Saudi Arabia, a significant player in the world's top 20 economies and the largest nation in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has a population of approximately 32.2 million people. Saudi nationals comprise 58.4% (18.8 million) of this total, with expatriates making up the remaining 41.6% (13.4 million).
Aligned with the ambitious Vision 2030, the country's strategic framework aims to increase its population to 50 million and raise the expatriate percentage to 50%, underlining Saudi Arabia's aspiration to attract global talent.
Three key cities - Riyadh, the capital, Jeddah in the Western Province, and Dammam in the East - form the crux of Saudi Arabia's population and business landscapes. Each city contributes uniquely to the country’s cultural mosaic, reflected in its food, music, and overall culture.
Despite its conservative reputation, Saudi Arabia is a burgeoning modern state with a thriving economy. Numerous shopping malls, restaurants, and entertainment options attest to this progression. Notably, the cost of living is relatively low compared to other developing countries, with 1 USD equivalent to 3.75 SAR (Saudi Riyal), ensuring comfort doesn't necessarily equate to exorbitant spending.
ACCOMMODATION IN SAUDI ARABIA
Accommodation costs vary depending on the city and the specific area within the city. For example, Riyadh, known for its high housing rents, can see costs starting from 750 SAR. Utilities like electricity can add another 150 to 200 SAR. An apartment with a single-bedroom occupant may cost around 1100 SAR. Shared accommodation could reduce this expense to around 550 SAR.
You can visit the Aqar website to have an overview of the price range in the city & area you want to move to: https://sa.aqar.fm/
TRANSPORTATION IN SAUDI ARABIA
Transportation in Saudi Arabia is diverse and fairly affordable, offering numerous options to locals and visitors.
Public Transportation: The Saudi Public Transport Company (SAPTCO) manages the country's extensive bus network. Buses are a common and economical means of transportation within cities and between regions. The fare for a single trip starts at approximately 1 SAR (USD 0.3).
Trains: there are only 2 trains in Saudi which link cities. One is the train from Riyadh to Dammam the other one is from Makkah to Al-Madinah. For instance, a one-way ticket could cost around 50 SAR (USD 13).
Taxis and Ride-Sharing Apps: Taxis are plentiful and reasonably priced. They can be hailed on the street, booked by phone, or ordered via ride-sharing apps like Uber and Careem. Rates depend on the distance and traffic conditions. Prices start from 6 SAR (2 USD) and 2 SAR (0.4 USD) for one kilometer.
Private Vehicles: Owning a car in Saudi Arabia is also quite common due to the affordable fuel prices. If provided with a company car, the fuel cost is usually under 500 SAR per month, depending on usage.
On average, transportation costs in Saudi Arabia could range from 500 SAR to 800 SAR per month, depending on your choice of transport and the distance from your residence to your place of work or frequently visited locations. Keep in mind that although public transportation is available, many people in Saudi Arabia prefer using private cars due to the country's expansive landscape and the convenience that cars offer.
THE COST OF FOOD IN SAUDI ARABIA
Food prices fluctuate based on food type, location, and quality. However, food in Saudi Arabia is generally reasonably priced. For instance, fast-food meals range between 15-20 SAR (USD 4-5), and mid-range restaurant meals cost around 30-50 SAR (USD 8-13). High-end restaurant meals might cost between 75-100 SAR (USD 20-26). Grocery items such as a loaf of bread, a dozen eggs, and a kilogram each of rice, chicken, and beef cost 1 SAR (USD 0.3), 10 SAR (USD 2.6), and 20 SAR (USD 5), respectively. Despite this, the cost of food has been rising due to an increase in living costs, and the devaluation of the Saudi riyal, on food imports. A single person might spend between 800 SAR and 1000 SAR on food.
PHONE & INTERNET IN SAUDI ARABIA
The cost of phone and internet services hinges on several factors, such as the provider, plan type, data quantity, and location. Plans start at about 50 SAR (USD 13) monthly, escalating to 500 SAR (USD 133) or higher. On average, people spend around 100 SAR on phone and internet services per month.
EDUCATION IN SAUDI ARABIA
Education is free from the primary level through high school. However, many expats prefer private schools due to diverse curriculum choices, instruction in native languages, and culturally familiar environments. Private schools also offer high academic standards, superior facilities, and extensive extracurricular activities.
ENTERTAINMENT IN SAUDI ARABIA
Entertainment in Saudi Arabia has undergone significant changes in recent years, with the country opening up to more cultural and leisure activities. Here is an overview of the various entertainment options available in Saudi Arabia and the associated costs. On average, people spend 300 SAR on entertainment per month.
Cultural Festivals: The country hosts various cultural festivals throughout the year, many of which are free to attend. However, some special events or performances within these festivals may charge an entrance fee.
Shopping: With many shopping malls and local markets (souqs), shopping is a popular pastime. Costs here can vary greatly depending on what you're buying and where.
Cinemas and Theatres: A movie ticket generally costs between 50 SAR and 75 SAR. Theatre performances, including musicals and plays, are also gaining popularity, with ticket prices typically ranging from 100 SAR to 200 SAR.
Museums and Historical Sites: Saudi Arabia has a rich history and visiting museums or historical sites is a popular activity. Entrance fees typically cost around 25 SAR, but this can vary.
Theme Parks: There are several amusement parks. The entrance fees can range from free to 100 SAR.
Concerts and Music Festivals: As part of its entertainment reform, Saudi Arabia has begun hosting concerts featuring both local and international artists. The cost for these events can vary significantly, ranging from 200 SAR onward depending on the artist and the seating category.
Sporting Events: Saudi Arabia hosts various sporting events, including football matches and car racing events. Ticket prices typically range from 30 SAR to 100 SAR, depending on the match or event.
In conclusion, the minimum average cost of living for a single person in Saudi Arabia is as follows:
- House rent: 1100 SAR
- Transportation: 500 SAR
- Food: 1800 SAR
- Phone & Internet: 100 SAR
- Entertainment: 300 SAR
Total: 3800 SAR
A comfortable lifestyle begins at around 3,800 SAR per month for a single individual. The balance of your income can easily be saved and remitted to your home country, which is easy given that working in Saudi Arabia means you’ll be earning a tax-free salary!
These figures underscore the affordability of living in Saudi Arabia, making it an attractive location for many seeking a blend of modern lifestyle and cultural richness.
Moving to Saudi Arabia with a family, particularly with children or aged parents, will require additional considerations, with an estimated minimum cost of 400 SAR per person monthly.
While these extra expenses may lead to lesser savings, the value of time spent with family is irreplaceable. Saudi Arabia offers a safe environment and a superior lifestyle for families.
This article aims to provide an insight into the cost of living in Saudi Arabia. If you're considering a move, check out our latest job postings on our website.
*Please note, these figures are estimates and may vary based on your specific circumstances. However, they are verified to reflect Saudi Arabia’s current living costs.
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