Day-to-day living costs for expats set to rise

by Ray Clancy on June 6, 2014

The dream of moving abroad just got a whole lot more expensive with the latest annual price index showing that popular expat destinations such as France and Spain are becoming pricier.

The annual Overseas Living Price index from the Overseas Guides Company shows that living in Europe is not as cheap as many people might think. It means that people who want to move for retirement could be in for a nasty shock.


European destinations are more expensive than ever before

Not only are European destinations more expensive than ever before, other expat hotspots, such as Canada and New Zealand, are even pricier than living in the UK.

Whilst prices in the UK are still cheaper for some essential grocery items such as bananas or dog food, on the whole, you will get much more for your money elsewhere.

Turkey consistently ranks as one of the cheapest countries in which to live, with low utility costs and low prices for everyday items compared to the rest of the world, particularly bread, milk and washing powder. Public transport costs are also lower in Turkey.

The rising costs of utility bills in France has pushed up the day-to-day living costs in the country and they are now slightly ahead of the UK, thanks to high electricity and gas prices. Despite this, a food shop will generally cost you less in France, although you will pay slightly higher prices for some basic items, such as milk and pasta.

Portugal comes out of our survey as the cheapest country to eat out in. Beer is also priced the cheapest here, along with Italy. Wine, on the other hand, is cheapest in Italy and Cyprus.

The cost of petrol is generally cheaper throughout most of Europe, although petrol prices in Italy can be high. Diesel was found to be cheaper than petrol in every country surveyed, aside from the UK.

A weekly grocery shop is likely to cost you more if you live in Canada and New Zealand, although in New Zealand this is countered by relatively low utility bills, including free water rates.

Canada and the US have the most expensive bar costs for alcohol but in contrast, getting around by car is much cheaper in Canada than in the US or the UK, while public transport costs are highest in Canada and New Zealand.

Overall, the index report says that the costs of living can vary widely in each country, depending on your needs, and need to be taken into account when considering a move abroad.

‘Our research emphasises how important it is to have a clear idea of costs in your new country before moving there, so you know you can easily afford day-to-day living costs, whatever your financial situation,’ said Angelos Koutsoudes, head of the Overseas Guides Company.


{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Amerikiwigal June 25, 2014 at 11:47 pm

Ummm… I live in New Zealand and I can assure you that water rates are NOT free here. Groceries are indeed more expensive, but so too is everything else, from water rates, utilities, gas and housing, to retail of every kind. It’s actually more expensive to live here than in New York, Chicago, Boston or LA. I’m not sure where you’ve gotten your information from but as an ex-pat living in New Zealand for 10 years, I can tell you that while New Zealand is a gorgeous country filled with the most wonderful people on Earth, a cheap place to live it most definitely is not.


willtran July 12, 2014 at 3:40 am

I am likely to go to UK for my study in the next few months. Thank you so much for your article RAY CLANCY


Zoe Zaldana September 23, 2016 at 1:47 am

Your cost of living will vary depending on your own lifestyle. You need to tell asses your particular circumstances (single, married, from the West or elsewhere, current standard of living) and your package offer and to get a realistic picture. The best way to make it worth is whether your lifestyle can match the same way as your own lifestyle in your home country.

Use the tool below to get your own customized Cost of Living and Salary Analysis Report


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