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How Much to Live in Bulgaria?

The perennial question - how much money do I need to live in Bulgaria? This is a question to which nearly every person considering buying property and moving to Bulgaria wants to know the answer. Yet, it's almost impossible to answer and different people will give different responses. It just depends upon your lifestyle and how you like to live.

We take a case study of one expat couple living full time in Bulgaria, looking at their background and lifestyle to find out how much it costs them to live.


Here is the analysis of their expenditure: fortunately the couple keep all receipts and work out a monthly budget on a spreadsheet, marking down what they have really spent.


Background and Lifestyle

They have their own property with no mortgage
They live in a town
They are used to an affluent lifestyle
Both are smokers and drinkers
They are a middle aged couple (aged 46 years)
One dog
No children
Like to eat out and love very good food and fine wines
Pay into the Bulgarian health care system (as part of their Bulgarian company)
Own a gas guzzling 4 x 4
Do not grow any of their own food

We asked them what their monthly budget was to discover how much they spend on all their household expenses, plus any annual or extraneous expenses which often buyers don't think of. Here are the figures they gave us, all in BGN (leva):

Average Monthly Expenses

Food Shopping 760
Clothes 100
Hairdresser 20
Ventolin / Becotide 20
Contact lenses 20
Extraneous purchases (eating out, etc) 200
Petrol 80
Cigarettes 75
Electric 150
Water 20
Internet (wifi) 20
TV (bulsat satellite) 22

"Emergency fund / Savings" 600

Monthly expenses total : 2087



Annual Expenses

House Building and Contents Insurance 1400
Car Insurance 600
Vignette 76
Wood 250
Council tax 50

Annual expenses total : 2376


Total Monthly Outgoings

Total monthly expenditure is 2285 BGN (1168 euros or 930 British pounds), including all outgoings: plus they are still gathering monthly savings of 600 BGN (307 euros or 245 British pounds)

I doubt a middle aged couple with a lavish lifestyle of smoking, drinking and eating out could manage on that kind of money in western Europe!

Naturally, there are many ways to cut back on this budget. You can grow your own fruit and veg, have a smaller vehicle (or none at all), drink cheaper wine, buy cheaper foods, don't eat out so much, not have an emergency / savings fund, etc. In which case it is likely that this budget would come down to somewhere around 1200 BGN (614 euros or 489 British pounds) a month.

Taking an average between the two ways of living, we would come to a monthly budget of, say, 1700 BGN (869 euros or 692 British pounds). Now that's value!

NB : Exchange calculations based on today's rates