Cost of living in Afghanistan: How much do you have to spend for living per month?
By: Mahmuda Afreen / Read more about us.
You are moving to Kabul from Herat due to your work. But will the monthly expenditure remain the same there? And what’s your average monthly living cost for someone living in Afghanistan?
On average, a single working person may need to spend $400 or 35,720 AFN to lead a proper life. But a four-member family’s monthly expense often goes up to $650 or 58,050 AFN.
Meanwhile, it’s hard for the people living below the poverty level in the east, northeast, and west-central regions to fulfill their regular needs.
People in these regions mostly live in rural areas. We’ll tell you the costs of regular expenditure of the Afghan people and what’re the monthly costs in different areas.
Is it expensive to rent an apartment there?
On average, you can expect to pay $70 to $120 per month for a single-bedroom apartment rental. However, a family apartment can cost you up to $200 per month near the city area.
If you don’t wish to build a house or buy an apartment, the best way for accommodation is by renting an apartment.
Check out the following chart –
Basically, the rental apartment has two categories.
- For a single person (1-bedroom)
- For family members (3-bedroom)
3-bedroom cost more than twice the monthly rental cost of a 1-bedroom apartment.
Another crucial thing that impacts the rental cost is where you choose to live in. If it’s outside the city area, you can get an affordable option.
But both single and family apartments rental in the city area are something that will hurt your purse.
What about buying an apartment?
It’s good to have your own apartment, but the question is do you have enough money to pay for one? If yes, then you can get one for $360 to $740 per sq. meter on average.
|Apartment area||Cost per sq. meter (USD)||Cost per sq. meter (AFN)|
|In the city center||$550 – $1,500||49,117 – 133,956 AFN|
|Outside the city||$260 – $560||23,219 – 50,010 AFN|
Just like renting an apartment, the cost depends largely on the region. On average, it can cost you $750 to $1,060 per sq. meter to buy an apartment in the city area.
On the other hand, the buying cost is one-third outside the city area. It will cost $260 to $400 per sq. meter on average.
The utility charge is a big addition to the total living cost
The electricity, internet bill, mobile bill everything combined can cost you as low as $250 per month. The electricity bill charge is from $0.02 to $0.05 per kWh on average.
Don’t you think the utility cost has an impactful impression on the total cost?
However, the number of members living in the apartment can have a great impact on the electricity, heating, cooling, and water bill.
When you are living in a family consisting of four members, you may have to pay one and half times more utility charges than a single person.
|Type of utility charge||Monthly cost (USD)||Monthly cost (AFN)|
|Average cost||$35 – $55||3,126 – 4,912 AFN|
|1-person utility cost||$26 – $40||2,322 – 3,572 AFN|
|Family utility cost||$38 – $70||3,394 – 6,251 AFN|
However, what’s the easiest way to pay the electric bill? Follow the steps below.
- Dial *222# and select payments
- Select utilities from there
- Then, select DABS
- Enter the bill number
- Enter your PIN to make the payment.
- The payment is successful when you get a text message.
Meanwhile, the internet bill is another noteworthy addition to the total utility charge of a house. Whether you are single or living in a family, it has nothing to do with the monthly internet bill.
The total charge is calculated depending on the internet speed or Mbps.
|Internet speed||Monthly charge (USD)||Monthly charge (AFN)|
|50-Mbps or less||$80 – $115||7,144 – 10,270 AFN|
|60-Mbps or more||$130 – $670||11,610 – 59,834|
However, people can still rely on mobile internet if not WiFi. On average, mobile internet service per month can cost you $17 to $30 for 20 GB to 50 GB data packs.
Basically, five Afghan SIM card providers are there offering hourly, daily, weekly, and monthly data packages.
- Afghan Wireless
- Etisalat Afghanistan
- MTN Afghanistan
- Salaam from Afghan Telecom
Monthly mobile data packages cost –
|SIM provider||Total charge (USD)||Total charge (AFN)|
|Afghan Wireless||$2.80 – $30.23||250 – 2,700 AFN|
|Etisalat Afghanistan||$2.80 – $39.19||250 – 3,500 AFN|
|Roshan||$2.80 – $22.40||250 – 2,000 AFN|
|MTN Afghanistan||$3.36 – $30.23||300 – 2,700 AFN|
|Salaam||$1.01 – $16.80||90 – 1,500 AFN|
Weekly mobile data packages cost –
|SIM provider||Total charge (USD)||Total charge (AFN)|
|Afghan Wireless||$1.12 – $2.35||100 – 210 AFN|
|Etisalat Afghanistan||$0.50 – $1.68||45 – 150 AFN|
|MTN Afghanistan||$1.01||90 AFN|
|Salaam||$0.39 (2-week)||35 AFN (2-week)|
If you need internet often, you better go for the monthly data package as the weekly data package will charge you comparatively more at the end of the month.
Food and drink cost per month
The regular commodities per month can cost you as low as 20 cents and as high as 6 dollars. However, the cost is valid only for a certain amount of the item.
However, our survey says that a single person may need to spend $30 to $50 per month on foods and drinks that exclude restaurant meals.
For example, one kilogram of rice costs $0.85, which can’t be enough for a month. Therefore, the amount of rice you buy for the entire month decides the total expenditure on the rice.
|Items||Price in USD||Price in AFN|
|Milk (1 liter)||$0.55 – $0.90||49.12 – 80.37 AFN|
|Water (0.33 liter bottle)||$0.11 – $0.35||9.82 – 31.26 AFN|
|Rice (1 kg)||$0.85 – $1.30||75.91 – 116.10 AFN|
|Eggs (1 dozen)||$0.85 – $1.35||75.91 – 120.56 AFN|
|Red meat (Round steak) 1 kg||$3.90 – $5.60||348.29 – 500.10 AFN|
|Chicken breast (1 kg)||$1.80 – $3.20||160.75 – 285.77 AFN|
|Bread (1 loaf)||$0.23 – $0.55||20.54 – 49.12 AFN|
|Potato (1 kg)||$0.25 – $0.45||22.33 – 40.19 AFN|
|Onion (1 kg)||$0.18 – $0.40||16.07 – 45.72 AFN|
|Tomato (1 kg)||$0.28 – $0.70||25.01 – 62.51 AFN|
|Apple (1 kg)||$0.30 – $1.25||26.79 – 111.63 AFN|
|Banana (1 kg)||$0.52 – $1.60||46.44 – 142.89 AFN|
|Orange (1 kg)||$0.45 – $1.70||40.39 – 151.82 AFN|
|Cheese (1 kg)||$2.20 – $5.50||196.47 – 491.17 AFN|
|Sausages (1 kg)||$6.90 – $11.50||616.20 – 1,027 AFN|
Well, you may not go to a restaurant for lunch or dinner every day of the month. But when you go, there’re two options.
- Either choose inexpensive ones under $3.5 per meal
- Or choose expensive ones above $5 per meal.
|Items||Price in USD||Price in AFN|
|Lunch/ dinner (Affordable restaurant)||$1.70 – $3.50||152 – 313 AFN|
|Lunch/ dinner (Expensive restaurant)||$5.30 – $14.50||473 – 1,295 AFN|
|Combo fast food (McDonald)||$2.20 – $3.50||196 – 313 AFN|
|Cappuccino||$1.15 – $2.80||103 – 250 AFN|
|Espresso coffee||$0.35 – $2.10||31 – 188 AFN|
|Items||Price in USD||Price in AFN|
|Cigarette pack||$0.80 – $2.25||71 – 201 AFN|
|Coca-cola (2 liter)||$0.70 – $0.80||63 – 71 AFN|
|Wine (Mid-range)||$11 – $13||982 – 1,161 AFN|
|Beer (0.5 liter)||$0.90 – $1.40||80 – 125 AFN|
So, now you have to do a bit listing of the items you will need throughout the month. And then calculate the total cost of food and drinks.
Transportation cost per month
Basically, the monthly transportation cost for a person ranges from $17 to $40 until that person doesn’t use a flight for traveling.
However, one flight cost is double or equivalent to the total transportation cost of a month.
Using public transport with tickets
When you don’t own a car, you can move within cities, to suburbs, or anywhere in the country using public transport. However, there’re two ways to travel this way.
- Buying regular tickets
- Buying the monthly transit pass.
|Travel ticket type||Cost in USD||Cost in AFN|
|Regular tickets||$0.11 – $0.34||10 – 31 AFN|
|Monthly transit pass||$10 – $24||893 – 2143 AFN|
However, there’re several other ways to travel within the country. And the following chart will tell you about the cost.
|Travel type||Cost in USD||Cost in AFN|
|Flight (Within cities)||$50 – $110||4.465 – 9,823 AFN|
|Intercity buses||$4.5 – $6||402 – 536 AFN|
|Taxi ride||$2.1 – $9.3||188 – 831 AFN|
|Gasoline/ Petrol (1 liter)||$0.52 – $1.00||47 – 89 AFN|
Gasoline or petrol cost is important to know when you have your own car. And it always creates a clear idea in your mind regarding the total cost of the vehicle per month.
The monthly cost of the education sector
The education sector is one of those sectors, where people willingly spend money. However, often the lower and low-middle class families in Afghanistan find the expenditure a tough thing.
At the primary level, the minimum monthly educational cost stays somewhere near $400.
Meanwhile, a bachelor’s program in any reputed university can cost you up to $2,000. Also, the master’s program is expensive as well costing a minimum of $1,600 per year.
Primary level education cost –
|Education level||Expenses per year (USD)||Expenses (AFN)|
|Pre-schooling||$15 – $45||1,340 – 4,020 AFN|
|Primary level||$410 – $2,650||36,615 – 236,655 AFN|
However, Afghanistan is a good place for higher education that offers several bachelor’s, master’s, and few Ph.D. programs.
|Higher education programs||Expenses per year (USD)||Expenses (AFN)|
|Bachelor programs||$282 – $2,090||25,100 – 185,600 AFN|
|Masters programs||$518 – $5,744||46,000 – 510,000 AFN|
|PhD programs||$1,633 – $1,915||145,000 – 170,000 AFN|
The key factors that impact higher education costs are –
- The University
- The subject for any higher education program
- The type of program.
Here are a few Ph.D. programs available in Afghanistan.
- Farsi- Dari language and literature Ph.D. program, Kabul University
- Islamic Law doctorate degree, Nangarhar University
Clothing and shoe cost
Unless you go for brands like Levi’s, Nike, and Adidas, the clothing and shoe cost is always within reach. One can complete his necessary shopping by spending $60 to $75.
|Attire type||Price (USD)||Price (AFN)|
|Regular dress (Men & women)||$10 – $35||893 – 3,126 AFN|
|1 pair of Jeans||$11 – $26||982- 2,322 AFN|
|Casual shoes||$17 – $48||1,518 – 4,287 AFN|
|Business shoes||$28 – $45||2,501 – 4,019 AFN|
|Undergarments (Men & Women)||$7 – $16||625 – 1,429 AFN|
Meanwhile, a branded product might let you think twice before purchasing.
However, shopping isn’t something that your need to do every month or you have to spend a similar amount every time. Therefore, choose the best whenever you choose.
And the attire does mean a lot to make a better impression.
How much do you need to pay for healthcare?
If you are sick and need to see a doctor, it’s necessary to know the cost of the doctor’s visit. On average, per visit, the charge will range from $7 to $12.
However, if you need to stay there in the hospital for treatment, there will be an additional charge. Meanwhile, the charge varies depending on whether it’s a general or private room.
Moreover, the type of treatment and the intensity of the patient lets one decide which ward should he get admitted to.
|Ward type||Cost per day (USD)||Cost per day (AFN)|
|Surgery (General)||$13.44 – $16.80||1,200 – 1,500 AFN|
|Surgery (Private)||$67.19 – $76.14||6,000 – 6,800 AFN|
|Medicine (General)||$11.20 – $13.44||1,000 – 1,300 AFN|
|Medicine (Private)||$63.83 – $72.79||5,700 – 6,500 AFN|
|ICU||$58.23 – $67.19||5,200 – 6,000 AFN|
Meanwhile, the medicine cost per month can be a huge headache as well as you can expect to pay $23 to $26 for a serious patient.
However, health-conscious young people love joining the gym to keep fit and fine. On average, the monthly Gym fee can range from $6.16 to $11.20.
The monthly fee here depends mostly on –
- The popularity of the gym
- Facilities provided there
- Availability of well-trained trainers.
One truth is that good health depends on personal care. So, let’s quickly check out the average cost of some personal care products.
|Product/ Care||Average cost (USD)||Average cost (AFN)|
|Hair cut||$2.70||241 AFN|
|Toilet paper (4 rolls)||$0.65||58 AFN|
You can’t live the life without entertainment
It’s the last weekend of the month, and you are thinking to go out for a movie show in the evening with your wife. Well, two standard movie tickets won’t cost you more than 6 bucks or 535 AFN.
Movie tickets are categorized in –
- Standard tickets
- Premium tickets.
However, premium tickets will provide one of the best seats in the theatre, and enjoy the movie. Meanwhile, one premium movie ticket is worth $6 to $8.
Other entertainment options you have are to join a fitness club or play tennis on a rental tennis court once a week.
The fitness club membership can charge you $14 or 1,250 AFN per month on average.
On the other hand, tennis court rent is worth $11 or 982 AFN on average.
What’s the average job salary in Afghanistan?
The average job salary for a person in Afghanistan ranges from $290/ 25,900 AFN to $350/ 31,300 AFN. But you need to know what you’re doing.
However, people living below the poverty level can’t get a high wage even working the entire day. Often their monthly income remains less than $100.
Both workers’ and high officials’ job salaries are calculated to find out the average salary.
Without any doubt, the salary scale is quite high for any high officials. Moreover, the extra facilities in the office environment make their life more comfortable.
What will it cost to travel to Afghanistan?
As of now, the readers of the article know very much everything regarding the living cost of Afghanistan. But what if someone comes to visit your country?
Where will they stay, and how much cash should they bring?
|Hotel type||Cost per night (USD)||Cost per night (AFN)|
|4.5-star +||$200 – $315||17,861 – 28,131 AFN|
|4-star||$95 – $170||8,484 – 15,182 AFN|
|3-star||$70 – $135||6,251 – 12,056 AFN|
Basically, the regular commodities, transportation, and entertainment cost are identical for the foreigners as well.
But, they need to book a hotel for accommodation. And a 4-star or above room booking can cost $90 to$225 per night.
Meanwhile, you should try the special Afghan Kacchi Biriyani if you are there for the first time.
Afghanistan is divided into 34 provinces
Afghanistan has 34 provinces with more than 400 districts according to the most recent survey. However, these 34 provinces are divided into 7 regions.
The regions are –
- North-East Afghanistan with 4 provinces
- North West with 5 provinces
- Central with 7 provinces
- Eastern with 4 provinces
- Western with 4 provinces
- South East with 4 provinces
- South West with 6 provinces.
Now, let’s go through the names of 34 provinces in these 7 regions.
|North West Afghanistan|
|South East Afghanistan|
|South West Afghanistan|
Average monthly living costs in cities
Here’s a quick chart showing you the monthly cost of living for a single person in some popular cities of Afghanistan.
|City name||Cost of living (USD)||Cost of living (AFN)|
|Kabul||$430 – $450||38,400 – 40,187 AFN|
|Herat||$300 – $330||26,791 – 29,470 AFN|
|Jalalabad||$315 – $350||28,131 – 31,256 AFN|
|Ghazni||$310 – $335||27,684 – 29,917 AFN|
|Kandahar||$330 – $360||29,470 – 32,150 AFN|
|Khost||$305 – $330||27,238 – 29,470 AFN|
|Kunduz||$325 – $355||29,024 – 31,703 AFN|
|Sheberghan||$315 – $340||28,131 – 30,363 AFN|
Even though there isn’t much difference in the living costs in different cities, Kabul is stated as the most expensive city to live here.
It’s the capital of Afghanistan and you can get any facilities better here than in the other cities.
However, if you are searching for an inexpensive city to live in that can save a few your earnings; both Herat and Khost are two good choices.
Meanwhile, it’s good to know in which sectors one person really spends his earnings throughout the month for living.
|Expenditure in different sectors||Average cost (USD)||Average cost (AFN)|
|Apartment rental||$140||12,503 AFN|
|Monthly utility||$250||22,326 AFN|
|Food and drink||$40||3,572 AFN|
|Clothing and shoes||$55||4,912 AFN|
Cost of living: Afghanistan vs. the USA
Afghanistan isn’t a rich country like the USA, where 80% of the people living in the rural areas are still poor. The average monthly living cost in the USA is 4 or times more than that of Afghanistan.
On average, the cost of living ranges from $1,500 to $1,750 per month.
In the meantime, it’s hard to spend that huge amount of money a month on even the richest afghan family.
Cost of living in Afghanistan vs. Pakistan
It’s hard to identify the living cost between Afghanistan and Pakistan. These two countries have a little geometrical distance, which impacts the monthly cost of living as well.
The average monthly cost in Afghanistan remains nearly $400 for a single person, whereas it’s $370 in Pakistan.
The regular commodities are sold almost at the same value in these two states, which directly impacts the total living cost.
Is it safe to live in Afghanistan?
The ongoing war and terrorism issues often raise a question in the brain of the foreigners that is it safe enough for living?
Although it seems a bit risky the beauty of Afghanistan can force you to stay there and enjoy nature.
Especially for the foreigners, it’s a great adventure to discover the unknowns of the deserts and all that is around them.
Moreover, the native people are so friendly that you may never find living there like outside your homeland.
Meanwhile, it’s good to stay aware of the dangers and keep yourself away from gatherings or any political meetings if you’re merely a tourist.
All in all, it’s safe to live in and travel to Afghanistan as long as you are cautious.