Before your stay, How-to Guides

How Much to Budget for Living in China

So you want to come to China for an internship! But now you may be wondering, “How much money should I budget for daily life in China?”
The good news is, your money can go a long way in China. Many interns eat out for about 10-15 RMB per meal, and spend 60 RMB when they want to really splurge! Even drinks can be cheap, with beers and cocktails generally from 15-30 RMB. Some bars even sell Qingdao beer for as low as 5 RMB in efforts to draw in more customers. There is no sales tax in China, so the price you see is the price you pay. However, make sure to haggle down the price in market streets or small shops where haggling is accepted!

What is the RMB exchange rate?

For the current exchange rates, please see here.

1 GBP = 8.866 RMB
1 EURO = 7.615 RMB
1 USD = 6.69 RMB
1 AUD = 4.807 RMB
1 CAD = 5.08
1 NZD = 4.609
**Exchange rates as of 27/02/2019

What kind of budget in China is right for me?

There are two main factors that may determine your kind of budget:

  • Accommodation Choice – Homestay families provide breakfast and dinner as already included in the programme package.
  • Individual Lifestyle – Your budget in China will vary depending on what transportation you decide to take, personal dining preferences, nightlife, and more.

Weekly/Monthly Budget Estimates

Below, we have put together some budget estimates of your expenses in daily life during your time with InternChina. In general, many interns live on a low budget and are still able to live quite well. For those looking to spend a little more, there are also medium and high budget estimates. See which budget is right for you

BUDGET BREAKDOWN

For those looking to save money while still having fun and trying new things

Apartment:
Transport – walking or taking bus 4-8 rmb per day = 15-30 rmb / week
Food – 10-20 rmb lunch, average 10-20 rmb dinner, 5-10 rmb breakfast/snacks = 250-350 rmb / week
Treats – one night out per week including a few drinks and a taxi home = 75-125 rmb / week
Events – Attending IC events every weekend (optional) = 100-150 rmb / week

Total amount (average) =  2200 rmb per month (Approx. 290 EUR, 250 GBP,  330 USD, 460 AUD, 430 CAD, 480 NZD )

Homestay:
Transport – walking or taking bus 4-8 rmb per day = 15-30 rmb / week
Food – 10-20 rmb lunch/snacks = 70-140 rmb / week
Treats – one night out per week including a few drinks and a taxi home = 75-125 rmb / week
Events – attending IC events every weekend (optional) = 100-150 rmb / week

Total amount (average) = 1400 rmb per month (Approx. 185 EUR, 160 GBP, 210 USD, 290 AUD, 275 CAD, 300 NZD)

For those who go to the gym, eat more western food or spend more in other ways:

Apartment:
Transport – taxis, 20 rmb, 3 times a week, Bus 4 rmb per day = 80 rmb / week
Food – 25 rmb lunch/day, average 30 rmb dinner/day, 15 breakfast & snacks/day = 490 rmb / week
Treats – gym, occasional spa/massage, nights out with reasonable priced drinks, travelling to places within the region = 475 rmb / week
Events – attending IC events every weekend (optional) = 300 rmb / week

Total amount (average) = 5000 rmb per month (Approx. 655 EUR, 565 GBP, 750 USD, 1040 AUD, 980 CAD, 1080 NZD)

Homestay:
Transport – taxis, 20 rmb, 3 times a week, Bus 4 rmb per day = 80 rmb / week
Food – 25 rmb lunch/snacks = 150 rmb / week
Treats – gym, occasional spa/massage, nights out with reasonable priced drinks, travelling to places within the region = 475 rmb / week
Events – attending IC events every weekend (optional) = 300 rmb / week

Total amount (average) = 3500 rmb per month (Approx. 460 EUR, 395 GBP, 520 USD, 730 AUD, 690 CAD, 760 NZD)

For those who would like to spend more on cocktail bars, taxis or foreign imports:

Apartment:
Transport – taxis every day, 20-40 rmb average per day = 200 rmb / week
Food – 40 rmb lunch, average 60 rmb dinner, 25 breakfast/snacks = 875 rmb / week
Treats – lots of going out / drinking (cocktail bars/classy foreign places), buying foreign goods/western imports, etc travelling around China, gym membership = 750 / week
Events – attending IC events every weekend (optional) = 350-450 rmb / week

Total amount (average) = 8000 rmb per month (Approx. 1050 EUR, 900 GBP, 1200 USD, 1665 AUD, 1575 CAD, 1735 NZD)

Homestay:
Transport – taxis every day, 20-40 rmb average per day = 200 rmb / week
Food – 40 rmb lunch/snacks = 280 rmb / week
Treats – lots of going out / drinking (cocktail bars/classy foreign places), buying foreign goods/western imports, etc travelling around China, gym membership = 750 / week
Events – attending IC events every weekend (optional) = 350-450 rmb / week

Total amount (average) = 6500 rmb per month (Approx. 850 EUR, 730 GBP, 970 USD, 1350 AUD, 1280 CAD, 1410 NZD)

As you can see, you don’t need too much money in China to have a good time, while alternatively spending a bit more will make you feel like royalty. Be careful when you have a craving to buy a cup of Starbucks coffee (35 RMB) or the newest iPhone (7000 RMB), as not everything is cheaper in China. All in all, however, you should find that your monthly budget in China is significantly less than it is back at home!

For international payments, we always recommend using TransferWise. They’re cheaper than the banks, because they always use the real exchange rate – which you can see on Google – and charge a very small fee. They’re also safe and trusted by over 2 million people around the world. You can sign up here.