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.
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.
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
© 2014 – 2015, Kerry Arslan. All rights reserved.