The hidden costs of living in the UAE


The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a popular destination for expats from all over the world. The country offers a high standard of living, a stable economy, and a tax-free environment. However, the cost of living in the UAE can be high, especially in major cities like Dubai and Abu Dhabi.


Housing is the biggest expense for most expats in the UAE. Rent prices vary depending on the city and the type of accommodation. In Dubai, a one-bedroom apartment in the city center can cost around AED 5,000 per month (US$1,360). In Abu Dhabi, a similar apartment would cost around AED 4,000 per month (US$1,100).


Food prices in the UAE are generally higher than in other parts of the world. However, there are many affordable options available, especially in local markets. A meal at a mid-range restaurant will cost around AED 100 (US$27). A loaf of bread costs around AED 3 (US$0.80).


Taxis are the most convenient way to get around in the UAE. However, they can be expensive. A taxi ride from the airport to the city center in Dubai will cost around AED 100 (US$27). There are also public buses and metro systems available in major cities. These are more affordable, but they may not be as convenient.


Utilities in the UAE are relatively expensive. Electricity, water, and gas bills can add up to a significant amount each month. A typical electricity bill for a one-bedroom apartment in Dubai would cost around AED 200 (US$54). A water bill would cost around AED 100 (US$27).

Other expenses

Other expenses in the UAE include clothing, entertainment, and healthcare. Clothing prices are similar to those in other parts of the world. A movie ticket costs around AED 50 (US$13). A visit to the doctor will cost around AED 200 (US$54).

Overall cost of living

The overall cost of living in the UAE depends on your lifestyle and spending habits. A single person can live comfortably on a budget of around AED 10,000 (US$2,700) per month. A family of four would need around AED 20,000 (US$5,400) per month.

Tips for saving money

There are a few things you can do to save money on the cost of living in the UAE:

  • Live in a shared apartment or house.
  • Cook at home instead of eating out.
  • Use public transportation instead of taxis.
  • Take advantage of free or discounted activities.
  • Shop around for the best deals on utilities and other services.


The cost of living in the UAE can be high, but it is possible to live comfortably on a budget. By following the tips above, you can save money and make the most of your time in the UAE.

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