How to be a Dubai expat on a budget


I’m sure fellow Dubai expats will have heard the moans and groans of people who say Dubai is so expensive in comparison to the UK or how saving in Dubai is so difficult – the reality of it is… Yes Dubai is expensive and yes it can be hard to save here – but it doesn’t have to be!

I thought I’d put together a little blog on how to save money whilst enjoying the perks of being a Dubai expat – it’s really helped us to organise our finances and of course every little helps…. Especially here!

So firstly I know I keep going on about it but you have to get hold of the Entertainer App (blogpost on it here) It costs around 445 dirhams which is roughly £90 – we’ve noticed they do a monthly payment plan now too so that makes it easier if you can’t pay the full amount in one go. Entertainer offers buy 1 get 1 free at loads of restaurants, hotels, activities, spa and so on. It really is worth the money and as it lasts one whole year (Jan – Dec) – you end up saving a lot of money! So far we’ve saved over 2500 dirhams which is around £520 – in just 3 months! This app allows you to fully enjoy yourself in top restaurants, makes weekend breaks cheaper and you can take part in amazing activities like desert safari – for half the price!


The next must have is for Etisalat customers – download the Etisalat Marketplace app. This app has a whole range of different vouchers or deals – including cinema tickets, spa offers, both adult and kid activities and much more. Definitely worth downloading – some vouchers cost a few dirhams but the savings are a lot more so it’s still worth it. Also it’s only available to Etisalat customers so when you buy a voucher it will come from your credit or added to your bill.


Now for the fun one – we’re all on social media so this should be a breeze…. Just follow all the supermarkets around you on Twitter, Facebook etc and keep an eye out for their deals – for example, LuLu just had a 50% sale on LOADS of items or Union Coop have deals for their Tamayaz Card holders, (anyone can get one from the Customer Service desk). This means you get to change up your weekly/monthly shop according to where the best deals are and it takes the boredom out of house shopping.

Also I’d ask shops/restaurants if they have a loyalty/rewards app – for example, Shakespeare and Co have an app which alerts you when there’s a new deal and also has an online punch card which you can use to build up points and then get freebies!

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Shops in Golden Mile on the Palm Jumeirah often have voucher booklets out which give a range of discounts or buy 1 get 1 free deals for food, drink, haircuts, pampering sessions etc – Speak to anyone in Spinneys and ask them if there are any voucher books for Golden Mile – I think the current one finishes this month!

It’s actually quite addictive looking out for deals because I have to say Dubai as a whole have loads of promotions and deals for customers – a lot of companies do amazing giveaways, for example recently Shakespeare and Co did a free trip to Paris! So keeping your eye out for deals is definitely worth it in Dubai!

P.S – This huge event is happening in May so be sure to make the most of the discount!

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