The cost of living in Bahrain is the lowest in the GCC, with accommodation reasonably priced and a wide range of housing to suit all tastes and lifestyles. With many housing selections to choose from with competitive utility rates, and with competitive wages, Bahrain offers the highest quality of life for employees and their families.
The general lack of taxation has a significant impact on the cost of certain items, e.g. cars. On the other hand, the cost of accommodation is sometimes high, as is that of certain food items, particularly imported foods. 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, although there’s little need for winter clothing.
The price of wines and spirits, where these are permitted, is slightly lower than in the UK but higher than average European prices. Electronic goods, such as televisions, hi-fis, DVD players, photographic equipment and computer hardware and software, are generally less expensive than in Europe, mainly because of lower import duties.
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 European 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.
You should also allow for the cost of international telephone calls, although these are kept low by Bahrain’s government, who wants to encourage international business and investment in the region.
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.
The cost of living could be more based on one's expectations and standards of living, e.g. you can rent a villa for $25,000 per annum which is $2,083 per month. In Bahrain, a single bedroom flat would cost $1,529 per month and a two-bedroom for $2,100 per month. So a villa in Bahrain would cost approximately $3,000 to $4,000 or more. On the bottom line, the cost of living in Bahrain would be 45-70% higher compared to Saudi based on moderate to high standard of living.