When relocating to Kuwait, new arrivals will have to consider the cost of living in a foreign currency. The exchange rate may also be a shock for many, since the Kuwaiti dinar (KWD or KD) is the strongest currency in the world.

Living expenses in Kuwait may differ greatly for expats, depending on their salary and any additional benefits they receive, as well as their lifestyle and what they choose to spend their money on.

Unfortunately, securing a job and receiving lucrative employment packages in this Gulf state is no longer guaranteed, with the national push for Kuwaitisation. That said, expats offered a job here can often negotiate for extra benefits. This is especially important for expat parents who have to keep the high tuition costs of international schools in mind.

Thankfully, with a generous salary, prices may be less of a burden on the wallet than expats expect from this high-income country. According to Mercer's Cost of Living Survey for 2023, the capital, Kuwait City, placed 131st out of 227 countries, making it more affordable than many major cities, including Madrid, Toronto and Doha.


Cost of accommodation in Kuwait

Many expats move to Kuwait with accommodation provided by their employers. Employers own or lease apartments for their expat staff to reside in, and these lucky expats won't need to worry about rent, utilities or furniture costs.

That said, expats who are responsible for their own rent should expect over a third of their income to go towards accommodation expenses. We recommend checking whether utilities are included in the rental contract, as air-conditioning is necessary for summer, and could contribute to a high electricity bill.


Cost of groceries in Kuwait

A significant proportion of groceries in Kuwait have to be imported. So, buying typical food items that may have been more accessible at home could come at a steeper price. Expats on specific diets may find that certain foodstuffs are excessively expensive or hard to find in some cases.


Cost of entertainment and eating out in Kuwait

Entertainment in Kuwait's major cities can be limited to indoor experiences such as restaurants, cafés and malls, which may not be wallet-friendly. Still, Kuwait has plenty of restaurants offering diverse cuisine and street food options, which can help expats reduce their expenses. 

Expats will find that while Kuwait does not have many green spaces, there are always beaches, museums and archaeological sites to explore nearby. New arrivals will need to budget carefully to enjoy these delights as they can be quite pricey. 


Cost of healthcare in Kuwait

Expats can access both public and private healthcare in Kuwait. That said, most expats prefer private medical facilities, which offer an excellent standard of care and short waiting times. Unfortunately, private hospitals are usually fairly pricey.

Health insurance is essential, and expats must typically pay an amount towards public healthcare, whether they will use it or not. Nonetheless, we recommend getting comprehensive private medical insurance, ensuring complete coverage for any situation.


Cost of transport in Kuwait

Buses, cars and taxis are the main forms of public transport. Buses are cheap but are not frequently used by expats who can afford to get around in Kuwait by car. Expats are happy to buy first- or second-hand vehicles or rent a car, as petrol is reasonably priced in Kuwait.

Driving can be much more affordable here than in many Western countries, but bear in mind additional expenses, such as car insurance. Taxis are also relatively affordable, but it's advised to agree on a price before setting off.


Cost of education in Kuwait

Expat parents moving to Kuwait with their children will need to consider the cost of international schools when setting up their budget. The country offers expats many schools offering diverse curricula and quality facilities to choose from, but tuition costs are hefty. Newcomers are encouraged to negotiate a suitable education allowance as part of their relocation package to help manage the cost of education and schools in Kuwait


Cost of living in Kuwait chart 

Prices may vary depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for Kuwait City in May 2023.

Accommodation (monthly rent)

Three-bedroom apartment in the city centre

 KWD 570

Three-bedroom apartment outside the city centre

 KWD 413

One-bedroom apartment in the city centre

 KWD 290

One-bedroom apartment outside the city centre

 KWD 210

Shopping

Eggs (dozen)

 KWD 0.67

Milk (1 litre)

 KWD 0.44

Rice (1kg)

 KWD 0.60

Loaf of white bread

 KWD 0.26

Chicken breasts (1kg)

 KWD 1.61

Pack of cigarettes

 KWD 0.90

Eating out

Big Mac Meal

 KWD 2

Coca-Cola (330ml)

 KWD 0.16

Cappuccino 

 KWD 1.57

Bottle of local non-alcoholic beer

 KWD 0.70

Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant

 KWD 17

Household

Mobile-to-mobile call rate (per minute)

 KWD 0.04

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)

 KWD 9.37

Basic utilities (per month for small apartment)

 KWD 14.29

Transport

Taxi rate (per kilometre)

 KWD 1

Bus fare in the city centre

 KWD 0.30

Petrol/gasoline (per litre)

 KWD 0.11

Expat Health Insurance

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