Cost of living in Saudi Arabia in 2022

Have you ever thought about living in Saudi Arabia? Living in one of the many expats’ communities is a perfect starting point for young professionals. Cultural differences are obvious, but that’s precisely what attracts newcomers. Prepare for initial shock, whether you plan to visit Saudi Arabia as a tourist or to live and work there. It is literally this exoticism and diversity of the Middle East that intrigues people of the western world. However, that is just the tip of the iceberg since there are more reasons of a completely different nature. If this sounds appealing to you, keep reading to find out the cost of living in Saudi Arabia in 2022. Moving companies in Saudi Arabia perform domestic as well as international relocations. In case you want to try your luck in this oil empire. 

Saudi Arabia is one of the fastest-growing economies

After the Covid-19 pandemic, many countries still struggle to recover their economies. Saudi Arabia is one of the countries that bounced back quickly. Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development published the data for the first quarter of 2022. They state that Saudi Arabia’s gross domestic product is the fastest growing in the world. According to the UN’s Human Development Index, Saudi Arabia is highly developed. More precisely, its economic growth index of 0,854 points placed Saudi Arabia in 41st place among 189 countries in 2019. Also, it shows that 93% of its residents think the state of the economy is good. The thriving economy and affordable cost of living in Saudi Arabia in 2022 promise good prospects for foreign professionals, too. Moving shouldn’t be a big issue with the help of international movers in Riyadh. But moving without reliable movers can be quite a challenge.

Aerial view of city in desert.
The cost of living in Saudi Arabia in 2022 is cheaper compared to western countries.

What is the cost of living in Saudi Arabia in 2022? 

This question is crucial for those thinking about moving to Saudi Arabia. And to answer this complex question, we must consider various spheres of life. The thing that’s the most tempting is that the standard of living is high and the cost of living is low. And that is greatly helped by the fact that there are no personal income taxes. Another promising reason for foreign newcomers is growing expat communities. Saudi Arabia offers expat packages, which consist of lodging or rent money, plus fees for transportation and education. These benefits reduce the monthly cost of living for expats. However, the situation is not all black and white. Some costs of living have been increasing in the past few years. So if you’re up for relocation to Saudi Arabia, read on and take notes. 

The monthly cost of living in Saudi Arabia

The fact that will please anyone who is thinking about living in Saudi Arabia is that the costs of living are similar to European cities. Still, there are some major differences, as well. For instance, cars are cheaper due to the general lack of taxes. On the other hand, accommodation is more expensive compared to Europe. As for the monthly cost of living, it’s somewhat cheaper in Saudi Arabia. Take it with a grain of salt depending on your city. The average monthly cost of living for a four-member family is about $2680, plus rent. Singles will spend about $746 per month. Even in Riyadh, the capital, the cost of living is more or less similar to the average. If we consider that the average salary in 2022 is $2730, it’s easy to conclude how high the standard of living is.

Spices and food are big part of cost of life in Saudi Arabia in 2022.
Delicious food and spices are the hallmarks of Saudi Arabia.

The cost of housing in the Kingdom

To get a better picture of things, we will make comparisons. In New York rents range from $1500 to $3950 for a one-bedroom apartment. In Saudi Arabia, you could rent a furnished two-bedroom apartment in an expensive expat community area for $1600. And for a three-bedroom apartment, rent goes up to $4260. But, outside these communities, rents are significantly lower. You could rent an even bigger flat for about $500. Rents drop even further in the suburbs and districts. However, the expats usually opt for community accommodation, while Saudis mostly live in villas and flats. Whichever option you pick, factor in the cost of relocation services Saudi Arabia. International relocations are even more difficult and require top-notch professional moving services. 

Real estate prices in Saudi Arabia in 2022

From 2020, foreigners can also buy properties in the KSA. The condition is that they’re permanently settled in Saudi Arabia. And they can buy only one estate if they get approval from the Ministry of Housing. However, this can cost a lot, since the land is very pricey in KSA. The price of the land is close to 50% of the real estate price. In 2022 the prices rose 1.5%, due to a rise in the land plot prices of 1.8% from 2021. And they were expensive even before that, so expats rarely decide to buy them. Mortgages have not yet taken off, so many Saudis take long-term loans. One can wait for years for a loan. If you still decide to buy, opt for packaging companies in Saudi Arabia to help you move. 

Are utility costs expensive in Saudi Arabia?

Like most other things, utility costs are also cheaper in Saudi Arabia. The average monthly costs for basics such as electricity, water, and garbage, are only about $70. These costs are slightly higher in Riyadh, about $92 per month. If the latest July reports from are to be believed, for an 85sqm apartment you’ll have to pay from $67 to $186. Also, add $70 for the unlimited internet to that sum. The flow is excellent, and the 5G network covers around 78% of the Kingdom, while two years ago it was only 45%. But, you should know that internet usage is censored. As for the phone, one minute of prepaid local tariff will cost you $0.13. Saudi Telecommunications Company (STC) stands out among providers for providing the best 4G and 5G coverage. 

Woman in hijab calculating cost of living in Saudi Arabia in 2022 on her laptop.
Saudi Arabia has a good 4G and 5G network coverage.

The cost of food in Saudi Arabia

Along with the rent, food is another major monthly expense. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s pricey. In fact, you would spend the same amount on food in Europe. Some products are cheaper while others are more expensive. And that greatly depends on the import and customs clearance. For example, groceries in markets are cheaper than in the US, some say even 75% lower. So, cooking on your own can save you a lot of money. You can also find ingredients in groceries and well-supplied supermarkets. For those who don’t like to cook, there are almost all major fast food restaurants like McDonald’s and PizzaHut. There are also local fast food diners with excellent local cuisine. Food in Saudi Arabia is rich and savory, and eating out is considered an enriching cultural experience. 

  • For a regular meal at a low-cost restaurant, you’ll pay $6,66.
  • A meal for two persons in a mid-priced restaurant is about $45.
  • You can find domestic alcohol-free beer for $1.45 and imported beer for $1.60.
  • Fruit and vegetables vary from $1 for potatoes and onions to $1.50 for bananas and oranges. For 1kg of apples, you’ll pay about $2. 
  • Chicken meat costs $7.18, and beef goes up to $12.39.
  • The staple food like bread, milk, and eggs cost from $0.83 for a loaf of bread to $1.57 for a bottle of milk. For a pack of 12 eggs, you’ll spend $2.38. 

As you can see, the food is rather affordable in Saudi Arabia. And yet, it’s very high in quality. The offer is very rich in local markets and the supermarkets too. That’s one more good reason to move to the Kingdom with Four Winds Saudi Arabia moving company.

The close-up of camel.
Camel races are very popular among Saudis.

Transportation options and costs in Saudi Arabia

Although owning a car makes traveling around Saudi Arabia easier, it’s good to know that you have other options. Other than a car, a taxi is the most used means of transportation in the cities. Taxi starting price goes from $1.30 to $4.80, and 1km is on average $1.33. And sometimes you’ll have to bargain with the taxi driver. Traveling by the local bus system is also an option. The Saudi Public Transport Company (SAPTCO) is the national bus company in Saudi Arabia. A rechargeable SAPTCO smart card costs $2.66, while a one-way bus ticket is $0.80. Or you can buy a monthly pass for $32. Which is fairly cheap, considering that the ride from Riyadh to Jeddah (about 950km) costs between $50 and $85.

Trains and metro in Saudi Arabia

Being the oil empire, metro and railroads are not that popular in Kingdom. There is just about 3000km of railroad tracks. Although intensive work has been done in recent years on the improvement of rail transportation. So far, there are two companies operating the three lines. The cost of the train ticket in Saudi Arabia depends on the distance and carriage class. On the other hand, there is only one metro system in Mecca. And the second one in Riyadh is expected to be open by the end of 2022. And there are indications of another 3 in Medina, Jeddah, and Dammam. Movers and packers Dammam can organize your relocation while you’re exploring the country.

Riyadh by night from the sky.
The cost of living is slightly higher in Riyadh.

Health care costs in Saudi Arabia

Another thing that concerns the expats is the quality of health care and its cost. All Saudis have the access to free healthcare. This also applies to expats working in the public sector. However, they also need private international health insurance. Without it, they can not access Saudi public health care. For one person on an annual basis is $1500, and for a four-member family is nearly $5000. That is a little over $400 a month to cover the whole  family. It may seem a bit costly, but you will agree that peaceful sleep is priceless. The same goes for dental care, it’s free for all Saudi citizens. 

Sports and recreation costs in KSA

Saudis cherish traditional sports like hunting with hounds, camel, and horse racing. However, modern sports are very popular, too. They’re big fans of soccer in the first place, and then volleyball, basketball, etc. What surprises the most is the high cost of the gym membership. And yet they are very visited despite the prices being among the highest in the world. A monthly membership will cost you $83. So if you want to stay fit, include a gym fee in the cost of living in Saudi Arabia in 2022. It’s way cheaper to buy used gym equipment. You can store it in a warehouse in Saudi Arabia until you make room for it. And for renting a tennis court for 1 hour a week you will pay approx $35. While you’ll pay for a single cinema ticket $17 to watch new releases. 

White car in the desert sunset.
The cost of living in Saudi Arabia in 2022 is lower than in other countries in the Middle East.

How much do clothes and shoes cost?

As for wardrobe, you can find all the famous world brands in malls across the Kingdom. The prices are pretty much the same as anywhere else, except for the branded sneakers. For a pair of quality sneakers, you’ll have to pay around $90. You’ll pay as much for a pair of leather shoes, as well.

Is oil that cheap in Saudi Arabia?

KSA is right behind Venezuela in terms of oil reserves in the world. It is also the largest producer and exporter. It’s the fifth country in terms of gas reserves. In 2013 there were 7 refineries in KSA, three of which are located in Yanbu. Many of its residents are precisely expatriates who work in these oil refineries. Exactly because of that, moving companies in Yanbu are the right choice for international relocations. As for the prices of oil derivates, gasoline is $0.62 and diesel is $0.16 per liter. And price increases have been announced since August 2022. How that will affect the economies of oil-importing countries, remains to be seen.

Saudi Arabia is a land of opportunities for expats

The cost of living in Saudi Arabia in 2022 is in the opinion of many still very affordable. Regardless of the world crisis that is spilling over Europe, this oil empire remains a promised land for many expats. If you are one of those who dream of moving to KSA, give your trust to Four Winds Saudi Arabia. Let us relocate you and convince you of our quality.

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