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Qatar Living Costs (what do you budget?)

Qatar Living Costs (what do you budget?)

Old Apr 30th 2019, 2:08 pm
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Default Qatar Living Costs (what do you budget?)

I have a job offer in Qatar, and looking to move with my wife and 2yo son. I’m interested to know roughly what people spend on the cost of living.

I was planning on budgeting:
15,000 Rent (3bdrm villa or apartment in a good area or compound)
5,000 Groceries (2 adults & 1 toddler)
3,500 Entertainment, gym, & dining out (with a young child we don't venture out too often, aside from parks & cafe's)
5,000 Vehicles (depreciation & running costs; I’m thinking of budgeting 120k for x2 used cars)
3,000 Daycare (I thought it could be worth putting our son in daycare 2 days per week – help with learning, social skills etc.?)
31,500 Total Living Costs (monthly)

Which just leaves flights home (once per year for me, two for my wife and son) with the odd holiday (flights seem expensive with the blockade).

The company told me living costs shouldn’t be more than 25,000 per month, but I feel like that’s not enough for the 3 of us. They have also offered a 35,000 furniture allowance.

Thanks for any guidance
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Old Apr 30th 2019, 3:00 pm
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Default Re: Qatar Living Costs (what do you budget?)

Originally Posted by WITWIT View Post
I have a job offer in Qatar, and looking to move with my wife and 2yo son. I’m interested to know roughly what people spend on the cost of living.

I was planning on budgeting:
15,000 Rent (3bdrm villa or apartment in a good area or compound)
5,000 Groceries (2 adults & 1 toddler)
3,500 Entertainment, gym, & dining out (with a young child we don't venture out too often, aside from parks & cafe's)
5,000 Vehicles (depreciation & running costs; I’m thinking of budgeting 120k for x2 used cars)
3,000 Daycare (I thought it could be worth putting our son in daycare 2 days per week – help with learning, social skills etc.?)
31,500 Total Living Costs (monthly)

Which just leaves flights home (once per year for me, two for my wife and son) with the odd holiday (flights seem expensive with the blockade).

The company told me living costs shouldn’t be more than 25,000 per month, but I feel like that’s not enough for the 3 of us. They have also offered a 35,000 furniture allowance.

Thanks for any guidance
well you are both right. It’s about expectations- if you want to live the full expat dream then you need to pay for it.
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Old Apr 30th 2019, 7:28 pm
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Default Re: Qatar Living Costs (what do you budget?)

You can live comfortably for this amount.

I have recently completed a stint in Qatar. Qatar is probably one of the toughest assignments in ME for number of reasons. I have seen a major shift in recent years where majority of people are trying to save as much as they can.

Things change very quickly, People who avoid extravagant financial commitments and save as much as they reasonably can normally end up as winners. Many of my friends from financial services recently made redundant (including me). I was quiet lucky to find a reasonable job quickly whereas lot of them couldn’t.

Best of luck!
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Old May 1st 2019, 9:19 am
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Default Re: Qatar Living Costs (what do you budget?)

Originally Posted by Dictator1 View Post
I have recently completed a stint in Qatar. Qatar is probably one of the toughest assignments in ME for number of reasons. I have seen a major shift in recent years where majority of people are trying to save as much as they can.
Thanks; the more research I do the more this becomes evident. A few people have told my wife and I we need to get out of the country at least every 3 months, even for a weekend. And this has become extremely expensive with the blockade.

Originally Posted by Dictator1 View Post
Many of my friends from financial services recently made redundant (including me).
I had heard this was the case in Abu Dhabi, but didn't know it extended to Qatar. I'm also in Fin Services (they only have to give me a months notice to terminate, I believe without redundancy payments). Should I be worried?

Glad to hear you picked something up quickly again though.

How long do you think someone should aim to be in Qatar for; 2-3 years, or longer??
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Old May 1st 2019, 9:55 am
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Default Re: Qatar Living Costs (what do you budget?)

Originally Posted by WITWIT View Post
I have a job offer in Qatar, and looking to move with my wife and 2yo son. I’m interested to know roughly what people spend on the cost of living.

I was planning on budgeting:
15,000 Rent (3bdrm villa or apartment in a good area or compound)
5,000 Groceries (2 adults & 1 toddler)
3,500 Entertainment, gym, & dining out (with a young child we don't venture out too often, aside from parks & cafe's)
5,000 Vehicles (depreciation & running costs; I’m thinking of budgeting 120k for x2 used cars)
3,000 Daycare (I thought it could be worth putting our son in daycare 2 days per week – help with learning, social skills etc.?)
31,500 Total Living Costs (monthly)

Which just leaves flights home (once per year for me, two for my wife and son) with the odd holiday (flights seem expensive with the blockade).

The company told me living costs shouldn’t be more than 25,000 per month, but I feel like that’s not enough for the 3 of us. They have also offered a 35,000 furniture allowance.

Thanks for any guidance
I'm glad you are thinking about flights. Most people don't.
Go on Qatar Airways website and plan out a year and add one or two extra because there is always christenings, birthdays,funerals etc that will pop up. With your family you might need to be spending upwards of 30K + a year on flights alone.

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Old May 1st 2019, 10:08 am
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Default Re: Qatar Living Costs (what do you budget?)

Originally Posted by WITWIT View Post
Thanks; the more research I do the more this becomes evident. A few people have told my wife and I we need to get out of the country at least every 3 months, even for a weekend. And this has become extremely expensive with the blockade.

I had heard this was the case in Abu Dhabi, but didn't know it extended to Qatar. I'm also in Fin Services (they only have to give me a months notice to terminate, I believe without redundancy payments). Should I be worried?

Glad to hear you picked something up quickly again though.

How long do you think someone should aim to be in Qatar for; 2-3 years, or longer??
You could be kicked out immediately but they will pay you notice period salary. I am guessing that you might be heading to QNB who’s apparently the only bank recruiting in Qatar as others are almost bankrupt and not hiring. QNB recently took a new CEO who has fired majority of western management.

Anyway, this is not to put you off from heading to Qatar but be very wise with money. Qatar is not worth spending a lot of money. If you have any arabic background etc. things might be easier but otherwise it’s a tough place. I only lasted 16 months which is lot more than some of the other people you will find on this forum.

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Old May 1st 2019, 10:34 am
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Default Re: Qatar Living Costs (what do you budget?)

Originally Posted by DOHDUBMAN View Post
I'm glad you are thinking about flights. Most people don't.
Go on Qatar Airways website and plan out a year and add one or two extra because there is always christenings, birthdays,funerals etc that will pop up. With your family you might need to be spending upwards of 30K + a year on flights alone.
Thanks for the advice.

My wife was keen on moving to Doha because it would be a good place for us to travel from and we have a lot of friends spread across Europe. She was originally thinking she could do short trips to visit friends, but it quickly became apparent that Doha is extremely expensive to fly from (even to places that are close) and we might have to limit it to 2 short trips and one back home (plus one extra for her and my son).

Amsterdam for example sounds like it will be around US$3k / QR11k for the three of us. Even Azerbaijan (2.5hr flight) is US$2k / QR7,300 - so much for popping over to see the F1.
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Old May 1st 2019, 2:02 pm
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Default Re: Qatar Living Costs (what do you budget?)

Qatar is not inherently a bad place. It's just very dull and boring and dreary. And ugly. It doesn't have the joie de vivre of Dubai. But some people seem to love it, which I find intriguing.

Saving money in Qatar was easy for me. I racked up huge savings in my two years. The only thing that kept me in that country for two years but by then I couldn't take it any more. Saving was easy for a single person, but for a family day to day life in Qatar can be reasonably inexpensive. If you're worried about saving money, avoid the compounds and West Bay/Pearl and get a 2-bedroom apartment in a place like Saad for sub 10k a month. It's fine and still close to the key areas (and closer than most of the compounds are). Shop at Carrefour. Keep your time at bars and brunches to a minimum. Get one car for the family, the working parent can take the cheap taxi/ubers to work. Driving is no fun. But it's a dull existence and that's what drives people crazy and why many end up splurging heavily each weekend to avoid the boredom. The Arab heritage families have it easier because their social life is based on extensive family and friendship networks and revolves around family events.

Flights out of Qatar are expensive because it's a trapped market and the embargo cut off FlyDubai, the regional discount airline with cheap flights. You can find cheaper tickets on Turkish Airways but I always ended up paying extra for non stop on QA and to be fair in my two years in Qatar I racked up enough mileage on QA to pay for two flights to Europe for free.

Redundancy is always a real threat. I had a degree of job security as my company had transferred me there and promised to transfer me out in a few years. Which they did. But I know scores who were made redundant and left with their tail between their legs. I'd say out all the people I met in my first 2-3 months in Qatar, less than 20% were still there when I left. You'll find that there tends to be that 10% of the expat population that seems to stay forever and the rest leaves within 2-3 years. Or less. So you need to be prepared for redundancy at any moment, which is why savings is so critical because you need it to tide you over till you find something else. Many people go home from the Gulf no better off because of this reason.
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Old May 2nd 2019, 5:39 am
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Default Re: Qatar Living Costs (what do you budget?)

Originally Posted by WITWIT View Post
I have a job offer in Qatar, and looking to move with my wife and 2yo son. I’m interested to know roughly what people spend on the cost of living.

I was planning on budgeting:
15,000 Rent (3bdrm villa or apartment in a good area or compound)
5,000 Groceries (2 adults & 1 toddler)
3,500 Entertainment, gym, & dining out (with a young child we don't venture out too often, aside from parks & cafe's)
5,000 Vehicles (depreciation & running costs; I’m thinking of budgeting 120k for x2 used cars)
3,000 Daycare (I thought it could be worth putting our son in daycare 2 days per week – help with learning, social skills etc.?)
31,500 Total Living Costs (monthly)

Which just leaves flights home (once per year for me, two for my wife and son) with the odd holiday (flights seem expensive with the blockade).

The company told me living costs shouldn’t be more than 25,000 per month, but I feel like that’s not enough for the 3 of us. They have also offered a 35,000 furniture allowance.

Thanks for any guidance
15k on rent sounds like an awful lot.
5k on groceries is obscene.
3.5k for fun isn't enough. You'll drink that in heineken alone.
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Old May 3rd 2019, 11:23 am
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Default Re: Qatar Living Costs (what do you budget?)

Originally Posted by Scamp View Post
15k on rent sounds like an awful lot.
5k on groceries is obscene.
3.5k for fun isn't enough. You'll drink that in heineken alone.
10K on rent
5K on groceries will give you all the home comforts if you need to spend that much
8,5k sounds more like it for socializing, cinema, meals out, Rugby membership, golf etc
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Old May 4th 2019, 4:53 am
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Default Re: Qatar Living Costs (what do you budget?)

Originally Posted by DXBtoDOH View Post
Qatar is not inherently a bad place. It's just very dull and boring and dreary. And ugly. It doesn't have the joie de vivre of Dubai. But some people seem to love it, which I find intriguing.

If you're worried about saving money, avoid the compounds and West Bay/Pearl and get a 2-bedroom apartment in a place like Saad for sub 10k a month. It's fine and still close to the key areas (and closer than most of the compounds are). Shop at Carrefour. Keep your time at bars and brunches to a minimum. Get one car for the family, the working parent can take the cheap taxi/ubers to work. Driving is no fun. But it's a dull existence and that's what drives people crazy and why many end up splurging heavily each weekend to avoid the boredom.
I was planing to find a good (more expensive) compound at least in the start to make it easier on my wife to adjust, and then assess moving once we've settled.

Do you think the boredom thing is less an issue for couples with young kids? We're far more home bound now we have a young child, although while my wife is keen to be a stay at home mum I do worry she'll struggle being stuck indoors through the summer while I'm at work each day.

Originally Posted by DXBtoDOH View Post
You need to be prepared for redundancy at any moment, which is why savings is so critical because you need it to tide you over till you find something else. Many people go home from the Gulf no better off because of this reason.
To be honest I hadn't even considered the thought of redundancy... I feel like we need to make this work for at least two years (or two bonuses), just to make the move worthwhile. Our savings will be marginally better from my salary, once I adjust for the cost of living, but I'm reliant on the bonuses to make uprooting the family worthwhile.
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Old May 4th 2019, 6:42 am
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Default Re: Qatar Living Costs (what do you budget?)

Originally Posted by WITWIT View Post
I was planing to find a good (more expensive) compound at least in the start to make it easier on my wife to adjust, and then assess moving once we've settled.

Do you think the boredom thing is less an issue for couples with young kids? We're far more home bound now we have a young child, although while my wife is keen to be a stay at home mum I do worry she'll struggle being stuck indoors through the summer while I'm at work each day.


To be honest I hadn't even considered the thought of redundancy... I feel like we need to make this work for at least two years (or two bonuses), just to make the move worthwhile. Our savings will be marginally better from my salary, once I adjust for the cost of living, but I'm reliant on the bonuses to make uprooting the family worthwhile.
never bank the bonus until you get the sms saying it’s in your account.
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Old May 4th 2019, 7:56 am
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Default Re: Qatar Living Costs (what do you budget?)

Originally Posted by WITWIT View Post
but I'm reliant on the bonuses to make uprooting the family worthwhile.
From what you've said, unless your bonuses are going to be six-figure ones (or better !), the move makes no sense for your family.

On the other hand, a young child will go some way to allaying the inevitable boredom of the place for adults.

Last edited by tooboocoo; May 4th 2019 at 7:59 am. Reason: Added further stuff
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Old May 4th 2019, 8:55 am
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Default Re: Qatar Living Costs (what do you budget?)

I'd add pensions for you both to your figures, before any of the above expenses come off, at say 2x 15% of your total package. Suggest you both also pay Class 2 NICs to keep your UK State Pension entitlement building up. Boring, I know, but living off the State in your old age won't be much fun.
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Old May 4th 2019, 12:07 pm
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Default Re: Qatar Living Costs (what do you budget?)

I've included my wife's salary and both our pensions in my 'is it worth it' calc.

Taking into account the cost of living & flights homes each year our annual savings should be around 15% higher in Qatar (excluding bonus). Including the bonus it could be 40% - 100% higher.

With the high USD I could lose out if the exchange rate drops though; i.e. if it went back to where it was 5 years ago, I would be only marginally ahead, including bonuses.
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