It’s time for the new year to kick off here at Romania Experience! It’s been a long period of silence because real life happened, but hopefully the new year will bring a bunch of great articles on this blog for those interested in relocating, moving to or visiting Romania. And since my cost of living articles have always brought in a lot of people interested in this aspect of life (because, in the end, many matters a lot when you choose the place where you’ll live), I have decided to offer a slightly different point of view: my family’s average monthly expenses in Romania over the past 12 months.
We’re tracking all our expenses for various reasons, but I realized that this also can be used as an article here on Romania Experience. The truth is that Romania is an extremely cheap country and you can live on a lot less, but you should not always expect for the costs to be low. My personal case proves that and even though I am sure that our average monthly living expenses are way lower than those of most families in Western countries, it’s not always dirt cheap to live here and it all depends on how you want to live your life.
Before we go to the actual numbers, it’s worth saying for those who are not regulars of this blog that the average monthly expenses for living in Romania below are for a family of three (my wife, my 1.5 yo son and myself) who eats mostly at home, self-made food. We rarely go out especially because we have nobody to leave Baby Romanian with (babysitting is still far from a reality here) and we can’t take him with us either. We are moderate spenders, usually, even though we go crazy every now and then and throw away money on things we don’t necessarily need. Also, we try to eat as healthy as possible and foods of a quality as high as possible, including organic food or healthier options (like whole grain pasta rather than regular one, Basmati or wild rice instead of white rice and so on), so in many areas there’s a lot of room for cost cuts if you really want or need too.
Finally, we have purchased our first home in 2014 (an apartment, actually) which had to be completely renovated and resulted in a ton of misc costs. And even though we don’t have the major expenses related to the apartment in the list below – like the apartment’s price, taxes, renovation costs and furniture, a lot of related expenses are in our “House” and “Miscellaneous” categories, inflating the averages one family would normally pay.
So without further ado, here are the average monthly expenses for a family of three living in Romania, for the past 12 months:
Food: $375 or 313 Euros / Month
Utilities: $130 or 109 Euros / Month (this includes electricity, internet, cable, water, garbage, heating and mobile phone costs)
House: $204.50 or 171 Euros / Month
Gifts: $70 or 58.50 Euros / Month
Entertainment: $37.50 or 31.50 Euros / Month
Car: $130 or 109 Euros / Month (This includes a full set of new tires that I had to purchase in 2014)
Baby-related: $104 or 87 Euros / Month (this does NOT include the baby’s food, which is included in our family’s “Food” category)
Health: $90 or 75 Euros / Month
Beauty & Toiletries: $30.50 or 25.50 Euros / Month (we’ve created this category in October, so it’s not completely accurate)
Miscellaneous: $200 or 167 Euros / Month
TOTAL: $1,371 or 1,146.5 Euros per month
I won’t say if these numbers are high or low, this all depends on the lifestyle choices that you make. Remember, though, that a LOT of people in Romania live on a lot less, while many others would consider our monthly averages less than what they would need to make a decent living. So, in the end, your way of living matters the most.
Also, don’t forget that we don’t pay any rent (nor have any debt repayments), and that is something that you should take into consideration. Also, in 2014 we rarely ate out – maybe an average of 2 times per month, so that should matter as well. Finally, most of our House and Misc categories are a bit inflated because of the new apartment purchase, while the Health costs have always been higher because I have been diagnosed with a fatty liver and all the extra tests and investigations were pretty expensive.
However, I believe that our monthly averages prove that one can easily live on $1,000 per month in Romania, as I have already said and I also believe that, with rent included, a family of three could live a decent life here on $1,500 per month.