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Cost of Living in Bulgaria

What is the cost of living in Bulgaria for 2013? We decided to bring you an update on supermarket shopping in Bulgaria, with prices on a variable choice of foods.

It's all too easy to say xyz is cheaper in Britain or Bulgaria, but it helps to get an overall idea of the real cost of living in each country.

Many foreigners just buy the cheapest in any given supermarket and do not shop for quality. For others, quality is just as important as price. We prefer the fresh seasonal and natural produce in Bulgaria which is at least half the price. Often, food shopping is a matter of personal taste and cooking style. We ourselves avoid the expensive 'ready meal' method of cooking, preferring fresh ingredients which we can cook for ourselves. That is not to say we are crazy about 'grow-your-own' as we are not.  However we do try to strike a balance where we can shop 'western style', using the supermarkets for the bulk of our groceries, with good quality local fresh ingredients from the market in town to produce home-made meals at a reasonable price.

This Supermarket Shopping trolley cost is completely up to date; the following prices have been priced in January 2013.

Prices for 2012 in BG leva

Price UK leva*
1 litre own brand orange juice              1.19
Own brand yoghurt                              0.79
Lurpak butter 500g                              3.59
Frozen Puff Pastry 425g                       2.89
Whole chicken 1.4 kg                          6.68
Pork joint for roasting 1kg                    7.20
Filet of Pork (1kg)                              10.99
Best beef mince 528g                           4.78
Yellow cheese 500g                              4.99
Frozen Oven Chips 1kg                        2.39
9 x beef stock cubes                             1.54
500g dog biscuits                                  1.95
Branded cup-a-soup x 1 packet            0.74
Heinz baked beans                                1.79
Heinz ketchup 500g                               2.49
1 litre Packet soup                                 0.89
1 Litre long life milk                               1.79
Own brand chocolate spread 200g        2.50
Tin of peeled tomatoes                           0.89
Large, white, unsliced loaf                      1.29
Deodorant 225 ml                                  3.49
Nectarines x 4                                       1.49
Large bunch flat leaf parsley                   0.70
12 x spreading cheese triangles              1.99
6 x free range eggs                                 2.59
Garden peas, 425g tin                            0.99
Tuna 185g tin                                         1.79
Broccoli, frozen, 1kg                              3.99
Garden peas, frozen, 500g                     1.19
Dishwasher Tablets x 20                         6.99
Premium Lager, 2 litres                           2.75
3 litres Red wine in box                         10.99
2 litre branded Coco-cola                       2.29
Family Pizza                                            4.99
500g Flour                                              0.79
500g Long grain rice                                2.29
500g Spaghetti                                        1.39
Milka digestive biscuits                            2.50
100g Almonds                                         2.30
100g Milka chocolate                              1.39
Porridge Oats own brand x 1kg               2.99
200g jar own brand coffee                       4.99
1 litre sunflower oil                                   2.59
1 kg Sugar                                               2.29
2 kg Own washing powder                       4.99
500 ml Washing liquid                              1.29

Prices from Billa Supermarket




Money saving tips

- cigrettes and alcohol are cheap, but still cost money - so non-smokers and non-drinkers can instantly have less monthly outgoings, e.g. saving as much as 350 leva per month for an average couple who both drink and smoke.

- allow extra money into your budget for emergencies or holidays. However, if you already have savings you don't need a 'disaster fund'.

- buying wine from a vineyard or a local villager rather than from the supermarket cuts your wine bill in half: only 2 leva a litre compared to 5 leva a litre in the supermarkets

- avoid being tempted to an expensive taste of home. Cans of draught Guinness can be double the price to back home. It's much wiser to stick to a Bulgarian beer which works out at less than 33p a pint!

- buying bulgarian produce, not western brands makes serious savings: cheese spread triangles (President 6 leva v Rossa 1.98 leva)

- buy cheaper western produce if you really have to go 'western'. It can still be half the price: Deutschenmarkenbutter 2.90 leva v President 5 leva

- buy the supermarket's own brand which is cheaper and good quality: large 'Clever' yoghurts from Billa cost 0.78 leva and are delicious

- you can reduce your bill by using cheaper cuts of meat

- stick with local brands for essentials like washing powder; there are no differences in the results

- take advantage of discount or loyalty cards

- buy fresh produce locally (eggs, fruit, vegetables, bread) which are much cheaper than supermarkets and better quality, plus it's good to support your local shops and you can practice your Bulgarian at the same time!"

Exchange rates for September 2012 is 1.00 GBP = 2.46632 BGN

The cost of living in Bulgaria is still the lowest in EU Europe and it is thought that this will remain for the forseeable future.