What is the Cost of Living in Dubai?

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The cost of living in any part of the world entirely depends on your choices, lifestyle, and preferences. Dubai is a luxurious, beautiful, vivacious, and fast-growing city. It attracts the attention of millions across the globe for its architectural marvels, numerous sightseeing opportunities, world-class lifestyle, and safe environment. It is a popular area where many people can live, from singles to couples and families. Dubai can offer you a cost-effective or luxurious lifestyle. Here, we will discuss the monthly expenses and the cost of living in Dubai.

We will also present a subtle comparison of the cost of living in Dubai vs Abu Dhabi concerning housing, utilities, food, school, and more! So, whether you plan to open a business in Dubai or apply for a job there, it is essential that you know the average and estimated cost of living in Dubai. Read on to explore the details!

What is the Cost of Living in Dubai

Typical Monthly Expenses in Dubai

The monthly cost of living in Dubai depends on essential expenditures like groceries, housing, education, food, healthcare, and transportation. According to Mercer’s annual Cost of Living Survey for 2021, Dubai ranks 42nd. However, Dubai is making relevant changes to its regulations, especially post-pandemic, to undermine these monthly expenses in Dubai. For a single entity or a family of four, here is an estimate of the cost of living in Dubai in 2022:

    • Single Person AED –  Approximately 3,477.89 (USD 946,88)
    • Family of Four AED – Approximately 11,958.62 (USD 3 255.83)
  • Cost of Accommodation in Dubai

Tracing the average cost of living in Dubai, housing costs are one of the most important expenses. Housing costs depend on what kind of property you live in – owned or rented, and the preferred area of residence. Jumeirah Lakes Towers (JLT), Old Dubai, and Dubai Marina, Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR) are some of Dubai’s most sought-after residential developments, especially for expats. Dubai’s real estate market is available for different budgets, from luxurious villas to comfortable and suave studios.

Rent is higher in wealthy areas like Barsha, Jumeirah, Dubai Marina, and Arabian Ranches. Still, rent-savvy residents can look for budget-friendly accommodation at Dubai Silicon Oasis, Al Nahda, Reem, and Mirdif.

  • Housing

Some of the typical housing rental options in Dubai are: 

Cost of housing in Dubai

Type of Apartment  Approximate Cost of Rent per month
City Centre Apartment (1 bedroom) AED 5,141.89 (USD 1 399.92)
Apartment (1 bedroom) AED 3,281.72 (USD 893.47)
City Centre Apartment (3 bedrooms) AED 9,766.53 (USD 2 659.01)
Apartment (3 bedrooms) AED 6,792.74 (USD 1 849.38)
  • Groceries

Cost of Groceries in Dubai

The cost for groceries depends on the place from where you shop. You can shop for expensive and luxurious at Waitrose or Spinneys or you could shop for groceries at competitive budget-friendly supermarkets like Lulu Hypermarket, Carrefour, or Union Cooperative. Don’t miss out on purchasing groceries available at decent discounts and offers.

  • Other Utilities

The cost of utility includes electricity, water connection (undertaken by DEWA), TV, mobile expenses, and internet charges. The electricity bill wobbles from summer to winter. Your monthly TV and internet plans can cost approximately AED 389 per month and can even go up to AED 1000 or more per month if you opt for premium services. Mobile monthly expenses in Dubai can vary from AED 125 per month to AED 500.

  • Cost of Transportation in Dubai

Cost of Transportation in Dubai

People generally prefer to drive their cars as fuel prices are cheaper in Dubai. Public transport is also a preferred way of commuting in the city. However, the cost of car servicing and insurance could be high, depending on the kind of car you own, which affects your overall monthly expenses in Dubai. You also have to travel to commute by ferries, cabs, public buses, and the metro. An NoI public transport card can cover all important city zones and comes at around AED 350.

  • Cost of Schooling in Dubai

Cost of Schooling in Dubai

In Dubai, you can choose from the British, American, Indian, or IB curriculum for your children’s education. The top schools are expensive, with school fees ranging between AED 4,000 – AED 9,500. The Indian schools are comparatively more affordable, with a monthly expense of approximately AED 2,800 – AED 5,200. This school fee excludes the cost of school transport, trips, stationery and books, uniforms, etc.

  • Cost of Health Insurance in Dubai

It is mandatory to get health insurance. You may have to purchase it if your employer has not provided it for you. Local people in Dubai can avail of these medical services for free, while ex-pats can be eligible for 50% if they have a health card.

Cost of Health Insurance in Dubai

The fees for Health Card is as follows :

    • Expatriate Fee up to 10 years AED 120 (USD 32.67) and from 18 and above – AED 320 (USD 87.12)
    • Nationals Fee up to 10 years – AED 25 (USD 6.81) and from 18 and above – AED 120 (USD 32.67)

The lower-income employees or non-working residents in Dubai can also get an Essential Benefits Plan (EBP) launched in 2014. This is a great way to get access to the minimum level of health insurance. The charges are:

    • Employees : AED 650-725
    • Dependents (aged 0-65) : AED 650
    • Non-working married females (aged 18-45) : AED 1,600
    • Elderly parents : AED 2,500
    • General domestic help : AED 650

Medical insurance premiums start from AED 600 per year and can go up to AED 5,500 per year for a comprehensive plan. For a family of four, it can range from AED 15,000 – AED 20,000 and go as high as AED 70,000 with all comprehensive medical card benefits.

  • Cost of Food and Clothing in Dubai

Food and clothing are not very expensive items in Dubai. The expense is entirely based on the choice and needs of the people living in Dubai. Normally, people don’t like to splurge on eating out or wearing expensive clothes. So, this cost is an individual choice and depends from person to person.

  • Cost of Entertainment in Dubai

Cost of Entertainment in Dubai

There are hundreds of things that you can do in Dubai. You can go for some window-shopping at one of its grand malls, visit fine-dining restaurants, catch a movie at IMAX cinemas, go for adventurous extreme sports, or spend some time with your friends or family at Dubai’s world-famous tourist attractions. The cost for each zone of entertainment is different.

  • Cost of Househelp in Dubai

You can sponsor house help which can cost you around AED 5,500 per annum, along with an extra charge of AED 2,000 refundable deposit to GDRFA. The monthly salary of the house help ranges between AED 1,500 – AED 3,500. You will have to offer full-time maid insurance, food, and accommodation. You can also hire part-time help from maid service agencies in Dubai, who have approximate hourly rates of AED 30 – AED 45 on average.

Cost of Living in Dubai UAE per Month

Let us look at some of the costs that have been discussed above, after which we can bifurcate the cost of living in Dubai for singles, couples, and families:

Grocery Items : 

Grocery Item Approximate Cost
Milk (1 litre) AED 5.80
Loaf of White Bread AED 4.83
White Rice (1 kg) AED 6.87
Eggs (12, Regular) AED 10.65
Cheese (200 g) AED 8.40
Chicken Breast (1 kg) AED 27.72
Apples (1 kg) AED 8.33
Bananas (1 kg) AED 6.76
Oranges (1 kg) AED 6.42
Tomatoes (1 kg) AED 6.37
Potatoes (1 kg) AED 3.76
Onion (1 kg) AED 3.15
Lettuce (1 head) AED 6.67
Jam (370 g) AED 13.35

Cost of Utilities :

Utility Cost
Basic Utilities for 900 sq. ft Apartment (Electricity, Water, Cooling & Garbage) AED 607.96
Basic Internet and TV package AED 389 per month
Premium Internet and TV package AED 1,139+ per month
Basic Mobile Postpaid Plan AED 125 per month
Premium Mobile Postpaid Plan AED 500+ per month

Cost of Transportation :

Transport Service/Product Cost
Petrol (1 litre) AED 2.16 – AED 2.04
Nol Card AED 350 per month
Taxi Fare for 1km AED 2

Cost of School Education :

SCHOOL CURRICULUM FEE RANGE TUITION FEES PER MONTH
GEMS Wellington International School British Expensive AED 5,534
The Winchester School British Affordable AED 1,843
GEMS Modern Academy Indian Expensive AED 4,453
The Millennium School Indian Affordable AED 2,236
Dubai American Academy American Expensive AED 8,626
International School of Arts & Sciences American Affordable AED 2,825
GEMS World Academy International Baccalaureate Expensive AED 9,465
Dubai International Academy, Emirates Hills International Baccalaureate Mid-Range AED 5,283

Cost of Entertainment :

Entertainment Approximate Cost
Single Movie Ticket AED 40
Gym Membership for 1 Month AED 297.57
Meal for One (Affordable) AED 30
Meal for Two (Mid-range) AED 250 – AED 300
Meal for Two (Fine-Dining) AED 500 – AED 1,000

Average Cost of Living In Dubai For Singles

Type of Expense Average Cost (per month)
Housing Studios: AED 2,583 – AED 4,166
Groceries AED 480
Utilities AED 750 – AED 1k
Total AED 3k – AED 5k

Average Cost of Living in Dubai for Couples

Average Cost of Living in Dubai for Couples

Type of Expense Average Cost (per month)
Housing 1 BHK Apt: AED 3,166 – AED 6,250
Groceries AED 960
Utilities AED 1k – AED 1.4k
Total AED 4.5k – AED 9k

Average Cost of Living in Dubai for a Family of Four

Average Cost of Living in Dubai for a Family

Type of Expense Average Cost (per month)
Housing 3 BHK Villa: AED 8,750 – AED 11,666
Groceries AED 1920
Utilities AED 2k – AED 3.5k
Total AED 12k – AED 18k

Cost of Living in Dubai vs Abu Dhabi

Cost of Living in Dubai vs Abu Dhabi

Consumer Prices for people in Dubai are 18.96% higher than in Abu Dhabi (without rent) and 14.90 higher with rent. Rent in Dubai is 9.00% higher, along with restaurant prices which are 34.68% higher than in Abu Dhabi. Groceries in Dubai are 5.98% higher than in Abu Dhabi. The purchasing power is also 13.31% higher in Dubai than in Abu Dhabi.

Let’s take a look at the comparison of the approximate ‘cost of living in Dubai vs Abu Dhabi:

Restaurants Abu Dhabi Dubai
Meal at a Regular Restaurant 30.00 AED 45.00 AED
Meal for 2 People 200.00 AED 300.00 AED
Coffee 17.61 AED 19.57 AED
Coke/Pepsi 3.11 AED 4.57 AED
Water 1.10 AED 2.37 AED
Markets Abu Dhabi Dubai
Milk 6.30 AED 6.65 AED
White Bread 4.74 AED 5.43 AED
KG Rice (white) 6.76 AED 7.26 AED
12 Eggs 10.15 AED 11.81 AED
Local Cheese 33.76 AED 35.60 AED
Chicken Fillets 28.06 AED 29.80 AED
Beef Round 41.02 AED 38.18 AED
Apples 7.92 AED 8.07 AED
Banana 6.22 AED 6.68 AED
Oranges 6.27 AED 6.59 AED
Tomato 5.09 AED 5.84 AED
Potato 3.76 AED 4.03 AED
Onion 3.48 AED 3.34 AED
Lettuce 4.83 AED 5.92 AED
Bottle of Wine 60.00 AED 60.00 AED
Domestic Beer 11.28 AED 12.27 AED
Imported Beer 13.00 AED 23.26 AED
Cigarettes 20 Pack 22.00 AED 22.50 AED
Transportation Abu Dhabi Dubai
One-way Ticket 2.00 AED 6.00 AED
Monthly Pass 80.00 AED 350.00 AED
Taxi 12.00 AED 12.00 AED
Gasoline (1 liter) 3.96 AED 4.10 AED
Volkswagen Golf 1.4 90 KW Trendline (Or Equivalent New Car) 90,000.00 AED 97,500.00 AED
Toyota Corolla Sedan 1.6l 97kW Comfort (Or Equivalent New Car) 75,266.67 AED 77,702.67 AED
Utilities (Monthly) Abu Dhabi Dubai
Basic for 85m2 Apartment 540.80 AED 683.48 AED
1 min. of Prepaid Mobile Tariff Local 0.58 AED 0.58 AED
Internet 377.37 AED 359.02 AED
Sports And Leisure Abu Dhabi Dubai
Fitness Club 249.14 AED 277.69 AED
Tennis Court Rent (1 Hour on Weekend) 120.00 AED 139.58 AED
Cinema – 1 Seat 45.00 AED 47.00 AED
Childcare Abu Dhabi Dubai
Preschool (or Kindergarten), Full Day, Private, Monthly for 1 Child 2,134.13 AED 2,731.01 AED
International Primary School, Yearly for 1 Child 34,118.75 AED 42,616.67 AED
Clothing And Shoes Abu Dhabi Dubai
1 Pair of Jeans 179.52 AED 240.92 AED
1 Summer Dress in a Chain Shopping Store  150.74 AED 206.71 AED
1 Pair of Nike Running Shoes 308.63 AED 312.12 AED
1 Pair of Men Leather Business Shoes 308.09 AED 324.74 AED
Rent Per Month Abu Dhabi Dubai
City Centre Apartment (1 bedroom) 5,874.04 AED 6,481.95 AED
Apartment (1 bedroom) 3,859.34 AED 3,741.10 AED
City Centre Apartment (3 bedrooms) 9,262.10 AED 11,293.17 AED
Apartment (3 bedrooms) 7,233.20 AED 7,071.70 AED
Buy Apartment Price Abu Dhabi Dubai
Price per Square Metre to Purchase an Apartment in City Centre 11,881.07 AED 13,772.86 AED
Price per Square Metre to Purchase an Apartment Outside of Centre 10,441.61 AED 8,730.00 AED
Salaries And Financing Abu Dhabi Dubai
Average Monthly Net Salary (After Tax) 12,507.79 AED 16,284.24 AED
Mortgage Interest Rate in Percentages (%), Yearly, for 20 Years Fixed-Rate 4.27 3.89

In Conclusion

Living in Dubai is a dream for many, but several people have questions regarding the monthly expenses in Dubai. This article was all about a generic and estimated cost of living in Dubai in 2022 which will give you an approximate idea of how you can financially manage your stay in Dubai.

You can discover more by speaking to the professionals about the accurate costs, but at the end of the day financial liabilities and the cost of living in Dubai entirely depends on your choice and needs.

Some more Useful Articles for You : 

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Frequently Asked Question (FAQs)

Do you need to learn Arabic in Dubai?

It is not mandatory to learn Arabic in Dubai, but knowing the language has several advantages. You learn about UAE's culture and it becomes easy for you to interact and communicate with the locals, ensuring a better living experience in the country.

Is it too hot in Dubai, UAE?

It can get scorching hot in Dubai, where the average daytime temperatures can reach 40°C and climb to 43°C - 48°C in the peak summer months (April to September.)

What is the average cost of living in Dubai?

The average cost of living in Dubai for a single person without rent is approximately AED 3,477.89 or USD 946,88, and for a family of four, it is approximately AED 11,958.62 or USD 3 255.83.

What things are expensive in Dubai?

Some of the most expensive things to buy in Dubai are cars, gold, hotel stays, clothes, etc.

What things are cheap in Dubai?

Some of the most reasonable things you can buy in Dubai are chocolates, Dubai Dates, Coffee, Attar, Gold, etc.

How easy or hard is it to obtain a driving license in Dubai?

You need to take classes to pass the Dubai driving licence test. The process is easy but quite vigilant and rigorous. If you cannot clear the test on the first attempt, you would have to undertake 7 additional extensive training sessions before you can appear for the Dubai driving test again. You will need to log a traffic file at Dubai’s registered driving centre along with your Emirates ID, passport, photographs, NOC, and eye test report.

Zilpha Rodrigues Baker by day and writer by night, Zilpha enjoys tackling the unknown and simplifying the complex. A voracious reader with a keen attention to detail, she hopes to fulfill her dream of publishing a cookbook and meeting her idol, Shah Rukh Khan. With a heart of gold and the right amount of spice, she is a force to be reckoned with. Also, she makes bomb cheesecakes.
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