Cost of living in Kolkata in 2024

The ‘City of Joy’ is what Kolkata is known as in India. Previously called Calcutta, it is the capital of the state of West Bengal. As it was an East India Company trading post, during the British Raj, Kolkata retains the impactful colonial architecture and has rich history and culture associated with it. There are beautiful art galleries and several cultural festivals that have people from all over India flocking here to experience.

Kolkata is also famous for being the location of Mother House, the headquarters of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity. It is located along the Hooghly River, which makes it incredibly beautiful. Some iconic locations in Kolkata include Victoria Memorial, Marble Palace, Howrah Bridge, Sunderbans and Kalighat Kali Temple.

With its vibrant culture, rich history, delicious cuisine and job opportunities, the city draws those from all over India. There are many famous international and Indian organisations with offices here, including Britannia, Coal India, National Insurance Company, Reliance Industries and ITC Limited.

Living in Kolkata is considerably more affordable than in other metros in India such as Mumbai or Delhi. Let’s take a look at the cost of living in Kolkata.

An overview of the cost of living in Kolkata

Before we delve deep into the cost of living in Kolkata, we’ll draw out an overview of rents and household expenses for different types of people living there. Here we will include students and single people, couples and families. This will give you a basic idea of how much each group will approximately be spending each month. Keep in mind that some expenses such as entertainment (movies, theatre plays, activities and hobbies), travel costs (for work and leisure), shopping and leisure activities are very subjective. These costs will need to be added to the estimates mentioned below.

Cost of living in Kolkata: students and singles

1. Housing expenses

Renting a home in Kolkata is considered quite affordable when compared to other big cities in India like Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi. So if you are planning on living by yourself, you won’t have to worry about paying very high rent. There are many paying guest accommodation options for those with budgets under Rs. 8,000 a month. You can take care of your basic accommodation needs for as low as Rs.4,000 to Rs. 8000 a month if you are renting out a room as a paying guest. You can even rent out a 1BHK apartment for as low as Rs. 8,000 a month. Rents for 1 BHK go up to even Rs. 20,000 a month – this all depends on the size and location of the apartment.

You’ll find reasonably-priced properties in areas like New Town, Gariahat, Bhawanipur, Garia, Rajarhat, Belghoria, Howrah, Kalighat, Elgin Road and Barrackpore. If you plan on sharing accommodation, you may be looking for a 2BHK, which will cost approximately Rs. 12,000 to Rs. 30,000 a month.

2. Household expenses

Household expenses usually include a maid’s and cook’s salary, building maintenance charges, electricity and internet bills, car or bike wash, as well as your grocery and food bills. Dividing these expenses can bring your expenses down every month – which is why it makes sense to share your accommodation if you are on a tight budget. These household expenses cost around Rs. 4,000 to Rs. 8,000 a month per person.

Cost of living in Kolkata: family with kids

1. Housing expenses

Moving to Kolkata as a family? If you are looking for accommodation in a 2 BHK flat, rental costs for decent apartments can be between Rs. 12,000 to Rs. 25,000 per month. The price depends on the area you choose to rent in. A home in Kolkata costs around Rs. 35 lakh onwards.

2. Household expenses

A family of four who have school-going kids will have a variety of expenses, including children’s school fees, books, clothes, entertainment and nanny salary. Additionally, you will have monthly costs such as a cook, a maid, apartment maintenance charges, electricity and internet bills, car or bike wash, grocery bills and food bills. This can cost between Rs. 20,000 and Rs. 30,000 per month for the whole family.

Cost of living in Kolkata: couples

1. Housing expenses

The rent that you have to pay for a home is linked to the square footage of the place and the area where it is located. For an average 1 BHK flat in Kolkata, expect to pay around Rs. 8,000 to Rs. 10,000 each month for rent. When buying property, its cost will depend on the area of the flat, amenities and the location. A 1BHK costs about Rs. 35 lakh in a decent area. In more expensive areas, this can go to over Rs. 60 lakhs.

2. Household expenses

Expenses monthly for a couple should cost around Rs. 15,000 to Rs. 20,000 per month. This is taking into account costs for house help such as a cook and maid, building maintenance charges, electricity and internet bills, car/bike wash, grocery bills and food bills.

How much do things cost in Kolkata

Let’s take a look into the costs of everyday necessities in Kolkata to get an approximate of how much it costs to live here.

1. Accommodation costs in Kolkata

Accommodation costs will depend on the size of your apartment, how many bedrooms and bathrooms it has, its maintenance as well as the area in which it is located.

A 2BHK in Kolkata costs around Rs. 12,000 onwards a month to rent. This does not count in the security deposit and monthly maintenance you may have to pay. Here is an overview of the rents in Kolkata:

1 BHK: Rs. 4,000 – Rs. 12,000
2 BHK: Rs. 12,000 – Rs. 25,000
3 BHK: Rs. 25,000 – Rs. 40,000

2. Commuting costs in Kolkata

Kolkata has a good public transport system. You can hop on a public bus – there are air conditioned ones too – which ply throughout the city. You can even catch a metro train to take you across the city. The old-fashioned trams still run on some routes if you’d like a bit of nostalgia with your commute.

If you are taking a taxi in Kolkata, you can choose from their iconic yellow Ambassador taxis that can be hailed from the road or you can book an Ola or Uber taxi through an app. The traditional taxis charge by the metre and fares usually start at Rs. 30, with an increase of Rs. 3 rupees every 200 metres after the first 2 kilometres are done.

Uber and Ola taxi fares are usually around Rs. 50 for pickup with an additional fare of Rs. 63, and then Rs. 8-9 per kilometre. Rickshaws are available at a base fare or around Rs. 10. These rickshaws generally travel fixed routes and are shared. So you’ll be paying just for your seat and will have to make sure the driver is going in the direction of your destination. Buses in Kolkata operate in the same way and once you know your route, it is an economical way to get around.

On average, you can expect transport to cost you between Rs. 2,000 and Rs.4,000 monthly if using your own vehicle. If you have a bike or scooter, expect to spend around Rs. 1,000 to Rs. 1,500 per month. Those who choose public transport typically spend Rs. 500 to Rs. 1,000 a month.

3. Utilities costs in Kolkata

The costs for electricity, water and garbage handling on residential properties in Kolkata costs between Rs 1,500 and 5,000 per month.

Also take into account other monthly costs such as mobile phone bills, internet bills and gas. This can be estimated at around Rs. 2,000 to Rs. 4,000 per month.

4. Childcare and school fees in Kolkata

The cost of childcare and school fees depends on the type of daycare or school your child goes to. Preschools start at Rs 2,000 per month. International board schools cost more, with fees going up to Rs 10,000 a month for preschool. Here’s an estimate of school fees in Kolkata.

Preschool or Kindergarten, monthly: Rs. 2000 to Rs. 10,000
Primary Schools, monthly: Rs. 7,000 to Rs. 10,000
International Primary School, Yearly: Rs. 50,000 lakh to Rs. 2 lakh

5. Grocery costs in Kolkata

If you are in Kolkata, you can’t miss going to the old Market which sells everything from books and flowers to vegetables, local milk products and bakery items. There are many great markets in the city to explore and buy groceries. Kolkata can be less costly for food items than metros like Delhi and Mumbai. Cooking at home will cost you around Rs. 1,500 – 3,000 per month in grocery bills.

6. Eating out costs in Kolkata

Kolkata is known for its spectacular street food culture where you can get delicious delicacies at extremely economical prices. There is also a wide selection of new high-end and old iconic restaurants filled with delicious food and history. You can get a meal for as little as Rs. 25 at a roadside vendor or treat yourself at one of the many great restaurants. The city is known for its seafood dishes as well as vegetarian food. At around Rs. 500 to Rs. 3,000 a month, you can sample a plethora of Kolkata’s treats, whatever your budget may be.


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