Food and Toiletries:
Milk (one liter): 8-16 RUR
Bread (1/2 kilo loaf): 4 ~ 6 RUR
Meat (one kilo): 55 ~ 60 RUR
Oranges (one kilo): 35 RUR
Potatoes (one kilo): 9 RUR
Pack of spaghetti (1/2 kilo): 7 ~ 10 RUR
Bar of soap: 3 ~ 6 RUR
Bottle of nice shampoo: 20 ~ 40 RUR
One beer (1/2 liter): 10 ~ 16 RUR
A pack of cigarettes: 3 ~ 25 RUR, depending on the brand or quality
A bottle of nice red Moldovan wine: 50 ~ 60 RUR
A new Russian made car: 3000~5000$ ( an old one can be found for less than 1000$ if you really want one)
If bought in a market, these can be a real bargain. Shopping in a large store is not necessarily a better option. Bargaining is not very customary in Russia, a 10~15 % discount is the most one can expect to get. It is always wise to shop around and get an estimate of the prices before actually buying something. An independent source of price information can often be very helpful (like some friends there in Russia, or anybody else directly not interested in the profit).
A dress shirt: 120~300 RUR
Sport type running shoes, sneakers, trainers:
A pair of good leather shoes or boots: 1500~2000 RUR
Pair of jeans: 370~500 RUR
Pair of socks: 10~15 RUR
Sweater: 500~1,500 RUR
Warm winter jacket: 1,000~3,000 RUR
A roll of film: 50~70 RUR
A nice multi-speed bike: 3,000~10,000 RUR
A big 80 liter backpack: 600~900 RUR (20~30 $US)
Sleeping bag: 290~600 RUR (10~20 $US)
Most of the time this is quite affordable. The majority of the bus, tram and trolley ride prices in Russia range between 2 and 5 RUR within city limits. Monthly passes for the various categories of passengers are available and may offer very attractive savings if one plans to spend lots of time using public transport. Even if staying for a very short while, buying such a pass may be worth it.
Car Rental, Petrol Prices:
Car rental is extremely rare in Russia (and expensive). Also, considering the road quality in Russia it is hardly a wise option.
Currently petrol is 7~9 RUR per liter.
Real estate prices vary significantly throughout Russia, but generally it is quite
safe to say that a one roomed studio flat with an area of 30 sq. meters is 10,000~15,000$US.
A single bed apartment (two rooms) is 15,000~20,000$US, although, it is true that one can
purchase the same type of property in smaller towns or in peripheral areas for 1/3 or even
less of the stated prices. Renting a flat is not that difficult. It would normally cost 50$~100$ per month a studio type of flat with one room in a mid size city or 2~3 times more if located in Moscow or St. Petersburg.
One can buy a house in a small village for 500~1000$US with no major difficulty.
Education is free in Russia. Citizens do not normally pay for studies at a
public school or a state-owned university. This does not rule out the opportunity for the
willing to pay for such service, to do so. The numbers vary greatly, but it would not be
untrue to say that the majority of the payments levels range between 200$ and 1500$ an academic year.
Many people enter schools on a competition basis, and then study for free, but quite a number, for various reasons, choose the private schools (not necessarily providing a higher quality of education).
Thanks to our rich Soviet legacy, leisure facilities are quite diverse. One can usually find a large club in far-flung and remote places. However, a decade of change and a number of economic crises have taken their toll. Many places lie in disrepair lacking financing for simple maintenance and repair. Currently those the most popular activities and clubs available in Russia with their prices as follows:
Aerobics: 2-3 times a week, 3~5$ a month
Swimming Pool: one visit 0.5$, for 1.5 hours
Yoga: 2.5~5$ a month, one time a week
Pop or rock concert ticket: 3~15$
Theatre ticket: 1~3$ (outside of Moscow)
Internet access : 1 hour 25~30 RUR
This can be quite expensive in Russia unlike other countries with similar living standards. One should avoid posh places, which tend to overcharge for everything. One can easily pay 50-80$ for a very modest meal (two or three courses) at a nice restaurant. A school or university cafeteria meal of a couple of dishes (salad, tea, soup, noodles + hamburger, bread) is approximately 0.8~2$
This is quite limited in Russia, and not very easy to locate.
In summer the best bet almost anywhere would be student dormitories (ob-shezhytie), where
one can arrange a one night stay for 1$. Another good option could be locating hotels meant
for various educational institutions, where it is often possible to get a bed in 4 bed-room
for 2~3$. This can be true even in places like Moscow and St. Petersburg (proverbially
considered budget busters). Smaller cities with fewer westerners and tourists are normally
very economical for travellers on a fixed budget. Hostels, ironically, are normally more expensive
than the majority hotels.
There is also a large number of low-priced hotels where one can get a bed in a double bed room for 3~8$.
There are many stories around about how bad life in Russia is, with lots of newspapers and TV stations speculating on the matter. Honestly, things are quite different from how they are often portrayed, partly because bad news sells much better.
Yes, luxury is not found everywhere and the majority of the people live on an income equal to 50$US a month, but then there are quite a few with a salary of 100-200$ per month, or more. The fair thing to say would be that 50% of the population live on 50-70$ a month, 20% have 70-200$, 10% have 200$-500$ and the rest have greater incomes. But, then again, there are enough people who have there own businesses and can enjoy 2000$ or more per month.
The lowest paid part of the society are those who are employed in the state-owned sector of the economy and have to live only on state money, which is usually around 50-70$US.
Anybody being in the private sector of economy can count on a bit greater income.