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Living Expenses in Krakow

26 Jun 2015 #1
I wanted to ask about the living expenses in Krakow. I will be renting an apartment for 2000 -all inclusive-. However, I don't know how much should I allocate for groceries and occasionally eating out taking in mind that I don't drink nor smoke. I used a website to calculate living expenses and it calculated 1500 max for an apartment and roughly 500-600 for groceries. I don't think the website is correct.
InPolska 10 | 1,818
26 Jun 2015 #2
Hi! 500 ZL for food? Yes, if you stick to potatoes, cabbage, cucumbers, onions .... but if you want to buy what you feel like eating, expect at least 50% more. I spend 200/250 a week, just to eat at home and I also take several of my meals (without mentioning coffee) out (so extra money).

Do you think that you'll live like a monk and pay for your rent and food? I suppose you are single and young so what about expenses to go out? Also what about money for clothes, shoes, medical/dental bills, taking small trips around Poland once in a while (without talking about abroad), emergencies (something broken that needs to be renewed or repaired...).

Sorry, there are a lot of expenses besides rent and food. Especially since young and single, you'll be supposed to have a more active and thus shall need to have the money for it (and other needs). Based upon my own experience (I no longer have an "active" social life), I advise you to have minimum 4,500 ZL net every month otherwise not worth it. Coming to an unknown place, being alone and counting each coin does not make any sense.

Some people shall say that they know someone who gets by with let's say 2,000. Well, unfortunately, too many people do have to struggle with peanuts (not only in Poland) but this is not "living", it's just "surviving". Being on the survival mode is "ok" for locals as they have their family network and know the way to get a cheaper deal but not for foreigners who don't know the place and don't have network.

How much money should you have per month?
terri 1 | 1,663
26 Jun 2015 #3
Calculate very basic food costs at 20-30 PLN per day = 600-900 PLN. Cosmetics, cleaning products, laundry approx 80 PLN per month. Electricity, gas, water, rubbish removal at least 100-150 PLN per month. You may wish to buy a newspaper, go to the cinema, so calculate another 40 PLN per month.

Absolutely the very basic needs approx 1200-1500 PLN per month.
InPolska 10 | 1,818
26 Jun 2015 #4
Terri: that's right! I have forgotten expenses such as cosmetics, hairdresser... Also do not forget about for instance dental bills, which can be very high and in case of emergencies, no choice but to seek treatment right away. In your budget, you don't include "getting away". Without travellling around the world, it is normal to leave town once in a while and spend a few days elsewhere. I don't mention far away plane travelling.

All adds up and when alone and thus no one to turn to in case of hardship, it is also necessary to have some savings.

To the OP: you cannot budget only on the amount of rent and on the price of potatoes and milk ,)
OP Zaven
26 Jun 2015 #5
I was only thinking of food when I wrote the post. But apparently there are many hidden costs that I didn't consider. Anyhow, I would have insurance so it will take care of any accident. Also, the utilities and garbage is already paid for. I was thinking of spending 2000 ZL per month for grocery shopping and eating out once or twice a week.
InPolska 10 | 1,818
27 Jun 2015 #6
@Zaven: 2,000 for food (including eating out once in a while) is more than enough ;). Besides for your rent and your food, you need to expect a budget of let's say 1,500 minimum for clothes, taking small trips once in a while, dental bills (your insurance won't cover dentist) and also to have some savings in case something happens. So basically you need some 4,500 net every month. Less than that does not make it worth it as it'd be struggling every day.
29 Jun 2015 #7
Krakow is much cheaper than Warsaw
InPolska 10 | 1,818
29 Jun 2015 #8
@Weeg: could be but a young single foreigner shall not live like a monk and in order to do so, he'll need min. 4,500 per month.

PS: I live in Warsaw and occasionally go to other places and believe me, I am not impressed by their prices. I may pay 2 or 3 ZL less for a cup of coffee or a sandwich and that's all...
Cardno85 31 | 976
29 Jun 2015 #9
Hi! 500 ZL for food? Yes, if you stick to potatoes, cabbage, cucumbers, onions

That seems a bit excessive. I generally spend 130zl per week on the Tesco delivery and eat in most days. I most certainly don't stick to potatoes and cabbage, in fact I would say I have far too much meat in my diet and keep meaning to drop it down a bit (terrible willpower me).

I earn quite a bit less than 4500zl net, generally eat out at least once a week and am out pretty much every weekend (and the odd night during the week). I don't know what your lifestyle is like, but if you are saying you can only live like a monk on less than 4500zl you must only every drink straight in the centre and shop in Alma for all imported goods. Spending less doesn't mean living less...
InPolska 10 | 1,818
29 Jun 2015 #10
@Cardno: I have passed the age of living like a student ;). I have never really counted but I must be spending 1,000/month for food. I must admit that I buy quite a few organic and also many foreign products. I shop at small shops, Spolem (a lot of quality products), Piotr & Pawel (their own brand is very good and not expensive), Leclerc (a lot of organic products + a lot of French products) and also Marks & Spencer (cookies (I love "short bread"), crackers, bakery, cereal....). In summer, I buy a lot of vegetables and fruit on the street. I eat out of home 3 or 4 times a week, when I am at work and I spend 15/20 ZL/meal. I don't buy meat other than chicken breasts or already cooked "antrykot". I buy fresh fish. I don't buy alcohol except when I have guests over for dinner.
16 Aug 2015 #11

I can absolutely confirm your information about living costs and salaries in Poland - especially in Krakow. I am German with a Master's degree in economics. I have always lived in Germany but my mother is Polish. She came to Germany 30 years ago. Therefore I have also taken into consideration to go to Poland to work - and live - there. For several years big companies - especially banks and insurance companies - have been transferring jobs from Germany (and other western countries) to Poland. Now you can find many so called "Shared Service Centers" in Poland which have been established to provide different services.

After several applications I can confirm that these big and well-known companies pay wages of only 3500 PLN GROSS (!) which was called a "maximum" or "ceiling". 3500 PLN are about 830 Euros. I'm no expert on the Polish tax and social insurance system but I think that this should result into a net income of round about 550 Euros (2230 PLN).

Of course, I've already known that wages in Poland are lower than in Germany but moving to Poland to work there and to gain international experience in my mother's home country seemed to be better than being unemployed.. But I have to admit that the sum of 3500 PLN was a shocking information for me because - as a graduate with a Master's degree who has to move to another country first - I had different salary expectations.

Therefore I did some "research" on the living costs in Krakow. After having studied the average rents for flats I know that you will have to pay a rent of 2000 PLN for a small flat (all additional costs included). With the wage stated above you will not be able to live in Krakow - especially not if you are a foreigner who has to move to Poland first and who has no family support there.

Therefore @InPolska: You are absolutely right that one has to realize a NET income of 1000 Euros (about 4300 PLN NET) to be able to live in an expensive city like Krakow. Of course, I do not apply for jobs at Service Centers anymore because I think that they are particularly stingy...

@InPolska: Thank you for your information - and your honesty.
delphiandomine 88 | 18,177
16 Aug 2015 #12
But I have to admit that the sum of 3500 PLN was a shocking information for me because - as a graduate with a Master's degree who has to move to another country first - I had different salary expectations.

Yes, you might have had different salary expectations, but remember - in Poland, a Master's degree is nothing special because everyone has one. New graduates are really only worth around 3000zl gross - I wouldn't pay more, particularly for one that graduated in something that doesn't give any particular skills. The SSC's are essentially modern day factories - providing employment for young people that partied too much and holidayed too much rather than actually focusing on their future.

Therefore I did some "research" on the living costs in Krakow.

It's not normal in Poland (or in fact, most places) to have your own place. So I'm not sure why you think that a young graduate with no experience and no skills should have one.
Atch 23 | 4,057
16 Aug 2015 #13
I have never really counted

My dear girl if you don't actually know how much you spend on food then I'm not sure you're the best person to be advising people on budgeting! However, having said that I agree that prices in Poland are high considering the low wages and you certainly can't live as cheaply as people imagine.
20 Aug 2015 #14

Thanks for your comment! I really did not know that there are so many Master students and graduates in Poland. In this field my mother isn't that well informed because she moved to Germany in the 1980s... But I've already known that the amount of young people heading to the universities is very large. I've read that in Poland the proportion of young people who are studying is one of the highest in the whole world.

During my Master's studies I met two Polish girls who came to Germany as exchange students. We had a little small talk but I have never asked them questions about the labour market and living conditions in Poland. And I also do not know whether they would be a reliable source of information because - to my mind - they came from "wealthier" families. I know that studying abroad or taking part in exchange programs is not affordable for everyone - even for Germans...

I did not expect that there are so many young people who live with their families or are (financially) supported by them after having graduated. Now I know that it would be impossible for me to come to Poland to live on my own while working for a SSC.

Most people in Germany have no idea about the industry of Shared Service Centers. ("We" only know that many jobs "disappear" because they are outsourced.) Many people can't or do not want to recognize that also more or even highly qualified jobs "go east". Against the background of having a Polish mother I've heard about this boom of SSCs in Poland. They were founded by well known companies which have a very good reputation in Germany and other Western countries. Therefore it was really surprising that their SSCs belong to the group of more "stingy" employers...

Therefore @delphiandomine: Thanks for your answer and for sharing your information!
delphiandomine 88 | 18,177
21 Aug 2015 #15
I've read that in Poland the proportion of young people who are studying is one of the highest in the whole world.

Over 50%, actually. The number is huge, and you have to remember that the average HR/recruiter here doesn't really differentiate between an MA from Poznań and an MA from Berlin. With such a huge amount of graduates to choose from, it's no surprise that someone with higher education and no skills is cheap.

I know that studying abroad or taking part in exchange programs is not affordable for everyone - even for Germans...

Not really. A lot of people do it in Poland - a summer spent working in the UK/Germany combined with the Erasmus scholarship means that it's quite affordable to do so.

Therefore it was really surprising that their SSCs belong to the group of more "stingy" employers...

Usually, these days - someone will work for an SSC for 2-3 years. After that, they become quite valuable to other employers (particularly in the growing start-up field!) - so they leave and go elsewhere for better money.
aBBey5 - | 7
28 Aug 2015 #16
hi Friends and expats working in Poland.
I also need reach on right salary to ask. :)
I have 13 yr exp in Technology Recruitment and (MBA in IT) and I am in discussion with Alexander..( large recruitment firm) with office at Krakow at Poland. for post of

Tean leader client services., They have asked me to tell my salary expectations. I am married and have 1 - 8 yr daughter reading in 3rd class of icse board.

I read this forum and few more sites and understood that
Household exps- 500pln
Outing ( 2 movie, 2 diner, beer on weekend) 1100-1400
education- 1000 one time+13000 ( around 1100 Month) of ISK school.
RENT - 2 BHK , 3000-6000 pln
so Total comes 500+1300+1100+3500( rent inculding utility)= 7000 aprox, is needed to live good life.
Here in India I make 1 lacs rs month( 5666 PLN ) and my Exps like house, food, car= 3000 PLN, SO i save 2500 pln.
NOW i checked online and found average salary in HR with 7-10 yrs is 8-9000PLN.
BUT i dont have a job right now and searching a new job. How much salary i shall ask for So I shall save atleast 4000 pln pm.

as If i ask only 10,000 PLN, tax and deductions ( 18% on 85500 and 32% on 35000- comes to 26500, 1,20,000-26500=93500/12= 7791 pln take home - INS, employer deduction. so in hand 7000.

I am planning to ASK FOR 10K post tax and deductions. may be PM 14k. pln.
How many of you esp expat thinks I am reasonable with my expectaions
DOES CO PROVIDE Company lease for your advance rent desposit( is there any trend)

Please susggest, which is area , easy to commut and have modern facilty flats with less crowd, bigger better streets and friendly neighbours, and what shall i expect a rent of nice furnish flat in that area.

PLease suggest and correct me.
DominicB - | 2,707
28 Aug 2015 #17
To live a decent life with a wife and kid in Poland at the level of comfort you are used to in India, you would need at least 8000 PLN a month net, or 12000 a month gross. If you want to save up at least 4000 PLN a month, you would need about 15000 a month gross to make the move from India even worth thinking about. That level of pay does not go to lowly team leaders, but to senior project or regional directors or higher.

Apartment: 2500 to 4000 PLN a month, rent, fees and utilities included. A house can cost 5000 PLN or more.

Food and replenishable household supplies will set you back about 1500 to 2000 PLN a month for you, your wife and your kid. More if you eat out in restaurants a lot. A bit less, perhaps, if you eat only home-cooked meals made from scratch.

School for the kid can cost up to 1000 PLN a month plus extra for clothes, school supplies and activities.

Plus your wife will certainly not be working, and you have to keep her entertained so that she doesn't lose her mind and start hating Poland, and, eventually, you. The life of an Indian wife in Poland can be very lonely, boring and depressing indeed, especially as Indian women do not associate with each other unless they are of approximately the same social standing. Expenses may vary enormously, but count on at least 1000 PLN a month to keep her busy, engaged and happy. Otherwise she will be constantly harping on you to pay for plane tickets to visit family and friends in India, at enormous expense. Plus there's the risk that she will stay in India and leave you all on your own in Poland.

Then there's the car, which will be another major expense.

And clothing and furniture. And entertainment, recreation and travel. Traveling back to India for visits will cost a lot.

As you can see, 7000 PLN a month doesn't leave much left over for savings.

Yes, you could live a more frugal lifestyle, but your wife and your kid will hate you for it. It would be different if you were a single male recent graduate, or if you were leaving the wife and kid back in India, but for a mid career person, living a frugal lifestyle would be a torture for you and your family.

Sorry, but the salary you were expecting to ask for would cover only about half of the expenses of the lifestyle you would like to lead at the level of saving that you would like to set aside.

Also, why is the best job you can get with thirteen years experience a lousy team leader position? You should be aiming considerably higher. Even so, the salary level you desire may be well beyond your reach in Poland until you enter senior management or administration, and even then. Focus on finding better opportunities in richer Western European or English speaking countries instead. Forget about finding a job on the internet. The best jobs are advertised only by word of mouth. Build up and exploit your network of face-to-face friends and contacts.
aBBey5 - | 7
29 Aug 2015 #18
I am really thankful that you spare precious time of yours to answer me.
I have sent a mail to client for 11k net, lets see thier response, if they feel its high, they shall tell me and i will negotiate.

So how much money is minum to start a life in karkow.
may i expect to find a 1bhk furnished flat to start in a near by location to city center or shoping for daily need items and some evening walk with wife and kid. ( what can be the normal rates of flat in apartment for it and what is the probabilty of getting on short term lease like 3 months So i can pay 3 month advance deposit or is it min six months) and do we gym or club or pool in mostly apartments or its with selected only),

what all is mostly covered in furnished flat? ( is it wardrobe, bed, tv, sofa, washing machine) + as per use cookingGas,water and electricity.
in how much time, i can expect to get a flat after landing and joining a co, is it via websites or agents are must, if yes, how much agent and agreement making charges.

which are the localities to find flat with easy access and playing parks for 1 bhk and 2 bhk later. which are most reliable sites, on which we expects real photos of flat .

last q, are there sightseeing points in a distance, travelled by bus/trams and parks for kids or game parlours for a kid.
thanks a lot
DominicB - | 2,707
29 Aug 2015 #19
education- 1000 one time+13000 ( around 1100 Month) of ISK school.

You've made a big mistake here. For your daughter, ISK will cost 14,000 Euro a year, not 14,000 PLN. That means 60,000 PLN for the year, or 5000 PLN a month. You will not be able to afford that on 11,000 net. You will not be able to save anything at all, and your lifestyle would have to be quite frugal. Forget about luxuries like a pool and gym, and probably a car, as well. And trips back to India are out of the question. So you should be asking for 16,000 PLN net, 24,000 gross at the very minimum if you want to leave the lifestyle you want to lead, plus extra for an apartment with a pool and gym. And you won't have any room for negotiation if you ask for that much without sacrificing the level of savings you desire.

Sorry, but employer in Poland is going to give a team leader 24,000 gross a month. You would have to be senior administration or heavy-duty consulting to make that much. Your expectations far exceed what any employer in Poland would be willing to pay, by a factor of three or four.

You seem to have gotten used to a lifestyle in India that you will not be able to come close to matching in Poland. Or you have totally unrealistic expectations that Poland cannot come close to matching. Concentrate on finding work in a richer country in Western Europe or the English speaking countries, or South Korea. Poland is too poor to give you want you want.
InPolska 10 | 1,818
29 Aug 2015 #20
I'm always very amazed when reading such posts. What's the point of crossing half the world to end up counting coins in a far away obscure land? Unless there is a war going on where we are and/or we starve to death, I don't get it. Settling elsewere completely strange to us to end up in lousy 1 or even 2 room flats, shopping at cheapest stores, cooking at home because can't afford to eat out and counting each coin does not make sense to me.

Why going abroad to be worse off than at home? I can understand when there are wars and in case of some bi-national couples but not otherwise. It can also be ok for a 22-year old who wants to travel and who won't stay long but not for a family...
aBBey5 - | 7
29 Aug 2015 #21
oops, yes, fees of international school is in euro.
is anyone can suggest by exp, quality and education of fee of private primary school in karkow, or share a link.

I didnt mean pool and gym with my flat( I am not looking for independent house) - I meant. a building/society with comman club/pool/gym.

in india, its easy to get house in that scoiety so i was asking for trend there.

WHY- i am ready to move is- i ran my own firm in recruitment in last 4 yrs and after closing it, I am looking for a job and i have to start from new life as its not easy to get back to corp after self employed, second, after spending a year with internationall recruitment firm, chance of getting in other rich country like UK will be easy. co it self has office in many other country and internal movement possible.

so I was aiming for 1-3 yr time in Poland , what do you say.
which area i shall look for to start as 1 bhk in start , co office is at Puszkarska
Thanks a lot
DominicB - | 2,707
29 Aug 2015 #22
Quite frankly, the only way this might work is if you leave the wife and kid back home, and come on your own. If you could do that for a few years, during which time you will be living a rather frugal student-like existence in a strange country without the comfort of your family and friends in order to save up, well, go for it. Otherwise, it would make more sense to stay in India and look for a job in a richer country from there.

Sorry, but with your family situation and expectations, Poland doesn't appear to be a logical or useful stepping stone for you. Develop and exploit your circle of face-to-face contacts so that it will be easier for you to find a job. That will be a lot easier to do in India than in Poland.
jon357 74 | 21,939
29 Aug 2015 #23
@aBBey5, I suggest you click on Dominic B's username and have a look at some of his previous posts. You will notice many similar posts from DominicB, all deliberately deterring people from outside Europe from coming to Poland to work or study. It is as if it's his life's mission. He does not live in Poland (in fact not even in the same continent) and was here for a relatively short time, working in a different field and in a different place. I really do suggest that you look at his previous posts and make your own mind up about how seriously you want to take him.

The cost of living estimates that he gave are deliberately exaggerated (considerably in some cases) and by the way, the Polish school system is good. Poland could indeed be an interesting stepping stone for you. Modest apartments are not expensive - the street Pruszkarska is fairly accessible. I suggest renting somewhere for maybe two weeks from AirBnB while you find somewhere - it is always easier to find somewhere while you're in the city itself and your new colleagues will doubtless have some very good advice for you. 7000zl is not a bad salary in Kraków.
JollyRomek 7 | 480
29 Aug 2015 #24
Now you can find many so called "Shared Service Centers" in Poland

Shared Service Centers have been around for about 30 years and are not something that was invented in Poland.

Either you are not as qualified as you say, or you have applied to some call center that does not have the budget or you are talking through your ass spreading rubbish. As as German native speaker with a Master in Economics you can not earn more than 3500 PLN a month? Did you get your degree from Frankfurt / Oder Oberschule or why is nobody interested in you?

I keep going back to before Poland joined the EU. I used to take the train from Poznan to Berlin and it used to be packed with Germans going home on Fridays. Why? Because German efficiency and accuracy was appreciated well before Poland joined the EU and it still is. Getting an offer of 3500 zlotych per month, either your degree is fake or youhave nothing to offer.

But dont say it is the general Polish job market. Nobody but you is responsible for your failure.
DominicB - | 2,707
29 Aug 2015 #25
I highly suspect that many, if not most, of the people posting here about jobs they have been offered in Poland have never actually looked for a job themselves, but are responding to mass emails sent more or less indiscriminately by recruiting agencies. Or, if they did look, they relied solely on internet job sites. So the offer of 3500 gross doesn't surprise me.

Then again, a masters in economics without any significant experience is not all that useful anyway, unless its from a really good school and the holder has a well-developed network of high-quality contacts. It seems everyone, their mother and their dog have a masters in economics or some other math-free business related field. There are very few places in Poland where you can stand, close your eyes, throw a rock in any random direction and NOT hit someone with a masters in economics. And basically the same for every other country in the world.

It's not simply that the OP has nothing to offer. He has nothing to offer that scads of other young unemployed Europeans can offer as well. His failure was to study something that is not in great demand anywhere in the world.

I was listening to an interview with the Polish minister for the economy a few years ago, and he said that if Polish universities stopped granting degrees in economics altogether, it would be thirty years before there would be a shortage. I think it's deplorable that universities admit so many students for useless "humanistics" degrees, and that recruiting for STEM fields is lackluster, at best.
JollyRomek 7 | 480
29 Aug 2015 #26
I was listening to an interview

Does it bother you, that we Germans, even though we are only a small 2 Million minority, earn more money than you ever would in Poland?

Next week I am going to buy my second house with my company buying the land. . Just keep moaning, we might anschluss you and dont cry when your wife wants to be among real men who move something........

Keep to the topic please.
DominicB - | 2,707
29 Aug 2015 #27
Does it bother you, that we Germans, even though we are only a small 2 Million minority, earn more money than you ever would in Poland?

Not at all. First of all, I'm an American pathologist who makes even more than that, and even when I was goofing around on my extended twelve-year sabbatical in Poland, I was well paid. Second of all, I studied in German and had a wonderful time there. I have about as big a soft spot for the Germans as you're likely to find anywhere.

If Poland were not next to a rich country like Germany, it would be in a lot worse shape, something like Romania or Bulgaria. If anything, I appreciate the boost that Germany has given to the Polish economy.
jon357 74 | 21,939
29 Aug 2015 #28
No country is immune to the influences of its neighbours and your biochemistry degree and "extended twelve year sabbatical" as an English Teacher in small-town Poland is not in any way relevant to the gentleman's query about the cost of living in Kraków.

He would do well to have a good look at the search function here. There are plenty of threads and posts about the cost of a flat in Kraków as well as day to day expenses, bills, food prices etc.

Plus the normal range of salaries in the city.
DominicB - | 2,707
29 Aug 2015 #29
It's totally relevant, because I lived in Wrocław, where prices are about the same as Kraków. Maybe a little higher, but not by much, if at all.

7000 net would not be enough for this gentleman to live on on his own, without his family, and be able to save 4000 PLN a month. With the wife and kid, he wouldn't be able to save anything significant, if anything at all. Might even dip into the red when you take airfare and visa expenses into account.

There's no point in making it sound like a great offer. It's lousy for a mid-career professional with a family who is used to a higher standard of living and hopes to save a significant amount of money in anticipation of a move to the West. Even if he does save 4,000 PLN, that will amount to only about 7000 pounds for the year. Nothing to write home about. And he cannot do that on only 7000 PLN a month, even if he does put himself and his family through hell.

Even if he does come alone, it would be difficult for him to be able to save 4000 PLN a month on a 7000 PLN net salary, even if he didn't have to send money back to India to support the wife and kid. If he does send money home, that will drastically curtail his savings to the point where he might not be able to afford the move for him and his family to the UK. He could end up trapped in Poland away from his family for longer than he expected.

Sorry, but there is no way in hell that this guy is going to be able to make it on only 7000 PLN a month without a drastic cut in comfort level for him and his family and without sacrificing the ability to save up any money.
aBBey5 - | 7
29 Aug 2015 #30

omg......, tks a million, its just so true..............

God knows, why mod can not see it

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