THE COST OF LIFE IN ESTONIA
People who are about to move to a new country are first of all interested in the cost of living there? Daily expenses of a family are made up of thousands of small things that are not always easy to plan when moving. Therefore, the IT Talent team pay due attention to the question of the cost of living in Estonia. Let's take a look!
Answering this question briefly, we can say that it is neither cheap nor expensive to live in Tallinn. According to Numbeo, the capital of Estonia is middle-ranked among 374 cities: check yourself! For your information, the cost of living in Tallinn is about half the cost of living in New York, and this is one of the most expensive cities in the world. If you are not satisfied with such a brief answer, let's consider it in details.
When you move to another country, you are hardly going to live in a tent. This is always one of the first issues to be resolved. The cost of rent certainly depends on many factors. But if you cut to the chase, keep in mind that you are unlikely to rent a two-room apartment in good condition for less than 400 euros a month.
When signing a rental agreement, you will most likely have to pay a security deposit in the amount of one monthly fee (upon termination of the agreement, the security deposit will be paid back). You will also have to pay for broker’s services in the same amount. In other words, you will have to open your wallet wide at the start.
The monthly fee does not include utilities. In winter, they increase about twice or more. It depends on the type of heating: electric heating is usually the most expensive, and central heating is the cheapest. You can check prices and choose the right apartment via the advertisement boards kv.ee and city24.ee.
If you want to save money and rent an apartment directly from the owner, sign an agreement. This will allow you to avoid problems in case of disputes. Furthermore, the rental agreement is an important document for opening a bank account with a local bank.
If you are a resident of Tallinn, which requires the consent of the apartment owner (on the basis – what a surprise! – of the rental agreement), you also get access to free public transport. Yes, such capitalism with elements of communism. Transportation starts as early as 6 am until after midnight.
If you do not like to follow transport timetables, you can use the taxi services Bolt, Uber and Yandex. The first one is usually the most efficient as it has a huge fleet. In general, even trips for long distances are unlikely to cost you more than 10 euros. You can read comprehensive information about transportation in Estonia and its cost in a separate article.
The IT Talent team loves to eat, and what about you? As regards the cost of food in Estonia, we can say one thing: you will not die of hunger, especially if you are a highly qualified IT specialist. We offer you to do an exciting homework and check the cost of food yourself: use the online stores with home delivery Prisma and Maxima. Show the prices to your relatives and fellow national – this is so fun! Depending on where you came from, you will probably hear, “Oh, it is so expensive” or “Wow, it is so cheap!”
If you don’t like or are bothered cooking, there are hundreds of cafés, bars and restaurants in Tallinn for everyone, literally in every corner. If you don’t like trying things out, you can use the Foursquare app or at least Google Maps. However, local gourmets have selected special places that are recommended for visiting – Like a local. You can order food delivery from your favorite restaurant or café to your office or home via the services Wolt and Bolt Food.
Entertainment and leisure
So, you have housing, you are not hungry, and the working day is over: what to do? You can find tips on the official tourist pages of Tallinn or Estonia. In this way, you will be well informed of upcoming events and activities. Fans of outdoor activities and thrills are advised to check the Kingitus.ee website where you can find lots of excitement for yourself and your friends.
If you don’t like shooting, horseback riding, and diving and have a passion for art, go to the Russian Theatre and the Estonian National Opera in Tallinn. World cinema premieres are always presented at Apollo, Forum Cinemas and Kosmos. You may also like Artis or Sõprus where “movies not for everyone” and documentaries are shown.
Hopefully, you stay healthy to not only work effectively, but also enjoy your free time. If something goes wrong and you get sick, don’t worry: the cost of treatment is covered by Health Insurance Fund, a state medical insurance system. It operates not only in Estonia, but also allows you to get emergency medical care throughout the European Union.
You can find the detailed description of the system in another article. Unfortunately, the Health Insurance Fund does not fully cover dental care. If this is critical for you, there are private dental insurances, such as Ergo.
If you move to Estonia with your family, you will most likely have to decide where your precious child will study. We have analyzed education in two separate articles about kindergartens and schools. Therefore, we will only go through the main points.
There are 127 municipal kindergartens in Tallinn, in 80 of which pupils are taught in Estonian, in 28 in Russian and in 18 in Estonian and Russian. Children are enrolled in kindergartens from May 1 to August 15, however, if there are vacant places, children are admitted to kindergartens throughout the year. From January 1, 2018, the kindergarten cost is 65 euros per month (or 72 euros for kindergartens with pool).
If there are no vacant places in state kindergartens, your child can go to a private kindergarten: Edu Valem costs 500 euros per month, Montessori Children’s Center up to 297 euros per month. If your child is placed on a waiting list for a kindergarten slot, the city administration will partially compensate your expenses for the kindergarten (particularly, you will have to pay as less as 327 euros per month for Edu Valem).
There are 15 Russian, 36 Estonian schools and 5 schools with a mixed language of study in Tallinn. Children can study in public schools free of charge, but there are also private schools in the city: the cost of study at Edu Valem is 3,000 euros per year.
The Estonians will hardly be surprised if you speak three or four languages since many speak Estonian, English and Russian. Thus, you will always have someone to talk to. However, when you arrange for your child to receive a suitable education, think about your own education. If you fall in love with this country and decide to settle in here for a long time, at some point you will be required to confirm your language category before the authorities.
But don’t worry, the Settle in Estonia program and the Integration Foundation will help you learn the language. Furthermore, you can learn the basics by yourself and free of charge using the Keeleklikk online courses. To read about how you can undergo in-depth and additional training, please refer to the article “Why and how to learn Estonian?”
In summary, if you did not get answers to all your questions, check the closed group “There goes the neighbourhood” where people who have chosen Estonia as their new place of residence and work share their experience.