Riyadh is the capital city of Saudi Arabia, and with all forms of entertainment banned – it is mostly a business destination.
In Riyadh, like in many cities of Saudi Arabia, you have two choices: living in a so-called western compound (where you’ll find all sort of amenities like tennis courts, gyms, pools, cinemas, golf, sauna etc.) or living outside of the compounds which is much cheaper but there’s nothing to do at all.
The cost withing the compounds will vary according to the facility you choose to be in.
Eating out is one of the hidden pleasures in Riyadh — the food here is absolutely great. You have food prices ranging from single digits to sky high prices. Your best bet for cheap, filling meals are small Pakistani/Indian restaurants, where you can eat for just over 1$. Fast food places are packed in Riyadh’s shopping malls, with a full meal with drink averaging around 5$.
Groceries are of very high quality and also with an affordable price, even though in the last two years prices of groceries went up drastically. Food will definitely be your main expense, but if you cook for yourself instead of eating out, you’ll definitely save a lot of money. You can find huge chains of supermarkets where you’ll find whatever you need.
Currently, there are no means of public transport available for masses, although Riyadh metro construction is currently under construction. Most visitors rely on white taxis. Drivers will usually use the meter without asking and most metered trips within the city cost under 8$. Fuel is so cheap, that it becomes extremely cheap for a person to travel in a personal vehicle.
Utilities are rather cheap in Riyadh, which is expected in the cities of Saudi Arabia – in fact, they’re cheaper than in most cities around the world. The cost of utilities there amounts to only around 75$ for a month for basic ones like electricity, water, cooling, heating and garbage services in an apartment of 85m2. Internet however, is pretty expensive compared to this, costing around 65$ a month.
SPORTS & LEISURE
Entertainment in Saudi Arabia’s capital is close to non-existent. This applies to cinemas and theaters too, while gyms and fitness clubs are segregated by gender. On top of this, the cost of staying active in Riyadh is through the roof! A month of going to the gym or a being a member of a fitness club will cost you a whopping 82$ – that’s more than in most countries around the world.
CLOTHING & SHOES
Kingdom Centre is the most magnificent building in Riyadh, and it hosts an (expensive) three-story shopping mall where you can go shopping if you really have the means for such a luxury. Otherwise, Riyadh’s main roads are nothing but one shopping mall after another, so you’ll have many places where you can buy quality jeans for around 53$ or running sneakers for 85$.
RENT PER MONTH
Though accommodation here is not exactly cheap, there are areas in the city that offer better housing options for a cheaper rent in comparison to the areas with a higher demand. If you opt for areas a bit further from the center of the city (which is recommended since the city center doesn’t offer much) the rent price will drop to around 280$. Otherwise, a one-bedroom apartment in the center will cost you well over 400$.
Cost of Living Averages Table for Riyadh
|Average Restaurant Prices|
|Meal (Inexpensive Restaurant)||$ 6.67|
|Domestic Beer (0.5 Liter)||$ 1.40|
|Water (0.33 Liter)||$ 0.25||Average Market Prices|
|Milk (1 Liter)||$ 1.39|
|Loaf Bread (500g)||$ 0.66|
|Eggs (12)||$ 2.28||Average Transport Prices|
|One Way Ticket||$ 0.80|
|Monthly Pass||$ 39.99|
|Gasoline||$ 0.39||Average Utilities Prices|
|Basic (Water, Electricity, Garbage, Heating, Cooling)||$ 75.57|
|1 min. of Prepaid Mobile Tariff Local||$ 0.12|
|Internet (Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL)||$ 65.08||Average Leisure Prices|
|Fitness Club, Monthly Fee for 1 Adult||$ 82.56|
|Tennis Court Rent (1 Hour)||$ 24.81|
|Cinema, 1 Seat, International Release||$ 18.66||Average Clothing Prices|
|1 Pair of Jeans (Levis 501 Or Comparable)||$ 53.08|
|1 Summer Dress in a Chain Store (Zara, etc...)||$ 56.09|
|1 Pair of Adidas Walking Shoes (Mid-Range)||$ 85.34||Average Rent Prices|
|Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Center||$ 421.16|
|Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Center||$ 282.08|
|Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Center||$ 743.50|
How Does the Average Person Spend Their Money in Riyadh?
Much like everywhere else in Saudi Arabia, Riyadh has a huge saving potential – here there are virtually no distractions where you can spend all the money you’ve earned.
As for the expenses, the biggest chunk of the paycheck of Riyadh’s citizens gets spent on food.
Rent may be the next big expense in Riyadh, but if you came to work here, you won’t have any problems since most companies give you a housing allowance.
What is shockingly high is the percentage of sports expenses: as much as 17% of one’s entire salary gets spent on sports, which is very high.
Riyadh: Average Salary, Minimum Wage & Mortgages
One of the great things about Riyadh is that here – you do not pay tax and can save quiet a lot of money.
The average monthly net salary is around 1500$, which is staggeringly high, particularly if you take into account how low the prices are – you have no way of spending all that you’ve earned.
Saudi Arabia has a government-mandated minimum wage in most cities, and no worker in these cities can be paid less then this mandatory minimum rate of pay.
The minimum wage in Saudi Arabia is 1400$ and is more than enough to live a comfortable life.
Cost of Living by City in Saudi Arabia
*Click the name of the city for more information.
|City||Cost of Living Index|