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Krakow: possible job offer: 6.500 PLN

JvHam 1 | 4
4 May 2013 #1
Hi all,

I'm in the final selection for a nice position in Krakow.
I asked about the offered salary, which was 6.500 gross each month. Furthermore private health insurance, other insurances and a sports membership.
When I informed about it, I was told that the net salary would be around 4.500PLN.

Now I have some questions. I am single but would like to have a two bedroom appartment within 2.5 km from the city centre (not more then 10 minutes by bike). I did a google search for long term real estate rent and found that I have to take about 2.000PLN as a normal price for a furnished appartment. My first question is if there are some websites with more unfurnished appartments, because I don't mind bringing my own stuff over there.

The second question is about the other housing costs, electricity, garbage, water etc. I read stories that differ between 300 and 1.200 a month for this. What would be reasonable to calculate for let's say a 70m2 appartment occupied by 1 person? I will only occasional use air conditioning (only when above 30 degrees) and in winter I will probably only heather my living room to about 19 degrees.

Third question is if I can live comforably with about 2.000 PLN a month after rent and utility costs. My style of living is mostly travelling by bus/tram during the week, maybe 2 times a week a taxi for a short ride. I smoke about one package a day (Pall Mall) and enjoy good food. I will cook myselves about 5 times a week, but prefer good steak or nice fish. The other days i will probably eat in a restaurant (middle class). I will probably go out once or twice a week and like to drink international beers or proper wine. Will this be possible for 2.000 PLN spending money?

I have been reading more information on this forum and have read something about ZUS. Now is my question what would be the monthly cost for ZUS and if this is necessary. I am already offered a private health insurance, so actually don't need national health insurance. Also payments for pension wouldn't be necessary for me.

My last question is if I should rent an appartment using a real estate agent, or if it would be better to just sleep the first week in a hotel and inform locally.

All help is appreciated. I don't have the job yet, but because it is really short term, I would like to be well informed before signing anything.
DominicB - | 2,704
4 May 2013 #2
2000 is about the lowest you're going to find for a two-bedroom apartment, furnished or unfurnished. You're going to need a lot of luck finding anything cheaper, at least at the standard that you seem to expect. Add about 300 to 500 for building maintanance fees (generally not included in the rent), and about 300 to 500 for utilities, not including internet/phone. So the apartment will cost you between 2600 to 3000 a month. Internet and phone will cost you about 75 a month. A monthly bus/tram ticket about 100. So fixed expenses range from about 2700 to 3200 a month for an apartment of that size. That leaves you about 1300 to 1800 disposable income.

For the type of lifestyle you mention, budget at least 50 OR MORE a day for food and cigarettes, more on weekends. Probably a lot more. That will take up all of your disposable income, and probably more. You won't have much left to buy clothes, little luxuries, or to do much travelling. Saving up is pretty much out of the question, and I wouldn't be surpised if you end up in the red until you learn how to live within your means, which I expect to take more than six months, at least.

Like it or not, you're not going to be making enough to be living the high-life existence you desire, which by Polish standards is extravagant: huge apartment, alcohol and tobacco, nightlife, steak etc.

You either have to lower your living requirements by taking a smaller apartment, quitting smoking, adjusting your diet, spending your free time in a less expensive manner. Or you have to find a much higher paying job.

Sorry, but you come across as incredibly pampered and prodigal by Polish standards. Air conditioning? That's something beyond the imagination of most people here. Steak? A very special treat for most Poles. Definitely not an element of the daily diet. Nice fish? You must be joking.

I think you will have a very difficult time adjusting to living on 4500 a month, even though most Poles would be living quite comfortably at that salary for a single person. Frankly, your going to learn some pretty tough lessons here and you will have to do a lot of growing up. From your post, I don't think you have it in you. Sorry.
OP JvHam 1 | 4
4 May 2013 #3
Thanks DominicB,

Quitting smoking would be one of my wishes that I'm definately going to try.
Sorry if I sounded pampered. I was just sketching the ideal situation for me.
A two bedroom apartment is not a necessity, one bedroom will do just fine. Airconditioning is also not necessary. But when looking around for appartments I found quite a few apartments with airconditioning and just tried to explain that if it is already in the apartment I wouldn't use it a lot. Food is quite important to me, I was just explaining what I eat over here. But frankly I don't think this will be the costs, at least over here (Netherlands) a steak or a nice piece of fish is not that expensive, around 2 euro in the supermarket for 140 grams.

At the moment I don't go out a lot, because I already have enough friends, but if you move to another country where you have to start all over again, i think nightlife is a good way to get to know people. And I'm not a big drinker.

So let me please make some changes to my wishlist:
A 1 bedroom apartment in a safe area, preferrably not too far away from the city center.
I need internet in the apartment, but no landline phone.
I will go out in the weekend and will drink about 6 beers a night. I don't like stylish clubs with only expats and/or local jetset, but prefer bars with a mixture of locals, exparts and tourists.

Is the 6.500 gross more realistic in that way? Especially after quitting smoking?

Please also answer my question about ZUS.
Monitor 14 | 1,820
4 May 2013 #4
With 4500 net you are in 3% richest people living in Poland. It's enough, but maybe you will have to lower standard of restaurants, pubs and apartment to live as you described.
DominicB - | 2,704
5 May 2013 #5
Quitting smoking would be one of my wishes that I'm definately going to try

That will save you about 400 PLN.

A two bedroom apartment is not a necessity, one bedroom will do just fine.

That will save you from 200 to 500 PLN.

at least over here (Netherlands) a steak or a nice piece of fish is not that expensive, around 2 euro in the supermarket for 140 grams.

Poland is not a beef and good fish country. They eat mainly pork and chicken. For most Poles, fish means herring, smoked mackarel, and frozen filets, mostly of pollock and Vietnamese catfish (panga). Salmon and trout are upscale. What you as a Dutchman would consider "nice fish" is largely unavailable here, or very expensive when it is available. Even more so for seafood. Trying to maintain a beef and good fish diet in Poland is going to cost you.

I need internet in the apartment, but no landline phone.

The cost for internet is about 75 PLN, with or without the landline phone.

And I'm not a big drinker.

I will go out in the weekend and will drink about 6 beers a night.

Trying to figure out how those two quotes don't contradict each other. In my opinion, someone who drinks 12 to 18 beers on the weekend is definitely a heavy drinker, and probably has a drinking problem.

i think nightlife is a good way to get to know people.

Probably one of the worst ways of meeting quality people who can help you adjust and help you advance socially and professionally, who are going to avoid you if you are three sheets to the wind. One of the best ways to meet drunk losers who will drag you down. You really have to think this one out.

Please also answer my question about ZUS.

The ZUS is taken out of the 6500. The net pay is what's left after ZUS, taxes and insurance are taken out.

Sorry, but I'm still detecting a distinct odor of immaturity here in your part. If you consider your stay in Poland an opportunity to become responsible, disciplined and mature, go for it. If you don't want to leave your cocoon of comfort, try to find a job at home.

Another thing. Poland is not a bicycle country, either, and bicycle theft is a MAJOR problem. Actually, it's the national sport. If you come here with a nice bike, it will be stolen within days.
5 May 2013 #6
Quitting smoking would be one of my wishes that I'm definately going to try.

I was a 2 pack and more smoker for 36 years and only quit in last 3 months(if it is quitting).I bought e ciggerett with nicotine liquid and now for last 2 months havent have a ciggerret and have almost 10 cartons of ciggertts left unused from states(if anyone wants to buy them:))If you are really into quitting and feel desperate that you cannot try them.they are available in Poland and everywhere worth spending 75$ to start with.Also have almost 7 pals who did it.Just an advice for you and fellow readers.
OP JvHam 1 | 4
5 May 2013 #7
Poland is not a beef and good fish country.

Well, if the price difference is that big, I might have to save my eating habits. Chicken is ok and if you prepare panga in a nice way it can be nice too. I just have to see the prices over there, but definately don't want to pay double the price compared to over here for my fish.

JvHam: And I'm not a big drinker.JvHam.

again, probably a misunderstanding. A normal glass of beer over here is 0.25 liters, but I looked at the menu's of some restaurants over then and you are probably talking about the 0.5 liter glasses.

3 liters on one night is definately a lot, 1.5 liter over a full night is not heavy drinking, at least not in my opinion. Btw. I was talking about two nights out in the weekend, of course I won't drink on sunday if I have to work monday morning.

JvHam: i think nightlife is a good way to get to know people.

So you are telling me that Polish nightlife is full with drunk losers and you can't meet proper people that work hard during the week and just want to relax a little in the weekends?

I don't know Poland, but in other countries where I've been, the expat community and people working for international companies meet up a lot in nightlife. Like having dinner together in a restaurant and have a couple of drinks in a bar afterwards. Is it that different in Krakow?

JvHam: Please also answer my question about ZUS.The ZUS is taken out of the 6500.

So, if I understand correct, paying ZUS is not something that you can choose, but more like a taxation with another name?

Sorry, but I'm still detecting a distinct odor of immaturity here in your part. If you consider your stay in Poland an opportunity to become responsible.

Too bad you still detect that odor of immaturity. I'm quite well traveled and used to live in a third world country for almost a year without having problems to adjust (no hot water, only electricity by a generator, eating in local restaurants, buying food at the local market etc.) and spending most of my free time with locals. My questions are mainly because I don't know much about Poland, so I don't know how i will feel about the local food etc. , so it's more like a check for a worst case scenario.

About the bikes, Poland and Holland share at least a national sport. But if I can put the bike inside of my apartment and locked in the office parking lot, I don't take risks. Of course I won't use a bike when going out or shopping or something. Just to go to my job and back.
Monitor 14 | 1,820
6 May 2013 #8
You can see prices of food in polish tesco online (not big choice available online):

use google translate to read in english.
ZUS is tax. It's for unemployment benefits or retirement etc.
6 May 2013 #9
piotr i paweł has bigger choice and better quality food than tesco, while the price is still reasonable. This is the second most popular supermarket in Poland, after biedronka i belive. you can check them out here if you wish to
OP JvHam 1 | 4
6 May 2013 #10
Thanks a lot for the links to supermarket prices.
1 kg of salmon filet for 35.99 seems a fair price. Don't have to eat it everyday, but at least it is still affordable, actually quite a lot cheaper then over here. I pay more like 75 for a kilogram over here.

Also other common products that I know, like edammer cheese and whoolite washing powder are quite a lot cheaper.
I start to get more and more enthusiast.

Btw, I found a nice and cosy small 1 bedroom apartment on the internet for 1700 +450 administration fee + electricity and internet at the Verona Tarasy residential complex in Bronowice.

It looks like a nice and secure apartment on the pictures and even offers a swimming pool and a gym for the residents. Does this seem like a good deal?

would 250 PLN be enough for electricity and internet in a 42 m2 apartment occupied by just 1 person?
I don't know if I am allowed to post links on this forum, that's why there's no link.
phtoa 9 | 236
6 May 2013 #11
The Verona Tarasy is indeed a nice estate, but firstly way overpriced and secondly in a terrible boring neighborhood.
Go to use google chrome and translate the page to English and look there for an apartment.

I was making your salary my first year in Poland, and with that salary honestly do not blow more than 15-1800 PLN per. Month at the most for and apartment + Utilities.

You will find it in Krakow that you spend most of the time outside your apartment anyway's, and nobody give's a damn if you have a nice place or not (even you will feel this way over time)..

Living on 3000ZL per month you will manage to live the lifestyle you request above. So find a smaller/lower standard apartment and spend more money on having a good time, it's def worth it.

Anyway's which company will you be working for? I might assume IBM as you are choosing your housing in Bronowice, but I can off course be wrong.
peterweg 37 | 2,321
6 May 2013 #12
This is the second most popular supermarket in Poland,

Not in Krakow so not much use.

You can get good fish if you order it from the fish monger. Haddock is good and reasonable price.

The beef is general poor and expensive, you have to buy imported British/Irish or French to get top quality. I bring it back from the UK in my carry on luggage, more than enough for any cravings (not for me, I hate beef)
7 May 2013 #13
well, i checked the map of P&P markets and it appears youre right, apparently Krakow is yet unconquered by them, but anyway, the prices don't change that much between regions of Poland, of course, sea fish might be more expensive in Krakow than at the seaside, but salmon isnt fished at Polish coast anyway, so the difference shouldn't be noticable. Polish high quality beef is exported to the west since it doesn't make sense to sell it for lower price on the home market, since almost nobody would be able to afford it. I myself had awesome meal with polish beef near Dijon in France (it's obligatory for them to let the customer know where the meat comes from).
Sunny Girl 1 | 17
7 May 2013 #14
I can put the bike inside of my appartment and locked in the office parking lot

You can keep it at home, if you have a big lift in the building or you will carry it on your back when you walk on the stairs. However nobody knows if there is a safe place near your office to keep it. Even at a parking somebody can come and take it without asking :)

And your question about ZUS, it is just part of the tax, everything you get after the tax means the rest of your money is taxes, insurance and everything that is requited by the law.
OP JvHam 1 | 4
8 May 2013 #15
Today I also received a job offer from another company, based in Warsaw, they offer 7.000PLN gross.
Which offer is financially better, 6.500 in Krakow or 7.000 in Warsaw?
Memetrus 1 | 1
8 May 2013 #16

I would definitely choose Warsaw offer
peterweg 37 | 2,321
8 May 2013 #17
Cost of living is Warsaw is much higher, the difference will be in rent alone is not more. You should expect maybe 40% more for the same job, not less than 10%.
phtoa 9 | 236
8 May 2013 #18
100% agreed, if they give you 10.000 Gross in Warsaw it would be worth it !
Sparks11 - | 335
8 May 2013 #19
I agree, for a 500 zl difference stay in Krakow. I'm not sure how ambitious you are or what your field is but if you want to bump up your earnings you could consider taking on extra work, outside of your company as well. This would probably be easier in Warsaw. If you're not a workaholic, go for the Krakow offer. Also, don't worry about defending your drinking habits or preference for nightlife. Do what works for you and don't let people on internet forums tell you right from wrong on these topics--figure it out when you get here.
Jardinero 1 | 407
9 May 2013 #20
Warsaw is the capital + business centre, so it tends to be over-priced and over-hyped. Although I still like the old sections of the city with a lot of character.

Kraków is the cultural capital of the country, has a lovely old town. Location wise - is closer to the mountains, and also is closer and probably better connected by train with Bratislava, Praha, Budapest, Vienna, etc. should you want to travel abroad. Hence 1 more vote for the town of Krak.

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