We’ve all seen those end of holiday posts from our friends on social media…
‘back to the sandpit – crying face emoji – blazing sun emoji – flying emoji’.
Dubai Money Guy has a better nickname for the city we call home… The Money Pit. In the history of the world, I’m not sure there has ever been a city so set-up to separate hardworking Dubai Money Guys and Girls from their dirhams. I’m a huge fan of Mr. Money Mustache – https://www.mrmoneymustache.com – in fact he’s probably the reason that I started this little blog in the first place. But whilst Mr. Money Mustache is fond of calling out ‘Complainypants’, the people who don’t want to make the changes necessary to reach financial independence… Even he might struggle to ride his bike everywhere in temperatures of 50c (122f). So how do we apply the excellent teachings of the FI movement to life in the most consumption-obsessed city on earth? Read on dear friend… read on.
From the moment you set foot on UAE soil, the money-sucking begins. Don’t want to collect your own bags at the airport? Get a porter for 30 dhs. Quick stop at Dubai Duty Free to use up everybody’s allowance at prices that are still more ‘Duty’ than ‘Free’. Then you’ll be funneled into the taxi queue where the rookies will be ushered into a limo-style taxi (it’s on the meter though, honest), and the rest of us will pay a dhs 25 fee on top of the usual fare, just for having the nerve to arrive at an airport. Maybe you can save a bit by timing an Uber or Careem perfectly to arrive at the exact same time as you before being moved on.
‘But hang on Dubai Money Guy’ there’s a Metro station isn’t there?’
In fact there are two Metro stations at DXB… it’s just that there is a luggage restriction on the train that limits you to two small bags per traveller. I have 2 young kids so basically two small bags would cover snacks and colouring pens.
THIS CITY DOESN’T WANT YOU TO SAVE MONEY!
So I’m back in the now extremely overloaded taxi… Arrive home to your beautiful villa where – if the month happens to be between April and October – you’ve probably left at least some of the A/C running – IN AN EMPTY HOUSE!* Not because you hate the idea of the ants and spiders having to sweat out the summer, but just to stop your TV falling victim to humidity and the paint peeling off your walls. Someone has probably been watering your garden every day too – you’re paying them and DEWA… You get the idea.
The first step to adapting the FI philosophy to our crazy home, is to accept that some of the expenses you incur, will be outside of your control (at least in the short term). And that’s OK… It’s not your fault that there is no competition in the telco or utility market. It’s not your fault that it’s reaaaaaallllllllly hot in summer. We just need to make sure that we make smart decisions within the areas we can control.
That’s what this blog is all about – applying the FI concepts on an everyday basis to life in Dubai… finding savings wherever they hide… changing our outlook one good decision at a time… so that we don’t end up as the Ozys from the my first blog post.
We’re not going to beat each other up if we ‘accidentally’ spend a fortune on brunch for a friend’s birthday, because hey… we are still Dubaians right? But we are going to create a trend in our own lives, a drip… that becomes a trickle… that becomes a huge splashing torrent pouring through the A/C hatch in the ceiling. A torrent of savings and greater earnings. A torrent that will eventually leave us towering over The Money Pit, waving our handfuls of dirhams that we haven’t thrown back into the sand.
*Mr. Money Mustache would lose his mind at this… he might explode. We should find out.
In the next post we’ll look at the endgame… a little something I like to call Financial Serenity.