Now that VAT has been introduced to life in the UAE, we have to be a bit more conscious about our spending. Here are some ways we can make small changes that will save some money.
If there are any other way you like to cost cut, send us your recommendations on twitter @GN_Guides.
1. Bottled Water
This might be the year for you to invest in a filter that attaches itself to the tap. Your tap water will be clean enough for you to drink from it. You can fill up bottles at home and take them out with you wherever you go. If you’re lucky enough to work at an office with a watercooler, then that saves you lots of money as well.
2. Bank fees
You need to take your time shopping around for the perfect cards and track down offers. Make sure you get as many freebies as possible. Choose a credit card without any yearly fees. Make sure the interest is low too! Also pay your bills on time! You don’t want to be charged any late fees. Consider setting up an automated payment online so everything is always paid off at once.
3. Wasted food
The UAE wasted $3.7 billion worth of food in 2015. Imagine how much money you lose every year wasting the food you buy from the super market. There are ways for you to avoid wasting food. Make sure you plan properly before heading to the super market. If you stick to a list, you won’t buy things you don’t need. Secondly, you have to be realistic with yourself. Will you eat these vegetables? Or is it wishful thinking? Lastly make sure you stock your fridge in a way that everything is visible, so you don’t forget you bought it.
4. TV you don’t watch
Ask yourself when you actually do have time to watch TV? Most of us pay an average of Dh250 a month to our cable provider and we often don’t take full advantage of the service. Instead, get yourself a Netflix or Starzplay account, which will cost you Dh30 a month instead! Wavo, the all-new online and mobile app, which capitalises on some of OSN's partnerships with studios, including HBO and Disney, will give you access to their favourite TV entertainment, anytime, anywhere – offering both live and ‘catch up’ programming. Their basic package is just under Dh30. That’s over Dh200 worth of savings. Connect your lap top to your TV if you prefer a big screen.
5. Buying lunch every day
Eating out can add up quickly. Try and prepare food at home as much as possible. Packing your own lunch is also a better way to stay healthy. If you want to really hit some financial targets this year, then pack your lunch as much as you can.
6. Pre-sliced food
Sometimes you pay for the convenience. But these all add up. Cheeses, veggies and cured meats are much cheaper if you buy them and slice on your own. Might take more time, but the savings will be evident.
7. Brand-name products
If you’re in a grocery store, try going for their generic and local brands, which cost less than imported items. It’s an easy way to save money over time, since store brands cost around 30 per cent less than international brands. Of course, you don’t have to buy everything in store brands, just decide on what you are willing to sacrifice.
Subscriptions can add up. If you don’t actually read that gossip magazine every month, consider cancelling the subscription. If you decided to start a website one day, remember to close it down, rather than paying the yearly fee. Your most important subscriptions should be 1. Newspapers, everyone should know what is going on in the world. 2. Gym, everyone needs to exercise. Everything else isn’t a necessity.
9. Daily coffee
Your daily Dh12 latte can brighten up your morning, but it does very little for your budget. Consider buying your own coffee maker like a French press so you can brew your favourite coffee at home and take with you during your commute. A bottle of coffee granules or tea bags, which you can use with hot water while at work, is a better alternative.
Craving cappuccino? All you need is a Dh4 coffee beater from Ikea. It is smaller and thinner than your hair brush - so carry it to work, froth up some instant coffee and milk for some 'office-made' cappuccino.
10. An expensive mobile plan
Do not be pressured to sign up for 12 or 24-month contract to always be online or ready to make calls. Du and Etisalat offers different daily, weekly and monthly bundles so you can be active on social media, do some surfing and make calls both locally and internationally.