Mostly Cheap and Affordable

For some reason most people perceive me as one who has a “more than an average” life. This is almost everyone’s first impression and I have no idea where they get it from. I keep thinking how I’ve first met these people which is through other friends. I love showing up in clothes I most comfortable in (that is literally jogging pants, shirt and slippers). I say hi, or sometimes nothing at all. I go about the usually chit chats, then go home after it all. So what on Earth is ever “sosyal” and “hard to reach there”??! Well it beats me. It’s really always been a puzzle where people “read” these perceptions.

I do know that I am utterly clueless when it comes to brands and find myself drawn into thrift shops than big brands with the word “Sale” on their windows. Alright, alright.. sale signs can be quite catchy. But place a thrift shop next to it, I dare not argue where to enter…first! hehe. In fact, I am more amazed to find a myself a pet ant with a ribbon rather than some of the pricey things. Same goes when it comes to my spending. Anything over 20Dhs make me think twice. Funny but true.

For this month’s BFF Series, we agreed on blogging about cheap stuff.

She is also one, as her husband puts it, is "like moth to a flame" when it comes to handicraft stores, sale signs, and thrift shops.
She is also one, as her husband puts it, is “like moth to a flame” when it comes to handicraft stores, sale signs, and thrift shops.




Let’s start where I purchase the goods. 02

1. Daiso – according to my research, Daiso is Japan’s no. 1 have-it-all, price-friendly spot. And according to me, it’s true!!! This shop first appeared in Abu Dhabi not so 5 to 7 years ago and I have been going to this place since. A girl can never have enough organizers, enough little “useful” things, and enough time to roam around in this place. When I go into Daiso, I can keep going round and round the store forever and even if I did not initially need anything in particular, I always end up buying something anyway. Their stuff usually sell AED 7.00 each but there are other items which are priced a little higher but still reasonable.


One of the main items I go to Daiso for is this little thing. I call them Finger Aids. I normally have dry hands and sorting through pages and pages of paper can be a very big task simply because I need find non-gross ways to keep my fingers moist.





2. Tchibo – my version of slightly higher priced Daiso. I think it originated from Germany which made its way here in UAE. For quality, I also think they’re better than Daiso.

3. Saizen – these stores are found in the Philippines. Mostly Japan-made too. I had to include it in the blog for reference because if I’m not in UAE, then I’m in Philippines (with the once-in-a-lifetime exemption that I found myself wildly free in the streets of Singapore with the BFF).

4. DIVISORIA!!! – oh yes! This place deserves capital letters and three exclamation points! It’s a district in central Manila where people like me and the BFF would go gaga for! From the smallest to the largest things, for things for one part of the house to the other, for school, for work, for business, textiles, containers, food… the list goes on forever! This is the place to be. Everything is already cheap, you get them cheaper if you buy them in bulk, and you can even haggle! Warning though, dress down, don’t wear jewelry, wear comfy clothes (especially footwear), bring a trolley or big bag to put in your loot, keep your belongings as close to your body as possible and, if you have a car, park it in a nearly by mall for (a) security and (b) to avoid vendors from selling their things to you for a higher price. Along with the topic of Divisoria are the “Tiangge” which you’ll find in every corner or any place in the Philippines.



1. Splash – here in UAE, Splash is the place to go if you’re looking for trendy clothes of good quality without hurting your budget. They have here all sorts of clothing from casual to semi-formal wear.
2. Surplus – these stores may be found at every SM Supermalls in the Philippines. I really have to include this because it’s a place where most Western quality-rejected brands go but can barely tell what’s wrong with it. Hehe.


Souvenirs from home
Souvenirs from home

Little tip only. Though there are lots of really cheap places to go to in when it comes to getting souvenirs from the Philippines, the Kultura shop in every SM Department Store is very convenient. They have a wide variety of Philippine-made products at friendly prices. It saves one from the hassle of having to so many crowded places to get souvenir items.



No, I’m not buying children! Lol. Being an Aunt to two adorable kids, I needed to find some way to let them have a good time without having to worry about my budget. Kids can be very demanding with everything they see especially if you bring them into arcades and toy stores.

Their parents already bring them into those places so I love exposing them to other activities and the recent cause of our busy schedule me bringing them to parks and they can’t get enough of it. They loooove playing with sand and I let them. It’s good for them – bacteria and all. Hehe.

I just have to pack their extra shirts, tissue, baby wipes, towel, food and water and we’re all set to go! 🙂


Night out
Night out

There was a time when my cousin and I were mainstays at bars. Then we gradually stopped when we realized that we were not getting anything out of it and we also eventually became budget-conscious people. However, once in a while, the feeling does get to us still when we feel like we need to unwind. Hence this picture. Now why on earth would I put expensing bar night pictures in a blog about cheap stuff?!



Haha! That evening we did have enough moolah to afford a night out but we were aware that we were going to put it into waste when we know that we just want to dance but, of course, we need to purchase drinks to not look like gate crashers. Then we figured to have a make-shift bar scene in our house kitchen house! Complete with propos – unopened beer cans. We cued a dance mix courtesy of YouTube, put our cellphone lights on and placed it in a plastic container with green cover, switched off the lights, locked the door, and then our problem was solved!

This was a one-time thing we did and I count is as one of the cheap and affordable ways to have fun.



If it is not produced by Marvel, Pixar, Disney, Harry Potter, or Lord of the Rings, then I’ll settle for a *cough*pirated*cough* version. I used to watch through Movie25 then my brother lovingly taught me how to go about Pirate Bay. Hehe



I think in hobbies, when you’re creative enough, you can use just about anything around you to create something. In my case, I’m in a baking phase.

This place called Lakeland is like the mother ship of all baking tools for those modern, fashionable, custom-made cakes that are now in the market. For someone who is just going to start, the prices of the accessories may come as a bit of a shock. A little 6-piece set of icing nozzles can costs a whopping 95 Dhs!

Then I found this place!


Emirates Discount Market is like a local version of Divisoria. Meaning lots of things can be found in them too and may be bought in bulk but you’ll be going through the goods in clean, air-conditioned space. Hehe. A section of this place is dedicated to baking materials. Not as complete as Lakeland, but the basic things a baker would need. I’ve been wanting to venture into baking but the prices of the materials keep holding me back. That’s why I’m so happy to have found this alternative.


My recent spoils
My recent spoils

1. Special clothes and lingerie nets – from Daiso for Dhs 7.00 each.
2. Plastic bag sealer – got this from Daiso for just Dhs 7.00 plus the cost of 2 AA batteries. I love buying little things when I come across them especially when I see that they may be useful sometime later. And this is one of them. Just a couple days old in my possession.
3. Table-mate II – I saw this product on TV few years ago and though that it would be convenient for someone who’s rarely away from their laptop. My aunt spotted this in Carrefour few weeks ago and told me about and I got for AED 39.00. I do believe it’s a good price. It’s a cool product plus purchasing it on TV would cost me a little more plus shipping. I have no idea what’s the deal with Table-mate I.


Borgsjö Desk
Borgsjö Desk : Don’t ask me about how the word reads. I don’t know. Lol.

I have always wanted a study table (“desk” daw kasi adult na). Feeling busy kasi ako lagi. If I’m not typing, I’ll be writing, or trying to glue things together.

There is a part of Ikea stores called “As Is” which means then stuff you find in there are slightly damaged goods or because it was a display piece, something is slightly chipped, a set may be missing a piece, etc. and you buy then As Is (dents and all). In the case of this desk, it was slightly scratched in the corner. Remember when I mentioned that anything above 20 Dhs make me think twice? I learned from my aunt that if the prices are cut 50% and lower, then grab it!

I earlier saw a display piece in the desk section but it seemed more like a table for AED 110.00. When in Ikea, a 110-dirham table is a good price. But I just went around it and kept on walking thinking that looked expensive for a table. Then I found myself in the As Is section which is located just before the checkout counters. I was looking for a good desk lamp then I saw this! Now THAT’s a desk! I tried to stay with it a while, encouraging and discouraging myself why I should or should not purchase it. Checked the measurement which seemed like it would fit at the foot of my bed, a perfect for place it. The height was ok. The feel was ok. Then I looked at the price tag. It was originally sold at AED 197.50 and because of the barely seen scratch, they were selling it AED 97.50 only! O-M-G! With the wisdom of my budget system, my aunt, and my dream for a desk, I bought it. And now I’m happy. I set it up in my section of the room which I share with our staff and I was right. It fit perfectly. Later did I realize that it matched the wood color of my closet. Now I’m happier.

*Actual picture to follow because my room is still a total wreck!

So there you have it.

Cheap things does not mean you’re stingy but rather know the value of your hard-earned money. I guess once in a while, high-end brands are ok for as long as it’s within the budget limit. After all, we are working to have better and comfortable lives. In this day’s fast-paced lifestyle with everything from rent, to food, to gas rising except our salary (lol) it’s always better to be more practical.

For more even better tips, learn from the expert on thrift shops and money management 🙂 Click the BFF’s blog here.