Cost of Living in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia money

Cost of living in Saudi Arabia is basic question running in your mind if you are planning to come to Saudi Arabia. Obviously, people who are already in Saudi Arabia know how much does it cost to live here. Here in this article I will try to give you some basic idea of how much can it cost, if you are living alone or living with family. One thing I can write even in the introduction that cost of living in Saudi Arabia is much lesser than the cost of living in many other countries of the same region. No doubt, this is the best country in the world as far as savings are concerned.

Cost of Food: Single: Cost of Food is not very high in Saudi Arabia. Obviously, no one can tell you exactly how much it costs for one time meal as the standard of eating varies person to person. But normally, in SR 15-20 you can have one time meal if you are living alone. I used to buy bread and butter type things for the breakfast and used to do dinner in some restaurant when I was alone. I had to skip Lunch due to increasing weight. If you are with family then obviously she will be preparing food. We will cover per month cost of food for the family later in the article.

Family: When you are living with family, obviously you will purchase grocery on monthly basis. Right now, we are 3 people living in the house and overall expenses of our house are SR 1,500/-. I think with every increasing person, you can add SR 250 on your grocery bill. However, this is not the only grocery it includes all other expenses as well. I have included in these expenses dinner in the restaurant once a week. You need to take care of your weight as well if you are living in Saudi Arabia. In the first year of arrival to Saudi Arabia, I gained at least 12 Kg of weight un-noticed.

Cost of Travelling: Unfortunately, there is no proper transportation system in Saudi Arabia for within city travelling. There is a sub-standard bus which works on only few routes of city and charges SR 2-3. But normally people with white color jobs don’t prefer it. It is really substandard.

Second option is to travel by taxi. Taxi is expensive as it is expensive everywhere in the world. However, if you have experienced taxi of Dubai or New York, you will find it very cheap. There is no system of meter related fare, you should agree with the driver before sitting into taxi. Normally taxi driver takes SR 10 if the distance is of 10-15 minutes, SR 15 if distance is of 15-25 minutes and SR 20 if distance is 30 minutes. Taxi driver may charge you better fare if you are travelling in the non-peak hours.

Third and the best option and absolute necessary for someone living in Saudi Arabia is private vehicle. You have to have a private vehicle especially if you are living in Saudi Arabia. Let’s say, if you are going to the office on daily basis 26 days a month, and taxi driver charges SR 15 for each side. You are paying SR 780 on monthly basis. Better solution in this regard is to buy a car on lease. Basic car will also cost you same amount on monthly basis. If you don’t want to go for the lease, a second hand car with basic features and good running condition can be bought in around SR 17,000/-. I purchased automatic Honda Civic 8 years old model with ODO 200,000 in SR 16,000/-. Petrol is very cheap so you don’t need to care about it. Petrol is available for SR 0.45/- per liter.

Accommodation Cost: Single: This is going to be your greatest expense if you are planning to live in any of the Middle East countries. Food and other utilities are much cheaper than the accommodation. If you are a single, there are two options for you. You can either get a single room on rent or share a single room with someone. Normally a single room plus washroom is available from 800 to 1000. This is the rate of single independent room. When I say independent, it means a room with separate entrance. However, some people get together and rent flat of several rooms and share it on equal basis. However, there can be some problem as normally landlords don’t give such flats on rent to singles.

Family: Flats for families vary with the area you have chosen to live in. some areas are more expensive than the others as everywhere in the world. However, when you are living in Saudi Arabia you should select an area where most of your country men live in. For example, Azizia is the area where Pakistani people prefer to live in Jeddah. Similarly, Indians prefer Ashrifia area in Jeddah. The reason for selecting these areas is that the Pakistani and Indians schools are easily available in those areas.  A flat of the single bed room, one drawing room, and tv lounge is available for around SR 20,000/- per annum. A flat of 2 bedrooms + 1 drawing room and tv lounge is available for around SR 27,000/-

Mobile Expenses: Mobile is very expensive in Saudi Arabia. There are three cellular companies in Saudi Arabia. If you want to know in detail how you can take a legal sim card in Saudi Arabia, please read this article. Mobile expense of a normal user is around SR 100 per month. You can take skype package if you want to talk to your native country.

Shared by Abdul Khaliq Jabbar: Expenses vary depending upon your standard of living here.

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