The cost of living in Moscow is undeniably high. According to Mercer’s Cost of Living Survey for 2020, Moscow was ranked as the 21st most expensive city out of 209 cities, making it more expensive than Dubai, Copenhagen and Paris. 

That said, expats working in Moscow who earn a decent salary may find living here reasonably affordable, especially in comparison to major world cities such as New York and London. Additionally, expats may be lured to Moscow by lucrative employment packages which offer benefits including private health insurance, a driver and schooling allowances. This is a definite plus when making the move, especially for expat families and new arrivals hoping to save money on their expat stint.

Cost of accommodation in Moscow

Housing will likely be an expat’s largest expense in the Russian capital. Expats living in central areas can expect to spend over a third of their monthly salary on rent. New arrivals looking for accommodation on a budget are recommended to consider exploring the areas and suburbs outside of the city centre, while still bearing in mind transport connections.

Additionally, while utilities may be cheaper than in major European capitals, expats in Moscow should budget for water, electricity and gas costs. These are not always included in the monthly rental and could be additional expenses.

Cost of transport in Moscow

From the metro, buses and minibus shuttles known as marshrutka to taxis and driving, there are many options for getting around. Each come with their own costs, and expats may be pleasantly surprised by the affordability of transport in Moscow. Public transport tickets are fairly cheap, and petrol prices also fall below the global average.

Expats who plan on driving in Moscow may invest in car insurance while others may hire a driver, and these may add to the general expenses.

Education and schools in Moscow

Families relocating with children face the high burden of school fees. Most expats who face a language barrier in Russia send their children to a private or international school which follows the same language and curriculum to their home country. Fees at international schools can be exorbitant, and preschool fees for young children are also high. Where possible, we recommend expats negotiate an allowance for school fees in their employment contract.

Cost of living chart for Moscow

Prices may vary depending on product and service provider. The list below shows the average cost of living in Moscow in January 2021.

Accommodation (monthly)

One-bedroom apartment in city centre

 RUB 65,000

One-bedroom apartment outside city centre

 RUB 35,500 

Three-bedroom apartment in city centre

 RUB 133,000 

Three-bedroom apartment outside city centre

 RUB 66,600 


Eggs (dozen) 

 RUB 94

Milk (1 litre)

 RUB 70

Rice (1kg)

 RUB 84

Loaf of white bread

 RUB 43

Chicken breasts (1kg)

 RUB 280

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

 RUB 160

Eating out

Big Mac Meal

 RUB 300

Coca-Cola (330ml)

 RUB 61


 RUB 168

Local beer (500ml)

 RUB 200

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

 RUB 3,000


Mobile-to-mobile call rate (per minute) 

 RUB 2.25

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)

 RUB 470

Basic utilities (per month for a small apartment)

 RUB 8,650


Taxi rate (per kilometre)

 RUB 15

Bus/train fare to the city centre

 RUB 50

Petrol/gasoline (per litre)

 RUB 47

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