DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, Feb 22: Amy Sessions with her clothes at her home in Mirdif in Dubai. (Pawan Singh / The National) For Personal Finance
Amy Sessions, 26, the editor of an online shopping site in Dubai, has managed to keep her weakness for new clothes within reason.

Lessons from my granddad

My grandad always said it was really important for us to have our own money. He used to be a headmaster at a high school in the UK, so I think he always liked to educate us about finances. My two sisters and I started getting around 50p (Dh2.8) from him when we were old enough to know what it was - sweet money. I'm 26 now, and my sisters are 23 and nearly 20. By the time we hit 18 - when we stopped getting weekly cash ? our pocket money had peaked at around £5 (Dh28) per week.

I grew up in Berkshire, England, and lived there until I was 13. Then my parents split up, and I moved to Devon with my mum. I think we were lucky, as my parents worked for airlines. My dad was a director for Lufthansa, and my mum first worked as cabin crew and later joined the airline's ground staff. They taught us that one of the most important things in life is to see the world, and we had really nice holidays in Italy, Portugal, Japan and Hong Kong.

My granddad would set money challenges for us to earn our holiday spending money. If we knew how to count from one to 10 in the language of the country we were visiting, he'd give us £3. Or we'd get £5 if we learnt three foreign phrases. My first paid job was a hideous paper round. I got £9 a week, and lasted 18 months. My jobs after that included working in the local tea shops and ice cream shops in Devon. I also worked in retail to get the clothing discounts I wanted. These jobs tended to pay around £4 to £7 per hour.

I went to university in 2002. I took a diploma in fashion before I went, and studied English literature for my degree at the University of Reading. To earn money, I worked two days a week and on holidays in the local accessorise store in Reading. I used to work in bars as well. It's fair to say I pretty much put myself through university. To do this, I took out a student loan. Mine was around £3,000 each year for three years. I'm still paying that back. I spent a lot of money on clothes and going out, but I managed to stay out of debt aside from my original loan.

My family helped me as well. My granddad contributed £500 each year towards books.   Around the same time, my granddad gave me money for driving school, but he said that for every lesson that he paid, my mum, dad and I would have to match the amount. So everyone helped. We've always split things a bit like that in my family; you'd get help as long as you made an effort yourself. I graduated in 2005 and worked for three years in the UK interning at magazines and freelancing. Because my internships were unpaid, I went to Japan to teach English as a foreign language. I saved up a few thousand pounds to fund the interning so I could get some experience with fashion magazines.

One of the reasons I came to Dubai in June 2008 was that I got fed up with freelancing in London; the stress of not knowing if I would have a job the following month was too much. My first job here was as a fashion stylist for a magazine called Ahlan. Coming out here was about saving money and getting good experience, and hopefully going back to London with some savings. I never had a credit card until I came to Dubai, and I have only one now because my bank, HSBC, doesn't do debit cards - only ATM or credit cards. I pay the total off in full every month.

It was a shock to pay six months' rent in advance when I came here, and it was the only time I have ever taken out a loan since I was a student. My rent when I arrived in Dubai was Dh3,500 per month. I haven't bought a car; renting one at Dh1,600 isn't the cheapest way of getting around, but it eliminates the stress of buying a banger with all the problems that go with a cheap car, or getting a loan for a newer car and then having to sell it when I leave Dubai.

I was made redundant from my job in February of last year. I was out of work for two months in total, and eventually found a job with Boutique 1 as a style and content editor for its online shopping site. Luckily, I'd saved a bit. Not much, but it was enough to see me through when I wasn't working. The company that made me redundant gave me one month's extra salary, and I was very careful while I was looking for work. I spent those savings on taxis to get to interviews and learning to cook and eat at home.

I even managed to take the cheap holiday to India I'd booked before losing my job - it ended up costing less to live out there for two weeks than here, but it was annoying to have to clear out my savings during that time. I've started saving again, though. I have made myself realise that I've had a year of good fun out here. I've done the brunches, and I've gone out. Now, being more careful doesn't mean I'm missing out. I am just more selective about what I spend my money on. In my student days I would happily buy several items of clothing, only to throw them away a season later. Now I would prefer to go without for a month or two and invest in something nicer.

I would love to be able to leave Dubai with the money for a deposit on a house, or even just enough to buy a new car. In the UK, jobs in fashion aren't well paid, so I worry that this may be my only chance to save for those goals. I don't put aside a fixed amount, but I try to save what I can each month. I have a lot of friends who live beyond their means and are in debt. It's easy to get caught in a trap of keeping up with others, but you have to learn to say no.

I wouldn't say I struggle, despite the fact that I'm not on a huge salary. Lots of my friends in the UK live on their overdrafts at the end of every month. But I have made the decision not to do that. And I don't want to leave Dubai unless I have a better job to go to, because I've worked hard to get to where I am in my career. * As told to Jola Chudy


Edinburgh: November 4 (unchanged)

Bahrain: November 15 (from September 15); second daily service from January 1

Kuwait: November 15 (from September 16)

Mumbai: January 1 (from October 27)

Ahmedabad: January 1 (from October 27)

Colombo: January 2 (from January 1)

Muscat: March 1 (from December 1)

Lyon: March 1 (from December 1)

Bologna: March 1 (from December 1)

Source: Emirates


Round 1: Beat Leolia Jeanjean 6-1, 6-2
Round 2: Beat Naomi Osaka 7-6, 1-6, 7-5
Round 3: Beat Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-2
Round 4: Beat Anastasia Potapova 6-0, 6-0
Quarter-final: Beat Marketa Vondrousova 6-0, 6-2
Semi-final: Beat Coco Gauff 6-2, 6-4
Final: Beat Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-2


July 5, 1994: Jeff Bezos founds Cadabra Inc, which would later be renamed to, because his lawyer misheard the name as 'cadaver'. In its earliest days, the bookstore operated out of a rented garage in Bellevue, Washington

July 16, 1995: Amazon formally opens as an online bookseller. Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought becomes the first item sold on Amazon

1997: Amazon goes public at $18 a share, which has grown about 1,000 per cent at present. Its highest closing price was $197.85 on June 27, 2024

1998: Amazon acquires IMDb, its first major acquisition. It also starts selling CDs and DVDs

2000: Amazon Marketplace opens, allowing people to sell items on the website

2002: Amazon forms what would become Amazon Web Services, opening the platform to all developers. The cloud unit would follow in 2006

2003: Amazon turns in an annual profit of $75 million, the first time it ended a year in the black

2005: Amazon Prime is introduced, its first-ever subscription service that offered US customers free two-day shipping for $79 a year

2006: Amazon Unbox is unveiled, the company's video service that would later morph into Amazon Instant Video and, ultimately, Amazon Video

2007: Amazon's first hardware product, the Kindle e-reader, is introduced; the Fire TV and Fire Phone would come in 2014. Grocery service Amazon Fresh is also started

2009: Amazon introduces Amazon Basics, its in-house label for a variety of products

2010: The foundations for Amazon Studios were laid. Its first original streaming content debuted in 2013

2011: The Amazon Appstore for Google's Android is launched. It is still unavailable on Apple's iOS

2014: The Amazon Echo is launched, a speaker that acts as a personal digital assistant powered by Alexa

2017: Amazon acquires Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, its biggest acquisition

2018: Amazon's market cap briefly crosses the $1 trillion mark, making it, at the time, only the third company to achieve that milestone


Company: Eco Way
Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Electric vehicles
Investors: Bootstrapped with undisclosed funding. Looking to raise funds from outside


Name: SmartCrowd
Started: 2018
Founder: Siddiq Farid and Musfique Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech / PropTech
Initial investment: $650,000
Current number of staff: 35
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Various institutional investors and notable angel investors (500 MENA, Shurooq, Mada, Seedstar, Tricap)

Top 5 concerns globally:

1. Unemployment

2. Spread of infectious diseases

3. Fiscal crises

4. Cyber attacks

5. Profound social instability

Top 5 concerns in the Mena region

1. Energy price shock

2. Fiscal crises

3. Spread of infectious diseases

4. Unmanageable inflation

5. Cyber attacks

Source: World Economic Foundation

Funk Wav Bounces Vol.1
Calvin Harris

UAE medallists at Asian Games 2023

Magomedomar Magomedomarov – Judo – Men’s +100kg
Khaled Al Shehi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -62kg
Faisal Al Ketbi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -85kg
Asma Al Hosani – Jiu-jitsu – Women’s -52kg
Shamma Al Kalbani – Jiu-jitsu – Women’s -63kg
Omar Al Marzooqi – Equestrian – Individual showjumping
Bishrelt Khorloodoi – Judo – Women’s -52kg
Khalid Al Blooshi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -62kg
Mohamed Al Suwaidi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -69kg
Balqees Abdulla – Jiu-jitsu – Women’s -48kg
Hawraa Alajmi – Karate – Women’s kumite -50kg
Ahmed Al Mansoori – Cycling – Men’s omnium
Abdullah Al Marri – Equestrian – Individual showjumping
Team UAE – Equestrian – Team showjumping
Dzhafar Kostoev – Judo – Men’s -100kg
Narmandakh Bayanmunkh – Judo – Men’s -66kg
Grigorian Aram – Judo – Men’s -90kg
Mahdi Al Awlaqi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -77kg
Saeed Al Kubaisi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -85kg
Shamsa Al Ameri – Jiu-jitsu – Women’s -57kg


Stage 3:
1. Einer Rubio (COL) Movistar Team - 4h51’24”
2. Remco Evenepoel (BEL) Soudal Quick-Step - 14"
3. Adam Yates (GBR) UAE Team Emirates - 15"
General classifications:
1. Remco Evenepoel (BEL) Soudal Quick-Step
2. Lucas Plapp (AUS) Ineos Grenaders) - 7"
3. Pello Bilbao (ESP) Bahrain Victorious - 11"


Director: Baz Luhrmann

Stars: Austin Butler, Tom Hanks, Olivia DeJonge

Rating: 4/5


Company name: Revibe
Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
Investors: Flat6Labs, Resonance and various others

The biog

Siblings: five brothers and one sister

Education: Bachelors in Political Science at the University of Minnesota

Interests: Swimming, tennis and the gym

Favourite place: UAE

Favourite packet food on the trip: pasta primavera

What he did to pass the time during the trip: listen to audio books


Name: Xpanceo

Started: 2018

Founders: Roman Axelrod, Valentyn Volkov

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Smart contact lenses, augmented/virtual reality

Funding: $40 million

Investor: Opportunity Venture (Asia)

Company Profile

Company name: Hoopla
Date started: March 2023
Founder: Jacqueline Perrottet
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 10
Investment stage: Pre-seed
Investment required: $500,000

On The Money

Make money work for you with news and expert analysis

      By signing up, I agree to The National's privacy policy
      On The Money