While the Granite City is one of the UK’s more affordable metros, it's still relatively pricey compared to many other expat destinations. The Mercer Cost of Living Survey for 2021 ranked Aberdeen as the 128th most expensive city out of 209 cities surveyed worldwide. According to these rankings, Aberdeen is the most expensive city in Scotland.

The good news, though, is that expats will likely find that the cost of living in Aberdeen is matched by their higher earning potential and supplemented considerably by the city’s social infrastructure.

Cost of accommodation in Aberdeen

Rental costs in Aberdeen are among the highest in Scotland, largely as a result of increasing demand for property. Accommodation will likely be the biggest expense facing prospective expats, so they should try to negotiate an adequate housing allowance in their employment contract to ease this burden.

As is the case with most cities, the area a person chooses to live in will have a noticeable effect on price range. Accommodation near the city centre is usually more expensive than in the suburbs.

Cost of food and entertainment in Aberdeen

Most grocery stores and supermarkets in Aberdeen have standardised pricing across the UK, with prices generally being quite reasonable. Some budget supermarkets, like Aldi and Lidl, offer many cheap off-brand versions of products that are surprisingly good quality.

Entertainment can be expensive, especially if expats go out fairly often. Alcohol is heavily taxed in the UK, making for some of the most expensive beer prices in the world. Cigarettes are also particularly expensive.

Cost of transportation in Aberdeen

Transport in Aberdeen is generally more costly than in most Scottish cities, but it is always reliable and efficient. Expats can get weekly or monthly bus passes to save money and make the most of the extensive bus network.

Cost of education in Aberdeen

The cost of education in Aberdeen depends very much on an expat parent's choices. Local state schools are entirely free to attend, and many offer a good standard of education.

On the other hand, Aberdeen is also home to one of only three International Baccalaureate schools in Scotland, an appealing option to many expats. IB fees are high, though, and this option is bound to make some serious dents in an expat's budget.

Cost of living chart for Aberdeen

Note that prices may vary depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for November 2021.

Accommodation (monthly rent)

Three-bedroom apartment in the city centre

GBP 1,000 – 1,300

Three-bedroom apartment outside of the city centre

GBP 600 – 900

One-bedroom apartment in the city centre

GBP 500 – 700

One-bedroom apartment outside of the city centre

GBP 400 – 600

Food and drink

Dozen eggs


Milk (1 litre)

GBP 0.90

Rice (1kg)

GBP 0.90

Loaf of white bread


Chicken breasts (1kg)


Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

GBP 11

Eating out

Big Mac Meal


Coca-Cola (330ml)

GBP 1.30


GBP 2.60

Bottle of beer (local)


Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant

GBP 45


Mobile call rate (per minute – mobile to mobile)

GBP 0.10

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)

GBP 25

Basic utilities (average per month for a standard household)

GBP 100


Taxi rate/km

GBP 1.30

Bus fare in the city centre

GBP 2.60

Gasoline (per litre)

GBP 1.25

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