The cost of living in Moscow is quite high, but is largely dependent on an expats lifestyle. According to Mercer’s Cost of Living Survey for 2021, Moscow was ranked as the 62nd most expensive city of 209 cities surveyed. This makes it cheaper than Dubai, Copenhagen and Paris, but more expensive than Madrid, Seattle and Stockholm. 

Expats working in Moscow who earn a decent salary will be able to manage day-to-day costs just fine, especially in comparison to those in major cities such as New York and London. Additionally, expats may be lured to Moscow by lucrative employment packages which offer benefits including private health insurance, a driver and schooling allowances. 

While there are a few expenses in Moscow that expats will not be able to avoid, such as accommodation, many expats can decrease their cost of living through their choice of lifestyle. Living like the locals, which could involve cooking at home most nights and not spending large amounts of money on going out and visiting expensive tourist attractions, would certainly decrease an expats costs, for example. 

Cost of accommodation in Moscow

Housing will likely be an expat’s largest expense in the Russian capital. Expats living in central areas can expect to spend over a third of their monthly salary on rent. New arrivals looking for accommodation on a budget are recommended to consider exploring the areas and suburbs outside of the city centre, while still bearing in mind transport connections.

Additionally, while utilities may be cheaper than in major European capitals, expats in Moscow should budget for water, electricity and gas costs. These are not always included in the monthly rental and could be additional expenses.

Cost of transport in Moscow

From the metro, buses and minibus shuttles known as marshrutka to taxis and self-driving, there are many options for getting around. Each come with their own costs, and expats may be pleasantly surprised by the affordability of transport in Moscow. Public transport tickets are fairly cheap, and petrol prices also fall below the global average.

Expats who plan on driving in Moscow may need to invest in car insurance while others may opt to hire a driver. These may add to an expat's general expenses.

Education and schools in Moscow

Families relocating with children will most likely need to cover the cost of school fees. Most expats who face a language barrier in Russia send their children to a private or international school which follows the same language and curriculum of their home country. Fees at international schools can be exorbitant, and preschool fees for young children are also high. Where possible, we recommend expats negotiate an allowance for school fees in their employment contract.

Cost of living chart for Moscow

Prices may vary depending on product and service provider. The list below shows the average cost of living in Moscow in January 2022.

Accommodation (monthly)

One-bedroom apartment in city centre

 RUB 68,000 

One-bedroom apartment outside city centre

 RUB 40,000

Three-bedroom apartment in city centre

 RUB 147,000 

Three-bedroom apartment outside city centre

 RUB 76,000


Eggs (dozen) 

 RUB 105

Milk (1 litre)

 RUB 73

Rice (1kg)

 RUB 95

Loaf of white bread

 RUB 48

Chicken breasts (1kg)

 RUB 306

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

 RUB 175

Eating out

Big Mac Meal

 RUB 350

Coca-Cola (330ml)

 RUB 62


 RUB 179

Local beer (500ml)

 RUB 210

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

 RUB 3,000


Mobile-to-mobile call rate (per minute) 

 RUB 2.15

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)

 RUB 475

Basic utilities (per month for a small apartment)

 RUB 8,505


Taxi rate (per kilometre)

 RUB 15

Bus/train fare to the city centre

 RUB 50

Petrol/gasoline (per litre)

 RUB 49