One of the most common questions that get asked with regards to moving to Dubai is the cost of living out here. Depending on who you ask, the answers can vary significantly! Most folks speak from experience, and while that may be accurate to a degree, it isn’t always necessarily true.
It’s no secret that people have a different quality of life that is directly linked to how much they earn while living in the city. As salaries differ from profession to company, so does the lifestyle that people choose to maintain.
In this blog post, we’re going to attempt to answer the question in the most definitive yet objective way possible. If you’ve always wondered what it really cost to live in Dubai, keep reading!
In most cases, the highest cost you will have to bear while living in Dubai is the cost of rent. Despite having the option to own property in Dubai, since the United Arab Emirates doesn’t offer citizenship to its residents, a large majority of people don’t choose to buy a home but rather rent an apartment or a villa.
Dubai has several communities and suburbs, which have grown over the years and continue to develop as the city stretches in all directions. What you end up paying in rent will depend on which of these communities you choose to live in.
For example, a 1BR in International City, which is considered the most inexpensive place to stay, will set you back AED 25-30K a year. ($6,800-8,200, €6,200-7,000, £5,200-6,300)
Similarly, a 1BR apartment in Dubai Marina, one of the most affluent areas of Dubai will set you back anywhere from 50K AED to 120K AED in the best buildings. ($13,600-33,000, €12,500-30,000, £10,500-25,000)
A 2BR villa in Dubai can cost anywhere from AED 60K to AED 120K ($16,500-33,000, €15,500-30,000, £12,500-25,000) depending on which community you pick.
Eating out in Dubai, as we’ll discuss later, can be quite expensive. This is why most folks prefer to cook at home. Either way, the cost of monthly groceries is another common expense you’ll have to bear while you live here.
Some popular items such as milk will cost you AED 12 for 2 Litres. Eggs cost AED 5 for a pack of 6. A loaf of bread also costs AED 5 (500 grams).
All in all, you can expect to pay AED 750-1500 per person in grocery expenses per month depending on your lifestyle. ($200-400, €185-370, £156-312)
Another expense to take into account while staying in Dubai is the cost of utilities. Since the city is a very hot place to live in, for the most part; air conditioning is almost always on at home during 8-9 months of the year. This does have an impact on the cost of electricity.
The average electricity bill for a 2BR 1000 square feet apartment should average at about 1000 AED ($272, €250, £208) per month (lower in winters, higher in summers).
PRO Tip - Some buildings offer ‘chiller free’ apartments where the cost of A/C is covered in rent. It is advisable to opt for such a living arrangement.
When it comes to home WiFi and mobile data plans, Dubai ranks as one of the most expensive cities in the world. You can expect to shell out AED 500-750 ($135-200, €125-185, £105-155) for a home internet pack with television and landline included. Mobile data packs range from AED 150-250 ($40-70, €40-60, £30-50) a month depending on data usage.
When it comes to entertainment and dining out in Dubai, you’re always likely to be spoilt for choice! There is always something to do for everyone on every budget.
For those who enjoy the finer things in life, a brunch (a Dubai Staple!) or dinner at a fancy restaurant should cost in the range of AED 250 ($70, €60, £50) per person with alcohol included.
Speaking of alcohol, a beer at a bar in Dubai runs at about AED 30-50 AED ($8-13, €7-12, £6-10). Cocktails are priced at AED 75-100 ($20-27, €18-25, £15-20).
But there are plenty of great places to eat that cost considerably less! A trip to a mid-end restaurant can cost anywhere between AED 75-150 ($20-40, €18-36, £15-30) for 2 people. With several different cuisines and themed restaurants, the world is your oyster.
If you’re someone who prefers sightseeing, then you can always visit one of the spectacular museums, theme parks, or gardens here. In terms of theme parks, IMG World is one of the best entertainment destinations with mega attractions. The tickets are priced at AED 200-300 ($55-135, €50-75, £40-60).
If you want to feel a little closer to nature, you can always visit the beautiful Miracle Gardens which costs AED 50 ($13, €12, £10) to enter.
Or if you’re a fan of museums, Dubai just opened the doors to the Museum of the Future which serves as an exhibition space for innovative and futuristic ideologies, services, and products. The tickets are priced at AED 145 ($40, €36, £30) per person.
On a budget? You can hang out and window shop at one of the several malls in Dubai such as Dubai Mall, where the entrance is free, or visit the Global Village to see shopping pavilions from all over the world at an entrance fee of only AED 15 ($5, €4, £3).
And finally, if you’re in the mood to catch a movie, a trip to the cinemas will come in at around AED 35-40 ($10, €8.5, £7) per ticket. But beware, snacks at the movies do cause an arm and a leg as is the case everywhere in the world!
Getting around Dubai shouldn’t be a big issue thanks to the well-established transport system. The city boasts a metro, bus routes, water ferries, and readily available taxis.
Do keep in mind that taxis can be quite expensive in Dubai. The metre starts at AED 5, and there is a minimum charge of AED 12 irrespective of how far you go. Besides that, the cost per kilometre travelled is about AED 2.
If you’re on a budget, public transport is your best bet! A one-way pass on metro or bus costs AED 3 - 7.50 ($1-2, €1-2, £1-2) depending on how many ‘zones’ you travel.
The United Arab Emirates usually issues a visa for 2-3 years depending on your employment situation. These visas and national ID come at a cost that can vary from AED 5-10K ($1,360-2,720, €1,250-2,500, £1,050-2,100) for the visa period. However, this expense is usually covered by your employer unless you choose to be self-employed so keep that in mind.
Despite public transport, most people in Dubai choose to have their own vehicle which gives rise to the additional expense of parking. Your apartment building or home will most likely give you a free parking spot, but parking in the city is paid from 8 am - 10 pm, Saturday - Thursday, and costs AED 4 per hour on average.
And finally, if you choose to move to Dubai with kids, education is a massive expense you’ll likely encounter. Schools in Dubai, especially International schools, can cost a pretty penny with annual fees in the range of AED 20-40K ($5,500-11,000, €5,000-10,000, £4,000-8,000) per child.
So there you have it, a detailed breakdown of the costs you’ll likely incur while living in Dubai. Got more questions? Let us know in the comments! That’s it from us at Wise Move . Until next time.
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