I started writing about how much it costs to live in Bucharest. Then, I wrote this article on how much is just the basic surviving expenses. Now, it is time to look at the second category of costs – the administrative necessities of a young professional living in the metropolitan area of Bucharest.
So let’s get some more ideas about how much it cost to live in Bucharest:
Urban transportation in Bucharest is cheaper than in any other big city in Romania or the EU capital.
Bicycle – the cheapest way, but it can also be dangerous. Officially, there are bicycle lanes. You will have to use the parts of the streets not occupied by parked cars, garbage bins, and holes. By the way, nobody really respects street circulation rules in Bucharest. Nevertheless, it is the fastest and cheapest transportation in Bucharest, and tens of thousands of people do it every day. A bicycle costs about €100-150. You will also need a rigid chain and locket (bikes get stolen a lot), which might cost you an additional €10-15. Don’t leave your bicycle outside when you’re at home. Keep it in the apartment. Don’t leave your bike in the city during the night.
Surface transportation + metro/subway
An “abonnement” for RATB (all surface transportation, meaning: trams, city buses, and trolleys) is about €12 /month. THIS ALSO INCLUDES NIGHT BUSES, WHICH WORK BETWEEN 10.30 PM-1 AM and 3-5 AM.
A metro card for monthly transportation in Bucharest is about €15/month. The metro runs throughout Bucharest between 5.30 AM-11 PM and some limited parts between 5-5.30 AM and 11-12 PM. (towards the ends of the tracks and in the center). The last metros go in all directions from Piata Unirii at precisely 11.30 PM.
Taxi services are also cheaper than in any other big city in Romania and any other EU capital. The typical cost is about €0.4-0.5 /km. A regular trip costs between €3-6.
Whatever means of transportation you use, it is almost certain that you will use a taxi at least once or twice a month. So you’d like to spare at least € 5-10 /m for this.
A car in Bucharest might be necessary only in one or more of these conditions:
– your job depends on it;
– you often take trips outside Bucharest;
– you have a family, or you drive more than yourself;
– you usually travel between 12-6 AM;
– you usually carry heavy things with it.
Otherwise, a car for your personal transportation during the day in Bucharest is a costly, time-wasting, and dangerous method nerve-racking. Adding all the yearly expenses for a vehicle, at least €100/m, supposing the car is already completely paid for. If you don’t plan on staying in Romania much but need a car, the best options are either to buy a second-hand car and then sell it when you leave or to buy a car in leasing for the period you live in Romania.
Romania generally uses GSM SIM-based technology for mobile phones. About 99 % of the country is covered, although it may be helpful to know that the signal usually gets lost in the metro.
You can use prepaid cards or subscriptions/”abonnement” from any of the 4 big mobile telephony providers: Vodafone, Orange, Cosmote, and RCS/RDS. Business people prefer Vodafone, which is usually a little bit more expensive. Young people often use Orange. Each of the networks provides you with almost-unlimited free calls in their network. You should either have two mobile phones or a dual SIM phone, usually Vodafone AND Orange.
The cost depends on how much you will talk on the phone, how many people you are, and how well you adjust your subscription/prepaid options to the first two variables. The least is €10/m/phone. This is how much you pay at the end of the month, not what you get advertised.
You shouldn’t buy a mobile phone or a smartphone in the subscription, as it will cost you at least twice the value of the phone in time, and it might keep you dependent on that network. However, if you want a good phone for a few years, from my experience, it is best to invest something like €150-200 for a perfect, resistant mobile phone with no strings attached. I have had my dual SIM phone since 2008, I paid €200 for it in cash, on the spot, out of my own pocket, and I have used it with many networks, cards, and options in Romania, Belgium, France, and Italy. It still works fine, and I intend to keep it.
Here are all the different things for the office, the house, and your personal hygiene, such as light bulbs, candles, lighters, toilet paper, soap, shampoo, razors & shaving cream, small bags, toothbrushes, toothpaste, mouthwash, pipe-cleaner substances, mops, buckets, brooms, detergent for clothes and for dishes, toner for printer, paper, pens, markers, computer disks. Also, if you do not have access to a printer/copier/scanner, you will have to pay for these services in the city, which can be expensive in time and money. All this is about €30-40/month. Of course, you don’t need to buy them all at once or each month, but you do need them. If you want to get them cheap, I recommend Obor market & store.
Taxes, fees, and commissions
Romania is a country where there are a lot of taxes to pay, even if you don’t earn any money. The mere existence of you breathing in Romania costs, indirectly: income taxes, local taxes, TV & radio taxes (even if you don’t have any), car taxes, and apartment taxes. The bureaucracy is very high and can be compared to Russia or Belgium. You basically need to pay for every little thing, especially if you need documents from the local or central authorities. Although I am not sure, there might even be a tax for air and rain. But, of course, most of these are not monthly. And, if you are employed, your employer handles a lot of taxes, so you might not even notice it.
To this, please add all the fees you pay to the banks for all sorts of operations.
This can regularly add up to an average of at least €10-20/m., depending on what you are (officially) doing in Bucharest.
Please keep in mind to keep an eye on Analytic Vision to read further on the topic of how much it costs to live in Bucharest.
Copyright © Marcus Victor Grant, 2014-present