Dubai Life Expenses: A Breakdown of the Cost of Living in Dubai

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Dubai's calling your name, and boy, are you in for a treat! The city's a mesmerizing fusion of futuristic and traditional vibes, ready to charm thrill-seekers from all over the globe. But before you pack your bags, let's talk money.

You need to know the ins and outs of daily expenses, from housing and transport to groceries and fun when planning your move to Dubai. Fear not! We've got your back with a comprehensive breakdown of all the costs that come with living in the heart of Dubai. This guide is your ticket to crafting a budget that works for you and making a seamless transition into the vibrant Dubai lifestyle.

Let’s start with the most common expenses.

Accommodation (Housing)

Dubai's real estate scene is like a colorful buffet, with something for every taste bud and wallet size! Here's a quick peek at average prices for rentals in Dubai:

  • Studio: AED 5,000 - AED 10,000 per month
  • 1-bedroom apartment: AED 8,000 - AED 15,000 per month
  • 2-bedroom apartment: AED 12,000 - AED 20,000 per month
  • 3-bedroom + villa: AED 15,000 - AED 25,000 per month

It’s important to keep in mind that prices shift and slide depending on where you look, what's on offer, and how many people are hunting for the same thing. To find someone that fits your lifestyle and your budget, make sure to explore different neighborhoods and consider long-term rental agreements to save a few coins.

Home Utilities (Bills)

Accompanying accommodation costs are utilities, a crucial aspect of budgeting. Common utility types and their average costs include:

  • Electricity: AED 200 - AED 400 per month
  • Water: AED 50 - AED 100 per month
  • Cooling and heating: AED 150 - AED 300 per month

Understanding your utility usage patterns is essential. Implementing energy-saving practices, such as using energy-efficient appliances and being mindful of water consumption, can contribute to cost savings.

To get a more accurate breakdown of your estimated costs living in Dubai, you can use our cost of living calculator below for free.

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Try the Cost of Living Calculator for Dubai

Transportation (Car versus Metro)

Dubai's well-established public transportation system offers both convenience and affordability. Monthly passes for public transit typically range from AED 350 to AED 500.

Alternatively, you can choose to get around with a car. Is this is your case, you’ll need to factor in fuel costs (AED 400 - AED 600 per month), maintenance, and parking fees (AED 300 - AED 500 per month), plus whatever you need to pay for your car (this depends if you’re renfing or buying).

Opting for public transportation not only reduces individual expenses but also aligns with Dubai's commitment to sustainability. The metro system, in particular, provides efficient connectivity across key areas.

Food (Groceries and Dinning Out)

On average, a couple's monthly grocery bill may range from AED 800 to AED 1,200, depending on where and what they shop. Common groceries and their costs include:

  • Rice (1 kg): AED 8 - AED 15
  • Chicken breasts (1 kg): AED 20 - AED 40
  • Fresh vegetables (per kg): AED 10 - AED 20

Creating a weekly meal plan and exploring local markets can contribute to cost-effective grocery shopping. Additionally, taking advantage of seasonal produce often leads to fresher and more affordable options.

For dining out, there’s a large range of options to choose from, ranging from low-budget to luxury. You can expect to pay the following for a meal out:

  • Local Shawarma stand: AED 10 - AED 20 per person
  • Casual dining restaurant: AED 50 - AED 100 per person
  • Fine dining experience: AED 200 - AED 500 per person

Dubai's culinary scene is not just about lavish experiences. Exploring local eateries and street food vendors can offer authentic tastes at budget-friendly prices.

Chef cooking in a restaurant’s kitchen


Dubai is renowned for its world-class healthcare facilities. Common appointments and their average costs include:

  • General practitioner visit: AED 200 - AED 400
  • Dental check-up: AED 300 - AED 600
  • Specialist consultation: AED 500 - AED 1,000

The final cost you pay for Health appointments depends on the type of insurance you have. Normally, there is co-pay where your insurance pays for part if the healthcare service, and you pay for the other. You can learn more about this under the Healthcare section when you Sign Up to Matutto.

Education (School Costs)

Families considering relocation must factor in education costs. Average costs for primary and secondary schools include:

  • Primary school: AED 20,000 - AED 40,000 per year
  • Secondary school: AED 30,000 - AED 50,000 per year

Understanding the fee structures and potential additional costs for field trips or extracurricular activities is crucial in planning the education budget. You can access our School Finder Tool when you Sign Up.

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Sign Up to find Schools Prices or get help with your School Transfer

Entertainment and Leisure

Depending on your social stamina and interests, you should allocate a monthly budget of AED 500 to AED 1,000 for leisure activities. Here’s some examples of popular things to do in Dubai and their pricing:

  • Visit to Al Fahidi Historic District: Explore the heritage area with its restored buildings, art galleries, and cultural exhibits. Entrance fees range from AED 20 to AED 50.
  • Shopping at one of Dubai’s famous Malls: Indulge in a retail therapy session at iconic malls like The Dubai Mall or Mall of the Emirates. Budget can go as deep as your wallet!
  • Visit JBR Beach: Take a leisurely walk along the picturesque coastline or indulge in a tanning session! This is Free of charge.
  • Cruise in Dubai Marina: Experience a serene cruise offering breathtaking views of the city's skyline. Prices range from AED 150 to AED 300 per person.
Expat enjoying the fountain show at Dubai Mall

Miscellaneous Expenses

Beyond the essentials, consider miscellaneous expenses. These seemingly minor costs contribute to the overall fabric of daily life. Examples of miscellaneous expenses and their costs include:

  • Mobile phone and internet services: AED 200 - AED 400 per month
  • Personal care products: AED 300 - AED 500 per month
  • Gym membership: AED 300 - AED 600 per month
  • Spa treatment: AED 150 - AED 400 per session
  • Clothing and accessories: AED 200 - AED 500 per month

Dubai is a mesmerizing mix of stunning architecture and lively culture, where everyday life is like a never-ending drumbeat. But, if you're planning to plant roots there, you'll want to make sure your wallet is ready for action. From finding a cozy spot to call home, to figuring out the cost of groceries, education, healthcare, and fun, there's a lot to consider.

So, as you prepare for this thrilling new chapter in Dubai, make sure to refer to our Cost of Living Calculator to help you plan your finances.

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