What it cost to live in Chennai as budget slow travelers

Partial city skyline with phrase about what it cost to live in Chennai, India.

Last Updated on May 27, 2023 by Ellen

It’s been a few weeks since we left the south eastern Indian city of Chennai – located on the balmy ‘Coromandel Coast’ along the Bay of Bengal.

Now that we’re in the north of the country (currently Rishikesh), we’ve traded our shorts and flip flops for sweaters and pants. In fact, the wardrobe changeover boosted our ‘Supplies’ expense category at the end of our Chennai stay.

Other expense categories were also a little out of whack for our stay in Chennai. But they are all shown and explained below.

As a reminder, we strive to keep our total monthly outlays at around $2,000 while in Asia. And of course, we diligently keep track of every cent we spend as we continue to wander and enjoy the planet.

Further, we share exactly what our early-retired, budget, slow travel lifestyle costs so that others interested in international living – and exploring – can better gauge the expenses involved.

what it cost to live in chennai is lowered by shopping like these locals
A typical street in Chennai, India.

What it cost to live in Chennai

$910  —  Housing
$447  —  Gifts/Charity
$332  —  Health
$273   —  Excursions
$151  —  Groceries
$132  —  Restaurants
$122  —  Supplies
$84   —  Beer
$71   —  Travel
$65  —   Local transit (Uber, riskshaws, buses)
$2,587  total for 2 people

The total above covers December 10, 2022 to January 14, 2023; 35 nights/36 days. The period is slightly more than a standard month, but for ease of record keeping, we are considering it a month.

Obviously, the total exceeds our $2,000 goal. (We always advise a 20% to 25% spending cushion, plus emergency fund/credit cards.) Below are some explanations and qualifiers.

ellen and theo get biryani in chennai
Ellen and Theo buy biryani – a popular rice dish – in Chennai, India, late 2022.

Chennai budget slow travel notes

–  Our Chennai area Airbnb was a slight step up in quality and price from our usual accommodations. The rental total included a $70 Airbnb fee, and $80 Indian taxes.

–  The period included Christmas — and we did send various gifts to family and friends around the world.

–  $71 in ‘Travel’ was the price of train tickets from Agra, India to Chennai. The $180 airfare cost to get to our next destination – New Delhi – will be included in the next month’s expenses.

–  In early January, Ellen stayed 10 days at a ‘Meditation Retreat’ in Chennai. The donation/tuition for the all-inclusive experience is reflected in the Excursions category. Grocery, Restaurant and other spending categories decreased during her absence.

–  My emergency root canal and dental crown comprised most of the Health category. The top-quality, additive-printing-manufactured, ceramic crown for the procedure cost 12,000 rupees ($150). The dentist said the same crown in the United States would cost “at least $2,500”!  Can you say ‘Dental Tourism’?

As usual, we are comfortable with the spending total for our time in coastal Chennai. The meditation retreat and dental emergency were both unplanned – but very reasonable cost additions. Even as inflation increases, India remains an incredibly inexpensive place to be.

As always, be thankful and generous, happy trails & more beer.

Life is NOW!

ellen and theo on east coast road beach in chennai, india, late 2022

Thanks for reading, “What it cost to live in Chennai as budget slow travelers.”

Other cost-related reports from India:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top