Do you dream of quitting your job to stay at home with the kids? If so, you’re not alone. According to a survey by uSwitch, three out of four new mothers would stay at home to bring up their children if money were no object. But with the high cost of living here in the UAE you might assume that managing on one salary is not possible. While every situation is different, we’ve put together the following tips on how to reduce your expenses. Some savings are big and some are small, but as they say, every little helps!
According to an article in Arabian Business in 2013, Dubai school fees cost more than many British universities. It’s a tough pill to swallow, especially if you have more than one child of school age, but there is an alternative. Formal homeschooling has become a popular option for UAE expats and there is now an active homeschool network, made up of families that support each other and offer advice. As well as information about syllabuses and education standards, they also hold activities days and gatherings for homeschooled children.
Take-on part-time work that you can do at home
If giving up work completely isn’t an option, explore the possibility of taking on some work from home. Hopscotch, a platform that matches up professional women and companies seeking flexible working options, has a variety of roles available on a part-time basis. To learn more about the kind of jobs on offer, click here.
Opt for cheaper health insurance
It’s incredibly important that you have a comprehensive family health insurance policy, but there are ways to cut the cost without scrimping on cover. First of all, consider your choice of hospitals. Most providers will give you a list to choose from and you may be able to reduce the rate if you’re willing to discount some of the more prestigious hospitals. Alternatively, consider adding an excess to your policy. Paying a percentage towards medical costs will reduce the overall price tag of your policy. Just make sure you run the numbers in advance to ensure you can afford to pay the excess. Lastly, think about opting for a pay-and-claim policy. Admittedly this is less convenient than a direct billing option, but if you’re willing to chase up payments from the insurance company, your premium will fall further still.
Reduce travel costs
Travelling is a fact of life for many expat families, but you can reduce your holiday costs considerably with a few tweaks. House swapping, travelling off-peak and doing sharecations with friends are all great ways to slash the annual vacation budget. For more ideas on ways to travel cheap with kids, click here.
Sell the clutter
If you’ve got expensive nursery fees coming up, or you’re trying to find the money for your summer holiday flights, do a sweep of your home and sell anything you don’t need or don’t use. Dubizzle is a great place to list items, as well as Facebook parenting communities such as British Mums Dubai. Alternatively, you could take a stall at Dubai Flea Market, which will set you back around Dhs250 for the day. Or, if you have a lot of clothes to sell, try listing them on My Ex Wardrobe.
Enjoy frugal days out
Days out don’t need to break the bank. When in doubt, pack the kids in the car and head for Kite Beach in Jumeirah. Free of charge, this golden stretch of shoreline is open to the public and provides plenty of free entertainment. Alternatively, head to Zabeel Park, where Dhs5 per person gets you a peaceful escape where the kiddies can run wild. Or, if you have older children, pay a visit to Dubai Museum where for only Dhs3 per person, you’ll find a treasure trove of historical tableaux and trinkets.
Buy entertainment products at home
Saving money by buying stuff? Doesn’t sound very logical… but hear us out. Rather than a splurge, see this as an investment. Children need entertainment and having a few key pieces at home, such as musical instruments, a trampoline in the garden and a table tennis table, means your cherubs can entertain themselves a bit more, meaning you can slash your entertainment costs even further.
Set a budget for everything
This is imperative, particularly if you’re keen to leave paid work, as your family income is going to take a hit. To keep track of your finances, use a budget software package like YNAB. Simple to use, you enter your income at the beginning of every month and then, using categories, such as ‘groceries’, ‘entertainment’, ‘bills’ and ‘savings’, plan how it’s going to be spent or saved.