Cost of Living in Turkey 2014

By | on 25th February 2014 | 16 Comments

It’s that time of year again where I update the cost of living in Turkey article. Last year 2013 I said that the cost of living had increased and so had the costs around the world. I can’t bring any good news to this article and can only tell you that the cost of living in Turkey in 2014 has certainly risen by about an average of 150 to 200 lira per month, we have especially seen a rise in the last 6 months.

Istanbul and the Galata Bridge
Istanbul and the Galata Bridge

The main factor in the rises is the current financial issues facing Turkey, these are mainly due to the unsettled political situation in Turkey, which has pushed the lira further and further down against the Pound and Dollar.

We have also had a very dry winter meaning a shortage in water, which in turn is effecting food production, we have already seen some signs of this in the local markets at one point potatoes where selling for 4 lira per kilo where previously 4 kilos cost 4 lira.  Unless we get some considerable rain fall over the coming months it looks set to be a drought year here in Turkey which will again push prices higher.

I will reiterate as I always do, you can still live in Turkey on a budget but it all depends on your life style, if you are a party animal and want to eat out and drink frequently then you will need a bigger budget. But if you are happy to live a quiet life and spread your entertainment throughout the month it is still possible to live on a smallish budget.

Running a car is still expensive in Turkey with Turkey still holding the mantel for having the most expensive fuel in the world. You will pay around 5.09 lira per litre of unleaded and 4.75 per litre of diesel.

The cost of red meat has risen slightly but has always been expensive to buy and is a luxury if you are on a low budget.

What are the monthly costs?

In February 2011 I suggested you could live on around £650, in 2013 I suggested raising this by around £100 to £750 per month. Despite the increase in the cost of living in Turkey the exchange rate has come into play and for the cost of living in Turkey 2014 I would say leaving the cost around £750 to £800 per month.

For the last 3 years the interest rate has been low at around 2.5 to 2.9 lira’s to the pound. Over the last few months this has dramatically changed and as I write, it is currently sitting at around 3.67 lira to the pound. This means last year’s monthly cost of around £750 per month at today’s exchange will get you 2,755.62 lira which will give you a comfortable life here in Turkey if you watch what you spend on. Adding an extra £100 to £150 would give you a comfortable life in Turkey at the moment with the current exchange.

However don’t rely on exchange rates and don’t invest all your money into lira either, this can back fire when rates change. Always keep some money in £ and some in lira to make sure you don’t get caught out and end up worse off specifically if your living off a pension with no other income.

Looking at the current situation regards interest rates, though I am no expert I don’t see any major changes about to happen mainly due to local, presidential and general elections taking place in Turkey between now and 2015. Though I am sure we will see fluctuations throughout the year and this will effect what you have to spend if you are changing cash.

If you are living here and working here I would say you would want to earn around 1500 lira to 2000 lira per month, we live on around this as a family of 3 and are still able to to have little luxuries throughout the month, though we don’t have much to spare at the end of each month.  If you can average on around 3000 + lira per month you can live a comfortable life style.

The largest expenses in Turkey are your rent/mortgage, utilities and  food, you will most probably average around  1000 – 1500 lira on rent, food and utilities and then the you will want to consider costs like, car, lifestyle, clothes and unexpected expenses.  You won’t live the high life but you can still enjoy life in Turkey.

What do you need to consider in your monthly costs.

  • Rent/mortgage      450 > Lira pm (average 550/600 lira pm)
  • Electricity                85-200 lira pm (average 100 lira pm)
  • Water                          65 > Lira pm (average 55 lira pm)
  • Gas, bottled              77 > lira pm (average 70 lira every 3 to 5 months)
  • Gas mains,         100 – 500 lira pm (average 95 lira pm)
  • Food minimum       500-750 lira pm
  • Telephone, Internet, TV 95> Lira pm

Some additional cost throughout the year:

Flights, if you plan to make regular trips home you will need to consider cost of flights and availability from your area.

Health Care, health care is not free here and so you will need to consider paying for health insurance or take the risk of having to pay off a hospital bill at some point. Costs starting from £100> per year.

Property and Earthquake Insurance, if you own your house you will most likely want to take out home insurance and also earthquake Insurance.  The average cost of home insurance 400 lira a year and earthquake insurance DASK is around 150 lira a year.



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Maintenance Fee, depending on where your house or apartment is you will most likely have to pay maintenance fee for the community areas and this varies in cost. average £50 per month

Residency Fee, if you are living full time in Turkey you will require a residency visa for more details on cost and how to apply click here Residency fee and application process.

Drinking Water, the tap water in Turkey has improved dramatically and you can drink the tap water in many areas now.  It’s really a matter of choice.  We prefer to drink bottled water and a 19 litre drum of water lasts us 1 week and we pay around 5.00 lira each time.  Some villages and towns have water fountains where you can fill up your own water bottles for free.

Heating in Winter, your utilities bills are normally lower in the summer months in the winter you need to account for heating your home, it does get cold and does snow in the winter time in Turkey.  If you have mains gas and central heating you will see a huge jump in your Gas bill.  Electric bills will also increase if you are running Air con for heating and using electrical heating devices.  If you have a wood burner then it is easier to budget for the cost of wood for the winter months.  Also be aware many properties along the coast are not insulated properly you may want to consider insulating your home to help save on costs.

Car costs, owning a car in Turkey isn’t cheap, if you are happy to use public transport then this may save you a lot on your budget.  Average cost of insurance and car tax per year starts around 800 lira a year upwards.

Eating out and Entertainments and Pets, you need to budget in extra costs if you like to go out a lot or enjoy various hobbies or like to keep pets.  You will need to figure in a rough cost of what you are happy to spend on these each month.

Alcohol, if you like to drink the cost of Alcohol last year increase dramatically due to higher tax, the average bottle of wine is around 15 lira and a 4 pack of Efe’s beer anywhere from 15lira upwards. Spirits starting in around 25 lira upwards.

Property Warning, if you are planning to purchase property here do your research first, find a good solicitor and check out the estate agent or builder before handing over any cash and if possible try to use a recommended company.  Many people have ended up having their dreams ruined by cowboy builders and estate agents don’t fall into the same trap.

All in all Turkey is becoming more expensive but still a lot cheaper than some places in Europe.  If you are planning to live on a pension here then please do consider yearly inflation and change in interests rates. Many come here selling up all the have at home and discover the life isn’t for them.   Try some time here in the winter months as well as the summer.  See if you can live on your planned budget.  Also remember its hard leaving loved ones and friends behind.  You also have to consider your health and the cost of care if it is needed.

Do you agree or disagree with my cost of living in Turkey 2014 costs?  Please share your thoughts and costs for living in Turkey

cost of living in Turkey 2011
cost of living in Turkey 2012/2013



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16 Responses to “Cost of Living in Turkey 2014”

  1. 25th February 2014

    Brian Reply

    Very comprehensive article covering most things. Well done

  2. 7th March 2014

    melykins Reply

    very good information Kerry but maybe consider updating Residence Permit as it is changing April 2014

  3. […] Cost of Living in Turkey 2014 […]

  4. 24th July 2014

    stefan Reply

    Hi Kerry, this is indeed nicely put together as information. Just a question, for a family of 4 what would be the monthly spent to live ( except housing & utilities) ?

  5. […] more than once. Don’t just come on holiday. Research how much things cost. Think about how you are going to live – remember the interest rate fluctuates. It’s pretty […]

  6. 2nd September 2014

    blessedkhetran Reply

    hey ,thanks for this informative blog . we are planning to settle in Turkey a family of 3 members, me, my husband& my 6 months old baby . It would be our 1st experience to live out of country ( esp any European country) . So can we survive there with having 1200+ $ ?

    • 25th September 2014

      Kerry Arslan Reply

      Yes, easily we survive on about 1500 lira a month so you are looking at currently $2690 per month which is more than comfortable. I hope you will enjoy your life here in Turkey.

  7. 3rd October 2014

    Basil Reply

    Hi Kerry
    Thanks for the informative post, it s really helpful. I’m planning to move to Turkey with a salary of 2300tl, would it be enough to provide a good living for me and my wife? We have no children.

    • 3rd October 2014

      Kerry Arslan Reply

      Your welcome, yes I think you should be fine, you won’t have much spare at the end of the month, depending on rental costs etc but we manage to have a fairly decent standard of living on about 2500 a month. Good luck with the move.

  8. 22nd October 2014

    Mel Reply

    Hi Kerry,
    I would like to know an average amount for a single person for a decent life style with rent and utilities inclusive. As the proposed salary is 1250$ per month would like to know if its worth the move.

    • 23rd October 2014

      Kerry Arslan Reply

      So at the current exchange rate you will be earning 2800 lira per month, this is more than plenty for a single person living here of course depending on your life style. We are a family of 3 live on around 2000 per month and the average wage in Turkey is 600 per month. If you are careful with rent etc you will be able to live a good lifestyle here.

  9. 14th December 2014

    wanderer Reply

    Hi Kerry, What about 1800 Lira per month for a family of 3 (with a 6 month old infant)? Can you tell me about the approximate house rent near METU (Middle East Technical University)? The post was really helpful.

  10. 20th February 2015

    lmordechai@google.hr Reply

    Hi!

    ı find this really informative, but I must say that the prices for rent differ greatly between cities. An aparment in Istanbul would cost more than a 1000 TL per month (in a family friendly, not very fancy neighbourhood). We live in Antalya, and the rents are more like 800-900 TL for big apartments in newer buildings. We don’t want to live in older buildings as the insulation is terrible and the cost of electricity (the only source of heating) has hiked. We paid 400TL for electricity last month, even though we spent a week out of country, and only use AC for heating (in the evening only). We pay 8 TL for a 19l of drinking water, not 5. The food prices have gone up, too. Basic groceries like flour, oil and butter are all more expensive than in most of Europe. I don,t even want to get started on gas. 🙁

    • 23rd February 2015

      Kerry Arslan Reply

      I will be updating the cost and I do state prices vary. I think your estimate on Istanbul rents as I do survey to get an average.

  11. 9th April 2015

    Niel Caporani Reply

    Great blog and very informative, keep up the good work

  12. 7th May 2015

    Mike Reply

    The comments above seem are very optimistic. We are only two of us with $4000/month income still we are very hesitate to go and live in Istanbul. Don’t get me wrong we love to live in Turkey!!!
    Mike, MB

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