Confession time: most of my phone’s memory is used for photos of my daughter, and I’m sure I’m not the only mum in town who could do with a good edit for 2017. By clearing out some storage you can make room for some apps that could improve life here in the UAE, with regional platforms designed to streamline your spending, make shopping online easier and even score you half-price mini-breaks. Here are a few of my must-haves.
This car service is a game-changer. Simply download, input your credit card details and get ready to ride. There are a number of vehicle options to choose from, with economy, business and max (for big groups) but the one that’s essential for parents is Careem Kids, where the driver arrives with a car seat. At present, they’re only allowed to provide one car seat per car, but you can bring your own if there’s more than one baby travelling. Careem also rewards loyal customers (and lures you back if it’s been a while) with free credit and regular discounts, and you can pay with the credit card linked to your account, cash or Careem credit.
One of the region’s best-loved stores recently launched an app to make shopping online even easier. With everything from Dr Brown bottles to Maxi-Cosi car seats available at your fingertips, you can buy all the essentials, plus clothing, gifts and furniture (which can be assembled for free by BabyShop’s experts). There are frequent sales with massive reductions, free shipping on orders over AED 200, delivery the next business day if you order before 3.30pm from Saturday to Thursday, and Mommy’s Mondays, when you’ll find further sales. You can pay via FastPay, credit card, cash or Shukran points, and there’s a 30-day return policy, either with pick-up or in-store.
Long gone are the days of carrying around a bumper book full of vouchers – today The Entertainer’s app is speedy, streamlined and super easy to use. Not to mention portable. There are numerous options available to help you get buy-one-get-one-free deals across the UAE, with a general Dubai app, Fine Dining, Body and Cheers, covering everything from spa trips and waterparks to cafes and international hotels, and the app will even calculate your savings so far. There are also monthly offers and new deals added all the time, and now you have the option to ‘ping’ vouchers to friends, plus use ‘buy back’ offers that you have already redeemed with your accumulated points. The Entertainer has cleverly teamed up with Careem, so you can book a car to your destination via the app, as well as call ahead for restaurant reservations, or contact the venue via email or messenger.
Determined to be more sensible with your spending in 2017? Me too. There are a lot of free budgeting apps out there, but UAE-based Wally seems to really understand regional users, with simple-to-navigate graphics, and a 360-view on your money; what comes in, what goes out, what you have saved, and what you have budgeted. You can upload receipts, work in AED, set goals, and even export data into Excel, with an easy-to-use interface that allows you to see which areas you’re overspending in. Go forth and save!
Helen Farmer is founder of The Mothership, a blog that takes an honest look at living, working and parenting in the UAE, covering everything from family-friendly activities to real issues facing mums. She has been in the Middle East for 10 years, working in publishing and broadcasting, and has one daughter – and another baby on the way. The Mothership won the Time Out Dubai Kids award for Parent Blog of 2016.