Looking to beat some of those January credit card blues and be a better saver this year? British Mums have been talking about the best ways to stretch your dirhams further and start saving for the future. Here we share our tips and techniques to see you on track for a more frugal 2017.

Grocery Shopping

It’s easy to be lured by the beautiful bright lights and wide aisles of Spinneys, but many of the everyday brands cost more here. Generally speaking, Hypermarkets can be cheaper alternatives for your staples so if you can, have a shop around at places like Lulu or Union Co-Op who offer good prices.

Don’t overlook some of the trusted British brands though. For example, the Essentials range of household products, available from Spinneys and Waitrose can be cheaper than the branded products at the larger supermarkets so keep your eyes peeled for these!

Those unhappy with the fresh food selection at large supermarkets may want to look at Farmbox. They deliver European standard organic produce straight to your door and for an added bonus, you’ll get 50% off your first order when you quote MUMS coupon code. Bargain! 

Kibsons (who also deliver) for reasonably priced fresh fruit and veg and delivery is free when you spend more than 100 AED.

Stock up when non-perishables are on special offers. Alsobe wise on size and quantity; Buying far too much of products that you will never be able to finish just because “the bigger one was cheaper” won’t necessarily save you in the long run.

If you have the freezer space, try buying your meats in bulk. Our mums recommend you try Elfab Co with delivery services and a small shop in Dubai Investments Park.

Remember, it’s not just where you shop, its how you do it! Meal planning in advance can help you significantly save on your shopping and focus you on purchasing only those items that are necessary.  Planning wisely can also leave you with leftovers that cover lunch the next day. 

If you don’t fancy compromising on your fruit and veg and still like to buy organic when you can, the Organic Foods and Café offer 20% off everything on the third Saturday & Friday before of every month, as well as 15% off on the first Sunday.   

Saving Apps

Have you tried Sallety.ae? Backed by the Department of Economic Development, this app lets you compare prices across all major stores on basic commodities which could save you some driving around to find the best every day prices.

Signing up for in store loyalty cards might add to your inbox, but with some super weekly specials they are a great way to save. Further price comparison apps (mobile & desktop options) that you can try covering a wide range of items from household electronics to luxury clothing brands are shopshopme and Pricena.

A new scheme that’s going to be a lifeline, is an app from valued  Not only does it include savings on life’s essentials like insurance, car hire and even house moving costs – but it also gives loads of freebies like massages and food boxes that are worth more than the membership itself!

Entertainment

Having the right cards in your wallet and apps on your phone can help ensure you still have a social life while still minding the dirhams.  Here’s a few to consider:

Don’t have the Entertainer App yet? Get it! With a huge range of BOGOF (Buy One Get One Free) offers, this is the go-to tools for British Mums in Dubai for dining and entertainment (plus we have a 10% discount code valid on any of their products in the world – and the great thing is, there’s a London app and Cheers too – just type BRITISHMUMS10 when you purchase the app.

Looking to go to the movies? Du customers can get BOGOF on movie tickets at Vox every Tuesday. You can even use it at Gary Rhodes Theatre too. Similarly, customers with certain credit card types can get BOGOF or 50% off at Vox throughout the week.

Get yourself on to a pre-pay mobile plan and restrict yourself to how often you top up. Only use what’s necessary on your phone and seek wifi where possible to limit data use.

Or if you have a paid plan with Du, you may be able to pay the extra 100 AED a month to convert your local call minutes to international ones, and always make sure you’ve elected your two nominated numbers that you can call all day every day, for absolutely free. 

Can your television viewing habits be cut back? Check what streaming services might fit your needs better than a monthly package like Netflix.

Instead of brunch, why not take a picnic out to one of Dubai’s green spaces (especially while the weather is cool)? Likewise, ditch the regular dining out during the week and eat all that lovely fresh fruit and veg you’ve bought with friends at home!

Cancel any club memberships you are not regularly using and when looking at credit card deals, don’t simply be lured by frequent flyer pointsLook for other card paybacks such as Emirates NBD Platinum card that offers cash back on your points earned, rather than swapping them for vouchers you never really wanted!

For a huge range of voucher codes that can be applied on everything from flights to furniture, check out VouchercodesUAE before making a purchase. 

Building good habits

If you are someone who has always struggled to contain overspending, time to take some big steps to change habits. Draw up a monthly and annual budget, taking particular note of when lumpy payments are expected (eg rent cheques, school fees) so they can be managed.

Write down EVERYTHING you spend (no cheating!) Have you tried Wally.me?

Ditch the credit card and start withdrawing your budgeted spending money in cash and then always shop with a list to avoid impulse purchases. It might sound simple, but it’s scientifically proven that if you shop when you’re hungry, you’re going to buy more!

Open a separate bank account that’s only for savings. On pay day, transfer your budgeted savings amount up front.

Bigger steps to saving more

If leaving your expat posting with some decent savings is your number one priority in Dubai, then it goes without saying there are some bigger compromises that can be made to your lifestyle. It’s very easy to get carried away with some of the added extras and luxuries that you may not have access to at home, but are they really necessary? 

Rental and property costs are without a doubt one of the largest expenses that expats face. Do you really need that visitor’s bedroom? Can you downsize? There are so many new developments that offer much more affordable living for families without compromising on facilities. Mira, Mudon and Sustainable City can be great options to cut back your rent cheque by a third. 

Ask yourself can you move closer to public transport to reduce the number of vehicles you need? Can you pay your school fees by credit card (without a surcharge on top!) Can you move to a part-time cleaning service instead of full-time domestic help? Can you cut out the number of trips home or overseas holidays?  Can you use Airmiles cards on purchases to redeem against the cost of air tickets and of course, diarise to plan way ahead to get the best deals on flights.

 Do you have any more cost saving steps you have learnt in Dubai to share?