#49 How to save in Kuwait ?

It’s no secret that people come to Kuwait to save. Whilst yes it can be a great place to save, it can also mean that people are more willing to spend money on travelling to essentially ‘get out of Kuwait’ to see and do things that otherwise they could not find here.

I think the main thing you have to think to yourself is what are your priorities when moving out here, is it to see more of the world or is to build up financial stability to go back to your home country and buy a house. Whilst yes it is possible to do both, I would say in order to save money, travelling every holiday you get might not be the best move.

In a sense I guess I was lucky in that I didn’t necessarily have the travel bug for this region as others may have as I already lived and spent a lot of time in the region since I was 16 years old. With only a few countries to tick off my list to complete the Middle East it meant I was more content with staying in Kuwait for longer periods of time. Having said that, travel is still possible, if you are wise with your money and how frequent you want to go.

Options such as Bahrain or Saudi might be something you want to take a look at as they are close by with Saudi literally on our border. Flying out to Dubai every holiday will eat away at your bank account.

How much should I travel?

Personally I would say leave the travelling abroad to one country for the year, whether that be during November, the Christmas period or Easter break.

If you travel out as a group then of course it will be much cheaper than going solo in terms of hotel costs, days out and transport etc.

Travelling especially during these times right now is risky and if you are working in Kuwait even more so as the rules can change pretty quickly with very little notice. PCR tests are expensive, travel insurance and so on.

Personally I would wait till the summer break where you have a considerable amount of time off and you can visit multiple countries in one go and will not feel so rushed with getting back to work or even thinking about school. I personally enjoy those trips much more – stress free!

Really get to know the currency!

This is a big one as it can be easy to think 5kd sounds like nothing and then you will soon realise that they are actually more valuable than you knew. Here is a quick break down of the currency here, what it looks like and how to get your head around it.

Lets start with the notes first …

1kd = around £2.41

Easy to read as it shows you the one in English as well as in Arabic (bottom left corner)

5kd = around £12.06 again showing the number both in English and Arabic (bottom left)

10kd = around £24.12

20kd = around £48.25

The easiest way to think of it is it being a bit more than double the amount. So if I have 5kd I’ll think to myself that will be just over £10 and so on. That’s the easiest way to keep track

You then have the two smaller notes (1/4 and a 1/2)

A quarter being around 60 pence and a half being around £1.20

I won’t go into the coins as that’s not really relevant in terms of helping you save money. The main point here is to get used to how much the kd is worth in pounds so you can keep track on how much you are spending every month.

Set a limit each month

This has helped me so much for saving out here. The limit will vary from person to person depending on how much you make each month and what you intend on buying. However set a realistic goal for yourself and only have that amount out each month with the rest firmly in your bank.

I always find it much harder to keep track of when paying on my card for everything so in that sense I prefer cash.

Set a one time only shopping list

Okay here and there we’ll often spend random things on our grocery shopping but try to stick to the same list as much as possible every time you go. This way you are not endlessly buying things you don’t really need or use and end up chucking away at the end of the week.

I also balance this out with having only 2 takeaways a week with the rest spent on cooking at home. I’m trying to leave going out for dinner to only once or twice a week to help out with the spending budget as it can cost quite a bit.

For drinks etc they will be much cheaper to buy at the baqala than getting them from the supermarkets. I can’t remember the last time I stocked up on drinks from lulus or the sultan centre. There is just no need.

When ordering deliveries

Try to get things that will last over a few days such as rice etc that won’t need to be thrown away the same day. Things like this are great for taking to work the next day.

A great thing I’ve started doing is getting the wraps from Zaatar w Zeit that come in 4 slices.

Ordering things like pizza all the time you’re not really going to want to use the next day, well not for me that’s for sure!

Buy things that you actually need and not always want

We all do this from time to time but really try to get into the habit in getting the essentials before the less important things. For example, me buying a sofa this month was considered essential for me however I’ve waited a while on certain other things such as a TV and unit etc that I know I don’t necessarily need right now as I have my laptop to use.

Having said that, it’s important to treat yourself every now and then as it’s a great form of self care and love, especially when living out in a foreign country when times can get hard. A new thing for me has been getting my nails done. Though it’s not essential it makes me happy and in my eyes is worth it 😀

I would love to be able to get my hair done every month too but I have to be realistic on the cost and decide which one is more important to me.

Taxis in the street will help you a lot!

I know people like to say use careem, whilst yes it is a good idea during this weather as you may not want to stand outside waiting for one, but honestly outside of this month, leave it to the more secluded areas where hailing a taxi down isn’t as easy.

Careem IS more expensive and I still stand by this. Whilst yes it does help speaking Arabic, even for those who don’t speak it, once you know the correct prices you stick to that. Most of the time they will take you regardless of them first putting up a fight and refusing…(as long as you are saying the correct amount of course)

Like I said I rarely spend more than 2kd to get to places and that’s me coming from living near the airport… I still find people who have lived here a considerable amount of years and still paying nearly double the price they need to. It will eat away at your money when it doesn’t need to.

Also if you find a good reliable driver that is another positive too! and much better option than Careem… He won’t try to charge you higher than what you are used to giving him and it will also mean you don’t need to wait around in the sun.

Not going to lie I at least have 30 taxi numbers in my phone, which do on occasion come in handy when I am in more difficult areas such as Murouj etc.

Finally, don’t get caught up on how financially secure others are

This way you will focus on your own goal and stability and will become much more happier in the process. Just because someone saves £1800 every month or so doesn’t mean that should be the same for you.

Set your own goals, discuss even with your parents too if you have a good support network and close relationship.

Focus on what you want out of this and keep that end goal in sight. The more you focus on what you aspire to have the more dedication you will feel in saving money every month.

Let me know what your thoughts are and if there is anything you may want to share as great tips or advice for people trying to save 🙂

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