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The Budget Life – Shopping Edition

The Budget Life – Shopping Edition

The Budget Life – Shopping Edition

Shopping is a big part of living in Dubai, whether you are a student, a tourist or a long-time resident. It is both an experience and activity that is ingrained within the Dubai culture. As a student, you will most likely be on a budget but that doesn’t mean you should miss out on any of the fun! In this blog, I will look at some of the places you can shop at while being on a strict budget. From groceries to your favorite sports shoes, I’ve got them all covered for you!

Outlet Mall

Located only 15 – 20 mins from Dubai International Academic City, the Dubai Outlet Mall provides great offers on various products throughout the year. Most malls in Dubai are packed with high end stores and even the “affordable” places are usually expensive, especially for students. Inside the outlet mall you will find some of the biggest brands such as Nike, Adidas, Levis and more.

The offers range anywhere from 30% – 90% and buy 2 get 1 free offers. Like any other mall in Dubai, you will have access to an enormous food court where you can go, eat and recharge yourself after a long day of shopping!

If you are staying in Uninest, then getting there shouldn’t be a hassle since shuttle buses are provided. You can also check the Roads & Transport Authority (RTA) app for convenient public transport options.

Union Co-operative

Most of the shopping we engage in, comes from a want, rather than a need but we need food to survive. Unlike other costs, cutting down on grocery expenses is usually a challenge because it is a necessity, and to most people cutting down means “buying less”. That shouldn’t be the case.

Union Co-operative offers everything you will expect from a hypermarket and more at a lower price compared to the usual alternatives.

It is located in 14 different regions throughout the UAE with the one in International City just 10 mins away from Academic City and Silicon Oasis.

If you are a student living on your own, Union Co-op will be the perfect place to do your grocery shopping. Although it is tempting to eat out from affordable places, (here are some budget places you can eat from), it is great to buy your groceries and cook for yourself occasionally.

It is worth noting that prices for all items vary from time to time which makes it difficult to quote any price for a specific product, but they are generally up to 30% cheaper than other supermarkets.

Dragon Mart

Located only 15 – 20 mins from Academic City, the Dragon Mart mall has almost 4000 stores that offer products imported by China. You have two options when it comes to purchases, you can either buy from retailers or wholesalers. Dragon Mart is a great place to shop if you are looking for electronics, home appliances or simple clothes for home purposes.

Top items

  1. Electronics: Here in Dragon Mart you can get quality phone chargers for as low as AED 20 and power banks for AED 90 or less. You will also find lots of unique phone cases for amazing prices, usually 50% lower than in other malls.

  2. Casual Wear: If you are looking for casual home wear, Dragon Mart offers you a wide variety of stores that provide good quality clothes at affordable prices, keeping your budget lifestyle in check. Most prices do not exceed AED 50

  3. Accessories: Having accessories as part of your outfit really makes you stand out, whether it’s a nice glimmering necklace, some simple earrings or a casual bracelet. Here in Dragon Mart, you will find lots of stores that sell hand crafted jewelry that look just as good as real.

Worth considering – Baniyas Square

If you are feeling adventurous, head over to Baniyas square located on the green line of the metro heading to the Creek station.

Here you can explore a part of Dubai that you may not see on your Instagram feed, but it is certainly must visit. You can find almost anything here, from portable speakers to leather jackets at amazingly affordable prices. Let me tell you about my personal experience, shopping malls have always been my number one destination for shopping. One day my father bought me a brand-new Nike jacket which I had previously seen in one of the major shopping malls being sold for AED 500. However, to my surprise, he got the jacket for just AED 100! Since then, my friends and I have made Baniyas square our go to shopping destination.

I hope this blog has been helpful to all of you.

Always remember, maintaining a budget lifestyle is not about making sacrifices, it’s about knowing the where, when and how’s of this world. Be smart!


If you have any feedback for me or want to get in touch, contact me on twitter @Ablante_

Ablante Endalkachew, Contributor