We have talked about the cost of living in Romania on previous occasions and we already know that $1,000 (about 800 Euros) is enough for a thrifty person to live a decent life in Romania. But what about students? How much money does a student need per month to live in Romania? We’re going to find out in this article.
First of all, I think that it’s pretty obvious that if you have at least the budget listed above, you should not worry too much: you can easily live on $1,000 per month in Romania as a student (and actually live a good life). But what if you’re on a tighter budget? Let’s see how low can we go!
When I was a student – in the ancient ages of 2004 – my monthly allowance was anything between 150 to 280 Euros ($185 – $350) per month for my monthly expenses. Then, I had extra money for the rent which was $120 per month for a crappy, small and old studio that worked for me, though.
That’s really not a lot of money even in a country as cheap as Romania, but I was indeed living a student’s life: eating very low quality foods, which in turn was extremely cheap; I was drinking the cheapest booze available and choosing to party with friends, either at my place or theirs, as often as possible, as opposed to going out to the more expensive pubs or clubs.
Still, I was always thrifty and wanted to save money – which I almost always managed to do. It’s also worth mentioning that some of my meals were basically paid for as my parents were sending food over (which is a practice here in Romania). Also, depending on the type of university you’re at, you might have some food included in the package which would sweeten the deal.
Of course, prices are not as low today as they were 10 years ago, but I am sure my example is a good one for the fact that you can really cut on the expenses if you are a student.
Fast forwarding to the present day, here is how much I believe one student should budget monthly for a decent life in Romania:
– Rent is anything from 50 Euros (if you choose a dorm) to 100 Euros (if you share an apartment) to 250-300 Euros (for a decent studio). Depending on where you choose to stay, you will pay more or less on utilities (at most 100 Eur, including cell phone, cable and internet)
– Food prices can vary as much as possible, but if you eat on a budget, preparing most of your food at home and eating at student cafeterias and/or fast food joints, probably you can make it work for as low as 150 Euros per month, but I don’t really think you could spend less than this. And on this budget, you wouldn’t eat too much quality food!
Still, the nice thing about food and students is that you will have a lot of colleagues from Romania who will generally receive a lot of delicious food from their parents. And it’s a custom to share, so you will probably get quite a few free meals if you’re sharing an apartment or living in a dormitory.
Also, splitting costs with others if you share an apartment is a great opportunity to save even more money! So if you are to ask me, go for shared accommodation and your budget will not take a hit – plus, you’ll get to experience student life to its fullest!
– For transportation, students pay about 15 Euros per month for their bus pass, while health insurance for students is as low as 10 Euros per month (prices might be higher now as the data is correct as of 2015).
Rent, food and transportation would be the basics needed here to survive as a student in Romania. How much would all these cost you? On the lower end (where you won’t live a good – maybe not even a decent life), we’re talking about 225 Euros per month for just the basics listed above.
You will of course need some extra money for emergencies, consumables, entertainment (even though there are a ton of free events for students) and other purchases, but fortunately everything is pretty cheap here in Romania compared to other Western European countries or compared to the US.
All in all, I would say that – excluding any potential tax that you’d have to pay for your studies – a student could easily make it work and make it work pretty well on 750 Euros per month. Again – you won’t live like a king or queen on this monthly allowance, but you will have a ton more than what most students will.
Another factor that influences how expensive life as a student is in Romania is the place where you will study. Bucharest, Romania’s capital city, is a bit more expensive than the rest although mostly in terms of rent alone, as food costs are similar all over the country. But you could go a bit lower in Timisoara, Cluj, Iasi or other smaller cities. However, don’t expect your costs to go down a lot since we’re already working with a pretty much bare bones budget!
Students also get all sorts of discounts in lots of places, as well as a lot of freebies in student areas or some bars (usually girls get more freebies, as they tend to attract male customers). You will definitely learn about all these opportunities as you actually experience student life here in Romania.
Overall, I believe that a budget of at least 500 Euros per month would be a good starting point for any student out there, while 750 Euros per month would start to give you a bit more freedom and peace of mind. But remember: these are guidelines and the reality could be a lot different than the calculations that I’m making here. So do some more research or maybe test the waters first for a little bit by visiting the country and anticipating your expenses.
Remember, though! I am not including in the budget listed above the prices you’d have to pay for the University. These vary a lot in the country, from free to 10,000 Euros or more per year, so make sure that you have these in mind as well when applying and considering the costs.
Oh, and one more thing: get ready to fully enjoy your life as a student in Romania. It’s going to be great!