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What is the cost of living in Dubai for Indians?

Dubai offers Indians abundant job opportunities, tax-free salaries, and a luxurious lifestyle. However, the cost of living in Dubai can be high for Indians moving from India. This article provides a detailed breakdown of monthly living expenses in Dubai for Indians along with tips to reduce costs.

What is the cost of living in Dubai for Indians?

Cost of Housing

Housing costs are a significant expense in Dubai, especially if you want to live in modern accommodations in popular expatriate areas like Downtown Dubai, Dubai Marina, or Jumeirah Beach Residence.

  • Renting a studio apartment in Dubai costs approximately Dh40,000-60,000 annually.
  • Renting a 1-bedroom apartment costs around Dh60,000-90,000 per year.
  • Renting a 2-bedroom apartment ranges from Dh90,000-150,000 annually.
  • Luxury apartments in premium locations like Palm Jumeirah can cost over Dh200,000 annually.

To reduce housing costs in Dubai:

  • Consider getting a roommate to split costs.
  • Look for apartments further from the city center or in developing communities.
  • Avoid paying for amenities you won’t use like gyms or pools.
  • Pay yearly upfront for better rates.

Cost of Transportation

Transportation costs in Dubai include owning a car or using public transport:

Car Ownership Costs

  • Small sedan models like Toyota Yaris cost approximately Dh800-1000 monthly.
  • Midsize cars like Honda Civic are around Dh1500 monthly.
  • Luxury cars like BMW can cost over Dh4000 monthly.

Additional car costs:

  • Petrol: Budget Dh800-1000 monthly for a small sedan.
  • Insurance: Around 3-4% of car value annually.
  • Registration and service: Dh2000-3000 annually.
  • Salik road tolls if applicable.

Ways to reduce car costs:

  • Buy a used car instead of new.
  • Choose a fuel efficient model.
  • Shop around for cheaper insurance.

Public Transport Costs

  • Nol cards: Dh25-100+ monthly depending on zones used.
  • Taxis: Dh15-25 minimum fare plus Dh1.82/km.
  • Uber/Careem: Cheaper than taxis with promo codes.

Save on transport:

  • Use public transport for daily commute.
  • Walk or bike for short distances.

Healthcare Costs in Dubai

  • Mandatory health insurance: All Dubai residents must have health insurance covering basic and emergency services. Monthly premiums range from Dh150-400 depending on age and pre-existing conditions.
  • Doctor visits: Consultation fees range Dh100-300+ out of pocket if not covered by insurance.
  • Medications: Can be expensive without insurance. Generic brands are cheaper.
  • Hospitals: Inpatient services and surgeries have high out of pocket costs without insurance.

Tips for saving on healthcare:

  • Purchase adequate insurance covering major services.
  • Use government facilities like Dubai Hospital which are discounted.
  • Only visit private clinics and hospitals in emergencies if uninsured.
  • Always get generic medicine brands.

Grocery Costs in Dubai

Grocery shopping in Dubai costs about the same or slightly more compared to India. Ways to reduce grocery costs:

  • Shop at budget supermarkets like Carrefour, Kibsons, or Lulu.
  • Buy fruits, vegetables and meat in bulk on sale.
  • Purchase generics and local brands which are cheaper.
  • Cook meals at home instead of takeaway.

Average monthly grocery costs for one person:

  • Fruits/vegetables: Dh200
  • Meat and fish: Dh300
  • Rice, pulses, spices: Dh150
  • Snacks and packaged food: Dh200
  • Household essentials: Dh150

Total: Around Dh1000 per month

Utility Costs

Typical utility costs for a studio or 1-bedroom apartment:

  • Electricity: Dh300-500
  • Water: Included in rent
  • Internet: Dh300-500 for home broadband
  • Mobile plan: Dh200-300 monthly

Ways to reduce utility bills:

  • Use energy efficient AC and lights
  • Choose smaller apartment to lower electricity
  • Get TV/internet bundles to save
  • Purchase pay-as-you-go mobile plans

Overall Monthly Budget

Here is an estimated budget for the average single Indian expat in Dubai:

Housing (1 bedroom apartment): Dh75,000 annually / Dh6250 monthly

Transport (public): Dh100 monthly

Groceries: Dh1000

Utilities: Dh1000

Insurance/Healthcare: Dh300

Entertainment: Dh1000

Total monthly expenses: Approximately Dh8550-9000

This budget will be higher with a car, larger apartment, debts, school fees for children etc. Budget planning is key.

Reducing Overall Costs

Tips to lower cost of living in Dubai:

  • Live further away from downtown in cheaper areas.
  • Get roommates to share housing costs.
  • Cook food at home and limit eating out.
  • Take public transport and walk when possible.
  • Avoid unnecessary luxuries and shopping.
  • Purchase annual utility and insurance plans.
  • Manage finances wisely and save each month.

Key Takeaways

  • Housing, transportation and utilities are the biggest expenses.
  • Healthcare costs are lower with adequate insurance coverage.
  • Budget planning and smart financial decisions are critical.
  • With prudent saving and lifestyle choices, Indians can live comfortably in Dubai without breaking the bank.


The cost of living in Dubai can be high but is still affordable for most Indian expats with careful planning. While salaries may be tax-free, avoid overspending and indulge only occasionally. Analyze your lifestyle and priorities, choose communities with lower rents, use public transport, and purchase annual utility plans. House sharing, cooking at home, and avoiding debts can significantly lower costs. With discipline, Indians can build their savings in Dubai.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How much salary should an Indian earn to live comfortably in Dubai?
A: For a single person, around Dh15,000-20,000 per month provides a decent standard of living without too many financial difficulties. Families will need Dh25,000+ monthly.

Q: Is buying a house better than renting in Dubai as an Indian?
A: Buying is recommended if staying very long-term as you can later sell or rent out the property. However, renting is more flexible and involves less upfront costs.

Q: What are the best areas in Dubai for Indians to live?
A: Popular affordable areas include Deira, Bur Dubai, International City, Discovery Gardens, Sports City, Dubai Silicon Oasis. Avoid overpriced downtown districts.

Q: Is owning a car essential in Dubai?
A: No, public transport is quite reliable. Have a car only if needed for work or living in poorly connected areas. Else use metro, bus, taxi or car rentals to save costs.

Q: How can Indians save money on groceries in Dubai?
A: Buy in bulk on sale at budget supermarkets, purchase generic brands, cook Indian meals at home, limit processed/imported foods, avoid wasting food.

Q: What is the average utility cost per month?
A: Expect to pay Dh300-500 for electricity, Dh300-500 for broadband, Dh200-300 for mobile plans in a 1-2 bedroom flat. Opt for annual plans.

Q: Is healthcare expensive in Dubai for Indians?
A: Healthcare is quite affordable if you have insurance coverage. Else costs can be very high at private facilities. Have ample insurance and use government hospitals when possible.

Q: Can Indians easily find jobs in Dubai?
A: Yes, especially in sectors like IT, banking, aviation, construction, retail. Have the right skills and qualifications to land a well-paying job.

Q: How can Indians save money on entertainment in Dubai?
A: Avoid expensive hotels and branded cafes. Opt for free beaches, parks, self-cooking. Use public transport and Groupon deals. Indulge in luxuries occasionally, not daily.

Q: Are international schools very expensive in Dubai?
A: Yes, fees range from Dh15,000 to Dh100,000+ annually. Consider Indian curriculum schools or look into scholarships. Public schools are cheaper.

Q: Is the high Dubai cost of living worth it for Indians?
A: For short term monetary goals, Dubai offers tax-free incomes and global exposure. Long term, relocating back to India for family may be better financially.

Q: Does it make sense to bring a car from India to Dubai?
A: Used cars are cheaper in Dubai. Also, registration procedures from India are complex. Easier to sell in India and buy in Dubai. Avoid shipping costs.

Q: Can a family of 4 live on Dh20,000 monthly income in Dubai?
A: Yes but you need to budget wisely, use public services, avoid unnecessary luxuries, limit eating out and vacations, share accommodations to cut housing costs.

Q: What are the best mobile and internet plans for Dubai?
A: Etisalat and Du offer competitive plans. Look for bundled packages with TV, speed extras, data rollovers, and annual payment discounts. Avoid roaming.

Q: How can Indians optimize grocery shopping in Dubai?
A: Make a list and stick to it. Don’t shop while hungry. Go to supermarkets with best discounts and loyalty programs. Buy in bulk and cook at home. Prefers generics and local brands.

Q: Is Dubai costlier than Singapore or Hong Kong for Indians?
A: Yes, Singapore and Hong Kong have lower rents and public transport costs. Also, incomes tend to be higher in HK/SG than Dubai for professionals.

Q: Can Indians buy property in Dubai?
A: Yes, legally Indians can buy freehold property in designated zones after proper documentation. Getting a home loan as an expat is hard though without large down payment.

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