What can you do that doesn’t cost money in the UAE?
Seriously?! I am honestly asking. I am starting to think that perhaps I am missing a trick. There are a lot of wonderful places to go, eat, and visit but everything has some sort of fee.
I started thinking about the summer budget. As the heat goes up, so does our spending when trying to entertain little children. More visits to the malls, more visits to Fun City, Wanasa Land, etc. As I was thinking about this I realized that we spend way too much on the weekends year round. There is not a weekend that goes by were we don’t spend money on family activities.
It frightens me to add up the amount I have spent over the course of a year. I am notorious for using my Entertainer vouchers, but even with those savings I would low ball guesstimate that we spend at least 500 AED a weekend (Thurs-Sat). I am sure it would work out much more if I included the children activities, coffees, brunches, and breakfasts that take place throughout the course of the year. So at 500 AED a weekend, that is about 26000 AED a year. I don’t event want to know the actual amount!
We are family of four, soon to be 5. I know that we could cut costs by just not leaving the house on weekends but with little ones we need to get out. I find it cheaper to eat out at a family restaurant than it is to buy groceries for one meal at Abelas, Spinneys, or Waitrose (take your pick). If I do this, then I don’t have to cook or clean up the mess and my family gets an outing so it’s a win-win, right?
I can’t help but feel like I am foolishly spending money? My husband and I had our children here in Abu Dhabi so we have nothing to compare family spending to – except our summer holidays back to the States.
Surprisingly we don’t spend as much as we expect on holiday. The kids keep entertained by playing outside and going to the parks (no cost). We don’t even eat out that much because we are surrounded by family so we have a lot of family meals. It helps that my US family live in the boondocks of upstate NY with only one pizzeria in town. Our dining out choices are limited.
Anyway back to Abu Dhabi. What can you do that does not cost much money on the weekends? Is there a way to not spend money or should I just tick this weekend spending in the “Cost of Living” box? Please tell me.
Such a great article, it’s something I think about a lot here. We are also avid entertainer voucher users. The summer is such a difficult time for finding free activities. We still try for parks in the summer, but leave them for later afternoon. Yas Marina is great for this as there is often a breeze blowing, plus the fountains for the children to play in. We take a picnic tea and sit on a blanket on the grass.
We try to go to a new mall for a wander, but my two are only 2 and 3, so they find running around an empty floor of a new mall great fun and fortunately in the new malls the play areas are mot open yet, so no temptation 🙂 Hotels can also be great, popping to the ice cream shop at The Ritz is a fab way to spend an hour (although you do have to buy the ice cream of course!)
My best suggestion for FREE is playdates. We have lots and lots in the summer, mornings round different peoples houses, using their pools, trying out their playground or just the toys in their front room. We do this on a weekend too with our friends and bring a dish or take turns to cater.
We like the little aquarium at Khalifa Park, but you have to pay to get into Khalifa Park, even though it’s not too expensive.
My other suggestions are only “reduced” paying ones where we have annual waterpark/ferrari tickets so because I’ve already paid I feel like it is free.
I would love to know if there are any truly free places to go as a family too! 🙂
We spend it on the beach or at the pool of Abu Dhabi Golf Club where we are members, playdates and friends come over. But you’re so right, there is so much to do here, so tempting yet expensive! It’s cheaper to travel I suppose!
So true, and 500? I would say more.
Sometimes we would spend Thursday and Saturday at home, and we would be out on Friday.
On Saturday morning, I let them to study, revise their lessons, read a book, or do colouring book.
We have lunch all together and make some jokes while eating.
Then I let them to play in a pool, I fill the pool of toys such as boats, barbies etc.. And they don’t want get out! If they feel boring, invite your children’s friends.
Bake some crepes for a snak.
Then, they take a shower, dress on their pyjamas, and are allowed to watch a Disney DVD before having dinner and going to sleep.
Find out more activities to do at home, or in a park, cause you will always spend money out!
Ps: spend more time playing with them. I noticed my children enjoy more if I play with them, you break the routine of playing with the brother or sister. And time flies when you’re having fun with your kids.
The other way to look at it is not to stress about how much you are spending but create a budget for it. If you are already paying your essential bills, and saving for your mid range goals and your future goals, then anything left over is yours to spend as you wish. The key is to know what the amount is, create your FUN budget and not feel guilty about spending it! Saying all that, there are of course many things we could do for less money if we put our thinking caps on, so its great to have a brainstorm with other parents now and again!
Thanks Ladies. These are all great suggestions. I am liking the Yas Waterworld idea. I wanted to do last year but never got around to it but I think will be a must this year. As the kids are just a bit older this year (4 and 2) I am sure we will be able to do more outings to beach and park next winter. Starting to plan my indoor activities now with this rising heat so that we can all be entertained and have fun.