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.
Detailed below is the cost of living classified based on major basket groups. These data, collected by Numbeo, are based on 1332 entries in the past 18 months from 174 different contributors.
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.
Single bedroom apartment for rent in City Centre can fall in the range KWD160 to KWD350
Single bedroom apartment for rent outside City Centre can be in the range KWD130 to KWD250
Three bedroom apartments within City Centre - KWD350 to KWD800
Three bedroom apartments outside City Centre - KWD280 to KWD500
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. Here are the approximate budgets
Pair of Jeans - KWD7 to KWD25
A summer dress in a Chain Store in the likes of Zara or H&M - KD8 to KD20
A pair of mid-range Nike Running Shoes - KD20 to KD35
A pair of men leather business shoes - KD15 to KD50
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.
Preschool or Kindergarten, Full Day (private) monthly for 1 child - KD40 to KD227
International Primary School for 1 child annually - KD600 to KD3000
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.
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, in overall cost of living index.
Here is what you can expect when you eat out in Kuwait:
Meal for two in an inexpensive restaurant could range from KD2 to KD4
Three-course meal for two in a mid-range restaurant could range from KD10 to KD14.
Mc Meal at McDonalds or an equivalent combo meal - KD1.50 to KD2.50
Cappuccino (regular) - KD1 to KD2
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.
Bottle of mid-range non-alcoholic wine - KD0.7 to KD2
Domestic non-alcoholic beer (0.5 ltr bottle) - KD0.35 to KD2.50
Imported non-alcoholic beet (0.33 ltr bottle) - KD0.35 to KD0.60
Cigarettes 20 pack (Marlboro) - KD0.90
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.
Basic (electricity, heating, cooling, water, garbage) for 85m2 apartment per month - KD5 to KD20
1 min of prepaid mobile tariff (local) no discounts or plans - KD0.03 to KD0.07
Internet (60mbps or more, unlimited data, cable/ADSL) - KD5 to KD12
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 major cities. While Kuwait has a reputable public healthcare system that offers free or low-cost healthcare to all residents, the expats are lately being banned by the government from using public healthcare facilities, and Kuwait has begun to build expat-only hospitals charging a considerably higher price.
The medical facilities and treatment at public and private hospitals are usually on par with American and European standards. But for very specialized treatments, people who can afford the costs, whether citizens or expats, seek medical care outside the country.
Kuwait also offers vaccinations free of charge in public clinics. The pharmacies are all well-equipped too.
Expats paying annual health insurance, medical treatment at a hospital will be atleast KD5, and public wards would be charged KD10 per day.
For foreigners visiting the country, medical treatment at polyclinic will cost KD10, and hospital will cost KD20, outpatient clinic would cost KD30, a day in public ward KD70 and ICU will cost KD220.
A stay in a private room at a hospital will cost KD130 per day and deposit for a private room KD300 and KD150 for public ward.
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. Bus transport is available throughout Kuwait for nearly USD 1, while taxi fare could range from KD1 to KD3 or KD4.
One-way ticket (local transport) - KD0.25 to KD0.30
Monthly pass (regular) - KD11 to KD15
Starting tariff for taxi (normal) - KD0.75 to KD1.50
Taxi 1km (normal tariff) - KD0.50 to KD1.00
Taxi 1hour waiting (normal tariff) - KD1 to KD3
Gasoline (1 litre) - KD0.09 to KD0.12
Volkswagen Golf (or equivalent new car) - KD4000 to KD7000
Miscellaneous (sports, entertainment, personal care)
This section includes sports, leisure and other entertainment expenses, apart from other miscellaneous general expenses.
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.
Fitness club, monthly fee per adult - KD20 to KD60
Tennis court rent (per hour on weekend) - KD5 to KD20
Cinema, 1 seat - KD3 to KD4
Cinema, 2 tickets - KD7