Cost of living in Dubai

Dubai is considered a pretty expensive city to live in.  If you’re planning to visit or come and live in Dubai, you should be well aware of the basic cost of living in Dubai.

Of course, there are always cheaper options to be found while in Dubai and you can always work with a budget, but I’ll outline some of the costs you might come across while here in Dubai.

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General Living Expenses

There are some basic guidelines available that give some insight into how much money you would typically need per month, excluding rent/housing that indicate generally the average cost for different demographics.

Demographic Average cost
Single person (monthly) 3,200 AED (£650)
Single person (yearly) 38,400 AED (£7,800)
University student (monthly) 2,100 AED (£426)
Family of four (monthly) 11,200 AED (£2,275)
Family of four (yearly) 134,400 AED (£27,300)

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Of course, these prices are just a rough estimate.  You can live for less than this is you keep your costs down across the month or you can easily blow this budget in one day.  It would be an amazing day but a hungry month.


Restaurants in Dubai are one of those things where the prices can vary immensely.  You can eat for less than 30 AED (£6) per person at many fast food chains for a full dinner all the way to afternoon tea at the Burj Al Arab for 625 AED (£127) per person.  It’s really up to you how much you choose to spend for dinner.

Typically, you’re looking at:

20-30 AED (£4.50-£6) per person for a fast food restaurant meal, including a drink.  (McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, KFC etc.)

100-250 AED (£20-£50) for two people at a mid-range restaurant (The Cheesecake Factory, TGIF, Applebees, Carluccio’s, P.F. Chang’s etc.)

Then if you’re looking for something a bit more luxurious, well, the sky’s the limit.


Groceries can be a bit tricky as it depends what your closest supermarket will be and what brands you tend to buy.  In general, you can follow the guideline prices below

Item Price
1 Litre of Cow’s Milk 5.50 AED (£1.12)
500g loaf of fresh white bread 5 AED (£1)
12 regular eggs 10.50 AED (£2.15)
1kg Boneless and skinless chicken breast 24 AED (£4.80)
1kg of apples 8.50 AED (£1.75)
1kg of bananas 6.50 AED (£1.25)
1kg of potatoes 4.50 AED (91p)
1.5 litre bottle of water 2 AED (41p)


Of course, you can look for bargains and cheaper brands as well as look for some of the more expensive stuff.  There are always ways to save money, for example, you can buy a watercooler and have water delivered to your door in big 18.9 litre bottles for around 8 AED (£1.63).  That’s around 8p per litre of water.


Public transportation in Dubai is pretty cheap.  The metro is the preferred mode of public transportation in Dubai, with a single ticket giving access to all 5 zones for 6.50 AED (£1.32) or a day pass for around 20 AED (£4).  Taxis are everywhere in Dubai, there are taxi ranks at every mall and you can flag them down off the street pretty easily.  Taxis start at around 12 AED (£2.50) and typically cost around 2 AED (41p) per km.  Due to the design of Dubai’s roads, you’ll usually find that one leg of the journey is cheaper than the other, either going out or coming home will cost less, it’s weird but you get used to it.

Petrol prices in Dubai are very, very low, especially if you’re coming from the UK, petrol prices are around 1.8-2.2 AED (37p-45p) per litre.


Your monthly DEWA (Dubai Electricity and Water Authority) bill depends on a few things.  First of all, there is a housing charge built in that is set at 5% of your annual rent, divided across all 12 months.  This is added to your bill every month and there’s not much you can do about it.  Then your electricity, water usage and cooling charges are billed by their use.  On average, a 1,000 sq ft apartment will cost around 650 AED (£132) per month in bills.  This will be different if your cooling charges are included in your rent, if you are home a lot and use a lot of electricity and water etc.

Property – Rental and Buying

Property prices in Dubai are pretty high, unfortunately.  Rental prices can vary, like most things, but if you find somewhere out of the city centre you can find a nice 1 bedroom apartment for around 5,000 AED (£1,000) per month.  If you want something a bit bigger outside of the city centre, a 3 bedroom apartment looks at around 10,000 AED (£2,000) per month.

If you want to be closer to the action and live in the city centre, you’ll be paying a premium for that.  Rental prices for a 1 bedroom apartment are around 7,500 AED (£1,500) per month and a 3 bedroom apartment will be around 15,000 AED (£3,000) per month.

The purchase price per square foot for apartments outside of the city centre is around 930 AED (£190) per square ft and in the city centre it’s around 1,500 AED (£305) per square ft.