Romania Cost of Living 2023 in Bucharest, Cluj Napoca, Brasov, Sibiu etc

The cost of living in Romania keeps growing at a fast pace, especially following the years 2022 and 2023 so far where huge inflation even doubled some of the costs here. And there are no signs of it stopping soon…

As a result, the cost of living in the country in 2023 is higher than ever because of double digit inflation. But this is affecting all countries in the world, so it kind of evens out in the end.

Compared to 2013 when I first started to track our expenses and follow the prices of various products in the country, I can say that they are higher than ever. And everything is way more expensive.

Important things like electricity and natural gas have spiked in prices (although the state is paying part of the costs), but also food costs have gone up, based on my own experience, anything between 50% to 300%.

Prices actually started going up in 2019, when inflation was around 8%. Nowadays, inflation is around 15% so you can imagine that prices of everything go up. Sure, we’ve seen a significant increase of the minimum wage in Romania, but also increased inflation. And I don’t think that is going to stop.

Therefore, the cost of living in Romania in 2023 is much higher than it was 6 years ago. It’s actually much higher than it was one year ago!

Comparing my actual living costs with those that I was tracking back in 2013, we are actually spending more than twice as much, which is a bit scary (sure, we now have a child and that increases the costs a bit, but still…)

sibiu romania aerial view

Anyway, let’s leave these details and statistics for later and instead let’s check out on the estimated cost of living in cities like Bucharest, Cluj Napoca, Braso, Sibiu and so on because this is what you’re here for: to see the numbers, not the complaints!

These estimates are pretty much valid for all cities in Romania, actually, but you should still expect the smaller ones to be a bit cheaper than the larger ones, especially because you will pay less for rent and entertainment.

What’s the cost of living in Romania in 2023?

Expect to spend around 1,200 Euros per month for living a decent life in Romania in 2023.

This includes all expenses – rent, utilities, food and some entertainment but doesn’t offer a luxurious life. For that, I recommend a budget of at least €1,500 per month for one person.

In my opinion, there are two major expenses when it comes to monthly costs: rent or mortgage and food.

on a budget in romania

Then, we have things like entertainment, house-related expenses, health related expenses and miscellaneous ones that do add up eventually, but rent and food will be the bulk of one’s spending.

It is difficult for another person to estimate how much you will spend in each category since everybody has a different approach to living their life (as well as different budgets to accomplish their goals), but I’ll try to do it anyway, keeping the estimated costs somewhere in the middle.

But remember that in some very specific situations, my estimates could still be way off.

However, below is a recent comment posted by one of our readers, Alexandru, where here details his monthly cost of living (in 2021, it’s true) but still proving that Romania can be really cheap to live in:

I live in Brasov with my girlfriend in my own apartment and only one of us is working at the moment. I don’t have to pay rent . The average costs we have per month are (taking into account food, utilities, bills and miscellaneous) are around 2,500 lei per month. This translates to around 508 euros on average per month.

Honestly this is around what you need, in my mind, not only to survive but to live a comfortable life (going out in the week-ends, ordering food 75% of the time from various restaurants and some other activities which include various costs).

by Alexandru, Romania Experience reader

Since having something to compare your expectations to (or at least to have a starting point when it comes to budgeting for living in Romania) is better than nothing, let’s check out my estimated cost of living in Romania in 2023.

Accommodation costs in Romania

Both rental prices, as well as the costs for buying property in Romania are, right now, at all time highs, similar to the prices before the recession in 2008.

The 2020 events didn’t slow down the construction industry, Romania building more houses than it did in 2019. However, prices kept going up and in 2023 they are as high as they’ve been since 2008, with increases in prices of 10% on average.

Rental prices remain pretty much the same throughout the country, although cities like Cluj Napoca, Bucharest and Constanta saw important spikes last year, continued into this year.

modern apartment in Romania

I personally saw studios in the center of Bucharest being on sale for prices as high as 90,000 Euros (which I consider insane).

An apartment like the one that we bought in 2014 for 25,000 Euros (in a smaller city) now sells for 50,000 if you are lucky… so prices have indeed jumped up a lot lately when it comes to buying property

Average rent in Romania

When it comes to renting you can still be able to find a decent 1 bedroom apartment in a good area in a larger city in Romania for around 350 Euros per month and you can expect to pay around 500 Euros for a 2 bedroom unit.

They are no longer as common as they were a few years ago, but definitely available – especially if you’re not in a big rush.

You will also find cheaper apartments in areas that are farther away from the city center, or really luxurious ones for higher prices.

Bottom line: If you want to rent in Bucharest, Cluj Napoca, Brasov, Sibiu or other large cities, budget between 350 Euros to 500 Euros per month for a 1-bedroom apartment. In a smaller city, you can pay as little as 250 Euros per month for a 1-bedroom apartment.

(Check Romanian website Storia.ro for tons of listings for properties available for rent or on sale to get a clearer picture of the market and what’s on offer.)

Costs of utilities in Romania

When renting, the cost of utilities are usually not included, so you will have to pay extra.

Fortunately, these numbers are generally extremely low during the summer and still somewhat low during the winter (when heating costs hit).

They did go up A TON in the 2022 / 2023 winter season, but at the moment the state covers some of the expenses, so you won’t feel much pain.

BUT I doubt they’ll be able to do this indefinitely, so the 2x or 3x increases in prices will eventually have to be paid from our own pockets. Not for now, though.

prices going up

If you’re renting an apartment, most of these will be part of something called Intretinere (which translates as “maintenance”) and it usually includes garbage collection, water, a fund for minor repairs and heating.

If you have gas (for heating), that’s paid separately, as well as the electrical bill. Here is where the biggest jumps were recorded.

The price estimates below are for a 1-bedroom apartment:

Intretinere/maintenance: Prices here vary a lot based on how much electricity you use and how warm you keep your place in the winter.

On average, expect to pay around 130 per month. The costs could be as low as 30 Eur/month during the summer and as high as 220 Eur/month during the winter.

The most we have ever paid (2-bedroom apartment) here was close to 200 Euros (during a very cold winter month a few years ago), but we’re usually paying around 100 each winter month and we keep some steady temperatures of around 22 degrees Celsius in the apartment.

Bottom line: The average costs for Intretinere (heating included) should be around 130 Euros per month.

Electricity: Again, this depends on how much you use. I saw that foreigners generally use a lot more electricity than Romanians so it’s difficult to estimate.

I am making these estimations based on our own consumption and average the costs out to around 60 Euros per month. (We do use A/C in the summer and also have a drier which we use during the winter months).

Many people in Romania spend way less than that even now with the increased prices, but I would consider 60 Euros a safer estimate.

TV & Internet: These usually go hand in hand and the prices for the combos are generally low for a decent amount of channels and the super fast internet Romania is known for.

Expect to pay around 15 Euros per month for this (high speed cable internet of at least 500 Gbps and cable with 100+ channels)

Mobile: The costs can be added on the same bill with the TV and Internet and if you do so you get further discounts.

Offers here start with as low as 2 Eur/month with unlimited calls and texts, as well as tens of GB of Internet. But I would still budget at least 5 EUR / Month for a plan with around 30GB of included data.

Food prices in Romania

The prices of food in Romania have increased at an alarming rate over the years.

The farmer markets, which were the places where you usually could buy cheap, locally grown products have been taken over by companies and resellers, resulting in higher prices.

As a result, even farmer markets are more expensive than they used to be – and sometimes more expensive than supermarkets, although the products are similar in quality.

Take watermelons as an example (I love them!) Some 3-4 years ago, the cheapest you could buy them was 0.80 lei per kilo. The cheapest I was able to find last summer was 2.5 lei/kilo. Crazy!

You were able to buy locally grown, garden tomatoes with as low as 3 lei per kilo a few years ago. This year, prices for the garden tomatoes are between 7 – 10 lei (going to four times those amounts during the off-season months).

As a result, food prices in Romania are usually on par with those in the rest of Europe. You will pay less on some, bringing your overall food bill to under the amount you’d pay for an identical purchase in other EU countries, but not by much.

Here are some price examples in Euros:

Tomatoes (1 kg): 1 – 4.50 (depending on the season, cheaper during summer/autumn)
Potatoes (1 kg): 0.75
Lettuce (1 head): 0.5 – 1
Apples (1 kg): 0.75 – 2.30
Oranges (1 Kg): ~1 Euro
Cheese (1 Kg): 6.5 – 10 Eur
Eggs (10): 2 – 2.50 Euros
Chicken Breasts, boneless, skinless (1 kg): ~6.00
Fresh fish, local (1 kg): 6.50
Loaf of Bread (300 grams): 1.00
Milk (1 Liter – no name brands): 0.90
Bottle of cheap local wine: 3.50
Bottle of better local wine: 6.00
Beer (0.5 liter): 0.80 (in stores)
Beer (2 liter bottle): 3.00
Sparkling water (1.5 l): 0.45
Bottled water (5 l): 1.00
Bottle of natural juice (1 liter): 1.50

Restaurant prices in Romania

Meal for two, generic restaurant, main course, dessert and one drink (tip included): 30 Euros
Meal for two, better restaurant, Three course (tip included): 50 Euros
Beer (0.5 l): 1.70 Euros
Coke (0.25 l): 1.70
Wine (0.75 l): 15 Euros (but can easily go way up)
Cappuccino / Coffee: 2.20
Fresh lemonade: 3.00

All in all, I believe that a family of two (or even 3, with a younger child) could keep the monthly food budget to around 400 Euros if they don’t eat out a lot and cook at home from base ingredients.

restaurant prices romania

In our case, food costs are the biggest expense each month, close to 450 Euros (eating out included – but we eat out a maximum of 4 times per month).

Other living costs in Romania

Bus ticket: 0.40 Eur (1 trip)
Monthly bus pass: ~12 Euros (unlimited trips) – not all cities have something like this!
Gas: 1.4 Eur per liter (varied a lot over the past year, could be the same this year)
Pair of regular jeans: 30 Euros
No Brand T-shirt: 10 Euros
Cinema ticket: 4.50 Euros
Private health insurance: As low as 30 Eur/month (but prices can vary a lot here, depending on your needs).

Most of the things here – from transportation to clothing is generally cheaper (to much cheaper) when compared to other Western European countries.

Things to consider about the cost of living in Romania

First of all, Romania remains one of the poorest countries in Europe and also one of the cheapest, despite the recent increase in salaries, followed by the increase of the cost of living.

Second, it really depends how you earn your income. If you earn in a foreign currency, you will usually earn a lot more than the average Romanian.

Also, the exchange rates will work in your favor as Euros and US Dollars are worth a bit more ever year, generally.

But still… how much should you realistically budget in order to live a good life here?

I have detailed our monthly expenses in a previous article – so if you want to know exactly how much my family of 3 is spending each month, make sure to read that as well.

Can you live in Romania on 1,000 Euros per month?

thrifty living in Romania

This is a nice, round number and I said a while ago that you can live in Romania for less than 1,000 per month. I think that you can still do, but it’s not as easy as it was a few years and you have to be really thrifty to do so.

But as a couple, with 2,000 Euros per month, you’d live a relatively good life in Romania at 1,000 Euros per person. Even in USD, you’d still have a nice amount for a decent life in all cities here.

But with rising rent prices and increasing rental & food costs, I think that it is getting a bit more difficult to live a good life in a good area for 1,000 Euros per month, especially as a single person.

So if you’d have somebody to share these important costs with, it would be much easier!

Otherwise, you will probably have to cut costs by either living in a small city or well outside the city center and eat cheaper food, while cooking more at home. But it’s still doable.

Let’s make some estimative costs, just for the sake of proving a point:

Rent: 350 EUR (1-bedroom or studio)
Food: 400 EUR
Intretinere: 130 EUR
Electricity, phone, tv & internet: 100 EUR
__________
TOTAL: 980 EUR / month

This would still leave you with 20 Euros for extra / misc expenses. Not a lot – but also the amounts above are just estimates, so they could go either way in your particular situation.

Don’t expect to live like a king or queen for this money, though. It won’t be a daily party for sure, but it is doable, as you can see.

Have in mind that there are many families in Romania living on less – although not a good life!

Remember that the NET minimum salary in the country has recently increased to around 375 Euros per month, while the average salary is around 810 Euros.

So having even 1,000 Euros per month would put you well ahead of most people in the country (almost half of the employees in the country are on the minimum wage!)

Also, choosing to live in a cheaper, smaller city, would also come with lower costs, offering you even more bang for your buck.

Wrapping Up

Hopefully all these details manage to paint a better picture of the anticipated costs of living in Romania in any of its beautiful cities. Expect the larger ones to be more expensive, though, mostly due to higher rent costs.

Furthermore, if you are already living in Romania – and have been here for a while to at least have an estimate of your total monthly expenses, don’t hesitate to do so and share your numbers in the comments section below. It’s highly appreciated!

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32 thoughts on “Romania Cost of Living 2023 in Bucharest, Cluj Napoca, Brasov, Sibiu etc”

  1. When I am in Bucharest, usually few months per year (as non-EU I am limited), I am living in a nice hotel for 600EUR per month, with all expenses included (AC/Heating/electricity/Internet, soap…), plus breakfast and coffee for up to 3 of us. Sometimes I came alone and the price is the same.

    Reply
  2. I first came to Romania in 2015, my wife is Romanian, and we were both living in the UK when we met. We have properties in both Countries, and live between the two. I have noticed a significant rise in prices since 2015 in line with previous comments, and also a shrinking of farmers markets. Our nearest city, Zalau, has added yet another large supermarket (and mall) which has contributed to both the rising prices generally, and the frequency of people buying everything under one roof and skipping the markets. As a side point, our nearest large city is Cluj-Napoca, and the hour and a half distance (two in peak traffic) means that the price boom in Cluj has only rippled a little in Salaj. Whilst many of the costs of electrical goods, computers, various items like washing powder and some food items are similar to the UK, property in Salaj is still a fraction of the equivalent in UK, as is the cost of construction and renovation projects. It remains a great place to buy a house and develop it. We are in a large village, was interested in comments I have read about being harder to settle in a village. I am fairly sure I am the only person in this village who is not Romanian, but have found it was easy to fit in, especially as my knowledge of the Romanian language has increased and I can have conversations, share humour and so on. I would recommend Romania to anyone, not for the beautiful scenery or the terrible road system, but mostly because of the friendly Romanian people and their attitude of ‘life is there to be enjoyed’. The closeness of family is also impressive, and at a level the UK used to have, but doesn’t usually match now.

    Reply
  3. It’s nice to see that despite the fact that costs keep rising, Romania remains affordable (the cat is out of the bag though, so l expect it to keep rising) especially because a lot of Brits might not have the funds to bring their foreign spouses back there due to the monetary requirements, so it would be an option. We found quite a few people who lived in malta because of that.
    The prices are indeed quite close to prices in Spain. Too bad about the shrinking markets, but since you have that big old garden, you don’t have to worry much :-).

    Reply
    • Prices are steadily going up, indeed, but Romania remains cheap and I guess it’s not the only country where it’s getting more expensive to live in… Brexit and the pandemic definitely had an impact and I am sure it’s not over.

      Reply
  4. Hi Calin !

    Found your blog and been enjoying reading it since I’m considering moving to Romania. I’m retired (65) I have a monthly Income of 3,795 U.S. dollars a month Including full health Insurance ( no cost to me ) as part of my retirement package. So question I have is if I figured the conversion right it would come out around 15817.18 Ron , I’m going to guess that my Health Ins. would not be accepted over there ? I saw you mention that private Ins starts around 60 Ron but do you know what a good coverage would cost including prescription medicine or what the cost low & high is on health Ins ? also how comfortable could I live on my monthly Income if I want to be in a really nice 2 bedroom home or apartment with a/c ( do they even have central a/c over there ?) I would enjoy some place close to the city but far enough out to enjoy nature & more quiet as a first choice but willing to be in a nice city.
    any suggestions as to where to look ?

    Thanks for any Insight you have.

    Reply
    • Hello Scott,

      You would live a really good life in any city in Romania with that income. You would probably have to spend at most $200 per month for top notch private health insurance and that would still leave with you enough money to have a great life here.

      The biggest problem would be to actually get to live here unless you are an EU citizen. Romania doesn’t have a retirement visa or something along those lines. You could only do it by opening a company (we’ve discussed this in other articles), but it seems that the officials are starting to be very demanding with this and they now require proof that the company is active too. It still can be done, but extra headaches, costs and bureaucracy for you.

      Reply
    • Hi Calin !

      Thank-you so much for your response. I wonder why Romania makes it so hard to retire there , I would think they would welcome that to help increase their economy. Because you know us retirement people we like to spend money ..lol

      So what if I met a Romania Lady while there for the 90 days and decided to get married and we wanted to remain in Romania to live ? Would they not allow me to stay ?

      Reply
      • Sometimes, the politicians simply can’t see the big picture and the advantages coming from making it easier for people to retire here.

        But if you were to get married – that would definitely be a really easy way for you to get a chance to live here long term.

        Reply
  5. Hello,

    I received a job offer to work in Romania.
    The net salary is €2000.
    Is this a good salary? Can I have a good life in Romania with it? I’m divorced, so I’ll live alone.
    PS: congrats for your blog. I can’t stop to read it! You tips are great!

    Reply
  6. Hi Calin,
    I am living and working in Bucharest from last 1 year. As a Non-EU my salary is 600 euro and all other benefits from my employer. My family willing to stay in Romania. So is it possible to bear all costs including my 2 kids school fees in 600 eu salary? Please can you tell me what is fees for 1 child age 5 years old in english school?

    Reply
    • Unfortunately, I don’t think that would be doable. Private schools in Bucharest cost around 500 Euros per month per child (maybe you can find some for around 150 Eur, but I would guess that the quality might not be as high).

      Even if you send the kids to public schools (which are free), 600 Euros won’t be enough for a family of four, even if you have the accommodation paid for. (If you have both food and accommodation paid for already and 600 is extra, then it’s doable with public schools).

      Reply
  7. Good day sir/ma.. as a student coming to Romania, after paying my rents and all can I survive with 21,000 leu ? Coming from Nigeria. And what job can I also do to make money without not affecting my studies

    Reply
  8. Hello! I’m thinking about moving to Romania and want to ask your advice regarding the cost of living. If we’re talking about monthly income around 2 700 kEUR how do you think is it enough for family of 3 (2 adults and child 6yo) including rent (somewhere in Ilfov district) and private school? Also is it real that income tax is 41%?
    Thank you in advance!

    Reply
    • Hello! Prices have gone up a lot recently, so I think that for your area, you should budget around 700 Euros per month for rent (if you want a 2-bedroom house/apartment) and around the same amount for private school. This would leave you with 1,300 Euros which would be enough for a decent life, but nothing too extravagant.

      The income tax depends on each individual’s situation. If you have your own company or are self employed, you will pay between 3% to 10% in tax. Salary tax is indeed different, but as long as you negotiate a net salary with your company, that’s what you will receive in hand.

      Reply
  9. Hi C. the Romanian,

    I have dual nationality (British and Irish) and have taken early retirement . My wife is Romanian and does not work due to health issues.

    We want to move to Romania to live and are looking for the ideal town or city for us. We are looking for a place where we can get to Bucharest within about an hour by train or by car (as I like to visit a really big city at least once a week) and which has the cheapest cost of living possible.

    Any ideas please?

    Thanks a lot and great blog you have here, it is so useful!

    Jonathan

    Reply
    • Does it really have to be Bucharest? Simply going from the outskirts of the city to the center can take up to an hour 🙂

      I am not very familiar with the nearby cities, but some options close to Bucharest would be Titu, Urziceni or Videle (larger towns), as well as plenty of villages.

      The problem is that these are generally more expensive than others due to the proximity to Bucharest itself. So unless you really want Bucharest to be the large city you’re close to, there might be better options available.

      Reply
  10. Hi C. the Romanian,

    I think I would want the city to be Bucharest because I lived most of my life in London and just need that very big city experience once or twice a week just
    because it is now in my DNA.

    However I definitely will be actively looking into all the towns you mention above, so thanks once again for the great information.

    Reply
  11. Hi C the Romanian,

    Whilst looking at the towns you recommended I stumbled across Ploiesti which while further away from Bucharest, has very good train connections (yes I read your article on Romanian trains) with some trains only 37 minute journey. Do you know Ploiesti by any chance and if so would you recommend it as a place to live?

    Reply
    • Ploiesti is indeed close, but it’s one of Romania’s largest cities. For some reason, I thought you are looking for a smaller city to live in. 🙂

      Generally, the larger towns and especially the villages are cheaper, so you would lose most of the cost-advantages if you live in Ploiesti as it would be just as expensive as Bucharest.

      Rental prices might be slightly lower, indeed, but you will probably lose that advantage due to the constant traveling back and forth. So unless you really want a smaller city for the reduced cost of living (in terms of rent, as other costs are the same), you can go straight to Bucharest.

      Reply
  12. Hi C. the Romanian,
    I plan to retire in Romania. My pension is $3600/month.
    I own an apartment in Bucharest and I have dual citizenship- Romanian/American.
    Can you please tell me if my pension would be enough to live comfortably after paying food, utilities and a good health insurance.
    Thank you and have a Happy New Year!
    Camelia.

    Reply
    • Absolutely! That is a great budget for Bucharest – and any place in the country. You should be able to live a good life, travel a lot and still have some money left at the end of the month 🙂

      Reply
  13. We did say the cat was out of the bag a couple of years ago, and it seems it’s come to fruition. I don’t think there’s anywhere that hasn’t seen a big increase and l don’t see it letting up either. Things have jumped up here in Spain too, especially the rent. We are seeing double and more increases. Interesting times, especially with the wages remaining low.

    Reply
  14. Hi C. the Romanian,

    Could a married couple who are both EU nationals live comfortably in Romania on a joint income of 2800 Euro a month (after tax has been deducted) do you think in 2023? How much would a luxury life cost for a couple do you think?

    Thanks

    Jonathan

    Reply
    • Yes, I am sure you could live a good life on that amount, even with the higher prices in 2023. That would include regular eating out, spas and travel and well… generally a good life. Can’t say exactly about “luxury life” as you can go really extravagant here and spend a ton, but you could definitely have at least some luxury on your budget.

      Reply
  15. Hello C. The Romanian,

    Thanks a ton for this info!!
    Im planning to permanently move to Romania.
    Im an IT professional (Salesforce Developer), my current salary is Euros 4637/month.
    From your blog, which by the way is super helpful, Im to understand it is sufficient for a couple and child.
    So my question to you is, how easy/hard it is to find a job in an IT sector in Romania. Im planning to move to Bucharest(most of the big companies are located here. Right?)
    Also I dont speak Romanian, would that be of any issue while im looking for a job?

    Reply
    • Hello! Your current salary would indeed be more than enough to live a comfortable life, together with your family.

      I’m not sure how easy it is to find a job in the IT sector, but Bucuresti is indeed one of the main places to be. Cluj Napoca is also a major IT hub, taking the top spot in the past few days. It’s also a nice city, so you might want to look into it as well.

      Not speaking the language might come as a slight disadvantage, but I don’t think it would be a deal breaker when it comes to finding a job.

      Regards,
      Calin

      Reply

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