Cost of living in Berkeley

The cost of living in Berkeley is one of the highest in the State of California, and in fact the entire country. From accommodation to dining out and entertainment, virtually everything is substantially more expensive. However, it is also one of the most popular, attractive and exciting places in the world, and so a heavy price tag is expected.

Housing and food costs

The average rental cost for an apartment in Berkeley is about €1200 per month. Most students will be asked to pay nearly (or more than) this number in order to get a private room in a shared apartment. The cheaper option is to get a shared room with 1-2 other people; this can push the cost down to as little as €700-800 per month. Of course the downside here is that it’s virtually impossible to get any privacy, anywhere.

Groceries are also a bit more expensive than average, but not with such insane inflation as you see with housing. For €200 you can probably do most of your shopping, assuming you eat out sometimes and don't have a penchant for overly priced goods…

In terms of eating out, it really depends on your lifestyle. Since people have a habit of grabbing lunch or dinner when it’s convenient now and then, you can probably add up to €100 a month of "eating out" if you’re not careful. If you’re strict about it, this could drop to about zero.

Transportation costs

Buses around Berkeley cost $2 (≈ €1.6) per journey for adults. You can either buy tickets using cash or, more commonly nowadays, using your clipper card. This is a contactless, reloadable card which is used for virtually all public transport in the city. It costs $3 to buy, and you simply reload it with funds when you’re getting low. This is can be done in person, online or over the phone.

Rail travel (BART) and buses (AC-Transit) are the main transport methods around Berkeley, but you can learn more about this on our public transport page.

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