St.Petersburg offers numerous options to keep up with any lifestyle. Marble and gold decorated apartments in the very city center near Palace square, Michelin or high-class restaurants and boutiques are waiting for their devotees. We guess that you can easily find information about them online. The more interesting question is to estimate costs of living for those who can not or do not want to dive into the world of luxury in St. Petersburg.
Do bear in mind that prices can range depending on what part of the city you live in, but here are a few examples, around the center of the city.

Buying food

It does not matter in what part of St. Petersburg you live, you are likely to find at least one shop from one of these four retail chains Pyaterochka (5), Diksi (Дикси) or Semya (7ya) or Magnit. See more info about them here. These shops offer everything you need for a simple meal. The prices there are suitable for even the most modest budget (we’ve taken prices from the nearest Diksi shop, but they are more or less the same in any retail chain). 

Supermarkets and Hypermarkets like Lenta or Okey offer a large variety of goods including dietary or special products from other countries. As they offer more varieties of one product, we show you the price range for the same product of different brands or type. Prices at Hypermarkets are a little bit higher than in shops around the corner, but they usually launch one or more campaigns when products are sold with considerable discounts.  These campaigns generate profit for the hypermarket even if goods are sold for the reduced price as they attract more customers and only the most strong-willed can pass through the hypermarket without buying goods not from the shopping list. 

Prices comparison
Name of the product

Diksi (small shop)

Lenta (hypermarket)

Loaf of white bread 53 36-76
1L of Milk (Prostokvashino) 46 53-84
10 medium eggs 56 75-89
150g of Gauda cheese (slices) 126 118-186
900g parboiled rice 73 81
1 kg bananas 49 49-60
1kg potatoes 35 10-50

1kg of boneless chicken breast (Roscar)

240 240
1kg of seasonal apples 56 56
Tea, Lipton, 25 sachets 73 70
Yoghurt Danone 170g 43 34-43
Laundry detergent (Tide, 3kg) 350 240-370

Renting a flat

The cost of renting a flat in St. Petersburg can differ based on the district, size and type of the apartment, type and condition of the building and lots of other factors including sympathy of the landlord. Flats are often rented out by individuals themselves, so rent rates and conditions depend on each landlord wants, estimations and expectations. Also,  St. Petersburg is a very large  and diverse city, so rent rates even on neighbouring streets can fluctuate from 30-40%.

The most predictable and consistent prices are in newly built districts (Parnas, Devyatkino) on the outskirts of the city. Apartments that are available for rent there were bought for that purpose and are considered by their owners as business assets. The price for one room apartments (remember that in Russia  “one room apartment” means that the apartment has only ONE room, not one bedroom and a living room) costs 19-25,000 roubles.

The rent for the same apartment in districts situated 4-7 stations away from the city center starts from 22,000 roubles and can reach 35,000 roubles if the flat is nicely renovated, situated near a metro station and in a newly built apartment building. Remember that the nearer the apartment is to the city center, the higher the price will be even for the most inconvenient types of apartments.

Sometimes you can find a real treasure near the city center, in a good condition and building, but such options rarely go to the open market and are distributed through friends and acquaintances. 

You can also rent just one room in a larger flat. The price for such a room starts from 5,000 rubles (small room far away from a metro station that is 5-6 stops from the city center) and can reach 18-20,000 rubles in the city center. 

Payment for  utilities will add  from 1200 (for electricity, water supply and home internet) to 6000 roubles (for the whole pack of utilities). Payment for utilities is a subject of discussion with the landlord. Sometimes they are included into the rent rate (except water and electrical supply), sometimes should be paid extra. 
ITMO students will most likely be offered dorm rooms where they will share with our students and will save a lot on the price of rent. Read more about ITMO dorms here

Travelling around the city

As we are told, St.Petersburg is a big city, so your daily return trip will likely include two or three different types of transport: basically metro (as the most convenient and fast type of transport), bus, trolleybus or marshrutka. This will cost you between 85-125 roubles overall to get to the city depending on the marshutka’s price. If you walk a part of the trip, you might save some cash. However, there is a card for frequent travellers, and students get massive discounts and unlimited travel for a fixed price with a special transportation card, read more about that here

Taxi prices start from 150 roubles per short route and can reach 2000-3000 if you plan to go to the nearest suburbs (Pavlosk, Peterhoff)
Travelling by bike can reduce the cost of transportation, but this option is available only during the warmer months (May-September with any luck).

Eating out

Cost of eating out depends largely on your food habits and what you like to eat. 

Average McDonalds meal (Big Mac + fries + coke)  will cost 275 roubles.

Business lunch (available on weekdays in most restaurants/cafes) at sushi/pizza cafe will lighten your pocket by about 250-350 rubles. 

Sandwiches start from 150 rubles and burgers from 250.
The common and cheap choice of eating out can be a cafeteria at the university or there are many around town, these are more commonly known as stolovaya. The food isn’t fancy but you can get a soup, salad, meat with a side, and a drink for about 300 rubles, or you can pick one and it will cost much less. Tea costs about 10 rubles in stolavaya’s.  Restaurants and gastropubs will feed you in a much more cozy and pleasant atmosphere for an average price of 700-1500 rubles per person (main dish and starter without wine).

As a very big city, St. Petersburg has no upper limit in monthly spendings. But we may estimate that the lowest limit  of monthly expenditures (rent, food, travel) starts from 15,000 rubles.