salaries-cost-of-living-ukraineDue to rapid adjustments in exchange rates, the dollar value of Ukrainian salaries and costs of living changed dramatically in 2013-2015.

Can you live on $50/month in your country? In Ukraine, you can.

(Read the report on the actual trial below.)

Changes in Ukrainian Salaries (in USD)

The dollar value of an average Ukrainian salary dropped about 2 times since mid-2013, due to the exchange rate fluctuations: 49-62% depending on the region.

The hryvnia value of wages slightly increased at the same time.

The map below demonstrates how the average salary changed by the region since June 2013.

  • The average income per person during this period decreased in Ukraine from US $429 to $200, reported KP.ua.
  • Salaries in Kiev are still the highest in the country: 6900 hryvnia/month ($314) in 2015 as compared to 5238 hryvnia/month ($655) in 2013.
  • Termopil and Chernivtsy have the lowest salaries, nearly 1/3 lower than on average country-wide.

 

Salaries in Ukraine 2015

Values of salaries in Ukraine in 2015 (USD), by region — click to enlarge. (Graphics: KP.ua)

Costs of Living in Ukraine

Prices for goods and services increased as the value of hryvnia, the local Ukrainian currency, dropped.

Hryvnia to US Dollars

Costs of living in Ukraine increased since 2013.

17 September 2015 Ukrainian Rada approved a raise in the official minimum of the costs of living from 1176 to 1330 hryvnia/month, and the minimum salary from 1218 to 1378 hryvnia/month. The changes will be implemented from 1 December 2015.

Accordingly, the minimum hourly wages changed from 7.29 to 8.25 hryvnia ($0.33 to $0.38 per hour).

Official minimum costs of living for different categories of people (per month):

  • Children 0-5 years old: 1167 hryvnia ($53)
  • Children 6-17: 1455 hryvnia ($67)
  • Adults 18+: 1374 hryvnia ($63)
  • Disabled: 1074 hryvnia ($49)

What Professionals Think

However, experts say that the real costs of living in Ukraine is higher than even the newly modified official numbers.

Andrey Vigiringsky, the deputy director of the company “Public Audit”, stated that their calculations were made on the basis of the factual costs of living and inlfation, in order to match the standards of in 2013, reported, reported Finance.ua.

  • According to “Public Audit”, the minimum salary should be 2487 hryvnia/month, and pensions 1938 hryvnia/month.
  • Economist Andrey Martynyuk agrees that the minimum salary should be at least 2,500 hryvnia/month.
  • Kiev’s lawyer Stanislav Batrin believes that the costs of living should be raised to 7,000 hryvnia/month within 3 years.
  • According to UBS rating released in September 2015, Kiev is the cheapest capital in the world to live in. The report published by the bank states that a family needs $1237/month to get by in the Ukrainian capital, with the further $540 required to pay the rent. (Those numbers are substantially higher than what locals actually live on.) Kiev is also at the bottom of wage charts by UBS.
  • Local realtors say that the average price for renting a studio apartment in Kiev is around $230/month. Larger apartments will cost more. Regional prices for apartment rent are significantly lower.

Video Report: How I Lived on The Minimal Salary for 30 Days

Dmitry Chistyakov, a reporter of the Ukrainian TV show “Utro” (“Morning”) lived for a month on the minimum salary, which is currently 1218 hryvnia (around US $50).

living-on-minimal-salary-in-ukraine

Dmitry Chistyakov lived for 30 days on the minimal Ukrainian salary of 1218 hryvnia (US$50). By the end of the month, he had 23.81 hryvnia left (around $1).

He managed to survive on this amount, and even had 23 hryvnia left at the end, which happened because of unexpected savings on bills. He had no food left at home.

However, his conclusion was, “You cannot live like this, you can barely survive”.

Half of his “salary” allowance the journalist allocated to paying for electricity and communal services for his apartment, which he owns, and purchasing a monthly travel pass for public transport. Chistyakov purchased the pass for 200 hryvnia ($9.17), and left 400 ($18.35) for bills at the end of the month.

An unexpected health problem, a strained ankle, forced him to fork out 100 hryvnia ($4.59), which he had to spend on buying the cheapest bandage in a pharmacy. The trip to the doctor was covered by the medical insurance.

Chistyakov lived mostly on vegetable soups, breads, and porridges, forced to purchase the cheapest (damaged) vegetables in the markets, in order to fit in his monthly budget.

300 hryvnia ($14) was spent on food in 1 month. He cooked himself.

The reporter lost 10 kg (22 lbs) during the month.

“I am happy that the experiment is finished,” the brave writer announced at the end. “I don’t feel very well.”

living-on-minimal-salary-in-ukraine-1

“What am I going to feed you? Let’s make some porridge.”

His dog was another expense that he realized was unaffordable for a person on a minimal salary. For 2 weeks his friends were looking after the dog, but the last weeks he had to feed the dog himself. This forced him to save even more on his own meals.

The same with dating: The single guy could only afford to take his date for a walk or watch a free movie in a park.

“It’s OK now, but what do you do when it becomes colder and starts raining?” he asked.

Buying drinks or even a coffee in a cafe would be unaffordable, he concluded.

Dmitry managed to purchase 2 shirts (10 hryvnia each) at a second hand shop. “To buy warmer clothing, one would have to save for months,” he stated.

He doesn’t mention the costs of Internet and mobile phone, which are negligible in Ukraine.

By the end of the month the correspondent had 23 hryvnia left. It happened because Dmitry planned to spend 400 hryvnia on water and electricity bills, and it only cost him 376 hryvnia.

Facts about costs of living in Ukraine:

  • Every 4th Ukrainian lives on this monthly amount (1218 hryvnia/month).
  • The minimal pension in Ukraine is currently 949 hryvnia.
  • The actual average salary in Kiev is $314 (6900 hryvnia) per month, which is 6 times more than the amount the correspondent was forced to live on.
  • Prices for food and services in regions are lower than in the capital.

 

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Larry Saloff
Guest

Interesting article. It makes you think about possibly retiring there since a North American salary in retirement could go a long way . Maybe 6 months in the Ukraine and six months at home in Canada. Vacations also would be a great option. Thanks for the great information.

Max Herrera
Guest

come to Mexico to retire, it’s a nice and beautiful place and you will be close from home in Canada as well. We as Mexicans welcome everybody. Mexicans are a friendly and warm type of people.

Cheers from Baja mexico

Derek Hay
Guest

Their seems to be some confusion in this blog between Hryvnia and USD which leaves me the reader confused. For example “17 September 2015 Ukrainian Rada approved a raise in the official minimum of the costs of living from 1176 to 1330 hryvnia/month, and the minimum salary from 1218 to $1378 hryvnia/month. ” Please can you explain. The main thing seen though is that is beneficial to me a foreigner from the UK to consider in living there with a partner from the Ukraine; a very big plus and it will encourage many men.

Наталья
Guest

Not only the general level matters. Everything depends on a person, the way of living. Some people think that they have enough money and spend not much. But other people can spend great sums everywhere: in the capitals, in any country and also in the Ukraine.

Frank
Guest
The underground economy in Ukraine is huge, and that distorts these figures. Even street musicians in Kiev can make pick up a few hundred UAH per day, or $10 to $20/day, or $300 to $600/month. Nobody drops kopecks in their boxes, its always bills and the lowest bill is 1 hryvnia. Same thing for plumbers and other blue collar workers. They all get paid off the books and can easily make $500/month in Kiev. Salaries are low for jobs like teachers and nurses, but they can easily get a huge boost to their salaries by taking unreported cash payments for… Read more »
Lia
Guest
Frank, you are perfectly right. Oficial statistics and real life isn’t the same thing and nobody lives on the minimal Ukrainian salary. And some information for future expatriates. I live in a second biggest city in Ukraine. I own a two-bedroom flat and pay for eat almost $100, internet and mobal phones about $15, food, eating out, takeaways about $600 (I am vegetarian), gym, going out, theatres – about $150, my son rents one-bedroom flat for $300, car – $100-200 per month. we don’t go to a state hospital so spend a great sums on medicine. Last month I bought… Read more »
Married to a Ukrainian girl I met on Elenasmodel
Guest
Married to a Ukrainian girl I met on Elenasmodel
Larry Saloff, Realistically, you will not be able to comfortably retire in Ukraine without a decent knowledge of the Russian or Ukrainian languages. Although most people in Ukraine are able to comprehend English, not too many are fluent. You will also be paying a lot more than what the locals pay for practically everything because from the moment the people that you are doing business with hear you speak English, you will end up paying more for most places. You will need to very vigilant and use a lot of common sense. Russian/Ukrainian people are the most intuitive people and… Read more »
Charles Cornelius
Guest
Useful and very interesting information. One caveat though: in my experience, living costs for locals and expats are often wildly different. Expats often end up paying an extra premium on many things, such as rent and services, simply because they are expats. But the main difference is if you socialize with other expats, and do the expat circuit (drinks in the Irish pub or an international hotel, invites out to dinner at an international restaurant, coffee with your friend who works at the embassy, etc), you end up spending vastly more than local people. Of course, you can completely ignore… Read more »
Srecko Bradic
Guest

From official report it look like that hell awaits, consumer price inflation – 39.3% and real wages decline – 23.7%. Sad, it is nice country and people and custom similar to us in Serbia.
http://www.me.gov.ua/Documents/Detail?lang=en-GB&id=e6b1a6c2-016b-4c37-8873-e482487c6731

Sergio
Guest

This seems very interesting. I have met people from Poland and they seem so friendly. Not to mention the women are gorgeous! I have considered starting an online business in the United States and working. Then moving to a country like Poland where I can live really well by working from the computer and passive income. One day.

Deividas
Guest

How about for lithuanian guy to find a wife in ukraine?))

Leo Abustan
Guest

How do Ukrainan girls feel about Asian guys?

Travis
Guest
Obviously dating a Ukrainian girl more then likely it’s important to help her out. Money wise for bills school Or whatever. I’m cool with that I’ve lived all over the world and it feels nice to be able to help out. I have no problem sharing. I don’t feel like I’m paying a girl to be with me. I’m usually wanted by girls not for the money. I very easily approachable and very easy to get along with. My question is what kind of allowance is good to make sure you can give to help out. Obviously it’s different for… Read more »
Greg
Guest
I have had a great deal if experience dating Ukrainian ladys. I have found that most girls are very shy about accepting money at first. But, soon after they can become rather demanding. It has been my observation that even a “good girl” can become greedy if she is lavishly treated in the beginning of a relationship. Elena is right when she says most girls simply want a good relationship with a decent man. But many of us foreigners create our own problems. My advice is to not try to wow a girl by showing how much you can give… Read more »
damien
Guest

What is the cost to send a five year old girl to a good school in Odessa ?

Viktor Divilski
Guest

Hi, my name is Viktor and I am from Bulgaria. I am living in Poland and I am planning to go to Lviv soon for 1 week. How much money do I need there? I planning to take around 100-150 euros? Is that enough?

Helen
Guest
Just to show what a current situation in Ukraine is like I can give you a brief example: I used to date a Swede for some time. He was a simple guy, working here for some company. In his early 20s for sure he hadn’t made much fortune, but being extravagant in terms of money was perfectly fine for him. Paying for me whenever we went wasn’t even a problem for him, as he said, just because an average ticket to the theatre cost less than 4 euros! They might spend even more for a simple bus ticket in their… Read more »
Everett
Guest

50$ for month? Well, that guy has proven that it’s enough to survive but not to live!

Emma
Guest

It was really interesting info, thanks!
I always dreamt of travelling to Ukraine some day, and i was wondering about living costs, so the post came out right on time!

Lia
Guest

Sorry Elena, but I think that posting such articles isn’t a good idea because the official data in it has no common with real life. After reading such kind of information some people think that life here is very cheap and they can travel to Ukraine with just 100-150 euros

Jess Garatte
Guest

Interesting! I enjoyed reading your article. Am from Asia, traveled a lot, a consultant -Oil/Gas. I have a girlfriend, nice lady from Lugansk. We have been on, for couple months. Through my research I like Ukrainian culture specially for women, one of the best… but I am wondering if I marry, later on find a problem & desires a divorce. How does it treated in Ukraine?

Saurav
Guest

Hey I will be completing mbbs after 1 year from ukraine , What will be my average income as a doctor ? Per month in dollar or should i search for job anywhEre else

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