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India – Cost of Living

India is a vibrant and diverse country located in South Asia. It is known for its rich culture, history, and cuisine. India is also a popular destination for tourists, digital nomads, and expats due to its affordable cost of living. In this article, we will explore the cost of living in India, including currency, comparisons to the UK and USA, breakdown of costs, and common forms of payment.

Local Currency in India

The local currency in India is the Indian Rupee (INR). One Rupee is divided into 100 paise, but due to inflation, paise are no longer in circulation. There are coins in denominations of 1, 2, 5, and 10 Rupees, and banknotes in denominations of 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, and 2,000 Rupees.

Cost of Living in India Compared to the UK and USA

The cost of living in India is generally lower than that of the UK and the USA. According to Numbeo, a website that compares cost of living in different countries, the cost of living index in India is 24.30, while the UK is 69.08, and the USA is 76.86. This means that on average, it is much less expensive to live in India than in the UK or USA.

Breakdown of Costs in India

The cost of living in India can vary depending on the location and size of the household. Here is a breakdown of some of the typical costs for singles, couples, and families of four in India:


Housing costs in India can be affordable, especially outside of major cities. In cities like Mumbai, Delhi, and Bangalore, housing costs can be more expensive. In Mumbai, the average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center is around 20,000 INR, while a three-bedroom apartment can cost around 60,000 INR. Outside of major cities, the cost of housing can be lower, but still affordable.

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Indian cuisine is known for being delicious and affordable. Eating out in India can be very affordable, with a meal at a local restaurant costing around 200 INR per person. Grocery shopping can also be affordable, with a loaf of bread costing around 20 INR and a liter of milk costing around 50 INR.


The cost of utilities in India varies depending on the size of the household and the location. On average, electricity, water, and gas bills for a family of four in a major city can add up to around 5,000-10,000 INR per month. Internet and mobile phone plans are also very affordable, with a typical plan costing around 500-1,000 INR per month.


India offers a variety of leisure activities, from visiting historic sites to exploring national parks and attending cultural events. Many activities in India can be affordable or even free, such as visiting a public park or museum. Paid activities such as visiting a spa, taking a tour, or attending a concert can cost between 500-2,000 INR per person.


Public transportation in India is very affordable, with a one-way ticket on a bus or metro costing around 10-20 INR. Taxis and ride-sharing services are also very affordable, with a typical 10-kilometer ride costing around 150-200 INR. Owning a car in India can be expensive due to high taxes and gasoline prices.


The cost of clothing in India varies depending on the brand and quality. Affordable clothing options can be found at local markets, with t-shirts costing around 300-500 INR and jeans costing around 1,000-2,000 INR. High-end designer clothing can be more expensive, with a designer dress costing around 10,000-20,000 INR or more.

Household Goods

Household goods such as furniture, appliances, and electronics can be affordable in India, especially if purchased locally. New items can also be reasonably priced, with a new refrigerator costing around 15,000-20,000 INR and a new television costing around 20,000-30,000 INR.

Common Forms of Payment in India

Cash is still widely used in India, especially for smaller transactions such as purchasing food or taking a rickshaw ride. However, debit and credit cards are becoming more common, especially in larger cities and tourist areas. It is recommended to carry cash for smaller transactions and use cards for larger transactions. ATMs are widely available throughout the country, and credit and debit cards are accepted at most major retailers and restaurants.

In conclusion, India offers an affordable cost of living compared to other countries, especially in terms of food, housing, and leisure activities. Public transportation is very affordable, and household goods can be purchased at a reasonable cost. Cash is still widely used in India, but debit and credit cards are becoming more common. India is a great place to live for those looking to save money while enjoying a rich and vibrant culture.

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