If you are planning to settle down in Istanbul, the first thing you will probably wonder about the cost of living in this city so you can predict your budget and estimate the level of your living.
So, we will try to give you an idea about the cost of living in Istanbul and have a glimpse of prices and give useful tips to Istanbul newcomers.
According to some researches and based on the prices updated in September 2019, we can divide the living standards into 3 levels depending on the salary:
Above 8000 TL/month: Happy and decent life
Between 5000 TL and 8000 TL: Moderate life
Under 5000 TL: indecent and unhappy life
Researchers also state that the minimum income on the edge of poverty is 2385 TL while 3750 is the minimum salary for a normal life as a human for a two-kid family.
We will be listing below prices of the different basic expenses in Turkish lira. Thus, we would focus on certain items.
Accommodation is the highest expense you will be paying. Of course, it depends on the size of the house and the area where it is situated. In fact, the central districts and those boarding the Bosporus from both sides European and Asian, have the highest rent such as Besiktas, Bakirkoy, Uskudar, Sisli and Beyoglu.
Being close to universities might rise the tent too. So, the rent in these areas is ranging between 25 TL and 35 TL/Sqm which means that for a 100 Sqm flat it’s between 2500 and 3500 TL.
However, areas located in the periphery of Istanbul such as Beylikduzu, Avcilar, Sancaktepe and Silivri are cheaper with 9 – 12 TL / Sqm so it’s between 900 and 1200 TL for a 100 Sqm flat.
We should note that furniture raises the price about %25 to % 30 and the yearly rental rise is about 20% per year.
Another essential item for living is the utilities which includes:
Electricity: that varies between 100 and 200 TL per month.
Water: 40 – 60 TL
Natural gas: It’s the highest utility since winter season is very long so you should count between 400 to 500 TL in cold months.
Telephone & Internet: you can get a whole package including Telephone+ Internet+ Digital TV for 100 - 150 TL.
Maintenance fees: Between 50 and 500 TL depending on the area and on the services provided in the building.
Food and drinks:
As breakfast in Turkey is a very important meal where you find different ingredients, you can afford a consistent brunch for 3 to 5 euro. However, the average price of a meal outside depends on the restaurant. So, for a meal in a cheap restaurant you will pay between 20 to 35 TL While a three-course meal for two persons in a mid-range restaurant will cost you between 80 and 150 TL.
You still have the fast food option that will cost you around 18 to 25 TL per meal. But of course, eating at home stays the most reasonable option so here are below the average prices of some groceries:
Milk: 4,31 TL
12 eggs: 12 TL
Bread: 1,25 TL
1 Kg tomatoes: 5,70 TL
1 Kg potatoes: 4,05 TL
Water (1.5 L): 2 TL
Chicken 1 Kg: 15 TL
Meat 1 Kg: 50 – 80 TL
Public transportation is the most reasonable way to get around the city. You will have to choose between buses, metros, metrobuses, trams, cable cars and common taxis.
You will have to buy an Istanbul card for 6 TL and charge it with money in need. Thus, one-way pass will cost you 2,6 TL. Or you can use the blue Istanbul card for 10 TL and pay monthly 205 TL for 180 passes.
Is Istanbul an expensive city?
While Istanbul might seem a bit costly for locals, it’s cheaper for foreigners. In fact, comparing it with western countries, we can admit that it’s cheap for daily costs such as groceries, health care, clothes and foods however it’s extremely expensive for gasoline, automobiles and imported goods.
We should remind that the minimum salary in Turkey is 2,20 TL ( about 380$) including retirement and healthcare fees.