Through the eyes of a child

We had some errands to do in Dubai and I was not keen on driving back and forth from Abu Dhabi . So we decided to stay overnight in one of the budget hotels in Al Barsha area.

The hotel has the exit signs in the corridors every few feet away and the signs are really noticeable. It is for safety reasons for sure in case there’s any emergencies like fire.

Frugal Expat_Exit Sign

My son, who will turn three years old this September, saw this exit sign every time we were in the corridor. He  would then insist that we run and follow the direction of the arrow like the man in the exit sign. Open-mouthed smile

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Focusing on my goals

I am not giving up my desire to be an entrepreneur. Now I have even more compelling reasons to materialize this goal.

Sometimes when I am feed up with my work – dealing with the same sort of shit day in and day out, five days a week – I remind myself why I am still keeping my day job.

I need my monthly pay cheque because I still haven’t reached my desired emergency fund and I need to save more for my business funds.

I illustrated the reasons as why I wanted to venture in various businesses. When I am down and wish to leave the corporate workforce, I look at this illustration.


I would like to start a side business while I keeping a full time job. Testing the water as they say. I don’t dream of becoming a filthy rich, just enough to live comfortably and to have more in order to give more.

And most importantly – to live a quality life with my family.

Infographic: Second Passport by Descent (by

I was contacted and given a permission to feature this interesting infographic.

Second Passport, an infographic from




Frugal Expat blog is featured in FACT Abu Dhabi Magazine, June 2014 edition


My email yesterday was bombarded with Twitter notice – a tweet where Frugal Expat is mentioned.

Then there’s one more message – an FB link about their interview with some of the city bloggers.

Keen and excited, I hurriedly followed the link.

I remember this publication. They contacted me somewhere in March this year but I was not keen on revealing my real name and submitting my photo.

If you are interested, here’s the link , page 28. Unfortunately, they referred the wrong author’s name in the article. I am not Michelle. Sad smile

Anyway, still many thanks to FACT Abu Dhabi Magazine for mentioning Frugal Expat in their June 2014 edition.

Our flat rental this year

flat-rents-in-abu-dhabi_thumbOur flat is due for renewal this August and to tell you honestly I had been worried about it. Removing the rental cap this year, it means our landlord can hike the rents at any rate. I wrote about it earlier here.

I spoke to one acquaintance last week and we discussed about flat rental cost in Abu Dhabi. She told me that for this year, their flat rental increased by AED 10,000 more.

So last month I had been an annoyance to our ‘nator’. In general ‘nators’ are sort of building in charge. You run to them for any maintenance related issues. They are also referred as the ‘watchman’ because other nators are the ‘eyes and ears’ of the landlords. They watch out those problematic tenants and they somehow ensure the security of the building also.

You can read more about my experience with ‘nator’ here.

Our building nator is also working like the landlord’s secretary. That’s the reason I was chasing him. He is very nice and kind though compared to the nators.

At first the nator told me that the rent would be AED 5,000 more. Then he came back saying he would convince the landlord to keep the same rent.

I can say that we are already settled in our flat, a home that I can call in this foreign land. I am not keen on shifting to new accommodation again. Just a mere thought about it, if ever there’s a need to move again,  is a headache already.

And last week, we finally received our new tenancy contract or rental agreement. I am very happy because the rent is the same. It is really a great relief!

Accommodation is really a major living expense for our family here in Abu Dhabi because we have only housing allowance. I have been praying that my hubby will land a job soon with an employment package that includes 2-bedroom flat.

Housing allowance is incorporated in the monthly salary but flat rentals are either payable in one or two payments. Somehow you have to draw this lump sum amount to be able to rent a flat here in Abu Dhabi.

That’s why some expats take personal loans from the bank to pay the accommodation rent. We are lucky because my housing allowance is given annually on lump sum basis. It is really a big help.

Frugal Weekend Escapade in Cove Rotana Resort, Ras Al Khaimah


Cove Rotana Resort

(Cove Rotana Resort in Ras Al Khaimah)

I decided to treat my Mum and sister last weekend for two reasons. It was my sister’s birthday last 11 June and my Mum’s vacation here in UAE will be over soon.

I know that I will be shelling out some money but still I opted to go. Anyway, this is what I personally call ‘occasional treat’ but it doesn’t mean an all out splurging.

Our weekend escapade was still confined somehow in a frugal manner.

To get a cheaper hotel price, I phoned by best friend to get me a ‘family and friends’ room rate. I wrote about this before – How do I get cheap hotel price or sometimes free night stays?

Honestly, I was not very optimistic that my best friend would find availability for family and friends rate because I was requesting for a weekend wherein leisure hotels like Cove Rotana Resort are most of the time fully booked.

Anyway, I was lucky and I got the booking confirmation in less than 15 minutes. The room rate was very reasonable considering that it was inclusive of buffet breakfast for two persons.

There are many hotels to choose really but still I opted for Cove Rotana because I liked this resort. I fell in love with this property when I visited it first in 2009.

It is a beautiful resort really.

We really enjoyed our weekend in Cove Rotana. It felt good to pamper my Mum once in a while.

Cove Rotana

A trip to Emirates Park Zoo

Emirates Park Zoo

When you have kids, the choice to go to children friendly places comes by default. And that’s exactly what happen to our first day of long weekend.

We supposed to leave after lunch like one or two in the afternoon but with the scorching summer heat, we decided to leave later.

Another reason too was we were very tired. On Thursday evening like past nine, we drove to Dubai to pick-up my sister and some of her stuff, then drove back again to Abu Dhabi. We reached home at past one in the morning.

Anyway, we started our trip to Emirates Park Zoo at around 5.30pm from home. I searched for the driving location earlier but it was not really clear. All I know is that I oftentimes see this ‘Emirates Park Zoo’ sign when we are driving to Dubai.

So we decided to take the Mussafah bridge going to Dubai. I was not really sure but anyway we hit the road. Then we reached the 34B exit which was like a big u-turn bridge. We drove straight and further, until we saw the first brown signboard ‘Emirates Park Zoo’ on our right side.

We followed the directions and we finally reached the zoo at almost 6.30pm.

First challenge – the parking space. As it was weekend, the parking area was full. It took us awhile to finally find a space to park our car.

As we approached the entrance, it was full of visitors. Some were busy blocking the entrance stairs as they tried to take photos making the entrance door as a backdrop.

I headed to the ticket area and paid the entrance fees.

  • Age 0-2  :  free
  • Age 3-5  :  AED 10
  • Age 6 and above  :  AED 25

And we started our exploration in the Emirates Park Zoo.

They have amphibian and reptiles, ocean park, flamingo park, giraffe park, among others, but what I really liked most was the predators/elephants area.

The good thing about this zoo is the corridors are air conditioned. You will enjoy exploring the area even it is summer time.

But when you explore the section where the camels, chickens and goats are, the smell is not really pleasant.

In general, I think my son enjoyed the trip in Emirates Park Zoo and I would like to visit the place again once the butterfly garden is open.