(Last Updated On: August 6, 2019)
Image of the Dubai Skyline
Dubai Skyline

What Does it Cost For a Month to Live in Dubai

Dubai a tax-free and luxurious glittering city has been always a favorite city among expats around the world.  The major population of UAE is of expats and only 20% population is of Emiratis (Locals). More than 200 nationalities live in UAE and make it in the list of top five favorites among the expats. The cost of living in Dubai isn’t low, but there are some great perks.

For better earnings, saving money, many people from various countries migrate here and therefore I would love to discuss the monthly expenditure to live in Dubai. Planning a monthly budget is very essential and useful too before migrating to a city and it always gives the rough idea to plan our financials.

I have been living in Dubai for several years and therefore love to give you some of my inputs on the cost of living in this beautiful luxurious city of Dubai. I will discuss daily and essential needs, entertainment and other miscellaneous expenditures with all cost break up as per the requirement of a single person to live in Dubai.

Let’s start with the break down of the major costs of living in Dubai.

I will be discussing all the prices in UAE Dirhams (AED)

As of August 6, 2019 1 USD = 3.67 AED

View From My Flat in Dubai
View From My Flat in Dubai

Accommodation Cost (Rentals) in Dubai

Accommodation is the most expensive part of the financial planning of living in Dubai.  Apart from other expenditure, the rentals are the major expense which you will have to pay out here. But Dubai is a fast-growing city with many major developing neighborhoods and therefore you can find ample of varieties in rental houses types and styles. You can choose from villas, apartments, community living, townhouses, etc, in various neighborhoods of Dubai. Well furnished apartments are more expensive than unfurnished ones.

Accommodation Cost For Living in Dubai

City Center

1 Bedroom Semi Furnished Apartment for Rent (In City Center) – Approximately 7000 AED to 8000 AED per month

Outside City Center

Approximately 5000 AED to 7000 AED per month

Transportation Prices in Dubai

Dubai has a very convenient and safe network of public transportation which includes Metro, Trams, Bus and water ferries.  There are many other options like Dubai Taxis, Taxis on call by Uber or Careem. The taxis in Dubai are not very highly-priced and are very safe mode to travel in and around Dubai.  As you have also know Dubai is a city with expensive cars then you can rent a car also.

Dubai Train Station
Metro Train Station in Dubai

Transportation Cost in Dubai

Dubai Monthly Public Transport Pass

250AED (Silver NOL Card)

Minimum 1 Way Ticket to nearest stop through this monthly card

3.00 AED

You can also purchase Gold Card which is like Business class travel in public transport.

Taxi Cost in Dubai

Minimum Normal Tariff – 12 AED. After every kilometer, it charges 2.00AED

Gasoline Price in Dubai

The cost of 1 Liter is approximately 2.50AED

Tolls in Dubai

There are many high-speed toll roads where you have to pay tolls through automatic toll card readers placed on the roof of your car. This toll is known as Salik and is available at all petrol bunks and supermarkets.

Food Prices and Eating Out Expenses in Dubai

You will find all types of restaurants serving varied cuisines from all over the world in Dubai. As Dubai houses many nationalities of the world, so is the food scene. In fact, Dubai is a paradise for food lovers. If you want to save money on food then you can cook at home as you will find a wide range of groceries available at many hyper or supermarkets like Carrefour, Lulu, Al Maya, Spinneys, Choitrams, and Union Coop. The groceries here are very reasonably priced and many of the times these markets run big saving deals too.

Cost Break Out – (Without Alcohol)

Meals at Budget Restaurants

12 AED to 50 AED per person

Meals at Mid-range restaurants

90 AED to 200 AED per person

Meals at Fast-food chain like McDonalds or Pizza Hut

12 AED to 40 AED per person

3-course Dinner for 2 at luxury Italian Restaurant in best localities in Dubai

350 AED to 500 AED.

Check for many restaurants deals on locals apps on Zomato, Talabat, Entertainer, Botim calling app, Groupon as they many times run But 1 meal and Get 1 Free Meal deals.

Restaurant in Dubai
Restaurant in Dubai

Grocery Costs In Dubai

Supermarkets shopping for a month will cost you around 200 AED to 250 AED for a single person and sometimes it also depends on a person’s lifestyle.

As tap water is not advised for drinking then you have to purchase bottled water. The cost of local bottled water (Nestle, Aquafina, Arwa or Masafi) will cost you around 1.50 AED to 2.00 AED for 0.33 liter of the bottle. You also purchase big packs of bottled water or big cans of bottles which are generally 7 AED – 12 AED per one big bottle of 5 gallons.

Drinking Alcohol in Dubai

Alcohol is not banned in Dubai and you will find many of the posh restaurants, bars, and pubs selling liquor. To purchase liquor from shops you need a liquor license in Dubai.  Or you can stock up your liquor from Dubai Duty-Free while arriving at Dubai in very affordable prices. You can only bring 5 liters of alcohol while arriving in Dubai.

Cocktails in Happy Hours at Luxury Pubs or Bars located on expat locations 80 AED. Many restaurants and bars run Ladies Nights on specific nights where Ladies can drink for free (with some limit on drinks).

See also:

Entertainment Cost in Dubai

Dubai has many leisure, entertainment options for all ages and tastes.

Standard Movie Ticket in Dubai

35 AED For specific movies like 3D or 4D, you will have to pay approximately 50 to 200 AED

Entertainment Options Are Part of the Cost of Living in DUbai

Utility Costs in Dubai

Prices for utilities like communication, electricity, and water can be on the higher side in Dubai compared to other Asian countries. 

Within UAE the landline call to landline call is free of cost with standard telephone plan. You can opt for basic telephone plan from basic telephone service providers to get Internet, mobile or phone and Cable connections.  Internet charges are around 250 AED to 500 AED approximately.

Other services like electricity and water supplies from DEWA can cost you around 1200 AED for a small 2BHK apartment. As you all know, Dubai has hot climate and you need air-conditioning throughout the year hence the electricity cost can be high, especially in summer months from May to September where temperature rises up to 45 deg C.

Healthcare Costs in Dubai

Health Care is very expensive part of the cost of living in Dubai if you don’t have a resident Medical Card or Medical Insurance. A basic consultation with your doctor without any insurance can cost you approximately 300 AED. Generally, employers provide a basic health insurance plan to your employees.

Education Expenses in Dubai

Education cost in Dubai is on the higher side and you will find many curriculums taught here. So the basic cost of primary level education will be around 30,000 AED per annum and a go up to 90,000 AED per annum depending on the school amenities and curriculum.

Miscellaneous Costs

As all are knowing that Dubai has got manpower from all over the world with all sorts of experiences, you can hire local manpower to support you in many ways. Like you can hire a private driver, nanny, call a beautician, cook, maid, gardener and many useful resources at your doorstep for very reasonable prices. The cost of maid or helper for 2 hours is approximately 75 AED. You can also hire them on a monthly basis from reputed local agencies for about 5000 AED to 10,000 AED.


The cost of living in Dubai can be high but if well planned then it can be a money savior option too. As salaries are tax-free, you can save a lot while cutting down many unnecessary expenses. You can use public transport which is very reasonably priced, safe and very well maintained instead of buying for expensive cars. Cooking on your own saves a lot as purchase from local groceries with many tempting deals will save a lot of money. Use of public beaches which are very famous too, admiring fountains of Dubai Mall, public gardens for entertainment is always a better idea to connect with locals and feel the true spirit of this beautiful city while saving you lots of money on expensive entertainment.

There are many pros and cons of living in any city but if you find a very safe city with all luxury amenities and welcoming people then Dubai is always my first choice.

This article is written by Yukti Agrawal from Travel with me 24 x 7 and always presents some quirky and offbeat destinations, travel itineraries and hotel reviews around the world on her blog. You can also find much useful information about restaurants in Dubai on her blog. She lived in UAE for several years and at present living in Dubai. Basically a Computer Engineer by education but now a travel blogger because traveling is her passion since childhood and she has traveled across 18 countries.

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