Cost Of Living In Dubai, UAE: 11 Expenses To Consider

Cost Of Living In Dubai, UAE: 11 Expenses To Consider

Last updated on September 22nd, 2023 at 01:24 pm

The capital of the Emirate of Dubai and the most populous city in the United Arab Emirates, Dubai is known for its diverse culture, incredible buildings, and its location in the Arabian Desert.

This intriguing city offers a number of fascinating sights, and it also provides a range of work opportunities, as it’s an economic center.

It’s also the heart of one of the wealthiest countries in the world, so prices might be somewhat different from what you’re used to.

Dubai location on a map

Cost of Living in Dubai

On average, a single person can expect to spend about $1,000 per month on living expenses in Dubai, not including rent.

This number jumps to about $3,500 for a family of four, not including rent or a mortgage payment.

In Dubai, the local currency is the AED or Arab Emirati Dirham, which is equal to about $0.27.

1. Housing

Prices for homes and rent fluctuate depending on which part of Dubai you plan to live in. If you want to purchase a house or condo, the average price is about 1,157,335 AED, which is about $315,080.

Rent in Dubai is a little bit higher than in most parts of the United States. A one-bedroom apartment in a popular area can cost between $1,910 and $2,500 per month.

A two-or three-bedroom apartment in the same area costs about $3,350 per month. A one-bedroom apartment in a less expensive area, however, costs between $860 and $1,055 per month.

A three-bedroom apartment in these less luxurious areas costs about $2,070.

Dubai does not have any kind of property tax. When you purchase a home, though, you’ll need to pay a transfer fee.

The fee is usually about 4% of the property’s value, and it’s usually split between the seller and the buyer.

2. Food

Food can be a little bit expensive in Dubai if you plan to eat out for most of your meals. For example, a dinner at a mid-range restaurant that offers three courses is about $40 per person.

An inexpensive restaurant will only cost about $11, though, and a fast food meal costs about $8, on average.

Grocery prices are also somewhat similar to prices throughout the U.S. A dozen eggs cost between $3.50 and $4.50, while a gallon of milk is about $7.

A loaf of bread only costs about $1.36. A bottle of mid-range wine costs around $16. If you want to buy a pound of apples, they’ll only cost you about $1, and a pound of chicken will cost less than $4, usually.

A single person can expect to spend between $350-$400 per month on groceries.

women enjoying dining in a restaurant

3. Transportation

The cost of a monthly car payment in Dubai fluctuates depending on the type of car you’ve purchased, whether it’s new or used, what the interest rate is, how much you put down, and what the loan term is.

However, you can expect to spend about $460 per month on a car payment, which can make owning a car in Dubai pricey.

Car insurance in Dubai usually costs between 1.25% and 3% of the car’s value, but the total cost depends on the plan you choose.

Gasoline is also quite expensive in Dubai. Residents will usually pay about $10 a gallon, although this price fluctuates frequently.

Because owning a car can be so expensive, many people choose to take public transportation instead. Buses are one of the most popular and least expensive options.

Residents can also take a taxi if they need to. A taxi costs about $1.36 per mile. A monthly pass for the Dubai transit system costs, on average, about $92, but you can also buy a one-way ticket for around $1.43.

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4. Healthcare

Dubai is home to four publicly run hospitals, and these hospitals provide comprehensive, quality healthcare. Healthcare is not free in Dubai, but the costs aren’t too expensive.

Most people choose to purchase a health insurance plan. These plans can be adjusted for your particular needs, so they all cost a slightly different amount.

On average, a healthy person can expect to pay about 10,000 AED or around $2,722 per year for one of these plans.

Plans start at about 5,500 AED or about $1,500, though, and can range up to 33,500 AED or $9,120 per year for a family.


Dubai Cost Of Living Table

ExpenseCost
HousingRent 1 bedroom – $1,910 – $2,500/month
Rent 2-3 bedrooms – $3,350/month
Rent 1 bedroom lower end – $860-$1,055/month
Rent 3 bedrooms lower end – $2,070/month
Home purchase – $315,080
Transfer fee – 4%
Property tax – 0
FoodGroceries – $350-$400/month
Fast food – $8/meal
Restaraunt – $11-$40/person
TransportationVehicle loan – $460/month
Insurance – 1.25%-3% vehicle value
Bus tickets – $1.43 each/$92 per month
Gas – $10/gallon
Taxi – $1.36/mile
HealthcareInsurance plan – $1,500-$2,722 /year
Family plan – $9,120/year
TaxesIncome tax – 0
Oil companies pay 55% tax
ChildcareDaycare – $5,445-$15,245/year
EducationCitizens – free
Non-citizens – $3,500-$17,500/year
University – $19,000/year
EntertainmentMovie ticket – $12
Concert ticket – $115
Gym membership – $75-$90/month
Personal Care and ClothingHigh-quality sneakers – $90
Jeans – $70
Casual dress/sweater – $50
Toothpaste – $4
Toilet paper – $3
Internet and PhoneCell phone plan – $10-$55/month
Internet – $95-$100/month
MiscellaneousLaundry detergent – $11
Cleaning supplies – $11
Utilities – $190

5. Taxes

There is no income tax in the UAE, even if you’re not a citizen of the country. You might need to pay taxes for the country you do hold citizenship in, however.

Dubai and the UEA are able to exist without taxing income because the country instead imposes a 55% tax on oil companies. You may also find that some goods or services are taxed.

Items that are bad for your health, such as cigarettes and alcohol, are more heavily taxed than other items.


On average, a single person can expect to spend about $1,000 per month on living expenses in Dubai, not including rent.

measuringstuff.com

6. Childcare

Childcare in Dubai can be a bit expensive. Prices fluctuate on the type of care provided and the daycare or nursery you choose.

For example, all-day daycares cost more than afternoon daycares, and daycares for international children can also cost more. Prices per year for daycare start at about 20,000 AED or about $5,445.

These prices can rise to 56,000 AED or $15,245 per year, per child.

7. Education

Citizens of Dubai will be able to get a free primary and secondary education, but students who are not citizens will need to pay fees for school, whether they attend a public or private school.

These fees can vary depending on which schools you choose, but costs can range from about $3,500 per year to as much as $17,500 per year.

As with elementary, middle, and high school, international students will need to pay fees to attend a university in Dubai, and these fees vary depending on what you want to study and which school you choose.

Costs for university start at around 37,500 AED or about $10,210 per year and can go as high as 70,000 AED or $19,000 per year.

8. Entertainment

There are plenty of things to do in Dubai, including visiting the Dubai Mall. If you want to stop at the movie theater, you can expect to pay about $12 per ticket.

A ticket to catch a show in Dubai can cost around $115, and the average cocktail in the downtown area can cost as much as $25.

If you enjoy sports, you might want to get a gym membership. These usually cost between about $75 and $90 a month.

Dubai Mall at night

9. Personal Care and Clothing

Clothing is somewhat expensive in Dubai. A casual dress or sweater can cost around $50, and a pair of jeans can cost as much as $70. A pair of high-quality sneakers costs about $90.

Personal care items, however, aren’t as expensive. A tube of toothpaste costs about $4, while toilet paper costs about $3 for four rolls.

10. Internet and Phone

One month of internet service in Dubai costs between about $95 and $100. Cell phone plans in Dubai start at only about $10 per month, but they can range as high as $55 per month.

global internet - man using a tablet

11. Miscellaneous Expenses

If you need to pay for utilities, you can expect to spend about $190 per month. Household items, such as laundry detergent, cost around $11, depending on the cleaning product.

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