Penn Manor School District

This morning I was reading an article about the Penn Manor’s School District 1:1 laptop program. Basically the school is providing 1,725 students with Linux Laptops. They took it a step further and developed their own Imaging solution “Fast Linux Deployment Toolkit” or FLDT.

I find this initiative incredible, but the icing on the cake is that student’s actually participated in testing and refining the FLDT.

Its news articles like these that make me wonder, what is Kuwait’s ministry of education doing? Kuwait’s public schools are simply terrible in terms of funding, and the educational curriculum.

Education is one the keystones of building a successful and healthy society.

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.