How to Manage an Economical Cost of Living in the UAE?

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  | Published: 23 November 2020 | Last Updated On: 29 December 2020

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The coronavirus pandemic has led to the disruption of businesses due to the restrictions put on by the government for preventing this virus. This in turn has led to the adoption of a variety of cost-cutting steps in the UAE. These usually involve salary cuts for the employees on their current payrolls.

Facing sudden income loss, families, and individuals in the Emirates can have difficulty in making ends meet and managing expenses. In this article, we have listed the best tips from personal finance experts for helping you in budgeting your expenditure while coming across a pay cut. These easy steps, once implemented, will assist you in cutting costs and coping up with the situation in a better way.

Renegotiating the rent or moving to affordable accommodation

The house rent is generally the biggest outlay when it comes to the residents in the UAE. In case you are reeling under an income loss, this is a good time for talking to your landlord regarding the reduction of your rent. Most of the families feel awkward in reaching out to their landlords for renegotiation of their rent. However, the times have been uncertain and you must initiate this conversation now.

Most of the landlords are not only being proactive in supporting the tenants with lower rents and rent holidays, rents are usually going down in many neighborhoods. In case, the negotiations do not work, you can consider moving to a community that is more affordable or to an accommodation that is smaller, in order to match the housing costs with the tighter spending capacity.

Monetizing your existing assets

You have the option of selling some of the branded and unused goods that are lying around in your house without utility for generating some cash for tiding over the crisis.

In case you have old devices such as laptops, phones, that are not being used, you can sell these or in case you have old luxury items and handbags, that you cannot afford any longer, then sell them. This might not seem to be important, but it can offer some help and relief for reducing the clutter.

Managing your grocery bills

Since most of the people still stay indoors and cook at home, their grocery bills would have gone up considerably. When you shop for groceries, look for quantity above variety.

When you buy multiple items in little quantities, it is usually the recipe for huge bills. So, it is better to buy in bulk whenever you can. In case you have bought for a week at once, buy for 2 weeks and purchase more of lesser items, which will help you in reducing the grocery bills overall.

It is suggested that one must skip purchasing gourmet products, exotic vegetables and fruits, and expensive ingredients for cooking. You must stick to easy meal recipes, which do not put stress on your wallet. You can also buy the home brand items in the supermarket that are generally more affordable than the popular brand names.

Diversifying the sources of income

When you try to look for new opportunities for supplementing the income and keeping you afloat in case you have been subjected to a significant amount of salary cut. Many companies are hiring freelance workers for keeping a lid on their expenses and costs.

You should be proactive on job finding platforms and tapping into professional networks for finding freelance or part-time work opportunity, starting with sectors and industries, which have not been affected by the pandemic. Make sure that you adhere to the current employment contract for avoiding any sort of legal mishandling.

Purchasing second-hand or used things whenever possible

Since a lot of expats have lost their employment after the pandemic, the used goods market in the UAE will get flooded with a lot of new listings. You will be able to get some good bargains on everything starting from vehicles and appliances to the furniture & fittings. Some of the items may be fresh or in mint condition, so there is no point spending extra on purchasing everything new in the market.

When the economy opens up, many businesses in the Emirates are also providing discounts for helping in restarting sales. You must keep your eyes and ears open for these offers.

Staying cautious of credit card debts

Many people opt for reward credit cards for meeting their urgent expenses as well as earning some rewards on every spending. However, if you have a credit card, no matter what type, remember to clear your balances on time, otherwise you will have to bear huge interest rates.

The huge rates on interest on these cards can take away the shine from the instant benefits it offers and leads to financial harm in the long run for the card members.

These days, cashback credit cards have become famous amongst the people and rightly so as they offer various benefits along with cashback on transactions. But at the same time, if not used responsibly, these credit cards become huge stress on your financial life.

Reducing the utility bills

Though most of the expats in the UAE generally travel overseas for escaping the extreme summer in the UAE, it may not be possible to do this during the pandemic because of the decreased incomes and the restrictions when it comes to traveling. The utility bills tend to reach a peak in the summer months, especially, if you’re living in a townhouse or villa.

A lot of families are used to leaving the town during the summers, which is not possible at this time. Hence, in case you stay back, make sure you do not get a shock from your bills due to excessive consumption of utility. Saving on the utility cost is not just good for the environment, but is also in favor of your wallet. You should follow the guidelines from the water and energy supplier.

Reviewing your memberships and subscriptions

Usually, various subscriptions can add up to your expenses. Using such a situation for taking stock of all the things that you have subscribed to or hold a membership of.

This may include magazines, TV packages, mobile applications, and so on. Your objective should be getting rid of all those subscriptions that you do not use and downgrade all those that are under-utilized.

For instance, you will be able to save a considerable amount of funds by working out at your home instead of spending on the membership of your gym. The gym memberships may cost you somewhere between AED 300 to AED 500 or more every month. Even the packages for 3, 6, or 12 months could be a huge upfront expense during this time. You can, instead, simply sign-up for a mobile application for fitness. A lot of popular applications are providing extended trial offers and complimentary beginner’s workouts.

Cooking more than ordering food in

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, we have seen a lot of people spending time in their kitchen because they had more time in their hands. Moreover, there is also a fear of infection when you order food online. Cooking your food at home not just makes it healthier, but also more friendly for your budget.

Whether it is cooking your food or brewing your coffee, you will always have the option of saving in case you wish to cut back on your spending at cafes or restaurants. You can prepare a meal plan for every week so that you exactly know what all you need to purchase and do not end up playing the guessing game as the meal time arrives.

Changing your mobile plan

Phone or mobile bills are an important expense in the Emirates because most of the expats have their families outside who they talk with on a regular basis and want to stay connected to.

The operators have been aggressive in terms of offering new bundles in every few months, meaning that you can end up spending far lesser on the communication as opposed to the amount you have been spending in the past. You should make the most out of these new plans and new regulatory simplicity from the operators in your favor for bringing those expenses down.

Follow the new budget-friendly trend- DIY

No matter if you bake your own bread, take on minor handyman duties at your home, or do your nails and hair yourself, try DIY or Do It Yourself whenever possible. The web is full of DIY guides and there are tutorials online for almost all the things under the sun.

Taking advantage of the waivers on the visa

Renewing the resident visas is an important expense for a lot of families- especially when the company doesn’t pay a lot. The ongoing waivers for the renewal of the visa for the people having visas, which have expired after the beginning of the lockdown might give you the option of not incurring in the expenses now.