The Cost of Living in Dubai – A Practical Guide


How to Prepare for Living in Dubai

Fail to plan, plan to fail. This is a cliché only because it’s true. You’ll be surprised at the number of people not having the slightest bit of idea what will happen once they’re abroad. Foremost of this is knowing what the cost of living is in Dubai. Researching for it could be a bit overwhelming. Asking around will get you a lot of different answers that would get you more confused than when you started out.

Start with the Math

What are the costs of basic needs? Food, water, and shelter is what you need to focus on in order to come up with a basic budget. Make sure that your employer would provide you with free accommodation since most rentals within the city proper are very expensive. You’ll find that it will eat up more than half of your salary. Consider that a one-bedroom apartment within the city proper is roughly AED (United Arab Emirates Dirham) 7,600 and an average nurse’s salary is AED 8,500. It would not be feasible at all to not have free accommodations or a commensurate compensation.

Day to Day Living

Once you have the issue of housing settled, you can now focus on your daily expenses. Are you the type who likes to eat out? Can you cook? Or are you the type who can burn water? I had a cousin who went to London for two months on an assignment. He had a limited per diem but all he could cook were fried eggs and rice. He doesn’t like eggs anymore.

Take note that a fast food joint meal will be about AED 25.00 a pop, with side dishes and softdrinks, multiplied by three times a day will cost you AED 2,250.00 per month if you don’t know how to cook. Make sure you learn the basics of cooking before you get deployed. At least learn how to operate a rice cooker. This will save you tons of money.

Sample Grocery List

I’ve prepared a sample grocery list with the prevalent market value to give you an idea of how much things cost:

Cost of Living in Dubai

Sample grocery list

This of course, is a rough estimate based on’s figures.

Social Needs

Cost of living in Dubai

Modern human needs – Internet connectivity is an OFW priority

Modern human needs – Internet connectivity is an OFW priority
Since we need to get in touch with our family back home, all OFW’s need to consider how much communications cost. Basic internet costs about AED 300 per month while there are service providers who offer landline and basic cable TV at about AED 460 or less, depending on the bundle you choose.

Plan Ahead!

Now that you have a more solid picture of the basics, you can more accurately compute how much it will cost you to live in Dubai. I haven’t included personal items since they’re, well, personalized. How much you take home at the end of your contract will depend on how well you can budget. Good luck!

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