How much money do you need to live in Dubai as an expat in 2024?

A cosmopolitan and dynamic city in the United Arab Emirates, Dubai attracts many foreign professionals seeking new career opportunities and a unique lifestyle every year. But before embarking on your adventure in Dubai, here is some key information on the cost of living in this dazzling metropolis, from housing and food to transportation and entertainment. Make sure to factor in all those elements to consider and establish your monthly budget so that you can fully enjoy your expat life in Dubai.

At Magellan, our aim is to “make expatriation smooth and enjoyable for everyone”. To support you in this new endeavor and related procedures, we are providing you with tips to optimize your expenses.

The cost of housing in Dubai

Housing accounts for a significant part of the monthly expenses in Dubai. Rental prices vary greatly depending on the size, location, and amenities of the property. For example:

  • For a studio: count between 50,000 and 60,000 AED per year (about €1,333 to €1,600 per month);
  • For a single-bedroom apartment: count between 70,000 and 90,000 AED per year (about €1,867 to €2,400 per month);
  • For a two-bedroom apartment: count between 90,000 and 120,000 AED per year (about €2,400 to €3,200 per month);
  • For a three-bedroom apartment: count between 120,000 and 200,000 AED per year (about €3,200 to €5,333 per month);

However, keep in mind that these are indicative prices that can fluctuate according to market trends.

Budgeting your daily expenses: Food, transportation, and leisure

Other daily expenses to be considered to establish your monthly budget in Dubai are the following:


Food prices are relatively stable. You will pay about 5 AED for a liter of milk, 5 AED for 500 g of bread, 10 AED for 1 kg of rice, and 25 AED for 1 kg of chicken.


Public transportation in Dubai is safe, punctual, and affordable. A single trip ticket costs between 2 and 5 AED (about €0.50 to €1.33), but you can also purchase a monthly pass for around 150 AED (about €40).


Leisure activities in Dubai tend to be on the pricier side. For instance, entry tickets to theme parks range from 300 to 500 AED (about €80 to €133) per person. Shopping malls offer a wide variety of options, but expect to pay higher prices for Western brands.

The monthly budget estimate for a family of four in Dubai

Below is an approximate estimate of the monthly budget for a family of four with a nanny in Dubai, based on average expenses:

  • Rent (3-bedroom villa): €4,000;
  • School fees (per child): €1,500 (2 children = €3,000);
  • Health insurance: €1,000;
  • Other insurances: €100;
  • Utilities: €500;
  • Car insurance: €30;
  • Fuel: €100;
  • Food: €1,200;
  • Leisure activities: €400;
  • Nanny: €1,000;
  • Mobile packages (x2): €140;
  • Internet: €100;
  • Business license (pro rata): €400;
  • Visa fees (pro rata): €200;
  • Account management fees: €50;
  • Additional expenses may vary considerably.

So overall, you will need around €12,000 per month.

Tips for optimizing your budget in Dubai

Living in Dubai can be expensive, but you can optimize your budget by being proactive and adopting new habits:

  • Consider more affordable neighborhoods;
  • Negotiate your housing rent when possible;
  • Use public transportation to save on transport costs;
  • Shop at local grocery stores for better food prices;
  • Establish a budget and strive to stick to it to avoid unnecessary expenses;
  • Compare prices for insurances and services before committing.

Taxes: A key consideration

Unlike many countries, there is no personal income tax in Dubai, which is a considerable benefit for foreign professionals. However, a 5% value-added tax (VAT) is applied on most goods and services.


Dubai offers a luxurious and dynamic living environment, which comes at a cost. Still, careful planning and budgeting are necessary if you want to fully enjoy your expat life in this prosperous metropolis. Consider the information mentioned above and adapt your lifestyle for a successful move. Magellan is also here to give you every step of the way. Contact our team of experts now for more information and to get started on your new venture.

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