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Need advice on my stay in Krakow


vjharsha 2 | 3
25 Jan 2018 #1
Hi All,

Sorry if my question is redundant. I am travelling to Krakow from India for a couple of years may be. My workplace is near the Kraków Business Park. I will be there with my wife and no kids. I am looking for a few suggestions(areas) for renting a house - a small 1 bedroom apartment will do fine. The primary factors are

- Safety is of utmost importance
- 45 mins to 1 hr of commute to my workplace is fine
- Rent+Utilities(water, heating, electricity, wifi etc) not exceeding 2500 PLN
- Good access to stores where we can buy groceries easily
- Last but not the least, good to have some Indian community nearby but not something I would stress upon

Also below is an estimate of the expenses I think I am going to have. Please let me know if I am correct.

Rent+Utilities - 2500 PLN
Food expenses - 600 PLN(We like to cook at home most of the time. May go out to mid range restaurants once a week. Also we may have an occasional beer.)

Transport - 100 PLN
Gym - 100 PLN
Misc expenses(Ex : Shopping) - 500 PLN
Total - 3800 PLN approx

Thanks in advance. Cheers!! :)
DominicB - | 2,709
25 Jan 2018 #2
Food expenses - 600 PLN(We like to cook at home most of the time

Food and routine household items will set you back at least double that, even if you cook at home. 600 a month will buy you cabbage, potatoes, onions and rice, but little besides that. Even an egg will be a luxury. You will get tired of that rather quickly.

You are leaving out some things:

First of all, you have to deduct the cost of relocating to Poland for you and your wife. That includes all travel-related expenses, including trips to the embassy for visas, shipping. and the cost of your visas and residence permits. Amortize that over 12 months and that's about 1000 PLN a month right off the top just for you and your wife to be in Poland.

You do not include entertainment and vacation expenses. These can be quite considerable if you expect to fly back to India for vacations or visits. Even without that, count on spending at least 500 PLN a month, and that's the bare minimum. Your wife is going to go stir crazy with nothing to do and no one to talk to, so keeping her mind occupied is going to be a high priority, and a considerable expense. You surely aren't expecting her to sit cooped up in an the apartment like a prisoner, are you?

There is no Indian community in Kraków to speak of. Most Indians there are single males who come for a year or two and then leave. Few bring families, and even fewer stay for longer periods, so there is no critical mass or motive for building a community. You will probably meet some other Indians, but they are not going to be organized into anything resembling a community. There is nothing even remotely resembling an Indian neighborhood, or a street with Indian shops. The Indians in Kraków live scattered willy nilly around the city.

Your wife will especially have trouble because Indian women tend not to have anything to do with other Indian women who are not of the same caste, clan, class, religious group or language group. They also refuse to speak to each other if their husbands are not on the same socio-economic level. There are maybe a hundred Indian women, predominantly students and wives, in a metropolitan area of about a million people, so it's quite possible that your wife will not meet any Indian women at all that she would feel comfortable socializing with, and vice versa. Without speaking Polish, she will have great difficulty socializing with the natives. If she is not assertive and willing to make the first move in breaking the ice in spite of repeated failures, she will be ignored, as if she didn't exist at all. Poland is not a good place for shy foreign women.

Transportation will cost you about 100 PLN for each of you minimum, and that's only if you rely on public transportation and buy monthly tickets. If you or your wife need to take taxis, and you will, it will be considerably more expensive.

On top of this, you have to add your savings goals. If you are not able to save at least 2000 PLN a month as a couple, then there is probably no point in coming to Poland to work.

In short, your estimate of 3800 PLN a month for basic living expenses for a couple is totally unreasonable. Count on at least 5500 PLN, and that is for a rather basic lifestyle without any trips back to India or to the expensive countries in Western Europe. Add 2000 PLN in savings, and your are talking about a gross income of at least 11,000 PLN a month gross just for a basic, no frills lifestyle. You'll need a lot more if you plan on traveling or if you have more ambitious savings goals.

Word of warning: Poland is the wrong country to come to if you have debts to pay off or family to support back in India. Focus on finding a job in a country with much higher wages if that is the case.
Atch 17 | 3,315
25 Jan 2018 #3
Most of your questions re living expenses have already been answered on other threads. However I would just caution you about your estimates for food and 'shopping'. If the 600zl is food for the month, then it's way too low, more like 1,600, although if you're vegetarian it could work out cheaper. It certainly won't cover dining out once a week either. As for transport, what about your wife?? 100 will only cover your monthly ticket, she needs one as well, so double that expense. On the whole, you need to allow nearer to 5,000 for your monthly budget.

Safety is of utmost importance

This really isn't an issue in Poland. Neighbourhoods are a mix of social/local authority and private housing. You can have a luxury block of brand new private apartments beside an old crumbling tenement. Although a neighbourhood may look run down and 'dangerous' they're actually perfectly safe and inhabited by normal people. Access to shops won't be a problem either.

@ Dominic, I see that we reached pretty much the same conclusion regarding monthly budget! Great minds..........maybe not great, but experienced in the realities of living in Poland :)
DominicB - | 2,709
25 Jan 2018 #4
Great minds think alike! A few minor quibbles. As for vegetarian cooking being cheaper, that depends on whether you base your diet on local produce IN SEASON. In the winter, vegetables besides cabbage, potatoes, onions and carrots can be quite expensive, even more than meat. This is especially true for warm climate crops like tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and such. It's the same thing with fruits. Anything except for apples can be quite expensive out of season, even insanely so.

As for safety, there are only two major problems, both of which are easily avoided if you are observant and proactive: drunk people and football fans, especially in groups. Practically all violence towards innocent bystanders in Poland comes from on or the other of these sources, so religious avoid them and you'll be fine.
Atch 17 | 3,315
25 Jan 2018 #5
local produce IN SEASON.

Yes, that's very true. And one of the worst aspects of that, is that the choice of seasonal veg can be very limited. At the moment, even in my local market most of the stuff like cauliflower is imported from Spain. I had to pay 7zl for a cauliflower the other day. Also prices of things can fluctuate. One week lemons cost 5zl per kilo and next week 12 zl! I was buying a lot of pomegranates recently and they were 12 zl per kilo which doesn't sound too bad, but as each of them weighs close to half a kilo, that's over 80zl a week if hubby and wifey each want to have a eat a daily pomegranate. On the other hand, apples as you say can be purchased for 2zl per kilo. So, you can eat cheaply but if you want variety or anything other than bog standard fare in your diet, it comes at a price.
OP vjharsha 2 | 3
25 Jan 2018 #6
600 a month will buy you cabbage, potatoes, onions and rice, but little besides that. Even an egg will be a luxury. You will get tired of that rather quickly.

Ok will make it a realistic 1000 PLN as we are not everyday meat eaters.

All these costs will be borne by my employer.

Your wife is going to go stir crazy with nothing to do....

Misc expenses(Ex : Shopping) - 500 PLN. This expense was added to keep her occupied :). Will make it an even 750 PLN a month. I think we can cover shopping movies etc., with this.

There is no Indian community in Kraków to speak of.....

This was just an add-on kind of requirement. My wife has enough people to talk to via video calls everyday here in India :) plus she watches a lot of Youtube and Netflix.

Transportation will cost you about 100 PLN for each of you minimum, and that's only if you rely on public transportation and buy monthly tickets.

Ok will make it 200 PLN. Not in the habit of taking taxis unless it is an emergency.

On top of this, you have to add your savings goals. If you are not able to save at least 2000 PLN a month as a couple, then there is probably no point in coming to Poland to work.

Rent+Utilities - 2500 PLN
Food expenses - 1000 PLN
Transport - 200 PLN
Gym - 100 PLN
Misc expenses(Ex : Shopping) - 750 PLN
Total - 4550 PLN approx

I am still left with 4000 PLN odd. Thank you for your answer. Cheers!! :)
DominicB - | 2,709
25 Jan 2018 #7
a realistic 1000 PLN

Try a more realist 1500.

still left with 4000 PLN odd

2500, after you deduct the 500 more for food and the 1000 or so for relocation expenses.
OP vjharsha 2 | 3
25 Jan 2018 #8
DominicB -Try a more realist 1500.

ok will do.

DominicB -1000 or so for relocation expenses.

Not sure I am getting this. Relocation is a one time thing right? And anyways my employer will bear this. I don't think we are going to spend 1000 PLN relocating every month :D
Atch 17 | 3,315
25 Jan 2018 #9
Ok will make it a realistic 1000 PLN as we are not everyday meat eaters.

That is still way too low. And I'm a woman by the way so budgeting for the food is my area of expertise! You need to make it 1500. Also don't forget to factor in things like toilet paper, washing detergent, washing up liquid, bin bags, bleach, etc things need for cleaning the house and toiletries, toothpaste, shower gel.

This expense was added to keep her occupied :).

If she has even half a brain, shopping alone won't achieve that. Better to budget something for sending her to an intensive Polish language course for foreigners. She will need basic Polish to do all that shopping, believe me and the social aspect of attending a course and meeting a few other expats will do her good. I did a course years ago, every day for three weeks, which cost about 2,000 zl and there were four or five other women in the class of different nationalities. We became quite friendly and if I'd wanted to pursue a bit of a social life with those ladies, meeting for lunch etc I could have done so. It might be a big help to your wife.
OP vjharsha 2 | 3
25 Jan 2018 #10
Thanks for advice. Will consider it.

@Atch @DominicB

Going the number crunching we are doing here, the numbers in here - numbeo.com/cost-of-living/in/Krakow-Cracow seem inappropriate to me?
Atch 17 | 3,315
25 Jan 2018 #11
Looks fairly accurate though the price of the restaurant meals seems a bit low, certainly I would disagree that you can get a three course meal for two for 100zl. You might get a two course meal if you choose the cheaper dishes on the menu. As for rent, watch out for the additional charge called the 'czynsz'. It's explained elsewhere on this forum in other threads but it's basically a service charge levied by the management company for the building. Apartments are advertised at a rent of for example 1200 per month but the czynsz will be extra. Sometimes it covers part of the utilities like cold water supply, sometimes not. If the ad says 'w tym czynsz' it means the czynsz is included in the advertised rent and will usually specify how much of that is the czynsz. If it doesn't mention the czynsz at all but says rent + gas, electric etc then be sure to enquire. You should start looking at actual ads just to get an idea of what you can expect for your budget:

domiporta.pl/mieszkanie/wynajme?Localization=krakow

Also for actual food prices, take a look here. It's one of the big supermarket chains in Poland: carrefour.pl
jon357 63 | 15,378
25 Jan 2018 #12
Also below is an estimate of the expenses I think I am going to have. Please let me know if I am correct.

That's more or less right.

You will like Kraków - there's plenty to do there and it's a very nice coy to move to.


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