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Three-day shopping rule, Emirates on the move: How UAE residents cope with rising cost of living – News


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Published: Thursday March 28, 2024, 6:00 am

With the cost of living rising, UAE residents are finding creative ways to overcome their financial goals and challenges, and even earn a few extra dirhams in the process.

Take Alaina Ejaz, a 23-year-old freelance content creator and marketer from London, who recently shared some practical tips in a TikTok video titled ‘Downgrade Your Lifestyle to Save’. One of her strategies involved moving from Dubai to Sharjah. As a freelancer who works primarily from home, Alaina found that moving to Sharjah reduced her rent from Dh4,000 to Dh2,778 a month.

“Living in Sharjah also lessened my temptation to spend money on entertainment as I now consider the distance I need to get to Dubai,” he explained. However, the marketer still maintains an active social life, making new friends in Sharjah and visiting Dubai on weekends.

“I’m trying to take control of my finances, finding more things to do in Sharjah, so I don’t have to go all the way to Dubai just to have fun. I’m trying to enjoy where I am now and I don’t feel like I need to do certain things that might be out of my control.” budget,” the young handyman told Khaleej Times.

Cutting rent also helped Ahmed Abdel Moneim, who has lived in the United Arab Emirates for two years. He used to consider Dubai his home, but when his parents moved from Sudan, he moved to Ajman.

In Dubai, Ahmed rented a one-bedroom apartment for Dh40,000 a year. On top of that, he had to cover additional monthly utility expenses of Dh1,800. But after moving to Ajman, he now enjoys the comfort of a spacious two-bedroom apartment and only pays Dh30,000 a year for rent, a significant reduction from his previous expenses. Additionally, his monthly utility costs have dropped to just Dh500, even during the summer months.

Other savings strategies

Renting isn’t the only way these residents have freed up their budgets. A ‘trick’ that Alaina shared with her followers is to cook more meals at home. “I’ve found that cooking more meals at home and investing in kitchen appliances like a deep fryer and juicer have significantly reduced my reliance on ordering food out.”

It has also implemented the ‘3 day rule’, meaning wait three days before making impulse purchases. “Also, I started replacing makeup products only when they are completely finished and without getting carried away by trends on social media,” she added.

Meanwhile, Ahmed is taking a hybrid approach to getting around: using the Metro in addition to his own vehicle to cut costs. He parks his vehicle at Centrepoint metro station and then takes the metro to Dubai Internet City. He no longer pays high parking fees of Dh20, which has not only saved him money but has also improved his mental well-being by eliminating traffic-related stress and parking worries.

“I used to fill my vehicle’s tank two or three times a month, which cost me around Dh260 each time. Now I only need to fill it once a month,” says Ahmed.

Smart shopping

Dubai resident Oyebamiji Nimatalah has been attending community markets for the past two years. Previously, he shopped at regular grocery stores like West Zone and Lulu. By embracing community markets, Nimat now buys vegetables and fruits for just Dh50 to Dh60 a month. For meat, chicken and fish, he manages to limit spending to around 150 dirhams.

“I don’t remember exactly how much I paid before, but in community markets the products are much cheaper. Now it’s not a burden for me.”

British expat and content creator Shannon Hynes believes there are also “smart and affordable” ways to shop in supermarkets. “There are many things that can be done at a reasonable cost; it just takes a little research and organization.” She also suggests choosing a location close to work to save on transportation costs.


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