Out of an index of 282 countries, Kuwait is placed as the 134th most expensive country for expatriates to live in the world. The index is based on a series of items that are everyday purchases and expenses. The first group is alcohol and tobacco. As a Muslim country, alcohol is not widely available.
The cost of buying clothing, both for adults and children, is very high as most of this is imported from other countries, and the country has a ranking of 41st most expensive in this category. An average ranking for the cost of healthcare makes Kuwait affordable for most people and this takes into consideration the cost of prescriptions, consultations with doctors and hospital stays.
The cost of communications, such as landline and mobile phone usage as well as internet charges, gives the country only an average ranking, putting Kuwait in the middle of the list, though education costs are extremely low with a ranking of 264th.
Household items, such as furniture and appliances are also extremely inexpensive and purchasing groceries also helps to keep the cost of living down, with a ranking of 210th out of 282. However, if you buy internationally recognised branded foods and household goods, you might pay higher prices than in your home country, but there are usually plenty of cheaper locally and regionally produced alternatives that are of excellent quality. Clothing can also be expensive if you favour designer labels – this isn’t peculiar to Kuwait – although there’s little need for winter clothing.
Utilities, such as electricity, water and gas, are subsidised to some extent by the region’s governments, which own the services (except for bottled gas supplies) in order to provide inexpensive electricity and water, mainly for the benefit of the local population. Utilities are therefore cheaper than in most Western countries. However, at the height of summer, air-conditioning costs will escalate, rather as the cost of heating increases in winter in colder climates. Newcomers sometimes make the expensive mistake of keeping their air-conditioning on even when they’re out, but this is unnecessary, as air-conditioning systems reduce the temperature in your accommodation quickly when activated on your return home.
Purchasing miscellaneous items such as stationery and soft furnishings, or having items dry cleaned gives Kuwait an average ranking, as does the cost of buying personal care items like shampoo and cosmetics. The cost of a evening out at a restaurant is a slightly higher than average ranking at 104th, making it a fairly expensive place to go out for a meal, and it is even more expensive if you wish to go to the cinema or purchase a DVD, as the country is ranked at 34th for this category.
Your cost of living will obviously depend on your lifestyle. When you’re negotiating a work contract, it’s usual for your prospective employer to produce detailed cost of living figures for his country, which are useful in helping you to decide whether the proposed job is financially attractive or not.