After 2.5 weeks, we’re still trying to wrap our heads around our new money…the Kuwaiti Dinar. AIS gave us a settling allowance…in cash! When we had it in our hands, it didn’t seem like very much. But then when we started doing the conversion, we realized it was a lot!
On our first trip to the grocery store during orientation (more to come soon), we were quite confused by the prices. We’re still in the process of adjusting and trying not to constantly convert to US dollars in our heads. The Sultan Center is one of the major grocery stores here. Other notable ones are Lulu Hypermarket and Carrefour. We’ve found a Sultan Center that is very close to our gym (again, more to come soon!) and we can easily stop on our walk home. It has quickly become our favorite place to grocery shop!
5 fils = $.02
10 fils = $.04
20 fils = $.07
50 fils = $.18
100 fils = $.35
1/4 dinar = $.89
1/2 dinar = $1.78
1 dinar = $3.55
5 dinar = $17.75
10 dinar = $35.50
20 dinar = $71
There are 1000 fils in 1 dinar (like there are 100 pennies in 1 dollar). One dinar is about 3.55 dollars. We’ve heard it doesn’t fluctuate much. The smallest bill is 1/4 dinar (250 fils); the biggest (that we’ve seen) is 20 dinars.
The coins are incredibly small and range from 5 to 100. They also don’t have any numerals on them that we are used to seeing…so we’ve had to quickly learn some Arabic numerals!
After shopping for a couple weeks, we’ve noticed that many shops don’t have enough coins & small bills to make change and prefer you to have exact change. When you don’t have exact change, they usually round in your favor or take less money because they don’t have small coins in their drawers. We get our first paycheck in a couple weeks and we’re eager to start budgeting and figuring out what all this crazy money stuff actually means 🙂
Sultan Center is great for imported good and specialty items. In the long run, you’ll notice that it can get expensive (houseware, napkins, tissue etc) you’ll be paying a lot more than what you pay for the same thing back in the US simply because of the brand name.
I suggest you check out the local coops for a slightly better deal – they’re useful if you want to stock up on nonperishable goods and the like. Probably even cheaper fruits and veggies. These little things would make a difference if you’re consciously saving up.
If you’re in Hawalli there’s a small (chaotic) co-op opposite Hawalli Park. Check it out on Google Maps. The nicer co-ops are in residential areas around the country but probably not worth the drive if you’re taking taxis everywhere.
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