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Author Topic: real present living costs/food costs in August 2012  (Read 8760 times)


  • Guest
real present living costs/food costs in August 2012
« on: August 02, 2012, 10:27:22 PM »

Hi, I am Antje and I' m new here in these forum. I plan to go to China for working, starting in September or October. At the moment I have three offers, one is from Hefei, and that ist the lowest. Unfortunately I have to send a big part of my salary to my family at home. On the other hand, I don't like Megacities . It's very important to calculate to me, but I didn't find any pricelists or something similar in the net; I didn't find any up-to-date descriptions other than for beer, fuel and restaurants. In newspapers or netarticles you can read about "the increase in the prices of food products in China". So, dear Hefei-Expats, would you write please the present prices in the list below? Than I'm able to see for myself how difficult or easy the situation for me in Hefei could be.
All things by rule of thumb estimate is o. k. The only difference is between 2 or 10 or 26 RMB for something like milk or so.

noodles 500g
rice 500g
china bread 500g
unsweeted bread 500g
butter 250g
potatoes 1kg
flour 1kg
sugar 1kg
straight vegetebles oil
inexpensive/reasonable price vegetables 1kg
(simple v. like carrots, spinach)
inexpensive/reasonable price fruits 1 kg
natural yogurt
kind of cheese 100g
inexpensive/reasonable price "normal" fish  ;) 1kg
good chicken meat 1kg
mineral water 1 litre
milk 1 litre
bar of chocolat 100g
coffee 250g (I know it is expensive  :'()

And if it is not to hard, pleas write the prices for these things, too:
bathroom tissue
shower bath (mild or import)
washing powder (mild or import)
hand cream
dishwashing liquid
all-purpose cleaner
writing pad
stack of paper 500pieces
thermosflaste 1 litre
inexpensive/reasonable price hair dryer
solid sport shoes
hiking boots
normal bicycle (three-spider or so)
inexpensive/reasonable price winter jacket
city map

rent a bike
bus travel
going by cab
train ticket to Shanghai or to Hangzhou

water prices (in the flat)
internet connection (in the flat)

I know, that is a lot to do. But it would be a real basis to decide. Maybe each one of you could write a little bit?  :-[
Please feel free to forgive me some misspelling and grammatical errors here and there; English is not my mothertongue.

Warm regards from Germany to Hefei, Antje.

bao luo

  • Guest
costs of living in Hefei as at May 2014
« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2012, 11:53:47 PM »

Budget at least 1500/month for your own 2 or 3 bedroom apartment. Be advised: Most Chinese would view 1500+ a month for rent as not an insignificant amount of money. Chinese who would rent at that price are in the minority. Many are in the 1000 RMB/month bracket, often because they're low-wage earners or saving for a house. Don't let landlords take you for a ride just because the rents seem low by the standards in your home country. If you're paying, say, 2500+ a month, you should be getting a pretty decent place, incl. all appliances, in a central location. Don't be quick to accept any old apartment for a high price. If the apartment is a 老房子 i.e., an old place in an old area, you should be paying somewhere around <1500 RMB/month max. For those with generous rent allowances, it's still useful to know about rent prices and that if you're paying 5-10K/month for rent, your landlord had better be treating you well.

If your company holds the lease and you get a housing allowance, they'll probably pay the first 3 months rent (but not the deposit). If you have the lease directly with the landlord, you would need to pay 3 months rent + deposit before you move in. If you live in a managed estate, you might also be required to pay a quarterly security fee and elevator fee. It could be a hundred and something yuan a quarter, but you can negotiate this when you sign a lease.

Bus travel
Fixed 1 or 2 RMB anywhere. So negligible cost.

Between 8-15 RMB around the city center up to 25-30RMB to city outskirts

Around 100RMB/2 months for a single person. If you're up around 300RMB/person for electricity, you're using a lot.

approx. 50-60RMB/3 months for a single person

Same as water, approx. 50RMB/3 months for a single person if you have piped gas.

Train tickets
To Shanghai 160RMB one way; to Nanjing 65RMB one way; to Beijing about 430RMB one way, 6 hours. Many other destinations from Hefei. The G bullet train is a good way to travel to Beijing. It is very smooth and comfortable and allows you to see the Chinese landscape. Another advantage of train travel is the flexibility of ticketing. i.e., if you miss the train, it's usually quite easy to just get a new ticket and jump on the next train. Plane ticketing is much less flexible. Also be aware that you need your passport to purchase train tickets.

Plane tickets
to Shanghai cheap 250RMB, expensive 500RMB; many other destinations from Hefei. However, Nanjing airport is also a very convenient feeder airport to Hefei city also.

To/from airport
Hefei airport is about 45min-1hour outside the city. There is a regular shuttle-bus service which costs 25RMB one way. A taxi to/from Hefei will cost about 100-120RMB one way. There is no English service or schedule information that will help you with the shuttle bus.

50RMB/month for 2Mbps

This would vary quite a bit. You can live very cheaply if you are determined; however, China is not a place to skimp on food. Take full advantage of the amazing food culture in China.

- Fruit and vegetables are generally dirt cheap, whether you buy them at the supermarket or market. Green vegetables usually 0.5-
  2RMB/500g. Apples
  around 3-7RMB/500g. All kinds of fruits are available depending on the season.
- Fish and beef are generally the most valued kind of meat here followed by chicken, duck, and pork. Lamb is mostly associated with the
  poor frontier regions of China and is not generally eaten except as 羊肉汤 lamb soup + noodles. Many other forms of seafood and meat    
  are eaten, incl. crayfish, prawns/shrimp, squid, and pigs trotters. In Hefei, crayfish are the specialty food, generally eaten outside at the
  restaurant and not at home. Costs about 50RMB for half kilo. 500g of beef might cost 20-40RMB and a medium fish might be similar. A
  big fish can cost 100+RMB.
- Yoghurt and milk are freely available, but cheese or butter are not common. You can get these at Metro and Carrefour though. A carton of
  milk or yoghurt is about 20RMB.
- China also does not have a real tradition of bakeries. Real Western bread is not easy to get. In the past, some bakeries have opened selling
  proper breads etc. but they don't last very long because Chinese don't buy it. There are many small cake/sweetbread shops that sell little
  bread products and cakes etc. but they're nothing like a real western bakery.
- The most comprehensive place for imported foods, breads, cheese, wines and spirits etc. is Metro Supermarket.
- small blocks of chocolate are common, but not large 500g or 1kg blocks available in Western countries. Dove and Herschey's are popular
  brands. Can get Lindt and  Ferrero also. A small 25g block of Dover is about 25rmb.

For a single person living alone who is disciplined about saving money, you could budget about 2000-2500RMB/month for food and groceries. Of course, you could spend much more or live on a shoestring, but it's worthwhile budgeting a little higher to factor in eating out a few times a week, buying good food, and socializing etc. Many Chinese eat at restaurants at least once a week.

You can pick up a cheap one for about 300-500RMB, a good new one for maybe 3000+RMB. There are now many good shops where you can buy mountain bikes and road bikes. Prices can be pretty expensive if your a serious enthusiast. i.e., 15,000RMB But if you get an apartment close to your workplace you can save money on travel.

Compared to other centers in China, relatively expensive in Hefei. Roughly, same price as you would pay in Europe. But there are cheap shops also. You can find everything at any price. And you can also use internet shopping, like Taobao, to buy stuff. It depends how much you shop around. A number of large malls have opened up recently. There is now H&M, UNIQlo, GAP, Nike, ZARA, Adidas, Levis, MetersBonwe, Just Jeans as well as a range of other big Chinese chain stores. You can expect to find the same range of clothes and shoes as in a Western country for similar prices. Many high-end luxury brands also have a presence in Hefei: Gucci, Prada, YSL, Dunhill, Chanel, Cartier, Rolex etc. etc.

A  6 pack of Chinese beer is about 25RMB. Bottle of bad Chinese red wine 30-80RMB, imported wine and spirits 100+ RMB. Imported wine has become much more available and affordable in recent years, and there is a greater range of such wines at the budget end of the scale (i.e., 80-100RMB) that rival the Chinese wines in price but are better quality. Imported beer is also very common in Chinese supermarkets, 500ml tins, many German brands, range from 9-15RMB. At the bar, you can expect to pay about 25-30 RMB for an average beer or 50-60RMB for a craft beer. In the Chinese night clubs, expect to pay 50RMB for a standard beer. Western spirits are not difficult to get at Metro and Carrefour, but generally speaking, they are not as widely available as imported beer because Chinese don't really drink them. Baijiu has the overwhelming share of the spirits market in China.
Starbucks, UBS, Habitat, Costa: around RMB30/cup
85 Degrees Cafe Chain: RMB15

Startup costs
My advice: Don't come over skint. It will magnify any little annoyances you have (which there inevitably are living in a country as different as China). I suggest at least US$1000 in reserve. You will have some initial costs:

1. Initial hotel stay. If your school doesn't provide on-campus accommodation, you will need to stay in a hotel for perhaps a week while a
    suitable apartment can be found for you. You should insist that your school pay for this because it is incentive for them to find you a
    suitable place quickly. But you might still
    need to pay some. Minimum  cost of a hotel is 160RMB/night.
2. health examination: about 400RMB
3. residence permit:    this is about 400RMB now for 1 year. But if you keep your receipt, most employers will reimburse this.
4. rental deposit (if you are living off campus): one month rent, I recommend no more than 2000RMB. You can negotiate with the
    landlord. Your employer will not pay this.
5. China SIM card will cost about 60RMB
6. household items:  You can build this up over time, but immediately you would need utensils and some crockery, a kettle, wok,
    saucepan, and bedding
   (blanket, sheet set). I would budget about 500RMB for the basics.
7. Internet and TV. You may want to get the internet connected straight away. For a cheap plan, that might cost 1500RMB/2 years. Your
   landlord might also need you to pay to get a TV set-top box. Could be a couple of hundred yuan to get TV set up.

Also, in many Chinese workplaces, it is quite normal to have to wait more than a month for your first paycheck (usually 6 weeks). So be prepared for this.

Once you're set up, Hefei is quite inexpensive.
« Last Edit: December 03, 2015, 08:16:24 AM by computer_says_no »


  • Guest
Re: real present living costs/food costs in August 2012
« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2012, 09:08:39 AM »

Wow, you have written fast and very detailed. I am sure, other people who wish to go to Hefei will be grateful like me. I am very grateful. Now, we have a chance to calculate in the flesh.

My future employer is an university. So I get  the appartment for free and receive a monthly lump sum of 300 RMB to pay electricity, water, gas. The salary is 4000 RMB, and I have to send home in absolute minimum 1800 RMB, better 2300. It seems, it could get tight.

One question to health examination. I'll bring it from Germany. Is Hefei "famous" for not accepting?

Greetings from Germany, Antje.

Aussie Mike

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Re: real present living costs/food costs in August 2012
« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2012, 09:14:55 AM »

You'll still need to do a Health check here.
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Re: real present living costs/food costs in August 2012
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2015, 08:08:02 AM »

I would suggest updating the cost of living guide a little bit:

Between 8-15 RMB around the city center up to 25-30RMB to city outskirts

I think taxis are marginal more expensive these days. Mostly during rush hour. I would say around the city centre is more around 10 - 20RMB and from the city outskirts 30 - 40RMB. However, 40RMB is on the expensive end and is going from one end of the city to the other.

China also does not have a real tradition of bakeries. Real Western bread is not easy to get. In the past, some bakeries have opened selling proper breads etc. but they don't last very long because Chinese don't buy it. There are many small cake/sweetbread shops that sell little bread products and cakes etc.  but they're nothing like a real western bakery.

Some bakeries do have some typical 'white' or 'wheat' bread but nothing like 'artisan' bread some may be fond of. A loaf of 'white' or 'wheat' bread is about 20RMB. Speaking of which brings me to the next point...

The most comprehensive place for imported foods, breads, cheese, wines and spirits etc. is Metro Supermarket.

There is a new Import/Export store called Ole in Mix C. http://www.wehefei.com/system/2015/01/20/010330937.shtml

That store definitely has some good bread, but I haven't tried it myself. I know they sell some 'artisan' bread. Someone else can comment on the quality of it.

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