Saudi Arabia is a Middle Eastern country known for its oil reserves and Islamic culture. In this article, we’ll cover the local currency, compare the cost of living in Saudi Arabia to the UK and the USA, break down costs for singles, couples, and families of 4 in different categories, and explain the most common forms of payment in Saudi Arabia.
Local Currency in Saudi Arabia
The local currency in Saudi Arabia is the Saudi riyal (SAR). One Saudi riyal is divided into 100 halalas. The Saudi riyal is widely accepted throughout the country, and you can exchange your currency at banks or exchange offices.
Cost of Living in Saudi Arabia Compared to the UK and USA
According to the Numbeo cost of living index, the cost of living in Saudi Arabia is generally lower than in the UK and the USA. The index takes into account factors such as housing, food, utilities, transportation, and entertainment.
As of February 2023, the index shows that the cost of living in Riyadh, the capital city of Saudi Arabia, is about 54.99% lower than in London and 55.36% lower than in New York. While the cost of living in Saudi Arabia is generally lower than in the UK and the USA, salaries in Saudi Arabia are also lower, making it an affordable destination for expats on a budget.
Breakdown of Costs in Saudi Arabia
To give you an idea of what you can expect to pay for different expenses in Saudi Arabia, let’s break down costs for singles, couples, and families of 4 in different categories.
Housing is generally affordable in Saudi Arabia, and the cost of living in this category is relatively low compared to other countries. The cost of housing varies depending on where you live and the type of housing you choose. According to Numbeo, the average cost of a one-bedroom apartment in the city center is around SAR 2,500 per month. A three-bedroom apartment in the city center costs around SAR 5,000 per month.
If you’re on a tight budget, you may be able to find a room to rent for around SAR 1,500 per month. However, keep in mind that housing in Saudi Arabia can be challenging to find, especially if you’re looking for a specific type of accommodation.
The cost of food in Saudi Arabia is generally lower than in the UK and the USA, and it’s possible to eat on a budget. You can expect to pay around SAR 20-30 for a meal at an inexpensive restaurant and around SAR 100-150 for a meal at a mid-range restaurant.
If you’re on a tight budget, you can save money by shopping at markets and cooking your meals. A week’s worth of groceries for one person costs around SAR 200-300.
The cost of utilities in Saudi Arabia varies depending on the size of your home and your usage. On average, you can expect to pay around SAR 500-700 per month for utilities such as electricity, water, and gas.
The cost of leisure activities in Saudi Arabia varies widely depending on what you enjoy doing. A movie ticket costs around SAR 50-70, and a fitness club membership costs around SAR 1,000-1,500 per month.
If you enjoy going out, expect to pay around SAR 30-50 for a soft drink in a cafe or around SAR 100-150 for a meal at a fast food restaurant. Entrance fees for museums and other attractions vary widely but usually range from SAR 30-100.
The cost of transport in Saudi Arabia is relatively low compared to other countries. A one-way ticket on public transportation costs around SAR 3, while a monthly pass costs around SAR 80-100. Taxis are also affordable, with a starting fare of around SAR 5 and a per-kilometer rate of around SAR 1.5.
The cost of clothing in Saudi Arabia varies depending on the brand and quality of the product. Local clothing brands are generally affordable, with a pair of jeans costing around SAR 150-200, while a shirt costs around SAR 50-100.
However, if you prefer international brands, you can expect to pay a premium price. For example, a pair of Levi’s jeans can cost around SAR 250-350, while a shirt from Zara can cost around SAR 150-250.
The cost of household goods in Saudi Arabia varies depending on the item and brand. For example, a new television can cost anywhere from SAR 1,000 to SAR 10,000 depending on the size and features. A washing machine can cost around SAR 1,000-3,000, while a refrigerator can cost around SAR 1,500-5,000.
Forms of Payment in Saudi Arabia
Cash is the most commonly used form of payment in Saudi Arabia, but many stores and restaurants also accept credit and debit cards. Some stores also accept mobile payments and contactless payments.
It’s important to note that many places in Saudi Arabia still only accept cash, especially in smaller cities and towns. Therefore, it’s a good idea to keep cash on hand for everyday expenses.
The cost of living in Saudi Arabia is generally lower than in the UK and the USA, making it an affordable destination for expats. Housing, food, utilities, and transportation costs are all relatively low compared to other countries. Cash is the most commonly used form of payment in Saudi Arabia, but credit and debit cards are also widely accepted.
Before you move to Saudi Arabia, it’s important to research the cost of living in your desired location and create a budget that takes into account your income and expenses. By doing so, you can ensure that you can live comfortably in Saudi Arabia without breaking the bank.