The cost of living in Hungary is much lower that of other European countries. In fact, the stunning capital, Budapest, was ranked 170th out of 209 cities in the Mercer Cost of Living Survey for 2020, making it far cheaper than the likes of London and Paris but more expensive than Sofia and Bucharest.

Another plus is that expats tend to earn higher salaries than their Hungarian counterparts, which affords them a better quality of life. However, as with anywhere, there are certain aspects of life that can be expensive and expats should adjust their budgets accordingly.


Cost of accommodation in Hungary

The primary expense facing expats in Hungary is accommodation. This is especially the case for those living in urban areas, such as Budapest.

Naturally, the cost of accommodation in Hungary will largely depend on the location, size and condition of the residence. However, it is not unheard of for residents of Budapest to spend more than half their monthly salary on the combined cost of rent, mandatory household maintenance fees and utilities.


Cost of groceries in Hungary

After accommodation, the next largest expense for most people in Hungary is food, which accounts for approximately a quarter of the average Hungarian resident’s monthly salary. Expats longing for a taste of home may well find something to satiate their cravings at a Hungarian supermarket but imported goods can be expensive. Ideally, expats should only buy local goods as this can bring the final grocery bill down drastically, as can shopping for fresh produce at local markets.


Cost of eating out and entertainment in Hungary

There are many good restaurants in Hungary tailored to a variety of budgets, so the amount spent on eating out really depends on an expat's choice of restaurant and budget. It's entirely possible to eat out on a small budget, though this will, of course, cost more than cooking at home. Meanwhile, there are also fine-dining options for those looking to splash out – but most expats will only be able to afford to treat themselves to this kind of indulgence occasionally. Remember that tipping is mandatory in Hungary and should be taken into account when budgeting to eat out.

Imported wine and beer is pricey, but expats fond of a drink or two will be pleased to know that Hungarian wine and beer is of good quality and is much friendlier on the wallet.


Cost of transport in Hungary

Hungary's well-developed public transport system is not only convenient but also extremely affordable. For a reasonable price, a monthly ticket can be purchased which provides access to an unlimited number of trips across trams, buses, boats and, in Budapest, the metro.


Cost of education in Hungary

Expats with children who are well versed in Hungarian or young enough to pick up the language as they go can benefit from the free public school system, which will eliminate a substantial expense. Those keener on international schooling for their young ones, however, will have to deal with the predictably high fees charged by these schools. 


Cost of healthcare in Hungary

Healthcare should not be too much of an expense for expats in Hungary as anyone employed in the country can make use of its free or highly subsidised healthcare services. The quality of healthcare in Hungary is on par with most countries in Western Europe and it is even making a name for itself as a prominent medical tourism destination. Private healthcare in Hungary is of a high standard and is relatively cheap compared to that of Western countries.


Cost of living in Hungary chart 

Prices may vary depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for Budapest for April 2021.

Accommodation (monthly)

One-bedroom apartment in city centre 

HUF 160,000

One-bedroom apartment outside of city centre 

HUF 120,000

Three-bedroom apartment in city centre 

HUF 290,000

Three-bedroom apartment outside of city centre 

HUF 205,000

Shopping

Dozen eggs

HUF 570

Milk (1 litre)

HUF 255

Rice (1 kg)

HUF 400

Loaf of white bread

HUF 250

Chicken breasts (1kg)

HUF 1,500

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

HUF 1,500

Eating out

Big Mac Meal

HUF 1,600

Coca-Cola (330ml)

HUF 340

Cappuccino 

HUF 500

Bottle of beer (local)

HUF 500

Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant

HUF 12,000

Utilities/household

Mobile call rate (per minute – mobile to mobile)

HUF 28

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month) 

HUF 4,500

Basic utilities (average per month for standard household)

HUF 50,000

Transport

Taxi rate/km

HUF 300

Bus fare in the city centre 

HUF 350

Gasoline (per litre)

HUF 385