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…)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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!
- Short History of Bucharest, Romania: Everything You Need to Know - September 22, 2023
- What Is the Minimum and Average Salary in Romania in 2023? [Updated] - September 18, 2023
- Where in Romania Is Transylvania? (And Dracula’s Castle) - September 14, 2023