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Expat Exchange - Cost of Living in Abu Dhabi 2024
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Cost of Living in Abu Dhabi

By Betsy Burlingame

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Summary: If you're moving to Abu Dhabi, understanding the the cost of living in Abu Dhabi helps you know what to expect when it comes to apartment or house hunting, grocery shopping, transportation, dining out, utilities and more.

Cost of Living in Abu Dhabi - Cost of Living in Abu Dhabi

Apartment Rentals Rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center of Abu Dhabi can range from AED 5,000 to AED 15,000 per month. Rent for a three-bedroom apartment in the city center can range from AED 10,000 to AED 25,000 per month. Rent for a one-bedroom apartment outside the city center can range from AED 3,000 to AED 8,000 per month. Rent for a three-bedroom apartment outside the city center can range from AED 6,000 to AED 15,000 per month.
Apartment Purchases The cost of purchasing an apartment in Abu Dhabi can range from AED 1,000,000 to AED 10,000,000 depending on the size and location. The cost of purchasing a villa in Abu Dhabi can range from AED 2,000,000 to AED 20,000,000 depending on the size and location.
Transportation The cost of public transportation in Abu Dhabi is relatively inexpensive. A single bus ticket costs AED 2.50 and a monthly bus pass costs AED 100. Taxi fares start at AED 10 and increase depending on the distance traveled. The cost of owning a car in Abu Dhabi can range from AED 20,000 to AED 200,000 depending on the make and model.
Groceries The cost of groceries in Abu Dhabi can vary depending on the type of food purchased. Basic food items such as bread, milk, and eggs can cost around AED 10. Fresh fruits and vegetables can cost around AED 20. Imported items such as cheese and wine can cost around AED 50.
Restaurants The cost of eating out in Abu Dhabi can vary depending on the type of restaurant. A meal at a fast food restaurant can cost around AED 20. A meal at a mid-range restaurant can cost around AED 50. A meal at a high-end restaurant can cost around AED 100.
Utilities The cost of utilities in Abu Dhabi can vary depending on the type of service. Basic utilities such as water and electricity can cost around AED 200 per month. Internet and cable services can cost around AED 300 per month.
Private School Tuition The cost of private school tuition in Abu Dhabi can vary depending on the type of school. Preschool tuition can range from AED 10,000 to AED 20,000 per year. Elementary school tuition can range from AED 15,000 to AED 25,000 per year. Middle school tuition can range from AED 20,000 to AED 30,000 per year. High school tuition can range from AED 25,000 to AED 40,000 per year.

Monthly Budget for Retirees in Abu Dhabi

"The cost of living in Abu Dhabi is generally considered to be high. Rent prices are particularly expensive, with the average cost of a one-bedroom apartment in the city center being around $2,000 per month. Groceries and other everyday items are also more expensive than in other parts of the world, with the cost of a meal for two at a mid-range restaurant being around $50. Transportation costs are relatively low, with public buses and taxis being the most common form of transport," said one expat living in Abu Dhabi.

Can I live in Abu Dhabi on $1,500 a month?

"I've been living in Abu Dhabi for a few years now, and I can tell you that it's possible to live on $1,500 a month, but you'll have to make some sacrifices. First, you'll need to find a more affordable neighborhood to live in. Some of the more expensive areas like Al Reem Island, Saadiyat Island, and Al Raha Beach might be out of your budget. Instead, consider looking for a place in neighborhoods like Al Muroor, Al Khalidiya, or Al Mushrif. These areas are more budget-friendly and still offer decent amenities.Next, you'll need to be mindful of your transportation costs. Owning a car can be expensive, so you might want to rely on public transportation or carpooling with coworkers. The public bus system is quite affordable, and taxis are reasonably priced if you need to use them occasionally.When it comes to dining out and entertainment, you'll need to be more selective. There are plenty of affordable restaurants and cafes in Abu Dhabi, but you'll need to avoid the more upscale places. Look for local eateries and take advantage of any promotions or discounts available. For entertainment, consider free or low-cost activities like visiting public parks, beaches, or attending community events.Groceries can also be a significant expense, so try to shop at more affordable supermarkets like Carrefour or Lulu Hypermarket. You can also save money by cooking at home more often and limiting your takeout or delivery orders.Finally, you'll need to be mindful of your utility bills, especially during the hot summer months when air conditioning usage can drive up your electricity bill. Try to conserve energy by using energy-efficient appliances and turning off lights and electronics when not in use.Overall, living on $1,500 a month in Abu Dhabi is doable, but you'll need to be disciplined with your spending and make some sacrifices in terms of your lifestyle," commented an expat living in Abu Dhabi.

Can I live in Abu Dhabi on $3,500 a month?

"I've been living in Abu Dhabi for a few years now, and I can tell you that it's possible to live comfortably on $3,000 a month, but you'll have to make some sacrifices. The first thing you'll need to consider is housing. Rent can be quite expensive in some neighborhoods, so you'll want to look for more affordable areas. I'd recommend checking out Khalifa City A, Mohammed Bin Zayed City, or Al Reef. These neighborhoods are a bit further from the city center, but they offer more affordable housing options. You might have to settle for a smaller apartment or share with roommates to keep your rent within budget.Transportation is another expense you'll need to consider. Owning a car can be quite costly, so I'd recommend using public transportation or taxis to get around. The bus system is pretty reliable and affordable, and taxis are relatively cheap compared to other major cities.When it comes to dining out, you'll need to be mindful of your budget. There are plenty of affordable restaurants and cafes in Abu Dhabi, but you'll need to avoid the more upscale establishments. I'd recommend checking out local markets and cooking at home as much as possible to save money on food.Entertainment can also be expensive, so you'll need to be selective about the activities you choose to participate in. There are plenty of free or low-cost events and attractions in the city, so you'll just need to do some research to find them. You might also want to consider cutting back on things like gym memberships or other monthly subscriptions to save money.Overall, living in Abu Dhabi on $3,000 a month is doable, but you'll need to be mindful of your spending and make some sacrifices. By choosing a more affordable neighborhood, using public transportation, and being selective about your entertainment choices, you can make it work," said one expat living in Abu Dhabi.

Can I live in Abu Dhabi on $5,000 a month?

"I've been living in Abu Dhabi for a few years now, and I can tell you that it's definitely possible to live comfortably on $5,000 a month, but you'll need to make some adjustments and sacrifices. First, you'll need to find a more affordable neighborhood to live in. Some of the more expensive areas like Saadiyat Island, Al Raha Beach, and Al Reem Island might be out of your budget, so I'd recommend looking into neighborhoods like Khalifa City A, Al Reef, or Mohammed Bin Zayed City. These areas are more budget-friendly and still offer a good quality of life.One of the sacrifices you might have to make is living in a smaller apartment or sharing a villa with other expats. This can help you save on rent, which is usually the biggest expense in Abu Dhabi. You can find a decent 1 or 2-bedroom apartment in the affordable neighborhoods I mentioned for around $1,500 to $2,500 a month.Another thing to consider is transportation. Owning a car can be quite expensive here, so you might want to rely on public transportation or taxis to get around. This can save you a significant amount of money on car payments, insurance, and fuel.Eating out can also be quite expensive in Abu Dhabi, especially if you're used to dining at high-end restaurants. To save money, you can cook at home more often or explore some of the more affordable dining options in the city. There are plenty of budget-friendly restaurants and cafes that offer delicious food at reasonable prices.When it comes to entertainment and leisure activities, you might have to cut back on some of the more expensive options like going to high-end bars, clubs, or attending concerts and events. Instead, you can explore the many free or low-cost activities that Abu Dhabi has to offer, such as visiting the beautiful public beaches, parks, and cultural sites.Overall, living comfortably on $5,000 a month in Abu Dhabi is possible, but you'll need to be mindful of your spending and make some sacrifices in terms of housing, transportation, and entertainment. By choosing a more affordable neighborhood, cutting back on dining out, and finding low-cost leisure activities, you can make it work and still enjoy a good quality of life in this amazing city," commented an expat living in Abu Dhabi.

About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.


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