Dubai is a modern, safe, and economically vibrant city where residents can enjoy a very comfortable lifestyle. It is not without reason that 85% of the emirate’s residents are expatriates.
The very attractive salaries and the cost of living in Dubai are two determining factors that motivate Foreign people to expatriate there.
Discover the monthly budget for living in Dubai by taking into account the main expenses of a single person, a couple, or a family with children.
What is the Cost of Living in Dubai?
Before getting into the nitty-gritty, it is important to know that the official currency in Dubai is the United Arab Emirates dirham (AED or Dh).
One euro is equivalent to approximately 3.98 AED.
The cost of living in Dubai is generally fair. Workers earning an average salary can easily meet all their needs, while enjoying the many entertainment options in Dubai.
The average salary is higher than in Western countries, as the average worker earns AED 21,500/month, which is equivalent to €5,380.
Cost of living in Dubai compared to the USA
Contrary to what most people imagine, Dubai is not a city exclusively reserved for the wealthiest among us.
The cost of living in Dubai is about 14.5%% lower than in the US. The local purchasing power is also higher.
However, one must be careful when talking about the cost of living in Dubai, as there are significant variations between the different areas of the city. The areas closest to the city center and the seaside are very touristy and offer the highest prices.
Average Cost of Living in Dubai: Main Expenses Overview
In order to determine the price of living in Dubai, it is necessary to take into account the average monthly costs of the main expenses.
Housing is the most important monthly expense to consider. Rents are indeed relatively high, especially in the most fashionable areas such as Palm Jumeirah or Dubai Marina.
However, the Dubai real estate market has the advantage of being very dynamic and of offering many apartments for all budgets.
Here is a table showing the average monthly rent for several types of property:
|Type of accommodation||Average monthly rent|
|One bedroom apartment in the city center||5 000 AED|
|One bedroom apartment outside the city center||3 500 AED|
|Three-bedroom apartment downtown||10 000 AED|
|Three-bedroom apartment outside the city center||7 000 AED|
|Water, gas, and electricity||650 AED|
If you prefer to buy an apartment, the average price per square meter is about 3,000 €, or 12,000 AED.
Food and Groceries
Another important aspect to consider when estimating the cost of living in Dubai is the budget allocated to food and groceries. The prices offered by the major supermarket chains are quite reasonable.
However, your lifestyle and food preferences can have a significant impact on your monthly bills. Imported products are very expensive.
Here are some examples of prices in Dubai:
|Mineral water (1.5 liter bottle)||2 AED|
|Milk (1 liter bottle)||5,8 AED|
|Eggs (box of 12)||11,5 AED|
|Bread (500 gr)||4,5 AED|
|White rice (one kilo)||6,9 AED|
|Oranges (one kilo)||6 AED|
|Bananas (one kilo)||6,3 AED|
|Tomatoes (one kilo)||5,5 AED|
|Chicken fillets (one kilo)||25 AED|
|Beef (one kilo)||40 AED|
|Local beer (50 cl)||12 AED|
|Bottle of wine (mid-range)||50 AED|
Dubai has one of the best public transportation systems in the world. Buses, metro, and tramway are punctual, clean, and perfectly safe.
Discover in the table below the average prices of transportation in Dubai:
|Single ticket||5 AED|
|Monthly pass||300 AED|
|Taxi||12 AED for start + 2.48 AED/km|
|Gasoline (one liter)||2,4 AED|
Sports and Leisure
Dubai is full of activities to do on your own, with family or friends: restaurants, cinemas, sports activities or the largest water park in the world.
The location of the activity has a strong impact on prices. It is best to avoid tourist areas in order to benefit from lower prices.
All the most popular attractions in the city are quite expensive due to their tourist appeal.
|Monthly membership in a gym||300 AED|
|Movie ticket||40 AED|
|Classic menu in a fast food restaurant||28 AED|
|Three-course meal in a mid-range restaurant||150 AED per person|
|Three-course meal at a gourmet restaurant||250 à 500 AED per person|
|Day trip to the water park||249 AED per person|
Monthly Budget for Living in Dubai
The monthly budget for living in Dubai depends on many factors:
- The location of your home
- The composition of your household
- Your interests
- Your food preferences
- The benefits you receive in addition to your salary
Taking into account the main expenses detailed above, we can estimate that the average cost of living in Dubai for a single person is about AED 3,500/month excluding rent.
A couple renting a one-bedroom apartment in the city center would therefore need a monthly budget of AED 12,000.
Knowing that the average salary in Dubai is AED 21,500, it is easy to understand why 85% of Dubai’s residents are expatriates.
Monthly budget for living in Dubai with kids
The monthly budget for living in Dubai with kids is naturally larger. A family of four needs to budget at least AED 22,000 per month when living in a three-bedroom apartment in the city center.
This is because of the need for larger accommodation and the cost of schooling for the children. All schools in Dubai are private and require the payment of very expensive tuition fees.
Most expatriates in Dubai decide to send their children to an international school.
Depending on the school and the year your child is enrolled, you can expect to pay between AED 24,000 and AED 100,000 per month.
Dubai is a particularly attractive city for foreigners looking for new horizons. The cost of living is very reasonable compared to the average salary in Dubai that most expatriates earn.