Dubai is known for world-class tourism, as well as magnificent destinations, views and cuisine. Dubai is a city in the United Arab Emirates. Dubai has many luxury shops, a very lively nightlife scene and some very ultra-modern architecture.
Living costs have risen quite a bit in the last decade, and many of the efforts that have been made to mitigate the impact that the Global Pandemic has had on the economy have actually caused a decrease in the cost of living in Dubai.
The living expenses that are visited here are basic housing, food, clothing, healthcare and transportation. You need to keep in mind that housing is generally the largest living expenditure there is anywhere. Dubai however, does have a lower cost of living than many places, including many of the big cities in the United States and Canada. The difference ranges up to double-digit percentages compared to many of these other locations.
When it comes to living expenses in Dubai, one must also remember that there is no income tax in Dubai. This is one of the main reasons that ex-pats look at when they are considering moving to Dubai for work and living. Sales tax is another aspect that aids in keeping the cost of living down in Dubai. The sales taxes are minimal if they exist at all. As much as Dubai seems to be a tax haven, don’t plan your move too fast.
The currency that is used in Dubai is called the United Arab Emirate Dirham. The comparison of a Dirham to the United States dollar is as such. $1.00 USD = 3.67 AED. Looking at numbers like this makes it confusing as to how it can be financially beneficial to live in Dubai. What this shows is that it takes more of the Dirham than it does of the Dollar to pay for items.
Expensive or Affordable
Dubai is actually considered a relatively expensive place to live. For ex-pats, Dubai has actually become a contender as far as choices where to live. However, as far as being expensive, Dubai ranked #23 out of #209 destinations.
Debating over whether Dubai is expensive or Affordable depends on the items you feel you need. One can live frugally just as easily in Dubai as anywhere else in the world. The costs of utilities for example will depend on your usage, groceries will depend on whether you want International foods or are happy with the available foods.
Housing Cost in Dubai
The expense of a one-bedroom apartment will cost roughly the same if you rented a place in London or Sydney. However, New York apartment rent can run 50% higher than what you could find in Dubai. There are obviously many other countries where the rental expense is much lower than that of Dubai.
Obviously, if you have a family, the cost of rent for a three-bedroom apartment is roughly double that of a one-bedroom apartment. Just as with other countries, if you choose to move further out of the city centre, the rents may become less expensive.
There is one large expenditure when it comes to renting an apartment or home in Dubai. The landlords can legally request or demand one full year of rental income from the renter before they are able to move in. It is not known if this is the case in any other country. Either way, one year of rent does create a large sum of money that a person would need to come up with at one time.
To make this aspect even more difficult is that as an ex-pat, there may be moving expenses and housing allowance are unable to benefit from this. Through an employer, the housing allowance is given on a monthly basis, versus what the landlord is requesting. For those considering a relocation to Dubai, negotiations over a housing allowance should be a top priority.
For those that want to purchase a home in Dubai, the prices are continuing to rise. This is great for the sellers, but harsh on the buyers. Depending on the area you would like to live in, the home price could reach 1,000,000 AED easily. Finding a home that is further away from the city may be a beneficial idea. The homes that are further out from the city centre will cost slightly less, although this could mean there is a longer commute for employment.
Similar to the majority of locations in the World, in Dubai, one is responsible for their own internet expenses, as well as the gas, electricity and water. To open an account for any of the utilities, there is a deposit requested by the company.
This amount could vary. The monthly expense of utility averages about 1,000 AED. Dubai also has an extremely hot climate, so it could range even higher as the climate makes it difficult to deal with the heat without air conditioning.
Most vegetables and fruits are quite economical in Dubai. However, chicken, beef and cheese are priced quite a bit higher. The average cost of all but the meats and cheese will range from about 10 AED per kilo.
There are international grocers that will be able to supply all the types of cuisines that you may like, want or be missing from back home. This includes French cheeses, Scottish Smoked Salmon and even Russian caviar. These items alone can cost more than your monthly grocery allotment, so be prepared to pay a hefty price.
It is illegal to participate in any form of hunting in Dubai, which leaves you at the mercy of the grocers for the price of meat. Fishing on the other hand has been an acceptable practice for generations. This may help lower the food costs a small amount.
The Public Transportation system in Dubai is phenomenal. You can purchase a monthly pass for 300 AED, or a single ride pass for 5 AED.
There are vehicles available for lease, even on a monthly basis. The cost to lease a vehicle will run you approximately 2500 AED a month, fuel is very reasonable in Dubai at 2 AED per litre.
The cost of purchasing a vehicle will depend on the vehicle you choose. Different makes and models will run higher or lower than others. On average, a brand new car will cost upwards of 250,000 AED.
Restaurants and Entertainment
Street vendors and local cafes represent Dubai and its cuisine wonderfully. They are also some of the best values that can be found. Eating at a small restaurant for a meal will cost approximately the same as having a combo meal at a fast-food restaurant. These locations will cost on average 30 AED per meal.
If, however, you decide date night means a fancier meal than a burger combo you should expect to pay approximately 250 AED per meal. As a reminder, Dubai is known for World Class Cuisine and fine dining. It would be no surprise to spend upwards of 1000 AED on a meal at a nice restaurant.
There are coffee drinks available as well as beer and other alcoholic drinks. The cost of these ranges from 15 to 20 AED for a cappuccino to around 45 to 60 AED for a beer at a hotel.
The cost of a theatre ticket to watch a favourite movie is on average 43 AED.
Minimum Wage in Dubai
The United Arab Emirates has no National minimum wage. Due to this fact, wages and salaries vary widely across Dubai.
As in most other countries, supply and demand factor into the wages paid. Also dependent on Market conditions, the wage is flexible. Especially in the Technology and Hospitality Industries, wages can be substantially higher than in other locations. Manufacturing is the opposite and has some of the worst and lowest wages there are in Dubai.
There is a benefit that is available for non-working residents. This is called the Essential Benefits Plan and is the minimum level of health insurance available. This is what all residents must have unless they can afford a higher level. Some employers will cover a partial cost for employees. There are different levels for different groups, based on age, gender and dependency status. This health insurance comes as an annual plan and the premium varies.
Dubai’s public Medical Health facilities are free for locals, ex-pats can purchase a healthcare card and receive a discount on Medical Care costs. Dubai has instituted legislation that requires all ex-pats to carry private healthcare insurance, this is usually purchased through the employer.
Americans can enter Dubai on a tourist Visa. They can then transfer and obtain a work permit and a Residence Visa. If in the meantime, you find a job opportunity, the employer has the option to sponsor you. You may also be able to open your own business or own at least 25% of a business.
In the UAE, it is illegal to live with a person of the opposite sex, unless it is a close relative or your spouse. You will not be able to move in and reside with your significant other if you are not married when you arrive in Dubai. Minus some regulations that you need to be aware of and be financially prepared for the costs, moving to Dubai could be a financially beneficial move for you and your spouse.