Pages - Menu

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

OFW Life: Cost of Living in Dubai


On September 30, I will celebrate my 7th year anniversary in Dubai. I still owe you a lot of stories about my life as an OFW or how I end up here in Dubai.

Some people were asking me if how much is my monthly expenditures for them to have an idea on the cost of living in Dubai.

Anyway, the currency we used in UAE is Dirhams (AED).  Dirham came from the Latin word drachmae which means handful. It was introduced on the year 1973 to replace the Qatari and Dubai Riyal (for all other Emirates excluding Abu Dhabi as they were using Bahraini Dinar). Dirhams are currently pegged in US dollars.

Life in Dubai is quite different now compared to when I first arrived here. Accommodation, food, transportation and DEWA service (electricity and water) were a lot cheaper way back 2006.

Let us compare my expenses from year 2006 versus year 2013.
 
Dubai in 2006
 
Year 2006

I was living in Satwa and got hired after 4 days of being on a visit visa status. The amount mentioned below was what my sponsor had asked me to pay to her (Housing / DEWA / Food – more stories on this on my next post).

Using Travelex Currency Conversion (a new discovery online), I just realized that living here in Dubai will cost you a lot:




Monthly Expenses

Cost in AED

Cost in USD

Cost in PHP

Housing

450.00

121.30

4,916.80

DEWA

100.00

26.96

1,092.62

Food

300.00

80.87

3,277.86

Transportation (Bus)

100.00

26.96

1,092.62

Miscellaneous (Grocery / etc)

100.00

26.96

1,092.62

Total

1050.00 AED

283.05 USD

11,472.53 PHP

Dubai in 2013
 
Year 2013

Now lives in Karama on a bed space in a partition room with 2 more girls. The flat is being shared by 14 people.



Monthly Expenses

Cost in AED

Cost in USD

Cost in PHP

Housing

750.00

202.17

8,149.66

DEWA

100.00

26.96

1,092.62

Food

700.00

188.69

7,648.35

Transportation (Bus / Taxi)

400.00

107.82

4,370.49

Internet

35.00

9.43

382.42

Miscellaneous (Grocery / etc)

400.00

107.82

4,370.49

Total

2385.00 AED

642.89 USD

26,059.03 PHP

 
To give you a much clearer view, the bus before was at 1.50 AED (0.40 USD) compared to 2.30 AED (0.62 USD) today which will also depend on where you’re going. The bus / Metro have a zoning area.

Taxi was also cheaper and we don’t have SALIK (toll fee).

For the accommodation, the price keeps on getting higher and this will also depends on the area where you live. My rent is quite low because I am sharing it with 2 other girls and room is really really small.  Average rent on a bed space is as follows:

 


Area

Cost in AED

Cost in USD

Cost in PHP

Satwa / Jaffliya Area

450.00 – 500.00

121.30 – 134.78

4,916.80  - 5,463.11

Deira / Muraqqabat /Rigga

600.00 – 700.00

161.74 – 188.69

6,555.73 – 7,648..5

Al Karama / Bur Dubai

750.00 – 800.00

202.17 – 215.65

8,194.66 – 8,740.97

Sheikh Zayed Road

850.00 – 1000.00

229.13 – 269.56

9,287.28 – 10,926.22

Al Barsha

800.00 – 850.00 AED

215.65 – 229.13 USD

8,740.97 – 9,287.28 PHP

 
This rate is based on the rent usually being paid by us Filipinos.

Even prices of basic commodities had increased. For example a 5 KG of jasmine rice in 2006 is at 14.50 AED (3.91 USD) but now it is at 32.00 AED (8.63 USD).

That my friend is the reason why we love sale and promotions at some grocery stores. We have to stock up detergents, dishwashing liquid, fabric conditioner, rice, cooking oil, and soap to be able to save some money and to send some in the Philippines.

As Dubai progresses the cost of living here also goes up which is I think directly proportional.  But still, I love and will always be grateful to Dubai as it had helped me reach some of my dreams in life.

While doing this post, I was also looking for some currency house who can give me the best rate for dollars and luckily I’ve found Travelex.  I’ve used their currency converter online for the cost above and it was so easy to use. I can automatically see the conversion when I start typing the amount without clicking any button.

See this:

 
 
 
 

Yay for that, I would definitely use this at work for because it is more convenient.

Also, I found out that you can reserve your foreign currency needs on their website and just collect it in their branch. Can I hear another big YES!!! Another advantage for us especially for travelers. I will definitely use this service because I am traveling soon. This means that I don’t need to rush to any currency house to change my dirhams to dollars as I can just reserve it online and pick it up in Dubai Airport Terminal 1 Departure area without any hassle.
 
 
 
They have branches at the following area:


Oasis Mall

Ground Floor, Inside Carrefour Super Market

Sheikh Zayed Road Dubai
 

Dubai International Airport Terminal #1

Baggage Hall, Arrival Area opposite Belt # 7 near Nero Cafe
 

Dubai International Airport Terminal 1

Departures, Concourse, Near Boarding Gate 122


Dubai International Airport Terminal 3

Arrival Hall Entrance # 2

Travelex A380

Dubai international Airport Terminal 3

Airside Departures, Concourse A
 

For more branches check out their website at: http://www.travelexae.com/

I hope I had given you an idea of the cost of living in Dubai.

 
**(photos from Google)**

 

37 comments:

  1. I was in Dubai in 2007! I should go back then... seems so much has happened since then! Well, I guess, it is expected to have an increase in the cost of living because everything is so advanced these days in Dubai!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes it is. I guess you really need to find a good to survive Dubai.

      Delete
  2. Thanks for the details. I wonder if I can survive living away from the Philippines. I don't think I'm the kind of person who can adapt to changes. Everywhere, prices increase. I guess, it's the natural order of things.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Honestly I too never imagined that I'd be able to survive living away from my family but I did. It's just that the homesickness will always be a part of you.

      Delete
  3. We were in Sharjah for a year looking for job. But we ended up living in the end after staying a year with my sister in law's family. The cost of living is too much for us, especially if the salary of my husband will only allow us to pay for the rent of a decent flat. I guess, UAE is not for us.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yup I remember. It is really costly to live here in Dubai especially if you're with your family. Good luck on your new journey in Doha. :-)

      Delete
  4. My friend told me that Dubai has a high cost of living than other parts of UAE. Totoo nga talaga based on your data. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Naku ang sakit sa bangs minsan ng gastos. We're just lucky here kase ang hospital bill sagot ng insurance. I forgot to add that. :-)

      Delete
  5. I would never imagine myself being away from my family, but I did. Kudos to you, girl:) I noticed Dubai is getting nicer and better, and as followed everything went up from food, gasoline, etc.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! :-) Dubai is always up with something new. Pamahal nga lang ng pamahal.

      Delete
  6. I have lots of friends working in Dubai. Some of them have their own families na there. There must be something in Dubai that made many Filipinos stay :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your friends are lucky to have their family here as for me it's still part of my dream to bring them here.

      Delete
  7. Pretty steep din pala to live in Dubai. Can you recommend cheaper alternatives - or are there? Hehe

    ReplyDelete
  8. For OFW's and most fellowmen out of our country, the value of their earning is great when brought and spent here in the Philippines but when they spend it on the same country they earned it, the value is not much. Housing is expensive there better save and have your house here for your retirement.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Wow, the cost has doubled over the years. I guess, that is okay as long as the salary follows the upward trend. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  10. Dubai is one of the places to go nowadays. I would love to go visit there someday

    ReplyDelete
  11. I have friends with their families living in Dubai too. According to them, live there is kinda expensive compared here. But there, they have work that pays good, unlike here :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. i know a few former classmates who are now based in Dubai, too. super mahal ng mga expenses niyo noh? btw, the photos amazed me. so much has changed in Dubai!

    ReplyDelete
  13. the girlfriend of my uncle was in dubai for 5 years, i wish i could visit the place in the future.. looks like a great place to visit

    Rosemarie/Gven-Rose

    ReplyDelete
  14. Cost of living has really increased a lot everywhere in these few years.

    ReplyDelete
  15. no joke seeing how expensive it is to be living in dubai... it does take a lot of hard work to earn the amount to cover the expenses and still be able to save and send to family back in the philippines. i salute the ofws for this.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Not bad! I also hear about Dubain being expensive, but I think if you know how to manage your finances, you'll do just fine. :) How long do you intend to stay there?

    ReplyDelete
  17. Just like here in our country, price are more than double compared to 5 years ago.

    ReplyDelete
  18. That is expensive! I guess it comes with the change- huge transformation. Filipinos have really become global citizens.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hi Tondo,

    Sorry, didn’t know how else to contact you!

    Firstly, great blog and keep up the good work!

    My name is Charles and I currently run a blog in Dubai, www.allxpats.com. I have been doing this now for the past year or so and while updating it and letting the website grow, I will now be moving onto my next venture. Which is why I am contacting you.

    As finding advertisers for your site in the UAE is not the easiest of things to achieve, I have decided to start an Affiliate Network in the UAE whereby businesses can offer a certain sum of money per click, lead or a percentage of commission to the blog/website owner who brought in that lead via the website owners unique link.

    Once logged into the website, you will be able to see your earnings, advertising programs you have joined, charts showing all your stats and much more.

    I am currently in university, 21, and this will be my first risky business venture, so trying to get as much research together as possible and people who would be interested in joining if it were good, easy to use, and did have relevant advertisers.

    PLEASE FILL IN THIS VERY FAST 5 Question Survey: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/5TCP5D7

    Sorry for the long email and once again, thank you very, very much for taking the time to read and answer the survey!

    If you ever need any help with anything just let me know, or want to tweet each other, tag each other in Facebook ect and so on.

    Thanks Again

    Charles Leahy

    charlesleahy@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  20. Thank you for the information, dear. Will be in Dubai by February this year. Hope to have the same good experience as you!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Great post!

    I am an OFW in UAE for 11 years now and I truly agree with your post. I used to live in Dubai for the first 6 years so I can relate well with your expenses.

    Your post reminds me of how I survived my first job. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  22. hi i would like to ask if i one can survive with a salary of 1800aed plus 500 food allownce in dubai? transpo and housing will be provided by the employer... can i still send money to my family here in the phils

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jojo! To be honest with you you'll survive but you really need to be a bit stingy. Let's try to analyze, your total take home pay will be 2,300.00 AED. Your food allowance will be enough for food and your other basic needs such as shampoo, conditioner etc etc. You will have to spend your money wisely. You can send the 1000 AED in the Philippines and keep the 800.00 AED as your allowance. Maybe no shopping for the first 3-6 months. No buying of techie stuff.

      I hope I was able to help you with these. xoxo

      Delete
  23. Hi, I'm wondering how much is the average salary of an accountant working in Dubai. I'm a CPA with almost two years experience in government accounting. I'm really interested in working abroad but I don't know where to start or if I'd be able to survive.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Reina,

      I really can't say how much is the average salary of an accountant because it varies. It usually depends on the company. For example our company accountant gets an estimated 14,000 AED per month plus the benefits (housing, ticket and insurance). A friend of mine is getting around 9,000 AED and some people that I know gets around 4,000 AED to 6,000 AED. Gulf experience also matters.

      I hope I was able to help you. :-)

      Delete
  24. Nice info and article anyway how much the salary of filipino accountants in dubai

    ReplyDelete
  25. Hi Miss

    Ako po yung nag msg sa inyo sa IG just now
    Ang inquiry ko po.. Regarding sa kung sapat na ba itong AED2858.92 or P35,000
    Natanggap po kasi ako interview ang demand ko po ay P40,000 negotiable
    Sabi ng employer P35,000 for the first 6months and then pag naging ok po ako ay gagawin ng P40,000
    Sapat na po ba yun?.. Naatakot po kasi ako baka mapunta lang sa wala ang pag abroad ko..
    Anyway sa Al Quoz po yung location. Free transpo na daw po ako sa work..

    Thanks po in advance.. anyway taga Tondo din po ako

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi there!

      I am so sorry for the late reply as I was caught up with a lot of work.

      First of all, i want to know if you're here on a visit visa? Are you trying to avoid a visa run?

      If not try to get a better offer. Sa panahon ngayun medyo maliit na ang 2900 AED. Sana man lang kahit 3K.

      Let's face it mahal na ang rent ng bahay ngayon. Even yung sa akin nagtaas. You also need to consider the company. Stable ba sya? May mga company na gagamitin ang visa mo then di ka bibigyan ng residence visa after.

      Ok naman na libre ang transpo at least less gastos ka. Kasama na ba sa 2900 AED ang housing? May insurance ka ba?

      Yung salary mo is medyo mababa to tell you honestly, pero pwede na sa start if gagamitin mo sya to have a GCC experience.

      Let's analyze:

      Housing + food + DEWA + other misc + remittance sa Pilipinas (if ever)

      Magkano ang matitira sa yo? Yun ang titipirin mo para sa next payday.
      Kailangan mo din maging matipid sa umpisa.

      Delete
    2. Hi Tondo Girl,

      I was offered a job for a five star hotel in the Palm Beach Jumeirah area. Initial offer is 2,000AED with housing, transpo, meals, air ticket, visa and medical included. Enough na kaya ang salary na to pursue Dubai? Here in the PH I'm enjoying the same salary kaso laki kasi ng kaltas ng tax at iba pang bilihin.
      Do you think this is a good offer for a start?

      Any tips for a first timer?

      Salamat!

      Delete
  26. I'm really blessed that I was hired as one of the accountants in Embassy FS.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Hello Tondo Girl! What do you mean po "for GCC experience" san po ba sya magagamit? Big advantage ba to ? I'm currently working here in Saudi and planning for my next move in Dubai does this qualify me for that GCC experience? What are the advantages? Thank you very much. Hope you'll notice me.

    ReplyDelete