UAE residents grapple with rising living costs and adapting to changes

The cost of living in the UAE has seen a dramatic surge over the past decade, leaving many long-term residents grappling with financial strain. What were once modest expenses have now ballooned, with grocery bills, rents, utility costs, and school fees skyrocketing.

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According to a survey by Cigna Healthcare, almost half of UAE residents cite the rising cost of living as their primary source of stress. This sentiment is echoed by residents who have witnessed a notable increase in expenses across various aspects of daily life.

For instance, grocery prices have surged, with monthly bills jumping from as low as Dh250 to a staggering Dh1,500 to Dh2,000 for essentials. Similarly, rental prices have soared, with properties that once rented for Dh20,000 to Dh30,000 per year now commanding nearly Dh300,000.

The surge in fuel prices has also hit residents hard, with individuals like Shaji Haneef experiencing a significant dent in their monthly budgets. Fuel costs, once around Dh1.50 per liter, have quadrupled, leading to monthly expenditures of around Dh1,600.

School fees have become a major concern for expat families, with annual expenses rising by an estimated 3–4 percent. Even kindergarten fees have doubled over the years, leaving families like Ace's paying nearly Dh100,000 per year for their children's education.

Utility bills have also witnessed sharp increases, with electricity costs rising from around Dh200 per month to approximately Dh700 or more. These escalating expenses have severely impacted residents' ability to save, with many struggling to set aside significant portions of their income for the future.

As the cost of living continues to rise, long-time residents find themselves reevaluating their financial strategies and retirement plans in the UAE. Despite the challenges, they remain resilient, adapting to the changing economic landscape while striving to secure their financial well-being.

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