From shopping in bulk to finding deals: 6 ways UAE residents maximise savings

We speak to a cross-section of expats to find out how they budget, cut spending and save money

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File photo

Nasreen Abdulla

Published: Tue 15 Aug 2023, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Tue 15 Aug 2023, 10:37 PM

UAE residents of various nationalities find innovative ways to stretch their money and boost their savings. This comes as three cities in the UAE, including Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Sharjah, have been ranked among the world’s top ten most affordable cosmopolitan cities’ list.

We spoke to a cross-section of expats to find out how they budget, cut spending and save money.

Efraim Santos

Sharjah resident and Brazilian national Efraim Santos has been living in the UAE for over two years now. Here are his tips for saving money:

Shop smart: Efraim shops from three different groceries. “There are certain things that are cheaper in certain places,” he said. “I have carefully examined them over months and now I know what groceries I should buy from where. All three groceries are just around my home, and I walk to each of them. Also, I don’t shop online to reduce impulse buys.”

Join social media groups: According to Efraim, social media groups have saved him a lot of money. “I have joined some Facebook and Whatsapp groups where other expats share deals that they find,” he said. “I needed a good quality water bottle. I was looking for a particular brand, but they cost more than Dh100. I waited for a while, and I learnt on a Whatsapp group that there was a good offer. I was able to get the bottle I wanted at almost half price. Similarly, the group has helped me save a lot of money on bags and shoes as well. The key is to be patient and wait for good deals.”

Amayoy and Mitchay Malilay

The Filipino expats who live in Dubai with their two teenage daughters shared how they spend and save

Follow a strict budget: The family follow a very strict budget every month. “We do the 50/30/20 division for our budget,” said Amayoy. “We spend 50 per cent on our needs. These include basic necessities like housing, food, utilities, health care and car payments. Then, 30 per cent is spent on wants and we set aside 20 per cent for savings. Mitchay is the one in charge of budgeting and she does a good job of sticking to it.”

Meal prep: According to Mitchay, the family buy groceries weekly and do meal prep. “We usually try our best and prep meals every weekend for our meals during the next week,” she said. “This makes sure we don’t eat out or order in unnecessarily.”

Mohammed Iqbal

The Indian expat who lives in Dubai with his parents, wife and children says budgeting and shopping smart is what helps him the most.

Bulk buying: “When shopping for a family of six, bulk buying is essential,” he said. “I usually make weekly trips to the Al Aweer fruits and vegetables market to shop for fresh fruits and vegetables. Shopping from the wholesale section of the market can save me roughly about 40 per cent off the prices compared to supermarkets.”

Shopping for deals: The Dubai resident says he had a hack for shopping. “When you go during the weekend, most supermarkets have a deals section,” he said. “You invariably find good offers there. Also, for household cleaning items, I always shop on Amazon. You get some really good deals especially on floor cleaners, washing liquids and dishwasher tablets.”


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