Ways to spend less and still feel good about life

Lemme tell you a secret - I’ve been wearing a non-working watch for a year now - and nobody bats an eye about it.

That’s just one of the things where I choose not to spend (more) and yet, lose nothing. There are some things I can afford to compromise in order to achieve a little goal.

Here are the areas where I decided to spend less and still get more or equal satisfaction.


Lately, I go to the nearby Indian barbershop and pay only AED15 for a haircut, instead of going to a fancy salon which can cost up to AED100 per cut. I still look good, says the wife.

Physiotherapy, not spa

I use my medical insurance and go to a Physiotherapy in a Chinese treatment centre when needed, instead of going to a costly spa. I don’t pay a single penny.

Check your medical insurance coverage - usually physiotherapy and other similar treatment is covered here in the UAE.

No car upgrade

I’ve been driving the same saloon car for 6 years now, and still got no plans to buy new one. It’s still in a good condition, and can still fit everyone in the family. As long as it still brings us to places, I’m better off without any monthly car loan to pay again.

Budget scent

I don’t use signature perfumes that cost above AED100. I use Bench Eight or Atlantis, which only cost AED15 - and that’s good for 2 months already.

Only do grocery on a full tummy

If you are hungry, there’s a huge chance you’ll grab more food items than you need. Psychology has something to do with reducing the hunger with what looks good in the eye.

Do car wash at mall parking lots

In Dubai, we cannot just wash our cars in our apartment parking or in the streets. We have to take it to a car wash shop or at petrol stations (costs AED45). Malls and stand-alone supermarkets have designated car wash boys in the parking lots. I'm lucky to find the cheapest of them all at Lulu Village for just AED11 per wash - and it's good.

Home-made latte

I recently learned how to make latte at home (Just a cup of boiling fresh milk and a spoonful of espresso). From then on, I didn’t have to buy one from cafes every time the caffeine rush kicks in. Bringing a good coffee tumbler to office is also a good way to cut the spend, especially if you already got accustomed to having a paper cup on the hand every morning.

Direct remit through online banking

Instead of remitting via money exchanges, check your bank if there's a convenient option to do international bank transfers instead. Emirates NBD has a really efficient one. I don't pay remittance fees at all.

Order food from Zomato

When needed, I order food via Zomato, Talabat or any other food delivery apps. Most of the time, these apps got really good offers (up to 50% off) - something you won't get when you call the restaurants directly.

Baon (packed-lunch) all the way

Nothing beats a home-made baon for work lunch. It makes a huge difference on savings, and on health.

No TV, no Netflix

Not sure if it's the age but, fun for me is being with the family - playing board games with your kid, going to the playground - doing a blog with them; or playing outdoor sports, reading books, writing. And for someone who has a business to manage, Netflix is the least on my list.

Reduce data plan

If you have wifi at home and at work, you may want to rethink your data subscription. You may also want to switch to no-contract data packages like Virgin Mobile in which you can subscribe based on your needs and you can unsubscribe anytime.

No drink, no smoke

I don’t drink alcohol, not even soft drinks. If I do, very very occasionally (like once every 2 years). So I don’t spend about AED10 a day on cigarettes.

No phone upgrades

I watch out for the next mobile phone releases in the market, not because I'm buying it, but because I'm excited to find out what new experience they got - that's what I do for work.


You see, I'm rich in frugal ways. For me, money not spent is money gained. And money gained is money to be invested.

These things work for me. It may not work for you, especially with the type of work you do, or your lifestyle. I’m the type of person who’d rather spend on experiences rather than material. And, all the above decisions are driven by priority and purpose. If you know your priority, you’ll know exactly where to cut cost.

By doing so, I can afford to attend seminars (Money Talks is happening next month), invest in online businesses, watch concerts, or have latte outside from time to time. ;)

These are not measures to live a stiffed lifestyle. These are ideas to spend less in typically costly areas of purchasing. Most of our purchasing habits are driven by commercials. Maybe I'm just someone who doesn't really buy them.

Despite of these measures, I’m happy and contented. My joy is not dependent on things.

Find your own comfort while not compromising your convenience. As long as your needs are met, check which areas you can afford to live for less.


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