Ever since I stopped working, I developed the affinity for all things cheap. Dubai is not a cheap place. If I would compare the things you can buy here to the prices in Manila, Manila wins, hands down, with cartwheels. If you like the luxurious stuff and living the life, Dubai can give it to you with the swipe of the card and most of the time, they are within reach to normal salary people like I once was. That is if you want to be buried in debt… which at one point I was until DH came to my rescue and helped me figure stuff out.
My husband is an accountant and a stingy guy. Although he has loosened up a bit about spending, he still has very good control over money. I do not. I leave most of the budgeting to him because I am afraid that if I handle it, I would pull us both down. But he gives me a monthly allowance for food and stuff I would like to buy for the house (or for me) and I learn to budget that.
So I’m always on the hunt for all things cheap- my favorite places being DAY TO DAY, DAISO and KM Trading.
Day To Day- They use to be those AED 1 stores that can be found almost anywhere, but their prices have gone up to around AED 1.50 for the cheapest item. Isn’t that a great bargain if you are looking for small items like hair-clips and scented soaps? They also have body scrubs for 5 dhs a tub. Need to try one though but a friend of mine said that it didn’t give her any allergies. 🙂 You can find school supplies, home stuff, cleaning supplies, soap, cheap toys…
Daiso- This is a popular Japanese chain worldwide and in Dubai, the cheapest item is AED 7. I love Japanese stuff. My friend Ibyang from Australia is also a big fan of Daiso in Australia and constantly blogs about the stuff you can buy there, from banana holders to mittens.
KM Trading– When it comes to groceries, KM Trading has the cheapest prices in the UAE. Although choices are limited- compared to GEANT and Carrefour, the prices for the basic stuff are AED 0.5-5 dhs less than their counterparts. I prefer to do my weekly groceries here to save. The only downside is that there is only one branch in Mankhool that I know of, and they are far from where I live (Jebel Ali). Which means I really have to plan the trip to go there and when I’m lazy (which is most of the time at the moment), I just end up buying our foodstuff from GEANT (which is a five minute car ride from home).
There are a lot of other really cheap places in Dubai with quality stuff. Fresh produce purchases are best done at the Fish market (not to mention fresh seafood) in Hamriyah or the Fruit and Vegetable Market in Ras Al Khor. They are really far away from where I live but the trip is worth it if you want to stock up on food items. The raspberries and strawberries are cheaper at the markets, compared to when you buy them at the supermarkets for 3-4 times the price!
I am still trying to find my way into a life of thriftiness. Believe me, it is a hard thing to do especially in an environment like Dubai. But I am determined to learn and find my way and hopefully set a better example for my kids in the future.