Top ‘Disguised’ Costs of Living in Dubai

While the UAE provides a tax-free haven, there are quite a few fees and expenses residents must pay during their daily lives.

Last Updated on October 1, 2013 by Brian Habibi

Dubai undoubtedly has its perks. With a tax-free haven for all and relative logistical proximity to the rest of the world, Dubai offers the best of ‘both worlds’. However, everything in life comes at a cost.

Doling out on regular residential and commercial expenses, many a times we end up paying for miscellaneous expenses without a fleeting thought. A few of the disguised (often ignored) expenses are listed below.

Knowledge Fee: This fee was levied on all government and quasi-government applications (with a few exemptions) since 2005. These proceedings go to the Dubai Executive Council and are mandatory on all above-mentioned transactions.

Fuel Surcharge: In 2011, a new tariff – the fuel surcharge – was levied on electricity and water consumption in Dubai based on the rate of increase or decrease of the actual fuel cost supplied to DEWA generation plants. The fee is reflected in monthly DEWA bills.

As of September 2013, the tariff on electricity is 6.0 fils/kWh and on water is 0.6 fils/Imperial Gallon.  For a couple or small family, this adds up to 10 to 20 Dirhams per month.

Sms Parking Fee: RTA’s mParking, perhaps the most convenient way to pay one’s parking fee, comes with an additional transaction fee of 30 fils for each SMS sent. In case of time extension, the secondary tariff is calculated with the additional fee and the user is charged accordingly.

Credit Transfer Fee: Mobile credit transfer is easily one of Etisalat’s best offers in terms of convenience and flexibility but like all good things, it comes with a price tag. On the transferred amount, a 5% charge is applied as a transaction fee. Du currently offers the One2One free credit transfer service.

Gas costs: For households, gas cylinders are an inevitable part of the kitchen that saw a price surge in 2012 due to the hike in global oil prices. The average price of a small size cylinder ranges between AED 70-75 and a medium size cylinder ranges between AED 105-120. It would be safe to estimate that for a household of four members, one small cylinder would last for 30 to 45 days.

‘Miscellaneous’ school expenses: If you think the tuition fee is all you need to pay during the calendar year, think again. Miscellaneous expenses, inclusive of extracurricular activities, trips, events, shows, etc. constitute albeit a small but meaningful monthly expense, especially if the household has more than one child going to school.

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