The Cost of Living Crisis: Where You Can Live in the World For Less Than £400pm

4 min read

The UK is in the middle of a cost of living crisis where we are seeing fuel prices, food shopping and utility bills rocket for many households. We recently commissioned research to look into the current cost of living figures and compare them to the rest of the world to see where you can live on a smaller budget.

Using Numbeo, we were able to see the current average salary per month for the UK and how it stacks up against the rising cost of living.

We also looked at the average income and a number of different outgoings for each country such as the rising cost of fuel, monthly food shop, childcare expenses, rent, current inflation rates and other essentials to find out which countries are the most and least affordable places to live.

From our research, we found that the average monthly salary in the UK is £2,246.96.

Our dive into the data for the outgoings found that basic household expenses (electric, heating, cooling and water) and food shopping were costing homeowners nearly 20% of this salary - £401.27 per month. A food shop now costs the average consumer £232.52 per month, with the price of basics such as eggs now costing £1.99 a box, and cheese £5.65 per kilogram.

Comparing this to the rest of the world, we looked into the data for the top 50 most searched for countries related to moving abroad.

The top five most searched for countries are Australia, Canada, Spain, New Zealand and France.

We found many countries to have a more affordable cost of living of less than £400 per month (based on household expenses, food shopping and fuel), including Spain, South Africa, Finland, Brazil and Malta. However, many countries have a higher average cost of living of over £500 per month. These include Australia, France, Germany, Ireland and Sweden.

The monthly cost of living in the UK for food shopping, household expenses and a full tank of fuel averages £485.97, putting the UK as the 33rd most expensive country of the 50 countries analysed.

A league table of the top 50 most searched for countries (in relation to moving abroad), and the price of food, household expenses and fuel is below:

CountryCost of a monthly food shop (basic groceries and essentials)Cost of monthly household services (heating, water, cooling, electric)Cost of gas (fuel) 55 litres (average full tank)Totals
Belarus£113.52£36.12£29.15£178.79
Azerbaijan£124.88£42.96£26.95£194.79
Costa Rica£122.48£39.97£40.70£203.15
Malta£138.20£29.71£59.95£227.86
Turkey£125.76£52.53£62.15£240.44
South Korea£204.88£36.47£21.45£262.80
Tonga£172.68£41.36£50.05£264.09
Brazil£151.56£58.87£58.30£268.73
Mexico£183.20£46.51£47.85£277.56
Austria£177.64£56.95£51.70£286.29
Israel£147.44£85.64£58.30£291.38
China£161.28£79.66£55.00£295.94
Jordan£196.36£50.72£50.05£297.13
South Africa£188.84£85.15£27.50£301.49
Guatemala£214.24£45.04£56.10£315.38
India£222.00£48.71£55.00£325.71
Finland£160.00£100.95£69.85£330.80
Malaysia£236.72£67.17£54.45£358.34
Monaco£242.80£59.80£57.75£360.35
Belize£224.48£66.12£73.15£363.75
Spain£189.20£104.67£74.80£368.67
Netherlands£237.48£78.90£64.90£381.28
Denmark£243.12£122.67£41.80£407.59
Italy£207.08£133.48£68.20£408.76
Switzerland£255.44£65.56£88.55£409.55
Barbados£298.04£90.84£25.85£414.73
Cyprus£247.84£132.62£45.10£425.56
Iceland£191.40£149.51£100.65£441.56
Grenada£284.24£95.63£65.45£445.32
Portugal£290.76£134.58£54.45£479.79
UAE£238.08£144.11£101.75£483.94
Greece£281.52£98.34£105.60£485.46
United Kingdom£232.52£168.75£84.70£485.97
New Zealand£315.00£101.06£79.75£495.81
Japan£264.40£144.43£89.10£497.93
Canada£316.64£109.94£71.50£498.08
Australia£340.48£112.04£61.60£514.12
France£317.92£141.88£55.55£515.35
Germany£274.60£151.31£94.05£519.96
Ireland£305.36£131.74£94.05£531.15
Norway£226.64£206.91£104.50£538.05
Argentina£372.88£114.20£59.95£547.03
Vietnam£278.12£178.97£100.65£557.74
Bulgaria£274.56£199.96£84.15£558.67
Singapore£374.72£102.64£90.75£568.11
Cape Verde£378.92£105.24£88.55£572.71
Jamaica£315.32£184.17£89.10£588.59
Saudi Arabia£410.92£93.91£89.10£593.93
Qatar£382.56£158.02£80.85£621.43
Sweden£395.48£163.15£94.05£652.68
Thailand£546.92£182.08£88.00£817.00

League table in ascending order from cheapest monthly cost of outgoings

We also looked into rent and house prices for each country to find that the UK sits as the 13th most expensive country for rent of the 50 analysed, and the 19th most expensive for apartment price*.

Property costs for the top 5 most searched for countries:

CountryCost of rent (monthly avg)Average apartment cost per sq meter*
United Kingdom£1,092.05£3,589.20
Australia£1,231.24£3,701.05
Canada£1,225.68£4,976.57
Spain£756.58£2,162.97
New Zealand£1,019.34£3,483.77
France£1,611.54£2,750.33

*based on average price per square metre

The most affordable countries to purchase a property include Turkey, China, Monaco, South Africa, and Mexico, where average apartment costs in city centres are under £1,000 per square metre. Compared to countries like Switzerland, Sweden, Portugal, Ireland and Canada where you’ll be paying £5,000 or more.

In June, the average cost per square metre for an apartment in Qatar, Argentina and Grenada hit the tens of thousands.

If you are considering moving abroad, our guide to the cost of living in the 50 most searched for countries should give you some indication as to which is the best value. If you are looking for an international payments specialist, we can offer bank-beating rates and a 1-1 bespoke service with an experienced currency specialist. Sign up for an account today to get started.

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