Costs in Saudi Arabia - Shopping for the Basics

Among the most common questions we get involve what basic things cost — clothes, your daily caffeine fix, etc. In May 2012, we went to Saudi Arabia, and checked out prices in the following categories — keep in mind, this is not an exhaustive list, but a sampling:

Note: The exchange rate between the American dollar (US$) and the Saudi Riyal (SR) is US$1=SR3.75

Fast Food

We all know one needs their fast food fix, especially when overseas. Here are the costs at some familiar American chains, although there are many more chains not listed below (e.g., Pizza Hut, Domino's, TGI Friday's, Applebee's, Hardee's, KFC, etc.):

Burger King

  • Whopper Meal – SR18 / US$4.80
  • Double Whopper Meal – SR22 / US$5.87

McDonald's

  • Big Mac Meal – SR16 / US$4.27
  • McArabia (grilled chicken on flat bread) – SR14 / US$4.00

Baskin Robbins

  • Kid Scoop – SR7 / US$1.87
  • Value Scoop – SR9 / US$2.40
  • Double Scoop – SR13 / US$3.47

Haagen Dazs

  • Scoop – SR12 / US$3.20

Coffee & Specialty Drinks at Starbucks

The monolithic Starbucks, of course, stands on its own. But if Starbucks isn't your thing, there are also numerous other coffee shops, including Cariboo Coffee, Krispy Creme, the Second Cup, etc. There are Starbucks outlets onsite at the King Faisal, and at the King Faisal in Riyadh and Jeddah they also had a second chain, called Dr. Coffee/Dr. Cafe, which made a very tasty brew. But back to Starbucks:

Plain Latte or Cappuccino

  • Tall – SR13 / US$3.47
  • Grande – SR15 / US$4.00
  • Venti – SR17 / US$4.53

Caramel Macchiato, Caffe Mocha, White Chocolate Mocha or Hot Chocolate

  • Tall – SR15 / US$4.00
  • Grande – SR17 / US$4.53
  • Venti – SR19 / US$5.07

Caffe Americano or Brewed Coffee

  • Tall – SR11 / US$2.93
  • Grande – SR13 / US$3.47
  • Venti – SR15 / US$4.00

Tea

Full-Leaf

  • Tall – SR9 / US$2.47
  • Grande – SR10 / US$2.67
  • Venti – SR11 / US$2.93

Tea Latte

  • Tall – SR10 / US$2.67
  • Grande – SR11 / US$2.93
  • Venti – SR12 / US$3.20

Frappuccino

Mocha, White Chocolate Mocha, Chocolate Cream, Caramel or Vanilla Cream

  • Tall – SR15 / US$4.00
  • Grande – SR17 / US$4.53
  • Venti – SR19 / US$5.07

Mocha Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Chip Cream or Caramel Mocha

  • Tall – SR21 / US$4.53
  • Grande – SR23 / US$5.07
  • Venti – SR25 / US$5.60

Food

  • Muffin – SR12 / US$3.20
  • Cookies – SR10 / US$2.67
  • Croissant – SR8 / U$2.13

Groceries

For this search, we went to a Hyper Panda supermarket chain, located across the street from the King Faisal in Riyadh. There are higher-end and lower-end grocery stores, as well as fresh produce souqs, meat souqs, fish souqs, etc.

  • Honey Nut Cheerios (375 g box) – SR17.75 / US$4.73
  • Kleenex Toilet Paper (12-pack) – SR16.75 / US$4.47
  • Ruffles Potato Chips (210 g package) – SR6 / US$1.60
  • Evian Bottled Water (600 ml) – SR1.75 / US$.20
  • Coke (330 ml can) – SR1.50 / US$.40
  • 6 Eggs (local) – SR3.25 - US$.87
  • Chicken breasts (450 g) – SR16 / US$4.27
  • Steak (1 kg) – SR46 / US$12.27
  • Apples (1 kg Gala, imported) – SR3.95 / US$1.05
  • Tropicana Orange Juice (1 L) – SR6.00 / US$1.60
  • Baguette (400 g) – SR2.95 / US$0.79
  • Multi-Grain Loaf (300 g) – SR2-4.00 / US$.53-1.07

Clothing & Accessories

Let us say right off that we ran out of time, so only looked in one category: Ladies undies!

But one can find very inexpensive clothes or very high-end stores (e.g., Prada, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Dolce & Gabbana, Dior, Burberry, Armani, etc.). And there are also mid-range American chains available (e.g., GAP) and European chains (e.g., Zara, Mango). And for the athlete, there are plenty of brand shops, e.g., Nike, Adidas, Reebok, and Puma.

La Senza

  • Bras – SR99-119 / US$26.40-31.73
  • Underwear – SR35-439 / US$9.30-10.30

Cosmetics

The ladies love their cosmetics in Saudi! In addition to the name brands below, pharmacies and supermarkets also have typical brands sold in North American pharmacies (e.g., L'Oreal, Nivea, etc.).

The Body Shop

  • Lipstick – SR39-49 / US$10.40-13.07
  • Moisturizer (50 ml) – SR86 / US$22.93
  • Mascara – SR65 / US$17.30
  • Blush – SR65 / US$17.30
  • Foundation (30 ml liquid) – SR79-115 / US$21.07-30.67
  • Soap – SR20 / US$5.53

MAC

  • Lipstick – SR92 / US$24.50
  • Moisturizer (50 ml) – SR150 / US$40
  • Mascara – SR90 / US$24
  • Blush – SR110 / US$29.33
  • Foundation (30 ml) – SR154-169/ US$41.07-45.07

Clarins

  • Lipstick – SR116 / US$30.98
  • Moisturizer (50 ml) – SR276 / US$73.60
  • Mascara – SR132 / US$35.53
  • Blush – SR178 / US$47.47
  • Foundation (30 ml) – SR183 / US$48.80

Lancome

  • Lipstick – SR145 / US$38.67
  • Moisturizer (50 ml) – SR410 / US$109.53
  • Mascara – SR170 / US$45.30
  • Blush – SR1245 / US$65.33
  • Foundation (30 ml) – SR225 / US$60

Estee Lauder

  • Lipstick – SR128 / US$34.13
  • Moisturizer (50 ml) – SR197 / US$52.53
  • Mascara – SR169/ US$45.07
  • Blush – SR185 / US$49.33
  • Foundation (30 ml) – SR191 / US$50.93

Yves Saint Laurent

  • Lipstick – SR180 / US$48
  • Moisturizer (50 ml) – SR355 / US$94.97
  • Mascara – SR180 / US$48
  • Blush – SR195 / US$52
  • Foundation (30 ml) – SR240 / US$64

Guerlain

  • Lipstick – SR165-225 / US$44-60
  • Moisturizer (40 ml) – SR380 / US$101.33
  • Mascara – SR196 / US$52.27
  • Blush – SR284 / US$75.73
  • Foundation (30 ml) – SR267 / US$71.20

Entertainment

We ran out of time in this category as well, but note there are no cinemas/movie theatres in Saudi Arabia.

DVDs

  • Old Release DVDs (Top Gun, Kung Fu Panda) – SR86 / US$22.93

CDs

  • CD – SR60 and up / US$16 and up

Games

  • Call of Duty PS3 – SR279 / US$77.08

Baby Supplies

Relocating with a little one? Here are some costs to consider:

Diapers

Pampers Active Baby

  • 70 pack, size 5, 11-25 kg – SR71.95 / US$19.19

Huggies

  • Junior - 40 pack, junior size, 12-25 kg – SR 52.50 / US$14

Huggies

  • 4+ Valu Pack – 62 pack, 9-20 kg – SR52.50 / US$14

Sanita Bambi (foreign brand)

  • 72 pack, 9-20 kg – SR55.95 / US$14.92

Formula

Nestle Nan 2

  • from 6 months, 400 g – SR28 / US$7.47

Similac

  • from 6 months, 400 g – SR32 / US$8.53

Baby Seat

  • Gracco/Baby Shield Baby Seat – SR449-669 / US$119.73-178.40
  • Safety First Baby Seat – SR900 / US$240

Beauty Services

Hair Salon

  • Cut, Colour and Highlights (depending on establishment) – SR150-350 / US$40-93.33

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