In a heavily populated country such as India, the cost of living varies from place to place, person to person. The cost of living in New Delhi, and similar bustling metropolitan cities, is surprisingly inexpensive for those who plan to study abroad or volunteer abroad in New Delhi. Expats in India tend to be well paid, and job opportunities in New Delhi are abundant. For expats who pursue freelance work, money can stack up quickly.
Luxuries, which are available to India's wealthy, will come easily to any working expat. These luxuries include: maid and housekeeping services, drivers, and personal assistants. Even fresh, delivered, home-cooked meals are not out of the question.
The cost of housing in New Delhi
The cost of housing in New Delhi is generally inexpensive, depending on where you want to stay. You could stay with a host family, find a roommate, live in a hostel or rent a luxury furnished flat.
Here are a few examples of types of housing, and the average cost of each:
- Paid Guesthouses: $25 - $350 per month
- Guesthouses can be found in the busiest parts of New Delhi, which will be costly, and in the quiet rural parts that border the local villages, which will be cheaper. Guesthouses have a range of amenities. While some guesthouses only promise a roof over your head and a door locked up tight at night, some also offer CCTV security footage, maid services and food delivery. Guesthouses are separated by gender for the comfort of their guests.
- Hostels: $2.50 - $36 per night
- Hostels in smaller communities and rural areas will be less expensive than those in the more metropolitan areas of New Delhi. Hostels typically offer you a choice between sharing a room with two or more roommates, and paying more for a private room. Some hostels allow you to exchange work for your stay.
- Apartments or Flats: $29 - $481 per month
- Even within the bustling metropolitan area of New Delhi, neighborhoods and communities offer a quiet and beautiful refuge that’s especially inexpensive. You can find apartments here, though mostly unfurnished, for as little as $29 per month. In contrast, the apartments located within the metropolitan area of New Delhi can cost $300 upwards to about $481 per month. These prices usually include luxurious amenities, unbeatable views and mostly offer furnished rooms.
If you have come to India to volunteer abroad or to teach abroad, you may be provided accommodation for extremely cheap rates, or even for free.
How much does food cost in New Delhi?
Food is especially cheap in New Delhi. Fresh, hot snacks can be found on every street and cost less than $1. A full hot meal can cost anywhere from $1.50 to $6.50 on average. Gourmet restaurant food can weigh in on the expensive side, costing nearly $40 per plate.
The cheapest route is to buy your own groceries and cook at home. Buying groceries in New Delhi for one week costs about $8 on average, making the monthly total $32.
How much does transportation cost in New Delhi?
Transportation is cheap, especially if you utilize metro transportation. To get from one side of the city to the other, via metro train, will cost less than $0.25 one way. Taking a bus will cost about the same or slightly less, depending on how far you are going.
Rickshaws and Auto-rickshaws are cheap transportation options. Auto-rickshaws, have a minimum fee of $0.35, regardless of the distance.
Transportation for one month can be estimated anywhere from $15 to $45, depending on how often you use it.
How much does healthcare cost in New Delhi?
Overall, healthcare is inexpensive in India, especially in smaller cities. In bigger cities such as Delhi though, it can be a bit costly.
Here are a few things to consider:
- It’s cheap: Visiting the doctor can cost about $4.80, while having an ultrasound done, for example, can cost about $8 or slightly more.
- Cheap isn’t always best: Government hospitals are the cheapest option for healthcare, but for added comfort, security, and general care, private or luxury hospitals are the best option.
- Convenience: Pharmacies in Delhi are located within private hospitals as well as on every street corner. A bottle of name brand cough syrup costs only $1.
The average cost of entertainment in New Delhi
Clubs entice you and draw you in by offering free shots of alcohol but the locals consider the clubs quite costly. Foreigners and expats may find the prices reasonable.
$40 will give you access to an elite party in New Delhi, which includes two free drinks and a buffet.
For the elite nightclub life, $320 will reserve a table for 20 guests in the best of nightclubs.
There are also many free activities. Connaught Place in New Delhi, hosts many free dances, musicals and theatrical performances on the weekends.
Studying abroad in New Delhi: The cost of education
Studying abroad in New Delhi is incredibly cheap compared to the costs of education in other parts of the world.
Private universities are the more common choice of expats, as public colleges and universities can be overcrowded and the education often below Western standards.
At a local Delhi college, a Bachelor of Computer Application Degree costs only $780 per year. At a similar college in the same city, a Bachelor of Business Studies costs only $250 per year.
What to expect as an expat in New Delhi
Expats can expect a relatively comfortable and inexpensive lifestyle in the city. If you are good at budgeting, and comfortable living without luxury, you can save quite a bit of money by living as an expat in New Delhi. Whether you are there to study abroad, work abroad, or are just on a lengthy staycation, New Delhi can support any kind of lifestyle.