Cost of Living in Romania & Bucharest in 2014

A new year has started and it’s time to look at the prices in Romania and see how they changed compared to last year. Overall, there has been an increase in the price of gas, which resulted in an increase of mostly everything else so the cost of living in Romania in 2014 (as well as Bucharest) has increased a bit.

But is it still possible to live in this country on a budget of $1,000 (or $1,500 per family)? Let’s check out the cost of living in Romania & Bucharest in 2014 to find out!

UPDATE: You can check out the 2019 cost of living here.

Before we proceed, though, please have in mind that prices might vary slightly based on the time of the year (summer means VERY cheap vegetables and fruits) or the city (smaller cities usually have lower prices). I am trying to create this list based on supermarket prices, which should be pretty much the same in every city, but still the season matters a lot. These being said, let’s check out the cost of living in Romania in 2014 (with Bucharest data too)

Rent (1 room, city center): $250 ($350 in Bucharest)
Rent (1 room, outside of center): $200 ($270 in Bucharest)
Rent (3 room apartment, city center): $450 ($650 in Bucharest)
Rent (3 room apartment, outside of center): $380 ($450 in Bucharest)

Utilities: You will have to pay monthly for Electricity, Water, Garbage disposal, Telephone, TV and so on. The budget for utilities in 2014 remains the same as last year and $100 should be enough to pay all the bills.

Internet: High Speed, $10 per month no matter where you are located.

Food prices in Romania in 2014

Tomatoes (1 kg): $1.5
Potatoes (1 kg): $0.60
Lettuce (1 head): $0.90
Apples (1 kg): $1
Oranges (1 Kg): $1.4
Cheese (1 Kg): $6.50
Eggs (1 egg): $0.25
Chicken Breasts, boneless, skinless (1 kg): $6
Fresh fish, local (1 kg): $6
Loaf of Bread (300 grams): $0.60
Milk (1 Liter): $1.50
Bottle of cheap local wine: $4.50
Bottle of better local wine: $6.60
Beer (0.5 liter): $1
Beer (2 liter bottle): $2
Mineral water (1.5 l): $0.70
Bottled water (5 l): $1.50 (better choice for cooking instead of tap water)
Bottle of natural juice (1 liter): $1.8

Restaurant prices in Romania in 2014

Obviously, prices can vary a lot here, so take them as guidelines. You might be able to find cheaper deals and a lot more expensive ones!

Meal for two, inexpensive restaurant, Three-course (without drinks): $18
Meal for two, mid-range restaurant, Three course (without drinks): $30
Beer (0.5 l): $2
Coke (0.25 l): $1.5
Wine (0.75 l): $12
Cappuccino: $2.40
Fresh lemonade: $3.30

Food portions are very large here in Romania, so it would be really difficult to complete a three course meal and you would certainly not be able to do it daily. We usually spend $30 – $35 when we go out to eat (for two people) and we come home stuffed – although we opt for beer or soda instead of wine.

So, in the end, if you accept to live like a Romanian (which generally translates as eating at home most of your meals) and you don’t live an extremely extravagant lifestyle, if you rent a one or two rooms (rooms, not bedrooms – in Romania we don’t count bedrooms separately) apartment even close to city center, your monthly budget would be:

$1,000 per month

… while living on $1,500 per month for a family of two (maybe even with a young child if you’re really careful with your spendings) is completely doable.

Just have in mind that if you’re just coming to Romania for the first time, for the first month at least you’ll probably eat out more to experience the Romanian cuisine, you’ll visit more than usual and in the end you’ll certainly spend more than the estimated budget above.

Did I miss any prices that you’d like to know? How does the cost of living in Romania and Bucharest in 2014 look like?

Photo credit: Joel Abroad

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53 thoughts on “Cost of Living in Romania & Bucharest in 2014”

    • I have never been to Budapest, but I do believe that prices are pretty similar, maybe slightly more expensive in Budapest. However, I know of people close to the border who go to Hungary to do their shopping, so there might be some better deals there on food or clothing.

      • Thanks, C. We are planning on visiting Budapest, Prague, Berlin, and Krakow this summer…maybe 3-4 days in each. Any tips you might have (especially on the best way to get from city to city) would be welcome. Trains seem so expensive…would simply renting a car for about $500 be a better option?

        • Why not go the route Budapest – Vienna – Prague – Berlin instead? It’s all a bit tighter, you will spend less time traveling from one place to the other and Vienna is a great city. Unfortunately, I really can’t give you any tips regarding train rides vs renting a car as I have no idea regarding the prices, but do take into account the fact that if you choose a car you’ll have to do a lot of driving in places that you don’t really know, surrounded by people who might not speak English…

          In Romania for example, going from the city I live in to Bucharest is cheaper with a car only if there are at least three adults in the car. For two adults, it’s still cheaper to go by train.

      • Hi,

        How about education in Romania? If someone is willing to do his master degree in Romania with an intention of getting citizenship after completing studies and then finding job and having lived there for 5 years in Romania. How difficult could it be for a foreigner who comes on student visa and eventually seek citizenship?

        • Hello,

          Getting a master degree in Romania doesn’t require 5 years, at least not in most cases I know of. Prices vary a lot depending on the University and specialization, but many are at around 1,000 Euros per year. However, I believe that once you’ve lived here for 5 years, it is pretty straightforward to get your citizenship.

  1. Wow I just found out about your articles, and I am already interested for more!
    I was surprised that the cost is not as cheap as some parts in Europe!
    I guess living in Romania is pretty tough economically especially with such low annual salaries.
    Thanks C!

    • Romania is considered one of the cheapest places to live in Europe. What countries are you talking about? I am always searching for European countries where the cost of living is even lower πŸ™‚

      • What is it like to find job? Is it easy? About living there as a foreigner (I am Egyptian, my wife and son are American)how we go about that? Are locals friendly and accepting of foreigners overall? Is it difficult to find a 2 bedroom, furnished apartment? What about transportation? How much is it to buy a car that can take us places or it is better just to stick to public transportation? Thanks in advance for your help!

        • Ahmed, Romanians are very friendly towards foreigners. Getting a job might be a bit difficult though if you don’t speak the language, but it all depends on your skills. Big multinational companies don’t really care about you speaking the Romanian language. Finding a furnished two bedroom apartment would be easy in any of the bigger cities and a decent second hand car can be as low as $3,000. However, in Bucharest and the major cities you can stick to public transportation.

      • Have you looked at Serbia? We’re now looking at Novi Sad. Macedonia’s capital Skopje is a bit too expensive(although reasonable), and my wife prefers bigger places than Bitola or Ohrid. Ran across some info on Serbia and it appears a good option for Americans who can’t afford that annual $1500 business visa in Romania. Novi Sad gets great reviews, more affordable than Belgrade. And English is widely spoken. Was really wanting Transylvania though. We will visit!

        • Serbia is indeed a great choice and I loved it when we visited. The biggest drawbacks are the language and alphabet. They are slightly cheaper than Romania, but a bit behind – the lack of help from the EU can be seen there. However, the Serbians are amazing people and extremely welcoming and Novi Sad is very close to Belgrade anyway. Just make sure that there are no hidden tricks there as well, as it is with the business visa in Romania.

        • From their consulate website a temporary stay visa good for a year appears to cost U.S. $50. But under the reasons for being granted a visa I don’t see a retirement option. The Macedonian embassy said they have workarounds for that, hopefully Serbia does too. Just emailed the consulate.

  2. Hi C.
    Like you said, it is still doable at $1,000 – $1,500 a month. Prices on goods still look great, and the costs for rent/utilities is still OK. When I was there, I never got the chance to eat out, and it never mattered to me. When I eventually get back there, I might try some of the restaurants, but a home cooked meal with nice people is better anyway.

  3. It looks like the cost of food is about the same or slightly cheaper overall in Malta. As for the rent, 1 bedroom in the north or south will run about the same, we were paying $375 for a 2 bedroom, with a sea view. We moved because we didn’t want to get a car as the bus system is kind of sucky…and always crowded thanks to the tourists. I might just do a comparison like yours, hope you don’t mind.

    • I would actually love to see that, Kemkem! I am constantly looking for opportunities to leave Romania and getting the cost of living from as many countries as possible, from people living there, sounds really good to me – and I am sure many others.

      • Ok then, l will do it very soon. I am doing my usual last minute packing. Once we get back next week, I will do it shortly. I like your blog and l am glad l discovered it.

  4. Hi
    I will be coming to Romania,Cluj exactly.I will be coming there for studies.As a student,would I be able to live appropriately with approximately $700-750
    I would like to live in a one bed room apartment.
    Is it possible or would I need more

    • Hello Nadeem,

      You should expect rent to be at least $270 for a one bedroom (you might find cheaper deals on a studio) so that eats up a lot of your budget. You could try to find something to share with a colleague once you know some people, to reduce the costs. However, your budget is doable and you can make it work – not a lot of nights out, parties and eating out, but you can make it work. If you know how to manage your money properly and live a lifestyle that’s as frugal as possible, you can surely make it work!

      • Hello
        Thanks for the advice.
        So it means that with the $700,I’ll be able to survive as a student.
        Looking forward to make romania my new hometown. πŸ™‚
        Hope that the people in romania are as gentle and helpful as you are buddy.

        • Well I don’t know…
          Can’t you tell me approximately how much does a student spend on food if he cooks regularly.

        • Hello Nadeem, I do hope that you will find all the other Romanians as helpful as I am!

          It’s pretty difficult to estimate any costs because it all depends on what you use (imported stuff, cheap or expensive stuff), but if you go for the cheaper ingredients, you could spend around $250 – $300 to eat. Maybe a bit lower depending on your choices, and definitely you can go a LOT higher. However, with a budget of $700 per month, you won’t be able to eat out too often!

    • Hello, Romanian Dream! Sorry for the late reply.

      Right now, my family is spending about $400 for food (it’s two of us and a 1 year old). We’re trying to feed mostly organic food to the baby, and we eat it as much as possible. In other words, we’re not looking to save money on food. There are families that spend $250 per month on food, so it’s all about what you prefer to eat.

      • But i heard living expenses of a student planning to study at a university in Timisoara,Romania will go up to 300 Euros per month… and rent of a flat might be around 100 Euros or something. Is that true?

  5. Hi,

    But i heard living expenses of a student planning to study at a university in Timisoara,Romania will go up to 300 Euros per month… and rent of a flat might be around 100 Euros or something. Is that true?

  6. Hello PsY,

    You might have heard this from Romanian students who might just be able to make it work with that amount of money, but in the case of Romanian students, most of them receive a lot of food from home, so they don’t have to worry too much about food costs (which make up probably half of the expenses). Check out my answer above to Nadeem’s question for an estimate of food costs if you don’t receive any food from back home.

    Regarding the rent, you can easily find something where you’d pay 100 Euros per month for a flat, but only if you rent it with one or two more people. If you want to rent alone, I don’t think you can find anything for that sum.

  7. Hi !

    I met a Romanian girl some time ago and we decided to start relationship. For the first months we can not stay together, so she asked me to support for the time being. She just finished university so going to find a job is not really appropriate as we not sure jet whether I will move to Bucharest or she will move with me overseas.

    She has a nice flat just outside Bucharest of approx. 80k Euro which is fully paid. She also has a BMW of 2011 which is fully paid. She likes to go to hair & nail salon, catch up with friends for coffee, restaurant / dinner, shopping, weekly clubbing… for sure she is not the low budget style kind of girl…

    Anyhow, when asked how much she would need per month, she said it was up to me.
    So here I need your advise. I don’t want to be called “Cheap Charlie” by her but neither “Stupid Idiot” by my friends πŸ™‚

    So what’s a budget you would suggest ?

    PS : she has no children / family to look after or support…

    • Well, I guess that this is a tricky situation that you are in: in my opinion, a girl who has an 80k apartment fully paid and drives a 2011 BMW does not need your money. If she does have no money, maybe you should wonder how she managed to pay for all that πŸ™‚

      But relationship advice away, for this kind of situation, I believe that you would need to give away around 1,000 Euros per month. This type of girls are very high maintenance and their expectations could be very high… it’s up for you to set an upper limit, one you would not regret losing if you somehow get burned.

  8. Hello C.,

    Your comments are very useful, thank you. i would like to ask if you the fees of good kindergartens in Bucharest per month and if i want to learn Romanian, is there any institute that teaches the Romanian Language? Thnx.

  9. Hello Angela,

    Prices for private kindergartens in Romania vary a lot. If you want an International Kindergarten where they use English as the teaching language, prices vary from around 2,200 Eur to 5,000 Eur per year. If you have nothing against private kindergartens where they use Romanian as the main language (but they also teach a bit of English), you can find a good one for a lower price.

    Regarding Romanian Language courses, prices are of around 200 Euros for a 2 month module.

  10. hello C
    just met someone from Bucharest and now it’s my turn to visit your country, we both enjoy nightlife, so could you tell me more about the cost of Clubs and bar in Bucharest
    for example what would be the cost of a high end vodka drink in a bar or club ?
    are taxi expensive ? what about safety late night ?
    thank you sir

    • Hello,

      As you can imagine, the prices vary a lot based on the club that you are choosing. A Screwdriver (vodka and orange juice) can be as low as $5 in a club. Prices get a bit higher if we’re talking about a more expensive club or bar.

      Taxis are not expensive per se, but unless you know exactly where you want to go and how to get there, you might get scammed a little bit. If you have the Romanian friend with you, you should be OK and probably pay 10 Euros at most for the ride (probably 5 Euros will be the norm though).

      Regarding safety, Romania is not a dangerous place, Bucharest included. Of course, there are some poor choices to be alone in during the night, like the Ferentari area, but if you stick to the center of the city and surrounding areas, you should not worry.

  11. Hello to all and especially the owner ( C. The Romanian ) .
    I thought that it will be nice to see a different perspective of Romania then this little story here.
    First of all let me introduce myself: I’m Alex a 28 IT professional working for almost 4 years.
    I’m not a programmer or a developer I’m just a technical support trying to make a career in this domain.
    I hope that my commentary will be published … why? Well because i’m going to tell you things and give you information regarding Romania that will not be so pleasant and maybe the owner will feel offended BUT THE TRUTH NEEDS TO BE SHARED SO YOU WOULD KNOW EXACTLY WHAT TO EXPECT.

    I left the country last year for many reasons , a lot of them have to do with the mentality of the people and income and possibilities and respect and a lot more ….
    I worked in Bucharest, rented there for 2 years, worked in 2 big multinational companies like Oracle and HP … Americans know about them.
    I don’t agree with many of the things of this article.
    First of all: the prices aren’t cheap. They are cheap if you compare them with the salaries from your own country. For example if you come from Germany, USA, Ireland, Uk, France, yeah it’s going to be cheaper here but if you work and live in Romania with a salary of 1000$=3500ron=800 euros you won’t have a better life then let’s say New York with 3200 $ per month after taxes.
    That would be around 50000$ annually before taxes from what i know in the US correct me if i’m wrong.
    In Europe is going to be : 22.000 euros before taxes more or less depending of the city.
    So that’s pretty low for USA or any other major city from Western, Central and North Europe.
    Why did the owner of this site said that you would be ok with 1000$ ? Was he lying ? No.
    The problem is with our economical system.
    In Bucharest there are 1.200.000 people working with LEGAL CONTRACTS, and from this only 8.14% earn more then 800 euros per month after taxes(1000$), that would be 97.414 people.
    The rest go below, and a large amount like 25% of 1.100.000 live on the minimum salary of 200$ per month after taxes. From the rest of 825.000 people that work a large majority …. i don’t know actually know the number for this but i think it’s somewhere between 40-60% have a salary of 300-500 euros, and the rest from 500-800 a really small amount of people somewhere like 300.000.
    So… why did i told you this? Well…. the good life starts somewhere from 1200,1300 euros ( 1600$) UP . What a good live for a Romanian is will be a normal life for a person in USA , Germany , Ireland, Uk …
    So if you want to relocate to Romania ASK FOR HIGH SALARIES , don’t be to greedy but also don’t think like a Romanian. We have people that are earning 2000,3000 , 5000 euros per month after taxes but they are really a small number and the best domain right now in Romania is the IT.
    This info is just for the capital( Bucharest) , in other cities is going to be a little cheaper but the downside is that you will not find so many good places to work.
    So … what is the right salary ? From my point of view to have a good live, to experience what Romania is really like, to be able to go out, enjoy yourself, live a good quality of life,to go on vacations, to buy a house, to buy a car or even if you aren’t going to buy a house or a car : 1500 euros, or around 2000$….. Yeah you could cope with even less as you seen from my statistics that there are people with 500 or even 200 euros leaving in Bucharest… but the question is: Would you like to be one of them? I wouldn’t .
    I had 700 euros so about 1000$ and i still didn’t like it. Because i couldn’t experience what Romania is really like.
    The main problem with Romanians is that they except this situation.
    Corporations and other companies came to Romania for one reason and one reason only: good people with good skills but very cheap.
    A good calculator for your standards will be this :
    This is a comparison between New York and Bucharest but you can change the cities to have a better idea.
    Again from my point of view Romania isn’t a good country to live and raise your family at this moment. Maybe in 20-30 years it will become, but now no.
    It’s really great to visit it, or maybe to stay for a couple of years. We have a lot of great things like the mountains , the sea… etc.
    Romania’s problem it’s not only about the economical crisis… it has to do with our government and the people that are in charge of running this country.
    In fact they aren’t running it they are ruining it.
    The economical crisis made us even more poor then we were before.
    There are things that are happening in this country that would shock a person leaving in a semi-civilised country.
    I’m not trying to scare people, or to say that you shouldn’t go …. GO AND SEE FOR YOURSELF AND HAVE YOUR EXPERIENCE ON YOUR OWN, and then you will make a conclusion. THIS IS THE REALITY. I’M not ashamed of saying it, i’m not ashamed of being a romanian but this is how it is.
    There are so many other things to say but I’m not going to bother you.
    I found a clip of a guy , I don’t know him personally but what he said was amazing and it reflects the reality of this country.

    I hope i have given enough information and i hope that i didn’t scared anyone .
    I have another video to share, this one is beautiful to see . The seaside.
    This one is from our mountains: The Carpathians
    Or the Danube:
    Or parties:
    We also have amazing foods , and other amazing places.
    Romania is beautiful BUT….. ( you can complete the sentence as you like)
    And the last video:
    Ps: we have amazing women :)))

    • Hello Alex, thanks for the in depth answer and your honest opinion. I have written about the problems that we’re facing in Romania and they are present in many other countries. It’s a matter of perspective, I would say, or maybe a matter of choosing the best from the worst. And it all depends on personal choices as I have shared on a few occasions already that my family (2 people and a toddler) manage to live a good life with a budget of about $1,500 per month. It’s all about finding the right balance.

      One thing that I completely agree with is the salary problem. The cost of living is low compared to other countries, but salaries are low too. However, most of the people reading this blog plan to retire here or already have a source of income and wouldn’t rely on the funds generated in this country. That’s why prices still are low for them. If you were to work in Romania and live with the salary here, things would be a bit more complicated, but I still believe that the situation is not as grim as you made it look like. πŸ™‚

  12. Back … sorry but i forgot something: again Romania isn’t cheap if you live and work there.
    If you just visit it yeah it’s almost half of what you are spending your country.
    The alcohol and the cigarettes if you are a smoker are going to be really cheap.
    It’s all has to do with Local Purchasing Power.
    When you try to find out how are the prices in a country you would like to LIVE in first of all you should think about how much you are going to earn and what are the prices there.
    Because let’s say you are earning the average in your country , that’s going to be around 2300 euro net per month…. and then think about earning the average in Romania that will be 400 euros net per month.
    Even if the prices look really cheap think about having the average of 400 euros and try to see if you can leave a good live with the prices that we have in Romania.

    Romania has one of the lowest index in purchasing power: 54 , compared to Luxembourg 264, or Germany 124 etc you can search it on google to see for yourself.
    So what this means is that a average romanian is going to buy less stuff, to have less money then a average German, or a person from Luxembourg or even Greece that is in’t big problems right now.
    That’s why the system is really messed up. So again ask for higher salaries.
    A pack of cigarettes (20 cigarettes) it’s about 3-4 euros.
    So yeah compared to Ireland ( 8-9 euros) or Australia( 10 $ ) or New York (14.50$) is cheap.
    The alcohol again is cheaper then in other countries.
    You could have a great night in Bucharest with 35-50 euros including the cab.
    For the job sector it’s really hard. A lot of companies left Romania because of the taxes.
    From 2008-2012 …. 30.000 companies left, or moved their offices to Bulgaria, Poland or India and some of them went bankrupt.
    Finding a job is’t so hard but you get the salary of 300-600 euros.
    Finding a GOOD JOB it’s a lot harder with a salary of over 1500 euros BUT IT CAN HAPPEN.

  13. I lived in Sighisoara as a student in college so I have an idea on food and transportation but I didn’t have to find housing. Any idea on the price of housing in Sighi? And how available it is?

    • Since Sighisoara is pretty small, the options are not that varied. If you’re looking to rent, you should expect to find the regular prices and pay 2-300 Euros for 2-3 rooms. If you’re looking to buy, you can get an old house (most of them are like that) for up to 30,000 Euros or expect to pay double the amount for something new or at least renovated and move-in ready. So it all depends on what you’re actually looking for πŸ™‚

  14. I never seen prices of pet food! I have two dogs ,and my husband and i are planing on relocating to Romania and of course i am bringing my babies with me , so how much would it cost to feed my two dogs ?

  15. Hy,

    I was curious to read about my country so I took a look at the article and comments. I am from Craiova but I live in Timisoara for 10 years now. I would like to say that what you say here is alright for a foreigner coming to visit, but does not apply for local people.
    There are 3 major zones that differ very much in Romania. Bucharest prices are almost the once you said , but in the other major cities the prices are 30% cheaper, and in minor cities and at the country the prices fall at half from major cities, so 3 times cheaper that Bucharest.
    You can imagine this is true because the usual/medium salary in 400$ and a family of 3-4 has usually less then 700$ income from witch they have to pay 200-300$ for an apartment around 60-80$ for utilities, 150-200$ for food (witch we make at home 90% of the time)
    The internet is 5-10$ and we consider it ok, not great, however I know in Europe the internet is very weak and expensive.
    I usually spend 500$ per month to live a decent but simple life in Timisoara even my income is from 1200$-1600$ depending if I work 30 or 40 hours per week.
    Keep in mind that public transportation is very cheap but not reliable. I prefer to use Taxi in the city because is fast and faired priced 0.55$ per km, outside town train is very expensive and not reliable from my point of view; I prefer buses from private companies witch are cheaper and reliable even if they are sometimes slower.
    So the conclusion would be that in Romania some people live with 150$ per month a subsistential life, other a decent life at 300$-500$ per month and others are always on vacation at 1000$-1500$ per month.

    I love talking to foreigners in English , hope we meet in Timisoara beautiful center.

    Best regards,

  16. Most of the prices are way way off and WRONG. Who made this price list is crazy.

    Beer (0.5 l): $2 WRONG
    Wine (0.75 l): $12 WRONG

    I retired here in Romania early 2015. You can buy 2 Ciuc beers for $1.25 dollars and that is a higher price when you get them at a corner market not Careefour the big discount store. Wine, oh stop the lies. You go to the little wine stores that pour the wine from boxes into clear clean brand new bottles. About $1.75 dollars for 1 liter.

    If I wanted to, I could up-date the whole price list and believe me, it is a lot less money.

    • Steven, if you read the article, you will see that I clearly stated that the prices for beer for example are RESTAURANT prices, not what you get from buying the beer & drinking it at home. Same goes for the wine. If you look a bit higher up the list, you will see that I’ve listed the price for a beer in shops at half that price. Even more, if you look at the title of this article, you will see that it was written back in 2014 when things where not more expensive in Romania, but the exchange rate was different than what you get today and the dollar weaker. Also, I tried to list an average price and not the minimum one as this is what I consider fair.

      However, if you wish to update the list of prices I would love to see it and I am sure that out readers would find it extremely useful as well.

  17. Hello, I will go to Romania next month,just help me to calculate my living cost for 1 month without accomodation, only food and transport

    • Hello Ziya,

      It vastly depends on the way you live and if you eat out a lot, but normally $1,000 should be enough. Add a bit more since it’s the first month and costs might be higher as you will explore more. In the end, it all depends on how you live.

  18. Hello C. i intend to come to Romania on government scholarship, everything is catered for from accomodation to tuition fees, however i will be given a monthy stipend of 65 euros is this enough to cater for food and daily expense or i would have to look for a part time job

    • Hello Barack – in case you missed a zero and the amount you’ll have will be 650 per moth, this could be doable for sure. But if it is indeed just 65 Euros… that would be impossible to live on for a month – even a week πŸ™‚


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