What Is The Cost of Living in Ukraine Vs The United States?

picture of cityA lot of people wonder what is the cost of living in Ukraine. Unless you are willing to overcome the hurdles of leasing an apartment, it will be more expensive than living as a local, but the country is home to many American expats and lots of people choose to retire here. As you will see, It is still very affordable to live in Ukraine and take advantage of all the country has to offer. Ukraine has its own distinctive culture and very beautiful women (learn more about that here).

When you search online to learn about the actual cost of living for foreigners, there isn’t much information, or the information you find lacks detail on the standard. I’ve lived in the country for extended periods of time and have a good idea of how much everything costs. Keep reading for a thorough breakdown of the cost of living in Ukraine, specifically Kiev, the capital city. You will find that prices will drop significantly as you leave this metropolis and travel around the country to cities like Lviv and Odessa.

Accommodation Costs in Ukraine

Rent will likely be your biggest expense. Foreigners will definitely end up paying more to live here than locals. This being mainly because of the hurdles of having a signed lease. But those with a nomadic lifestyle are already aware of this.

Hotels

For a short stay, there are many hotels to choose from. Hotels in the country vary in price depending on the season, but in the larger cities such as Kiev, the rates are a good deal compared to other European countries. How about staying at the InterContinental for US$100 per night? That is a realistic example of a well-known brand name hotel during peak season. And the price is a lot less than budget hotels in other countries.

Apartments/Condos

kiev apartment

$1000/Month in Kiev Gets You a NICE Place

Signing a lease for an apartment is usually not a good choice for most travelers. Fortunately, Airbnb is prevalent in Ukraine. A one bedroom in Kiev, for example, will be around US$700-800 per month during peak season. Keep in mind that this includes all of your utilities and often cleaning expenses. If you are looking for an even better bargain, off-peak prices can be found for half the price!

Of course, having a lease allows you to find places below US $400, but are your language skills good enough to navigate lease contracts, to open a Ukrainian bank account, and to pay your monthly utility bills? If you don’t want that hassle, stick to the convenience of an Airbnb rental. Not only are all costs included, but you are only committed to a month-to-month term, and both parties understand their obligations under the Airbnb contract.

Food Cost in Ukraine

Eating Out

typical mealEating out in Ukraine is not that expensive. One example is the restaurant “Beef” in Kiev. A three-course meal consisting of a choice of salad with steak, a bowl of soup, and an entree such as lasagna, beef, and eggs, or marbled beef is about 190 UAH ($7.20). A two-course meal would be the entree plus a soup or salad, not both. The cost would be only 160 UAH (US $6.10). When you factor in that these meals include a choice of juice and some incredible tasting garlic bread, this is a phenomenal meal for the price!

Another example is the restaurant Pervak. Offering very traditional Ukrainian food, a set-menu lunch consisting of bread, soup, salad, garlic chips, an entree, and a fruit drink can be had for 70 UAH ($2.60)! Of course, you can also order a-la-carte from their menu, and the prices are still outstanding.

Groceries/Eating In

After reading the section on where to stay in Ukraine, you will see that staying in an Airbnb apartment has many advantages. Another advantage is access to a kitchen where you can prepare many of your meals yourself with ingredients purchased at local markets and supermarkets. This can dramatically reduce the cost of living, especially if you are preparing meals for a group of people and not just yourself. Of course, the disadvantage is that you will not be experiencing authentic Ukrainian flavor, so make sure to eat out every now and again.

A typical grocery store will have the following items for $1 each, or perhaps even a little less: a pound of beef, chicken breasts, 2 kg of potatoes, a pack of cigarettes, 1L of milk or beer. So a meal for two people can be had for $5 if penny-pinching is your objective. Keep in mind that these costs will go down even further as you travel farther from the city center and if you stick to smaller markets rather than the larger supermarkets.

Other Prices in Ukraine

Transportation

transportationEven in the city of Kiev transportations costs are extremely affordable, especially compared with Western countries. Bus fare is about 25 cents. A metro ride anywhere in the city is only 16 cents. Owning a car is expensive, but a 20-minute taxi ride is only $2. As you can see, getting around the city is very cheap.

Entertainment

There are many local festivals and events in Ukraine that are very affordable. For just a couple of dollars, you can go to a concert. Of course, if it is a Western band, the costs will go up considerably. Movies, unfortunately, are also not something a Westerner can enjoy as they typically do not show Western movies in Ukraine and the local movies lack English subtitles.

Women/Dates

When it comes to entertaining any girls that you might meet the prices can add up quickly. Thankfully most women don’t expect to be treated like princesses so you don’t need to spend too much on this. You can see out #1 recommendations for where to date Ukraine girls here.

Summary of Prices in Ukraine Vs USA

Taking into consideration the costs of lodging, food and other general expenses, Ukraine is still a great value for travelers. Meals for under $5, transportation costs that are very low, and housing prices that are not too bad. A really good life can be had for about $1200 for a not-so-frugal, but sill price-conscious traveler! Around $2000 USD will give most people a very comfortable life here.

Staying in Ukraine while working remotely or receiving income elsewhere (also known as Geoarbitrage) is currently an exceptional bargain. The low cost of living in Ukraine may not last though, so don’t miss the window to take advantage!