Cost of Living Odessa, Ukraine
For anyone thinking of moving to Odessa, or elsewhere in Ukraine, we thought it might be useful to do a breakdown of the cost of living in Odessa, Ukraine. Advertised salaries can look really low, but in fact, given the low living costs, you can live a very comfortable life.
We lived and taught English in Odessa from 2014-2016. The currency of Ukraine is the Hryvnia – pronounced Grivna, which at the time of writing was about 26 to the dollar. All of these prices are for both of us.
Cost of living in Odessa: Rent = free
In Odessa, we got accommodation provided by our job as English teachers at the London School of English, Ukraine, so we didn’t have to pay any rent. We got given a flat about 15 minutes from the school with living room, one bedroom, one dining room/spare bedroom, kitchen, and bathroom. The school even gave us a care package when we moved in, with basic food, medicine, cleaning products and even some wine and beer.
Cost of Bills in Odessa = about 500 – 1500 UAH a month
The biggest expense in our cost of living in Odessa for bills was gas. In winter the heating is on constantly (there’s no option to set a timer or anything). Gas prices went up a lot while we were there, and our bill was about 1000 UAH a month in winter. Obviously, this is a lot cheaper in summer, but it takes up a lot of your cost of living in Odessa.
Electricity cost about 200 UAH per month. This would obviously be higher if you use the air con a lot in summer, when it gets up to 40 degrees. Our only air con unit was in the dining room/spare bedroom, so we didn’t use it often. At night we slept with the window open, which was cool enough.
This was really cheap. Pennies really.
These three bills were sorted by the school, and the money was deducted from our salary. We didn’t even have to worry about how to pay them.
We also paid a fee for the communal areas of our courtyard, but this was only about 200 UAH a month. This covered cleaning of the landing and stairs outside our flat, and of the courtyard outside.
Internet = about 200 UAH per month
The Internet was super cheap at about 200 UAH a month. We had 20+ MB speed for about 4 quid a month. We paid it using one of the many machines around the city. You can top up your mobile phone on them too.
Read our post for more on expat life in Ukraine
Mobile phone costs in Ukraine = 100 UAH a month.
We had a Life SIM card provided by the school. All the staff are on Life, and calls within the network are really cheap. The cheap cost of internet and phone makes the cost of living in Odessa quite low really!
Transport costs in Odessa
The main form of transport is the marshrutka – small buses. You hail them anywhere on the street, get on, and then pay when you want to get off. It cost 7 UAH a trip anywhere. When working in the other school in the city, it cost 14 UAH a day, so about 280 UAH a month – about$10.
Buses to Kiev from Autolux cost about 315 UAH for standard, and 415 for VIP. On the VIP bus there are only three seats to a row, so you get plenty of leg room. You also get a TV in the back of your chair for entertainment, wifi and a hostess selling drinks and snacks. Not a bad service at all for about $16.
Oddly, it’s quicker to travel from Odessa to Kiev by bus than by train. However, travelling at night is much more comfortable in a sleeper carriage on a train. It costs less than 300UAH in a compartment with four beds, and about 550 for one with two beds. For this price, you get clean bed linen and a conductor to serve you hot drinks, and wake you up in the morning when you get close to your destination.
You can book both buses and trains online using the links above. Be aware though, you sometimes need to spell Kiev ‘Kyiv’ and Odessa with one ‘s’ – Odesa.
We have traveled all around Ukraine. Read our posts on all the places to visit in Ukraine.
Our school gives teachers a one-way flight at the beginning and the end of their contract (August and June-July). At Christmas, we flew home on Christmas eve (Ukrainian Christmas is in January). We flew back again about two weeks’ later. Flights cost about £250 for each of us, from Kiev via Paris or Amsterdam with Air France, or direct to London with Ukrainian Airways.
There wasn’t much need to take taxis often. A taxi from the beach cost about 50 grivna and it was the same for a taxi to the airport. Booking a taxi when you speak terrible Russian became much easier with the appearance of the Bond app, and then Uklon (like Grab taxi and all the other taxi apps around the world).
Cost of Shopping in Odessa = up to 1000 UAH a week
Local groceries are cheap, meaning bread, pasta, rice, and canned staples. Fruit and vegetables are really cheap in season. In summer, a big basket of cherries or strawberries was about $1. Out of season, fruit and veg could be really expensive though. Imported products were also pricey. In total, we probably spent about 500-1000 UAH a week.
Cost of Eating out in Odessa
Eating out in Odessa was really affordable. A meal in an average restaurant was less than 200 UAH. Even the expensive places were affordable. We went out to the Steakhouse – quite a swish restaurant in the city centre. We had a meal each, including steak, Kris had two imported beers and I had two glasses of Argentinean red wine, all for less than $35. This was a special treat. The low cost of living in Odessa means that we ate out in other places several times a week.
Cost of Drinking in Odessa
Again, this is really affordable. A pint of local beer costs about 25 UAH. Even a pint of Stella will only set you back 40. Ukrainian wine is also cheap and decent, as is Georgian wine, and you can get a glass for about 40 UAH. If you’re celebrating, you can buy a bottle of Ukrainian fizzy wine for about 200 UAH.
There are lots of really cool bars in Odessa and since the cost of living in Odessa is so low, you can afford to visit lots of them. We have a post about some of our favourite bars in Odessa.
Read more about craft beer pubs in Odessa.
If you were considering moving there to live, hopefully, this will help you understand your cost of living in Odessa. If you have any further questions about it, contact us through this blog, or leave a comment. We’ll be happy to help.
Hi, is it good for africans? I’m thinking of moving to ukraine but i’m scaree there would not be a job for me
What kind of job were you thinking of doing? There aren’t many black Africans in Odessa, but there are a few students from places like Angola.
Hi, I’m a student about to move to Odessa in Ukraine, any tips?
Hi, how exciting! What are you going to study? In terms of tips, what do you want to know?
Hi, Williams. Odessa is one of the most expensive cities in Ukraine, but in comparison with European cities it will be very cheap (after 2014).
As a student you will need from 400 to 600 USD per month for comfort living (including rent apartments, food, utility bills and some entertainment).
More info about prices in Odessa u can find here – https://voyagestic.com/place/odessa, http://destinations.com.ua/travel/cost-of-living-in-odesa
My boyfriend & I are thinking about teaching in Ukraine, we are TESOL/ CELTA qualified with a good few years experience….was it easy enough to get a work visa? Did the school sort it out?
The school will get the work visa for you. It’s complicated for them by the looks of things, but not really for you. Where in Ukraine are you thinking of. Feel free to send us a message via our Facebook page if you want more info/contacts.
I’m more interested in the cost of living in USD instead of the native currency. And also, you talk too much about yourself and what you got for free instead of addressing the question. “The cost of living.”
Thanks for the feedback. With a currency converter you can work out the cost in USD yourself. USD conversions are only really useful for those whose country works in USD. We are British so it doesn’t make much sense. As for talking about ourselves, it’s our blog. That’s what we do. It is OUR cost of living. Cost of livings vary depending on the person and their lifestyle.
I’m looking to work with the same school (LSE) in Odessa next year and want to know more about the apartment the school gave you.
The location was quite good? (close to centre?)
Did it come furnished?
Were you living close to other teachers from the school?
I understand the apartment is free so I guess I’m skeptical about the quality of the flat itself.
I suppose it wouldn’t make sense to live anywhere else really when it’s free.
Good article, informative and concise.
Hi, the apartments are all close to the school, which is on the main street Odessa, so they are all walking distance from the centre. They are single flats and all fully furnished, with everything you could want to use, including bedding and towels. There are photos of our flat in the post. Teachers are all happy with their flats.
Planning to purge my life in USA. I’ve been to zkirv + Dnepropetrovsk a few times, fell in love with the entire country. I’m retired from a medical discipline but play in local Concert Orchestra and play Jazz here as well as in Ukraine. I also have a science fiction novel I am completing and planning to have published. Moving there has changed. I go only using passport, play music 2 nights but remain 2+ months. Now i’m limited to 90 days. I haven’t funds or time to complete a lengthy course to become certified for teaching. I’m told Kirv has opportunities for teachers in classes where they read/write but canbitvsoeskbcorrectky yet. I have two medical degrees and my grammar is excellent.
Also my girlfriend lives in Dnepropetrovsk and she has little desire to move to USA. She prefers I move there and in one year she completes her third grad degree in Joursnalism then wants me to follow her to zoo land or Finland -marriedcwexhooe?). She then considers coming to US. I CANT STAY 90 days interview then leave for 80 days per their new laws as I apply for the proper visa?((. I live on a modest US retirement of approximately v36,090 hyrvnia monthly net. And shecesrnscgerciwn income. Each time i speak to their embassy I get different answers. I’m a 43 year veteran and teacher of martial arts also. My current Kempo mastercwants nevtonioejna school/DI JOBthere. If i’m there 2 years or forever how can I plan relocsting to Ukraine ASAP?
I’m born, raised a country farm boy so have always been very self sufficient vmyngirkbwsjtsctibmovebin with kebinnKiev. We planned our wedding by July or August. I understand we must marry first at a room at the office in downtown Kiev It’s important to have a second one later for her family then one at the Kiev LDS Temple which i’m a part if.
Please tell me clearly what steps I need follow and how soon I can at least find living back in Kiev? I’m more st home there than anywhere unbUSA.
IM TRYING TO EXPEDITE THIS PROCESS as soon as possible So I’m counting on your expertise to move forward quickly.
Thomas Bline CLS,CT (ASCP)
Hi, It’s best if you send us a PM on Facebook to answer this, as it too complex to answer in a reply to this comment. @whatkateandkrisdid on Facebook.
Hi, I’m spending 1 week in Odessa, first time, for a Swing Dance event. I speak Russian. Any advice? Thank you
Hi, what kind of advice are you looking for?