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 2023 ranked Aberdeen as the 119th most expensive city out of 227 cities surveyed worldwide.

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, primarily as a result of increasing demand for property. Accommodation will likely be the highest 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 the price range. Accommodation near the city centre is usually pricier than in the suburbs.


Cost of transport 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.

Despite the higher price tag, the convenience and punctuality of the transport system often soften the blow of the extra cost. Moreover, the city’s compact design means that many places are within walking or cycling distance, which could further help in reducing transport expenses.


Cost of groceries in Aberdeen

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

Furthermore, the presence of local markets and butchers offers a chance to shop for fresh, locally sourced produce, usually at prices lower than those found in supermarkets. This supports local businesses and presents an opportunity for savings on grocery bills.


Cost of entertainment and eating out in Aberdeen

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

The city, however, hosts various free or low-cost entertainment options. From picturesque parks and beaches to museums and galleries, there’s a fair share of leisure activities that require little to no spending.

Eating out can be pricey, but opting for lesser-known eateries or enjoying the traditional fish and chips by the harbour can offer a more budget-friendly yet equally enjoyable experience.


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 healthcare in Aberdeen

The healthcare system in Aberdeen is part of the wider National Health Service (NHS) of the UK, which provides free healthcare at the point of use for residents. However, private healthcare is also available and is preferred by some for its shorter waiting times and often more personalised service. Expats who plan to make use of private healthcare might want to consider securing a private health insurance plan to cover the costs. Nevertheless, the high standard of care in both the public and private sectors ensures that health needs are well catered for either way.


Cost of living chart for Aberdeen

Note that prices may vary depending on the product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for October 2023.

Accommodation (monthly rent)

Three-bedroom apartment in the city centre

GBP 1,150

Three-bedroom apartment outside the city centre

GBP 860

One-bedroom apartment in the city centre

GBP 540

One-bedroom apartment outside the city centre

GBP 460

Food and drink

Dozen eggs

GBP 2.28

Milk (1 litre)

GBP 1.13

Rice (1kg)

GBP 1.67

Loaf of white bread

GBP 1.10

Chicken breasts (1kg)

GBP 2.54

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

GBP 13

Eating out

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

GBP 58

Big Mac Meal

GBP 5.39

Coca-Cola (330ml)

GBP 1.49

Cappuccino

GBP 2.96

Bottle of beer (local)

GBP 1.60

Utilities/household

Mobile call rate (per minute – mobile to mobile)

GBP 0.09

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)

GBP 25

Basic utilities (average per month for a standard household)

GBP 300

Transportation

Taxi rate/km

GBP 1.37

City-centre public transport fare

GBP 3

Gasoline (per litre)

GBP 1.62

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