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Expats Guide to the Cost of Living in Dubai | Budget, Housing, and Health Care

Living in Dubai

Over the past 12 months, more than 100, 000 people moved to Dubai. As of 2023, there is a total population of 3,604,030 according to the Dubai Statistics Centre. Imagine how big the population is. But wait, this population has even expanded. The expatriate population in UAE in 2023 has reached around 9 million. What’s the reason for this? It’s because of the cost of living in Dubai. 

Yes, many would say that the cost of living in Dubai could be higher than what you expected, but salaries here are generally competitive. That’s why expats love to live in Dubai.

Dubai Living Expenses for Expats | Cost of Living in Dubai

The cost of living in Dubai for expats per month always varies. But most individuals spend an average of $1, 975 for their living expenses. For instance, if you are a family of four, you can have an average of $4, 456, but again, this depends on your daily spending (food, rent, bills, and other expenses). 

Food Expenses 

Most expats and other individuals living in Dubai can spend an average of $451 on food expenses. Each month, they can have an average cost of $1, 172. Food is one aspect of your budget that can lessen your cost of living in Dubai. It’s because groceries in Dubai are less expensive than in other countries, especially when compared to the United States. However, it’s another story if you prefer eating out. Your food expenses may double or triple depending on the restaurant you’re dining in. 

Rent Expenses 

Moreover, based on some research, the cost of rent in Dubai is usually around $1, 193 on average. But you have to note that this depends on what type of property you’re renting. If it’s a villa or a townhouse, then expect to have a higher budget than the usual you have. 

Transportation Expenses 

An expat can spend up to an average of $190 per month. A local transport ticket costs around $2. Expect that you should allocate the mentioned budget. However, the rate is different when you want to grab a taxi for your daily transportation. For example, a taxi ride for 5 miles is around $11.90. If you have your own car, you need to spend at least $.89 for your gas (¼ gallon of gas). 

Cost of Housing in Dubai 

Did you know that the cost of living in Dubai is 49% less expensive than living in New York and also less than 20% cheaper than in Toronto? Yes, you read it right! Plus, the cost of living in Dubai is 35% cheaper than living in London. Who wouldn’t want that, right? 

Dubai’s cost of housing is usually on an average of $2,125, and this is applicable if you’re a family of not more than four. An expat can spend more or less on their allocated budget for the rent depending on their preferences and personal spending.

Most of the expats living in Dubai prefer to buy or rent an apartment. Dubai’s cost of housing also depends on the type of apartments you have: one-bedroom apartments, two-bedroom apartments, three-bedroom apartments, four-bedroom apartments, five-bedroom apartments and penthouses. For instance, if you are staying in a one-bedroom apartment, you can have an average budget of $ 1, 461. If you wish to have more bedrooms, then expect to pay more. 

Cost of Education in Dubai 

Education in Dubai is always serving high quality. Dubai has 67 different universities, and these universities offer different ranges of tuition fees (depending on their programs).

The cost of education in Dubai is somewhat similar to other costs of tuition in other countries. Some universities in Dubai, especially undergraduate programs, usually range from $10, 900 up to $27,000 in one academic year. 

Cost of Healthcare in Dubai 

If moving to a country, one of the biggest concerns of every individual is the cost of healthcare. So if you’re a 50-year-old expat, the best healthcare that you can acquire is a health insurance plan. This costs around $363 per month. 

So how does the cost of healthcare in Dubai benefit you? Well, this covers your maternity, emergency evacuation, and inpatient and outpatient. The health insurance plan has an annual limit of $2, 500,000 (with no deductible). 

However, if you are not yet 50 years old, there are many health insurance plans that you can acquire. The cost of healthcare in Dubai is around $5,269 for a single individual. 

Saving Money in Dubai 

As mentioned, the cost of living in Dubai is cheaper than in New York City, London, and Toronto. So out of your maximum budget, you also need to save even a little, but without compromising your health and lifestyle.

So here’s how you can save money in Dubai:

  • Create a monthly budget, and allocate a budget specifically (food, rent, transportation, insurance plan, and other expenses) – and stick to it 
  • Cook food at home instead of eating at a fancy restaurant 
  • Buy groceries per week, not per month (so you can track weekly expenses)
  • Start investing 
  • Start an emergency fund 
  • Always live on a budget (avoid spending more than your means)

These are some of the best suggestions for saving money in Dubai as an expat. But always remember you won’t see progress in your savings habits if you don’t discipline yourself. 

Expat Life in Dubai

The cost of living in Dubai for expats doesn’t have a specific cost. The suggested costs mentioned in this blog are not a restrictive rule, it’s only a guide for expats to stay on a budget. After all, we all have different needs and wants. 

Aside from the less expensive cost of living in Dubai, Dubai also is one of the safest places to live. Plus, it’s also a low-tax country and offers a high standard of living. Again, the cost of living in Dubai can be high, but the life you have in Dubai is incomparable.

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