There’s no way around it, Dublin is expensive. But with a bit of savvy budgeting, it is affordable. Here’s an overview of what it might cost you to live here.

Getting started

Your biggest outlays are likely to come at the beginning of your stay, when you are establishing yourself in a new home. Make sure you have enough money to cover these upfront expenses.

Temporary accommodation

You may need to stay in a hostel or guest house while you are looking for a place to rent.

Rental bond

This is a deposit paid at the beginning of your rental contract. There are no legal guidelines as to how much a rental bond should be, but the equivalent of one month’s rent is typical.

Electricity, gas, broadband & mobile connection fees

Typically, your electricity and gas will already be connected when you move into a rented room or apartment. If you do need to have the electricity connected, Electric Ireland charges a €80 fee (including VAT) to do so.

A broadband connection may also be included in your rental agreement. You must arrange a connection yourself if it isn’t. The upfront costs of a broadband connection can range from zero to over €200, depending on your provider. Compare plans at the Commission for Communications Regulation, a government agency that promotes pricing transparency for the industry.

Basic furniture and homewares

Many rented rooms and apartments in Dublin come furnished, but not all. If you need to buy furniture, you might consider a second-hand purchase. There are second-hand furniture dealers across Dublin, or browse Gumtree and Adverts.ie

Rent

Rent can vary widely between different types of accommodation. In general, sharing with others is cheaper than living alone and living in an apartment is cheaper than a house. No matter how you slice it, this is likely to be your largest single expense, so it pays to give it some thought.

On-campus

Rental prices for on-campus accommodation differs between universities. These can range from €500 to more than €1,000 per month. Generally, they are charged as a lump sum per semester. Visit the relevant university’s site for the most up-to-date rates:

Off-campus

Sharing a room is probably your best bet for low-cost accommodation in Dublin. Numbeo, a crowd-sourced cost of living database, tracks the monthly rent of one and three bedroom apartments inside and outside of the city centre:

One-bedroom apartment (city centre) €1,515.54
One-bedroom apartment (outside of centre) €1,261.78
Three-bedroom apartment (city centre) €2,670.26
Three-bedroom apartment (outside of centre) €2,096.06
Updated June 2018

Food

You never need resort to the ramen-only diet in Dublin. Savvy shoppers can pile-up on delicious, nourishing food at decent prices.

Supermarkets

There’s no shortage of supermarkets in Dublin. Here’s a quick rundown of the options:

Supervalu

A franchise of independent retailers with the store owners using a standardised store format and selling the same own-brand SuperValu products. Their largest stores compete directly with Tesco and Dunnes, and are very popular in Dublin.

Tesco

The UK giant has an extensive network of shops across Ireland – including their handy Metro stores.

Dunnes Stores

The quintessential Irish grocer, Dunnes Stores (usually known as just ‘Dunnes’) offers food, clothes and homewares at reasonable prices.

Aldi & Lidl

These German retailers’ low, low prices have shaken up the Irish grocery market for the better. Their arrival has pushed down prices across all the major supermarket chains.

Unfortunately, there are no Irish websites comparing grocery prices regularly. However, you can find detailed, crowd-sourced prices at Numbeo and Expatistan to give you an idea of what you’re in for.

Convenience stores

Need something late at night or in a hurry? Dublin is dotted with convenience stores. Naturally, they have a smaller range and higher prices than the supermarkets – but they are handy in a pinch. Keep an eye out for these names when you’re in a bind:

SPAR

Centra

Londis

Mace

Gala

Costcutter

Applegreen

Bills

Sigh. You can move across the world, but the bills will you be waiting for you when you arrive. Here’s what you’ll be looking at in terms of utilities, phone and internet in Dublin.

Basic utilities

Basic utilities include electricity, heating, gas, water and garbage collection. Your utility bill will differ depending on your living arrangements. Sometimes your landlord will include these in the price of your rent. Often, you will have to pay for these yourself or chip in with your roommates. Numbeo and Expatistan put the cost of basic utilities for one person, living alone, between €100 and €150 per month depending on your living space.

Shop around for the best deal on your utilities by visiting a price comparison website such as Bonkers or Switcher.

Broadband

Once again, if you’re living with others you’ll be able to split your broadband bill. If you have to make a connection by yourself you may be looking at around €40 – €50 per month. Bonkers and Switcher can help you find the best deals.

Phone

There’s no shortage of mobile phone operators in Ireland. Vodafone, Virgin,Three, Tesco Mobile and international calling specialist Lycamobile, all have a presence here alongside the former state telecom company, Eir. Many Irish phone users pay as they go, topping up with just as much credit as they need. If you don’t make many calls or use much data, this may be the way to go. Prepaid top-ups start from €10 and are available at most supermarkets and convenience stores.

If you find that you’re topping up with more than €30 each month, you might want to consider a plan. Sim-only plans start from €10 per month for 250 minutes of calls, 250 texts, and 2GB of data.

Clothes and shoes

Obviously, the price of clothes can vary greatly from store to store. That mainstay of the student wardrobe – jeans and a top – is as good a yardstick as any. A pair of women’s Levis at Debenhams will cost you between €60 and €100, while a casual top from H&M can range anywhere from €15 to €50. Love a bargain? Drop into Penneys’ Mary Street store – flagship for Primark’s Europe-wide fleet.

Getting around

We have some student specific advice below for getting around but we’d also recommend reading our dedicated section.

Public transport

Dublin has the world’s fourth most expensive public transport system, according to Expatistan. That said, you can slash your transport costs by buying a Student Leap Card. It allows you to use the public transport system at will and at a deep discount. You’ll also receive reductions on a bunch of fashion, food and entertainment brands. Nice one! A Student Leap Card costs €10, and you can load it with as much credit as you need to get around.

Car

You can pick up a reliable, second-hand vehicle for under €5,000. Depending on your experience and age however, insurance may be expensive. You can get up to date fuel prices at Pumps.

Socialising

Congratulations! You’ve got a roof over your head, food on the table, broadband in the cables and a phone in your pocket. Time to celebrate with a drink! A can of beer will set you back about €2.50 in the supermarket, while a pint of Guinness will cost about €5 – €6 in the pub – more expensive in Temple Bar. A bottle of decent wine will set you back between €10 and €20. Cocktails cost between €10 and €20 – depending on your poison.

Restaurants run the full gamut from inexpensive holes in the wall to sumptuous dining experiences. A good rule of thumb for eating out is the price of a McDonald’s Big Mac (so much so that it’s the basis for a popular price index that compares purchasing power between different currencies). You’re looking at about €4 for the iconic burger. Dinner for two at a local pub will cost in and around €35. Three courses for two people at a mid-range restaurant will set you back €60 – €70.

Hitting the clubs in a taxi? A ride starts at about €4 and is charged at about €1 – €2 per kilometre. Check your fare before you go with Transport for Ireland’s fare estimator.