I often see the question asked, I want to move to Turkey, what is the cost of living? Could I survive on Â£500 per month? What are the prices in Turkey and is it expensive to live in Turkey?
The cost depends on what sort of lifestyle you want to lead in Turkey. Yes you can survive on Â£500 a month. Is it expensive here, it depends purely on how you live. In a comparison could you live on Â£500 a month in the UK?
There are some things to think about.
The ever changing interest rate, the rate averaged out in 2010 to about 2.3% .
You have to consider where you plan to live, if you want to live in a holiday resort area and expat zone then the cost of buying or renting a property can vary and normally at premium prices. However if you decided to live in village or town outside these areas, property is still reasonable priced and rents can be low.
Food prices have risen in the past 2 years and the cost of red meat is high, though it has come down a little yet it still remains a luxury to most living in Turkey. If you like to indulge in a drink now and again you will find the cost of alcohol is expensive and highly taxed more so than the UK.
Do you want to run a car, the basic costs of running a car in Turkey is a lot cheaper, however the cost of fuel is around 4 Lira a litre. If you don’t’ want the cost of a car the Dolmu? is a great way to get around and they are a cheap.
The main consideration is what sort of lifestyle do you want to lead here in Turkey, do you plan to live a quiet life, or are you more a social person and would like to go often, visit the cinema, go to restaurants, visit the local bar. The lifestyle you choose will have the greatest bearing on how much you will require per month.
These are some of the main factors to think about when you ask the question, How much is the cost of living in Turkey?
What are the monthly costs?
About 3/4 years ago Â£500 was a good amount to plan to live on and would see you through the month comfortably. I would raise this amount by about 30% increase to give you Â£650 a month which is a more realistic price. Â£650 pm will give you around 1500 Lira a month depending on the interest rate.
What do you need to consider in your monthly costs.
- Rent/mortgage 250 > Lira pm
- Electricity 50-190 lira pm
- Water 50 > Lira pm
- Gas, bottled 50 lira, mains, 50 â€“ 190 lira pm
- Food minimum 360 lira pm
- Telephone, Internet, TV 80> Lira pm
The largest expenses being your rent/mortgage and food, you will most probably average on 1000 lira on rent, food and utilities and the additional 500 lira covers car, lifestyle, clothes and unexpected expenses. You won’t live the high life but you can still enjoy life in Turkey.
This is interesting when compared to the US. The average cost of utilities in Texas, for example, is $409.78 (Source: Move.org). This is perhaps so high because the national average electricity prices have increased by 33% from 2005 to 2016. Electricity bills are generally the largest utility cost that homeowners face each month, which explain why so many Texans compare Houston electricity rates. The 1,500 lira I accounted for above is equivalent to just $201.73. That shows just how much the cost of living differs.
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.
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.
Residency Fee, if you are living full time in Turkey you will require a residency visa in 2010 the cost for this was Â£370 and then a further 180 lira for one year, you can pay for more years if you wish. After 5 years you can apply for citizenship. Of course you can always renew your visitor’s visa every 90 days, but if you add the cost and time of leaving the country each time, the residency fee gives you peace of mind and saves you having additional costs of doing a border run and is the legal way of living in Turkey.
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 3.50 lira each time. Some villages and towns have water fountains where you can fill up your own water bottles for free.
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.
I hope this article will give you some information if you are thinking about moving here to Turkey. Turkey is a wonderful country especially if you venture out with the expat communities and really experience Turkey.
I would love to hear from those who are planning to move to Turkey and those that live here to find out if you think Turkey is cheap or expensive place to live and what you live on per month.
Please note all costs are from my personal experience and research, prices will vary across the country.
© 2011 – 2015, Kerry Arslan. All rights reserved.