempting and you can’t just go window shopping, especially if you have kids. A trip to the mall with your family can cost you easily Dhs200 to Dhs500 whit no actual shopping. Lattes and quick lunch at the food court, together with some candy for the little ones, all will add up without you noticing.
Save money on petrol
2. Find a substitute. Take the metro or bike. It seems that people still want to carpool too, because the Dubai Police have decided to extend the confiscation period imposed on cars carrying too many passengers.
Biking is another alternative, which is highly recommended because it requires no petrol, releases no emissions and it is good for your body. However, not everyone can do this, because they live too far from their job and during the hot summer, it may not work for hygiene reasons unless your job has a shower you can use.
3. Run errands only one day of the week. This requires some organization, but if you can plan to run errands that are in the same general area one day a week instead of making multiple trips, this will save on petrol.
4. Work flexible hours if you can. If you have the option to work at home one or two days per week, this is worth looking into. You will save on petrol, as well as the aggravation of driving in rush hour traffic.
Save money on food
5. Make a grocery list and stick to it. If you don’t make a list, you often wander the supermarket aisles and buying more stuff. Often you rich home and find out that you already have these impulse items hidden in the back of the pantry. Look in your cabinets before you leave to the supermarket, make a list and, most importantly, stick to it. You can also mark items off as you get them.
6. Compare prices between stores. It is worth it to sign up for those free discount cards that many supermarkets offer nowadays. You will get their weekly fliers in the mail advertising specials. When you get the fliers, look over your grocery list and see if anything you need is on sale that week. If different stores have savings, you may have to shop at more than one store. In Dubai, the Carrefour recently relaunched its loyalty card program, that gives you 10% shopping voucher on every Dhs500 spend. Spinneys is traditionally more expensive than the rest. The Cooperative Society supermarkets offer very reasonably priced products and produce.
Save money on DEWA bills
7. Use compact fluorescent bulbs. The initial cost is higher, but in the long run, these light bulbs last 10 times longer than standard bulbs.
8. Set your air-condition a bit higher during the summer. The most comfortable temperature in your home is going to vary, but you should set it about one to two degrees higher than what makes you content. Learn to live without air-condition from October to April, or use it only at night.
Save money on personal services
9. Extend the time between services. If you get your hair colored every four weeks, try going every sixth weeks. Over the course of a year, this will save you some cool amount of cash, which you can put into an interest bearing savings account to get the most from your newfound saving ability.
10. Learn to do some things yourself. There are some tasks you can tackle yourself. Manicure, pedicure, eyebrow waxing, moustache trimming…these are simple services that many people can do themselves. You can also invite friends for coffee at your home instead of at Starbucks, exactly as what you did long before coffee chains became part of the modern life.
It is not yet clear when the salaries will be increased. Some of these saving ways may seem small, but remember this: just as money adds up when it’s coming in, it adds up the same way when going out.