Cost of Living in India: Is India Expensive?

Cost of Living in India: Is India Expensive?

India is the second most populous country in the world, and also one of the fastest growing economies. With a large portion of its population living below the poverty line, however, it still faces many challenges as it attempts to modernize.

India’s culture and history are incredibly rich. It has been known for its arts, crafts, literature, music, and dance for centuries. All across the country, people celebrate festivals and honor their gods with intricate artwork and colorful dresses. India is an ancient land that has been conquered and colonized many times throughout its history. This makes for an interesting cultural mix that is evident in the architecture, food, and religious practices around the country.

Is India Really Expensive To Live?

The cost of living in India is extremely low, especially for those who are outside of the country’s major cities. Compared to most developed countries, India has much cheaper food and housing costs, as well as significantly reduced gas, water and electricity expenses.

Some people assume that India is an expensive country to travel in, and others assume it’s cheap. The truth is that it can be both. In some ways, it’s similar to other countries you might have visited: things like transportation will generally cost a bit less in India than they do elsewhere. But when it comes to food and entertainment, high-quality versions of those things are often more expensive in India because the local competition doesn’t have a lot of the same options.



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Many migrants think that a journey to India is going to be too rich for their budget, but if you know how much you’re willing to spend on each thing before you go and plan accordingly, you’ll end up with plenty of money left over. Prices vary widely in India depending on where you happen to be, so if you’re thinking about moving there it would be a good idea to take a look at the local cost of living data for your new area. In general, though, India is an inexpensive place to live compared to most other global cities and it is possible to get by on much less than the average listed here.

The prices you see on this page are average prices for New Delhi.

CategoryAmount in USD
Transportation90.42 $
Clothing and Shoes38.21 $
Entertainment37.27 $
Markets151.68 $
Utilities (Monthly)48.12 $
Rent Per Month251.28 $
Restaurants64.61 $

The prices of goods and services can vary widely depending on the area of India and the city that one lives in, but overall it is a very low-cost country to live and work in. The cost of living in India is higher than in many other Asian countries.

The cost of living in India varies widely by city, with the most expensive cities being New Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore. In general, rent prices are lower than in many Western countries, but food and transportation prices tend to be higher. The average cost of renting an apartment in India ranges from $150 to $900 for a three-bedroom unit. The average monthly cost of utilities ranges from $10 to $50 per month.

The cost of living in India varies by city, with Kolkata being the most economical while Mumbai being the most expensive. If you are looking to live on a budget and are willing to go outside of the more popular cities in India, you can get by on $400-$700 a month. However, if you want to live in major cities such as Mumbai, Delhi, or Bangalore, then you will need to spend at least $1,000. Other expenses that you will have include food and transportation.

The cost of living in Mumbai is relatively cheap compared to other major cities such as New York City or Tokyo; moreover, it can be slightly less expensive than Tokyo, Singapore, or Hong Kong when you consider purchasing power parity. It is cheaper to live here than in many other countries like Japan, South Korea, or France.

CityCost of Living IndexLocal Purchasing Power Index
Lucknow (Lakhnau)23.7964.30

As the world’s second most populous country, India is a land of vast cultural and economic diversity. In a way, this is reflected in the cost of living across its cities—from the cheapest city on our list to the most expensive, there are more than $1000 in price differences between them. With that said, all of these cities are surprisingly affordable compared to U.S. cities of similar size: you can live in Mumbai for less than half as much as you would in New York City, and live a more comfortable lifestyle in several other Indian cities for even less.

For expats who want to live well in a new city, one thing to keep in mind is that rent and utilities tend to be very cheap often at levels lower than those seen in other Asian countries or even North America or Western Europe. However, dining and transportation costs are generally higher than average.

If you’re moving from a Western country with high-quality goods and services at bargain prices, you should be prepared for sticker shock when it comes to certain items, especially clothing and electronics. The good news is that these are two areas where India has lower prices compared with other major Asian countries like Japan or Hong Kong.

How Much Does It Cost To Live Comfortably In India?

On the surface, India can seem like a very cheap place to live. A staple of street food costs only a few cents, and there are plenty of dirt-cheap hotels to be found in the country’s larger cities. But when you’re looking for more comfortable surroundings more than just a bed and a bathroom—things can get pricey pretty quickly.

It all depends on where you look. India has lots of big cities that cater to tourists and ex-pats looking for luxury living the glistening business centers of Mumbai, New Delhi, and Pune are perfect examples of this. Expats who want to live comfortably there are going to need at least $641.59

per month, if not more. However, a small immigrant family of four needs at least $1,918 to sort themselves in a month. They’ll find some of the best schools in the world and plenty of ex-pat communities that let them make friends with other families who share their values and language.

Cost Of Living: What Are the Living Expenses Like In India?

India is a country of contradictions, both in terms of the price of living and how people live there. While the cost of living in India is relatively low, the overall quality of life is not high by global standards. A sizable proportion of the country’s population lives below the poverty line (the average income for an Indian citizen works out to about $14 per day). That being said, India is home to 1.2 billion people, and because it’s such a large nation with so many people, there are still plenty who enjoy a high quality of life.

The average monthly income in India has increased over the past few years. Government employees in India typically earn between $200 and $2,500 per month; there are also private sector jobs available with an average salary of $300 to $3,000 per month.

Cost Of A Meal & Restaurants Food Prices In India

There are a variety of factors that influence the cost of eating out in India. One of the most significant factors is location. Generally, restaurants located within metropolitan cities such as Delhi or Mumbai are more expensive than those located in small cities or towns.

Finally, several minor factors influence the price of dining out in India including tax rates, alcohol prices, and gratuity costs. All three can significantly alter the total cost


In general, a meal for two at a mid-range restaurant, consisting of an appetizer, main course, and dessert with a soft drink or beer, costs about $13.20 to $35. Lunch can be found for as little as $7.55 and dinner for $1.45 to $6.29 per person.

Eating OutPrice in Indian Rupee (₹)
Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant300.00 ₹
Three-course Meal for 2 People, Mid-range Restaurant3,000.00 ₹
McMeal at McDonald’s (or Equivalent Combo in a Food Chain Restaurant)500.00 ₹
Domestic Beer (0.5L)200.00 ₹
Imported Beer (0.33L)500.00 ₹
Regular Cappuccino200.13 ₹
Coke/Pepsi (0.33L)50.52 ₹
Water (0.33L)20.65 ₹

Cost Of Groceries & Consumer Goods In India

India is a multinational country, with people from all over the world living and working there. For this reason, it’s important to be aware of different cultural standards when it comes to food. For example, Americans are accustomed to buying fresh fruits and vegetables at their local grocery store. However, in India, you will find that most fruits and vegetables have been imported from other countries such as Pakistan, Bangladesh, and China. These fruits and vegetables are often priced higher due to the transportation costs involved.

When it comes to meat, there are many different types of meat available in India which isn’t common in America. Also, if you want to buy fish in America you will find that there are many varieties of fish available for purchase such as salmon, tilapia, tilapia, tuna, and others.

Here’s a general breakdown of the cost of various groceries and other household items:

Food ItemPrice in Indian Rupee (₹)
Regular Milk, (1L)60.93 ₹
Loaf of Fresh Bread (500g)5029 ₹
White Rice, (1Kg)70.75 ₹
Regular Eggs (12)80.60 ₹
Local Cheese (1Kg)500.94 ₹
Chicken Fillets (1Kg)362.90 ₹
Buffalo Round (1Kg) (or Equivalent Back Leg Red Meat)600.22 ₹
Apples (1Kg)120.82 ₹
Banana (1Kg)80.01 ₹
Oranges (1Kg)90.04 ₹
Tomato (1Kg)50.19 ₹
Potato (1Kg)28.88 ₹
Onion (1Kg)34.12 ₹
Lettuce (1 head)42.50 ₹
Water (1.5L)28.51 ₹
Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range)700.00 ₹
Domestic Beer (0.5l)148.46 ₹
Imported Beer (0.33L)245.72 ₹
Cigarettes 20 Pack (Marlboro)340.00 ₹

Cost Of Transportation and Commuting In India

When planning a trip, people often think about the cost of flights, hotels, and meals. While these are very important things to consider when budgeting for a trip, there is one thing that people often forget: transportation. Transportation is one of the most important parts of any trip and can be one of the most expensive especially in large cities with expansive public transportation systems. If you are planning a trip to India, here are some things that you should keep in mind when thinking about transportation:

Travelers can use cabs and rickshaws (three-wheeled vehicles) to move around the larger cities at a relatively affordable cost. However, in smaller towns, cabs and rickshaws may not be present. In this case, hiring a private car or jeep is recommended. This will be more expensive than other forms of transportation but it will give you peace of mind as these vehicles are safer than most other forms of travel in India.

Buses are cheap ways to get around all the major cities, but they’re not always the most pleasant way to travel since they tend to be crowded and hot. Buses are cheaper than trains, but they take longer and can be more uncomfortable. Taxis are expensive and usually only useful for getting around very large cities. The most common way of travel is by renting a bicycle or motorcycle, which is particularly fun in the countryside where slower vehicles don’t have to contend with traffic lights.

When riding public transportation such as buses, trains, or taxis, it is important to know where your belongings are at all times. This will help prevent them from being stolen by pickpockets or bag snatchers. It is best to wear close-fitting clothing and no large pouches or pockets to avoid victimization from theft.

TransportationPrice in Indian Rupee (₹)
One-way Ticket (Local Transport)25.00 ₹
Monthly Pass (Regular Price)750.00 ₹
Taxi Start (Normal Tariff)50.00 ₹
Taxi 1km (Normal Tariff)20.00 ₹
Taxi 1hour Waiting (Normal Tariff)100.00 ₹
Gasoline (1L)104.90 ₹
Volkswagen Golf 1.4 90 KW Trendline (Or Equivalent New Car)1,000,000.00 ₹
Toyota Corolla Sedan 1.6l 97kW Comfort (Or Equivalent New Car)1,815,901.55 ₹

Cost Of Basic Utilities In India

The cost of utilities in India is based on the cost of energy and other resources, which is different for each state. The average cost of utilities in Delhi, the capital, is 140 rupees per day—that’s about $1.75. The average cost of utilities in Mumbai, the second most populous city, is 160 rupees per day—that’s about $2.00. These costs can vary depending on the number of people living in a household, their ages, and the quality of their housing.

The cost of water varies from city to city. In some cases, it’s free for everyone, and in others, you have to pay for it. And if you do have to pay for it, the amount you pay will vary based on your usage. Pipes are sometimes shared between households so that a few people can use one meter for their shared water usage. This means that only one person has to pay for all of the water since it’s divided by how much each household uses from the meter. However, this means that someone in a nearby house could be using all of the water while you’re left without any!

In India, the cost of utilities is not fixed; they keep changing frequently. For example, the cost of electricity has been increasing annually. However, the country generates more electricity than it needs, so most of the power is exported to neighboring countries. However, even with surplus production, the Indian government is struggling to supply people with electricity in rural areas.

UtilityPrice in Indian Rupee (₹)
Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage) for 45m2 Apartment5,241.31 ₹
Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage) for 85m2 Apartment2,788.04 ₹
1 min. of Prepaid Mobile Tariff Local (No Discounts or Plans)0.93 ₹
Internet (60 Mbps or More, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL)740.28 ₹

Cost Of Entertainment In India

The cost of entertainment in India is relatively inexpensive, especially for those traveling from developed countries. These low prices are great news for travelers and locals alike since they make movies accessible to more people and likely increase demand for this form of entertainment.

In general, eating out and going to bars or clubs is more affordable in India than it would be in Western Europe and Northern America. Restaurants tend to charge a flat rate for dishes on their menus rather than charging by the plate or by weight. You’ll also likely have to pay for water if you eat at restaurants – a glass of tap water might cost as much as $0.25.

Gym memberships are around $25 per month or $300 annually. Exercise classes are available for about $5 per session or about $30 per month. Yoga mats can be purchased for less than $10, while yoga clothing is also inexpensive; one t-shirt costs around 80 cents to make and can retail for up to $6 in stores.

There are plenty of cheap options available like visiting a park, watching movies or going on a picnic. On the other hand, you can also spend a hefty amount going on a shopping spree at some mall or hotel. The cost of eating out is less compared to western countries but the transportation costs are high.

LeisurePrice in Indian Rupee (₹)
Fitness Club, Monthly Fee for 1 Adult1,587.72 ₹
Tennis Court Rent (1 Hour on Weekend)575.10 ₹
Cinema, International Release, 1 Seat300.00 ₹
iPad, wi-fi, 128GB44,424.00 ₹

Cost Of Childcare and Education In India

The cost of childcare varies widely depending on the country and city you’re living in, and on your individual needs as a parent. All other factors being equal, though, India has some of the lowest early childhood care costs in the world. An estimated 56% of children ages 3 to 4 years old are enrolled in some kind of preschool or daycare program in India.

Note that this statistic only accounts for the percentage of children who are enrolled in some kind of preschool or daycare program. It does not account for those who aren’t enrolled but are cared for by someone else (e.g., a nanny or relative) at home instead.

India presently provides a range of childcare services, from daycare centers to kindergartens to child-minding. The government subsidizes childcare to make it more affordable for families, but this has not been enough to reduce the costs.

The cost of education in India varies from region to region and from university to university. It is also very competitive to get into higher educational institutions in India. Therefore, the student has to be prepared for high tuition fees and other additional costs that come with professional education.

One must remember that there are two types of universities in India, government-funded and private. The government-run universities have low tuition fees but the number of seats as they are not constrained by the number of students they can admit. On the other hand, private universities charge a hefty amount that is limited. However, their fee structure is a bit complicated as it depends on the course you are applying for and each institution may have a different fee structure.


Despite this, some universities are subsidized by the state while others receive funding from private companies. Students with low income are eligible for scholarships and grants, which reduce the overall cost significantly.

TuitionPrice in Indian Rupee (₹)
Preschool (or Kindergarten), Full Day, Private, Monthly for 1 Child5,230.59 ₹
International Primary School, Yearly for 1 Child127,399.56 ₹
International High School, Yearly for 1 Child196,757.54 ₹
Colleges and University350,000.99 ₹
Monthly expenses (rent, groceries, commuting…) for a Student71,528.46 ₹

Cost Of Clothing, Wears & Accessories In India

The cost of clothing in India is a bargain compared to the West. The quality and variety of clothing can be astounding for the price you pay, and you’ll find plenty of choices available for every budget. Textiles are a major industry in India, with clothing being the largest export after leather and jewelry. Clothing is available at all price points; some of the best clothing can be found in the markets for local people in places like Jaipur and Agra. The majority of travelers will find their clothing needs met by shopping in markets for foreigners and other tourists, especially those in Delhi, Mumbai, and Goa.

Overall, you can expect to find much, much cheaper prices compared to those in other countries. The price range for a shirt or pants is somewhere between $3 and $15. Shoes with rubber soles are usually around $7.50, while leather shoes are around $40. If you want something fancier than that (like leather boots or sandals), you’ll pay as much as $60-80.

You can find all kinds of shops in India—from small roadside stalls to major department stores that are like those you’d find back home. There are also a lot of secondhand shops where you can get clothes for a fraction of what they cost new. All of the shops have their unique look and feel, whether it’s an enormous warehouse or a tiny hole-in-the-wall shop that sells only purses.

ClothingPrice in Indian Rupee (₹)
1 Pair of Jeans (Levi’s 501 Or Similar)2,260.96 ₹
1 Summer Dress in a Chain Store (Zara, H&M, …)2,287.24 ₹
1 Pair of Running Shoes (Adidas, Nike…)3,619.80 ₹
1 Pair of Men’s Leather Business Shoes2,782.42 ₹

Cost Of Personal and Health Care In India

The cost of healthcare in India is relatively cheap. The cost of a day in a private hospital room can be less than the cost of a midrange meal for two people in America. The quality of care is also quite good and the staff is friendly, but some ex-pats do not like the long wait times. Several hospitals cater to foreign patients where English-speaking staff are available. However, it is important to remember that medical services in India will not be covered by your travel or medical insurance plan, so you should try to purchase the appropriate coverage before arriving.

Medical facilities in the country include state-run hospitals, private hospitals, and clinics. The government has a system to provide free medical treatments to its citizens including those who are below the poverty line. The government also provides medical insurance schemes to its formal sector employees and their dependents on certain conditions.

However, the cost of advanced medical facilities can be expensive, as they are not subsidized by the government. For example, coronary bypass surgery in Mumbai costs $2,200 – $5,500 depending on the type of hospital and medical facility one chooses. The cost of a hip replacement surgery at a private hospital range from $1,400-$8,600.

The cost of a visit to a private hospital can vary but is typically between approximately $10–$25. The cost of an overnight stay in a hospital runs around $25–$100. For those with health insurance, the costs are covered by their respective plans.

The cost of personal care and makeup in India is extremely affordable. A haircut can be as little as $2 and many top-tier hair salons charge under $10. A pedicure costs about $1, while a manicure and eyebrows shaping are both less than $3. A full spa treatment including a body massage, exfoliation, and facial costs roughly $10. Costs for skincare products such as toners and cleansers are also low: a bottle of toner costs around $1, while face wash runs about 50 cents per ounce. Facial masks are available for under 50 cents each, and eye cream costs about 50 cents per ounce.

Care ProductsPrice in Indian Rupee (₹)
Cold Medicine (Tylenol, Frenadol, Coldrex, or equivalent brands)120.51 ₹
 Box of Antibiotics (12 doses)217.75 ₹
15 minutes to Private Doctor889.11 ₹
 Box of 32 Tampons (tampax, ob, …)328.14 ₹
Deodorant, Roll-on (50ml – 1.5 oz.)194. 46 ₹
Hair Shampoo 2-in-1 (400 ml – 12 oz.)227.88 ₹
4 rolls of Toilet Paper158.00 ₹
A Tube of Toothpaste77.98 ₹
Standard Men’s Haircut in the City379.79 ₹
Standard Men’s Haircut in the Suburb299.99 ₹

Cost Of Housing and Accommodation In India

Housing in India is typically cheaper than in the United States, with an average apartment rent of $500 a month. Homeownership is extremely low, however, and home rentals are uncommon. Most homes are passed down from generation to generation. The most expensive homes are in cities like Mumbai and New Delhi, but even these rent for around $1,000 a month. If you’re looking to get a place of your own, you can expect to pay between $170 and $700 per month for a small studio or one-bedroom apartment, depending on where you live.

Temporary housing is notoriously cheap, but monthly rent for permanent accommodations can be as high as $800 for an apartment with three bedrooms. It’s not unusual for these apartments to have outdated amenities like no central air conditioning (only window units), dingy carpeting, and little natural light.

Housing costs are rising quickly, especially in New Delhi and Mumbai, where new construction is happening every day and land prices are going up as a result. In most cases, rent is negotiable, so negotiate hard and don’t sign a contract without seeing the place first!

RentsPrice in Indian Rupee (₹)
Apartment (1 bedroom) in City15,022.90 ₹
Apartment (1 bedroom) in Suburb9,621.99 ₹
Apartment (2 bedrooms) in City34,333.14 ₹
Apartment (2 bedrooms) in Suburb20,933.12 ₹
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City52,738.67 ₹
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in Suburb29,311.71 ₹

For anyone thinking of buying an apartment in India right now, be warned that the price is high and rising. Although there are some affordable options, they’re getting harder to find, and even those tend to be farther out from the city center.

If you’re open to living outside of the city, you’ll have a lot more options. One thing to keep in mind even if you do stay within the city itself, though, is that all the prices listed below are for unfurnished apartments. Furnished places will cost more.

ApartmentPrice in Indian Rupee (₹)
Price per Square Meter to Buy Apartment in City Centre110,296.88 ₹
Price per Square Meter to Buy Apartment Outside of Centre56,266.18 ₹

India is a popular destination for expats looking for work, with the possibility of employment in a range of sectors including finance, insurance, and education. The income from these jobs can make it easier to navigate the country’s more expensive costs.

Whether you’re looking for an internship, a full-time job, or just a summer gig, the number of employment opportunities in India is sure to excite you. The country’s booming economy makes it an ideal place for jobs both in and out of the business world. If you’re looking for work in India’s growing media or technology sectors, or want to help the country’s booming education system, there are opportunities abound.

Employment opportunities range from teaching positions in primary and secondary schools to high-end computer programming jobs. If you’re interested in working abroad but don’t want to take a chance on an unstable economy, India is an excellent choice. Plus, with its incredible food, customs, and culture, your experience will be all the more worthwhile.

It is also a huge hub for information technology jobs, with multiple options for both students and professionals to find jobs in India. Companies offer high salaries as well as other benefits in addition to normal compensation such as housing, transportation, stock options, etc. The only requirement is that you must be willing to relocate yourself to another country.

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