As one of the world’s largest countries, India is home to a wide variety of cities, small towns, and beautiful rural areas. Whether you’re planning on enjoying the big city lifestyle or a relaxing small-town life, India can offer the lifestyle you’re seeking on a budget that makes any Western country look expensive.
Due to its sheer size and its massive population, India is home to a range of living situations. Expatriates and retirees can live ‘like a local’ on an affordable budget, enjoy a moderate lifestyle on a fairly flexible monthly budget, or splurge out and live a luxurious lifestyle on a budget that meets that of most Western countries.
Most expatriates in India choose to live in one of the country’s large cities. Places like Bangalore and Mumbai are major centers of economic activity in India – the first of the two, Bangalore, is regarded as India’s Silicon Valley. As such, they can cost significantly more for a retiree than one of India’s many smaller cities.
One of the largest expenses for expatriates living in one of India’s major cities is accommodation. Rent for a small room – often a studio apartment in a city center building – can be as low as $200 per month. Generally speaking, rooms that fall into this price range are basic and often lacking in comforts and amenities.
Expatriates seeking a greater degree of comfort may wish to rent a one-bedroom apartment in a safer, more luxurious neighborhood. A one-bedroom apartment in a nice neighborhood in a city such as Bangalore or Mumbai will cost anywhere from $300 to $600 monthly, depending on the quality and size of the room.
Finally, large apartments can be found in major cities in India for anywhere from $500 to $5,000 monthly. Due to India’s massive range of incomes, it’s possible to find a high-end luxury apartment within minutes’ walking distance from a small, inexpensive room.
In provincial cities and small towns, the cost of living in India decreases by a very large amount. While Mumbai and Bangalore boast high-end apartment buildings with thousand-dollar monthly rental fees, many of India’s smaller cities – mostly cities with a population of under one-million – are very affordable to live in.
Food is inexpensive in India, particularly for expatriates and retirees interested in dining at local restaurants and food stands. A standard meal – often rice and a meat dish – can cost anywhere from $1 to $5 USD. Small snacks are available for less than $1 per piece from convenience stores, making eating out very cheap.
Likewise, drinks and nightlife are inexpensive in India. Many small restaurants serve alcoholic beverages at low prices, while standard drinks like Coca Cola are also highly affordable. Bars and nightclubs in major cities are inexpensive to visit and the cost of dining out in large groups is very reasonable.
Finally, groceries and other necessities are very affordable in India. While many people opt to shop at local markets for their produce, a variety of Western-style supermarkets operate in India’s major cities, offering the standard array of home groceries at prices far below those found in the Western world.
On the whole, India is a far more affordable country for expatriates to live in than anywhere in the Western world. In major cities, a monthly budget of $1,000 USD is enough for a basic yet comfortable lifestyle. A monthly budget of $3,000 USD is enough to enjoy a comfortable, fun lifestyle with many Western comforts.
Outside of major cities, many retirees with inexpensive tastes will be able to live very comfortably on a $500 monthly budget. For retirees on a tight budget, India is undoubtedly one of Asia’s best retirement destinations.