Cost of living

To the chagrin of many an expat, Ukraine is no longer as cheap a place to live as it was in the previous decade and before. High inflation, tied in with the country’s large debts, has ensured that it has now caught up with the rest of Europe in the expense stakes. That said, if you have spent your life in Western Europe or North America, shopping in Ukraine will still give you some nice surprises. Recently, the country's currency suffered from rapid inflation, so salaries and prices went down if exchanged to USD or Euro.

Cost of living varies in different regions. We will try to overview basic prices in Kiev as the most expensive city in Ukraine.

There are websites where you can compare the cost of living and average salary (e.g. Numbeo).

Cost for municipal service depends on a number of preconditions (e.g. the type and the age of the building, type of ownership, type of the heating system, availability of the counters etc.). Monthly cost of UAH 600 may be considered as a particular example of the econom-segment studio apartment of 35 m2 in the building of the last century late 80’s.

At the same time branded clothes, shoes, electronic devices are of the same price or even more expensive than on average in Europe or in the U.S.

How about salaries and standard of living for foreigners working in Ukraine? Average wages for Kiev are something like:

The language teacher earns typically $1,500 per month.
He or she will generally be single and either flat-share or have a small apartment outside of the city centre – typically “Left Bank” – and spend from $300 on rent, 300 – 500 on food. The rest will go on savings for flights home and luxuries such as the odd item of replacement clothing, soap and going to the movies.

Middle Manager earns $5,000 – 10,000 per month.
He or she will have an apartment centrally-based or on the fringes costing $2,000 – 4,000 per month, be eating in the more select restaurants and may have gym membership. They could even have a car.

Top Manager earns $10,000 – 20,000+ per month.
Will generally be married, working for the regional branch of a Western Company and living centrally at a cost of $4,000 – 8,000 per month rent. They will have one or possibly two cars – useful if they also have invested in a weekend dacha. They may even have a driver.

For more detailed information about how much it costs to live in Ukraine, pop into our Forum to put your question to expats working in several sectors.

Living costs (2016):

  • Loaf bread – about UAH 15
  • 1 litre milk – UAH 13
  • Litre Petrol (A-95) – UAH 20
  • 500ml Beer (expat bar) – from UAH 25 (the local beer brand), from UAH 35 (the international brand)
  • 500ml Guinness (expat bar) – UAH 80-90 (now more commonly available – but expensive!)
  • Theatre ticket – from UAH 60
  • Pack of cigarettes – UAH 10-20
  • Subway ticket – UAH 4 (single journey anywhere)

Remember that a lot will depend on your individual circumstances and expectations. Life in the centre of a major city is attractive but comes at a cost especially if you are eating and drinking at the expat haunts.


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