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Advice on cost of living in the Dordogne

Advice on cost of living in the Dordogne

Old Jun 6th 2021, 1:49 pm
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Default Advice on cost of living in the Dordogne

We are a couple in our 60's looking at living in the Dordogne. Property and car would be paid for. Could we live on 1200 euro a month? I would buy general household goods from a supermarket and use the market for fresh produce.

Any advice welcome.
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Old Jun 6th 2021, 3:06 pm
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Default Re: Advice on cost of living in the Dordogne

Hi Dahab. It's not impossible to live on 1200 a month, but the problem lies with all the unknowns. What happens if your car breaks down, or you need a new boiler, a fix to your roof, taxes increase etc. etc. These sorts of unexpected issues pop up frequently. I've had many a month where I could have lived within such a budget (I live very frugally), but then something will come along and throw a curve ball, so realistically I suspect you would struggle with it. It's not impossible (where there's a will there's a way), but you'd be living on the edge all the time without additional savings or income.
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Old Jun 6th 2021, 5:04 pm
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Default Re: Advice on cost of living in the Dordogne

Thanks for your reply. There will be approx 150,000 euro in savings to fall back on for emergencies. I was just trying to get a handle on a monthly budget.
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Old Jun 6th 2021, 6:43 pm
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Default Re: Advice on cost of living in the Dordogne

Originally Posted by Dahab View Post
We are a couple in our 60's looking at living in the Dordogne. Property and car would be paid for. Could we live on 1200 euro a month? I would buy general household goods from a supermarket and use the market for fresh produce.

Any advice welcome.
Hi, my market is expensive!
Don't forget to count the annual Taxe Foncière (Property Tax), your annual house insurance and car insurance, and you're left with less than 1000€ per month (considered the Poverty Threshold in France PER PERSON). Also a Mutuelle (top-up insurance) if you are covered by the French System, and highly recommended as you get older, which can easily be 120€ per month for 2. This would leave you with an average of 30€ per day, and you would have to dip into your savings not only for emergencies, but also for travel, restaurants, clothes, treats, even to receive visitors.
Sorry I haven't got my monthly expenses to hand, but some one will come along to give an idea of Utilities/Internet. Provided you don't buy imported English produce, you'll probably find the cost of food more or less the same here.
Another issue would be the fluctuating rate of exchange if the 1200€ originates from the UK....
How is your French? Take a look in the "Getting Old in France" thread in the Read-Me: Moving to France FAQs above (as well as other pertinent threads such as Inheritance and Succession Laws, which are nothing like the English Laws.
HTH
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Old Jun 6th 2021, 9:34 pm
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Default Re: Advice on cost of living in the Dordogne

Originally Posted by dmu View Post
Hi, my market is expensive!
Don't forget to count the annual Taxe Foncière (Property Tax), your annual house insurance and car insurance, and you're left with less than 1000€ per month (considered the Poverty Threshold in France PER PERSON). Also a Mutuelle (top-up insurance) if you are covered by the French System, and highly recommended as you get older, which can easily be 120€ per month for 2. This would leave you with an average of 30€ per day, and you would have to dip into your savings not only for emergencies, but also for travel, restaurants, clothes, treats, even to receive visitors.
Sorry I haven't got my monthly expenses to hand, but some one will come along to give an idea of Utilities/Internet. Provided you don't buy imported English produce, you'll probably find the cost of food more or less the same here.
Another issue would be the fluctuating rate of exchange if the 1200€ originates from the UK....
How is your French? Take a look in the "Getting Old in France" thread in the Read-Me: Moving to France FAQs above (as well as other pertinent threads such as Inheritance and Succession Laws, which are nothing like the English Laws.
HTH
very helpful reply. Thanks so much.
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Old Jun 7th 2021, 1:39 am
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Default Re: Advice on cost of living in the Dordogne

Do you have the right to live there? 1200 EU will probably be too low income to get a long term visa if not (US citizens are usually asked to show 2500+ a month per person for long stay visas)

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Old Jun 7th 2021, 5:28 am
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Default Re: Advice on cost of living in the Dordogne

Without knowing your circumstances it's impossible to say. Most couples probably could live on 1200€ disposable income a month although I think many would soon get frustrated by it.

But as has been mentioned, presumably it isn't all disposable income because there will be property taxes, healthcare, house/car/ etc insurances, and potentially, depending on the source of the income, social taxes to be deducted.
If you're UK passport holders, your visa application will require full private health insurance for the first year which depending on your medical histories, could make a very big dent in your monthly budget.
But if you are applying for a visa then at the end of the day, as okonumiyaki has mentioned, you are protected from making the mistake of moving to France and finding you can't afford to live here, because the visa authorities will look at your plans and assess your income and if they don't feel it's sufficient, they won't issue a visa. Especially if you're still of working age they will be looking for not just enough to live on but enough to live on comfortably, because they're very aware that early retirees living on modest resources may feel tempted to top up their funds by working illegally once they're here. .

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Old Jun 7th 2021, 6:38 am
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Default Re: Advice on cost of living in the Dordogne

Another way of looking at this, I'm doing a summer job at the moment and it's just occurred to me that 1200€ a month is almost exactly what my salary works out at net. I'm probably paid SMIC or very slightly above.
I'm accommodated for free with no bills to pay, but I still have my own house with utilities connected although I'm not living there, so there is just a small saving on actual consumption.
And the cost of my mutuelle has already been deducted, which is a bigger saving.
With those provisos I am finding it plenty for one person.
There must be lots of couples in France whose only income is one SMIC wage but probably they're eligible for benefits?
Looking at it that way seems to lead to the same conclusion, in practice it should be enough to live on as long as you have savings for out-of-budget expenses, but if you need a visa I doubt whether the equivalent of one SMIC between two people would do the trick, I suspect as a minimum they would expect an income above the level where you could claim benefits.


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Old Jun 7th 2021, 6:43 am
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Default Re: Advice on cost of living in the Dordogne

Originally Posted by EuroTrash View Post
Without knowing your circumstances it's impossible to say. Most couples probably could live on 1200€ disposable income a month although I think many would soon get frustrated by it.

But as has been mentioned, presumably it isn't all disposable income because there will be property taxes, healthcare, house/car/ etc insurances, and potentially, depending on the source of the income, social taxes to be deducted.
If you're UK passport holders, your visa application will require full private health insurance for the first year which depending on your medical histories, could make a very big dent in your monthly budget.
But if you are applying for a visa then at the end of the day, as okonumiyaki has mentioned, you are protected from making the mistake of moving to France and finding you can't afford to live here, because the visa authorities will look at your plans and assess your income and if they don't feel it's sufficient, they won't issue a visa. Especially if you're still of working age they will be looking for not just enough to live on but enough to live on comfortably, because they're very aware that early retirees living on modest resources may feel tempted to top up their funds by working illegally once they're here. .
Knowing in advance that I'd be penny-pinching from the start and forevermore, would put me off moving to another country....
I forgot that private healthcare insurance was compulsory, before being accepted into the French System, so yes, another expense to take into account.
@Dahab - Is there a particular reason for choosing France, and are you looking to move to an urban or rural area? As you get older, you need to have medical facilities nearby and, depending on your level of French, you might get frustrated, coping with all the Bureaucracy. There may be a lot of British expats in the Dordogne, but would you want strangers to know your private businesss if you need assistance at the Bank/Doctor's?
Sorry to be the Devil's Advocate, but, as said, without knowing your circumstances and present way of life, we can't say whether or not you'd survive on your low income, and be happy. Fore-warned is fore-armed...
Post crossed with ET's.
Sorry, but it's quite possible that the Consulate won't accept a regular income of less than one SMIC for a couple, as they want to avoid "immigrants" being a burden on the State.

Last edited by dmu; Jun 7th 2021 at 6:49 am.
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Old Jun 7th 2021, 7:14 am
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Default Re: Advice on cost of living in the Dordogne

Thanks everyone for the valuable info. I haven't really explained my situation very well. My husband is fluent in French having lived in Paris for 10 years as a child. I am passable but leaning to improve. Our income would be approx 3700 euro per month plus savings of between 150,000 - 200,000 euro. I will have an Irish and UK passport. I really just plucked 1200 euro out of the sky to see what would come back from you guys. We don't want to be rural I think it is too isolating. I would prefer the edge or in a village.

Thanks again for all the info it is very much appreciated.
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Old Jun 7th 2021, 7:38 am
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Default Re: Advice on cost of living in the Dordogne

You should be able to live fine on that and you shouldn't have a problem getting a CdS for your OH if he isn't an EU citizen..
One might wonder what's the point of asking for opinions on a figure plucked out of the sky, it seems a bit of a waste of everyone's time and effort, but hey ho, I hope you found it useful in some way.
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Old Jun 7th 2021, 8:57 am
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Default Re: Advice on cost of living in the Dordogne

Originally Posted by EuroTrash View Post
You should be able to live fine on that and you shouldn't have a problem getting a CdS for your OH if he isn't an EU citizen..
One might wonder what's the point of asking for opinions on a figure plucked out of the sky, it seems a bit of a waste of everyone's time and effort, but hey ho, I hope you found it useful in some way.
I do indeed wonder, when it's obvious that they'll live very comfortably on 3700€ per month. One of them being a EU citizen, and both speaking French, are "butter in the spinach".
I'm sorry if I took the OPs to be two would-be UK expats hoping to live on such a low income, possibly without much French, but they should have given the true info from the start...
In answer to the original question, with such a monthly income and such savings, the cost of living in France should be a minor matter to consider...
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Old Jun 7th 2021, 9:18 am
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Default Re: Advice on cost of living in the Dordogne

Originally Posted by Dahab View Post
TWe don't want to be rural I think it is too isolating. I would prefer the edge or in a village.
It might actually might be more pertinent to get opinions on what people think of as rural. From a UK perspective I think of living on the edge of a village would be what most Brits would think of as rural. Depending on the village, even living bang in the middle can feel pretty rural if it has no shops or amenities. French villages aren't mostly gentrified and urbanised like say Cotswold villages (unless the Dordogne is very different from other parts of France).
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Old Jun 7th 2021, 2:13 pm
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Default Re: Advice on cost of living in the Dordogne

From your circumstances you would have no problems living here! I recommend renting for a little while in the area of interest first, this way you'll know if it's for you without making a big commitment, and if you do fall in love with the region, you might find a slightly better area nearby and can bide your time looking for a property that really suits you without needing to make rash decisions.
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Old Jun 8th 2021, 7:17 am
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Default Re: Advice on cost of living in the Dordogne

Thanks for the advice. Much appreciated.
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