St. Petersburg, Russia: Cost of Living

Faculty & Staff

St. Petersburg, Russia: Cost of Living 

How much does a cup of coffee cost in St. Petersburg? How about a subway ride? Or rent? How much money would you need a month?

Here’re a few facts to help you make informed decisions. 

After the crash of rouble (Russia’s national currency) in 2015, even Moscow is no longer on the top most expensive cities lists. Life in St. Petersburg on average is a lot cheaper than in European capitals. 


Analyze This

Numbeo, an internet service that aggregates data provided by users, offers a pretty accurate comparison of cost of living around the world.

Here’s what it says about Berlin and St. Petersburg:

Clearly, living in St. Petersburg is significantly cheaper. The service offers a lot more information than shown in the example, and you can select a currency you’re used to.

How about a Big Mac? 

The Economist has been publishing the Big Mac Index since 1986. McDonald’s has restaurants in a large number of countries and tries to use local products and local labor. A Big Mac sandwich itself consists of several ingredients, making it a “digestible” assessment of the local purchasing power and the state of local economy in general. With certain limitations, in each country its price depends on production volume, the cost of rent, labor, services, etc. It’s another place to look when trying to make heads and tails of your budget in Russia. By the way, McDonald’s in Russia serves surprisingly good coffee.

Minimums and Averages

Set by the government, the minimal subsistence level in St. Petersburg is 11,375 roubles. Here’s a handy currency conversion tool. Journalists periodically test if it’s possible to make it through the month on this sum, with varied degrees of success.

The minimal living wage set for St. Petersburg is 11,700 roubles.

Average salary is 42,214, as reported by the St. Petersburg government in Jan. 2016.


One trip on the metro (how locals call subway) is 35 roubles. A trip on a tram, trolleybus or bus will cost you 30 roubles. You can buy a “Podorozhnik” pass that works on all transport and can be refilled at metro station terminals or over the internet.

Students and faculty can buy a discount monthly pass for 900 roubles a month.

You can also get a ride with Uber, Gett or Yandex.Taxi.

If you’re traveling to Moscow, consider Sapsan, a high-speed train with Wi-Fi, or an overnight train where you can get your own compartment will run you about 3,500. Considering that you’ll embark in one downtown and disembark in the other, it can save time and money and is an overall pleasant experience.


A cup of cappuccino in St. Petersburg will set you back 190 to 260 roubles. A dinner for one at a mid-range restaurant will cost between 700 and 2,000. There’re plenty of breakfast and business lunch offers between 250 and 400 roubles. Credit cards are accepted pretty much everywhere.


Renting a room downtown will run around 13,000 roubles a month. Expect to pay around 30,000 for a downtown studio apartment.

A single-room (not to confuse with single bedroom. This is literally one room and a kitchen) in the newer parts of town will cost about 21,000 roubles.

Students would often share the cost of a three-four room apartment, which runs about 50-60,000 a month.

There’s a wide range of apartments, from peeling wallpaper to “Eurostandard” with the latest appliances and triple-paned windows. It’s always a good idea to personally inspect the apartment you’re considering.

ITMO University offers its students and faculty several dormitories around the city. The cost is XXX.

Capital of Shopping

St. Petersburg takes the fourth place among European cities for square footage of retail space per person. “Shop till you drop” is very much a reality here. Expect to find a variety of Russian and European brands as well as top designer stores. Unfortunately, a concept of outlets is still a stranger here.

Online retailing is also thriving. You can order everything from a teapot to makeup and groceries on Ozone. Also Yandex.Market lets you compare prices for the same item around the city.  

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