Cost of Living in Dubai

Dubai is a land of opportunities and economic emancipation for many global residents. It offers the finer side of life due to its modern infrastructure and advanced transition into the future. Located strategically at a critical junction between the East and the West, Dubai is a hub of commerce, trade, and business. You can find headquarters or regional offices of almost all leading companies here. Such reasons pull several people to Dubai’s shore each year, some for employment, others for business, and many looking to make a fresh start in a new place. Before one’s move, it’s wise to have a realistic idea about the cost of living in Dubai. Knowing what to expect will help you better manage your budget and avoid unpleasant surprises.   

Dubai may be cheaper than its pricier counterparts like London, New York, and Hong Kong. Yet its cost of living is still on the pricier side. That doesn’t go to say that Dubai is not a fantastic place to relocate to. It just means you should do your homework well before your physical move here. Our blog is going to help you with just that. Read on as we break down Dubai’s overall cost of living into essential and additional expenses.   

Essential Costs   

Essential costs are upfront and absolutely necessary for survival and thus, a prime consideration when assessing the cost of living in Dubai. These costs will also contribute towards your significant living expenditure in Dubai. Essential costs can be broken down into the following expenses: 

  • Housing 
  • Utilities 
  • Groceries 
  • Healthcare 
  • Transport 

Additional Costs 

All other costs associated with your stay in Dubai come under additional expenses. There is no limit to how much you can increase your cost of living. And in a city like Dubai, which offers its residents an abundance of entertainment, leisure, and recreational choices, the options are limitless.  

Yet we’ve attempted to club together a few expenditures that, though not essential, are common and will affect your cost of living in Dubai. These are:  

  • Leisure and entertainment  
  • Clothes and Personal Care  
  • Schooling/Child Care  

We’ve provided an item-wise breakdown of prices for each category. Please note that prices are fluid and subject to change depending on time and market conditions.  


The minute you land in Dubai, you need a roof over your head and a place to live in. Your house is your shelter and the first significant expense you should be prepared to make. Fortunately, Dubai has numerous housing options that fit all types of budgets and lifestyles. There are many choices, from studios to apartments and townhouses, from villas to grand mansions.  

Remember that your housing expense entirely depends on where you live in the city, downtown or outside, and the size of your accommodation. Find an approximate monthly rental cost for each type of housing below.  

Further, these prices stand true at the time this is being written.   


Accommodation Type 

 Monthly Rental Cost 

Studio, furnished, in the city center 

AED 5,332 

Studio, furnished, outside city center 

AED 3,192 

1 bed apartment, in city center 

AED 7,084 

1 bed apartment, outside city center 

AED 4,006 

2 bed apartment/townhouse in city center 

AED 8,385 

2 bed apartment/townhouse in city center 

AED 5,804 

3 bed apartment, in city center 


AED 12. 365 


3 bed apartment, outside city center 

AED 7,512 




Once you find housing, your next step should be to arrange for utilities. Basic utilities include electricity, water, heating and cooling, and garbage disposal. Besides the basics, you might require television and internet access and a mobile phone connection.   

Find a breakdown of costs for each of these below. 


Monthly Cost 

Basic (water, electricity, heating, cooling, garbage) for a 2 bed apartment 

AED 729 

Basic (water, electricity, heating, cooling, garbage) for a studio 

AED 503 

Internet 8 Mbps and TV cable 

AED 389 

Prepaid mobile tariff local 

AED 0.54 per minute 

Basic postpaid mobile 

AED 125 



Next to shelter, sustenance is perhaps the most important thing for survival and well-being. Dubai is a multicultural city and is home to a range of nationalities. Hence, plenty of grocery items are available here to cater to various menus and palettes.   

Expect groceries and food items to be your regular or weekly expenditure, and a fair idea of the cost will help you transition better.  

Find below a price breakdown of some basic and essential groceries and food items in Dubai. 



Milk, 1 Litre 

AED 7 

Eggs, dozen 

AED 15 


AED 28 

Bread, 1 loaf 

AED 3.89 

Chicken, whole 

AED 16 

Tomatoes, 1 Kg 

AED 5.30 

Potatoes, 1 Kg 

AED 4.39 

Apples, 1 Kg 

AED 8 

Bananas, dozen 

AED 7 

Rice, 1 Kg 

AED 7.47 

Onion, 1 Kg 

AED 3.5 


AED 6 

Water bottle, 1.5 Litre 

AED 3.25 

Bottle of wine 

AED 60 

Domestic beer, 0.5 Litre 

AED 14 

Imported beer, 0.5 

AED 25 

Cigarettes, Marlboro, 1 pack 

AED 23 



Purchasing healthcare is mandatory for all residents of the UAE. It is a cost you cannot avoid. Rather it is for your own and your family’s benefit and security. In many cases, especially if you relocate to Dubai for work, your employer will sponsor your healthcare. If not, you’re responsible for purchasing a health coverage plan for yourself and your family.  

Dubai is world-renowned for having some of the best medical facilities. There are different insurance plans available. The costs of these vary depending on the coverage. As an estimate, the yearly cost of an essential benefits plan starts at AED 600. In contrast, a comprehensive coverage plan for one individual goes up to AED 5,500 annually.   



If you’re moving to Dubai with children, then childcare or schooling will be one of your basic expenditures – and a major one. Dubai has a variety of top-quality schools that offer different curriculum choices, such as British, American, IB, and Indian. Yet the monthly fee of these international schools is high compared to the local schools.   

Your child’s monthly school fee will vary depending on their grade, kindergarten, primary, or senior. It will also include other additional costs besides the tuition fee. These include uniforms, textbooks, notebooks, stationery, exam fees, and school trips.  

Typically, international school monthly fee ranges from AED 4500 to AED 10,000. Indian schools are comparatively cheaper. Monthly fee for these ranges between AED 3000 to AED 5,500.   

Daycare or kindergarten fees will apply to families with younger children. Daycares are generally private and full-day centers—the fee for these starts at AED 2,810 per month.   



Getting around is another substantial expense to consider when relocating to Dubai. You have plenty of options, from owning your private car to using the Metro, taxi service, or bus. Your choice of transport will primarily be dictated by your home and work location and the kind of access you have. Whether the area you live in has a taxi or metro stop nearby or can only be reached by a private car will determine your transport expenditure.   

Your daily route, budget, and lifestyle choices all affect the type of transport you choose to keep in Dubai and impact your monthly living cost.   

Find below a table of the cost breakdown for different transport options in Dubai. 


Transport Type 


Public transport, monthly pass 

AED 295 – AED 300 

Taxi trip (8km) 

AED 42 

Honda Civic 2023 

AED 124,900 

Kia Picanto 

AED 43,000 

Volkswagon Golf 

AED 94,044 

Ford Bronco 

AED 214,995 

Toyota Yaris 

From AED 61,900 

Toyota Land Cruiser 

AED 297,900 

Nissan Maxima 

AED 129,500 

Gasoline 1 Litre 

AED 3. 54 


Entertainment, Recreation, and Leisure 

Although considered a non-essential or additional cost, entertainment and leisure activities are essential in creating that work-life balance. These allow you to refresh, recharge, and enjoy a wholesome life in Dubai. Further, Dubai is a truly cosmopolitan world city with an energetic and thriving entertainment sector with an array of events and activities happening all the time.   

Refer to the table below for an approximate idea of the cost of some common entertainment options. 



Dinner for two at a fancy restaurant 

Starting at AED 300 

Inexpensive meal for one 

AED 40-50 

Movie ticket for 1 

AED 47 

Theatre tickets for 2 

AED 292 

Cocktail drink 

AED 94 


AED 24 

Gym membership per month for 1  

AED 270 – AED 345 


Clothes, Shoes, and Personal Care 

Once you settle into your new life in Dubai, you’ll quickly realize whatever clothing and personal care items you had brought with you from your home country are not enough or maybe need replacement.   

Buying personal items is a necessary expense that can be hiked or controlled based on your requirements and lifestyle. We attempt to provide a broader price breakdown of some everyday personal items. 



1 pair of jeans from a highstreet store 

AED 243 

1 dress from a high street store  

AED 202 

1 pair of sports shoes 

AED 333 

Off the counter medicines 

AED 25 


AED 41 


AED 20 


AED 16 


AED 20 
Toilet Paper pack  

AED 16 

Salon in city center 

AED 45+ 


Wrap Up 

Ready to move to Dubai? The Emirati city is a fantastic location to relocate to, with its stable economy, relaxed taxation, modern infrastructure, safety, and world-standard healthcare. It is also a cheaper place to live compared to London, New York, and Paris. Yet, a general idea about its cost of living will help you adjust more smoothly to life here and enable you to plan your budget effectively.  

We’ve attempted to provide you with a breakdown of the costs of some of the essential and extra expenditures that will help you during your time here. However, these prices are fluid and subject to change according to the market situation.   

For more information on Dubai living and housing, get in touch with us today.

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