Cost of living in Saudi Arabia for an Expat

Saudi Arabia ranks 61st when it comes to its cost of living according to WorldData. It is one of the largest countries in Asia and the 13th largest in the world. With 16 inhabitants per km2, it is one of the world’s least densely populated countries. An unusually high proportion of residents (85%) live in cities. Riyadh is home to more than one-fifth of the population. 

1.   Rent

When it comes to rent, according to surveys, a family of four is estimated to spend on average 11 725 SR in total. As far as rent is concerned, a 1 bedroom apartment in the city center costs on average 1613.55 SR and one outside of the city center costs roughly 1146.95SR. A 3 bedroom  apartment in the city center costs around 2645.40 SR. While a 3 bedroom apartment outside of the center costs around 1970.87 SR.

2.   Groceries

Luckily Saudi Arabia has numerous supermarkets that you can choose from depending on your lifestyle. We looked up prices from Othaim Markets catalogs and found that generally one liter of regular milk costs 5.92 SR. 1 kg of white rice costs 7.82 SR. A dozen regular eggs should cost around 9 SR. concerning fruits and vegetables, 1 kg of apples costs 5.83 SR on average, while tomatoes cost 6.49 SR. 

3.   Utilities

In Saudi Arabia, basic utilities such as electricity, heating, cooling, water, etc. should cost around 382.45 SR, in addition to internet, cable, unlimited data, etc should round up to 267.44 SR.

4.   Transportation

As far as transportation in Saudi Arabia is concerned, a one way ticket using local transportation costs 4SR, however you can get a monthly pass for 120 SR. You can take a taxi instead for 10 SR and pay 5 SR per Km. If you have your own vehicle, Gasoline costs 2.29 SR per liter. An average Volkswagen Golf costs 85 000 SR.  If you are looking for a cheaper alternative you can get a Toyota Corolla Sedan for 76 017 SR.

5.   Restaurants

A one person meal at an inexpensive restaurant costs 25 SR on average. Fast food at McDonald’s costs around 25 SR as well. A meal for 2 people at a mid-range restaurant should cost you about 170 SR.

6.   Clothing

Shopping in Saudi Arabia can be expensive depending on where you will be shopping and the brands you like to shop from. Thus, a regular pair of jeans from Levi and so on costs about 169 SR. You can get a summer dress from a chain store such as Zara, H&M, etc for 218 SR. As for shoes, a pair of Adidas, or Nike running shoes cost about 366SR.

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Steve has been living in Saudi Arabia since 2013 and writing about Saudi rules, regulations, guides, and procedures since then.