The financial impact of the pandemic is undeniable. Everyone’s talking about how grim the situation looks and understandably so, because of lay-offs, pay cuts and businesses suffering. But irrespective of how badly you’ve been affected, you have to find ways to stay afloat during this crisis. And savings, no matter how big or small, can go a long way in ensuring that you tide over this as painlessly as possible.

We’ve addressed the bigger stuff like emergency savings fund and debt management in the past. So in this article, we take a different approach to finding ways to ease your financial burden. The Souqalmal team takes a look at some common monthly expenses that have the potential to turn into savings.

No commute = No transportation expenses

All the weeks spent in full and partial lockdown would have drastically reduced your transportation expenses. Whether you were a regular metro-commuter, drove your own car or depended on cabs to travel around, there’s no denying the savings on this front. Now if you spent AED 350 on a monthly metro pass or AED 500 on monthly fuel for your car in pre-Coronavirus times, that bill would have been slashed, no doubt.

Even though the stringent movement restrictions have now been lifted, you’re obviously not going to be going out as much as you used to. And if you’re among those who’re still working from home, your budget will continue to benefit from the amount you save on your daily commute.

Cutting back on barista-made coffee

If you’ve been working from home, there’s a good chance your coffee bills would have gone down significantly. For caffeine lovers who spent on average AED 16 on their morning cuppa joe – A simple calculation reveals the savings potential here. If you paid for one such cup of coffee every day of the working week, you’d be spending AED 320 per month. Two cups per day would have racked up a bill of AED 640 per month. Now if you’re working from home and brewing your own caffeine concoction with supermarket-sourced instant coffee or Nespresso pods, you could be saving anywhere between AED 200-500 on your monthly coffee spend.

Saving on your gym membership

Fitness centers, gyms and yoga centers in Dubai have been closed for nearly two months now. Even when they do reopen they’ll be able to operate at only 50% capacity. Also, not all regular gym-goers would be open to the idea of venturing out, especially when most of these fitness enthusiasts have now become comfortable working out at home.

On average, gym memberships can range anywhere from AED 300 – AED 500 or upwards per month. Add to that personal trainer expenses, and you’d be looking at spending at least AED 1,000 per month. Now simply signing up for a fitness mobile app would be a game-changer. So many popular apps are now offering extended trial offers and free beginner workouts, so why not take advantage of these?

No salon, no problem – DIY brows will do for now

Just when the lockdown restrictions in Dubai were eased, it was announced that salons will be able to open their doors. But the catch was that they’d only be able to offer hair and nail services. So while you can now have your unkempt mane, those grey roots and chipped nails taken care of, a bunch of other popular salon services are off limits. Take brows for example – You’d have to spend about AED 30-40 on eyebrow threading and shaping, about twice a month. But looking up a DIY tutorial on YouTube and taking a crack at it yourself costs nothing at all! Similarly, waxing and facials are totally DIY-friendly and doable at home. Imagine saving hundreds on these services every month!

More cooking, less eating out

Behold, the deluge of ‘home cook’ posts and tweets! You’re not alone if your social media feed or WhatsApp group chats are being flooded with ingenuous culinary creations by your friends and relatives. People are baking their own bread, trying out new recipes and basically really having a good time cooking for themselves and their families.

But cooking more often at home also means you’re automatically cutting back on dining-out and takeaway expenses. And every Dirham saved adds up at a time like this.