Cost of Living in China
Low cost of living
Although prices in China are rising, the cost of living still compares favorably to most industrialized countries. You will be amazed by how comfortably you can live and how strong your purchasing power is. You can afford a lifestyle you are unlikely to be enjoying at home: get a housekeeper, travel every month, enjoy frequent restaurant meals, massages, and nights on the town. Even wear tailor-made clothes!
Food prices in China
Eating local food and buying produce from the Chinese markets gives our English teachers amazing insight into the Chinese diet and a glimpse at traditional Eastern medicine. It also leaves them with money in their pockets for massages and traveling.
- Milk (1L) : 7 RMB
- Eggs (12) : 7 RMB
- Carrots (1kg) : 5 RMB
- Chicken breast (1kg) : 15 RMB
- Rice (1kg) : 8 RMB
- Bottle of water (1.5L) : 3 RMB
- Bottle of Chinese beer (.5L) : 4 RMB
Leisure activities in China
China has a wide range of regional cuisines and eating out is the best way to discover this variety. Chinese people eat out frequently and often entertain friends and colleagues in restaurants instead of having them into their homes. Whether you're enjoying a meal with friends, working out at the fitness club, or getting a massage, you'll find that leisure activities are often very affordable in China.
- Three course mid-range restaurant dinner : 80 RMB
- Quick restaurant meal of rice or noodles : 25 RMB
- Large steamed dumplings, a common street food : 3 RMB
- Housekeeper (2 hours) : 30 RMB
- Massage (30 min) : 40 RMB
- 1 month fitness club membership : 150 RMB
- Movie ticket, international release : 65 RMB
Cost of transportation in China
China has excellent, yet inexpensive, public transport and even taxi rides are quite reasonably-priced, if sometimes harrowing. Chinese people often commute by bicycle, but this mode of transport is only for the bravest of foreigners.
- Metro ride : 3 RMB
- Taxi rate per km : 2.2 RMB
- 20-min taxi ride across town : 25 RMB
- City bus : 2 RMB
Inexpensive travel in China and beyond
Any traveler on a budget will love taking trains in China. Trains are numerous and increasingly high speed rail services connect large regional cities. Domestic flights are also usually inexpensive. There is some seasonal variation and prices rise during national holidays like Chinese New Year.
- 1 night in a mid-range hotel : 350 RMB
- High speed train, Guangzhou to Wuhan (3 hours): 490 RMB
- Slow train, Guangzhou to Wuhan (10 hours) : 120 RMB
- Flight, Guangzhou to Beijing (2 hours) : 800 RMB
- Flight, Guangzhou to Bangkok (3 hours) : 1300 RMB
Reasonably priced custom made clothes
The cost of having clothes tailor made is very affordable. Once you discover the joys of custom-fit clothing, it may be difficult to go back to the rack!
- 1 tailor-made button down shirt : 150 RMB
- 1 tailor-made skirt : 150 RMB
- 1 tailor-made business suit : 500 RMB
- T-shirt : 50 RMB
- Pair of jeans : 200 RMB
Sample EF English teacher monthly budget
To give you an idea of how an average EF English teacher in China spends his or her salary, here is a sample monthly budget:
- Gross Income (Salary) : 12,350 RMB
- Rent : 3500 RMB
- Utilities (electricity, gas, water) : 250 RMB
- Phone & Internet : 300 RMB
- Food : 1500 RMB
- Insurance : 295 RMB
- Remaining Disposable Income : 6,505 RMB
Note: All China cost of living estimates are approximate averages for large Chinese cities. Prices do change and vary from location to location.