Cost of living in India: Complete Guide 

Cost of living in India: Complete Guide 

Relative to many other countries, living costs in India are very low. In India, your daily expenses will fluctuate based on your profession and location. Between 15000 and 20000 INR is needed for food, water, and shelter each month. The final tally may rise or fall, depending on the lifestyle involved.

India has a greater cost of living than the global average, but this is very context-dependent. Generally, it is typically considered fairly low compared to other industrialized nations. India generally has a lower cost of living than the West, including food, housing, transportation, and healthcare. Nevertheless, the cost of living in metropolitan areas such as Mumbai and New Delhi may be higher than in less populated areas.

Rental costs in India 

Renting a home out is a much better investment than buying land in India. The cost of rent per month is reasonable when compared to other major cities around the world. If you and a roommate are looking to save money, consider moving out of the city centre, where a one-bedroom apartment costs INR.10,000 per month, and into the suburbs, where it costs INR.5,000 per month. On the other hand, in Bangalore, Mumbai, Pune, and Delhi, Access to public transportation, such as buses, subways, and regional trains, is highly variable between different areas.

Food Cost in India

Indian food is renowned the world over. It is mostly vegetarian, spicy and extremely tasty. Restaurants in large cities typically also offer non-vegetarian options. The cost of a three-course lunch for two at a moderately priced restaurant is INR 1000, but the same meal at a low-priced eatery is only INR 160.  Your first taste of Indian cuisine in India may surprise you by being unlike anything you’ve had at your neighbourhood Indian restaurant. However, the variety of spices, herbs, and regional specialities will force you to broaden your horizons. Most notably, Spending a night on the town enjoying some delicious food and the sights won’t break the bank.

Mumbai, Bengaluru, and Delhi are notable for their higher prices. In contrast to the national average of USD$11-14, a three-course meal for two in a middle-range restaurant in the nation’s capital of Delhi will set you back USD$20-$24. Other major cities have more affordable food and entertainment options. You can expect to pay $2–$3 at a reasonably priced restaurant. Many Indian cities have developed a culture around snacking, with regional favourites. In Mumbai, residents snack on potato-based Vada Pao, while Chole Bhature, a Punjabi dish, is ubiquitous in New Delhi. You can get these and other tasty dishes at low prices from the many roadside food stalls, and you won’t even have to worry about leaving a tip.

Are you getting a quick drink before you head to the theater? It will cost you between $1.64 and $2 for a pint of domestic beer on taps, such as Kingfisher, and $3.30 to $4 for a movie ticket to see the latest Hollywood blockbuster. India has a relatively low cost of living, reflected in the low cost of groceries. White rice will run you about $0.28 to $0.34 per pound, while potatoes will run you about $0.16 to $0.20 per pound. If you add chickpeas and the fixings for a curry sauce, you can make channa aloo for a night in for next to nothing.

Even though there is a lot of delicious food available, it’s important to remember to take care of your body. A month’s membership to a fitness center costs only about $17 to $21 (USD) on average, which is great news if you’re not keen on going for a run in a crowded, congested city.

Transportation Cost In India

You can find a wide variety of services in the Indian transportation system that meet your needs and are affordable. How you want to get there and how comfortable you want to be while there are the only determining factors. Flying throughout India is advantageous due to its low cost and abundance of transit options. Taxis, rickshaws, and the metro are among many cities’ more economical public transit choices. The price of a bus ride is also low.

A one-way fare on India’s public transportation system will set you back between $0.27 and $0.33, while a monthly pass will run you between $9 and $11. Prices like these naturally range from city to city. Monthly passes cost less in Mumbai than in the rest of the country but more than average in New Delhi. The traffic in Indian cities is well-known for being particularly heavy and chaotic. This is why many visitors from other countries hire taxis instead of renting cars. The starting price of a taxi ride is only about $0.60 to $0.70. You can expect to pay between $1.10 and $1.40 more for a taxi to wait for you for an hour. For shorter trips, rickshaws are an affordable alternative to taxis.

Cost of Healthcare in India

The cost of a 15-minute doctor’s appointment is INR 1,500. For six days, cold medications such as Tylenol cost only INR 110. 260 INR will be charged for a 12-dose course of antibiotics if required. In India, it is very simple to locate inexpensive personal care supplies. A tube of toothpaste costs approximately INR 100, whereas a 1.5-ounce pan costs approximately INR 500. Four rolls of toilet paper and a bottle of shampoo, which normally cost you INR 200, would cost you only INR 140.

Costs associated with providing healthcare to every citizen are projected to amount to $1,713 annually. Using name-brand medical equipment or medication can add 24 per cent to this price. The rising price of healthcare is directly correlated to the expanding healthcare infrastructure. However, the cost of healthcare has not decreased for a wide swath of Indians, even though technological advancements have sped up the treatment and recovery process. Inflation in the healthcare sector currently stands at 15% per year. On the other hand, India’s annual inflation rate averages 6-7%. A current percentage of India’s final consumption expenditure goes toward health care. Starting from India’s current level, this can grow by at least 11%. In India, medical care costs are rising steadily, making it out of reach for those with limited resources.

Clothing In India

Traditional markets, stores, and boutiques abound, so whether you’re looking for classic garb or the latest trends, you can find what you’re looking for. Malls selling ubiquitous domestic and international labels can be found in every major city. Delhi and Mumbai are shoppers’ paradises, and you’re headed to the right places to find authentic, low-priced ethnic wear. Aside from the seasonal sales in July–September and January–March, the prices of western clothing are relatively stable. The sales only happen during those months, though. To add a little nuance, there are also surplus shops that sell cheap branded clothing and other places that sell export clothing that is much cheaper than what you would find in shops in India or abroad.

Nightlife Costs In India

There is a wide variety of options for a fun evening out in India, one of the world’s most populous countries. Somewhere out of sight, you’ll find everything from intimate bars and pubs to cavernous nightclubs. There is also a wealth of traditional cultural performances for those who prefer them. Food and drink for a night on the town would set you back between $900 and $1500. Goa is India’s party capital and features the country’s lowest drinking age of 18. While bars and shopping centers in Mumbai, Bangalore, Pune, and Delhi are allowed to stay open around the clock, most bars and restaurants in the rest of the country can only serve alcohol until 1:30 in the morning.

Healthcare Costs in India

Although Ayushman Bharat aims to provide quality healthcare to all Indians, there are still unavoidable inequalities in access to services based on socioeconomic status, gender, and geographic region. After spending a lot of money to open up roughly 150,000 health and wellness centers all over the country, access is gradually expanding. Visitors from outside India will have to cover the full cost of medical treatment unless they have permanent residency or citizenship in India. However, the treatment price is relatively low, and someone with a relatively minor health problem may only have to pay a couple of dollars.

Sadly, the quality of care at India’s public hospitals is often inadequate. Most foreigners, along with about 36 per cent of Indians, buy private health insurance that grants access to private facilities, including the best hospitals in India, to avoid a bad medical experience. Private clinics and hospitals will likely have shorter wait times and better care for you when you need them.

Cost of Education in India

The cost of sending a child to a private school in India is high. Although inflation has reached uncomfortably high levels, experts argue that the suffering caused by rising college costs is not adequately reflected by these figures because of the exclusion of this composition when measuring the price change over a period. An ET Online study found that the total cost of sending a child to a private school in India from three to seventeen was a staggering 30 lakh. Analysts in that study claim that the cost of expanding private education needs to be adequately accounted for in inflation figures because it is weighted at just 4.5% in the consumer prices index based on a formula that is ten years old.

It is estimated that 30 lakh is required to educate a child in a private school in India from three to seventeen. According to EduFund, tuition in India will have increased by roughly 10-12 per cent between 2012 and 2020, as reported by Economic Times. Parents’ budgets are affected by not only biannual tuition price increases, but also by recurring increases in the cost of transportation and the cost of exams. When doing the math, it was assumed that the students were attending a private institution. When you enroll your child in school, you’ll only have to pay the admission fee once.

Costs to enroll at a school in a Tier-I city typically range from 25,000 to 75,000. Some schools offer discounts of between 10,000 and 20,000 to families with a second child enrolled at the same time. Preschool encompasses both kindergarten and preschool. The average cost of attending a school in a Tier-I or Tier-II city could be anywhere from INR 60,000 to INR 1.5 million per year. The parents typically enroll their kids in daycare so that they can both go to work. Professional daycare centers can cost between 5,000 and 8,500 per day in certain cities. Primary school tuition averages between 1.25 and 1.75 million rupees per annum. The average cost of a child’s primary school education in India is 5.50 lakh.

Middle school tuition ranges from $1.6 million to $1.8 million over the course of a student’s middle school career, for a grand total of nearly $9.5 million. Many schools require additional monthly book payments from parents beginning with class XI, ranging from 4,000 to 7,000. According to ET’s report, the average cost of a high school education is about 9 million rupees.

Typically, transportation costs an additional $1,500-$2,500 per month on top of the base tuition at most facilities. As fuel prices rise, parents’ annual transportation spending of 25,000 may change. Now that higher education is more expensive than elementary and secondary school, most middle-class families begin saving early on. Similarly, the price of a prestigious university education is sky-high. Depending on the school, the price of a four-year BTech or a three-year BSc program can range from $40,000 to $200,000. Training for competitive exams such as the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) can cost as much as five times that amount.

The average cost of a Chartered Accountancy professional course is around 86,000 without tuition or tutoring. The ET report recommends that parents start thinking about their children’s education as early as possible. Parents may make a short and long-term goal breakdown to determine how to best allocate their savings.

What’s the average salary in India?

Taking into account the average monthly salary of INR 31,900, the yearly income would be INR 3,82,800. That works out to about $428.49 every month on average (based on the exchange rates that were applicable in July 2021). With a low of INR 8,080 and a high of INR 143,000, the salary spectrum is wide (the highest on the spectrum, though the real maximum salary is higher). Salary data from the middle of the distribution, between the median and the mode, are included in the calculation of the average salary range in India. The numbers provided above are not exclusive of other benefits such as transportation and housing when discussing the average monthly salary in India. Salary levels, however, may vary considerably between sectors and occupations.

Why Move to India?

India, a massive nation in South Asia, is home to a plethora of diverse peoples and customs. Over the course of its long and tumultuous history, which spans from the dawn of civilization to the present day, it has earned a place among the world’s most fascinating. Today, its economy is among the world’s quickest-growing. A wide variety of sights, tastes, and ways of life make this a fascinating travel destination.

Since the economy is expanding so rapidly, more and more employment opportunities are becoming available across the country. India is a popular destination for people looking to spend some time living abroad because of its diverse culture and relatively low cost of living. Anyone in India, not just digital nomads, can benefit from the country’s low living costs. The procedure for obtaining a visa is also straightforward after you’ve secured employment.

The flip side is that it has its drawbacks. India is so culturally diverse that any foreigner visiting the country will inevitably experience culture shock. If you’re just passing through, this won’t be too much of a problem, but if you decide to make the area your permanent home, things may get more complicated. If you’re considering a trip to India, it’s important to first determine if it’s the right fit for you.

Cost of drinks in India

It’s common knowledge that you shouldn’t ever drink water straight from the tap in India. It’s never a good idea, urban or otherwise. Salads served in restaurants are also best avoided due to the high likelihood that they were washed with untreated water. You should always ask if the water has been filtered or purified before drinking it, so keep that in mind when choosing a restaurant.

It’s a relief that bottled water doesn’t cost much. A litre and a half costs roughly $0.39, and if you buy in large quantities, you can save even more. Get a large bottle and invest in your own water container to cut down on disposable plastic water bottles. You could also purchase a water purifier, though you’ll need to keep the filters swapped out on a regular basis.

Prices for alcoholic beverages are significantly lower than those in Western Europe and the United States. Prices for domestic beers range from $1 to $2, with higher quality beers costing more, and spirits are typically priced at $2.50 per bottle. Wine is one of the more pricey consumables in India, with bottles going for upwards of $20 in bars and restaurants and over $10 in supermarkets.

Banking in India

Though not overly complicated, the Indian banking system still has its share of peculiarities that can trip up foreigners. For numbers with more than a hundred thousand, for instance, a comma is placed after every two digits, as in 1,00,000 or 1,00,00,000 (ten million). Aside from the base currency, the rupee, there are also different names for different denominations, such as the lakh for one hundred thousand rupees and the crone for ten million.

Most foreigners living in India will set up a Non-Resident Ordinary Rupee Account (or NRO). Before opening an account, make sure you understand the minimum balance requirement and the minimum quarterly average balance that must be maintained. You should also have plenty of cash on hand. Cash is still king in the rural areas, despite the prevalence of ATMs and retailers accepting chip and pin in the major cities. Although, there is a limit to how much you can bring into the country. After arriving in the country, you can easily transfer money using services like Payoneer or Transferwise.

Taxes in India

When you first arrive in India, one of the first things you’ll need to do is apply for a PAN (PAN). Similar to other countries social security numbers, this one can be used to verify your identity. Due to the complexity of the Indian tax system, many foreigners opt to have a local expert handle their finances instead. Income tax rates are progressively scaled up to a maximum of 30%. You will have to file this on your own if your income is above a certain threshold, which is likely to be the case for most expats. It is possible to do this online, but it is recommended that you consult a local accountant for assistance.

Hidden Costs of Living in India

No matter where you end up relocating to, you can expect to have some unexpected expenses. All of us tend to overlook these costs until it’s too late. Without proper preparation, even a relatively inexpensive relocation can cost an arm and a leg. It’s crucial that you put in some extra effort beforehand. Expenses like returning home and shipping often get overlooked. Once in India, you’ll find that prices are low, but getting there can be pricey. It’s possible that your itinerary will require layovers, which means more airport and hotel fees. Return shipping costs should be calculated for any items sent to loved ones.

Costs like these require that you put money away. It is recommended that you increase your spending plan by $1,000. This can help you budget for both large and small expenses, such as an emergency trip home or a larger-than-expected security deposit on a rental unit.

How Does the Average Person Spend Their Money in India?

The average Indian spends nearly half (40.2% of monthly income) at markets. The prices of dairy products, meat, poultry, and vegetables, as well as other foods, are ridiculously low. Young people and visitors frequent restaurants, while locals prefer to shop for organic ingredients and prepare meals at home. Transportation costs, at 14.1% of income each month, are higher than food and lodging combined. In terms of a percentage of a person’s income, rent at 18.2% is relatively low.

The Indian population has a strong love for sports and other forms of outdoor recreation. They are willing to spend an average of 7.2 per cent of their income on sports like cricket, fitness centers, and football.

Mortgages, Minimum Wages, and Annual Salaries

In India, the bare minimum wage is $62.2 per month. We can now see that India is a price-point paradise for tourists, but the locals aren’t doing so well. The data show that $563.6 is the median monthly income for those living in major urban areas. It is possible to obtain a mortgage loan in India, and they are widely available in the country’s major urban centres. If you borrow money from us for 20 years, our interest rate will be 8.37% per year. Software engineers, chartered accountants, and app developers have some of India’s highest salaries. Actors, cricket players, investment bankers, and lawyers can all expect to make a comfortable living in today’s economy.

Saving money in India 

Although learning about and being open to haggling goes against the grain of many Western cultural standards, doing so can pay off in the end. Keep in mind that Indians communicate indirectly, thus aggressive, confrontational negotiation tactics that would be acceptable elsewhere will be extremely insulting to Indians. Haggling is about negotiating a reasonable price for the item in question, not ripping off the vendor. Always avoid touching products with your left hand, and never point with your thumb or index finger.

Here are some pointers for engaging in fruitful (and enjoyable) bargaining:

• Prior to making a purchase, it is a good idea to do some research to determine the going rate for products that are comparable to the ones you want to buy. You’ll be able to start the negotiation process with more knowledge.

• Ideally, you’d like to see a 70% reduction, but you shouldn’t settle for less than a 30% reduction. Haggling is about agreeing on a (reasonable) price that you deem fair for the goods on offer, therefore keep in mind that the vendor is under no obligation to make a deal to you. Insist that the service provider shows you a variety of options and talk about the pros and cons of each, as well as the costs involved with each. Taking this step will demonstrate your intent to purchase and should increase the selling price in your favour.

• The seller may feel obligated to talk about their family in order to get a better (higher) final price commitment from you (number of children, elderly relatives, etc.). Consider the power and privilege dynamics between the seller and the buyer when determining a price that is fair to you. Keep in mind that these are all acceptable components of the negotiating process and that the information is usually reasonably true.

• It is best to haggle over separate costs for each purchase you intend to make. If you want a bulk discount, wait to ask for it until after you’ve negotiated the price of each item individually (typically an additional 5 per cent).

After the price has been lowered twice, you can begin haggling (usually done in writing on a pad of paper). Don’t say a word; if the price is too much, just stare at the pad. Prolonged eye contact with a street hawker is seen as exceedingly disrespectful in India. Since the ears are sacred in India, it could be a good idea to touch or tug at your ear lobes as a sign of good faith at the end of the negotiation.

Finally, keep in mind that India, like any other nation, has its share of con artists and fraudsters. Learn about common confidence tricks from coworkers, fellow ex-pats, and neighbours, take common-sense measures to protect yourself and your loved ones, and if you do get ripped off, don’t let it ruin your time in India.


Last but not least, when compared to other countries, India is surprisingly affordable. What you do and where you live in India greatly impact your daily cost of living. Food, water, and shelter will set you back somewhere in the range of 15–20 thousand Indian Rupees per month. What you get out of it could be more or less than expected, depending on your outlays.

You can expect to pay anywhere from a few thousand to several million rupees per year to live comfortably in India. This, of course, is dependent on the city you choose to call home as well as the neighbourhood you choose within that city and the kind of lifestyle you seek. Expect higher costs if you want to relocate to one of India’s major cities. Best-location room rates typically range from INR 7,000 to INR 15,000. When it comes to the number of tenants, many landlords are willing to be accommodating.

A typical household contains three to four people and is equipped with modern conveniences like an air conditioner, water supply, television, and power inverter. As a means of attracting customers, some enterprising individuals provide Wi-Fi for a small additional fee. To get an idea of how much everything will cost, it’s best to use a cost-of-living calculator like Money Control. Expenses for things like food, groceries, transportation, and more are all itemized in this calculator. You’ll have money to spend and be able to keep your current standard of living thanks to this.

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