The Living Costs in Five Major Indian Cities for an Expatriate in India

Cost of Living for an Expatriate in India India has been developing rapidly, with all its industries witnessing a boom in the last two decades. The nation’s urbanization and globalization and the availability of abundant jobs and business opportunities are the reason why people from many countries are shifting here and being expatriate in India.

However, suppose you are thinking of relocating to India. In that case, you need to be aware of many facts beforehand, such as the nation’s cultural diversity and the average cost of living you can expect. With this knowledge, any expatriate in India can expect to live a high-quality life while fulfilling career goals.


Factors that Determine Living Costs in India

Your cost of living will be directly related to the place you choose to live in and the lifestyle you adopt. The biggest expense you can expect is accommodation, especially in big cities like Delhi and Mumbai.

Housing costs depend very much on conditions like:

  • Distance from the city
  • Property’s age
  • Amenities you receive.

Other expenses like food, clothing, transport, and education will be moderate since you have many options available in India. For food, you have tiffin services that supply home-cooked food, restaurants, snack shops, and apps that deliver directly to your home. The nation’s well-developed public transport system everywhere makes travelling very convenient and cheaper.

To help you understand your expenses better, we provide useful information about what costs you can expect in India’s five major cities.



The Indian capital city attracts thousands of people from all around the world. An expatriate in India will find living in this multicultural city a pleasant experience.

Housing expenses: Delhi has housing options for budget, as well as a luxurious living. If you are a bachelor’s or a student with a limited budget, you can get PG accommodation for INR 3000 to 4000 with food. If you are renting a flat, a 1 BHK will cost anywhere between INR 5000 to 8000 in areas like Uttam Nagar.

Utilities: Delhi experiences severe winters and summers. So, you can expect a high bill for cooling and heating with your bill in the range of INR 1000 to 2000 per month. Expenses for other utilities like internet, phone, gas, and television will come up to around INR 2500 to 5000 per month.

Transportation: In Delhi, you can commute by autos, taxis, DTC buses, and metro trains. On average, your transportation expenses will be in the range of INR 900 to 2000 per month.

Food: Cooking at home would be the cheapest option in Delhi. Groceries will cost you around INR 2500 to 3500 for a month if you are a bachelor. If you have a family, your expenses will be in the range of around INR 3500 to 5000. You can also opt to hire a cook to prepare your meals. If that is not an option, by limiting the number of times you eat outside, you can bring your food expenses to around INR 3000 to 4000 per month. Eating a meal at an inexpensive restaurant will cost around INR 35 to 160 per meal, while in a mid-range restaurant, it will be around INR 250 at least per meal.

Leisure: Average entertainment costs like watching a movie at a theatre, gym expenses, or playing games at clubs can cost around INR 1000 onwards per month.

Kids education: Schooling costs are a bit on the expensive side in Delhi. But, there are government schools where the fees are economical. You can expect to pay around INR 3000 to 6000 per month for primary education or kindergarten. For secondary education, it can go up to nearly INR 15000 per month.



People from all over the country flock to Mumbai, India’s financial capital, to earn a living because of the availability of innumerable job and investment opportunities. However, living in the city can be pretty expensive. It depends on what type of lifestyle you adopt and whether you are a student, bachelor, family person, or a married couple.

Housing expenses: The rents depend on the area of your choice. Rents can go as high as INR 25000 to 50000 per month in Juhu or South Mumbai areas. Bachelors can rent affordable co-living spaces for around INR 5000 to 9000 per month in areas like Navi Mumbai or Thane. If you are with your family, you can rent a decent 1 BHK for INR 7500 to 15000 per month.

Utilities: Electricity bills will be around INR 1000 to 3000 per month. Utilities like the internet, cable, TV, Gas, the phone will add up to around INR 2000 to 5000 per month. It depends on your location and accommodation type.

Transportation: Public transport is the best option in Mumbai for travel. Local trains, metros, BEST buses, autos, and taxis are economical options. Monthly passes for trains would be around INR 200 to 800 per month, depending on the distance and comfort chosen (first-class, AC). Total transportation expenses per month would be around INR 1000 to 3000 per month.

Food: You get multiple food options like cooking yourself, hiring a cook, or arranging a Tiffin service. Tiffin services can cost around INR 1500 to 2500 per month. You can also order food through apps like Swiggy or Zomato. Eating out can be expensive or cheap, depending on the restaurant you choose. You can eat for INR 50 to 150 at a small food outlet or order a meal for two at INR 1500 in a posh restaurant. Grocery expenses per month will be around at least INR 3000 per month.

Leisure: Activities like watching movies, visiting malls, shopping, or going to gyms can cause expenses around at least INR 1000 per month.

Kids education: Schooling can be expensive here, but you can also opt for government schools with lower fees. The fees for primary education will be around INR 2500 to 16000 per month, depending on the school type.



Kolkata is known, the City of Joy is one of the most affordable cities to live in for an expatriate in India. Compared to other cities, expenses like housing rentals are much lower. There are many suitable places where you can stay comfortably with your family. People in the town are amicable and helpful.

Housing expenses: The housing rentals are affordable, especially in places like Kalighat, Howrah, and Bhawanipur, and are in the range of INR 3000+ per month. Outside the cities, you can rent a 1 BHK at around INR 4000 onwards per month. The rentals for PG accommodation start at INR 4000 per month.

Utilities: You can expect an electricity bill of around at least INR 1500 for a month. Your mobile’s prepaid bill will be around at least INR 200. Your internet expenses for unlimited data will be INR 450 onwards per month.

Transportation: You can travel anywhere in Kolkata using reliable public transport services like the Kolkata Metro, city bus, rickshaws, taxis, or tram lines. You can get a monthly bus pass at INR 500. Taxi fares start as low as INR 13 for a kilometre.

Food: If you cook your food, your grocery expenses for a month will be roughly around at least INR 2500 per month. If you want to eat out, Kolkata provides various food options, from street food to famous restaurants. You can get a good meal for as low as INR 25. You can also eat at popular outlets like McDonald’s.

Leisure: You can spend your free time watching movies in cinema halls at INR 200 per seat, or playing at tennis courts at INR 300 per hour. Monthly fees for gyms come to around INR 500 to 3000 per month.

Kids education: School fees are more affordable than other cities like Delhi and are about INR 2000 to 9000 per month for kindergarten or preschool levels.



Career-minded people prefer the capital city of Tamil Nadu for a living. It is due to its excellent infrastructure, educational facilities, and availability of jobs in big companies. The low accommodation costs and excellent life quality make it the ideal place for students.

Housing expenses: You get plenty of affordable stay options in the city, such as PG accommodation available at INR 4000 onwards. You can rent a 1 BHK apartment at around INR 6000+ at some affordable areas of the city, while in affluent areas like Anna Nagar, the rentals may go up to INR 25000 per month.

Utilities: In the city, your average utility bill may be around INR 2000 to 5000 based on your area of residence. Your light bill itself may come to around at least INR 1500 per month. Water is scarce in some places, and so, the costs are not the same everywhere.

Transportation: You can expect your monthly transportation expenses to be in the range of at least INR 1000 onwards. The metropolitan city offers many modes of travel, such as metro trains, cab services, rickshaws, hired taxis, local trains, and buses. The bus network is the most affordable and takes you to any part of the city at cheap rates.

Food: You can get South Indian food at affordable rates at street-side stalls and restaurants. At an inexpensive restaurant, a three-course meal will cost around INR 70, while you may have to pay at least INR 300 for such a meal at a mid-range restaurant. Cooking your meals will save you a lot of money and is a healthier option. If you are a bachelor, grocery expenses will amount to at least INR 1500 and families around INR 5000 per month.

Leisure: Watching a movie at a cinema hall will set you back by at least INR 100 for a seat. Monthly fees for your gym workout can be anywhere between INR 500 onwards.

Kids Education: Chennai is known for its high education standards and has both government and private school options. Depending on the school’s reputation and your financial capacity, you can provide primary education for your kids at fees starting from INR 3000 to 10000 per month.



The vibrant city of Nawabs, with its rich culture, is a delightful place to stay for an expatriate in India. The cost of living is less compared to most other Indian cities. The abundant job options and excellent life quality make Hyderabad the chosen destination for many.

Housing expenses: If you are looking for affordable PG accommodation, you can find them at places like L.B. Nagar or Himayathnagar, where the rentals begin at INR 3500. A 1 BHK in such an area will cost about INR 5000 onwards and a 2 BHK around INR 8000+.

Utilities: Your monthly bill for utilities like electricity, phone, internet, cable, gas connection will be about INR 1500 onwards, depending on the area you reside in and your type of house.

Transportation: The public transport system is well-developed in the city with options like the MMTS, the local train network, the RTC bus service with tickets as low as INR 7, metro train service, autorickshaws, cabs, and car rentals.

Food: Hyderabad is famous worldwide for its food, especially its dishes like the Hyderabadi Biryani. There are many food options available in the city, but you should opt to cook at home to reduce your expenses. Your monthly groceries will amount to around INR 5000 per month. You also have the option to hire someone to cook for you or utilize the home delivery options. Overall, your monthly food bill will come to at least INR 3000 per month if you dine outside.

Leisure: Your monthly entertainment expenditure will be around INR 2000+, depending on what you spend your money on, like visiting pubs or spending evenings at tourist spots like the Charminar.

Kids Education: The metropolitan city gives you many schooling options, and the fees depend on the area and the amenities you get. Pre-schools or Kindergarten schools may charge you around INR 15000+ or lower, based on their location. There are international schools available with fees around INR 75000+ per month.

Cost of Living for an Expatriate in India


Balancing Life as an Expatriate in India

With proper management of financial resources, an expatriate in India can live a good-quality lifestyle with his family. Initially, you can bring down your living costs to a great extent by cooking at home. You can also use public transport more often, and provide education to your kids at a local school. With improvements in income, you can elevate your lifestyle by educating your kids at an international school, travel abroad for vacations, or buy a four-wheeler for commuting.