Let’s talk about money: living expenses in Tallinn

One of the questions we get asked the most is how much students spend while living in Tallinn. The answer is not so straightforward because it will depend a lot on each person’s lifestyle; but what is certain is that, compared to most European capitals, life is fairly cheap in Tallinn. Here are some rough estimates to give you an idea of how much you can expect to spend per month while living here.

Accommodation

The price for accommodation is probably where you can save (or spend) the most, as it varies a lot from one form of accommodation to another. The cheapest option by far is to live in the university dormitories, which cost around 120 euros per month (a little bit less in Summer).

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One of the dorms TTÜ has

The next best option is to share a flat, the price of which will vary a lot depending on the size, the condition of the flat and its location, but that will cost you at least 200 euros per month.

If you decide to rent a flat on your own, you can find cheap studio apartments for about 220 euros, but they are tiny and usually very outdated, so I would consider that only if your budget was really, really restricted. If you want something a bit more decent, expect to pay at least 350 euros.

These are all minimum prices and for that amount of money don’t expect luxury or a lot of comfort, but sometimes student life requires some sacrifice. Of course, if you can afford to spend 500 euros per month on accommodation, you’ll be the envy of all your classmates 😉 .

Food

If you don’t want to spend a lot of money on food, then your best option is to cook at home. Groceries in Estonia are quite affordable; for example, a liter of milk costs about 65 cents, a loaf of bread around 80 cents and 500 gr of chicken about 3 euros. I usually cook at home and I spend on average 70 euros per month on food, but I am a girl and I eat small amounts of food, so I would assume guys spend around 90 euros.

GOODIE BAG

If your cooking skills are not impressive and prefer to eat at the university’s cafeterias,  you will still not spend so much as they are quite affordable. A main dish with meat, salad and rice or potatos costs about 3.5 euros, and you can get soup or a drink for roughly 1.5 euros. So if we consider that you eat 5 days per week at the cafeteria plus some other basic items you still need from the supermarket, I would say you will spend about 120 euros per month.

Transportation

Luckily for you, public transport in Tallinn is free of charge for all registered residents, so the expenses for this will amount to the grand total of ZERO! Isn’t that awesome? 😀

The only problem with that is that there is no night public transport, so if you don’t want to be like Cinderella and leave a party at midnight, then you will have to take a taxi. Fortunately, taxis are rather affordable in Tallinn and a 20-minute ride (i.e. from the city center to university or to the airport) will be about 7-10 euros. Tallinn is not that big so you will rarely have to travel for longer than 20 minutes. The only thing is that you should use the app Taxify, otherwise you risk taking super expensive taxis that will cost much more than that.

TAXIFY
The super useful Taxify app

Cellphone

There is a prepaid service called Super by one of the main telecommunications company that I think covers the needs of most students. Considering that there is free wifi basically everywhere, you don’t really need to use a lot of data from your cellphone. If you use this service, I’d say you will spend between 5-10 euros per month.

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Going out

If you go to a bar, expect to pay between  3,3 and 5 euros for 0,5L of beer; a capuccino at a coffee shop will cost between 2,5 and 4 euros and a main dish with a drink at a regular restaurant will cost 12-15 euros. Of course, there are cheaper and more expensive places than that, but this is a good estimate. As for entrance fees, a cinema ticket will cost around 6 to 7,5 euros and entrance to popular clubs usually cost 5-10 euros.

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To sum up

To sum it up more clearly and concisely, this table shows the minimum and the sort of maximum of average student expenses.

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BUT! there are other random and irregular expenses like books, clothes, gym memberships, doctor appointments, medicine or trips that are too hard to account for because they will vary too much to give a monthly estimate, so be aware that the previous table is the minimum to expect. In reality, you will spend at the very least 300 euros per month.

Also take into account that when you arrive, you will have a lot of additional expenses like accommodation deposits, new stuff for the kitchen, for your room, clothes, etc., so during your first month in Tallinn, be prepared to spend about twice as much.

Phew, this was a long post! Hopefully you managed to get to the end of it and it provided some useful information 🙂 .

-Fabiola

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