Cost Of Living In Odessa (Ukraine) – Expat Guide
Odessa is one of Ukraine’s largest cities, a popular destination for tourists and one of the few places in Ukraine that actually work from an economical point of view. However, given Ukraine’s situation with an ongoing conflict and a lack of support from joining the European Union, it is also one of the most underrated destinations.
All in all, you have tourism, beautiful girls, a good nightlife, lots of entertainment and most importantly, an extremely low cost of living. So, what should you know about the cost of living in Odessa before moving there?
What Keeps the Cost of Living in Odessa so Low
There are better destinations in Europe – better beaches, more landscapes and attractions. However, Odessa has two major advantages:
- It is part of Ukraine.
- It has beautiful women.
How does that help? Being part of Ukraine makes Odessa extremely cheap. You can go on holiday in the UK, Austria or Greece, but once in Ukraine, you will pay 10 times less for cigarettes, five times less for a meal out and four times less for rent. How come?
Most importantly, Ukraine has an ongoing conflict in the western side – far from Odessa, which is very safe. This conflict keeps the economy down, as well as the prices – excellent for foreigners. At the same time, this conflict also keeps Ukraine far from the European Union, which only accepts safe countries with no internal conflicts.
Every country in the EU has experienced a massive explosion in pricing – a terrible issue for new countries whose citizens have to struggle to survive before the country is fully accepted into the union. With these aspects in mind, prices in Ukraine match prices of EU countries in the 1990s. What else can you ask for?
Understanding the Cost
The UAH (hryvnia) is the national currency in Ukraine. To help you understand prices and make some easy conversions, here it is compared to other popular currencies:
- 1 EUR is 29 UAH
- 1 USD is 26 UAH
- 1 CHF is 26 UAH
- 1 GBP is 35 UAH
These standards should be self explanatory – Ukraine is not doing the best when it comes to the economy. It is less likely to match the EU cost of living too soon, hence its growing popularity among foreigners.
Going Out and Eating
Traveling or moving to Odessa by yourself? You will need to it – it costs about 150 UAH to have a good meal in a middle range restaurant in the city center. This is about three or four times less than in the UK. Traveling there with your partner or taking someone out for a meal? A three course meal for two in a relatively fancy restaurant in Odessa will not cost more than 500 UAH.
How about drinks then? Beer costs around 30 UAH, while bottled water will barely cost 10 UAH. You can have your cappuccino every morning in a fancy bar for less than 30 UAH, while adding a soda drink to it will cost 15 UAH extra.
Food and Markets
Interested in cooking your own meal? Things are about to get even better because food in Ukraine is even cheaper. For instance, you could buy a liter of milk for 25 UAH, while fresh bread will cost around 10 UAH a loaf. Here are the prices for some of the most popular foods you can find in local markets:
- Rice (1kg) 25 UAH
- Cheese (1kg) 170 UAH
- Beef (1kg) 150 UAH
- Chicken breast (1kg) 100 UAH
- Eggs (12) 32 UAH
Compare the costs with the same products in your country and you will find them to be a few times lower. In fact, Ukraine is probably the least expensive country in the entire Europe and one of the cheapest in the world (excluding war torn areas).
When it comes to fruits and vegetables, things get even better, as Odessa is a big port and imports lots of everything:
- Onions (1kg) 11 UAH
- Tomatoes (1kg) 30 UAH
- Bananas (1kg) 28 UAH
- Potatoes (1kg) 9 UAH
- Oranges (1kg) 33 UAH
- Apples (1kg) 17 UAH
The most expensive cigarettes cost about 35 UAH per pack – around six times cheaper than Germany, seven times cheaper than France and 10 times cheaper than the UK.
Real Estate and Transportation
Renting a basic one bedroom apartment in the city center will cost 8,000 UAH a month – twice as much for three bedrooms. Prices are about 40% to 60% cheaper for the outskirts. The same rule applies to buying properties – 30,000 UAH per square meter in the city center and 17,000 UAH for the outskirts.
Bills should not exceed 2,500 UAH and they include anything you can think of – from mobile phones and Internet to gas and garbage.
Transportation carries the same standards – 7 UAH for a bus ticket and 6 UAH per kilometer in a taxi.
Cost of Living in Odessa for a Local
The average monthly salary in Odessa is just over 8,000 UAH. It is quite obvious – a single person would not be able to pay rent, utilities, gas and food with a regular job. Therefore, most people live with their parents – even after they get married. The lucky ones with really good jobs will buy a house, but only after they get married.
Things are different for a foreigner. A pension from a higher rated country, a business income or any other source of income from abroad will work wonders for a foreigner, hence the influx of expats over the last years.
In the end, the cost of living in Odessa is one of the most convincing factors for those who want to move there. Sure, you got a nice touristic area with lots of amenities and entertainment, but it is one thing to go on holiday and another thing to move there.