Hi Anna: Is it true that Dubai is an expensive city? I am told that if one is offered a monthly salary of $6000 - $8000 dollars, it will be hard to save money at the end of the month. I’ve also heard that expats become easily dependant on credit cards just to maintain a decent standard of living. Is this true? (Danny)
Dear Danny: Unfortunately, the truth is that Dubai is a very expensive city. While there is a huge economic boom, property prices are similar to that in Western Europe and rental prices are extortionate. Dubai is also a major hot spot for shopping so it’s easy to get distracted and “shop till you drop!” So, yes, it is very easy to go into debt very quickly.
You will find everything from high-end designer clothes, shoes, furniture, art, cars and bungalows. My advice is not to get taken away by all the glamour. Really think about buying something unless you absolutely have to.
Food is not too expensive in Dubai unless you plan on going to an international restaurant every night. Utilities are moderately priced as well, except from the months of May to September when your air conditioning bills will rise. A word of advice: don’t leave your air conditioner on if you leave your home!
If you are single, you can expect your expenses (housing, food, utilities, transport, insurance, and clothing, leisure) to be around $2500.00 per month. For a couple, you can expect your expenses be around the $3200.00 mark and for a family of four around $4200.00 a month. In the end, your cost of living depends entirely on your lifestyle.
Don’t forget to get complete details about your work contract especially the salary and benefits to help you decide if the job is actually financially attractive or not. It also helps to network with your friends and colleagues. Dubai has an enormous range of accommodation options and if you do some networking you can also get more information on which areas are a popular choice for expats over others.
Thank you for your question and good luck!