The Cost Of Leaving “Home” – the costs of living in Turkey compared to UK
The Cost Of Leaving “Home” – If you happen to browse any of the online forums for expats one of the questions you sometimes see from those considering The Jump into a new life overseas is how much it costs to live abroad.
Obviously, the answers are many and varied and will differ depending on the poster’s chosen destination.
But what if it was someone considering a move to Turkey? What could you expect from a country which spans both Europe and Asia? What would be expensive in comparison to the UK and what would cost less?
Naturally, it depends on lifestyle; if you live like you’re on holiday all year round then, just like the UK, you can probably expect to see your reserves depleted pretty quickly. But once you’ve found your feet and if you live like you would at home we reckon this is pretty much what you would find:
Property: Average rent in the UK is currently around £940pcm while you can find an apartment in Fethiye for under £150. Buying property is also comparatively inexpensive, with villas and apartments widely available for approximately a third of what you would expect to pay in the UK.
Some food: Some of the staples such as bread, fruit and veg, particularly if you shop in the markets and not the superstores.
Transport: Buses and the ubiquitous dolmuş are inexpensive – as are journeys further afield by coach. Internal flights with Turkish Airlines and even some of the charter carriers are also reasonable
Utility bills: Expect to pay significantly less for your water supply, although many choose to supplement tap water with bottled water bought in bulk for drinking. Bills for electricity from national utility Aydem are also quite a bit lower. Mains gas is not as common though with many homes still relying on bottles purchased from shops for around £18 which should last an average family a few months.
Cigarettes and meals out: Cheaper – but, with these, it’s important to stress this is in comparison to the UK. If you’re living on a Turkish income, cigarettes probably wouldn’t be described as cheap and neither would a meal in some of the resorts. The “lokantas” in the back streets represent amazing value though, with filling meals available for less than a fiver.
Fake designer wear: Turkey is famous for it and there’s no doubt there are bargains to be had in the tourism hot spots – particularly towards the end of the summer season. Remember the word “fake” though. These are not the genuine article and cannot be expected to measure up when it comes to wear and tear.
Medication: Home medication and some prescription drugs can be bought over the counter for a fraction of what they cost in the UK.
Fuel: Petrol and diesel are on a par with UK prices – or perhaps just a little lower
Alcohol: Beers, wines and spirits used to be cheaper but the Turkish government has increased tax on them recently, with the extra cost beginning to be reflected in bars and restaurants. There are still reasonable deals to be had in the superstores though – but not on imported brands.
Genuine clothes: Again, you can find Primark equivalents in most town centres but, if you would like stylish, quality clothing which lasts, expect to pay much the same as in the UK.
Home appliances: Again, brand is important. Go for Bosch or Smeg and you can expect to pay more but, if that’s not important to you, then you can find homeware for prices which won’t raise an eyebrow.
Cars: At least brand new ones; you can probably find a second hand model of your choice on Sahibinden (sort of the Turkish Ebay) for a lot less but the cost of smart brands like BMW, Saab, VW or even Ford could make your eyes water a little. Running costs and insurance can be competitive but acquiring the vehicle itself can be an eye-opener – both from the perspective of cost and the complex procedures involved.
Imported goods: Whether it’s Marmite, Jacob’s Cream Crackers, breakfast cereals, proper Cheddar, wine from around the world, Scotch whiskey or genuine British real ale, expect to pay through the nose or go without. Either that or stock up with as much as you can carry whenever you visit the UK!
IT and phones: Computer equipment and imported smart phones also cost marginally more. Not a great deal, perhaps – but still more than you would pay in the UK.
Private health insurance: This doesn’t count if you already have it in the UK; if you do, you’ll pay less in Turkey. However, if you’re used to being an NHS patient, paying for health insurance is going to be a new experience. It’s obligatory and you won’t get a residency permit without it. Again, there are a number of options, some cheaper than others. However, perhaps the most important factor when choosing your supplier isn’t cost but whether you’re insurer is likely to pay out when you need them. You don’t want to find yourself having to make tough financial decisions in a stressful medical emergency.
So there you have it… By no means scientific and we don’t wish to claim otherwise. There will probably be deals or avenues for “contraband” we’re unaware of and no doubt there will be inventive individuals out there who have found ways to get around paying close on £5 for a box of Kelloggs Cornflakes.
But, as a rule of thumb, we hope it helps and maybe takes you closer to knowing what to expect if you do decide to make the jump and to make a new life in the sun in Turkey. And, of course, it goes without saying we’re here if you need any advice on buying property; just give us a call or drop us a line.