I really suck at money management. I know it’s important, but I go through phases in my life where I have absolutely no idea how much money is coming in and how much is going out. All I know is that sometimes my bank account grows in value and sometimes it doesn’t.
So, earlier this year, I decided to make an experiment and count every cent that I spent on personal stuff while living in Kiev, Ukraine. Although I had a rough approximation of how much I was spending on living expenses, I still wanted to know for sure.
Here’s how much I spent and where.
During the month of June, I spent a total of 39,120 UAH (approximately $1,400).
That included all the expenses including rent.
Here’s the full breakdown:
I have a one-bedroom apartment in an amazing neighborhood right in the center of the city. It’s located in one of my most favorite neighborhoods on the entire planet that I wouldn’t change for anything.
The place isn’t huge, but it’s perfect for a single guy like me. When I rent apartments, I will always prioritize location over the size of the apartment.
The rent is 15,000 UAH per month ($535)
As soon as I got into town, I joined a nearby gym. It’s a no-frills gym that has everything one may need but isn’t one of those luxury gyms with tons of services like a message. It also doesn’t have a spa or jacuzzi, etc.
It does have a ton of machines, free weights, barbells which are all I need for a good workout.
The cost is 550 UAH per month ($20)
When I go to a supermarket, I don’t do massive shopping and don’t generally buy a ton of different things. I mostly just buy the basics I need for cooking breakfasts or having a random midnight snack.
For the month of June, I spent 3,910 UAH ($140)
I cook breakfast at home and almost always go out for lunch. For dinner, I either cook something small or go out to a cheap, no-frills restaurant.
For the month of June, I spent 6,230 UAH ($222)
I’m not a big drinker, but I enjoy drinking socially. Once in a while, I like to go out for some drinks, whether it’s a beer at a bar or a glass of wine at a lounge or restaurant. I don’t do it every day, so this is typically a special occasion, perhaps with a good friend or on a date.
For the month of June, I spent 7,630 UAH ($272)
Kiev has great public transpiration. Not only does it have a fast and reliable metro, but there’s also the super convenient Uber and a bunch of other taxi app services.
When Uber began operating in Ukraine back in 2016, I spoiled myself and mostly took Uber everywhere. I remember how for a couple of months, I took it every single day to a cool brunch place and back home. On some days, I even took it twice a day.
Each ride cost only as much as a New York City subway, so why not?
Apparently, all of those Uber rides added up quick. I spent close to $150 on Uber that month which even shocked myself.
Nowadays, I try to stick exclusively to the metro which is amazing, fast and reliable and goes everywhere. It also costs just $0.30.
For the month of June, I spent 2,210 UAH ($79)
The one thing I really about Kiev is the proliferation of modern, men-only barbershops around the city. This is a recent phenomenon; if you wanted a haircut just three years ago, you’d need to go to one of those old school “Salons” that serviced both women and men.
A good quality men’s haircut costs around 300-400 UAH.
For the month of June, I spent 600 UAH ($21).
There were probably other expenses that I didn’t include, so let’s add another $100 to cover things that I may have missed.
If you add all that up, and you get a grand total of $1,390/month for a very comfortable lifestyle in a very nice European capital.
In New York City, you wouldn’t even be able to rent a decent apartment for that money alone.
While I consider this lifestyle to be very comfortable, there are always ways to improve it.
First of all, the apartment that I’m living in is fairly small. It’s suitable for one person and one person only. I don’t have any complaints because the location is amazing, but after spending time in bigger pads, I must admit it’s kinda cool when you have a big pad even if it’s just for yourself.
A bigger apartment in my neighborhood would set you back another 2,000-4,000 UAH per month. So, for 17,000-20,000 UAH, you could live in a truly spacious, amazing apartment in a great neighborhood.
Another way to spruce things up is to get a car. While having a car definitely adds to the convenience of not taking the bus or always Uber’ing, I see absolutely no reason to buy a hunk of plastic and metal when it’s just me living in the dead center. Of course, that will change once I have family down the road.
A more practical way to improve my standard of living is to hire out to some help. I can hire a maid that will clean up the apartment, buy groceries and cook meals. This isn’t as prevalent as in Asia or Latin America, but it’s certainly doable here.
I’ve lived all over the world and all kinds of different environments and many different living situations. Some were absolutely hellish.
Nevertheless, right now, I feel things are pretty good. So, while I could always find more ways to spend money, I don’t really see a point in doing that.