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Veronica is a certified Digital Marketer, serial traveler, MIndfulness & Tech junkie. She lives the digital nomad life, and runs her digital marketing business remotely from beautiful islands and exotic locations and loves helping women achieve the same dream!
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Even if I believe “The city of Gold” is the place to be (hello!: excellent cuisine, mesmerizing architecture, and gorgeous beaches), the biggest setback is: living expenses in Dubai!
But, not to fear! With the proper planning, you can live a comfortable life and still enjoy yourself. Let me give you an idea of how much living expenses in Dubai are and what you should expect when it comes to costs.
When budgeting living expenses in Dubai you want to start by looking at housing. You’ve got two choices:
-A long-term rental is a good option if you want to stay in Dubai for a year or longer.
The amount you will pay for a one-bedroom apartment can vary from a monthly charge of US$ 626 in the suburbs to an average of US$1500 for a studio apartment in the downtown area.
The price varies exponentially depending on the area where you decide to live.
Living expenses in Dubai get a little higher depending on the area where you decide to live.
Utilities should also be considered in your search for an affordable budget!
Generally, you should add around US$ 200 to your monthly budget when calculating living expenses in Dubai.
I’ll break down the utilities of my living expenses in Dubai:
If you’re going for a long-term rental, keep in mind the following fees you’ll need to pay for:
Also, you should consider that long-term rent is paid in cheques.
This means landlords ask for 1 to (if you’re lucky) 12 cheques per year.
Suppose you have the money to pay upfront. In that case, you can negotiate your rent price if you offer to pay in fewer cheques; a pretty cool wait to dial down your living expenses in Dubai!
A short-term rental is a perfect option for digital nomads. Still, you won’t find anything lower than a studio for US$1000 per month, with bills included, which is a plus!
The problem with this is that apartments in more of a central area are considerably higher. So if you choose to go for a cheaper rental option, you’ll have to stay.
Tip! You can pay monthly for short-term rentals and use apps such as Airbnb or booking.com for hotel apartments, which sometimes have good deals!
You can also check Dubizzle.com or propertyfinder.ae to look for both long and short-term rentals. There are plenty of options there to keep your living expenses in Dubai within budget!
You’ve got: buses and the metro, which can cost from US$1 to US$ 5.
To be honest, some areas may require you to take a combination of buses and metro to get to your final destination.
And, unless you are staying by a metro station, it can take a long time to get from A to B. For details on the Dubai rail system, click here.
If you think that Uber is cheaper than a taxi, think again: you won’t be saving on living expenses in Dubai if you Uber your way around the city!
You see, Uber (and Careem, which is Uber’s competitor) are private companies. This means your driver won’t be a regular person trying to make extra cash: it’ll be an actual professional driver wearing a suit!
And you actually pay for that!
Let me show you real quick I won’t include Careem because its base fare is double the Uber one):
Renting a car may be your best option to lower your living expenses in Dubai, depending on how much you will move around and where you will be staying.
The cheapest rental fee I’ve found so far is US$435 for a Nissan Sunny, and this doesn’t include tolls! So do your math and decide what is best to keep your living expenses in Dubai to a minimum.
Something I found really cool was the option to rent a car on the go!
Two companies that offer this service are Udrive (website) and Ekar (website).
The way it works is that you find a car near you on the app, and you select it and rent it, paying only for the amount of time you use it. As simple as that!
The fares per minute are:
There are options to rent the car daily, weekly, and even monthly. But this is definitely going to increase your living expenses in Dubai because this service is more expensive than renting a car from a traditional rental car company.
Tip! You should know that you may not find many of these cars parked around, depending on where you live. If you are planning to rent an apartment and are considering the sharing car option, download the app and check if there are cars usually available in the area!
Carrefour is my supermarket of choice! We usually spend around US$130 weekly for two people. If you prefer organic veggies and meat, it will reflect in your living expenses in Dubai!
Different online markets deliver organic food for a reasonable price, like Vegberry or Kibsons (websites). I don’t recommend you go to organic markets in Dubai because they are super expensive. Online shopping is the way to go!
Let me be blunt: if you want to go out and live the Dubai life: it’ll cost you.
Just for perspective: a beer in Dubai can cost US$10, and I’m not even talking about craft super fancy beer.
If you are past your partying days (like myself!), you probably like low-key dinners! Then dining and wining to your living expenses in Dubai, a dinner for 2 (3-course meal with one drink each) at a mid-range restaurant will cost around US$150.
It really does depend on where you go!
Tip! Look for deals on timeoutdubai.com
Tuesdays are ladies’ nights, so you get tons of free drinks and discounted food prices around the city!
Dubai is a fitness-junkie paradise!
There are so many great fitness classes, super innovative and fun. I’m a big soul-cycling and pilates fan, so I always factor those in when calculating my living expenses in Dubai.
A single fitness or mindfulness (meditation) class is around US$40, but you can get better deals if you buy packages.
Gym memberships (with no classes) start at US$40.
Tip! If you’re a gym rat, try and find a building with a nice gym: there are plenty here! That will save you a few extra bucks.
Dubai isn’t the cheapest place to live in, but it is well worth it!
You can live comfortably if you allocate US$2000 (minimum) to your living expenses in Dubai.
But, as it often happens: that depends on how much you are willing to compromise on to stick to this budget, the place you choose to live in, and the outings you decide to do.
There are many activities that you can do in Dubai for free.
You can read about them in my previous blog post 5 Places To Visit When In Dubai On a Budget
Would you consider moving to this beautiful city? Leave a comment below with your thoughts!