When planning to teach in China it's important to budget how much you will be spending so you can do all the things you plan, visit all the places you intend to go and not have to worry about money issues once you are there. Many expat teachers wonder what is the cost of living in China.
How much money do I need to live in Beijing/Shanghai?
Generally speaking, Beijing/Shanghai is relatively cheap compared to western countries. Taxis, subways and local restaurant meals are cheap. However, your lifestyle will play a big part in how much you spend. For example, eating out in Western restaurants, going to clubs, mode of transport, standard of accommodation etc will affect your spending and how much you need to budget.
Eating outside in a western restaurant is very expensive compared to eat at home or in a local Chinese restaurant. Apartment cost depends on which area you live in, usually far from the downtown area is cheaper. The apartment can be very comfortable and good furniture for around 3000-4000 RMB per month in Beijing and Shanghai.
Cooking at home - local groceries costing 20–40RMB a day would suffice.
Eating out or takeaway - costs around 20-30RMB per meal for Chinese food.
Western food - would cost anywhere between 35RMB to hundreds of RMB per meal
Coffee shops (Starbucks etc)
Cheap bars: 30-50rmb per drink
Normal bars: 50-100rmb per drink
Orange: 10rmb/kg for local oranges
Mineral Water (250ml): 3-5rmb
Coke (355ml): 5rmb
Beer (355ml): 5-10rmb
Canned Coffee: 5-10rmb
Milk (250ml): 5-10rmb
Ice cream: 5-10rmb for normal Ice cream, in dessert shop will cost more
Daily Newspaper ï¼?1-2rmb
Hair Cutï¼? 30-100rmb
Bus: 2rmb one way ticket. Bus is convenient in China but very cowed especially in rush hour.
Taxi: starting price 12/km
Subway: 6-10rmb depends on where you go
Daily cost depends on which cities you live in, generally, big cities in China like Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou and Guangzhou, Shenzhen will cost more. Small cities cost less. However, keep in mind, usually the cost of living in a smaller cities are not so less. The daily expenses between big cities and small cities are not big difference.