Kiev or Kyiv, as most Ukrainians call their capital, is a relatively cheap town to stay in Europe when compared to other European capitals. When looking for a cheap option for a city in Europe, Kiev deserves mention; a person from a lesser developed corner of the world will view Kiev as an expensive city to live in. To survive in the city, you will need a minimum budget of $1000 per month. That is a high price to pay for a person who does not have a stable source of income. With this minimum budget, the experience will be greatly limited to staying indoors and surviving purely what you consider essential.
Since Kiev is the capital of Ukraine, rent will contribute the biggest chunk of your monthly expense. Like most capital cities, the rent increases annually at a steady percentage, and you should be prepared for this inflation. How much you pay for rent depends on how far from the town center you chose to stay. Apartments closer to the town center tend to cost more, while those relatively farther away are cheaper. The state of the building also influences how much rent is paid; newer buildings with more amenities attract bigger charges. The Ukrainians are more generous with their space; a typical one-bedroom house will have a spare bedroom and costs $700 to $800 per month.
In calculating the monthly rent arrears, the cost of utility is not factored in. Utilities pose an expense that people write off as small. When accumulated for a season, this cost goes up significantly. The utility cost of staying in Kiev depends on what period of the year you are in. For the warmer months, your utility bill will dip as low as $35 per month. During winter spells, your utility bill will balloon to almost $120 because of the heating cost. When renting during the colder months, prepare for a high utility bill due to high electricity usage.
Traveling around Kiev reveals that the city offers cheap transportation for anybody willing to put up with public transport. Bus rides, trams, and metro rides around the city cost a mere $0.40. Getting a premium pass with unlimited rides on the subway will cost you anywhere between $35 and $45. While the cost of public transport is relatively low, these rides will be uncomfortable with no air conditioning or heating. Convenient as it is, traveling on public transport in Kyiv can be a terrible experience due to the poor state of the buses, trams, and subways.
An extra expense that you’d want to avoid is the cost of driving around in Kiev. Driving by personal means proves to be quite a challenge when you are looking for somewhere to park your car. Drivers risk the additional cost of fuel incurred in long traffic jams brought by congested roads. Traveling outside Kiev is cheaper than using a train, and trains are more reliable when traveling around the larger Ukraine due to their convenient time frames.
The cost of groceries goes up during the colder months, and this makes providing for a relatively large family an expensive affair in Kiev. With a budget for two people, the price can go up to $300 a month. When you factor in eating out, the cost goes up to about $500 per month. Groceries tend to carry the highest cost due to scarcity. Healthier foods that are gluten-free tend to be more expensive when compared to their alternatives. Due to the high demand for healthier foods, the prices of gluten-free products have soared higher.
Your entertainment budget in Kiev largely depends on your interests. There are cheap alternatives for someone on a tight budget, such as a visit to a museum for only $2. The city offers more extreme modes of entertainment, such as riding in a tank at the cost of $200. Kiev offers a range of entertainment options that are built to fit within different budgets for convenience. In comparison to other European capital cities, living in Kiev is a cheaper option. The cost of healthcare is relatively cheap in Kiev because your work insurance does not cover you. For an expatriate looking for a city to settle down in, Kiev makes for a good option.