Personal budgeting: Life expenses in Iran

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Life expenses in Iran (Source: yjc.ir)

I’m planning to write a set of posts for the ex-pats, who are choosing to live in Iran for mid- or long- term. Before this, I’ve written in two posts (here & there) about ten things that you must know before you travel to Iran. But it’s obvious that traveling for a week or so is very different from staying for more than one year for work or study.

All of my friends who are heading to travel for a couple of months in Europe ask me, how much money is good to bring with me to pay for my daily needs. I think it may be a common question for those who want to stay in Iran. So in this post, let’s review the expenses of normal life in Iran.

Housing

After the recent tough inflations in the country, a normal house in Tehran (the most expensive city) costs not less than 2 billion Tomans. If you can afford to live in your own house then you’re so lucky! Then your living expense will be very minimum. But if you need to rent your house in an expensive city like Tehran, the monthly rent will probably consist the most part of your living expenses. The average monthly rent in Tehran is about 50,000 Tomans/m2.

If you own your house, you also don’t need to pay any property tax for a normal house (which values less than 10 billion Tomans). Then you will only have to pay for maintenance and repairing your house.

House Utility Bills for electricity and refined water reporting your consumption. They are no longer printed. You can just view and pay them online.

Also, you need to pay for the house utilities and service costs which include electricity, gas, water, telephone and ADSL, trash removal, and city tax (the two latter ones are paid annually and the formers are paid once every two months). If you are a normal consumer, you may have to pay about 50,000 tomans each month for each utility bill. The bills were used to be posted homes in Tehran but now they are sent through SMS and paid online.

Healthcare

All of those who are employed are eligible for Social Security Insurance and they must pay 7% of their salary for that (it’s automatically deducted from the salary). Anyone who is not formally employed can do self-insurance or request free health insurance after the Means test. However, basic health insurance doesn’t cover the main part of health costs in private hospitals and doctor visits. That’s why many pay to add ‘supplementary’ health insurance to their basic insurance. This would cost something about 100,000-200,000 Tomans per month.

Education

Free education is possible from primary school until the Ph.D.! But many -especially in large cities- prefer to pay for their children’s school and enjoy better-qualified education than free public schools. These private schools are called ‘non-profit’ schools and they cost from 10 million to 30 million Tomans per year in Tehran.

But the universities are completely the other way around. The high-ranked universities are free public ones. A Master’s degree in a good university costs you about 15 million Tomans and a Ph.D. costs 100 million.

Transportation

A middle-class Iranian car price is now about 100-200 million Tomans. If you own a car, then you have to pay for compulsory car insurance which covers third-party loss in driving accidents. It costs something about 1 million Tomans per year. Many people also prefer to insure their own car in accident and theft -called ‘car body insurance’- which costs about another million for a 100-million car. Other car expenses include fuel which is not high (see here) and also car maintenance. In sum, for a normal car and normal driving range, you may pay something about 6 million a year.

If you use the public transportation (including metro, bus, and line taxis) it may cost you even cheaper (see this post).

Cell phone and Internet

I have a prepaid SIM card on my phone and I pay about 50,000 Tomans per month for calls and 30,000 Tomans per month (for 5 GB) for the 4G Internet.

Tax

The personal taxing structure is still very simple compared to high-income countries. regular taxes for an Iranian family include the income tax which is about 10% to 15% of their whole salary (automatically paid from the wage). Also, VAT (value-added tax) is paid by 9% of each transaction price.

Food, Clothing, entertainment, and more!

For a 4-member family, you may pay something about 4 million Tomans per month in other things. In general, if you are living with your family in your own house (and don’t need to pay for house rent or mortgages) and you have the necessary house appliances you can live with 6 million Tomans per month (only 200 euros!) salary in Tehran without considerable savings.

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