Expatriates are people who work outside their native country. They can be professionals, workers, or artists.
Living alone in a new city is daunting, and can be quite expensive for others. With that being said, you can still purchase items on a budget if you’re living as an expatriate in Dubai!
What Items Can I Buy For Cheap In Dubai?
Expats on a budget can buy jewelry, clothes, electronics, furniture and small trinkets as gifts in Dubai. They can also get gifts like dates and fragrances such as bankhoor.
For this piece, we will be discussing first the items that you can get as a gift for yourself or to send to your loved ones at home. After that, we will include items that you may need, which you can purchase with a budget during your stay in Dubai.
These small trinkets can be for loved ones, friends, acquaintances, or even yourself. Dubai is home to various shops and souks where expatriates can find the best deals on the items they want to buy.
Dubai is one of the best places to buy gold jewelry, whether it’s for yourself or your loved ones. This is because there are no additional taxes for gold products in Dubai.
At most, buyers would only need to pay for the retail value of the gold jewelry and a 5% Value Added Tax.
Moreover, you can even apply for a VAT refund. This opportunity is for goods purchased while you’re in the city that will be exported (or sent to your loved ones)!
Applying for a refund is simple. You can log in to the Federal Tax Authority’s online portal and apply. These refunds can be claimed (after approval) from the entrances of the terminals in Dubai Airport.
Expats can spend from AED 25 to AED 110 on gold jewelry. You can get them in Dubai’s Gold Souks and other government-regulated shops around the city.
Make sure to double-check the jewelry’s gold certification to ensure that the item you will be getting is authentic. Also, legitimate gold stores will have a certification from the city government displayed on their store.
Dates are fruits of native palm plants in the Middle East. It is usually given as gifts during holidays such as Ramadan.
There are over 200 varieties of this delicacy. You can grab a kilo of any variation of these fruits at around AED 20 to AED 250.
These include Bahri Dates, which are best enjoyed freshly picked for their thick and rich flavor. Another variation is called Halawi. It is known for being a small, soft, and sweet type of date.
In choosing fresh dates, we recommend looking for fruits that are plump and shiny, but not too easy to squeeze, though. Avoid dates that are shriveled or hard to the touch as well. as well.
What makes dates such an easy and affordable buy is that you can find them around a lot of places in the city. These include supermarkets, Dubai’s souks, Deira Food Market, and even airports as well!
Aromatics can be a good gift or a great way to add more life to your home. Bankhoor works like an incense candle.
The difference is that instead of being a candle, they are agarwood chips instead. Their strong fragrance can permeate an entire room.
Buyers seek this material for their slow burning rate and rich Middle Eastern scent. These fragrances are used both in households and events like weddings.
Bakhoors are also really cheap, coming in at AED 100 – 500. You can get them in Deira, Dubai’s Perfume Souk, shopping malls, and the Spice Souk as well!
Essentials and Necessities
You can’t move the entirety of your home to Dubai for work. What will happen is that you need to pack a few of the items that you have that can fit a suitcase or two.
This means that you will need to purchase essential items during your stay in the city. These can include things such as clothes, electronics, and furniture.
Clothing in Dubai can get expensive. That is if you don’t know where to look.
The city is home to multiple outlet stores and shopping malls filled with places that can provide good clothes at good prices. There are also discount stores that sell clothes at cheaper prices.
One place to find inexpensive clothes is at Brands For Less. They can be found in multiple locations around the city with branches in Dubai Outlet Mall and the Dubai Mall.
Another option is the Dubai Outlet Mall which has various brands such as Adidas, Wrangler, Givenchy, and more. It’s a combination of luxury and regular brands, so you’ll have the variety and the discounts you need.
Clothes in these stores can range from AED 15 to AED 50 for tops and AED 50 to AED 100 for bottoms. We recommend making the most out of the holiday and seasonal sales though!
Now, not all of the electronics sold in the city are cheap. However, there are electronic products that are sold cheap thanks to Dubai’s tax policies.
These include televisions, laptops, and more! There are a lot of electronic shops scattered in the city as well, so you don’t have to look hard for good deals when you need it.
The only thing we would raise in purchasing from the city is the item’s warranty. This is because the warranty can only be claimed within the city.
So if you are planning to gift it to a person living outside Dubai, we recommend thinking it over. Many brands don’t actually provide an international warranty.
In the case that a specific device breaks when you send it, the recipient will have to shell out the cash for repairs. On average, we estimate that you can spend AED 100 to AED 3,000 for one device.
Unless your apartment or the place you’re staying in comes with furniture, you’ll need to get some during your stay in the city.
Thankfully, there are some establishments in the city that provide reasonable to affordable prices– which is great for expats on a budget!
We recommend heading to IKEA, Homes R Us, Pan Emirates, and The One locations in Dubai for some good quality furniture at reasonable prices.
However, if you’re interested in cheaper options, you can go to Dragon Mart Mall. There are also stores in Deira, Dubai that sell furniture at good prices.
If you’re aiming to set aside some money for shopping, we recommend allocating at least AED 300 to AED 1500 for tables or desks, and around AED 500 – AED 1,000 for beds.
Hopefully, this short guide or listing will help you during your stay in the city. Remember, part of managing a budget is making sure to look for the right stores and deals for the items that you need!