Cost of living in India: Your guide


Cost of living in India: Your 2017 guide

So, you’re moving to India. The affordable cost of living in India can often mean having a really good quality of life, with high-quality entertainment options, and even help around the house coming for a low cost.

India is the world’s largest democracy, with 1.2 billion people living across a diverse array of urban and rural cities and towns, stretching across 1.269 million square miles. That massive geography makes for a lot of choices, and a lot of options when it comes to how much you want to spend on your life in India. The cost of living vary a lot as you move from urban to rural areas of India. Most expats though, live in the urban centres of India because of the opportunities and infrastructure it offers.

Whether you’re retiring, temporarily relocating or moving to an Indian city for good, this guide will walk you through everything you need to know about your cost of living in India.

How expensive is India in comparison to other countries?

One of the biggest financial hurdles you face in your move to India will be converting your existing money into Indian rupees. While many banks and third-party services will take care of this for you, they often not only charge exorbitant fees, but also mark up the exchange rate to shave more of your money off the top. A good way to make sure you don’t get taken for a ride is to use an online currency converter to check on the exchange rate ahead of time. To be extra safe, you can also use Wise to ensure you’re getting the real exchange rate - the same one you see on Google - and the lowest possible fees, leaving you with more money to enjoy yourself.

You can also try the Wise borderless account solves all this. It’s not a bank account - it’s better. With the borderless account, you can store, send, receive and organise your money in dozens of currencies internationally, without crazy fees or even-crazier exchange rates. Just a small, fair charge when your money moves between currencies. For Indian Rupees, you can store and spend money from this account using a Wise debit Mastercard at very little charge!

Money in India, Indian rupees, is usually written as ₹ or INR. The following table will give you an outline of how much rupees are worth compared to some of the world’s other major currencies.

  • $1000 = ₹64,000
  • £1000 = ₹83,000
  • €1000 = ₹75,000
  • A$1000 = ₹51,000
Comparing basic cost of living1 bedroom flat in city centre (monthly rent)meal for 2 (mid range restaurant, three course)transportation (monthly pass)
New Delhi, India₹15,965₹1000₹900
Mumbai, India₹38,063₹1000₹500
London, UK₹140,298₹4,590₹11,016
New York City, USA₹193,777₹4,825₹7,721
Berlin, Germany₹56,132₹2,992₹6,060
Sydney, Australia₹133,223₹4,063₹8,126

What are the most expensive and cheapest major cities?

The cost of living in India’s cities can vary greatly. The five most expensive cities in India are:

  1. Mumbai
  2. New Delhi
  3. Chennai
  4. Bengaluru
  5. Kolkata

What are general living expenses like in India?

Total Living Expenses in MumbaiAverage cost
1 person, per month (without rent)₹23,706
1 person, per year (without rent)₹284,472
4 person family, per month (without rent)₹83,900
4 person family, per year (without rent)₹1,006,800
Total Living Expenses in New DelhiAverage cost
1 person, per month (without rent)₹23,661
1 person, per year (without rent)₹283,932
4 person family, per month (without rent)₹82,676
4 person family, per year (without rent)₹992,112
Total Living Expenses in ChennaiAverage cost
1 person, per month (without rent)₹20,416
1 person, per year (without rent)₹244,992
4 person family, per month (without rent)₹72,010
4 person family, per year (without rent)₹864,120

What are the average salaries in India?

While cost of living in India is typically comparatively low, you may find you’re taking a hit to your salary as well. While this won’t mean any reduction in your quality of life, it’s important to understand what your salary might look like in India.

Salary averages for MumbaiAverage salary
financial analyst₹2,095,685
graphic designer₹563,000
mobile developer₹923,421
product manager₹1,351,523
software engineer₹1,665,941
web developer₹1,163,148
Salary averages for New DelhiAverage salary
financial analyst₹2,095,685
graphic designer₹496,765
mobile developer₹1,674,469
product manager₹1,307,452
software engineer₹1,665,941
web developer₹1,163,148

How expensive is housing and accommodation in India?

Rent is typically the largest part of any monthly budget, and India is no exception. This table will give you an idea of how much you can get for your money in a couple of Indian cities.

MumbaiAverage monthly cost
large apartment₹63,638
medium apartment₹46,925
small apartment₹30,855
New DelhiAverage monthly cost
large apartment₹30,212
medium apartment₹23,141
small apartment₹16,713
ChennaiAverage monthly cost
large apartment₹23,784
medium apartment₹18,641
small apartment₹13,499

What about healthcare and dental costs in India?

Healthcare in India is largely privatized, however, while the price can be somewhat prohibitive for Indian citizens, the cost of healthcare will likely seem pretty low for most expats. The following table lists some average price for healthcare:

Healthcare serviceAverage cost to you
labor and delivery (no insurance)₹28,918
family doctor check-up (no insurance)₹728
dental cleaning (no insurance)₹1500

How much is travel and transportation costs in India?

Travel in India is mostly two-wheeled: you’ll find the majority of people get around on mopeds and bikes rather than in cars. Buses are also fairly prevalent in India, and are considered to be a good way to get around both within the city and to get to other destinations within the country.

Transportation and vehicle prices for IndiaAverage cost
gasoline (1 litre / 0.25 gallon)₹65
monthly bus/transport pass₹600
bus ticket, single use₹18
taxi tariff, 30 minutes₹30
Toyota Corolla, new₹1,514,658
VW Golf, new₹800,000

How much does education cost?

While India has a public school system in place for students up to age 18, it’s pretty common for parents - especially expats - to choose to send their children to private school. Most expats choose to send their children to private schools until they finish their high school. College-level education in India is of good quality across public and private universities and so expats choose from both, depending on the location, cost, reputation etc. The university fees vary greatly between a private and public college and also across different disciplines. Here is a snapshot of average costs of education in India.

SchoolAverage yearly cost
preschool / kindergarten₹6,632
private international school for lower grades₹317,438
tuition fee at a private university/college₹255,000 per year
tuition fee at a public university/college₹15,000 per year

No matter your reasons for moving to India, you’re sure to find that cheap experiences and goods in combination with low rent and transportation costs can lead to a fairly luxurious lifestyle. Now that you understand the costs, enjoy living in India!

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