Dubai City Information Site

How to Save in Dubai

Hi, Sunil here to talk about how to save in Dubai

Dubai is very expensive that is no secret.

Saving money in Dubai is a skill worthwhile mastering because it is the only way to come out on top.

Whether you are going on vacation for a short break or long term to work, this section will help you save a ton of money.

I know so many people making a ton of money but have nothing to show for it at the end of the day.

The city is designed to take your money from you if you don’t learn and maintain good discipline. That is what we are here for :-) So here are some ways on how to save in Dubai.

Shopping in Dubai

One of the quickest wallet draining activities is shopping in Dubai.

I would rank this second after Entertainment in Dubai (can’t tell you how much money is blown away here).

So while the big beautiful malls look nice (and they are), I do not like to shop in them.

I find them way too overpriced, even during the Dubai Shopping Festival season.

I prefer the traditional souks, local markets in Meena Bazar for example, where you are dealing with smaller vendors and can negotiate on the price instead of paying a fixed price tag.

There is not much you cannot get in these markets when compared to the big malls. Keep negotiating until the price is right. There is one thing for sure, these guys never turn away customers so 9 out of 10 times you will come out on top.

Here is another way to save in Dubai on shopping. Consider shopping online in Dubai. Prices are much lower as online stores have very little overhead. You also save time by staying home and not getting stuck in traffic. Time is money so you just saved a lot right there, not to mention the fuel cost and the depreciation of your car.

Entertainment in Dubai

This requires utmost discipline. If you cannot control your instincts, impulses and desire to unnecessarily indulge then you might go broke in Dubai. Consider the many free entertainment options Dubai has to offer (there are a ton).

We have talked about quite a few on this website lone! Some examples are the Dubai Shopping Festival, most horse racing events and Dubai Summer Surprises events.

Many free events are ideal for the family as you can catch some shows together for free. There are also nice fireworks displays, free raffle drawings, vendor displays and children entertainment like clowns walking around.


It is hard to save in Dubai on food because food in not that expensive in Dubai, unless you indulge in five star dinning. Look into the smaller shops and vendors lined up on the streets. The food is excellent and prices reasonable. Dinning facilities are also heavily regulated so sanitation is not an issue.

Traditional Arabic food in Dubai is very cheap, as are Indian restaurants as you will find one every few blocks away. You can also specifically look around for restaurants offering special deals.

There are a ton of these. If you are a buffet fan, there are buffets in Dubai as low as $10. Ask any hotel, bellman or just someone from the streets and they will usually know. I would name some places but offers are ever changing. The point is that they are not hard to find.

When it comes to drinks, Dubai is loaded with happy hour joints. Just turn your head in any direction and head to the nearest bar type restaurant you see and you are guaranteed to find happy hour during after work hours.

Keep an eye out for “ladies nights” as well. There is usually one on every night. Pick up a local magazine at the grocery store with all the new advertisements. You are sure to find the deals of the week or month in these.

Phone Bill

As a visitor to Dubai these charges rack up rather fast. So I strongly recommend getting a reliable and scam free calling card to Dubai (read more about it) to save in Dubai. You can use these cards from any phone booth or private line. You can pick one up from any grocery store in Dubai.

If you are a frequent visitor of Dubai or are going for an extended amount of time, I recommend a pre paid GSM card from Etisalat. These are usually about $50 and receive free incoming calls. You will need a copy of your passport to get one of these. Whatever you do, DO NOT use hotel phones.

Pool and Beach Access for Cheap

Here is one of the best ways to save in Dubai for a tourist. Many visitors stay at expensive hotels to access their pools and beach fronts. But what they don’t know is that many hotels sell daily passes for access to their waters.

These passes run between $20-60 depending on which hotel you go to. So many smart, savvy budget travelers stay at inexpensive hotels at night and spend their day in nicer facilities by purchasing the pass. The pass will typically give you access to the beach front, swimming pools, health clubs and the spa (if available).

On days when you don’t care for luxury, head out to the nearest public beach. An entry pass there is less than $2 (as of 2008). Jumeirah Beach Park in Jumeirah is a popular one that many go to. These areas typically have walking trails, children’s parks and free barbeque grills you can use.


Want to save on transportation? Dubai cabs can be costly for tourists. So, until the Dubai metro gets up and running by year 2009 for the first line and 2015 for the second line, try the buses. Waiting for the bus can take a while, especially since they are hardly on schedule.

In the summer months, the heat can become unbearable during the wait and most bus stops don't have a covered waiting area. But taking the bus can turn out to be quite an experience, don't be afraid and make sure you budget the time for the trip as it can take 3 times the amount to get there over taking a taxi.

Renting a car? Don't use the international rental companies. Local companies, especially ones in Sharjah give you rates much less than the big brand names. They will provide drop off and pick up in Sharjah and Dubai.

But if you do have problems with renting a car from a no-name car rental, then Budget Car Rental is the best way to save in Dubai. Book early from an online booking service to guarantee the best prices and availability. And the best part of renting a car in Dubai? Gas is Cheap!

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These are just a handful of tips on how to save in Dubai. I will continue adding to this list as I think of more ways. Do you have any that I should add to this ongoing list?

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