It’s been exactly 1 month since I touched down and I thought I’d go over my expenses and how much it costs to live in Belgrade.
I’m splitting all the costs with my girlfriend 50/50 but I will be listing them as if I was a single traveler. It’s obviously much more affordable to travel with a partner and it would cost me double to live a similar lifestyle if I was on my own.
To start off it’s important to mention that I’m not a conventional traveler. I strive to spend as little as I can while having the best time possible.
By sticking to a tight budget you’re forced to interact with locals and experience the city you’re visiting on a ground level.
This doesn’t mean I live like a hermit – quite the opposite actually. It’s hard to think of a time this month where I had to deny myself something or say no to a meal or drink because I couldn’t afford it.
If I want a beer I’ll grab a cold one from a local shop and enjoy it in a park overlooking the city rather than in a dark and smoky bar.
When I want to eat out I look for the best local spots in the city. Western style food can be more expensive and is easily gotten at home so I try to avoid it. This way your money goes further and you get an accurate taste of the local culture.
Rather than paying full price for entrance to museums or galleries I look online for free or discounted admission days. There are countless ways to travel the way you want without having to blow your budget.
When it comes to our budget I strive not to exceed $1000/month. I believe that you can live in almost every city in the world on that budget. This isn’t realistic for many people living in Western or Northern Europe but for everywhere else it’s definitely possible.
And it’s important to remember that this is a budget for long term travelling. I spent 3 months in Europe during Spring 2014 and even then the budget was only slightly higher at $1500/month and that includes travel costs, accommodation, and food. However when you’re travelling slowly it’s easier to find better deals and spend less money.
I added everything we spent to a budget app on my phone so I was able to accurately detail our cost of living in Belgrade.
Living in Belgrade: One Month Expenses
Here are my expenses for 1 month in Belgrade, Serbia:
Rent – $545
AirBnb is the best place to find short-term apartments in Belgrade for rent. The rates you can find for rooms and apartments are incredible.
I’m staying in a 2-floor apartment only 5 minutes from the very center of town and it’s well connected to all public transportation.
Back in Toronto it’s unlikely you can even find a single bedroom for this price. The apartment comes completely furnished and includes Internet and all bills. AirBnb even charges a 10% fee and at $545 the cost for rent is still a joke.
Groceries and Eating Out – $150
Back in Toronto it can easily cost upwards of $50 to visit a mediocre restaurant. Here in Belgrade you can spend what you want but the sweet spot for an incredible meal for 2 people has been $15.
For this price you can get 2 beers, 2 salads, 2 main dishes, and dessert. Or for $6 you can get an extra large pizza that’s better than anything you can find back home. If I didn’t eat out at all I probably would have spent $50 less.
The remaining money I had I spent on groceries and random necessities like a frying pan and broom.
At no point did I skimp on any purchases and I always chose organic and free-range options. The costs for everything here are nearly 90% less than what I paid back home and it’s incredibly cheap to eat wholesome meals on a daily basis.
Entertainment – $35
Here in Belgrade you can see a movie and enjoy popcorn and a soda for less than $5 per person. I saw a bunch of movies and went to the zoo.
The Belgrade Zoo is $4 per person and it took me the entire day to walk around the whole place. It can’t be compared to the quality of the Toronto Zoo but considering the price is $30 cheaper it’s definitely worth the cost.
Medication – $3
I experienced some neck problems from the 12-hour train ride and 10-hour flight it took us to get here. I went to the pharmacy to get something to relieve the pain and left with 32 600mg Ibuprofen.
In Toronto these are typically prescription based but here in Belgrade you just walk up to the counter, tell them your problem, and walk out with your medication.
Total – $733
For less than $750 I was able to spend a month in Belgrade without any worries. My income is online based and at this price I can save nearly 75% of what I earn every month.
There is no way this would be possible back in Toronto and it proves to me that it’s cheaper to live abroad than it is at home.
Belgrade is one of the cheapest cities in all of Europe but that doesn’t mean that this can’t be replicated across the entire continent. In a months time I’m headed to Poland and spending 3 months between 2 cities – Gdansk and Krakow.
Even in those cities my monthly rent averages out to $650, which still allows me to keep my monthly spending under $1000/month. This includes the cost of the flight from Belgrade to Warsaw and the bus from Warsaw to Gdansk.
I can imagine my expenses rising the further West I go but staying under $1000/month will be easily achievable once I get into the swing of things. I don’t plan on living this way forever and once my income becomes more and more passive I plan to adjust the budget and live an even better lifestyle.
With enough planning and dedication it’s easy to travel long-term on a low and affordable budget, especially if you can split the costs between two people. At the rate I’m going it’s unlikely I’ll ever settle down and I personally plan on traveling like this for the rest of my life.