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  • Currency in Dubai
  • Dubai Economy
  • Is Dubai expensive or affordable?
  • Perks of living in Dubai
  • Cons of living in Dubai
  • Living costs in Dubai
  • Housing costs in Dubai
  • Groceries prices in Dubai
  • Cost of transportation and fuel in Dubai
  • Utilities cost in Dubai
  • Healthcare costs in Dubai
  • Education costs in Dubai
  • Restaurants cost in Dubai
  • Entertainment cost in Dubai
  • Shopping in Dubai
  • Dubai lifestyle and culture
  • Best neighborhood to live in Dubai
  • Tips and facts for working in Dubai

Dubai’s transformation from a desert into a city with fascinating attractions and world-class amenities is nothing short of a miracle. It’s interesting to know that Dubai is portrayed as a millionaire’s playground as well as the potential for a lavish lifestyle for some to resist.

Many people think that Dubai, the city of a luxurious lifestyle, is all about spending money with no savings- that is not true. If you get a job offer in Dubai as well as wonder what’s the cost of living in Dubai, this blog is for you. According to people, the overall cost of living in Dubai is higher, but it is because of the penthouse apartments, supercars and glamorized by the media. However, compared to London, Dubai’s living cost is actually 19.16% lower. Granted, there are multiple aspects of life in Dubai to your bank balance, but a realistic frame of mind is also important. Evidently, people had the same idea as 80% of the population of 2.5 million is made up of ex-pats. So, a question arises what makes Dubai a popular choice for relocation and much does it cost to live a comfortable life here?

Currency in Dubai

The official currency in UAE as well as in Dubai is the Dirham, written as AED on currency exchanges. However, it is also commonly abbreviated to Dhs/ DH. There are 100 files in a dirham, it’s the currency that was initially adopted in the Arab.

Notes of Dirham come in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, and 1,000. The writing on the front side of the note is in Arabic. On the other side, it is English. Moreover, 1- and 50-dirham coins are in circulation.

Indirect taxes applicable are as follows:

  • Taxes on utility bills
  • Road toll
  • 10% municipal tax applied to hotels
  • 10% municipal tax applied on entertainment facilities
  • 10% municipal tax on the rent of the commercial space
  • 5% municipal tax on the residential property rent
  • 30% sales tax on alcohol

Dubai Economy

Dubai visitors marvel at the man-made islands adorning the luxury villas. These eccentric creations symbolize the emirate’s economic boom in the mid-2000s. this crisis followed in 2009. In order to keep up with the oil-rich economy, Dubai diversified from the 1950s onwards. It is surprising to know that Dubai has turned its economy into trade, services, ports, and finance, and these were successful. However, a liquidity-fueled binge on tourism and property development left the country in $80 billion in debt.

Many were shocked by the city’s financial crisis. They were wondering how a country in the ‘oil-rich Gulf’ got a such catastrophe. Many think that oil is Dubai’s biggest export. However, it accounts for only 6% of its revenue. Other petroleum-based products make up 60% of exports. Now, the economy has rebounded, with debts being repaid. With property prices surging dramatically, the government has taken a few steps in order to stabilize the property and the economy.

Dubai boasts incredible luxury lifestyle opportunities

No doubt, Dubai’s wealth is built on its oil industry, but this city has diversified its economy. Today, Dubai has multiple strands supporting its strength such as real estate, education, financial services, tourism, and health. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum is the ruler of Dubai. Together with Abu Dhabi, the emirate has veto power over multiple matters of national importance in the legislature.  Due to this, foreign buyers are permitted to own the freehold title to certain property. Another significant reason for living in Dubai is appealing to ex-pats, is the lifestyle that is exceptionally good, especially for Western ex-pats who take advantage of an excellent climate, good education, leisure facilities, a laid-back pace of life and healthcare standards.

Is Dubai Expensive or Affordable?

According to the Mercer cost of living, Dubai is one of the most expensive cities. The city also ranked as the 23rd most expensive destinations. However, it is 25% less expensive than New York City as well as 4% less expensive than Abu Dhabi. Depending on where you are living now, Dubai may look like a bargain.

Perks of Living in Dubai

If you’re considering moving to Dubai, but find yourself in two minds about your move. It’s normal to fret regarding a big life decision. Let’s have a look at some of the positive factors about life in Dubai that put you can mind at ease:

  • A Multicultural Environment

If you love to enjoy meeting and mingling from different parts of the world, Dubai is the right place for you. Dubai is a hub of various cultures. You’ll be surprised to know; that Dubai is home to individuals from more than 200 nationalities. Moreover, 90% of the population of Dubai is made up of expats, just 10% of the population are natives.

  • Unrivalled Infrastructure

Dubai is a leader in terms of modern infrastructure. Despite no taxation, you’ll find the buildings, roads, transportation, as well as more, comparable to most developed nations across the world.

  • No Taxation

It is fascinating to know that UAE doesn’t levy tax on income. The lack of tax is one of the significant reasons why people see Dubai as such an amazing place to work and settle down.

  • Unparalleled Security

Dubai is consistently ranked as one of the safest places. With a negligible rate of crime – both violent and non-violent, it’s not uncommon for finding people out. Moreover, Dubai is also appreciated for being a safe place for women.

  • Tolerant Emirate

Dubai is a tolerant emirate, tolerant of others’ beliefs of life.  Along with this, it is also one of the moderate in terms of applying the rules of Islam.  Expats can buy alcohol in Dubai as well as are allowed to eat and drink during the daylight hours of Ramadan.

The cons of living in Dubai

On the flip side, you must consider some cons of living in Dubai.

  • For newly arrived expatriates, Dubai is a bit of a bureaucratic headache as they have to have licenses for everything.  There is a great need of permit to work and a permit to reside in Dubai.
  • The summer months from May to September are unbearably hot. Many expats take holiday during this period to return home.  You really need to stay indoors in air-conditioned rooms.
  • The traffic situation in Dubai is untenable as well as impact on the lives of those who have to commute.  Although government has programmed for investment into public transport, but if you want to take a drive in Dubai, it may become a lengthy journey.
  • School and housing are incredibly expensive in Dubai.
  • Keep in consideration, there are some governmental censorship on access to websites films, and on SKYPE.  Some expats find it frustrating and restrictive.
  • Working hours can be long. International companies operating in Dubai tend to expect an awful lot from their employees. Because the salaries are higher. By lack of tax they feel- they can have some ownership of their employees.
  • Currently, Dubai is a building site.  There are pockets of calm of tranquility, but there is frenetic and relentless development too. It can make life a little tiring and stressful at times.

Living Cost in Dubai

In order to calculate living costs in Dubai, divide the average costs by expenses on a monthly basis. To help you calculate living costs in Dubai, you can add a list including the cost of each life essential.

Housing Cost in Dubai 

While looking at the average cost of life, housing is one of the significant expenses to keep in consideration. Dubai has wide range of housing options that differ in price based on the size, area, building, compound utilities, and additional services.

For Renters

As you had expected with any city, biggest costs of living in Dubai is the rent. It’s challenging to recommend a ballpark amount of what you expect to pay in rent, considering how it is different based on the areas you choose to stay in. However, but with hug of skyscrapers and communities containing pre-constructed villas, find something that fits your requirements.

For Buyers

Keep in consideration, Dubai’s Real Estate Market is one of the most pontificated one. Despite the ups and downs, investors from all over prefer to invest in Dubai’s property. With that said, purchasing a home in Dubai is an expensive affair. Prices vary drastically depending on where you want to buy ranges from AED 500,000- AED 2,000,000+ for a 2-bedroom apartment.

Groceries Prices in Dubai

While calculating the cost of living in Dubai, you must consider the cost of groceries. Dubai has limitless supermarket options. It would best to take advantage of best deals and offers from local grocery stores or imported products from the US and Europe.

Transportation and fuel Costs in Dubai 

Here’s the good news transportation in Dubai is not an issue since as this city offers one of the best public transport networks in the world. Multiple transportation options are available. People can travel through Metro, Public Buses, Taxis, and Tram. How much does fuel and transportation costs? Let’s have a look at an approximate transportation cost:

  • One-way Ticket (Local Transport): 5.00 AED
  • Monthly Pass (Regular Price): 300.00 AED
  • Taxi Start (Normal Tariff): 12.00 AED
  • Taxi 1km (Normal Tariff): 2.48 AED
  • Taxi 1hour Waiting (Normal Tariff): 30.00 AED
  • Gasoline (1 liter): 2.66 AED

It would be best to reduce the transportation cost by living next to any Metro station. Ensure to get Nol Card that permit you to pay all local transportation options in Dubai.

Metro Fare Dubai

It is fascinating to know that; the Dubai Metro is consisting a red line and a green line linking Dubai from end to end. The metro fare corresponds with different zones varying from AED 3 to AED 7.5 based on the number of zones.

Bus Fare Dubai

Bus Routes in Dubai connect the areas where the metro does not run. With a suitable frequency, bus is an extremely convenient mode of transportation in Dubai. However, the fares are similar to the Dubai Metro.

Dubai Taxis

Numerous government-registered taxi companies are operating in Dubai. In addition to Careem Cabs- an Uber alternative, they are available easily. However, there is a great need to know that taxis are quite expensive with a minimum fee of AED 12, as well as AED 1.82 increments for every KM traveled.


Buying and renting your own vehicle is perhaps the best choice to make. This strategy is best if you are looking to stay in Dubai for the long term. Your apartment building will give you a free parking spot. In the city, the parking is paid from 8 am – 10 pm, Saturday – Thursday.

Utilities Cost in Dubai

Utilities cost in Dubai include Electricity, water, internet, and mobile credit. As compared to other countries, in Dubai these costs are higher. However, if we compare with salary its appropriate:

  •  Basic (Electricity, Cooling, Water, Garbage, Heating,) for 85m2 Apartment: 500 AED – 1,200 AED
  • 1 min. of Prepaid Mobile Tariff Local: 0.30 AED – 0.77 AED
  • Internet (60 Mbps or More, Cable/ADSL, Unlimited Data,): 250 AED – 450 AED

Healthcare Costs in Dubai

Health insurance is mandatory in Dubai. The companies should provide coverage to their employees when the work visa is issued. Along with this, sponsors are also needed to get insurance coverage for their dependents. Most of the companies in Dubai are providing health insurance to employee starting from 1000 AED.

As you are moving to a different climate with different local bugs and health threats, essential steps must be undertaken before the relocation as well as during your stay in Dubai.

Education Cost in Dubai

There are various education curriculums in Dubai. You can easily find the most affordable one as per your needs.

  • Preschool (or Kindergarten), Private, Monthly for a single Child, Full Day: 1000 AED – 4000 AED
  • International Primary School (yearly): 25,000 AED – 75,000 AED

Restaurants cost in Dubai

One of the best things that will leave you spoilt for choice is the food options in Dubai. Dubai is a heaven for every food connoisseur featuring cafes, restaurants, and eateries serving multiple cuisines from all over the world. The best thing about eating out in Dubai is the presence of an outlet for every budget. However, restaurants in Dubai vary from budget restaurants to the most expensive eateries. Eating in Dubai will ring as the following:

  • Meal- Inexpensive Restaurant: 20 AED – 75 AED
  • Meal for 2 People, Three-course, Mid-range Restaurant, 150 AED – 550 AED
  • McDonald’s (or Equivalent Combo Meal): 25 AED – 32 AED
  • Cappuccino (regular): 10 AED – 30 AED

Budget Eats (AED 15-25 Per Person)

  • Allo Beirut
  • Al Mallah
  • Calicut Paragon
  • Ravi Restaurant
  • Raju Omelette

Reasonably Priced (AED 50-75 Per Person)

  • Little Bangkok
  • Wok Boys
  • Taqado Mexican Kitchen
  • Manoushe Street

Fine Dining (AED 150-250+ Per Person)

  • GAIA
  • Carnival by Trèsind
  • ZUMA
  • The main Oyster Bar & Grill

Entertainment cost in Dubai

While considering cost of living in Dubai, entertainment expenses do not categorize as major contributor. Even if your goal is to save money but must keep an amount for entertainment.  However, there is a great need to be aware of cost involved in basic entertainment. For example, a basic dinner out for two is around Dh.170, Tickets to the movies (Dh.85), double ticket to the theatre for the best seats (Dh.544), and dinner for two at an Italian restaurant in expat area (Dh.324).

Keep in consideration, not all entertainment options in Dubai come with a price. You can also enjoy a lot or free attractions like parks, beaches, malls, as well as historical areas. No doubt, Dubai is among top contenders to live-in for ex-pats, on the other hand, it is also one of the most affordable destinations.

Shopping in Dubai

There are limitless malls in Dubai –in fact, the world’s largest mall, Dubai mall exists in Dubai.   You can buy everything from furniture to textiles in the emirate. Dubai’s shopping malls attract people from around the world.

A lot of what you purchase is tax-free. However, importation costs ratchet up what you are paying.  VAT was introduced in 2018 at a rate of 5% excluding healthcare, basic food items, as well as education. It would be best to care while shopping out on a budget.

Dubai Lifestyle and culture

While talking about living in Dubai, time we’re talking about Dubai rather than the emirate as a whole.  It is where the majority of Britons base in the emirate, as well as where they find work.  It is fascinating to know that Dubai city is lifestyle hub for the entire region.

Here are some facts you need to consider before living in Dubai:

  • Adultery is a crime punishable by prison– as is getting into debt and bouncing a cheque.
  • Never drink and drive
  • Never take non-prescribed drugs.
  • Respect the dress code
  • Respect the local religion and traditions
  • There is a great need to understand that during Ramadan you are not allowed to eat or drink in view of local people – it is disrespectful.

Best Neighborhoods in Dubai to live

In Dubai getting around is easy as the city has robust transportation system. However, it’s still a wise move to live closer to work. It will help shorten commute times as well as also help you avoid traffic. Without further ado, let’s discuss some of the best neighborhoods in Dubai:

Dubai Marina

Dubai Marina is considered as one of the most affluent residential neighborhoods. It is home to the Beach at JBR. Enjoy an enviable array of craft markets, waterside cafes, Yacht rental Dubai Marina as well as upscale retail outlets.

Barsha Heights

Barsha Heights- a vibrant residential community in Dubai is home to people from all walks of life. This contemporary district is fully packed with all kind of modern amenities making it one of the ideal choices among ex-pats.

The Greens

The Greens in Dubai is one of the oldest communities. This quaint community is recognized for its landscaped parks. It is also linked to all major areas due to its close proximity to Sheikh Zayed Road.

Jumeirah Lake Towers (JLT)

A remarkably well-developed community- Jumeirah Lake Towers contains more than 80 residential and commercial towers sitting between three man-made lakes.

Business Bay

Business Bay is known as the Central Business District of Dubai. It is located in close proximity to other business avenues as well as the heart of the city- Sheikh Zayed Road. In Dubai, Business Bay is one of the most expensive areas for living.

Tips and facts – working in Dubai

If an employer is relocating you for working in Dubai, you want to negotiate your package.  The cost of living in Dubai is high as there is significant need of accommodation costs, relocation costs, as well as your children’s education costs.

  • If you are looking for work, you can enter on a visit visa in Dubai depending on the nation you herald from.
  • You can also look online to check which recruitment companies can help you to find job in Dubai.
  • There is also need of a labor card. Your employer will have to sponsor your visa in order to live and work here.
  • If you lose your job, you’ll have 30 days for finding another job. Otherwise, you will have to leave Dubai.
  • You cannot change jobs on a whim in Dubai – significantly depending on the level of education you have.

Can I save money in Dubai?

A lot of people ask, is it possible to save money while living in Dubai? The answer is yes. No matter how much your salary is, you can get the best methods that help reduce expenditure. Saving is all in terms of money and how you consider your cash based on your financial goals.

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