Cost of Living in Hungary
The cost of living in Hungary is on a par with, or just below, that of other European countries. The capital, Budapest, achieved a relatively low rank of 165th out of 209 cities in the Mercer Cost of Living Survey for 2016. With a low rank indicating a low cost of living, this is good news for expats on a budget.
Another plus is that expats tend to earn higher salaries than their Hungarian counterparts, which affords them a better quality of life. However, as with anywhere, there are certain aspects of life that can be expensive and expats should adjust their budgets accordingly.
Cost of accommodation in Hungary
The primary expense facing expats in Hungary is accommodation. This is especially the case for those living in urban areas, such as Budapest.
Naturally, the cost of accommodation in Hungary will largely depend on the location, size and condition of the residence. However, it is not unheard of for residents of Budapest so spend more than half their monthly salary on the combined cost of rent, mandatory household maintenance fees and utilities.
Cost of food in Hungary
After accommodation, the next largest expense for most people in Hungary is food, which accounts for approximately a quarter of the average Hungarian resident’s monthly salary. Expats longing for a taste of home may well find something to satiate their cravings at a Hungarian supermarket but imported goods can be very expensive. Ideally, expats should buy only local goods as this can bring the final grocery bill down drastically, as can shopping for fresh produce at local markets.
Cost of eating out and entertainment in Hungary
There are many good restaurants in Hungary tailored to a variety of budgets, so the amount spent on eating out really depends on an expat's choice of restaurant. It's entirely possible to eat out on a small budget, though this will, of course, cost more than cooking at home. Meanwhile, there are also fine dining options for those looking to splash out – but most expats will only be able to afford to treat themselves to this kind of indulgence occasionally.
Remember that tipping is mandatory in Hungary and should be taken into account when budgeting to eat out.
Imported wine and beer is pricey but expats fond of a drink or two will be pleased to know that Hungarian wine and beer is of good quality and is much friendlier on the wallet.
Cost of transport in Hungary
Hungary's well-developed public transport system is not only convenient but also extremely affordable. For a very reasonable price, a monthly ticket can be purchased which provides access to an unlimited number of trips across trams, buses, boats and, in Budapest, the metro.
Cost of education in Hungary
Expats with children who are well-versed in Hungarian or young enough to learn the language as they go can benefit from the free public school system, which will eliminate a substantial expense. Those keener on international schooling for their young ones, however, will have to deal with the predictably high fees of international schools. In such a case, education can be one of the largest expenses for expats in Hungary.
Cost of healthcare in Hungary
Healthcare should not be too considerable an expense for expats in Hungary as anyone employed in the country can make use of its free or highly subsidised healthcare services. The quality of healthcare in Hungary is on par with most countries in Western Europe and it is even making a name for itself as a prominent medical tourism destination. Private healthcare in Hungary is of a high standard and is relatively cheap compared to that of western countries.
Cost of living in Hungary chartPrices may vary depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for Budapest for September 2016.
|Furnished two bedroom house||HUF 300,000|
|Unfurnished two bedroom house||HUF 240,000|
|Furnished two bedroom apartment||HUF 200,000|
|Unfurnished two bedroom apartment||HUF 150,000|
|Dozen eggs||HUF 510|
|Milk (1 litre)||HUF 230|
|Rice (1 kg)||HUF 300|
|Loaf of white bread||HUF 185|
|Chicken breasts (1kg)||HUF 1,500|
|Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)||HUF 1,100|
|Big Mac meal||HUF 1,500|
|Coca Cola (330ml)||HUF 260|
|Bottle of beer (local)||HUF 400|
|Three-course meal at a mid-range restaurant||HUF 4,000|
|Mobile call rate (per minute – mobile to mobile)||HUF 35|
|Internet (Uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)||HUF 4,200|
|Basic utilities (Average per month for standard household)||HUF 40,000|
|Bus fare in the city centre||HUF 350|
|Gasoline (per litre)||HUF 340|