Cost of Living in Saudi Arabia

The cost of living in Saudi Arabia is generally lower or on par with other destinations in the Middle East. Riyadh ranked 52nd in Mercer’s 2017 Cost of Living Survey; although it's a lot more affordable than the popular expat cities of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, it ranked as more expensive than other regional cities like Manama and Doha.

Many expats move to the Kingdom on lucrative relocation packages with allowances for housing, transport, medical insurance and their children's education.

Expats who have these costs covered by their employers usually find living expenses in Saudi Arabia to be reasonable and enjoy a comfortable lifestyle.


Cost of accommodation in Saudi Arabia

Expat housing in Saudi Arabia is expensive. High demand for property in expat compounds has resulted in high prices, and the most popular compounds can have long waiting lists. Living outside the compounds is cheaper, but some find it to be a more isolating experience.


Cost of education in Saudi Arabia

Schooling is another big expense. Foreign children don't have access to public schools in Saudi Arabia, so they have to attend international schools where tuition can be prohibitively expensive.


Cost of transport in Saudi Arabia

Given its position in the oil sector, petrol is cheap in Saudi Arabia and expats can often afford a more luxurious car in Saudi Arabia than they could back home.


Cost of household goods and food in Saudi Arabia

Electronic goods, groceries and (perhaps ironically) tobacco products are reasonably priced, but imported food and eating out can be costly.

Entertainment options in Saudi Arabia are limited. There are no bars or nightclubs for Western expats, but money is easily spent on luxury items in the country’s many malls.


Cost of living in Saudi Arabia chart 

(Note that prices may vary depending on location and service provider and the table below is based on the average prices in Riyadh in June 2018.)

Accommodation (monthly)

Furnished two-bedroom house

SAR 4,250

Unfurnished two-bedroom house

SAR 2,600

Furnished two-bedroom apartment

SAR 3,500

Unfurnished two-bedroom apartment

SAR 2,250

Groceries

Milk (1 litre)

SAR 4.50

Dozen eggs 

SAR 10

Loaf of white bread

SAR 3

Rice (1kg)

SAR 7.50

Pack of chicken breasts (1kg)

SAR 19.50

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

SAR 23

Eating out

Big Mac meal or equivalent

SAR 22

Cappuccino

SAR 12

Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant 

SAR 80

Utilities

Mobile call rate (per minute – mobile to mobile) 

SAR 0.50

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month) 

SAR 240

Electricity (average per month for standard household)

SAR 160

Transport

City centre bus fare

SAR 2

Taxi (rate per km)

SAR 2.50

Petrol (per litre) 

SAR 2