Living in Kuwait
Cost of Living in Kuwait
The cost of living in Kuwait is more or less equivalent to that in majority of European nations, for an average western expatriate. The overall cost of living index for Kuwait City is linked to that of middle cost of living locations. The cost of living index covers the prices for defined quantities of same goods and services across several basket groups. But, the lack of taxation is a major advantage in Kuwait, particularly on certain items like cars. However, the cost of living, just as is the case in any other location, would largely depend on your personal lifestyle.
Some companies offer free accommodation. Else, you may have to rent a flat. But, the cost of accommodation may be high at times, depending on the facilities offered and the location. Most rented apartments include air-conditioning. Satellite television may be provided, but may not cover all channels. A swimming pool and/or gymnasium may be provided.
Currently, a double bedroom flat in Salmiya costs about KD250 or more. Shared apartments could range from KD80 to KD150, while unfurnished flats may be in the range KD300, fully furnished flats with facilities like gym, swimming pool, could cost KD650, just as that of two or three room villas.
On the whole, cost for housing, household fuel, electricity, water, local rates and residential taxes such as house/flat mortgage, house/flat rental, local property rates/taxes are all comparatively less in comparison to other cities, and are ranked 212 out of 300 in the overall cost of living index.
Clothing can turn out to be expensive, if you go by designer labels. But, this is not the case in Kuwait alone. There is little need for winter clothing. Given, the hot climate in the region, plenty of clothing is unnecessary. Office wear for men is mostly shirt and tie, with the exception of formal occasions. In general, clothing and footwear, including business suits, casual clothing, children clothing, coats and hats, evening wear, foot wear and innerwear are all less expensive, in comparison to other cities, ranking 200 out of 300 in the overall cost of living index.
In general, education is expensive in Kuwait, although they have American, English, Indian, Pakistan and Filipino schools, apart from local schools. For those working in government / public sector, and who are sending kids to public schools, the cost of education for kids is free. But, if working in private sector, then you need to pay for their education. The school fee will vary, as each private school has its own policy. Therefore, the cost would depend on the type of school you choose, although majority of them charge well beyond KD1000. In general, cost of crèche/pre-school fee, high school/college fee/primary school fee, tertiary school fees are all equally expensive on average, in comparison to other cities, ranking 126 out of 300 on overall cost of living index.
Food and Grocery
Kuwait is open to variety of cuisine and with lots of restaurants, including Arabic, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Italian, American, and Filipino. Restaurants and eating out costs, including that of business dinner, dining at a restaurant, hotel rates, take away drinks and snacks, are expensive in comparison to most other cities with a rank of 36 out of 300 in overall cost of living index.
In case, you chose to purchase internationally branded food items and household goods, you will no-doubt end up paying higher prices than in your home country. But, there are good options available in the local and regional markets that are of great quality. Grocery costs for food and non-alcoholic beverages, cleaning materials including baked goods, baby consumables, canned foods, cheese, baking items, dairy, fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, oil, fruit juices, pet food, pre-cooked meals, sauces, snacks, seafood, soft drinks, herbs and spices, are comparatively less than in other cities, ranking 236 out of 300 in overall cost of living index.
Alcohol and Tobacco
The price of wine and spirits, where these are permitted, is slightly lower than in UK, but is higher in comparison to average European prices. The cost of alcoholic beverages including alcohol at bar, locally produced spirit, beer, whiskey, wine and tobacco products including cigarettes are less prices in comparison to other cities.
Utilities: Utilities including electricity, water and gas are subsidized to certain extent by the region’s governments, as the governments own the services (except bottled gas supplies), as they aim to provide electricity and water at subsidized rates, largely for benefit of nationals. Therefore, utilities are cheaper than in majority of European nations. But, during peak summer, air-conditioning costs will surge. Electronic goods including hi-fis, television, DVD players, computer hardware and software, photographic equipments are all less expensive than in other European nations, largely due to lower import duties.
The cost of communication for home telephone rental and call charges, internet connection and service provider fee, mobile and cellular phone contract, and calls are less expensive in comparison to other cities. The cost of telephone calls including international calls are kept low by the government, as it seeks to encourage international business and investment in the region. They are ranked 261 out of 300 in overall cost of living index.
The cost of general healthcare, medical and medical insurance, physician consultation rates, private hospital costs, non-prescription medicines, private medical insurance, and medical aid contribution is comparatively less expensive in comparison to other cities ranking 233 out of 300 in cost of living index.
The cost for public transport, vehicle fuel, vehicle cost, vehicle insurance and vehicle maintenance, including hire and purchase of vehicle, petrol, diesel, public transport service maintenance, vehicle insurance, tyres, vehicle purchase are all less expensive than in other cities, and are ranked 287 out of 300 on overall cost of living index. Bus transport is available throughout Kuwait for nearly USD 1, while taxi fare could range from KD1 to KD3 or KD4.
Furniture & Appliance
The cost of furniture, household equipment, including DVD player, iron, kettle, fridge freezer, light bulbs, microwave, vacuum cleaner, television, washing machine, are all less expensive in comparison to other cities, and is ranked 213 out of 300 in cost of living index.
The cost pertaining to stationery, general goods, domestic help, dry cleaning, office supplies, magazines and newspapers, postage, are all as expensive as in other cities. Cost of personal care products and services including hair care, cosmetics, tablets, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, cost relatively less than other cities. However, cost of recreation amenities including books, DVD, CDs, sports goods, and theatre tickets are quite expensive here.
Generally, the customized cost of living index for Kuwait City is calculated based on individual basket groups and the chosen location. The cost of living in Kuwait has grown by 10 to 15 percent in 2011 than last year.
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