Living in Dubai was always one of my dreams. Experiencing the tallest tower in the world (Burj Khalifa) and the most iconic hotel (Burj al Arab), a multitude of opportunities, amazing buildings, lifestyle and everything else in between. Dubai is known as one of the most expensive cities in the world for tourists to visit, but the question is what are the costs to actually live here as an expat?
Whether you’re temporarily relocating or moving to Dubai permanently, it’s helpful to learn what life will cost and the basics of living. You can move for an affordable living or a modern lavish lifestyle — the choice is completely yours to make.
I moved to Dubai in 2014 and am now in my 8th year and this incredible city is now my second home.
A major expense in Dubai is housing, which varies in price depending on the area, size, building or compound, and additional services. In Dubai, rent per month ranges from:
- Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre: 3,500 AED – 7,500 AED
- Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre: 2,300 AED – 5,000 AED
- Apartment (2 bedroom) in City Centre: 7:500AED – 10,000 AED
- Apartment (2 bedroom) Outside of Centre 4,000 AED – 5,000 AED
- Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre: 7,000 AED – 15,000 AED
- Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre: 5,000 AED – 11,000 AED
- Villa (4 bedroom) Outside of Centre: 13,000 AED – 30,000 AED
- Villa (4 bedrooms) in City Centre: 30,000 – 50,000 AED
You should also consider the cost of groceries. Dubai has a great selection of supermarkets, so you can either get the best deals from local supermarkets or import groceries. Here is a list of grocery essentials and their approximate prices:
- Milk (regular), (1 liter): 5.89 AED
- Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g): 4.52 AED
- Rice (white), (1kg): 6.89 AED
- Eggs (regular) (12): 9.52 AED
- Local Cheese (1kg): 33.81 AED
- Chicken Fillets (1kg): 23.33 AED
- Beef Round (1kg) (or Equivalent Back Leg Red Meat): 39.46 AED
- Apples (1kg): 8.11 AED
- Banana (1kg): 6.09 AED
- Oranges (1kg): 5.99 AED
- Tomato (1kg): 4.90 AED
- Potato (1kg): 3.63 AED
- Onion (1kg): 3.04 AED
- Lettuce (1 head): 6.43 AED
- Water (1.5-liter bottle): 2.02 AED
- Cigarettes 20 Pack (Marlboro): 22.00 AED
The fact that Dubai has one of the best public transportation networks in the world means that transportation is never an issue. Residents of Dubai can travel by Metro, Tram, Public Buses, and Taxis.
Have a look at the approximate transportation cost in Dubai:
- One-way Ticket (Local Transport): 7.50 AED
- Monthly Pass (Regular Price): 300.00 AED
- Taxi Start (Normal Tariff): 12.00 AED
- Taxi 1km (Normal Tariff): 2.48 AED
- Taxi 1hour Waiting (Normal Tariff): 30.00 AED
- Gasoline (1 liter): 2.46 AED
According to a recent study, Dubai has the highest utility prices compared to other countries. However, the cost is reasonable in comparison with salaries in Dubai. Utility expenses in Dubai include the following:
- Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage) for 85m2 Apartment: 500 AED – 1,200 AED
- 1 min. of Prepaid Mobile Tariff Local (No Discounts or Plans): 0.30 AED – 0.77 AED
- Internet (60 Mbps or More, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL): 250 AED – 450 AED
Health insurance is mandatory in Dubai, and companies are required to provide it to their employees as soon as the work visa is issued. Sponsors must also provide coverage for resident dependents. Most companies in Dubai provide health insurance to their employees, his wife and children, while if not, the health insurance in Dubai can start from 1000 AED.
There are a variety of restaurants in Dubai, from fast food & budget restaurants to the most expensive Restaurants in Dubai.
- Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant: 30 AED – 75 AED
- Meal for 2 People, Mid-range Restaurant, Three-course: 200 AED – 500 AED
- McMeal at McDonald’s (or Equivalent Combo Meal): 25 AED – 32 AED
- Cappuccino (regular): 10 AED – 30 AED
If you live in Dubai, you can take advantage of many free attractions such as parks, beaches, malls, and historical sites. Even if your goal is to save money, you must keep a certain amount for entertainment.
A Cinema ticket in Dubai will cost you 45 AED per ticket, while GYM fees for 1 adult range from 125 AED – 500 AED per month.
Can I Save Money in Dubai?
You can save money living in Dubai, regardless of how much money you earn. You do this by reducing expenditure and growing your investable income through the most effective methods. Saving is ultimately about what you do with your money and how you decide to invest it.
Please comment below with any specific questions you may have, and I will happily answer them. Thanks for reading.:)
Jennifer Joyce Torres
Recruitment Coordinator @ Pink Camel