When it comes to the cost of living, Beijing is quite a strange city, where most things are very cheap, but some, especially accommodation and imported products, cost the same or more than in some of the world’s most expensive cities, like New York or London.
The good news is that unless you have a taste for imported champagne, food and luxury cars, once you paid for your accommodation, eat and live local, your daily expenses will be much lower than in most other countries. Here a few examples:
Lunch at LTL: around 15 RMB (approx. 2.5 USD)
One bottle of beer in the bar downstairs from LTL: 10 RMB (approx. 1.3 USD)
A bowl of noodles in the noodle restaurant next to LTL: 10 – 15 RMB (1.4 – 2.3 USD)
One bottle of beer in the noodle restaurant next to LTL: 4 RMB (approx. 0.6 USD)
A subway ride through the whole city: 3 – 6 RMB (approx. 0.5 – 1 USD)
A bus ride through the whole city: 1 – 2 RMB (approx. 0.2 – 0.3 USD)
One km in a taxi: 2 RMB (0.4 USD)
A haircut: 10 – 60 RMB (approx. 1.3 – 9.5 USD)
A local phone call: 0.2 RMB/minute (approx. 0.03 USD)
A pair of trousers: 40 – 80 RMB (approx. 6 – 12 USD)
With almost all shops and restaurants in Beijing providing free wireless internet, cheap food and drink easily available a student lifestyle in Beijing is very affordable.
When buying stuff in a market you will have to bargain. Watch this video to see how one English guy gets the price for a shirt down from 450CNY to 50CNY. Great to learn.