The myth about the cost of living

Go Back   Expat Forum For People Moving Overseas And Living Abroad > Africa > Egypt Expat Forum for Expats Living in Egypt

Egypt Expat Forum for Expats Living in Egypt Welcome to the Egypt Expat forum. This is the place to meet like minded expats that have made Egypt their new home. This forum is ideal for Expats that have moved to Egypt and people that are thinking about making Egypt their new home.

Like Tree1Likes

The myth about the cost of living


Reply
 
Thread Tools
  #1 (permalink)  
Old 3rd October 2010, 09:44 AM
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: limbo
Posts: 1,428
Rep Power: 45650
Sonrisa has a reputation beyond reputeSonrisa has a reputation beyond reputeSonrisa has a reputation beyond reputeSonrisa has a reputation beyond reputeSonrisa has a reputation beyond reputeSonrisa has a reputation beyond reputeSonrisa has a reputation beyond reputeSonrisa has a reputation beyond reputeSonrisa has a reputation beyond reputeSonrisa has a reputation beyond reputeSonrisa has a reputation beyond repute
288 likes received
161 likes given

Users Flag! Originally from spain. Users Flag! Expat in egypt.
Default The myth about the cost of living

Ok, so here is the thing …

I often hear that the cost of living in Egypt is very low and everything is so cheap and so on and that makes me wonder: what am I doing wrong? I use exactly the same weekly budget in Spain and whilst back home I can indulge in nice food, outing, clothes and lots of little goodies here and there, in Cairo I just seem to have my belt pretty thight actually.


When in Egypt, I try to buy local as much as possible but sometimes I find that I cannot stand the quality of produce so I go for imported. That’s probably where I fail.
For clothes and shoes and soft furnishing.. I also find that the quality of local doesn’t suit my taste (why Egyptian cotton is so highly regarded around the world is a mystery to me), so do buy imported as well, and I must say that I even find Chinese quality more bearable than local.

I don’t have the usual perks that many expats enjoy such as cleaner, driver, nanny etc. I walk to places most of the time, clean my own flat, iron my own clothes… So definetly my weekly budget only goes onto things like groceries, internet and phone bills, and getting the kids dressed.

So my question is : why would you consider Egypt to be cheap compared to your home country and how do you balance your budgets?
What locally produced food that isn’t expensive would you recommend? Where do you do your shopping that is not too expensive?


thanks, dizzie

Reply With Quote
  #2 (permalink)  
Old 3rd October 2010, 11:18 AM
Moderator
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: El Agouza/Novelda/St Priest La Plaine
Posts: 14,236
Rep Power: 371647
MaidenScotland has a reputation beyond reputeMaidenScotland has a reputation beyond reputeMaidenScotland has a reputation beyond reputeMaidenScotland has a reputation beyond reputeMaidenScotland has a reputation beyond reputeMaidenScotland has a reputation beyond reputeMaidenScotland has a reputation beyond reputeMaidenScotland has a reputation beyond reputeMaidenScotland has a reputation beyond reputeMaidenScotland has a reputation beyond reputeMaidenScotland has a reputation beyond repute
2039 likes received
1626 likes given

Users Flag! Originally from scotland. Users Flag! Expat in egypt.
Default

Dizzie I agree with you.. Cairo is not cheap.

Chicken liver 26 le a kilo... in the UK it is about 60p a pound
Chicken 22 le a kilo..
Chicken gizzards 25 le kilo.. we throw these out in the UK
Chicken thighs 23le kilo
Chicken drumsticks 24 le kilo.
Baladi Beef Shank 38.28le 1/2 kilo.. mainly fat.
Tea bags 100 15.75 a box...
Can of tuna 5.96 le
small sliced loaf known as toast 6.90
Baladi tomato 4.11 per kilo.
milk fresh litre 7.75

Rice is cheap is you buy Egyptian but to me that is pudding rice so I buy Basmati.
Egyptian pasta is cheap.. and tastes like it so I buy Italian.
All my fruit and veg is bought in the street but the other day I had to pay 42 le kilo for potatoes and not good ones at that. I used to grow all my own veg in the UK so I know that the size of cabbages, cauliflowers etc are not grown without "help" so I do not buy these.
Local bread cheap but has little or no nutritional goodness, it is produced to "fill"
Toothpaste.. cheap
Medicine.. cheap
Bottled water cheap
Local clothes.. expensive for what they are and often badly made
Shoes... cheap and they look it and and last about 5 minutes, even shoes that are bought in the more expensive shops do not last.
Petrol cheap.. but only if you have a car
Taxis cheap
Bus rides cheaper still..but not for me thank you

However there is a shop in Zamalek called Fostok that has imported second clothes that are a pretty good price.. lots of childrens wear.


Your doing nothing wrong it is expensive is you try to eat a healthy balanced diet.

Maiden

Reply With Quote
  #3 (permalink)  
Old 3rd October 2010, 11:53 AM
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Hurghada
Posts: 575
Rep Power: 0
Helen Ellis is on a distinguished road
100 likes received
344 likes given

Users Flag! Originally from uk. Users Flag! Expat in egypt.
Default

If you live as an Egyptian it can be cheap, the food staples of bread, tomato, potato, local rice/pasta, lentils and other pulses are cheap in the souk ( and Hurghada is cheaper than Cairo it seems). Drink local tea in the local cafes etc but is this what you want?

Reply With Quote
  #4 (permalink)  
Old 3rd October 2010, 12:01 PM
Moderator
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: El Agouza/Novelda/St Priest La Plaine
Posts: 14,236
Rep Power: 371647
MaidenScotland has a reputation beyond reputeMaidenScotland has a reputation beyond reputeMaidenScotland has a reputation beyond reputeMaidenScotland has a reputation beyond reputeMaidenScotland has a reputation beyond reputeMaidenScotland has a reputation beyond reputeMaidenScotland has a reputation beyond reputeMaidenScotland has a reputation beyond reputeMaidenScotland has a reputation beyond reputeMaidenScotland has a reputation beyond reputeMaidenScotland has a reputation beyond repute
2039 likes received
1626 likes given

Users Flag! Originally from scotland. Users Flag! Expat in egypt.
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Helen Ellis View Post
If you live as an Egyptian it can be cheap, the food staples of bread, tomato, potato, local rice/pasta, lentils and other pulses are cheap in the souk ( and Hurghada is cheaper than Cairo it seems). Drink local tea in the local cafes etc but is this what you want?


For me no.. I want good quality produce and would prefer buying loose pulses etc that had not sat around all day with the pollution from cars beltching over it.
I would not buy meat from a local butcher for the same reason, you see the carcass hanging outside the shop oblivious to the car that is sitting outside blowing black exhust fumes over it. I am not a past lover but on the odd occasion I have it I prefer Italian the local pasta is for me horrible The local bread has no nutrional value at all, there was a report on it about two years ago and the governement said they may add vitamins etc but to my knowledge this has not been done. I would NEVER eat fish from the Nile.

As an expat I haven't come overseas to have a lower standard of living than I would back home. I am happy to pay the higher price here for quality food stuffs but for people to go on about how cheap the place is is laughable.. do they not eat meat or chicken?

Reply With Quote
  #5 (permalink)  
Old 3rd October 2010, 12:45 PM
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Maadi, Cairo, Egypt
Posts: 455
Rep Power: 10469
txlstewart has a reputation beyond reputetxlstewart has a reputation beyond reputetxlstewart has a reputation beyond reputetxlstewart has a reputation beyond reputetxlstewart has a reputation beyond reputetxlstewart has a reputation beyond reputetxlstewart has a reputation beyond reputetxlstewart has a reputation beyond reputetxlstewart has a reputation beyond reputetxlstewart has a reputation beyond reputetxlstewart has a reputation beyond repute
82 likes received
48 likes given

Users Flag! Originally from usa. Users Flag! Expat in egypt.
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by MaidenScotland View Post
For me no.. I want good quality produce and would prefer buying loose pulses etc that had not sat around all day with the pollution from cars beltching over it.
I would not buy meat from a local butcher for the same reason, you see the carcass hanging outside the shop oblivious to the car that is sitting outside blowing black exhust fumes over it. I am not a past lover but on the odd occasion I have it I prefer Italian the local pasta is for me horrible The local bread has no nutrional value at all, there was a report on it about two years ago and the governement said they may add vitamins etc but to my knowledge this has not been done. I would NEVER eat fish from the Nile.

As an expat I haven't come overseas to have a lower standard of living than I would back home. I am happy to pay the higher price here for quality food stuffs but for people to go on about how cheap the place is is laughable.. do they not eat meat or chicken?
I agree! My rent on my 2 bedroom, 1.5 bath flat is more than my mortgage payment on my 2,000 sq foot home in Texas. Choosing what is important to me, then spending on that, is something I try to do. I don't eat out a lot, and try to walk whenever feasible. I brought enough clothes and shoes with me so that I don't have to spend money on that here.

By the way, all the good Egyptian cotton is exported.

Reply With Quote
  #6 (permalink)  
Old 4th October 2010, 08:20 AM
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: limbo
Posts: 1,428
Rep Power: 45650
Sonrisa has a reputation beyond reputeSonrisa has a reputation beyond reputeSonrisa has a reputation beyond reputeSonrisa has a reputation beyond reputeSonrisa has a reputation beyond reputeSonrisa has a reputation beyond reputeSonrisa has a reputation beyond reputeSonrisa has a reputation beyond reputeSonrisa has a reputation beyond reputeSonrisa has a reputation beyond reputeSonrisa has a reputation beyond repute
288 likes received
161 likes given

Users Flag! Originally from spain. Users Flag! Expat in egypt.
Default

It is reassuring to read that I am not the only one that finds Cairo very expensive. I was told over and over before I came how cheap Cairo was, and I actually find it more expensive than any other place I have lived in .

I also buy a lots of chicken but I prefer the frozen whole chicken from Brazil, which I choke in the oven and tastes delicious, although I buy local chicken too when it looks fresh, although the taste is not so good.

I am at loss with fish, The idea of eating anything that comes out of the Nile sounds revolting to me as well, so I currently buy frozen fish from New Zealand that costs an arm and a leg.

The potatoes are going through a rough period at the moment….They look way too soft to the touch and taste …well, like old potatoes do . I can not find nice potatoes anywhere these days.

Eggs are very expensive, but I buy them. Fruit is expensive, except for strawberries, that are really nice and buy almost everyday during the 9 months of season here. I hate mangoes.

I buy broccoli, cauliflower, and cucumber, haven’t found anything wrong with these. But probably Maiden knows better.

Medicines are cheap, but I am afroid that they do not work. A local pain killer will not kill my headache. I tried some local panadol made somewhere in 6th of October city, and surprise surprise , it was good for nothing. SO I am stuck buying irish (and expensive) panadol, which actually works. I would not dare to use locally made medicines in my children.
,
I would be happy to live like an Egyptian drinking local tea and eating petit pain with local cream cheese everyday, but I have two little ones to feed that require a balanced and nutritious diet, so I guess that is not what I want.

And about the cotton, now, that makes sense….

Soooo, my point is, Cairo isn’t cheap at all, it is only a myth

Reply With Quote
  #7 (permalink)  
Old 4th October 2010, 08:30 AM
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: England
Posts: 607
Rep Power: 3486
Beatle has a reputation beyond reputeBeatle has a reputation beyond reputeBeatle has a reputation beyond reputeBeatle has a reputation beyond reputeBeatle has a reputation beyond reputeBeatle has a reputation beyond reputeBeatle has a reputation beyond reputeBeatle has a reputation beyond reputeBeatle has a reputation beyond reputeBeatle has a reputation beyond reputeBeatle has a reputation beyond repute
1 likes received

Users Flag! Originally from uk. Users Flag! Expat in egypt.
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dizzie Izzie View Post
It is reassuring to read that I am not the only one that finds Cairo very expensive. I was told over and over before I came how cheap Cairo was, and I actually find it more expensive than any other place I have lived in .

I also buy a lots of chicken but I prefer the frozen whole chicken from Brazil, which I choke in the oven and tastes delicious, although I buy local chicken too when it looks fresh, although the taste is not so good.

I am at loss with fish, The idea of eating anything that comes out of the Nile sounds revolting to me as well, so I currently buy frozen fish from New Zealand that costs an arm and a leg.

The potatoes are going through a rough period at the moment….They look way too soft to the touch and taste …well, like old potatoes do . I can not find nice potatoes anywhere these days.

Eggs are very expensive, but I buy them. Fruit is expensive, except for strawberries, that are really nice and buy almost everyday during the 9 months of season here. I hate mangoes.

I buy broccoli, cauliflower, and cucumber, haven’t found anything wrong with these. But probably Maiden knows better.

Medicines are cheap, but I am afroid that they do not work. A local pain killer will not kill my headache. I tried some local panadol made somewhere in 6th of October city, and surprise surprise , it was good for nothing. SO I am stuck buying irish (and expensive) panadol, which actually works. I would not dare to use locally made medicines in my children.
,
I would be happy to live like an Egyptian drinking local tea and eating petit pain with local cream cheese everyday, but I have two little ones to feed that require a balanced and nutritious diet, so I guess that is not what I want.

And about the cotton, now, that makes sense….

Soooo, my point is, Cairo isn’t cheap at all, it is only a myth
You can live cheaply in Egypt otherwise how would most of the local population live?! I appreciate the point you are making that you find the local food is nutritionally poor but isn't that about you making a choice that you don't want to eat that food - others may choose to eat it (and I know expats that do). I have expat friends that only drink in local cafes; take microbuses; eat street food/koshary; buy local produce etc and hence live cheaply. I avoid certain street food and have never dared set foot in a microbus in Egypt but that's a choice. I am quite happy with local medicines although I know a couple of Egyptian pharmacists so they guided me in the right direction as to which brands to take - is there a good pharmacist near you?

I wondered about the Egyptian cotton issue though when I came to Egypt until I read it was all exported!

Reply With Quote
Old 4th October 2010, 08:39 AM
luoshenhua
This message has been deleted by Bevdeforges. Reason: spammer
  #8 (permalink)  
Old 4th October 2010, 08:47 AM
Moderator
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: El Agouza/Novelda/St Priest La Plaine
Posts: 14,236
Rep Power: 371647
MaidenScotland has a reputation beyond reputeMaidenScotland has a reputation beyond reputeMaidenScotland has a reputation beyond reputeMaidenScotland has a reputation beyond reputeMaidenScotland has a reputation beyond reputeMaidenScotland has a reputation beyond reputeMaidenScotland has a reputation beyond reputeMaidenScotland has a reputation beyond reputeMaidenScotland has a reputation beyond reputeMaidenScotland has a reputation beyond reputeMaidenScotland has a reputation beyond repute
2039 likes received
1626 likes given

Users Flag! Originally from scotland. Users Flag! Expat in egypt.
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beatle View Post
You can live cheaply in Egypt otherwise how would most of the local population live?! I appreciate the point you are making that you find the local food is nutritionally poor but isn't that about you making a choice that you don't want to eat that food - others may choose to eat it (and I know expats that do). I have expat friends that only drink in local cafes; take microbuses; eat street food/koshary; buy local produce etc and hence live cheaply. I avoid certain street food and have never dared set foot in a microbus in Egypt but that's a choice. I am quite happy with local medicines although I know a couple of Egyptian pharmacists so they guided me in the right direction as to which brands to take - is there a good pharmacist near you?

I wondered about the Egyptian cotton issue though when I came to Egypt until I read it was all exported!


Well I would expect anywhere would be cheap if you choose to live on nutritionally poor food.. but generally the point of being an expat is working to make a better quality of life for you and your family. So maybe when people ask if Egypt is cheap I should say.. yes if you want nutritinally poor quality food and take transport that is not mechanically sound, however if you want a well balanced diet then no it is more expensive than the U.K.

Egyptian medicine is generally fine however you will find sometimes that it does not work as there tends not to be any quality control in the factories but if you speak to the pharmacist he generally knows what ones to avoid.
I suffer from migraine and the only thing that takes it away is Imigran which I buy locally it does cost 15 le for two tablets but one is enough to take the pain away and it does work when nothing else will.

Reply With Quote
  #9 (permalink)  
Old 4th October 2010, 09:08 AM
Sam's Avatar
Sam Sam is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Sharm El Sheikh
Posts: 792
Rep Power: 11981
Sam has a reputation beyond reputeSam has a reputation beyond reputeSam has a reputation beyond reputeSam has a reputation beyond reputeSam has a reputation beyond reputeSam has a reputation beyond reputeSam has a reputation beyond reputeSam has a reputation beyond reputeSam has a reputation beyond reputeSam has a reputation beyond reputeSam has a reputation beyond repute
7 likes received
1 likes given

Users Flag! Originally from uk. Users Flag! Expat in egypt.
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by MaidenScotland View Post


I suffer from migraine and the only thing that takes it away is Imigran which I buy locally it does cost 15 le for two tablets but one is enough to take the pain away and it does work when nothing else will.
Zomig should do the trick too, though not sure if it's made locally as it's quite expensive.

Reply With Quote
  #10 (permalink)  
Old 4th October 2010, 11:13 AM
NZCowboy's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Nasr City, Cairo
Posts: 364
Rep Power: 2526
NZCowboy has a reputation beyond reputeNZCowboy has a reputation beyond reputeNZCowboy has a reputation beyond reputeNZCowboy has a reputation beyond reputeNZCowboy has a reputation beyond reputeNZCowboy has a reputation beyond reputeNZCowboy has a reputation beyond reputeNZCowboy has a reputation beyond reputeNZCowboy has a reputation beyond reputeNZCowboy has a reputation beyond reputeNZCowboy has a reputation beyond repute
4 likes received

Users Flag! Originally from newzealand. Users Flag! Expat in egypt.
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by MaidenScotland View Post
Dizzie I agree with you.. Cairo is not cheap.


.... All my fruit and veg is bought in the street but the other day I had to pay 42 le kilo for potatoes and not good ones at that. I used to grow all my own veg in the UK so I know that the size of cabbages, cauliflowers etc are not grown without "help" so I do not buy these.......

Maiden
Fruit and vege are very seasonal, very cheap in season, but expensive out of season, or if there is a poor season and imports are required. I'm not sure about potatoes this year the quality isn't there, maybe its been a bad season.
As for the "size" thing, rather than the "help" is more about they grow different varieties here. With smaller households in the UK, and no demand for big cabbage leaves for "mahshi kurumb", and every vege having to met EU standards for shape size etc, growers have developed quick maturing small cabbages. I sure if you search the seed banks in the UK you will find traditional slow maturing cabbages that will grow huge like the local ones here.

Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
retiring in Mazatlan it's cost of living & house rental cost. oakisland Mexico Expat Forum for Expats Living in Mexico 8 5th September 2010 08:52 PM
Cost of living in UAE EmmaB7783 Dubai Expat Forum for Expats Living in Dubai 1 15th July 2010 08:25 PM
good life for civil enginneers in dubai!!! true or myth????? elekat Dubai Expat Forum for Expats Living in Dubai 2 8th July 2010 04:44 PM
School only for the Privileged. myth? marco_colombo Italy Expat Forum for Expats Living in Italy 2 7th May 2009 09:18 PM

LEGAL NOTICE
By using this Website, you agree to abide by our Terms and Conditions (the "Terms"). This notice does not replace our Terms, which you must read in full as they contain important information. You must not post any defamatory, unlawful or undesirable content, or any content copied from a third party, on the Website. You must not copy material from the Website except in accordance with the Terms. This Website gives users an opportunity to share information only and is not intended to contain any advice which you should rely upon. It does not replace the need to take professional or other advice. We have no liability to you or any other person in respect of any content on this Website.
FORUM PARTNERS

ExpatForum.com is owned and operated by VerticalScope Inc.

Retiring Overseas Guides | Moving Overseas Guides | Cost of Living | Health Care Guides


All times are GMT. The time now is 07:52 PM.


Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO