A month of expenses in Kyiv

The public diaries of monthly expenses seem to be all the rage (and outrage) these days. Money is a touchy subject. I often mention to people from wealthier countries that my living expenses are very different from theirs.

So I decided to make a record of my expenses for a month and post it for a more detailed look.

Living situation

I live in Kyiv, Ukraine. Latest number on average income in the city is $500/mo and country average is $330/mo. The minimum pay is set by government at $151/mo or $0.91/h for 2019.

I am self–employed and my income is relatively high but very uneven.

I live alone in 52 square meters apartment, which I inherited. I cook my meals, I work from home, and I don’t drive.

My largest expense by far is conference travel. I don’t have any this month, so this will be more focused on actual living expenses.

So here we go.

Week 1

  • $10.69 Kiva loan (plus $18 in repaid loans credit)
  • $0.58 metro two ways, family dinner, getting loaded with leftovers :)
  • $39.76 groceries
  • $5.48 household stuff (soap, mouthwash, papers binder)

Week total: $56.51

Week 2

  • $23.95 groceries
  • $17.76 dentist, braces adjustment
  • $2.69 mobile app, no–ads version of workout app, got annoying
  • $1.35 drink, cocoa to go with free meetup pizza
  • $23.27 groceries
  • $7.09 game night, bus, pizza
  • $6.04 uber home, 17km

Week total: $82.15

Week 3

  • $87.11 fixed social tax for last quarter, so let’s count as $29 for the month; don’t owe income tax since had no incoming payments in the period
  • $37.54 groceries
  • $60 Calm subscription, annual so let’s count as $5 for the month
  • $54.30 dentist, deep clean
  • $78.09 utilities
    • $6.73 territory upkeep
    • $47.78 central heating
    • $0.93 garbage pickup
    • $5.99 natural gas (kitchen stove)
    • $2.10 cold water
    • $5.63 hot water (this is off, been a mess and shows I overpaid last month)
    • $3.72 electricity (this is off, they are messing with it at the moment)
    • $3.36 phone landline
    • $1.63 commission for paying online
  • $6.44 charity donation
  • $35.23 groceries
  • $13.86 household stuff (mouthwash, toilet paper, laundry detergent)

Week total: $259.46

Week 4

  • $11.36 netflix
  • $34.06 dentist, braces adjustment
  • $16.04 groceries
  • $4.92 household stuff (dishwashing liquid, tissues)
  • $5.51 PC game, 7 Billion Humans was on Steam sale
  • $44.43 groceries

Week total: $116.32

Week 5

  • $168.86 medical insurance, annual so let’s count as $14.07 for the month
  • $46.56 online course, ES6 from Wes Bos, on sale + poor country discount
  • $32.92 groceries

Week total: $93.55

Annual costs

Some more things and their share in this month:

  • $36.10 internet (100Mbit/s) annual, so $3.01 a month
  • $32.49 mobile pre–paid total for last year, so about $2.71 a month
  • web hosting I paid for 3 years, worked out to something like $23 a month

Other total: $28.72


Month total: $636.71

Yikes, that’s definitely up, no thanks to endless vortex of dental work.

My food expenses are up. I could spend less by buying more raw ingredients and shopping outside of city center (where I live), but that would waste more time. High food expenses relative to low income are typical in Ukraine. I’ve read studies show on average people spend over 50% of income on food. That’s working half the time just to eat. :(

Also this puts in perspective resources priced to richer countries. For example that JS course is $137 at full price. That’s more than couple weeks of food or bills for nearly two months on my scale.

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