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Currency and Cost of Living

Saudi Arabia - Currency and Cost of Living

The currency of Saudi Arabia is the Saudi Riyal, which is made up of 100 halalas. Banknotes are issued in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 riyals, and coins in 5, 10, 25, 50 and 100 halalas. The Saudi Riyal is freely convertible, and is pegged to the US Dollar at 3.75SR.

In general, the cost of living in Saudi Arabia is similar to that in the US or UK. The cost of imported food is high, but local meat, fish and vegetables are of good quality and are reasonably priced.

Many expatriates find that their living costs are low due to the subsidized and all-inclusive housing costs, and the fact that there are no cinemas, theatres, bars or other entertainment facilities on which to spend their money. They also benefit from the extremely low cost of petrol, and relatively cheap new car prices.

Domestic services are widely available at very low cost. A full-time live-in maid or other domestic worker will on average cost around 1,800SR per month (about 500 US dollars).

Tipping is customary in restaurants and hotels, where it is usual to give 10% of the bill as a tip for good service. Taxi drivers are not usually tipped.

Added 10/03/06 by Fahad - "Actually, I think it is a mistake to compare living in Saudi Arabia with US or UK.
The correct info is that cost of living in Saudi Arabia is extremely low, for example, a lot of employees and workers from eastern countries such as India, Pakistan and Bangladesh take average salaries of $250, therefore, they spend half of this amount for living in Saudi".

Read more about this country

Expat Health Insurance Partners

Bupa Global

At Bupa we have been helping individuals and families live longer, healthier, happier lives for over 60 years. We are trusted by expats in 190 different countries and have links with healthcare organisations throughout the world. So whether you're moving abroad for a change of career or a change of scene, with our international private health insurance you will always be in safe hands.


Cigna has worked in international health insurance for more than 30 years. Today, Cigna has over 71 million customer relationships around the world. Looking after them is an international workforce of 31,000 people, plus a network of over 1 million hospitals, physicians, clinics and health and wellness specialists worldwide, meaning you have easy access to treatment.