Before your stay, How-to Guides

How Much to Budget for Living in China

So, you want to come to China for an internship. You may be wondering, ‘How much money should I budget for daily life in China?’ Well, good news! If spent wisely, your money can get you far. Daily costs are generally inexpensive and you can dine out cheaply compared to other destinations. Food comes at a cheap price, with an average restaurant charging around 20 RMB for a meal. Drinks can also vary with prices but local beers can cost 7 RMB. However, you may want to save up some money when wanting to visit tourist locations and splash out on Western food or BBQs.

What is the exchange rate?

For the current exchange rates, please see here. (https://www.xe.com/currency/eur-euro/)

1 GBP = 8.4

1 USD = 6.4

1 AUD = 4.5

1 CAD = 4.9

1 NZD = 4.3

**Exchange rates as of 02/12/2021

What kind of budget in China is right for me?

Your individual lifestyle is the main factor that will determine your budget. It will vary depending on what transportation you decide to take, personal dining preferences, nightlife and more.

WEEKLY/MONTHLY EXPENSES

Below, we have put together some budget estimates of your expenses in daily life during your time on your internship. In general, you can live on a low budget and still be able to live quite well. For those looking to spend a little more, there are also medium and high budget estimates. See which budget is right for you!

Getting around China is cheap and efficient. Luckily, their public transit is modern and reliable to get around the city but it may get crowded even outside rush hour. Travelling via the bus, taxi and metro are all easy routes depending on where you are in China. For example, in Shanghai the starting price of a taxi may be 14 RMB, however in Chengdu it can be as cheap as 8 RMB. Nevertheless, transport is considerably cheaper than the West.

(For food, all apartments will have kitchens, so you will have the option to cook your own meals.) Food at supermarkets are affordable, but you may find that some discount shops such as Lotte Mart or Walmart will make your money last.

Click to browse Low, Medium & High budget ranges.

For those looking to save money while still having fun and trying new things.

Expense TypeCost per weekDescription
Transport60 RMBTransport using buses and walking (4 RMB per trip)
Food300 RMBShop at local marts (260 RMB); Lunch out (20 RMB); Dinner out (20 RMB)
Treats200 RMBOne night out with a few drinks and taxi
Extras290 RMBGoing to museums/cinema
Avg weekly850 RMB
Avg monthly3400 RMB

For those who go to the gym, eat out more or spend more in other ways.

Expense TypeCost per weekDescription
Transport80 RMBTransport using subway and buses
Food360 RMBShop at local marts (300 RMB); Lunch and dinner with mix of Asian and Western food (60 RMB)
Treats300 RMBCouple nights out with drinks and taxi
Extras340 RMBGoing to museums/cinema/gym
Avg weekly1080 RMB
Avg monthly4320 RMB

For those who would like to spend more on cocktail bars, taxis or shopping. 

Expense TypeCost per weekDescription
Transport100 RMBUsing subway, buses and taxis everywhere
Food440 RMBShop at western marts (340 RMB); Lunch and dinner with Western food (100 RMB)
Treats390 RMBNights out at classy clubs with drinks and taxi/clothes shopping
Extras480 RMBGoing to museums/cinema/gym membership/individual travel
Avg weekly1410 RMB
Travel1280 RMBGoing on a weekend trip
Avg monthly6920 RMB

As you can see, you don’t need too much money to enjoy life in China. Be careful when you have a craving to buy a western coffee or plan to travel to the more expensive cities. Not everything is cheaper in China, and all the little costs can quite quickly add up. So it’s important to find the right budget for you.

For international payments, we always recommend using TransferWise. They’re cheaper than the banks, because they always use the real exchange rate – which you can check out on Google – and charge a very small fee. They’re also safe and trusted by over 2 million people around the world. You can sign up here. (https://wise.com/?clickref=1011lijaZwQY&partnerID=1100l59541&utm_medium=affiliate&utm_campaign=0&adref=&utm_source=pagodaprojects&partnerizecampaignID=1011l727)