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The Cost of Living 2008 - facts and figures

If you are considering making Bulgaria your permanent home then it’s worth considering how much money you will need to set aside each month to cover the cost of food, drink and monthly bills.

Over the last year Bulgaria has experienced rising inflation, a common problem in developing markets. In fact between April 2007 and March 2008, the 12-month average rate of inflation was 9.4 per cent for consumer products with energy and food prices showing the highest increases overall. Having said this, government predictions put the inflation rate for the next year as significantly lower and at the end of the day Bulgaria is substantially cheaper to live in than the UK.

Balancing budgets

One thing worth considering is what your income in Bulgaria will be if you were to move here. The minimum wage is set to rise to a meagre 240 lv. in 2009 and the average Bulgarian wage stands at 440 lv. UK families with two children who still qualify for child benefit will find that they will already have an income of 266 lv. and those in receipt of a UK state pension will have an income of 522 lv. a month. Whilst this is a great help, it makes for an extremely frugal lifestyle and when you take into account additional expenses such as water, electricity, telephone, Internet and satellite TV, you will find that this is not sufficient to meet your monthly outgoings.

Every shopping basket contains personal choices and essentials. Since Bulgaria joined the European Union, the choice of goods is much wider with foreign products particularly from America, France and Germany flooding the market. The cost of some of these luxury items is steep and often works out higher, than if you were to purchase them at home – that’s one of the hazards of expat living – there are some foods we just can’t give up no matter what the cost. Families with children will find that they are more heavily reliant on these expensive Western brands and in many cases the Bulgarian alternatives just don’t match up. The choice however is simple – either cut them out or grin and bear the price burden they create!

Food basket basics

No matter where we live, there are certain foodstuffs that are considered essentials. In Bulgaria such basics are comparatively cheap. Taking into account a well balanced diet and no special dietary needs a shopping basket for life’s essential foodstuffs can cost as little as 102 lv. compared to 271 lv. for the equivalent items in the UK, making it more than twice the price of Bulgaria! We’ve added in the cost of feeding a dog, because whether you want a pet or not over here, chances are that one will adopt you!

Basics Basket