Living Costs in Bulgaria

General Living Costs in Bulgaria

Obviously prices fluctuate but I am often asked about general living costs and what people should budget as a monthly allowance to live off. Much of course, depends on your standard of living, size of your house etc but I hope this short article will give you an idea of what the usual expenses are:

Electric – This will be one of your main expenses and is not cheap and is constantly increasing. However, in general you should budget for around 50 to 60 levs/mth in summer (25 to 30 Euros) and 120 to 200 levs a month in winter (60 to 100 Euros), although it will depend on number of boilers you have, how often you heat the water, what electrical appliances you have, especially for heating in the winter.

Water – This is pretty cheap at maybe 20 levs or 10 Euros/mth so long as not using loads to water the garden or having baths every day.

Wood – This fluctuates a fair amount each year and depends on when you buy it. For example much cheaper to order say in September then December. You should budget for around 50 to 60 levs per cubic metre plus delivery (25 to 30 Euros) and for a couple living in a 2 bed house with a woodburner as main heating, you’ll likely need a minimum of 8 to 10 cubic metres for an average winter.

Petrol/Diesel – Again constantly going up (never really down!) and was just over 2.50 levs (1.25 Euro) a litre in the summer of 2013.

Food – Generally food is much cheaper than the UK and a large shop at the supermarket will maybe cost you 100 to 150 levs (50 to 75 Euros) but should see you through a couple of weeks. Eating out is still fairly cheap although does really depend on the area or restaurant. Fruit and vegetables on the markets are next to nothing and fantastic quality.

TV – For Bulstatcom (NOT Sky) it is between 10 and 40 levs a month (5 and 20 Euros) depending on the package you choose. Instalation can be around 100 levs (50 Euros) including the equipment but there are often offers on for free instalation if you pay for a 12 month package etc.

Internet – Again depends on what type you go for and what is available but generally looking at around 100 levs (50 Euros) for instalation and then 20 to 60 levs (10 to 30 Euros) a month for various packages.

Mobile Phone – Impossible to say with any certainty as depends how much you use the phone and if you use your mobile as your principle phone (many do) and if you choose to have a contract or pay as you go, how many people you ring on what networks and how often but would budget for 30 to 40 levs/mth (15 to 20 Euros).

Landline – As above many people choose to just use a mobile and not have a landline but if you do decide to have a house landline then instalation will be around 100 levs (50 Euros) with BTK and then line rental around 20 levs a month (10 Euros). All calls are on top.

Hopefully this will give you some idea of living costs if you are considering a move to Bulgaria and want to know if you can afford to live there on your pension. The general consensus amongst expats seems to be that you’ll need around 1200 levs/mth (600 Euros) to live an average lifestyle for a couple with a 2 bedroom house – not eating out every night or going to the bar, not driving excessive distances, being careful with electric etc.