"Leaving Dubai was one of the hardest decisions of my life. Partly because my husband is still working there and I miss him a lot, but it’s also because I wasn’t ready to leave – it was a decision that was forced on us due to financial pressures. Before we had our son we had two incomes. However, after we became  parents I left work to be a full-time mum and expenses quickly mounted. We tried everything from moving to a cheaper apartment to cutting our budget down, but we still couldn’t make ends meet."

Maria, her son Aayush and husband Anand

"In Dubai we had no extended family living nearby, and we chose not to have a nanny, so I had a lot on my plate with cooking, cleaning and being a full-time mum. Since moving back I now have someone who comes in daily to help with housework and laundry, as well as the cooking, so on the bright side, our lifestyle is less hectic now.

"Our standard of living has also improved. We have a big house with a large garden and having help at home means I’m able to concentrate solely on looking
after Aayush. I also have a lot of family around me, including relatives who live next door, so there are always people willing to help with childcare, which gives me a bit more ‘me’ time, which is something I lacked in Dubai.

"While taxes are high in India, bills are lower. We also spend a lot less on things like groceries, which are considerably cheaper here. Healthcare and education
are other areas where we are saving money, as both are around 50 per cent cheaper. In terms of day-to-day savings, I’ve noticed I’m spending less on activities for Aayush. In Dubai we lived in an apartment so trips to activity centres were a regular thing in order to get him out of the house, but now we have a big house and garden for him to explore, so while I do take him on outings, it’s something we do once in a while, rather than on a daily basis.

Read more: Money-saving tips: How to budget for a family in Dubai

"We are hoping this isn’t a long-term situation and that we can find a way to make it work, either by my husband returning to India or us moving to another country, but for now we are making the best of things. I’m happy to have a wonderful support network of family nearby and it’s great to be able to spend quality time with Aayush without money worries looming."

In India, Aayush now has a garden to play in

The best thing about moving back…
Being able to see my son re-live the childhood I had.
The hardest thing about leaving Dubai…
Leaving my husband, and next to that I miss the excitement of Dubai.
Any regrets…
I wish we’d had the opportunity to live there longer but it wasn’t to be

Read more: Ex-expat: 'Why I regret leaving the UAE'
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