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Qatar Living Costs (what do you budget?)

Qatar Living Costs (what do you budget?)

Old May 5th 2019, 7:51 am
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Default Re: Qatar Living Costs (what do you budget?)

Originally Posted by DXBtoDOH View Post
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.
I couldn't think of many things worse as a Western expat than living in Al Sadd when you can live in West Bay these days for not much more. The small difference in cost buys a lot of sanity and a better social life. If a couple of thousand riyals a month is a deal breaker then they should reconsider coming to Doha on such a package in the first place, IMO. Agreed on Carrefour.

Doha's a great place to work and save shed loads of cash as a single bloke, as you say, and the same can equally apply to a working couple. The problems here come when you're an accompanying non-working spouse. You need to find something to fill in the time or risk getting sucked into the boredom-and-bitchiness coffee mornings cycle.

End of the day, I far prefer Qatar to where I've worked elsewhere in the region, but it's about remembering why you came, filling up your bucket and managing one's expectations.
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Old May 6th 2019, 4:04 pm
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Default Re: Qatar Living Costs (what do you budget?)

Originally Posted by Standanista View Post
I couldn't think of many things worse as a Western expat than living in Al Sadd when you can live in West Bay these days for not much more. The small difference in cost buys a lot of sanity and a better social life. If a couple of thousand riyals a month is a deal breaker then they should reconsider coming to Doha on such a package in the first place, IMO. Agreed on Carrefour.

Doha's a great place to work and save shed loads of cash as a single bloke, as you say, and the same can equally apply to a working couple. The problems here come when you're an accompanying non-working spouse. You need to find something to fill in the time or risk getting sucked into the boredom-and-bitchiness coffee mornings cycle.

End of the day, I far prefer Qatar to where I've worked elsewhere in the region, but it's about remembering why you came, filling up your bucket and managing one's expectations.
Is Sadd really that bad? I lived there briefly when I first came to Doha and there were plenty of westerners. Especially teachers. Lots of new buildings and some old ones too. Location was very convenient, 10 minutes to West Bay and 15 to the Pearl. Straight shot through Bidda Park. Sadd's rents were about half of West Bay. Sadd also had better dining options compared to West Bay where the options were either fast food at City Centre's food court or mediocre and overpriced hotel restaurants. I lived in West Bay and used to go down to Sadd and Bin Mahmoud for cheap eats all the time, especially the Korean and Thai joints along Al Jazeera Street. Sure, Sadd isn't pretty and a bit more rough around the edges in terms of lack of landscaping but let's put it this way, so is 99% of Doha, including the vast swathes of Waab around Villagio where the family compounds all are, it's a concrete bunker wasteland.

The point remains if your goal is to save as much money, Sadd is a perfectly fine option.

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Old May 6th 2019, 5:00 pm
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Default Re: Qatar Living Costs (what do you budget?)

Hadn't spotted a Thai joint down Al Jazeera Street, need to check it out. Plenty of good dodgy Indian/shawarma places and the Korean joint's still there, plus a Pinoy place as I recall. There's a Hardees and Red Lobster right at the top and a marbled, locals-oriented cluster of restaurants facing, but then once you set off down Al J St the stains and rubble on the pavements get progressively heavier the further you head down.

I work in Sadd a couple of days a week but wouldn't live there personally unless I was absolutely hell bent on maximising savings. Some of the backstreets are pretty shabby. There's a fair bit of new and newish apartment accommodation mixed in a block or so back off C Ring Road, opposite side to Al Jazeera Street, but I've never seen a Westerner come out of any of them in a year of wandering round the place. Horses for courses at the end of the day, whatever suits, but it's not for me when you can get a 3 bed villa in West Bay for 12k a month. Also, the traffic means Sadd to West Bay is half an hour in the peak these days. On a positive note, Al Sadd Metro station (Gold Line) will be opening up there shortly. First stage of the Metro, Red Line South, opens to the public this Wednesday, Al Qassar via West Bay and Msheireb down to Wakra.
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Old May 6th 2019, 6:52 pm
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Default Re: Qatar Living Costs (what do you budget?)

Originally Posted by WITWIT View Post
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.
There's also the real risk that things don't work out in Qatar and that you repatriate before being confirmed UK non-resident and face a UK tax bill on your worldwide earnings. 6th April 2021 is the earliest you can achieve this status, which is then backdated to the day you left the UK.
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Old May 6th 2019, 7:50 pm
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Default Re: Qatar Living Costs (what do you budget?)

Originally Posted by Standanista View Post
Hadn't spotted a Thai joint down Al Jazeera Street, need to check it out. Plenty of good dodgy Indian/shawarma places and the Korean joint's still there, plus a Pinoy place as I recall. There's a Hardees and Red Lobster right at the top and a marbled, locals-oriented cluster of restaurants facing, but then once you set off down Al J St the stains and rubble on the pavements get progressively heavier the further you head down.

I work in Sadd a couple of days a week but wouldn't live there personally unless I was absolutely hell bent on maximising savings. Some of the backstreets are pretty shabby. There's a fair bit of new and newish apartment accommodation mixed in a block or so back off C Ring Road, opposite side to Al Jazeera Street, but I've never seen a Westerner come out of any of them in a year of wandering round the place. Horses for courses at the end of the day, whatever suits, but it's not for me when you can get a 3 bed villa in West Bay for 12k a month. Also, the traffic means Sadd to West Bay is half an hour in the peak these days. On a positive note, Al Sadd Metro station (Gold Line) will be opening up there shortly. First stage of the Metro, Red Line South, opens to the public this Wednesday, Al Qassar via West Bay and Msheireb down to Wakra.
Not everyone works in WB. Has the original poster told us where he's working?

There are two Thai places. One is newish, opened up last year. Called Khaosan. Pretty good Thai, I'd venture to say possibly the best in Doha with stuff on the menu you don't see at the fancy hotel Thai places. Owned by a Thai chap. The other is further up Al Jazeera and owned by the same people who own the little Thai kiosk in that shopping centre opposite the Westin. Ok but not memorable. Korean is good, there's three Korean places on that street. Little Yee Hwa was my preferred one.

If you save 4k a month living in Sadd that's 48k a year, or in other words, £10,000. Just pointing that out. I could have chosen to rent my own place in WB or Pearl for 10-12k a month but chose to flatshare for 5k a month in WB. Across two years that was £25,000 savings..... but it's moot point for the family man beyond that money does add up and he needs to decide what's important because someday he will leave Qatar. Although to be frankly honest if I had a wife and baby I'd be going for WB as it seems rents have fallen greatly in the last six months. Qatar is really a shithole so you might as well make the most of it.
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Old May 7th 2019, 11:21 pm
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Default Re: Qatar Living Costs (what do you budget?)

I wouldn't live in Al Sadd if they paid me £100,000 a year on top, never mind saving ten. I'd probably end up leaving the place thinking Qatar was a shithole. End of the day, we all pays our money and takes our choice.
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Old May 8th 2019, 2:21 pm
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Default Re: Qatar Living Costs (what do you budget?)

Originally Posted by Standanista View Post
I wouldn't live in Al Sadd if they paid me £100,000 a year on top, never mind saving ten. I'd probably end up leaving the place thinking Qatar was a shithole. End of the day, we all pays our money and takes our choice.
Sure, right. I'm beginning to think you don't know Sadd. Are we talking about the same area? Opposite Hamad Hospital? Off the C-Ring Road? Behind Barwa Towers? Largely middle income Indians and Arabs and a decent sprinkling of Westerners? And Qatar crew? Most of the buildings are no worse than West Bay towers. Interiors are identical. And some are quite nice.

You'd be surprised at how many westerners live in the neighbourhoods along the C-Ring Road. Najma, Umm Ghuwailina or whatever it's called. The only real advantage to WB is the air quality is better and proximity to the bars but otherwise most of the towers are shit, just like everything else in Qatar.
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Old May 8th 2019, 6:16 pm
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Default Re: Qatar Living Costs (what do you budget?)

Exactly, that whole beige set of backstreets with its dust, cheap tailors, unsanitary fried chicken shops and rubbish skips. Buildings no worse than West Bay? Once you get past the newer residential towers, half the buildings are no better than those already condemned in Msheireb. There's a big old medical facility on C Ring Road already derelict, and plenty of old apartment blocks tucked away in the backstreets the same. Show me where you'll find that in West Bay. Half the suburb is a depressing dive of a place, enough to give anyone a poor opinion of Qatar if they think that's as good as it gets.
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Old May 8th 2019, 7:34 pm
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Default Re: Qatar Living Costs (what do you budget?)

Originally Posted by Standanista View Post
Exactly, that whole beige set of backstreets with its dust, cheap tailors, unsanitary fried chicken shops and rubbish skips. Buildings no worse than West Bay? Once you get past the newer residential towers, half the buildings are no better than those already condemned in Msheireb. There's a big old medical facility on C Ring Road already derelict, and plenty of old apartment blocks tucked away in the backstreets the same. Show me where you'll find that in West Bay. Half the suburb is a depressing dive of a place, enough to give anyone a poor opinion of Qatar if they think that's as good as it gets.
I think you're basing all your impressions of the entirety of Sadd on the blocks closest to Sadd Road. There's a retail corridor populated by Filipinos and South Asian laborers and some older buildings. But much of Sadd is fairly new and perfectly fine, especially the northern half and the west side. The kips are everywhere outside as used to be the case in Dubai till a few years back.

I've been in a number of Sadd apartments and West Bay towers. Same kitchens, same bathrooms, same cheap furniture from the landlord, same cockroaches. Difference is that one is a crappy skyscraper in West Bay and the other is a midrise block 10 minutes away. Is Sadd more a mixed area, with nice buildings next to older crappier ones? Sure. But why is that a problem? Reminds me of London in that sense. And regardless of WB or Sadd you're still living in Doha one way or another.
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Old May 9th 2019, 11:36 am
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Default Re: Qatar Living Costs (what do you budget?)

Saad to west bay in 10 mins? Your taking a chopper then i presume?
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Old May 9th 2019, 12:51 pm
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Default Re: Qatar Living Costs (what do you budget?)

Originally Posted by DOHDUBMAN View Post
Saad to west bay in 10 mins? Your taking a chopper then i presume?
Or possibly a zip line from the top of Rail Tower to the Corniche then a jet ski. I hear Karwa now operate a service directly onto the private beach at the Hilton, handy for picking up take-away sushi from Nobu as you go past.
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Old May 9th 2019, 7:08 pm
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Default Re: Qatar Living Costs (what do you budget?)

I lived in Saad in one of the Regency buildings as I used to work near C ring. 70% of the residents of my building were westerners working in Hamad or elsewhere. It’s a right mix of everything, personally it wasn’t a bad place to live as rest of Doha is quite shabby too.
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Old May 9th 2019, 10:22 pm
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Default Re: Qatar Living Costs (what do you budget?)

Originally Posted by DOHDUBMAN View Post
Saad to west bay in 10 mins? Your taking a chopper then i presume?
Outside rush hour. Shortcut through Bidda park. It's a pretty direct route if you're just off the C Ring road or Rayyan Road. Quickest was to go down Rayyan to the roundabout and then cut into the park and through the little tunnel towards the corniche. Vice versa from WB to Al Jazeera for the restaurants always through Bidda and under the roundabout and via the back side. 10-15 minutes if there's not much traffic.

Someone I knew who lived in Sadd and worked in WB said as long as he left before 7:15/7:20 it took about 20-25 minutes at most. We met for drinks at Belgian all the time on weekends and for him it was also 20 minutes from his flat in Sadd to Belgian. His uber fare was never more than 25 QAR.
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Old May 11th 2019, 7:19 am
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Default Re: Qatar Living Costs (what do you budget?)

That's another good point about Al Sadd. The place is that soulless that it will cost you a fortune in Uber trips to The Pearl, Katara and West Bay, to drink inflated-priced pints, just to keep sane. At least if you do slash your wrists you're not far from the hospital.
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Old May 12th 2019, 7:11 pm
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Default Re: Qatar Living Costs (what do you budget?)

Originally Posted by DXBtoDOH View Post
If you save 4k a month living in Sadd that's 48k a year, or in other words, £10,000. Just pointing that out. I could have chosen to rent my own place in WB or Pearl for 10-12k a month but chose to flatshare for 5k a month in WB. Across two years that was £25,000 savings..... but it's moot point for the family man beyond that money does add up and he needs to decide what's important because someday he will leave Qatar. Although to be frankly honest if I had a wife and baby I'd be going for WB as it seems rents have fallen greatly in the last six months. Qatar is really a shithole so you might as well make the most of it.
My plan is to find a nice compound to begin with so my wife & son adjust to the new life easily (budgeting ~15k). After 6-12 months we can reassess and move somewhere cheaper.

Also with a young child, crazy traffic, the heat, and not working, it'd be good for my wife to be somewhere with things to do nearby so she doesn't go mad being stuck at home.
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