Cost of living in Beijing?
December 19, 2013 7:56 PM   Subscribe

Hi, I've some prospect of an offer to work in Beijing for what I understand would be closer to a citizen's salary than an expat's, which in theory is okay. The number looks to be about 11,000 RMB per month. There is some Beijing cost-of-living info out there, but I'd be grateful for your experiences and thoughts. In short, I don't want to live somewhere dire by any standard and live on rice and twigs. Possible? Thank you for your thoughts.
posted by ambient2 to Work & Money (4 answers total)
Is this an English teaching role?

I think that living on 11,000 RMB per month is doable but saving will be difficult, especially if you want to live by yourself or even with flatmates in a 'Western style' flat.

FWIW, until September of this year I lived in Shuangjing (relatively central area but still 'up and coming') and paid about 4000 RMB including bills per month to live in a 3 bedroom, Western style flat with two flatmates and then 6000 RMB including bills to live on my own in a small one bedroom in a Western style apartment complex. I typically spent about 1500-2000 per week on general living expenses which included food, eating out/ entertainment, a gym membership and some language classes. It was possible to spend a LOT more eating out and going out than I did and most of your social life-- if it's expat-based-- will center around that kind of thing. That said, it's possible to live much more frugally than I did as well.

Beijing is no longer a deal. Rents are NOT cheap and cost of living is increasing rapidly.

(Also, if it's a teaching role, is it visa-sponsored? If not, you likely have to figure the cost of visa runs into your budget... and visa restrictions are getting a lot tighter.)
posted by hellomiss at 9:04 PM on December 19, 2013

You should ask for a housing allowance. Without one you could easily live on 11k a month. You can easily find a place for under 4k that's a reasonable distance to the center of the city. The public transit is great. That said if you are working anything close to 40 hours a week without upside, you should be getting twice that if you have a degree and can speak Chinese. I would start of in the 五到口 (wudaokou) area if i were you. Learning a bit of Chinese will decrease your cost of living tremendously.
posted by Silo004 at 1:26 AM on December 20, 2013

That should be enough, but that doesn't answer whether or not it's worth it for the job. The other factor you should consider is medical care. For cold, sniffles and minor things the local hospitals are great, but God for bid do you have anything needing Western medical care and you will be flat broke. In other words, factor in money for insurance if it's not included. If it is included, ask to take a look for it. A lot of jobs at that salary range might only include local treatment.

The crucial factor is how much your life will be spent in the ex-pat bubble. Drinking $10 beers will add up rather quickly.
posted by chinabound at 4:44 PM on December 21, 2013

And of course stock up on filter masks before you go over. They cost a lot more now days over here.
posted by chinabound at 4:45 PM on December 21, 2013

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