Cost of Living in Kuwait

I often see questions about the costs of living in Kuwait on reddit, 248am, and various popular expat sites. Or sometimes people ask if they should accept a position in Kuwait based on their package compared to the living costs. Point being its a recurring hot topic.

Often the responses to this question are skewed or not well thought out, or simply not “realistic”. For example I often see responses that claim lower rent costs. They fail to mention such apartments are an “extinct species”, and the ones that can be found at those rates will certainly not be a good idea for your well being. I believe the common consensus is that a home should be safe, and comfortable, and not in areas that are subject to frequent police raids, break ins, etc..

So these “realistic” rates are based on real data. I’ve actually tracked the day to day expenses over a period of 6 months. Its based on the model of a normal work/home life in Kuwait. Which means you work during the week, and hang out on the weekends. Also do let me know if I can improve this post in any way. Lets take a look at the rates shall we?

Kuwait cost of living

Notice I’ve left “Spending Money” blank. I cannot predict your expenses.. I spend 46% of my income on Amazon.com =P

If your going to have to buy food at work (lunch, coffee, etc), you may need to factor in an extra KD 125/month.

If you’re a frequent shopper, you may wish to allow for an extra KD 200 a month. That should have you covered.

Ok lets look at these categories:

Living Costs

    RENT

    Rent in Kuwait is ridiculously expensive.
    Lets talk about what these rent rates are based on:

      Criteria

      • Safe
      • This means the place is not in a location that is subject to frequent disturbances such as: Police Raids, Prostitution, illegal drinking, violent or psychotic inhabitants

      • Not a Health Hazzard
      • Not located in a environmentally hazardous (toxic area)
        The apartment is clean, well ventilated, the building is structurally sound

      • Facilities
      • Central Aircon, 2 assigned shaded parking spots per tenant or for a studio complex 1 assigned shaded parking spot, water pressure is reasonably enough for a shower, usable fire exits,
        normal sized rooms 15-20m2 each (also on the endangered species list)

      • Location
      • Since you can get to anywhere in Kuwait within 30 mins, daily commute really isn’t an issue, reducing your commute from 30 to 10 minutes may be nice, but is generally not worth the premium you’ll have to pay for such luxuries. (Like 1200KD rent for 2 BR apartment)

      • Average Rental Rates
      • Rental rates do not follow logical rules in Kuwait. There are no guidelines, and you will often find truly horrible places at unrealistic rates, and yet they still get rented. This is due to the high demand, and low supply of apartments in Kuwait. It might also be interesting to note that furnished and unfurnished rates are the same. Though generally you will want to burn the furniture and offer to replace it at your own cost with something more hygienically and aesthetically appealing.

        Studio Apt: KD 350 – KD 400
        2 Bed Room: KD 450 -> KD 650
        3 Bed Room: KD 450 -> KD 650
        4 Bed Room: KD 650 -> KD 1200

        Groceries

        This is basically the average amount you’ll need to feed yourself. If you’re two people just add KD 70 monthly. As the months go by, the grocery costs will sink, mainly because you stop buying stuff you don’t need. The first few months living in a new place will always exceed your budget, because you have everything again. That adds up quickly.

        Car

        A sedan/saloon rental car will cost you roughly KD 150/month
        This will include full insurance, service, etc. Trust me you’ll want it that way.

        If you’re on a long term contract (5+ years) then I highly recommend you purchase your own car, and pay it with installments. You save much more this way.

        Fuel

        KD 10 / month
        KD 20 / month if your sharing your car with your SO

        Phone

        KD 30 /month Should be more than sufficient

        Internet

        Regardless of the medium, KD 24/month is ok. Available options depend on where you live in Kuwait. Kuwait offers LTE, fibre, DSL, 3g

Job

    Average Salaries for Working Professionals

    The average salary in Kuwait is KD 800 for working professionals. This does not include construction workers, labor, plumbers, etc. Anything from executive secretaries to IT professionals.

    Annual Leave

    You’ll want to have at least 30 days. To be more precise those days are “working days”. Kuwaits weekends are Friday, Saturday.
    Some companies will count weekends as part of your annual leave, never accept such conditions.

    Health Insurance

    Make sure your employer offers direct debit health insurance which covers at least 80% of your costs. This means at the medical facility you only 20% of the bill upfront, the medical facility would collect the remaining 80% from the insurance company directly. (Insurance Company Examples: Gulf Insurance Company)

    Annual Tickets

    Don’t accept anything less than KD 250 per person (Yourself and spouse). This is always deposited in cash to your checking account. You may opt to use that money for anything you like.

    Salary Pay

    As you can imagine, with a basic monthly living cost of KD 700, it would be unwise to accept a job offer that pays less than KD 800. Your just trading your current discomfort, with equal discomfort in a foreign country.

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21 thoughts on “Cost of Living in Kuwait

  1. lurker

    Your fuel consumption rate is lower than it should be.

    I drove 3 cars: Mercedes, Volvo XC90 & Kia Mohave. 2 are 6 cylinder cars & 1 is 8 cylinders. In all cases, I have to refuel every 4 days & fill at 4 KD. That’s 16-20 KD per month.

    I mostly drive to work & home only. Not much of an outgoing person.

    Overall, gas is cheaper than water in Kuwait. 1 Liter of 85 Octane gasoline costs $0.23 (0.065 KD).

    The distance between my office & house is 20-22 km (one way). My office is in the heart of the city.

    Like

    1. @lurker: all valid points, my fuel consumption was based in a French 2003 4 cylinder car. I suppose it’s more fuel efficient than other cars. Still your figures look good to me. I’ll edit the post asap to incorporate your contribution.

      Like

    1. This would not be a good idea. Is it survivable? Yes. But at great cost. I understand where your coming from. Having said that, people cope with this by sharing an apartment with 2-3 roommates, using public transportation. It’s tough, and it will be even tougher to save. Also note that if your not a university graduate and do not make at least KD 400 per month, by Kuwait laws you will not be able to apply for a driving license. In all honesty I would recommend looking for employment elsewhere.

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  2. Ella

    If you have kids, you will pay school fees (you have to send your child to a private school in Kuwait, there is no free schooling for expat kids) – some companies will pay towards but you need to be careful. Depending on the school, a decent one (be careful, there aren’t many – I know of three decent British schools – BSK, NES and TES – not sure about the American ones (TES only goes up to year 8 though) will cost you on average 2500 – 3000 KD p.a. on top of that you will have textbooks fees, possible transport costs and other sundry items. Having kids is very expensive in Kuwait especialy as extra curricular activities are not cheap!

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  3. Amit

    wow, this is one of the best info i could munch on the net….very helpful guys….a hands on approach to life in Kuwait…thanks a lot for such useful info. just 1 thng…was in dubai for 2 years and had visa problems ….so sould not take my family there…..what is the minimum salary requirement to sponsor my wife and kid….also how much to get a driving licence….was damn costly in Dubai….thanks for your time….really appreciate it…..

    Like

    1. The minimum Salary required to sponsor your wife and kids is KD 450, the same applies for your license. Keep in mind meeting the salary requirement is not a guarantee. Your sponsorship request is still reviewed by the immigration board, and can still be denied.

      As for the license, it has two criteria : you Salary (450), and your job title. The traffic dept has a list of “approved” job titles for drivers license. You could be paid 10k a month, have the title of computer programmer, and would still not be eligible to a driver’s license. Programmers are not on the list. =p But your employer is already aware of these things and will be in a better position to assist you with the drivers license than myself. Hope this helps.

      Like

    2. Amit

      Thanks a lot for your reply……..pls also tell me abt sponsoring my wife and kid…….does the job title hold good……does the possiblity of getting a family visa depend on my job designation…… Thanks in advance for your help.

      Like

      1. I’m not sure which job titles have access to which privileges, Id suggest you turn those questions to your prospective employers. To be honest though, if your not getting paid 900kd + its not worth coming here. Hope this helps.

        Like

      2. Amit

        Hey thanks a lot for ur prompt reply……this surely helps……will consider these points before making a final call. Take care.

        Like

  4. Lohit

    Hi..Thank you for the information, found it really helpful.

    However, after reading this, I’ve become little worried! I have a offer for a job in Kuwait(I’m a IT consultant with 4 years experience) and will be paid KWD 900. I am a single Indian man with really lightweight lifestyle.

    Do you think it would be wise to come there? Will I be able to make good monthly savings? Thanks.

    Like

    1. Tldr: it’s a start, not a bad one, but not a great one. =)

      900 is a “fair” offer. Since your single, and have no obligations I’m sure you’ll be fine. Your main expenses anywhere in the world are always going to be rent, food, and a car (unique to Kuwait cause you cannot rely on public transportation)

      If your not a retail therapy addict (buy a lot of crap you don’t need) you should be able to save about 200-300 a month.

      I would try to renegotiate your offer if possible. If not,hey its a start. After a year you can start looking for a better opportunity.

      Like

      1. Lohit

        Thanks for getting back to me quickly, I really appreciate it.

        Re-negotiating is really not an option unfortunately, company had defined max salary for this position at 3000 USD to begin with.

        I am having a hard time to make decision !

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      2. If your making 20% more than your current salary, might be wise to take it. Also depends on where your coming from. If your currently in dubai, Id suggest you not make the move.

        If it’s a large multinational corporation it might help you further your career. Personally I always gauge money and quality of life. Corporate loyalty is dead.

        Maybe wait and look at other offers and tell them straight away you already have an offer and you expect 1.2k minimum.

        If your going to decline this job, I recommend you mention that too. That you would like to work with them but you already have an offer for 1.1k. You’d be surprised what can happen.

        Like

    1. Depends on the industry. And your years of experience. And the employer.
      If this is a lot more than your making now take it. Working abroad can be a great experience. If you have a bachelor degree than you should know you can easily get a lot better. But keep in mind you might be forced to share accommodation with an unknown number of people per flat. You will need to be sure the accommodation also provides AC. Often accommodations are in terrible shape. Transportation will also need to have AC. Obviously the transportation will be a bus of sorts with many of your Co workers.

      There are people that make 2,000 KD but once everything is paid for.. They only have 100kd left to spend on optional items.

      Hope that helps.

      Like

      1. Rose

        Hello, Thank you for these information,
        Im a master degree holder( math)(from Jordan) with two years experiece, currently working as a high school teacher with (500 kd) government contract. got an offer from Australian college of kuwait University as a teaching assistant, what sallary should i accept?

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  5. Amit

    Hello everyone…can anyone guide me on some good Indian schools in Kuwait….and around what time does the new academic year begin. Also, are there extra activities like dance, music, skating etc. in the school. Can I enroll my kids for some extra activities outside school….are there activity centers.

    Also, if the employer is offering me a family visa…will the visa of my wife and kid be processed at the same time as mine….or will I have to stay in Kuwait for some time and after that only shall their visa be processed. And, is KWD 900 still the bare minimum required to survive or has the cost of living gone up.

    Please guide……thanks………….

    Like

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