Cost of living in Xian China

Recently a reader wrote me because she’s going to be moving here to Xian and asked some questions about the cost of living and what not. Well this made my day, because I had written this info before, but realized it would be good to post it here. I hope this gives a clear picture to anyone moving to Xian and to you at home wanting to know more about life in China. Enjoy!

I should note that all prices are in US dollars ($), but I also add the Chinese currency of RMB… if you’re in to that.

Monthly Expenses

Average Monthly rent - $150-$440 (1000 - 3000 RMB) Obviously depending on size and location you have some difference, but this is the general price range for apartments here.

Electricity - This is about $60 (400 RMB) a month, but obviously it’s different depending on how much you use and what not.

Gas - $15 (100 RMB) every month (or so), this is your gas for heating your water and your gas stove.

Water, Garbage removal, Elevator fees and Guard fees - Are all included in one monthly fee which is about $50 (300 RMB) a month

Drinking water - $15 (100 RMB) a month is what you can expect to pay for your drinkable water. It’s set up like the Culligan water system, where you have a dispenser and when your water runs out you call the company and they deliver a new bottle of water to you.

Monthly cell phone fees - In China you don’t sign a contract with your cell phone company to use your minutes, it’s all pay as you go… This is about $15 (100 RMB) a month, but can be more depending on how much you use your phone.

Internet - This is can also be pay as you go (or a standard monthly fee), depending on how much you download and what not. But $20 a month seems to be a pretty standard amount to spend.

Taxis - For me to go to 90% of the places I normally travel to in Xian I can expect to spend on average $1-$4 (6-24 RMB) that includes the downtown area.

Buses - If you ride the bus it’s about $.12-$.25 (1-2 RMB) to go anywhere on that particular bus route. There are TONS of bus routes and you can get to a lot of places using the buses, it’s just crowded, uncomfortable and you need to make sure no one steals from you. Besides that its great!

Basic Chinese meal - noodles or rice is as basic as you get (and very good) and they come in at about $1 (6 RMB) per meal. NOT BAD!

4-5 dishes and rice - When we eat as a family and have people over we order about this much and it’s usually about $7 (50 RMB).

Nice Chinese meal for two - To go out and eat Beijing Roast Duck (SO GOOD!!!!) it’s about $15 (100 RMB)

Eating Western fastfood - To give you an idea it’s about $3 (21 RMB) for Big Mac meal (no refills on soda however… sad face)

Eating Western Pizza - This is important for anyone who loves pizza to know. So for a large pepperoni pizza you will spend somewhere between $11-$17 (Papa John’s is the most expensive)

Average total fees I counted about $500 (averaging the apartment) a month. But that doesn't include food and transportation (only because that is totally different for each situation, but I left the prices above for you to add up and include), this total also doesn't include some things that you need to consider that aren't part of your monthly expenses, which are located below.

Non monthly expenses to know about

Deposit on your apartment - It should also be noted that (at least here in Xian) you need to put a deposit on your apartment down of a month or two’s rent (I can’t remember now what it is).

Real estate agent fee - Also to be noted is that when you get an apartment through a real estate agent you need to pay a month’s rent as your fee for them helping you. Most of the time (unless you know someone wanting to rent a home) you need to go through an agent to get an apartment here.

Heating - During the summer months in most cases you need to pay for your heaters to come on. It’s all regulated by a company and you can’t turn it on and off as you wish (in most cases). It can be pretty spendy coming in at about $400 (2700 RMB), but depends on the size of your apartment.

Cell phone - You get what you pay for and you can find pretty much anything here. You need be careful of fakes so trust who or where you’re buying from, but you can expect to spend $30-$1500 (200-10,000 RMB). And yes you can buy ridiculously expensive $1500 phones here.

Visas - This also needs to be mentioned as it can be spendy (especially for a family) to get new visas every year. I won't put the price because it changes so much and you will need to find the price when you decide to come. If you're moving here as a family you should know that only your spouse needs to either work or study for them to get a visa, then you can and your kids can get temporary resident visas. This means that both spouses don't need to be enrolled in college and/or both working. Just a side note for all you families.

Enjoy this day,

P.S. Please email me or leave a comment here if you have further questions I can help you with!

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Anonymous said...

Awesome blog, thank you for leaving your link. I have followed a will visit back often:)

the petersons said...

Thanks for the encouragement! Hope that your blogging experience continues to go well also.

Senecaz said...

I have followed you too Matt. Here's my blog again www.mw2guides.blogspot.com thanks.

the petersons said...

Thanks for following us! Drop in again when you have some time and see what we're up too!

rob said...

Great info, might be passing through xian in late May - nothing definite, but might! Good info all the same :) Thanks

the petersons said...

Thanks Rob for your encouragment, let me know if there's anything I can help you with.

Evergreen Home Inspections said...

Matt, I need a house for me my wife and five children. What do you guesstimate those run per month? Thanks for the post.

Can you email me at jlewis10@georgefox.edu

M Hari said...

thank you Matt.. I am coming to Xian on the 23rd of May and will be joining my company from the 24th. These infos were useful to a greater extend to plan my life there. Thank you

M Hari said...

Thank you Matt for these valuable infos. I am coming to xian on the 23rd of May and will start my job from the 24th...

M Hari said...

Thank you Matt for these valuable infos. I am coming to xian on the 23rd of May and will start my job from the 24th...