5 Ways Living in Dubai is Costing You


Staying on a budget while living in Dubai is incredibly difficult. Learn how you can organize your personal finances to stay on budget while you live in the city of your dreams.

Residing in Dubai has an array of wonderful advantages. Between the job availability, culture, entertainment, and population diversity, the city offers big draws for young people.

Unfortunately, as great as all of those things are, living in Dubai can also cost a hefty price. Television and photoshopped pictures on the internet often make Dubai’s lifestyle look easy. They show young people living in grand apartments and driving luxurious cars that they could never afford in reality.

It’s a pretty picture. But for most, the reality is that the cost of living in Dubai makes things difficult. Everything is very expensive, especially the home rent, which means saving is nearly impossible.

Nonetheless, just because you’re not a millionaire, doesn’t mean living in Dubai is beyond your reach. Here are five ways how you can beat costly lifestyle options!

1. Rent is astronomical

Stunning views of Dubai skyline from every room

One of the biggest and worst expenses in Dubai is rent. It can be impossible to find any size apartment, no matter how small, for anything less than AED 4,000 a month, and that’s before utilities, housing fee and telecom bills. It can begin to seem like you are forced to resort to a studio. Thankfully, there are ways around the exorbitant city rent.

One obvious answer to the rent problem is, of course, opting for a roommate, or multiple, if you can handle it. Single living might be your ideal, but until you can afford a place yourself, living with others can cut the price of rent and utilities to a more suitable number.

Another major factor to consider when finding an apartment is the location. Centrally located and established neighborhoods are more expensive. Instead of chasing the prestige of Dubai Marina or The Old Town, search for a neighborhood that can accommodate your budget like Jumeirah Village Circle or The Green Community. You might be surprised to find nicer homes with just as many entertainment options.

2. More choices could mean more eating out

One of the favorite aspects of Dubai is the variety and number of fantastic restaurants in the shopping malls and in the hotels. It’s tempting to want to try a new one multiple times a week and ditch your own kitchen, especially after work and likely a long commute. Restaurants are also favorite spots for socializing in Dubai.

Unfortunately, eating out isn’t exactly cheap and can rack up a large food bill quickly. Resist the temptation to dine out; make a point to cook at home. Utilize coupon apps like The Entertainer and look out for sales at the Union Cooperative Society for great deals. And if your friends have a tendency to go out, make a point to eat before and meet up with them later.

3. Entertainment isn’t always cheap

Dubai offers an array of exciting and fun activities from concerts to sporting events to festivals, opera and theme parks. Of course, a lot of them also cost a lot as well.

Thankfully, another big advantage of living in Dubai is that there are also lots of fun, free events as well. You can find everything from outdoor concerts, openings, plays, and art shows that are all offered at no cost. Check the local newspaper, coffee shops, and online blogs for a list of events happening throughout the week.

4. You fall prey to other’s lifestyles

A big trap many people fall into is trying to keep up with others. This is an issue for many outside the city, but for those that live in Dubai, it’s even harder to not get caught up in trying to emulate those around you. A bigger diversity of wealth tends to live within the city, which means you’ll probably see a multitude of people who are able to spend money on expensive clothes, homes, and activities. And because we’re human, it’s difficult not to try and keep up with those people, even if it’s not in our budget.

Nonetheless, do your best to budget and create a lifestyle that suits you. Don’t let yourself get hung up on what others around you can afford, as it’ll only cause you financial heartbreak. Figure out what’s worth spending money on to you and learn to live accordingly. You and your account will be much happier if you do.

5. Your car is costing you

Living in Dubai means also heavy traffic and steep traffic fines. More often than not, walking and public transportation is quicker, more suitable means of travel. Owning a car in the city is also harmful to your finances as well. Your car payment, petrol, insurance, and parking bill can sometimes equate to more than AED 3,000 a month, and unfortunately, it’s not likely you’ll drive it much to begin with.

Instead of wasting your money on your vehicle, sell it, save money, and go an alternate route. In place of your car, opt to take public transportation, taxis, or a carpool instead. Whatever means you choose, the money you save from your car can be redistributed to other areas of your budget.

Social media make Dubai living look glamorous and exciting, and in some cases it is. There’s so much to do, exciting new opportunities and new people to meet, which is why so many choose to venture to Dubai.

Underneath all that glamour and adventure, however, is an exorbitant price tag. It costs a lot to work and live in Dubai and the majority don’t have the funds to do so carelessly. All that being said, you don’t have to discount living in the city just yet. The key to living comfortably and within your budget is tailoring life to fit your financial needs, not the other way around.


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