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Ways to save money

So, you've moved into your new home, got the kids into school, bought a car, joined a club and have the beginnings of a social life.

Where do you start saving money? There are some savings worth making, others not. 

Joining a club may seem like an extravagance, but it's entirely worth the cost. It will be where you make and meet friends and allow your kids free rein to play while you relax. Hiring a cleaner is worthwhile, and it’s a social obligation to pay the standard rate but top it up on their holidays, or remember to bring small gifts on return from your travels. Also, if they're going to look after your home while you're away, pay the usual month's salary.

It’s an obvious statement, but one of the easiest ways to save money is to limit how often you do things.  Do the inexpensive activities frequently (like going to the club and visiting friends), and the expensive outings such as extravagant dinners or concerts less frequently.  You might decide to live without a couple of favourite expat grocery items and replace them with local products.

Another way to save money on larger purchases is to become a regular at a locally-owned store as this can gain you a steady loyalty discount. If you can find a local shop that supplies what you need, and you’re willing to haggle, you can do well on almost everything. Ask for a discount if making a considerable purchase, e.g. one large item, or lots of smaller ones; 20%-30% discounts are possible through haggling in most retail outlets. You’ll also find the seasonal sales in the department stores reduce prices by that much and more.

Some things can wait

Don't feel compelled to buy jewellery immediately just because it's there. You might also question whether you need two very nice new cars when you know one is going to be used for off-road trips into the desert for picnics, or hauling everyone and their sandy equipment to the beach or club most weekends. Moving into the biggest house you can afford may seem less appealing when you have three sitting rooms, a garden, and five or more bedrooms to furnish.

On a much smaller scale, a word of advice — learn your Arabic numerals quickly and know automatically what each note in the currency is worth so you can feel confident when you’re buying something in a shop or market.

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