Is 30000 rmb per month enough to live on in Beijing, China?
Dan Wilkinson, lives in Beijing, China (2013-present)
Well I can tell you, that’s a lot of money in China, to be honest that’s not too bad back home too (I’m British too). Is this figure before, or after tax? If it’s before tax, you’ll be looking at somewhere around the 25k per month range, after tax. My earnings are more or less the same as what you’ve been offered (after tax) and I can live in Beijing at a very high standard, but this all depends on you.
So lets look at some of the typical costs living here:
Rent within the 2nd ring road (advised for ease of finding stuff to do, but depends on the location of your office)
- As a single bedroom apartment - 5–7+k per month
- Shared - 3+k per month
Food - this all depends on what you want to eat, if you stick to local stuff, it’ll be cheap, foreign stuff…. expect to pay pretty much what you would at home.
- Cooking for yourself - veggies, meat, snacks, etc - 200–500 per week
- Eating at Chinese restaurants - 30–100 per meal
- Eating at a foreign restaurant - 100+ per meal (food only)
Going out - Price is reflected mainly in the area, so Sanlitun area (very popular amongst expats) is more expensive than say the student areas
- A local beer - 15–30
- A foreign beer (Heineken, Carlsberg, Budweiser, etc) - 40–50
- Crappy cocktail (juice +spirit) - 30–50
- Decent cocktail - 50+
Getting around -
- Taxi - 30 Mins - 30–40
- Subway - 2–6 per journey (depends on distance)
- Shared bike (you’ll find it hard to miss one of these) - 1 per half hour
- Bus - more or less the same as the subway (maybe a little cheaper)
So to put it this way, I earn around this, I live in a modest but very nice 2-bed, 2-bath, upstairs/downstairs house kind of thing (shared with my partner), within the 2nd ring road. I go out to drink maybe once a week, I eat out at restaurants about 2–4 times a week, I cook most other times. I go to a movie maybe once a week, I buy some form of clothing once every other week, I shop online CONSTANTLY. In my opinion (and it all depends on your own preferences really), I live what I consider to be a very comfortable lifestyle, I worry very little about money, I can pretty much always do what I want, and at the end of the month I still have a very healthy chunk to keep as savings. Beijing isn’t the cheapest city in China by a long-shot, but this amount of money will give you a pretty good quality of life and maybe even a good amount of savings……but again, it all depends on you. When I first moved to Beijing from a smaller city nearby, I was earning only 6k after tax, and I survived (just), the key word there being, survived, it wasn’t comfortable, so you can imagine that by multiplying this by 5, you’re able to cover the bare necessities and then a great deal more. Hope this has helped.
Katie Pedro, APAC Regional HR Dirctor at Marvell Semiconductors (2018-present)
Yes, livable. Please note your after tax income will depend on if your employer will help administer foreigner tax exempt measurements for you. By China’s individual income tax policy, foreigners can enjoy tax exemptions on their rental, children's education tuition, your own language learning tuition, home trip, meal and laundry. All above need to provide tax receipts (called “Fapiao”). If your employer is willing to administer the tax saving program for you, you can save a lot on tax.
Rental in BJ is expensive. One bedroom apartment ranges from RMB6,000 to 17,000 per month. I lived at expat community and entertainment center of Sanlitun. I rent one bed room apartment with view in a high end apartment compound at 14,000 per month. I saw many ESL teachers rent very decent apartment at the same area at 11,000 per month. I heard Shuangjing area, another upcoming expat area is cheaper but I don't know how much exactly. You can go lower but the condition maybe compromised. Chinese rental apartments have a bad tendency of ugly furniture, really ugly furniture
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Utilities are negligible. Food is good and inexpensive. I never go to cheap food markets, only neighborhood restaurants with good reviews (sanlitun have numerous restaurants). Food cost me 300 a day (2-3 dishes per meal). And I am a big eater. If you cook, it would be much cheaper.
Coffee is expensive, cost RMB32 per cup medium size. I went to Costa coffee every morning and get their breakfast combo of a mid size latte and cheese & ham croissant for RMB30.
The rest, clothing and transportation are very cheap. So yes, 30K per month is good. Not very luxurious but very good.
Diana Tevlon, lives in Beijing, China
Beijing is even better than New York in term of suiting your lifestyle.
Y30000 equals roughly to USD5000. You can surely live comfortably in Beijing with that amount of money in your pocket, especially if you’re alone.
But it really depends on your lifestyle. As an example, for a descent dinner including soft drink, you may probably spend around Y150 in Sanlitun upmarket shopping center. But a few hundred meters away Y50 will be sufficient enough.
If you live in or around upscale Chaoyang District you probably have to pay USD 1000 to USD 1500 for one~bed appartment. But if you live in or around Beijing’s 3rd or 4th rings it may only cost you max USD 1000.
Clothings will not be a source of concern as for Y50 to 75 you can buy a shirt of Polo’s quality. Silk Market and Yasho Shopping Centers are the two best places to go and shop around for clothings and many more.
Public transportations are relatively reliable, good, and very cheap. It’s less than USD1 you can ride all around the city. No need to buy a car then.
In short, Beijing offers you a lifestyle that suits your budget or income. Options are abundant.
It is in sharp contrast to say Japan or Australia. No matter where you go, the prices are practically the same. You don’t have much room to maneuver.
My experience tells me that out of USD 5000, at least you can save USD 1000 per month.
And, don’t forget as well that you will also definitely ‘save’ in your memory a 5000~year of China’s civilization, which is priceless.
Go and discover Beijing!!!
Delta Tri, lived in Beijing, China
I live in Beijing.
30000? You can live beyond comfortable here.
Living in a large, nicely furnitured apartment near the center of the city cost no more than 10000 per month. If you lower the standard, quarter of the price can still get you a decent accommodation with convenient transportation.
Public transportation is highly dependable. You don’t really need a car to travel around.
Eating and anything daily is cheap. Everything you used to buy with Euros, now you can buy with the same amount of RMB (almost). High-end electronic devices and luxuries are the only exceptions.
Service is extremely cheap. An ordinary haircut will cost you 20 RMB. Massage is around 120RMB/h. Food delivery cost an extra 7 RMB for a 20min ride. You get the idea.
A normal worker earns 3 to 4 thousand RMB every month. Your salary is actually high.
If you can spend only HALF of your salary for rental, and save other HALF for transportation, groceries, recreation, apparel and utilities then it’s likely enough.
that said see below is comparison table for rental an groceries according to World Cost of Living Calculator spreadsheet (crowdsourced data)
You can use the Cost of Living calculator spreadsheet to get a more customized spending pattern based from your own needs not a stranger needs.Items include in this calculation are accommodation, transportation, groceries, recreation, apparel and utilities.
Owen Daniel, lived in Beijing, China (2015-2017)
So 30k is a very good place to start. You can get a shody bedsit for 3–4k per month, a super amazing 2/3 bed would be 15k. A lovely one bed 8–10k. Rent is usually paid quarterly however so you factor that in. Plus first month’s rent as deposit usually.
How much you will save depends on what standard of living you’re after. You will have enough to eat and drink at the best places in the city (roughly London prices) but wouldn’t have much left at the end of the month. You could also survive on 200RMB a day easy.
So if you scrimp it you could save 10k plus a month, if you like the finer things in life you’ll just have an incredible time and not much to show.
Kit Harford, lives in Beijing, China
This answer assumes that you mean 30,000 rmb…
30,000 is a chunk of change over here. Here are some average prices of things from a foreigner in China ten years and Beijing four. All figures in rmb.
Local beer from super market. 5rmb
Noodles. 15 rmb
Subway trip. 5 rmb
Nice one bed flat near Sanlitun. 8,000 rmb per month
Standard flat in normal area. 4,000 rmb
Craft beer in bar. 45 rmb
Taxi. 30 rmb?
Nice bread. 35 rmb
Dockless bike. Free ish
Nice Chinese meal. 100 rmb per person
Posh hotel dinner. 300 rmb
So you can basically live on anything you want here. People in this city live on everything from 3,000 per month to millions… but hopefully that list can help you work that out yourself. And don't forget your tax will be around 25%
Chris Garcia, lives in Beijing, China (1990-present)
For an expat package, $4,300 per month is very dismal. Your take-home pay will be approximately 30% less. Not all employers participate in the program that allows you to reduce your tax liability by documenting your living expenses.
Rent on a 80 m2 apartment in a central location will cost you at least $1,000 per month, likely even $1,500 depending on how modern and well-furnished the apartment is. Add $200 for utilities if you aren't a big fan or air conditioning. Otherwise $500.
Food is cheap as is public transportation. Scrounging, you could budget $1,000 per month. If you take taxis or Uber often and / or dine out in pricier — but not too much so — you can add $500 or even more to your budget.
You might be able to save $1,500 per month.
Not sure what industry you work in, your position or level of experience, but most US multinationals offer mid-management expat packages which include salary of $150,000 or more, plus additional benefits. At $51,000, you are getting shafted
William Regan, I've been living in China for seven years.
I’ve never lived in Beijing — but I’d venture to say 30,000 is fine. Even if you spent 10,000 on your rent — you’d still have 20,000 extra to spend or save. That’s a decent amount of cash.
For a quick reference I’ll estimate how much I spend (in Guangzhou)
- 4000 for one bedroom apartment (nice, near center, including management fees)
- 3000 for food (some western food, some chinese food)
- 100 for metro card
- 200 for phone (Yeah, I’m getting ripped off)
- 200 for fibre optics internet (Also a rip off considering the performance)
So that’s like 7,500 spent before buying random items like shampoo, toothpaste, new clothes etc.
30,000 should be plenty — especially if you’re single without kids.
that’s rich in China, but average in the US
Emanuel Leung, lived in China (2011-2012)
You can live in Sanlitun for around 4,000–8,000 RMB a month, so if you’re single, you can save a LOOOTTTT of money. 30,000 RMB/month? You’re golden, man. Go for it!
你可以住在三里屯租房，一个月4000 - 8000元，所以如果你是单身，可以省下一大笔钱。30000元/月？伙计，你就是钻石王老五了。赶紧接受吧!
Greg Gordon, lived in Beijing, China (2010-2013)
Yes - you will live well with that money. You can pay as little as 7000 for your own apartment and save 10000 a month. You can always spend more or less and save more or less.
Quora User, lives in Beijing, China
Yes, it is.
30k is enough for a very joyful life in Beijing.
But, that’s only when you do not want to buy a apartment.
Maggie Lin, lives in Beijing, China
0k per month is not high for a British expert. But one is quite rich with this income to live in Beijing.
10k for a luxury apartment with 2 rooms. 6k~8k for an apartment with 1 room. It really depends on locations and communities.
10k for daily expenditures. 10k can be saved.
To tell the truth, I spend about 4k per month but I am extremely indifferent in clothes and traveling, and I have no car. Just for food, books, coffee, transportation. How about movies? 50rmb for one, then 200rmb for 4 times per month, I guess. How about concerts, operas? It might add up to 10k.
There might an online circle of western guys in Beijing, maybe a WeChat group. It might be helpful if you find it.
Yo Kuo, worked at China
Majority people in Beijing live on half of that (15k before tax) and lower, and they will be addressed as middle class.
Anywhere higher than 15k would probably be considered high income.
30k would be a decent amount to provide you a comfortable life in Beijing plus savings.
The biggest portion of your salary will go to accommodation. A single bedroom apartment in downtown area will be around 7k or less, as others have stated, and that is already a higher number than lots of people’s after-tax salary. However, that expense could go much lower if you can compromise to a relatively less affluent area. Apartment rental cost varies greatly depending on different locations.
Other than that, daily necessities and transportation are a lot less costly. Unless you are a party person and have lots of social gatherings, I would say you can manage to save at least half of what your earn.
Overall, it’s a decent offer.