How does the cost of living in Dubai compare to your home town?
Why did I spend 600 dirhams (approximately 100 UK pounds) in Dubai ?
DoinDubai was thrilled to be asked to take part in the Global Cost of Living Blogger Project initiated by ICE -International Currency Exchange – a well established UK Bureau de Change company with offices all over the world.
ICE awarded me 100 pounds and said SPEND, SPEND, SPEND…..in dirhams.
A basket of groceries is a good indicator of the cost of living in any country. What can you buy here that’s sensibly priced for regular ‘make at home’ family meals?
- medium salmon fillet (imported) Dhs 60.00 (Dhs 114 per kilo)
- small red snapper fillet (from Oman) Dhs 45.00 (Dhs 69.00 per kilo)
- 6 eggs (Omega 3 but not Organic) Dhs 9.00
- 2 large bottles of fresh Vetal milk Dhs 18.00
- bunches of coriander and mint Dhs 0.95 fils each bunch
- half of a large watermelon (local) Dhs 10.00
There is a dual pricing system that goes on in Dubai supermarkets, it’s very overt and direct. This system has arisen due to the consistent demand for imported products. For example you can choose excellent local tomatoes from places like Oman at Dhs 5 a kilo or buy Dutch varieties at around Dhs 24 a kilo ! The same goes for products like watermelons, lemons, aubergines, pumpkins and pak choi; a HUGE price difference for a variety of products. I often ask for local produce as these products are sometimes placed on hard to access shelves.
Fresh, green herbs are fabulous value here as are packets of chopped up onions and ready peeled garlic cloves. Buy without looking at the price, unlike shopping in my local London Waitrose! Smoothie lovers would do well buying frozen fruit rather than the expensive strawberry and blueberry ‘fresh’ imports, which can cost Dhs 25.00 or more for a small punnet.
A cup of coffee at our local Costa’s
Costa is instantly recognizable the world over. How much is a regular cappuccino in Dubai? A pretty acceptable Dhs 15 for a drink served at your table. In many coffee shops your choice of coffee comes with a glass of water and a little side kick of a cake or biscuits. Expect to pay anything from Dhs 22 – 27 for coffee with extras.
Trimmings from Meena Bazaar
The whole Indian shopping scene is so accessible here in Dubai so whether it’s for an Indian outfit or anything else you want to wear, have it made in Bur Dubai. I could easily spend vast amounts of money here, it’s craft and dressmaking heaven. But this time I limited myself to Dhs 140 on braiding, lace and some sparkly sequins. Recently there has been an explosion in haberdashery shops in Meena Bazaar. There is now a small, new air conditioned mall called Al Fahidi which is where we had lunch after our shopping trip. Watch the You Tube video to see what we had for lunch.
South Indian lunch in Bur Dubai
The South Indian diaspora here is huge, so with it comes their extremely authentic, fresh, wholesome and tasty food. If you avoid the chappatis or puris and stick to rice then it’s wheat free and low in gluten as well. Lunch for 2 came to Dhs 30.oo with tips, water and coffee. Stick to coconut water if you need refreshment while you’re wandering around – Dhs 5.00 per coconut, cut so it’s ready for you to drink with straw supplied.
Car parking in Meena Bazaar isn’t easy and costs around Dhs 10 per hour (expensive for Dubai)
The cost of living in Dubai would be so much higher if you only frequented hotel buffet Friday brunches and DIFC global outposts for your meals out.
A full tank of petrol
We had to put this one in to the shopping cart as living in the Middle East means petrol is one commodity that is REALLY REASONABLE compared to the UK. Filling up a 4 wheel drive Volvo cost Dhs 120 for around 68 litres of “special” petrol, so that’s only Dhs 1.72 per litre and includes a service fee of Dhs 2.00. However driving vast distances even to do some basic food shopping is a necessity here despite public transport improving slowly. It’s very difficult for much of the population to walk to a local supermarket or school. So while petrol is cheap, we need a lot of it. Taxi fares are also very reasonable relative to the UK. I spent Dhs 45 getting a taxi home from Dubai Mall to the Arabian Ranches, a distance of about 25km and 20 minutes or so driving time. The Dubai Metro is now well established and the tram is coming on line as we write this post!
The cost of my day out came to just under Dhs 600. The basket included filling up my car with petrol, doing some grocery shopping, car parking fees, lunch for me and a friend, buying some trimmings, then a 20 minute taxi ride followed by some coffee nearer home. What do you find really reasonable in Dubai compared to your home town?
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