Although recent policies have sought to limit the number of Bahrain’s foreign workers, they still enjoy some benefits; for example, expats can expect to retain the entirety of their salary as disposable income. A salary of 900 to 1000 BHD (2,400 to 2,650 USD) is enough to comfortably sustain a couple. On such a salary, you should be able to rent a 2-bedroom house, pay for utilities and cover groceries and extra costs. It isn’t uncommon for foreigners to relocate to Bahrain for a couple of years to make savings and get international experience.
If you move to Bahrain, you will most likely spend the highest proportion of your income on accommodation.
This expense tends to be higher for foreigners than the local population as they pay a 10% rental tax and are prohibited from purchasing property. Likewise, like all renters, expats must be prepared to put down 2-3 months rent as a deposit.
Logically, these expenses vary greatly by location and residency type. Renting a one-bedroom apartment usually costs between 200 and 500 BHD a month in urban areas but 150 to 375 BHD in rural ones. On the other hand, a 3-bedroom apartment in a city is likely to cost 500 to 800 BHD compared to 300 to 650 BHD when outside of one. Although rent is the most expensive part of living in Bahrain, the construction boom has led to a greater property offer and high vacancy rates. As a result, rent prices have gone down and foreigners have more options to choose from.
Basic utilities, health, food, transport
It is also difficult to make generalizations about utility costs as these are highly dependent upon your accommodation and lifestyle. However, to give you an idea, the average person living in a standard apartment can expect to pay between 50 to 70 BHD for their basic utilities (e.g. water, electricity, heating, garbage fees...), a bill usually paid to your landlord and then the state, these sectors being publically owned.
On top of this, residents must factor in the costs of healthcare, groceries, bottled water (the general water supply not being safe to drink), transport, internet and phone contracts as well as the expense of any other activity in which they may partake.
As of January 2019, all employers must pay for compulsory health insurance for all their foreign workers (and sometimes their dependents), so you will only have to purchase health insurance if one of your family members is not covered by your company.
As for food prices, souqs (local markets) offer more affordable options than the big, international supermarkets, so if you want to save money, shopping like a local is your best option. Reports from expats generally put groceries at 40 to 50 BHD per person per month. Likewise, 330ml bottles of water cost 0.14 BHD and 1 kilo of rice 0.99 BHD.
On a similar note, transportation also doesn't generally cost much (and logically so considering the region is rich in oil). Therefore, a one-way ticket in public transport costs 0.30 BHD while the monthly passes come to just 14 BHD. Taxis rides are around 1 to 2 BHD for an average ride.
Internet & leisure
Furthermore, although internet and phone contracts are, too, fairly cheap, alcohol, while legal, comes with a comparatively higher price tag than it does in countries where drinking is more common and socially accepted. A meal at an inexpensive restaurant costs 2.5 to 5 BHD, while an imported beer will amount to 4 BHD.
Additionally, sports, leisure and social activities are also largely inexpensive compared to global standards; Bahrain is a small country made up of over 30 islands surrounded by beaches and sand, so water sports, boat rides and camping in the middle of the desert are common and rather affordable activities.