Romania Cost of Living 2021 in Bucharest, Cluj Napoca, Brasov, Sibiu etc

The cost of living in Romania is growing year-to year, but it slowed down a bit in 2020 and it doesn’t seem that 2021 will see a massive increase either.

Still, compared to 2013 when I first started to track our expenses and follow the prices of various products, they are a lot higher.

Actually, some prices grew at alarming rates in 2020 – at the beginning of the year, a product that I tracked cost almost 9 Lei (1.85 Eur) and now at the beginning of 2021, it costs 10.5 Lei (2.15 Eur).

Fortunately, not all prices are following this trend, but for the most case we see price increases that beat the inflation. In other words, the cost of living is increasing yearly.

I actually wrote an article saying that prices are increasing in Romania back in 2018, and that is still the case.

The main reason for the increase of prices in 2019 was the sudden and significant increase of the minimum wage in Romania, but also increased inflation. From that moment on, prices seemed to just keep going up.

Therefore, the cost of living in Romania in 2021 is much higher than it was 5 years ago.

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

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.

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 when it comes to rental prices.

What’s the cost of living in Romania in 2021?

Expect to spend around 1,000 Euros per month for living in Romania. This includes all expenses – rent, utilities, food and some entertainment but doesn’t offer a luxuriant life. However, if you had €1,500 per month available, you’d be living a really good life.

In my opinion, there are two major expenses when it comes to monthly costs: rent or mortgage and food. Then, we have things like entertainment, house-related expenses, health related expenses and miscellaneous ones.

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:

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).

Of course if we would stop ordering food so much and not buy so many sodas we could probably cut our expenses to something around 2000 RON per month on average. Which for 2 people seems like a great deal to me.

by Alexandru, Romania Experience reader

But since having something to compare your expectations to (or at least to have a starting point when it comes to budgeting your next trip to Romania or your move here) is better than nothing, let’s check out my estimates for 2021, which I consider to be somewhere in the middle.

Accommodation prices 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 pandemic didn’t slow down the construction industry, Romania building more houses than it did in 2019. They are also more expensive in 2021 compared to 2020 and previous years.

While rent remains in most cases similar to that of the previous couple of years, the prices for purchasing an apartment or a house in Romania have skyrocketed and some of them are so high that I wonder if anybody will ever buy.

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 40,000 if you are lucky… so prices have indeed jumped up a lot lately when it comes to buying.

Romanian apartment room

Average rent in Romania

When it comes to renting, the prices remain pretty much stable. You can still be able to find a decent 1 bedroom apartment in a good area in a large city in Romania for around 300 Euros per month and you can expect to pay around 500 Euros for a 2 bedroom unit.

But these usually are taken as soon as they pop up and they’re definitely not as common as they were back in the days.

You will also find cheaper apartments in areas that are farther away from the city center, while more expensive options are always available and the lower priced ones are not that common anymore.

Bottom line: If you want to rent in Bucharest, Cluj Napoca, Brasov, Sibiu or other large cities, budget between 300 Euros to 500 Euros per month for a 1-bedroom apartment. In a smaller city, you can pay as little as 200 Euros per month for a 1-bedroom apartment.

Some cities have seen price increases that are above the average: Cluj is, for example, one of those cities, pushed up by the number of higher paying jobs in the city. I saw many estimates these days showing that Cluj is actually more expensive to live in than Bucharest, which is a first for Romania!

(Check Romanian website OLX.ro for tons of listings for properties available for rent or on sale.)

Costs of utilities in Romania

When renting, the prices for utilities are usually not included in the rent, so you will have to pay these as an extra.

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

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 (we don’t), that’s paid separately, as well as the electrical bill.

And even though prices have also increased a bit here, most of the services have remained competitive and there were no increases in costs (heating, for example).

Even more, starting 2021, the costs for electricity are expected to go down by as much as 30% as the free market was finally implemented and prices are no longer regulated by the government.

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

Intretinere: Prices here vary a lot based on how much water you use, mainly. If heating is included, expect to pay a lot more during the winter months (the warmer you want your room to be, the more you will have to pay).

So the numbers here vary greatly from as low as 25 EUR per month during the summer (when no heating costs are needed) to 200 EUR per month during the winter (with solid heating).

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 should be around 100 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 30 Euros per month. (We do use A/C in the summer and also have a drier which we use during the winter months).

So I really don’t think that you would spend much more on electricity.

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 13 Euros per month for this.

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. 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.

Actually, many farmers use so much fertilizer (because nobody controls then) that it’s probably unhealthier to buy from them than from supermarkets. What a crazy world!

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 in 2020 in high season was 1.5 lei/kilo.

You were able to buy locally grown, garden tomatoes with as low as 3 lei per kilo a few years ago. In 2020, prices for the garden tomatoes was between 7 – 10 lei.

As a result, food prices in Romania are usually on par with those in the rest of Europe. Many are still way lower so overall you will still be able to pay less on food in Romania than you would in other EU countries.

We personally found them to be on par with those in Hungary, Spain and even Germany (although there are some products here in Romania that are way cheaper, as I said).

Many prices are influenced by seasonality as well (as it is the case everywhere), so you might be able to find them a lot cheaper or more expensive, depending on when you buy.

Here are some price examples in Euros:

Tomatoes (1 kg): 0.9 – 2.50 (depending on the season, cheaper during summer/autumn)
Potatoes (1 kg): 0.5
Lettuce (1 head): 0.5 – 1
Apples (1 kg): 0.60 – 1.30
Oranges (1 Kg): ~1 Euro
Cheese (1 Kg): 5 – 7 Eur
Eggs (1 egg): 0.20
Chicken Breasts, boneless, skinless (1 kg): 4.70
Fresh fish, local (1 kg): 6.50
Loaf of Bread (300 grams): 0.50
Milk (1 Liter – no name brands): 0.65
Bottle of cheap local wine: 2.50
Bottle of better local wine: 4.50
Beer (0.5 liter): 0.60 (in stores)
Beer (2 liter bottle): 2
Sparkling water (1.5 l): 0.60
Bottled water (5 l): 1
Bottle of natural juice (1 liter): 1.20

Restaurant prices in Romania

Meal for two, generic restaurant, Three-course (tip included): 28 Euros
Meal for two, better restaurant, Three course (tip included): 50 Euros
Beer (0.5 l): 1.30 Euros
Coke (0.25 l): 1.30
Wine (0.75 l): 12 Euros (but can easily go way up)
Cappuccino / Coffee: 1.70
Fresh lemonade: 2.70

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 350 Euros if they don’t eat out a lot and cook at home from base ingredients.

We currently spend a lot more than that per month, but we’re not making the best choices – plus, we’re trying to eat as much organic food as possible.

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 Eur per liter
Pair of regular jeans: 25 Euros
T-shirt: 10 Euros
Cinema ticket: 4.30 Euros
Private health insurance: As low as 20 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?

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 pretty 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 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 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: 250 EUR
Intretinere: 100 EUR
Electricity, phone, tv & internet: 50 EUR
__________
TOTAL: 750 EUR / month

This would still leave you with 250 Euros to pay for any health insurance (if needed), local transportation and other things you need to buy to make your life decent.

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 way less – although not a good life! Remember that the NET minimum salary in the country has recently increased to around 280 Euros per month, while the average salary is around 650 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.

Check out our monthly expenses in Romania

I will update the article where I detail in depth our expenses living in a smaller city in Romania, but until then, I want to share the bottom line here since you can take our expenses as a guidance for how much you’d expect to pay.

Regarding our way of living, I would say that we live a decent life – nothing to eccentric, but not tightening the belt too much either.

We’re not really part of the consumerist mentality, but we won’t always choose the lowest priced item especially if a higher priced one offers better quality and value for the money.

So I would say that we live an average life here by Western standards, allowing ourselves to have a treat every so often, but not splurging on Starbucks coffee each day (fun fact: there’s no Starbucks in our city anyway).

We are a family of three (our son is 7) and we live in a 2 bedroom apartment, owning a new Dacia Logan.

We don’t go out that often – as I already mentioned earlier – and we started to be extremely careful with what we’re eating, trying to eat organic food as much as possible and as healthy as it gets otherwise.

Therefore, our food costs are higher than a regular diet, I would say. But on the bright side, we don’t pay any rent or mortgage.

Overall, we had some unexpected or long-delayed expenses this year (new laptop, new smartphones and due to my line of work I need something new aka very expensive, new clothes…).

All in all, our average expenses living in Romania were, in 2020, close to 1,350 Euros per month (or around $1,500 per month). Not really bad, I would say, all things considered – and having in mind that it’s three of us living on this!

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

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 (you can even use a fake name in case you’re a regular of this blog and you don’t want me or the readers to know who you are).

But this would all help other people have a clearer image of the costs of living in Romania!

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37 thoughts on “Romania Cost of Living 2021 in Bucharest, Cluj Napoca, Brasov, Sibiu etc”

  1. Hello Calin, interesting article. It’s a bit disappointing the local market squares are getting smaller by the month, in fact we really noticed it at the Meva Piata in your town. It’s now tiny to how it was even as recently as five years ago, ten years go it was heaving with every table full pretty much throughout the year. But it has to be said this is a consequence of multiple supermarkets opening up everywhere all selling fresh(ish) produce, we all know its not the same quality, normally a bit more expensive, but its convenient and we compromise most of the time.

    Regarding the Intretinere, for comparison at our house in Romania we pay around 60 euro per annum, this covers the water, rubbish collection and local tax. But obviously we don’t have communal heating costs as we are not in a block and are situated in a small village not a large or even small town.

    Dental treatment for me at least being from the UK is just a small fraction of the cost at present in Romania. Here’s an example: In November I paid £40 for a dental x-ray in London and £3 (15ron) for one in Romania (Cicero, DTS actually Calin), UK Dentist quoted £800 – £1,000 for root canal work and I paid 70 euro for the same work in Romania. This being said though, I fully appreciate the impact of a 70 euro dental bill could have on most Romanians.

    Nice article and always looking for the next.

    Reply
    • Hello Shane,

      My apartment is some 5 minutes away from the Meva Market (near the Stomatologie, since you mentioned dentists). So whenever you’re around and you’d like to meet, just let me know 🙂

      Prices in villages are indeed very low. We also pay, in our village, a fraction of our monthly costs – but per year 🙂 But for most people coming from Western countries, I think it would be very, very difficult to adjust to living in a village in Romania full time.

      Regarding the overall prices – they are indeed cheap if you’re not looking at them from the point of view of somebody earning their living in Romania. Things change otherwise 🙂

      Reply
  2. Hey Calin,
    Yes for sure, I apreciate that prices are cheap if you make comparisons to income levels from other countries. The example was really just for reference, you covered this part well in your previous article regarding health tourism.

    My personal feeling about Westerners adapting to village life is that it all depends on the individuals and what they are looking for, not forgetting of course the actual village chosen. We were exceptionally lucky and the one we chose has really worked for us, we did a lot of research first and I already had some local knowledge and experience of living in Romania. But you are right, most westerners would perhaps struggle to adjust. We have seen this when family and friends have visited.

    Yes for sure we must meet, we are there next in mid Feb (shool half term week here in the UK) and for sure will need to come to Dedeman so will keep in touch.

    Reply
  3. Hey Calin,

    The prices you listed in the article are quite accurate. I’m currently living in Bucharest with my parents and we spend about 10-12k lei per month. That being said, we live in a house that is 240 square metres and live comfortably. We built the house five years ago for 200k euros, excluding the price of land. In Toronto, an average house costs over 1 million euros, so I’d say houses are more much affordable in Romania, overall.

    We moved from Canada to Romania five years ago and our living expenses are 2.5 times lower in Romania compared to Canada. However, our income has remained the same. Romania offers really good value for money, in my opinion.

    Your articles are pretty cool. Keep it up!

    Peter

    Reply
    • Hello Peter,

      Thanks for sharing your first-hand insights. Happy to hear that everything is going well and expenses are lower than in Canada. Building your own house from scratch has become a bit more expensive recently (buying one also), but I still think that getting such a large one as yours could still be done for around 200,000 euros.

      Reply
      • The real estate market in Bucharest has become quite expensive over the past couple years. The biggest issue isn’t the cost of building a house, but rather buying a piece of land. The price per square meter for land in a decent neighborhood in Bucharest is about 600-1000 euros. I’d say 300-400 sqms is the smallest piece of land that you can build a house on. So, right off the bat you’re looking at 200-300k euros just for land. We live slightly outside of Bucharest (Ilfov) and we still paid about 100k euros for the land. I think the price was about 120 euros per square meter. Building costs from what I know usually range between 400-800 euros per sqm, depending on what type of materials you want to use. Overall, building/buying a good house in Bucharest easily costs between 350-600k euros. No wonder apartments are so common…

        Reply
  4. Thanks for updating this article. Alas, Romania couldn’t be kept secret forever! We might as well add inflation to death and taxes as things in life that are certain. In personal news, my teaching contract was not renewed in April of 2019. They had told me I could only work there for five years and they weren’t kidding. The upshot is that I am retired at age 61. The months since have been spent driving my wife to her appointed rounds, playing computer chess, watching YouTubes, going for long walks, and in the summer and fall I was able to work two days a week in a friend’s vegetable garden. The vegetables were delicious. I have a few private students but I am mainly relying on my investment income to make ends meet. My wife’s art school is losing students through no fault of her own. It’s just an unavoidable side effect of the decline in Japanese children. Rather than trying to revive her school, I am trying to talk her into living for extended periods abroad, say in Europe or North or South America. It’s tough going, though. Her self-esteem seems wrapped up with being an art teacher. I feel being an artist is more important and she can do that anywhere. Well, we’ll see how things develop. But Romania still seems like a far off dream…

    Reply
    • Romania still has a lot of growing to do and it still is a secret for most people, I would say and the increase in prices won’t help too much either. Still, if you’re really thinking about living extended periods in Europe, Romania is still a good place that won’t break the bank as most other countries will.

      More free time on your side means more time for side projects if you really want them to. I’m always telling people that, even though it’s not easy, starting a blog is one of the least expensive businesses you can try out. You could also switch from watching Youtube videos to producing Youtube videos: teaching Japanese or simply making online lessons could be not just fun, but keep you busy and active and might even end up making a bit of side income. You never know when a thing or another explodes.

      Regarding your wife’s reluctance to stop what she’s doing, I’ve seen that with my father many years ago: he launched a shop soon after the revolution in Romania, which did well for a few years, but then started to lose money like it was an endless pit. Friends and neighbors who started similar businesses closed their shops and moved on, but he was a proud man and it was his personal victory to be the only one left in his circle who still has the original shop…

      But it was eating money instead of making them and for several years, as long as that shop existed, we had some really horrible years where my parents barely afforded to put food on the table. Years after he closed the shop (because he had to, eventually) he admitted that he did it too late. I am sure your wife is not in the same situation, but the moral here is that – as hard as it might be to do it – sometimes accepting that things have to change might be the best thing you can do.

      Reply
  5. Hello,in Romania or Bucharest, in what i researched myself on internet, 2 bedroom apartments are more popular to rent than single home family/multifamily (duplex) houses,in America is opossite.

    Do you think or know if the owners of duplex houses in Romania/Bucharest have a hard time to rent a one side of duplex for 500€/m or the whole duplex house for 1000€/m ?

    Do you think they made a bad investment in these duplex houses?

    Reply
    • That is correct, Duplexes are not very popular in Bucharest or Romania. Due to how the cities are built, houses are usually on the outskirts, and Romanians still consider location to be the most important thing when purchasing a place to live in.

      Romanians are also used to living in flats and houses are more expensive to maintain. The prices you have given don’t really help much – it all depends on the number of rooms and what’s the location of the building, but most Romanians are indeed used to renting apartments instead of houses, since they are cheaper. These being said, I don’t think that there are any houses for rent in Bucharest for 500 euros/month.

      This doesn’t necessarily mean that these are bad investments, it just means that there are probably a lot fewer people interested in this type of properties.

      Reply
  6. My salary is 5850 lei and as the sole contributor in the household it’s still more than enough for 2 people. I keep a notebook with all my expenses, from food to bus tickets and last month, in the middle of winter, I’ve spent around 2700 lei for everything. Including going out and social activities. And I live in Brasov in a 2-bedroom apartment (78 sq. Meters) with my girlfriend. And I still get to save a good chunk of my salary. It’s strange to me how you claim to need so much money when anyone in here could live comfortably with 2000 lei per month. Yes, I’m talking with no rent since 95% of Romanians are home-owners, one of the highest values in the world. Even with a child, expenses couldn’t go over 4000-4500 lei, which is a lot. Also around 1.4 million people live with the minimum wage, which is 25% actually, not half. So people, you could live alone, comfortably with around 2000 RON per month, everything extra is for you to keep ;).

    Reply
    • Thank you for your input! It’s always good to have more people sharing their data in order for those interested to be able to paint a better picture regarding the cost of living here.

      I still believe that you and your girlfriend are very frugal (congrats for that!) and most people moving here would spend more. For starters, they will surely have rent to pay – so that adds about 300 Euros on top of the 565 you spend in December. It’s still under 1,000 Euros (for 2 people) so all in all really affordable.

      Thanks again for sharing your expenses with the world, it will definitely help a lot! If you have split your expenses on categories (like food, going out, intretinere etc) I am sure people would appreciate it even more if you would be willing to share that data with us as well.

      Reply
  7. 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
  8. These updated older articles give me the chance to see some of my older comments and reread your thoughtful responses. It’s now a year later. The Corona pandemic seems to have put life on hold. I again helped my friend with his vegetable garden and got lots of fresh, healthy vegetables in 2020. My wife continues her art school. She is very secretive but I doubt tax season will reveal any more income from her school than she got in 2019 and that was zero.

    The Japanese government gave us some “economic stimulus” money ($1,000 each) but it’s taxable. It’s a mystery to me but the stock markets went up like crazy in 2020, so we aren’t suffering financially. I will salt away some of my “winnings” for a rainy day.

    Have you started planning your vegetable garden for 2021? Maybe you should invite the former owner to give you some pointers on proper soil preparation and sources for fertilizer. I think a nice vegetable garden should go far to mitigate the increasing cost of food, the high cost of organic foods in particular, and the disappearing farmers markets. Maybe chickens would be a good introduction to animal husbandry, although they are very noisy!

    Last, I feel like I should comment on events in the USA on January 6, 2021. I have the feeling we just barely escaped with our democracy intact. Next time, if the populist thug is a little more clever, we might not be so lucky. The stress from the pandemic will only worsen the economic situation and make more people susceptible to fascist populist movements. I feel as if defending democracy is like running on a treadmill: you expend a lot of effort and money, but you never make any progress; you just get more and more tired. Raising the minimum wage is very much on the agenda of those who elected Joe Biden, and I assume it will have the same inflationary effect that it had in Romania. However, I’m hoping that the increased income will provide a better living standard to the essential workers who are often paid so little. I wish you, the Romanian wife, and the Romanian child a wonderful and prosperous 2021.

    Reply
    • I have to keep these articles updated and yes, I also like to read previous comments, as well as new ones.

      2020 has indeed been a strange year and I personally believe that Romania will feel the effects in 2021 – just like the rest of the world. It’s always good, during these times, to have a nesting egg!

      We have started planning our garden for 2021 indeed and we have the help of a friendly neighbor for advice and some paid work too. We still haven’t gotten to the village house this year (it’s extremely cold right now and not much to do) so we’ll probably plant some seeds on our balcony and move them over when the weather improves to have a bit of a headstart. Preparing the soil and everything will be a lot of work though. We also have a few improvements planned – but more on this later 🙂

      Thanks for all the great wishes – I hope you and your family have an amazing 2021!

      Reply
  9. Ah… you bought a new Logan, eh? No automatics in Romania? I hate shifting gears.
    Is it blue?
    Ha! A/C causes a cool draft, doesn’t it?;-)
    That’s a trip about the farmer’s markets being less healthy and more costly!
    Can’t believe your son is already seven! Bet you can’t wait until he starts bringing
    girls home–ha, ha!
    Nice update!

    Reply
    • Yes, since September, the old Logan had to make way to a newer one. And it’s blue, yes, hahaha.

      There are cars using automatic transmission in Romania (even Dacia has them) but they’re not that common. Shifting gears becomes second nature if that’s how you’re taught to drive, so it’s just a problem when you’re learning (I know that during those lessons, I so much wished everybody was driving automatic).

      Reply
      • Ah yes, I remember learning to drive a manual transmission on a Volkswagen Bus. It did become second nature, and I would almost say I burst with pride every time I drove my car! My friends, who all drove automatic which was far more common in America, would ooh and ahh over my ability and many would ask me to teach them. To me, there is a strange symbiosis between car and driver when you drive a manual. You steer with one hand, shift with the other, step on the clutch with one foot, step on the gas with the other (what was that strange pedal between the clutch and the gas pedal? I didn’t have enough appendages to use it, so I never did…) Listening to the engine speak to you for just the right moment to shift… downshifting to slow down… stepping on the clutch to coast to the traffic light… Driving a manual transmission car is so much more of an intimate relationship with a car. I was very disappointed when I bought a used car with an automatic here in Japan where manuals are much rarer. Modulating the gas pedal to try to get the transmission to upshift is so much less satisfying an experience. I drove a company car with a CVT automatic transmission and it was a very weird, almost disembodied experience. Oh, I just found out I will have to pay $400 more for health insurance every month. Not good. The high cost of living in Japan.

        Reply
      • Not sure about Volkswagen Buses, but normally, the middle pedal is the brake. I am sure it was something else though, but no idea what could’ve been. But yes, you do establish a sort of an intimate connection with your car and you start to “feel” it like no other can 🙂

        That is a major increase in the health insurance costs. Is it related to the current situation with the virus (so maybe temporary)? I sure hope it is!

        Reply
        • Yes, it was the brake. That was my attempt at a joke. On the subject of health insurance in Japan, employees normally only have to pay one half of their health insurance and their employer pays the other half. When I became unemployed about two years ago, I was allowed to enroll in a special health insurance plan that allowed me to continue paying only one half but just for two years. Now I will have to enter the national health insurance program which covers mainly self-employed people. But so many of these earn so little, that they get reductions in the normal amount they have to pay or even exemptions from paying anything at all. I unfortunately don’t qualify for any reductions, so I will have to pay almost $750 a month. This does cover my wife too. I also have to pay my wife’s pension contribution of about $150 a month because she is self-employed and earns very little. I guess if we were divorced and living together, she would be exempt from paying anything for health insurance, but then I would have to pay more in income taxes because I couldn’t claim her as a dependent. Death and taxes! Those are the unavoidable things in life.

        • OK, my bad regarding the brakes! I thought it might be a joke, but since I know almost nothing about cars, I really thought there might’ve been something else. I have to stop taking everything so seriously 🙂

          I understand the Japan situation now. It is indeed an expensive country!

  10. 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
      • Prices going up, so long as it is not too rapid, is not always a bad thing, particularly if it means that salaries, property values and GDP are rising too, and the economy is growing. Agree, it is still relatively cheap to live here, although it helps to own a property and not pay rent, and also there is a big difference between here and ‘down the road’ in the Cluj!

        Reply
  11. 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
  12. Hello,

    My name is Emre. I am writing from Turkey. I am 23 years old. A friend of mine found me a job in Romania. If I accept, I will live in Braşov. I will probably get a minimum wage salary. I do not have habits such as alcohol, smoking and unnecessary expenses. Do you think I can make a living in Romania with a monthly minimum wage?

    I can live at home and cook my own food. Maybe if the house is far away, I can go to work by bus or public transport.

    Reply
    • The minimum wage, in hand, is around 280 Euros here. You might be able to make ends meet IF you have accommodation paid for. Even so, it won’t be easy, even if you cook all food at home and keep other costs at a minimum.

      But if you have to pay rent, even for shared accommodation, I would say it is impossible to live on that amount, unfortunately.

      Reply
  13. I forgot to write the English, sorry. Hello again,
    Today I found a new job in Timișoara. For 850 euros. Do you think I can live on my own for this salary? I’ve said before that I don’t have any luxury expenses. I just want to live.

    Reply
    • Hello Mehmet. This salary is definitely a big improvement over the minimum wage you were expecting. And, with the proper lifestyle, I am sure that you could make it work. It won’t be an extravagant lifestyle by any means, but it would definitely be doable. Spend some time finding a decent place with the rent as low as possible and you should be just fine (by “as low as possible” I mean a maximum of 300 Eur/Month, ideally around 200).

      Reply
  14. Thank you for your help. I will keep this post active and comment until I complete one year in Romania so that more people can benefit.

    Reply
  15. Hi Calin! I am an ethnic Romanian currently live in Vancouver, Canada with my Romanian spouse and we are considering selling everything and moving to Romania to start a family. We’re both in our 30s and I work in the geotechnical engineering field while she’s a university lecturer as well as nurse by training but now focuses more on the academic aspects of climate change and its impacts on human health. Canada, especially Vancouver, has become an extremely expensive place to live with housing being the biggest issue (a 50sq m apartment is easily $500,000 while a house is at least $1M a 45min drive away). We have considerable savings and were wondering whether it would not be wiser to move to Romania and start fresh. We definitely don’t want to relocate to Bucharest as we want to move away from the big city noise and pollution, so we’ve considered Ardeal and Banat as possible regional choices. Do you have any recommendations for which cities would best fit our profile? We obviously would be starting new and so we aren’t expecting to land a job right away but at the same time we don’t want to cannibalize all our savings so the destination would have to be one where the cost of living isn’t too high relative to the rest of Romania but also where opportunity exists, either in terms of employment or entrepreneurial endeavor. Also, quality of life is high on our list, so cleanliness, safety, parks and access to nature, as well as cultural venues would be aspects of the city that we would consider in our search.

    Reply
    • I would personally recommend Timisoara, but Brasov and Sibiu are two cities that foreigners really love as well and they are also colder, so if you prefer Vancouver’s weather, it will be as close as possible. I also like Oradea and consider it a highly underrated (in expat territory) city with similar opportunities. You would still need a large city to tick all your boxes, but neither is as big and chaotic as Bucharest. I think that your wife wouldn’t have a problem finding a job as a teacher (there are many international schools or universities opening and looking for staff) but I can’t say anything about you because I am, honestly, not familiar with your field of work.

      Reply
      • Thanks for the tips Calin. Yeah, we’ve considered Timisoara based on our research as being the cheapest large city with a population >300,000. Sibiu is also on our radar due to its smaller size, quaintness, central location to various activities and towns, and access to the mountains. Oradea is totally new to us and like you said underrated. However, it seems a little out of the way of everything. Employment wise though, we understand it may be difficult to find something in our field, but given our professional experience in healthcare, education, research, engineering design and project planning, we think the entrepreneurial route might be our best bet. Do you think any of the cities you mentioned offers more entrepreneurial opportunity than the rest? I’m guessing that the hiring of specialized professionals would have its highest chances in Timisoara? Do you think Cluj is too expensive? Thanks again!

        Reply
      • I think that all the larger cities in Romania offer similar opportunities in terms of starting a business. I can’t really rank them though as there would be different factors to consider and with some – like local demand – I am not fully familiar.

        I think that both Timisoara and Cluj would be great for job opportunities – Brasov also. Prices are pretty much the same in all cities in Romania, but Cluj would indeed have the highest rental costs. It is also the country’s top IT destination, so if you’re looking to work in that field, Cluj would be a good place to look.

        Reply

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