The Cost of Living Abroad

Written by Karen Bryan

If you have itchy feet and are thinking about relocating from the UK, the Netflight’s cost calculator offers an insight into how much you would spend to live in various countries around the world.

In order to work out your monthly expenditure, you need to enter how much you spend on various categories living the UK. The first category is Food and Drink. I eat out an average of 8 times a month and spend £175 a month on food shopping. The next category is Transport. I hardly use public transport and never use taxis, my one expense here was 80 litres of fuel for my car. In the Lifestyle section, my sole expense was £50 a month on clothes. Working from home has the advantage that you don’t need to dress up for work. You can sit at the computer in your jogging bottoms and slippers. For the final category of Living, I live in the three bed property outside the city centre.

My monthly living expenses came to a total of £1465. China was the cheapest country in which to live, coming in at £1070 a month. The most expensive country was Dubai, coming in at £2914 a month. My monthly expenditure would be almost the same in the US and New Zealand as it is in the UK.

Canada was slightly cheaper, at £1,213. That sounds appealing, as I’ve heard a lot of positive things about living in Canada. Plus, there would be no language issue, as long as avoided French-speaking Quebec. But I’m not sure about how easy it is to get a visa to settle in Canada.

However, you can’t look at living expenses in isolation, you need to relate them to income, to see how far your Renminbi goes in China, or your Dirham goes in Dubai.

Australia comes out tops on affordability, with 77% of the average monthly income being spend on living expenses. To me, it has similar pros and cons to Canada. On the positive side, it gets good reviews as a place to live, and English is the first language. But again there is issue of getting a visa. China is least affordable country in which to live, with monthly expenditure coming in at 181% of average income.

In the UK, you’d spend 88% of average monthly income on living expenses. I think that’ll vary a lot depending on which part of the UK you live. Accommodation is very expensive in London. Both our sons have thought about relocating to London from Scotland. But when they factored in cost of accommodation being so much higher in London than in either Glasgow or Edinburgh, they decided that they would better off financially remaining in Scotland.

I must admit, that overall, I am happy living in the UK. I’ve never had a strong desire to go and live abroad. I feel that I can enjoy a good standard of living in the UK, on a below average income. That’s largely due to living in an area where property is relatively cheap to buy, and making an effort to get the most from my money by shopping around for the best deals for products and services.