Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Cost of Living Abroad in Bahrain

This is a guest post.

For many of us, living abroad, even for a short time, giving our families the opportunity to enjoy a new culture and, of course, the learning experiences that result from this, is a dream we feel is just too unobtainable. Reasons cited tend to be finances, the complicated upheaval, leaving family behind and of course finding a job in another country. However there are many countries, especially those in the Middle East, such as Bahrain, that offer an array of job opportunities with high demands for talented individuals in specific sectors such as finance and media.

When it comes to finances, beyond the initial move costs, you may find that, especially in Bahrain, the lower cost of living will result in a higher quality of life, especially for those of us who have mastered the art of living frugally. You may be surprised at just how far your money will go with very little effort.

A look at the actual living costs and the cost of essentials you would face on a daily basis compared to what you currently spend may be quite surprising. As a whole, consumer prices are 18% lower in Bahrain. Fruit and vegetables along with other fresh produces are particularly cheaper in Bahrain- on average 24% lower- but there are some huge cost differences in products grown or produced in the Middle East:

1kg cheese which would cost $8 in the US can be picked up at $4.
1kg of apples are approximately $3.50 in the US compared to $2
1kg of potatoes can be purchased for $1 in Bahrain

Eating out and enjoying the culinary delights of the Middle East can easily be done on a budget, a meal costing $5 at a basic restaurant and overall the cost of eating out is 11% cheaper in Bahrain.

There are of course things that cost the same (chicken and eggs for instance) and those that more expensive in Bahrain, a bottle of wine typically costs 150% more, designer clothing can be found at 50% of the cost, and rental prices inside the city centre are similar as a whole in both the US and Bahrain.

When it comes to utilities and transport further savings can be made in Bahrain. Basic utilities for an average apartment in Bahrain and one way tickets on public transport would be approximately 75% cheaper.

As well as the lower cost of living, you also benefit from the fact there is no large personal income tax deductions in Bahrain, just 1% is deducted from your salary on a monthly basis, leaving you with more net income.

Banking services are another consideration for those planning a relocation but with an international bank you can enjoy the same level of service and credit options such as credit cards which you currently have access to at home. Having access to your money during such a major move is imperative and many banks understand this and can ensure your transition goes smoothly.

Have you ever considered moving abroad? (Data supplied by Numbeo)

See my disclaimer.