Question No-2 How Much It Costs To Live In The Kingdom Of Saudi Arabia?

From rent and grocery to transport and education, we provide an overview of living expenses in Saudi Arabia who want to live and work there. We will also overview 10 Questions About The Expats Life In The Kingdom Of Saudi Arabia: Part 2

While there are no clear choices for foreigners looking to pursue a career in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia offers an exciting proposition for those with money. The living cost in Saudi Arabia is generally lower than in the West. In addition, salaries are high, and there is no personal income tax. With a few opportunities to be social, you will also save money very quickly.

See Also: 10 Questions About The Expats Life In Saudi Arabia: Part 1

This helpful guide covers the following topics:

  • Basic standard of living in Saudi Arabia
  • Wages and salaries in Saudi Arabia.
  • Accommodation costs in Saudi Arabia
  • The cost of household bills in Saudi Arabia
  • Healthcare costs in Saudi Arabia
  • Childcare costs in Saudi Arabia
  • Study costs in Saudi Arabia
  • The cost of food in Saudi Arabia
  • Transportation costs in Saudi Arabia
  • Clothes in Saudi Arabia
  • Recreational activities in Saudi Arabia
  • Taxes and social security in Saudi Arabia
  • Help with housing costs in Saudi Arabia.

See Also: What Should An Expat Do If His Date Of Birth On Absher And Iqama Is Different?

(1)- Basic Standards Of Living In Saudi Arabia:

While some items are cheaper in Saudi Arabia, others are slightly comparable to Western Europe. Approximately an average family of four would need at least SAR20,000 / month to meet basic living expenses.

Although low cost of living and high wages generally indicates a good quality of life, other factors can be a problem. Most notably, pollution, climate, and lack of freedom and tolerance are the concerns that significantly reduce the quality of life in Saudi Arabia.

(2)- Wages And Salaries In Saudia Arabia.

On average, salaries in Saudi Arabia are lower than in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates but more significant than in the United Kingdom.

  • The average wage in the capital, Riyadh, is SAR 260,500.
  • Salaries in both cities, Dammam and Jeddah, are at SAR 233,500. Outside of these cities, however, there is a significant reduction in wages.
  • The average salary in Medina is about SAR 197,500, while in Tabuk, it is SAR 161,400.

See Also: How Can Expats Show Foreigners Vaccine Status In Saudi Arabia?

Minimum Wages In KSA:

In previous years, the Ministry of Labour of Saudi Arabia had introduced minimum wage laws. Different wages rates apply to the public and private sectors, as well as to Saudis and foreigners. As for the private sector, the minimum wage has been fixed at SAR 2,500 / month.

High Paid Wages In KSA:

HR Executive: USD 3,045.

Editor:  USD 5,169.

IT Manager: USD 8,500.

Hotel General Manager: USD 10,404.

CEO Local Company: USD 7,100.

(3)- Accommodation Costs In Saudi Arabia:

How Much Rent Costs In KSA?:

Almost 60% of the expats in Saudi Arabia live in apartments or villas, and their prices can vary significantly from place to place. Most foreigners in Saudi Arabia live on rent in expat compounds located in the highlands of Riyadh. Two-bedroom flats in such a location cost around SAR4,000, while three-bedroom apartments can go up to SAR12,000.

Outside these compounds, a 900-square-foot flat can get rented for about SAR 3,000 a month, but prices in other cities can drop to SAR 1,500. In suburbs and rural areas, rents in Saudi Arabia are even lower, and you can find a three-bedroom apartment for between SAR2,500 and SAR3,000. A furnished two-bedroom villa can get located for some SAR 6,000.

Property Prices In Saudi Arabia:

Until recently, Saudi Arabia banned non-citizens from buying property, so all expats were restricted to rent. However, laws have recently get relaxed to allow foreigners to buy property for business or housing.

For reference, apartments usually sold between SAR 3,000 and SAR7,000 / sqm in the city centre or between SAR 1,800 and SAR5,000 / sqm outside.

See Also: How An Expat Can Get A Final Exit Visa And What Will The Employer Do If The Expat Doesn’t Leave KSA Under The Given Time

(4)- The Cost Of Household Bills In KSA:

Utility Bills Costs In KSA:

In KSA, you can expect to pay at least SAR 350 / month for household items, including electricity, water and gas. However, this can get waived in the summer when you want to have an air convention most of the time. Your utility bills will be much lower than your home country, especially from somewhere like the UK or Europe.

Cost Of Internet And Cable Tv In KSA:

  • Cable TV in KSA is available through ONS, which offers two international packages under the Philippine specific label, and three more. Global packages cost SAR 159 and SAR 352 per month.
  • The government-run STC (Saudi Telecom Company) is the country’s largest and most reliable Internet and mobile phone service provider. However, it is also the most expensive. 5G QuickNet services are available in packages ranging from SAR 110 (for 10GB) to SAR 350 / month (unlimited). The company bundles fibre / DSL internet with its Joy TV service, including total data allowances from SAR 250 to SAR 999 / month.
  • Mobile phone internet packages are also available through STC, MOBILY and ZAIN. These range from bare-bones Internet and SAR 70 call packages to full-service unlimited Internet and calls, roaming and Java TV plans for the SAR 800.

See Also: An Expat Guide To Change Sponsorship In Saudi Arabia

(5)- Health Care Costs In Saudi Arabia:

All foreigners in Saudi Arabia must have private international health insurance to access any medical services in the country. While you can visit government hospitals and clinics, waiting times can be extensive and the system complicated.

As a result, most foreigners live in private health care. The regular doctor’s appointment in a private clinic is around SAR180, which is reasonable compared to private healthcare in other countries. Other costs, such as women’s health care, may be different than in your home country.

(6)- Childcare Costs In Saudi Arabia:

All daycare centres and nurseries in Saudi Arabia are private, so if you have young children in your family, you have to calculate the cost. You can expect payments between SAR 10,000 and SAR 50,000 / year.

Although they are available, BB sitters, nannies and O-pairs are not uncommon for the average expat family in Saudi Arabia. Instead, you will find that most people have a housemaid who entrusts childcare to them.

(7)- How Much Does Study Costs In KSA?

Almost all public school systems in Saudi Arabia are only available to Muslims, so many foreigners choose private international schools for their children. Fees may vary depending on what grade your children are in and what school they attend. For example, the annual kindergarten fee at Al Noor International School will be SAR 11,000, while the tuition fee for a 12th-grade student at British International School will be more than 90,000 SAR per year.

It does not include the cost of uniforms, transport, activities, or other materials. Tuition fees in Saudi Arabia are generally much lower than in countries like the United Kingdom, the United States or Europe.

Saudi Arabia also has several prestigious universities that offer a variety of courses – however, they are particularly famous for degrees related to the oil and gas industries, such as engineering. On average, university tuition fees range from about SAR 30,000 to SAR 50,000 per semester.

(8)- The Cost Of Food In Saudi Arabia:

Grocery In KSA:

When it comes to the cost of grocery products in KSA, you can usually expect to pay as much as you would in places like Europe, although individual items can be more or less expensive, mainly if they get imported. Below is a list of everyday grocery items in Riyadh and their prices.

  • Milk (litre): SAR 5.
  • 1 Bread: SAR 3.
  • One dozen eggs: SAR 8.
  • Bananas (1 kg):  SAR 5.
  • Water (1.5 litres): SAR 2.

Restaurants In Saudi Arabia:

With rising inflation and the introduction of new value-added taxes, the cost of food in Saudi Arabia is rising. That said, of course, there is always a range of food options available. In the capital of KSA (Riyadh) and some other major cities, a simple meal at an essential dinner will usually cost between SAR 20 and SAR 80. You can expect to pay up to SAR 300 for a favourite meal in a vibrant atmosphere in the Expat area.

Eating out is cheaper than in big cities like London and Paris, but it is generally on par with smaller European cities and Southeast Asian cities.

See Also: Ministry Launched Medical Trust Scheme For Expats And Foreigners Residing In KSA

Alcohol, Wine And Spirits In Saudi Arabia:

Being a strict Islamic country, Saudi Arabia has a strict ban on alcohol. The punishment for seizing, or selling or buying alcohol is severe. As a general rule, you will have to wait until you travel for a drink or two. There is nothing like sitting in a good cafe and drinking well-made coffee. And fortunately, you can do that in most cities in Saudi Arabia, including Riyadh and Jeddah. The average cappuccino will cost you SAR 12, which is the equivalent of coffee worldwide.

(9)- Transportation Costs In Saudi Arabia:

Public Transport In KSA:

Public transport in KSA is generally limited to private cars and taxis. However, there are decent inter-city train and bus links in the country. For the state-run SAPTCO bus network, a return ticket is about SAR 300 and SAR 400. It is some 25% cheaper than one-way options.

Train tickets for the return journey are around SAR 180. Trains are probably cheaper than you would find in Europe. However, buses are much more expensive. Although intercity public transport is available, it is rarely used by foreigners. They find it much easier to hire cars and drivers.

See Also: An Expat Guide To The Laws Of Saudi Arabia

Private Transport In KSA:

Taxis are readily available in KSA, and fares are standard across the country. The typical starting tariff is SAR10, SAR10 per km with extra charge as well as waiting time. Ride healing apps are available in major cities such as Ober and Karim Riyadh – but not at airports – and prices vary depending on travel distance.

Private cars are a very good choice for expats. However, it is essential to note that although anyone can buy a sedan or hatchback, only families can afford an SUV. Many foreigners choose to buy a brand new car from a dealership to ensure they have the proper paperwork and a reliable car.

For reference,

  • Toyota Camry 2019 sells for SAR 86,000.
  • BMW 7 Series 2019 from SAR 550,500;
  • Ford Explorer 2019 from SAR 187,000.

Cars are usually more expensive than in the United States. On the contrary, petrol is significantly cheaper in Saudi Arabia. You can expect to pay SAR1.5 / litre.

(10)- Clothes In Saudi Arabia:

Like any other country, you will find high street and designer clothes all over Saudi Arabia. For the high street, the prices are the same as elsewhere. You can expect to spend SAR 160 on Zara clothing, SAR 200 on a pair of levy jeans and SAR 350 on a pair of shoes. Designer software, of course, is more expensive, even in Europe.

(11)- Free Time Activities In Saudi Arabia:

Your leisure time in Saudi Arabia will not be the same as anywhere else. It is pure because of many restrictions, especially for women. Although there is a theatre and a recently opened cinema, it is difficult to go out – gender segregation is a norm, and etiquette is non-existent. That said, if you are willing to make the experience daring, you can expect to spend about SAR 100 per person for theatre and half for cinema.

Separate gyms are also available, and gym openings have increased significantly in previous years. Such as Curves and NuYu – cater.  A contract will probably cost you between SAR300 and SAR1,500 per month. It is more expensive than most western countries but equals a good gym in Asia.

(12)- Taxes And Social Security In Saudi Arabia:

Like many countries in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia has no personal income tax. There is no need for a pension from the government. However, many large companies offer some form of pension plan for foreign employees.

NOTE: Although social welfare benefits are available in Saudi Arabia, they are only accessible to Saudi citizens. As an expat, you will not receive any public benefits.

See Also: An Expat Guide To List Of 40 Working Hospitals In KSA

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