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Monthly Costs of Living in Poland

Is Poland expensive? How much will you pay for a flat, a monthly pass or basic groceries? How much money do you need to live in Poland?

The prices in Katowice may be different than in other, larger and more touristic cities like Gdańsk, Kraków, and of course the capital – Warsaw. We also average them, so you can always find something cheaper or more expensive.

IMPORTANT: all the prices are valid for February 2022.

Rental fee and utilities

Renting a flat and utilities are the biggest costs when moving to another country or city, also in Poland. If you decide to rent a fully furnished studio apartment in the city center of Katowice, you’ll pay around 1600 PLN for the rent. Something bigger, with one bedroom or two separate rooms will cost about 2200 PLN. If you’d like to learn more about the flat rental market in Poland, head to this article where we talk about an average rental price for a room, studio, or a bigger apartment in Katowice.

Besides the rent you’ll also have to cover the utilities cost – water, electricity, gas, waste disposal, and heating. The utilities are settled in many different ways. When renting an apartment, you’ll pay an advanced payment which should cover the utilities usage. Well, it should, but it’s calculated based on the average usage of one person, so if you use more than “the average” it might not be enough.  In our Wellcome Home apartments the advanced payment for the utilities is: 300 PLN for a studio flat and 500 PLN for a 1- bedroom apartment.

Some utilities  are a fixed cost, like waste disposal. In Katowice the waste disposal costs 26.30 PLN per person, unless you sort your waste. Water, electricity, and gas are calculated based on the actual usage. How much will they cost? I’ll try to explain that based on the rates in Katowice and the average usage of one person:

  • 1m3 of water costs 15.43 PLN and the average usage of one person is about 3-4 m3 per month, which is around 45-60 PLN per month;
  • as for gas: when you use it only to cook with your gas cooktop it will be about 35 PLN per month. If you have also a gas water heater it will be about 170 per month;
  • the rates for electricity and gas are different depending on the usage, provider, and type of the building. This year the prices of electricity and gas went up very much (by about 40%). 
  • if your apartment is powered mostly by electricity (so you have an electric cooktop and water heater) your average monthly usage will be about 150-250 kWh. The rate for a kWh depends on the provider, plan, and usage. The more you use, the lower it is but let’s assume an average cost of 100-170 PLN monthly;
  • heating can be calculated based on two different ways – either according to the actual usage (in this case you have a special meter on the radiator) or the cost of heating the entire building is divided proportionally, according to the size of the apartment. In the case of a standard 25 m2 studio flat it will cost about 150-250 PLN. The heating is usually paid the whole year round;

In total, you will pay around 350-400 PLN per person for utilities, and as you can see it can be more than the advanced payment assumes. 

To sum up, the monthly cost of the rent and utilities in total – in the case of a studio flat – is about 2000 PLN per month. Please remember that the more tenants, the more you pay for utilities.

Paid subscriptions and memberships

Subscriptions and memberships are very individual things. Each person needs something different, so we’ll mention the most popular ones in Poland. 

Firstly: the internet. If you rent an apartment, its cost will probably be included in the rent. If not, you’ll have to buy a monthly plan on your own and its cost will be around 50 PLN. In most of the large cities you’ll definitely have access to fast optical fiber, no need to worry. 

Secondly: a monthly phone plan. In Poland you have plenty of options to choose from. You can have a prepaid card, where you pay an amount every month, depending on your needs (good if you don’t plan to stay here for long), you can have a monthly plan (in this case you have to sign an agreement for at least 12 months) or something in between of both: the monthly paid plan without an agreement, but with a package of internet and unlimited calls and messages within Poland. Need more data? No problem, open an app and enlarge it or cancel the whole plan on the spot. Such an offer is available at Orange (it’s called Flex) and Nju Mobile. The monthly plan cost is about 25-30 PLN with 

Prices for international calls depend on the country (a zone) and the provider. The average cost of a call to an EU country is about 1 PLN per minute. 

How much does a popular video or music streaming service cost?

A Netflix paid subscription costs from 29 (for 1 person) up to 60 PLN for 4 people. Spotify costs between 10 to 30 PLN, depending on the subscription. 

Now, let’s talk about exercise and the most popular membership – the gym. In Katowice there are several gym chains to choose from and monthly membership costs around 80-90 PLN. If you like to swim you can have a Katowice pool membership with 11 visits for 200 PLN (less than 20 PLN per entrance). 

An interesting fact: in Poland you can join many different clubs offering subscriptions of things like coffee or wine. Well, these aren’t the basic necessities, so maybe we can come back to them in another article?

Shopping and groceries

Regular grocery is the second biggest part of the budget, after the rent and utilities. The monthly amount will depend on how often you cook at home vs. eat out but – for the need of this calculation – let’s assume that you’ll eat mostly at home. How much will you pay for basic food products in Polish grocery stores? Let’s check it!

Let’s start with breakfast products:

  • a small loaf of bread – about 4 PLN (in a bakery you’re going to pay twice as much);
  • a bread roll – about 1 PLN;
  • butter – in Poland you buy it in 200 g stick and you pay around 7 PLN;
  • 100 g of cheese or ham – 3-4 PLN;
  • 10 eggs – 8 PLN;
  • 1 liter of milk – 3 PLN;
  • yogurt (either natural or fruit) is about 2 PLN
  • do you eat meat? 1 kg of pork is about 20 PLN and chicken breast is 15 PLN

Popular store bought coffee costs about 15-20 PLN per 250 g package. A better type, locally roasted, costs about 40 PLN. Well known beers cost about 3-4 PLN per 500 ml. A bottle of wine in a regular supermarket is about 20 PLN and a bottle of water costs about 2 PLN. 

Most Poles prepare and eat their lunch at home. Usually it’s soup and a main course. If you want to buy a precooked meal, for example a bag of popular pierogi, it will cost you about 7 PLN. For a 500g package of pasta you’ll pay 5 PLN, a can of tomatoes costs 3-4 PLN. Rice or other grains cost about 4-5 PLN per 400g package.  

What if you don’t eat meat or have allergies? In every supermarket you’ll find a huge range of lactose free, gluten free, eco, vegan, and vegetarian products. Of course, you’re going to pay much more for them, for example 1 liter of almond milk costs about 10 PLN.

How much are fruits and vegetables?

A kilogram of tomatoes or bell pepper is about 8 PLN in season and 15 PLN in winter. Our beloved Polish vegetable – the potato – costs about 2 PLN per kg. When it comes to fruits – bananas cost about 5 PLN, apples – 3 PLN (they are available the whole year). Oranges cost about 5 PLN per kg. When in season (June) strawberries cost about 10 PLN per kg. A local food market can be more expensive than a large chain, especially if we search for products out of season. 

How about other products, apart from food?

  • tooth paste – 6 PLN
  • shampoo – 10 PLN bottle
  • dish soap – 6 PLN / 1 l
  • toilet paper – 12 PLN per 8 rolls
  • laundry detergent (washing powder) – 15 PLN / kg

How much does an average Pole spend on groceries? 

According to statistics it was 331 PLN in 2021. Not much, but the statistics also include large families where cost per person is lower. After doing research among 25-35 yo people it seems that a person spends around 800 PLN per month when living alone or with one more person. If you dine out often or have special needs, the amount obviously will be different.  

Where can you do your shopping? 

The cheapest supermarkets in Poland are: Lidl, Auchan and Kaufland, very popular is also Biedronka (the Lady Bug). A bit more expensive is Carrefour. For fast, small shopping you can go to Żabka (the Frog) – our convenience store. They are open every day (including Sundays), from early morning until late night hours. However, they are more expensive than a supermarket. 

Please remember that most supermarkets, grocery stores, and shopping malls are closed on Sundays.

Traveling and commuting

Katowice is the capital of the Silesian Metropolitan area, it consists of many cities and smaller towns. Thanks to that our region is very well connected. We have access to buses, trams, and trains. Of course, you can also take a taxi or uber. If you want to be more eco, you can choose a city bike or an electric scooter. 

The best option for traveling across the area is Metroticket. It’s a monthly pass that allows you to use all types of public transportation, unlimited. The pass only for Katowice costs 119 PLN. If you want not only to commute, but also explore Silesia, there is a ticket for unlimited rides in the whole Metropolitan area for 229 PLN. Students always pay only half price.

If you don’t plan to use the public transportation daily, you can always buy a single ticket – 4-6 PLN.

 As for the city bikes and e-scooters,  they’re available in most larger cities. It’s a relatively cheap option, especially if you travel short distances. A minute on a scooter costs about 50 groszy (half a złoty), a bike costs from 1 to 4 PLN per hour – the first 15 minutes are for free. In Katowice you have many bike paths and other cities also follow the trend and build new paths. 

If you plan to use a taxi – 1 km costs about 2,5 PLN. You can also use Uber or Bolt apps – their prices will be very similar, but thanks to the app you will know right away how much you’ll pay. It’s especially important if you don’t know the city and the total distance.

Plan to have a car in Poland? The price of petrol in Poland is considered to be one of the cheapest in all of Europe. Maybe, but definitely not for us.  1 liter of petrol costs almost 6 PLN. But a car is not only petrol, you must remember that you also have to pay for things like parking, insurance, repairs.

Clothing

Prices of clothing in Poland are the same as in other European countries. In chains like H&M or Zara, the price tag shows the price not only in Polish zloty but also in other currencies like euro, czeck koruna or pounds. The easiest way to calculate is to multiply the price in euro times 4. 

You’ll find here all international clothing chains, but also the high end too, if this is your cup of tea. For example, a regular sweatshirt in H&M costs 80 PLN, a T-shirt costs about 60 PLN and jeans 150-200 PLN. 

Health insurance and medical treatment

As you already know from our “Things to do after the relocation” guide [LINK], public health insurance is available to every working adult in Poland. The health fund is automatically deducted from your salary and it is 9%. In the already mentioned video you’ll find more details about public health insurance. 

Public health insurance is great when seeing a GP or an unexpected hospitalization. However, when going to a specialist, you may end up with a few months’ wait. So when you need a visit asap, better to go for a private visit. It’ll cost you about 150-250 PLN depending on the doctor and his/her academic degree. When having a private visit, you not only pay for it, but also for all the tests, like blood or X-ray. 

How to save some money on private visits? You can buy additional, private health insurance, for example in LuxMed or Medicover. It will cost about 100 PLN per month. You can also get it as an extra benefit from your employer. It gives you access to many specialists and tests, which is very beneficial. 

What about dentists? 

Public health insurance covers only very basic treatment and in most cases you have to pay for it on your own. A basic tooth treatment costs about 250 PLN, an X-ray about 100 PLN, and tooth cleaning starts from 150 PLN. 

Prices depend on the place, so it is good to check different options in a city. You can also buy an extra private package from your health insurance provider for about 30 PLN per month.

Total monthly calculation

Let’s assume you are  single, planning to rent a studio , eat mostly at home, and commute with public transport.

The monthly basic expenses will be following:

  • Flat – 2000 PLN
  • Subscriptions – 135 PLN (phone, Netflix, gym)
  • Groceries – 800 PLN
  • Monthly pass – 119 PLN
  • Health insurance – 100 PLN 

In total it is 3164 PLN, around 800 USD. Of course , it’s a very average and individual rate.

Is it a lot or not? There will of course be months when you’ll spend more, because you’ll buy some clothes, medicine or something else. Not to mention entertainment, dining out, and traveling around. 

Is Katowice an expensive or rather cheap city? Or maybe you have experiences from other cities in Poland?

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