21 Jan

Cost of Living in China

6084 times Last modified on Wednesday, 10 July 2019 22:05
As you already know, the cost of living, average salaries, and the extra necessary expenses change depending on where you're living and what kind of a lifestyle you lead. That being said, we've done our best to put together a resource for you to refer to when you're trying to budget and figure out how much disposable income you'll end up with after moving to China.
Keep in mind that salaries will often be higher in bigger cities but expenses will also be higher. Also, keep in mind that your cost of living will vary greatly if you end up living outside of where you'll be teaching. For example, if you live in a city that's quite far from where you work or where most entertainment options are, you'll be spending more money on transportation but you might be saving on rent. These are a few important trade-offs to consider when you're planning out your move to China.
We included a low end and a high end for each expense category which corresponds to people that are more frugal as well as people that are willing to spend more money on different products and services. There are a few things that we left out of this article, including insurance and non-recurring expenses like buying clothing, household items, and furniture, so don't forget to budget for those too!
The numbers listed below are one month's worth of expenses, and the saving potential was calculated using a low beginner teacher's salary. If you're a professional teacher, you're going to make quite a bit more money, and you'll save a lot more!
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Tier 1 Cities: 3,400-6,500 ¥

Tier 2 Cities: 1,700-3,500 ¥

Tier 3 Cities: 1,000-2,000 ¥


Tier 1 Cities: 250-450 ¥

Tier 2 Cities: 190-400 ¥

Tier 3 Cities: 100-300 ¥

Transportation (taxi/metro)

Tier 1 Cities: 150-400 ¥

Tier 2 Cities: 110-300 ¥

Tier 3 Cities: 100-200 ¥

Gym Membership

Tier 1 Cities: 200-300 ¥

Tier 2 Cities: 200-300 ¥

Tier 3 Cities: No information


Tier 1 Cities: 400-1,000 ¥

Tier 2 Cities: 300-800 ¥

Tier 3 Cities: 200-650 ¥

Cellphone Bill & Internet

Tier 1 Cities: 170-320 ¥

Tier 2 Cities: 135-285 ¥

Tier 3 Cities: 100-250 ¥

Dinner for 2

Tier 1 Cities: 2,000-3,000 ¥ 

Tier 2 Cities: 1,800-2,500 ¥

Tier 3 Cities: 750-1,500 ¥

Estimated Monthly Expense Totals

Tier 1 Cities: 6,570-11,970 ¥

Tier 2 Cities: 4,435-8,085 ¥

Tier 3 Cities: 2,250-4,900 ¥

 Savings Potential

Tier 1 Cities: 1,030-6,430 ¥

Tier 2 Cities: 2,915-6,565 ¥

Tier 3 Cities: 5,100-7,750 ¥

These numbers are all estimates, and your actual expenses will vary. The purpose of this article is to give you an idea of what to expect when moving to China from another country. More often than not, you'll save a lot more money teaching in China that you would in your home country.

Teaching Nomad is your connection to teaching in Asia & The Middle East! We are a western owned and operated teacher placement agency with offices in Denver & Shanghai. We take a lot of pride in connecting teachers with great teaching opportunities.


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