The cost of living in Amman is comparable to the cost of living in other major cities in the world. On some counts, Amman fares favourably when compared with other cities in the world and even the region. However, living in Amman generally comes at a price. Of course, cost of living varies greatly based on your lifestyle and preferences but below is a rough guide to the cost of meeting your daily needs as well as a few of those wants.
Although Amman is full of empty real estate, prices are not cheap. Most expats tend to live in modern apartments and villas in the west of the city, although students and interns might prefer to take cheaper options in older buildings in Jabal Amman and Jabal Il Weibdeh. Much of what is available on the market are two and three bedroom apartments and villas (and larger) and rents vary between JOD 300 for a low spec two-bedroom apartment to JOD 1500 for a large villa in a neighbourhood such as Abdoun. Although as an expat you will most likely be offered a price considerably higher than locals, there is plenty of room for negotiation as the large supply of empty housing makes it a tenant’s market.
In Amman, food and drink prices vary hugely depending on your taste and your preference of brands. If you’re happy to eat a largely local diet, staples are quite inexpensive. A packet of bread will cost well under JOD 0.30, while a kilogram of chicken might set you back only JOD 3-4. Gourmet and imported foods on the other hand are vastly more costly. A small pack of your favourite Italian pasta brand could be as much as JOD 2 while gourmet coffee could stretch to JOD 8 or 9. As a rough estimation of an individual who eats and cooks at home expect to spend anywhere between JOD 35 and 50 on your weekly shop.
Due to the high duties, alcohol, although widely available in Jordan, usually comes with a fairly hefty price tag unless you go for a local tipple such as Arak (a potent clear spirit made from aniseed). A beer in a liquor store might cost you JOD 2 while for a bottle of branded vodka, expect to fork out JOD 40. In hotel bars and high-end clubs, expect to pay around JOD 10-12 for a spirit and mixer.
Fortunately, the cost of most utilities in Jordan compare quite favorably to back home. Many Jordanian kitchens use propane gas cylinders, which come at a nominal JOD 6.5. Water is similarly cheap – many landlords and buildings charge a fixed fee between JOD 5 –10 per month. Electricity and central heating however can run up your bills. Many people use electric heaters, but centrally heating a home can cost up to JOD 200 in the winter months.
Fuel is fairly cheap in Jordan ranging from just over JOD 0.5 per litre for Diesel to JOD 0.8 for unleaded octane although hefty duties make buying a car in Jordan very expensive. For those who don’t own or have access to a car, taxi is usually the preferred method of getting from A to B. A taxi ride within Amman usually costs anything from JOD 0.5 for a short hop to around JOD 2.5 to cross the city. Taxis in Amman are metered which is a huge relief to most expats as this dramatically lowers the possibility of getting scammed. Buses are another even cheaper option however unless you have decent Arabic and a lot of time on your hands these are best avoided.
Eating out in Jordan can be as cheap or expensive as you wish to make it. A tasty, filling meal at a local ‘hole in the wall’ café shouldn’t set you back more than a couple of dinars whereas meals in western style restaurants or sushi bars could cost the same as in London or New York, with wine prices to match. Other forms of entertainment such as cinema and bowling are also comparable to prices in other major cities
Clothes and other goods
Brand name clothes, household items and electrical goods are generally more expensive in Amman than in other places- prices can be 30 to 40 per cent higher. Alternative options include local and regional brands and goods from the market, which are easily far less than half the price however, the quality is not always the same… it’s your call if you’re happy using electronics where the safety and operating instructions are in Mandarin!