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Cost of Living in Saudi Arabia

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The cost of living in Saudi Arabia is similar to the costs of living in any Middle East country.

There are certain benefits, but also some downsides. One of the advantages of living in Saudi Arabia is the absence of taxes, and huge subsidies for gas, housing, transports, bread, sugar, and other commodities. The price of gas in Saudi Arabia is significantly lower than water, and electricity rate is very low. You can leave your home appliances and electronic devices on for the whole day, and still, get low bill. Many expats go to Saudi Arabia, in their quest for fast money. The country has been defined as a welfare state, a system where the government protects the health of its citizens. This mostly applies for individuals in financial and social need.

Accommodation Costs
The downside is that there are no cheap hostels. Visitors opt for two options: hotel (prices as in European cities) or staying at friends. Expats can choose between finding accommodation in a compound, or local town houses. Compounds are designed especially for expats and many of them have ?No Saudis policy?. They are equipped with pools, gyms, restaurants and many more . However, local accommodations are significantly cheaper, and closer to the city centre. Check the prices:


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-Cheap studios cost $200-300 per month
-One bedroom apartment for a price of $700 a month
-Luxury one bedroom apartment for a price of $1000 a month
-Bedroom apartment in a compound $1500-2000 per month

Food and Drinks Costs
Vegetables are sold at a bargain price, significantly lower than Western prices, while fruits are about the same price as in Western countries. There are two versions of foreign drinks: imported and local. While local versions are way cheaper, it is recommended that people purchase imported. Prices for basic groceries: Milk ($1), dozen eggs ($1.8), loaf of bread ($0.8), full chicken ($4), pack of Arabic pitas ($0.25), 1kg of rice ($1.6), 500grams of chicken breasts ($3). When eating out, a Big Mac meal costs $5.3, cappuccino costs $4, while a dinner at a restaurant for two (three course meal) costs $40. A pack of cigarettes can be found for $2.5 (Marlboro).

Technology Costs
Electronics are tad more expensive than in Europe and US, due to import taxes. Another downside is that some technology companies sell only local warranties. Here are some of the costs for telecommunication services:

-Local and international SMS ? 6 cents
-Local call per minute ? 14 cents
-DSL Internet per month – $50
-Unlimited 4G internet for laptops per month – $25

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Transportation Costs

As mentioned already, the cost of gas and fuel is significantly lower than in US, Europe and other countries. Most people drive cars, but there are options for public transport and local taxi services:

-Grade 91 fuel – 10 cents per liter
-Grade 95 fuel – 17 cents per liter
-Taxi rate per km – 50 cents
-City centre bus fare – 50 cents

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Entertainment Costs
There are beautiful private beaches where expats can go for a swim. They require an entry fee of $20, but sometimes even more. Swimming is allowed only in designated areas. Going to the beach in swim wear is forbidden. Cinemas are prohibited, but movies are available through cable TV services: premier channels for $65 per month and platinum channels for $108 per month. There are many restaurants, bars, coffee shops where you can go out in the night. Popular franchises like Pizza Hut, Starbucks and similar others are charged by Western prices.

Since there are no local taxes, Saudi Arabia is an excellent country for expats trying to earn fast money. Additional benefit is that some job positions include accommodation; ESL teachers, for example.

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