Let’s be honest, the global meltdown has hit most of us Dubai mums where it hurts – in our pedicure allowance. The fact is that the ‘silly money’ just isn’t here anymore. And spending with gay abandon, like we did in the good old days, is no longer possible. But there’s no reason why we shouldn’t still look as though we’re a bunch of spoiled expats – eh girls? Check out these 25 discreet budget-busting ways to save cash – and face, all at the same time.
1) Move the housemaid into the children’s room and rent out her granny flat. She’ll be moody for a while – but she’s had it far too easy for far too long.
2) Drop the weekly Waitrose shop. Don large sunglasses, a Pucci headscarf and raincoat, and start stocking up at the Union Co-op. If you can’t quite bring yourself to shop among the great unwashed, go to Geant instead. At least it’s French.
3) Start re-using the teabags. Currently, 240 PG Tips teabags cost Dhs60 from Choitrams. That’s £10 for a box of bog-standard British teabags. Let’s say that again shall we. £10!
4) Stop forking out for all those expensive lattes while out with the girls. Take a flask of tea with you (made with those re-used teabags) and tell them you’ve developed a dairy allergy. Having an ‘intolerance’ is so en-vogue.
5) Spending Dhs30 a week on getting your car cleaned is an absolute waste of money. Get the maid to wash it instead.
6) Hubby has to economise too. Those monthly trims with his English barber are way too expensive. The Mosque barber down the road will do the job for Dhs30. Send him there with a picture of your fave Hollywood star and tell him to ask for, ‘Same like this.’
7) Stop sending the dogs to the groomers every three months. Buy a pair of clippers and get the maid to do it instead.
8) Book a table at the Safa Park flea market and sell off some stuff. If anyone asks, just tell them you’re raising money for K9 Friends.
9) Stop paying out a fortune for playcentres. Toys R Us in Dubai Festival City will happily accommodate your kids’ afternoon play requirements for free. And all the toys are new too.
10) Offer to do the glass recycling run for your friends, and keep back a few Moet Chandon empties. When you next have a party, use them as crafty decanters for Jacobs Creek, which everyone prefers anyway.
11) Cancel the maid’s bonus. She hasn’t cleaned underneath the beds for months.
12) Save cash on your annual flight home and beat those air tax nasties. Jet to Turkey on Fly Dubai, and take Easy Jet from Turkey to Stansted. Sorted!
13) Here’s an idea. When one of your sprogs has a birthday party, don’t order the stretch Hummer and try making the cake.
14) Need a new outfit? Check out the local charity shops for some vintage designer togs. If you bump into anyone you know, just tell them you’re sourcing costumes for the local ‘am dram’ production.
15) Can’t afford La Prairie anymore? Don’t sweat it. Start making your own products at home using yogurt, olive oil, cucumber and sea salt. Then flog them to the other mums on the school run as ‘the next big thing’. It’s amazing what crap people will buy.
16) Start brewing your own beer and wine, and tell everyone it’s because ‘you’re going organic and avoiding the sulphates.’
17) Sack the gardener. He was rubbish anyway. And, get the maid to do it instead.
18) Cancel the private beach club membership and start going to Al Mamzar Beach Park. It’s worth it for the bikini and speedo shockers alone.
19) Stop buying DVD’s for the kids and cancel the cable package. BBC World is very educational, and they can find everything and more on Youtube anyway.
20) Flog the Gucci print Bugaboo on Dubizzle and cart the baby around in a ‘Guatemalan weave hemp sling’ that you bought off the roll in Satwa. It’s so much more fashionable to go ethnic.
21) Little Katie grown out of her Crocs again? Pop down to Hyper Panda and get a perfectly good fake pair for Dhs9. Her Repton mates will never know the difference.
22) Auction off your Hermes Birkin collection for ‘charity’. Nobody needs to know that your designated ‘charity’ begins at home.
24) Start dyeing your own hair. Paying Dhs600 at Maria Dowling to have your roots touched up once a month is so Dubai 2007 darling!
25) And finally, a girl’s got to have some pleasures in life. Book your manis, pedis, facials, wraps and waxes on www.dealgobbler.com. They’re half the price so you can indulge twice as much. Failing that, get your maid to pamper you. She’ll oblige if she knows what’s good for her.