Cost of living in India: Your guide (2023)

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 close to 1.4 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 varies 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.

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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 mid-market exchange rate - the same one you see on Google - and the lowest possible fees, leaving you with more money to enjoy yourself.

Join Wise and start saving today

Money in India, Indian rupees, is usually written as ₹ or INR. The following list will give you an outline of how much rupees are worth compared to some of the world’s other major currencies:¹

  • USD to INR $1000 = ₹74,334
  • GBP to INR £1000 = ₹99,745
  • EUR to INR €1000 = ₹85,075
  • AUD to INR A$1000 = ₹54,517
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, India²₹17,544₹1,500₹1,000
Mumbai, India³₹41,047₹1,500₹375
London, UK⁴₹168,349₹5,985₹15,960
New York City, USA⁵₹227,540₹7,436₹9,629
Berlin, Germany⁶₹89,371₹4,255₹7,148
Sydney, Australia⁷₹144,658₹5,452₹11,853

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:⁸

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

What are general living expenses like in India?

Let’s cover the basics first - monthly household expenses in India. These are the averages in a couple major cities:

Total Living Expenses in Mumbai³Average cost
1 person, per month (without rent)₹29,267
1 person, per year (without rent)₹351,204
4-person family, per month (without rent)₹103,010
4-person family, per year (without rent)₹1,236,120
Total Living Expenses in New Delhi²Average cost
1 person, per month (without rent)₹27,492
1 person, per year (without rent)₹329,904
4-person family, per month (without rent)₹95,788
4-person family, per year (without rent)₹1,149,456
Total Living Expenses in Chennai⁹Average cost
1 person, per month (without rent)₹25,290
1 person, per year (without rent)₹303,480
4-person family, per month (without rent)₹89,226
4-person family, per year (without rent)₹1,070,712
Total Living Expenses in Kolkata¹⁰Average cost
1 person, per month (without rent)₹25,037
1 person, per year (without rent)₹300,444
4-person family, per month (without rent)₹88,186
4-person family, per year (without rent)₹1,058,232

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 Mumbai¹¹Average salary
Cashier₹246,430
Copywriter₹1,171,467
Financial analyst₹2,075,067
Graphic designer₹557,461
Mobile developer₹914,336
Product manager₹1,338,227
Receptionist₹188,767
Software engineer₹1,649,551
Teacher₹1,347,702
Web developer₹1,151,705
Salary averages for New Delhi¹²Average salary
Cashier₹192,215
Copywriter₹718,500
Financial analyst₹2,075,067
Graphic designer₹491,877
Mobile developer₹1,657,996
Product manager₹1,294,589
Receptionist₹190,395
Software engineer₹1,649,551
Teacher₹1,135,704
Web developer₹1,151,705
Salary averages for Chennai¹³Average salary
Cashier₹190,572
Copywriter₹905,935
Financial analyst₹2,075,067
Graphic designer₹491,877
Mobile developer₹914,336
Product manager₹1,280,043
Receptionist₹188,767
Software engineer₹1,649,551
Teacher₹1,135,704
Web developer₹1,151,705
Salary averages for Bengaluru¹⁴Average salary
Cashier₹223,429
Copywriter₹585,734
Financial analyst₹2,075,067
Graphic designer₹747,654
Mobile developer₹1,292,261
Product manager₹1,469,141
Receptionist₹221,313
Software engineer₹1,649,551
Teacher₹1,741,412
Web developer₹1,289,909

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.

Mumbai³Average monthly cost
Flat (1 bedroom) in City Centre₹41,047
Flat (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre₹22,246
Flat (3 bedrooms) in City Centre₹115,258
Flat (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre₹52,229
Internet₹775
New Delhi²Average monthly cost
Flat (1 bedroom) in City Centre₹17,544
Flat (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre₹10,259
Flat (3 bedrooms) in City Centre₹43,103
Flat (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre₹24,214
Internet₹740
Chennai⁹Average monthly cost
Flat (1 bedroom) in City Centre₹14,587
Flat (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre₹8,196
Flat (3 bedrooms) in City Centre₹36,590
Flat (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre₹20,308
Internet₹841
Kolkata¹⁰Average monthly cost
Flat (1 bedroom) in City Centre₹11,306
Flat (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre₹6,903
Flat (3 bedrooms) in City Centre₹28,405
Flat (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre₹15,743
Internet₹651

What about healthcare and dental costs in India?

If you’re an Indian resident, you’re guaranteed free healthcare in government facilities. However, those facilities are often times understaffed or lacking in supplies, so you should consider private healthcare. Some vulnerable groups, such as those with low income, can turn to certain government programs that allow them to get partially private healthcare for free. One of them is the National Health Protection Scheme.¹⁵

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 prices for healthcare: **

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Healthcare service¹⁶Average cost to you
Cold medicine for 6 days (tylenol, frenadol, coldrex, or equivalent brands)₹122
1 box of antibiotics (12 doses)₹230
Short visit to private doctor (15 minutes)₹608

How much is travel and transportation in India?

When it comes to getting around in India, there are plenty of options to choose from. Local transport includes everything from buses, metros, boats and different types of rickshaws. When travelling through the country, the main means of transport you can choose between are buses, trains and airplanes. There are even some budget airlines available.¹⁷

Here’s an overview of travel and transport prices:

Transportation and vehicle prices for India¹⁸Average cost
Petrol (1 litre / 0.25 gallon)₹90
Monthly bus/transport pass₹600
One-way Ticket (Local Transport)₹20
Taxi 1km (Normal Tariff)₹16
Toyota Corolla, new₹1,686,713
VW Golf, new₹900,000

How much does education cost?

Education for expats in India is not a problem since there are hundreds of international schools in the country. Also, local private schools are a good option if you plan on staying in India for a long time and want your child to fit in with the locals completely.¹⁹

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 some costs of education in India.

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SchoolAverage yearly cost
British school nursery²⁰₹1,066,000
British school - years 12 and 13²⁰₹782,750
Tuition fee at Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (dual degree (B.Tech. + M. Tech.), international students - public)²¹₹324,600 per year
Tuition fee at Shiv Nadar University (School of Engineering - private)²²₹3,370,500 per year

Cost of living in India vs. UK

Once we’ve finished comparing the two countries, it’s more than clear that India is the drastically cheaper one. Moreover, it’s the cheapest country in Asia, so the cost of life here will only be a fraction of your UK expenses.¹⁶

Everything is more pricey in the UK, including rent rates, education and food. It’s certain that you’ll easily get used to the low Indian cost of living!

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

Sources:

  1. Wise - currency converter
  2. Numbeo - cost of living in New Delhi
  3. Numbeo - cost of living in Mumbai
  4. Numbeo - cost of living in London
  5. Numbeo - cost of living in New York City
  6. Numbeo - cost of living in Berlin
  7. Numbeo - cost of living in Sydney
  8. The Economic Times - Mumbai remains most expensive city for expats: Mercer survey
  9. Numbeo - cost of living in Chennai
  10. Numbeo - cost of living in Kolkata
  11. Teleport - salaries in Mumbai
  12. Teleport - salaries in New Delhi
  13. Teleport - salaries in Chennai
  14. Teleport - salaries in Bengaluru
  15. Commonwealth Fund - India
  16. Expatistan - cost of living in India
  17. Lonely Planet - Getting around in India
  18. Numbeo - cost of living in India
  19. Expat Arrivals - education and schools in India
  20. British school - fee schedule for 2021/2022
  21. IIT Bombay - fee structure
  22. Shiv Nadar University - fee structure
(Video) UK Cost of Living Crisis: Food banks 'lifesaver', Britons worried about winter | Latest News | WION

*All sources checked on November 19, 2021

This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

FAQs

How much is cost of living in India? ›

Family of four estimated monthly costs are 1,086$ (89,552₹) without rent. A single person estimated monthly costs are 308$ (25,405₹) without rent. Cost of living in India is, on average, 68.29% lower than in United States. Rent in India is, on average, 88.30% lower than in United States.

How would you describe your cost of living? ›

Cost of living is defined as the amount of money required to cover necessary expenses to maintain a certain lifestyle standard in a particular place and time. Necessary expenses can include housing, food, taxes, health care, clothing, education, entertainment and transportation.

How much monthly income is enough in India? ›

If we talk about the average salary after taking all the factors then after including all the expenses like transportation and groceries, a good salary can be around INR 30,000 per month with an average standard of living.

Why is cost of living in India so low? ›

For one, currencies of developing nations are weaker; income levels and wages also are much lower, translating into lower costs of production. A survey found India to be the least expensive among major countries. Here's how some key cities compare. Milk, bread, potato are among items cheapest in India.

Is India cheap for living? ›

The average cost of living in India ranges between $330-420 USD a month. That makes it one of the cheapest countries to live in worldwide.

Is cost of living in India low? ›

India is very cheap relative to many other nations. The cost of living depends on what you're doing and where you're living in India. The basic living expenses, such as food , water and housing, cost you between 15000 and 20000 INR. Depending on the cost, this can result in a higher or lower number.

What is an example of cost of living? ›

There are basic costs that are a part of everyday life—things like rent, bills, health care and groceries. These expenses are known as the cost of living.

How do you manage cost of living? ›

10 tips to help you reduce your cost of living:
  1. Firstly, track of your spending. The very first step you should take when trying to reduce your cost of living, is to manage your money and set a budget. ...
  2. Haggle where you can. ...
  3. Turn down your thermostat. ...
  4. Chop your food spend. ...
  5. Switch off standby.

What are the major costs of living? ›

20 Common Monthly Expenses to Include in Your Budget
  • Housing or Rent. Housing and rental costs will vary significantly depending on where you live. ...
  • Transportation and Car Insurance. ...
  • Travel Expenses. ...
  • Food and Groceries. ...
  • Utility Bills. ...
  • Cell Phone. ...
  • Childcare and School Costs. ...
  • Pet Food and Care.
30 Sept 2022

What is a good salary to survive in India? ›

The average monthly salary is around ₹16,000.

Is 25k per month good in India? ›

If You Earn Rs 25,000 Per Month, You're Among India's Top 10% Income Earners.

How much money do you need to be comfortable in India? ›

Cost of living depends on what you do and where you live in the India. Basic need living costs such as food, water and shelter costs you around 15000 to 20000 INR. Depending on your expense, it may result in a higher amount or lower amount.

Why is India so expensive to live? ›

In India, inflation is not being driven by surging demand; it is being stoked by a mix of high oil prices, high fuel taxes and elevated raw material costs.

Why is cost of living so high in India? ›

The two biggest costs are rents and money. The latter is somewhat inevitable in a capital-scarce economy like India. Given the high demand for capital, interest rates, which constitute the cost of money, is bound to be much higher here than in the United States. But rent?

How can we reduce the cost of living in India? ›

Ruchika Bhagat
  1. Housing. If you have a mortgage payment, consider saving money by refinancing your mortgage if interest rates are lower than what you're currently paying. ...
  2. Utilities. ...
  3. Food. ...
  4. Transportation. ...
  5. Insurance. ...
  6. Credit Card. ...
  7. Creating a budget. ...
  8. Invest in instruments with fixed returns.
27 Jun 2022

Which is cheapest city in India? ›

Top 5 Most Affordable Cities In India
  • Ahmedabad.
  • Pune.
  • Chennai.
  • Bengaluru.
  • NCR.
3 Jul 2022

Is it easy to live in India? ›

Unfortunately, most expats find the work-life balance can be poor even though the cost of living is low and pay can be very high. Pollution and safety also concern many expats in India. However, for many of those expats who do make it work for them, it's cited as a very welcoming experience.

Who is cheaper India or America? ›

India is 68.3% cheaper than United States.

Why is cost of living so important? ›

The cost of living is the amount of money needed to cover basic expenses such as housing, food, taxes, and healthcare in a certain place and time period. The cost of living is often used to compare how expensive it is to live in one city versus another. The cost of living is tied to wages.

What causes high cost of living? ›

The supply refers to the amount of a good available, and demand describes how much is desired by people. The relationship between these two factors can dictate prices. These two variables can cause an increase in cost of living in certain circumstances and are generally inversely related.

Why is living cost so high? ›

Public spending and borrowing increased across the world during the pandemic. This led to tax rises that have contributed to the cost-of-living squeeze, while most people's wages remain unchanged.

How can I save money in a high cost of living? ›

You just need to find some creative ways to cut back on expenses in order to manage your city's cost of living.
...
  1. Trade Down, Not Up. ...
  2. Rent Out Your Couch. ...
  3. Say Goodbye to Your Ride. ...
  4. Become Your Own Personal Chef. ...
  5. Stay Loyal. ...
  6. Negotiate Your Bills. ...
  7. Go Cheap or Go Home.
26 May 2016

How can we control cost and budget? ›

Understanding cost control methods can help you maintain a budget for your projects and increase project profitability.
...
5 cost control methods
  1. Planning the budget properly. ...
  2. Monitoring all expenses using checkpoints. ...
  3. Using change control systems. ...
  4. Having time management. ...
  5. Tracking earned value.
13 Apr 2021

What are monthly costs? ›

While this includes your recurring living expenses, such as your rent or mortgage, car payment, and utilities, it also includes the more variable amounts you spend on haircuts, groceries, and clothes each month.

Where is cost of living highest? ›

1. Hong Kong is the most expensive city to live in the world. Owing to its mammoth population size of 7 million people and finite spice, rent and hotels are extremely expensive. The price of food varies – depending on whether you buy fresh, imported produce versus local, market produce.

How much are monthly expenses? ›

Monthly expenses list. According to the same 2020 BLS study, the average American's monthly expenses are $5,111, which is about 73% of the average monthly income. This list of expenses covers everything from housing, health insurance and food to entertainment, personal care products and books.

What is middle class salary in India? ›

At the bottom of the income pyramid are households that earn less than Rs 100,000 a year. The next group earns between Rs 100,000 and Rs. 200,000 a year and is called the lower middle class. The third group of households earns between Rs 200,000 and Rs 500,000 a year and belong to the middle income class.

What is a big salary in India? ›

The highest-paying jobs in India are basically in Information Technology, Healthcare, Data Industry, BFSI, and Marketing. The average salary range of most of the top jobs in these sectors ranges between Rs. 7 – 15 LPA, with the highest salaries going as high as Rs. 20 – 40 LPA.

Which jobs in India has highest salary? ›

  1. Medical Professionals (Doctors and Surgeons) Healthcare offers one of the highest salary jobs in India. ...
  2. Data Scientist. ...
  3. Machine Learning Experts. ...
  4. Blockchain Developer. ...
  5. Full Stack Software Developer. ...
  6. Product Management. ...
  7. Management Consultant. ...
  8. Investment Banker.
25 Oct 2022

How much is normal salary in India? ›

Average Salary in India (2022)

The average salary in India is ₹3,87,500 per year (or ₹32,840 per month).

What is the top 10 percent income in India? ›

An Indian making Rs 3 lakh a year would be placed in the top 10 per cent of the country's wage earners. The data is part of The State of Inequality in India report prepared by the India arm of a global competitiveness initiative, the Institute for Competitiveness.

How much money is enough for lifetime in India? ›

Your Target = 1000 times your monthly Expenses

This means that if you have monthly expenses of Rs 1 lacs per month, then 4-5 crores is a reasonable corpus for you. Let's take 1000 times? So for a person, 10 crores if enough to last his lifetime (a very high-level calculation tells us that).

How much is a meal in India? ›

Meals at nice restaurants can set you back by approx. INR 250-400 (3-6 USD/ EUR) per meal, per person. This price would not include alcohol. If you plan to go to fine dining restaurants, eat at five-star hotels with a great view then a meal can cost anywhere between INR 1,000-2,500 (12-35 USD/EUR) per meal, per person.

Is India good for living? ›

India is a country that includes the most diverse culture, ancient beauty, food, and world heritage cities, etc. So, life here can be joyful, colorful, difficult, stressful but never boring. People can enjoy their life in all three phases of their life whether it's education, business/job/startup, and retirement.

Is India the most unaffordable country? ›

India has the most affordable housing of all the G20, OECD and European Union countries, with a score of 9.33. Relatively low average salaries are offset by equally low property costs per square metre, with very affordable utility costs increasing affordability, it said.

Why living in India is best? ›

Here's why Life in India is Awesome. 01) India is a food lover's paradise – nothing beats Indian food – curries, pakodas, momos, samosas, dosas, naans, sorpotel, kebabs, paneer and so much more! For a change, the vegetarians will not miss out on the delicious fun.

Which city is cost of living in India? ›

Mumbai (127) is the most expensive city in India in terms of both living expenses and accommodation costs, followed by New Delhi (155), Chennai (177), Bengaluru (178), and Hyderabad (192), finds Mercer's 2022 Cost of Living survey.

Which city in India has highest cost of living? ›

1. Mumbai. Often called the city of dreams in India and India's financial capital, Mumbai is undoubtedly the costliest city in the country. Mercer's 2022 Cost of Living City Ranking ranks Mumbai as the most expensive city in India.

Is cost of living increasing in India? ›

Rise in cost of living impacting 71 per cent adults in India: Survey.

Where cost of living is cheaper than India? ›

Click on a tile for details. The cost of living is the money needed to sustain a certain comfort level in a location.
...
Cheapest Countries to Live in 2022.
CountryCost of Living (Monthly US$) - LivingCostCost of Living w Rent (NYC=100) - Numbeo
Pakistan$37013.87
India$42315.84
Tunisia$42418.15
Sri Lanka$42820.23
160 more rows

What salary is needed to live comfortably in India? ›

Do you have any idea about the average salary in India in 2022? The average monthly salary is around ₹16,000.

What salary is considered rich in India? ›

As per the PLFS survey of 2019-20, the annual cumulative wages came to be around Rs 1,869 crore, out of which the top 1% earned nearly Rs 127 crore, and the bottom 10% accounted for a measly Rs 32.10 crore.

How much money do you need to be happy in India? ›

So how much earning do you really need? “Considering various factors, your family income must be in a comfortable zone where you could at least be able to meet the basic expenses of your family, and thus an annual income of at least Rs 7 to 10 lakh is a basic necessity.

Can I survive with 20k salary in India? ›

With a combined income of Rs 20,000 a month, a couple can still lead a decent life in any Indian city. Three experts do the math for you keeping in mind the costs of living in 3 cities. With a combined income of Rs 20,000 a month, a couple can still lead a decent life in any Indian city.

What salary is considered poor in India? ›

Monthly per capita consumption expenditure of Rs. 972 in rural areas and Rs. 1407 in urban areas is recommended as the poverty line at the all India level.

What is a good first salary in India? ›

Average starting Salary for Entry Level in India is around ₹1.2 Lakhs per year (₹10.0k per month). 1 year of minimum experience is required to be a Entry Level. What is the highest salary for a Entry Level in India? Highest salary that a Entry Level can earn is ₹9.3 Lakhs per year (₹77.5k per month).

How much salary is good in India for a family? ›

Depending upon the standard of living, your average salary should be Rs 40,000 - Rs 60,000 per month.

How much do you need per day in India? ›

You should plan to spend around ₨2,611 ($32) per day on your vacation in India, which is the average daily price based on the expenses of other visitors. Past travelers have spent, on average, ₨682 ($8.28) on meals for one day and ₨442 ($5.36) on local transportation.

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