Expats are likely to find that the cost of living in Kazakhstan can vary greatly from city to city, not to mention the ever-fluctuating value of the tenge, which makes it extremely difficult to generalise about common costs.

Mercer's 2019 Cost of Living Survey ranked Almaty as 191st out of 209 cities, indicating that it's a fairly cheap city to live in compared to other popular expat destinations worldwide. The situation remains unpredictable, though, so it's important for expats to make sure they're up to date with Kazakhstan's current financial situation before making any commitments.


Cost of accommodation in Kazakhstan

Some expats are lucky enough to have accommodation provided as part of their employment contract, in which case they need not worry about the expenses involved. While this used to be the norm, it is unfortunately becoming more and more rare, so most expats will need to bear this expense themselves.

Generally, accommodation costs more the closer it is to the city centre. There are a few modern apartment complexes, but old, Soviet-style apartments are more common – naturally, these are cheaper, but might not be up to the standard of living that many expats are used to.


Cost of transport in Kazakhstan

Most public transport is inexpensive. It's comparatively pricier to travel by taxi, though fares are still cheaper than many other countries around the world. It's costly to purchase a car, even second-hand, although petrol prices are usually reasonable.


Cost of food in Kazakhstan

The cost and quality of food in Kazakhstan vary according to season. In summer, local fruit and vegetables are inexpensive and of good quality. In winter, however, fruit and vegetables are expensive and tend to be poor quality goods. To keep costs down, expats should do the bulk of their shopping in local bazaars and markets.


Cost of living in Kazakhstan chart 

Prices may vary across Kazakhstan, depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for Almaty in May 2020.

Accommodation (monthly rent)

Three-bedroom apartment in city centre

KZT 250,000 - 300,000

Three-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

KZT 145,000 - 180,000

One-bedroom apartment in city centre

KZT 120,000 - 140,000 

One-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

KZT 80,000 - 110,000

Groceries

Milk (1 litre)

KZT 330

Eggs (dozen)

KZT 410

Loaf of white bread 

KZT 110

Rice (1kg)

KZT 380

1 packet of cigarettes (Marlboro)

KZT 450

Transportation

City centre bus/train fare

KZT 100

Taxi rate per kilometre

KZT 150

Eating out

Big Mac Meal

KZT 1,800

Coca-Cola (330ml)   

KZT 185

Cappuccino

KZT 800

Bottle of domestic beer

KZT 500

Three-course meal at a mid-range restaurant for two

KZT 10,000

Utilities

Mobile-to-mobile call rate (per minute)

KZT 15

Uncapped ADSL internet (per month)

KZT 4,000

Utilities (average per month for standard household)

KZT 22,000

Expat Health Insurance

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