Cost of Living

Old Nov 13th 2010, 3:32 pm
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Default Cost of Living

Hi there,

It would be really helpful if anyone could provide a general outline of the cost of living in Hungary compared with the UK. No doubt the nearer the Budapest you are the more expensive it gets?? Any help/comparisons appreciated.

Many thanks
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Old Nov 13th 2010, 5:09 pm
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Hi Polgari, I'm not sure whether I am the best qualified person to answer this as we life as self sufficiently as possible but hopefully what I can tell you will help somewhat.

Firstly, the expensive items:

landline telephone calls are expensive, especially to mobile phones. We rarely use it, only occasionally phoning my daughter and mother in the UK (for all other calls we use Skype). In September, my daughter had a problem with student finance in the UK as such, I made a few calls to student finance as well as a couple to her university, a few to my daughter and a couple to my mum, in total perhaps 5-6 hours of calls, the bill for the month was over 200 euro.

Gas I have heard is expensive, a friend said there bill for the 5 winter/spring months was £800. I guess it depends on your perspective of expensive. The traditional heating system is the most cost effective here with wood being the cheapest fuel.

Electrical and white goods are generally the same price but occasionally for more dated models than in the UK. The exception is computers and laptops, digital cameras etc which tend to be a bit cheaper than the UK.

Water is inexpensive, our electricity bill is about the same or slightly cheaper than the UK.

Internet is about 20 euro/ month for a 2mb connection.

Wine, beer and cigarettes are a fraction of UK prices.

Pork and chicken is inexpensive, about £3-5/kilo depending on the cut. Beef and lamb (if you can find it) is more expensive £5-6/kilo.

Most other groceries are less expensive than the Uk.

Eating out is very inexpensive, many restaurants have menus starting from 700-900ft: £2.50-£2.80 for 3 courses or starters from £2 and mains from £4.

Hope this helps
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Old Nov 14th 2010, 9:58 am
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Default Re: Cost of Living

Thanks very much for this - very helpful. We will be looking to be fairly self sufficient to a degree too. But like with anything, until we are living in Hungary and experience things for ourselves, then we will be able to adapt and change as circumstances prescribe (hopefully!).
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Old Nov 14th 2010, 1:11 pm
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Default Re: Cost of Living

can i just add.

car road tax is collected by your local council and ours is about £30 a year

your local council tax depending on where you are and size of house, ours is £45 a year which is below 1/2 of what you pay a month in the UK

if you are moving from the uk and you want the same brands of food you are used too you will find them expensive.
dont do it all at once but shop around and find an alternative you can get on with. after a few months you wonder why you ever insisted on kellogs or heinz as the new alternatives you find taste even better.
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Old Nov 21st 2010, 7:32 am
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Default Re: Cost of Living

Originally Posted by Polgardi View Post
Thanks very much for this - very helpful. We will be looking to be fairly self sufficient to a degree too. But like with anything, until we are living in Hungary and experience things for ourselves, then we will be able to adapt and change as circumstances prescribe (hopefully!).
Although I don't live in Hungary I have been there several times to visit my wife's family.
Hotpot is correct in saying wine, beer and cigarettes are cheaper but if you want British or Irish (Guinness) beer they are more expensive as in other countries! Alot of the beer on sale in shops is stronger so you don't need to buy as much!!!
White and electrical goods - as per what Hotpot says.
Whenever we go to visit my wife's relatives we are always asked to buy and take over some boys'/men's underwear (usually M&S) because the quality is better over here!!! Not sure why!
Some toiletries are cheaper too, i.e. for myself Wilkinson double edged razor blades, shaving cream, shaving sticks, etc. I tend to buy about 6 - 12 months supply of anything if it's light enough not to overload my case!
Thinking about it I have realised that we seem to eat alot of chicken and pork but it doesn't bother me as my tastes in food is quite broad!
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Old Nov 21st 2010, 12:11 pm
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Default Re: Cost of Living

Yes, we tend to have things such as underwear, scarfs, hats etc sent from the UK as they are a better quality and in many cases cheaper.

Clothes are also quite expensive, cheap clothes are available but the quality is not at all good, better quality clothing or children's "fashionable" clothes can be far more expensive than the UK, likewise footwear.

Also, power tools are much more expensive, I recently brought an angle grinder back from the UK as the same model here was £20 more expensive.

Our local Tesco have just launched a new premium meat range including, beef 1800-2500ft/kilo and lamb 1300-2200ft/kilo (prices might be a bit out) the cuts are still not anything I recognise I was looking for lamb cutlets or gigot chops and the only thing even close to a chop was a large round bone surrounded by about an inch of meat! If anyone has tried this selection please let me know as I am fed up buying beef, including sirloin, that turns out to be as tough as old boots.
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Old Nov 21st 2010, 4:06 pm
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Default Re: Cost of Living

Originally Posted by Rural Hungary View Post
Yes, we tend to have things such as underwear, scarfs, hats etc sent from the UK as they are a better quality and in many cases cheaper.

Clothes are also quite expensive, cheap clothes are available but the quality is not at all good, better quality clothing or children's "fashionable" clothes can be far more expensive than the UK, likewise footwear.

Also, power tools are much more expensive, I recently brought an angle grinder back from the UK as the same model here was £20 more expensive.

Our local Tesco have just launched a new premium meat range including, beef 1800-2500ft/kilo and lamb 1300-2200ft/kilo (prices might be a bit out) the cuts are still not anything I recognise I was looking for lamb cutlets or gigot chops and the only thing even close to a chop was a large round bone surrounded by about an inch of meat! If anyone has tried this selection please let me know as I am fed up buying beef, including sirloin, that turns out to be as tough as old boots.
I find this topic on cost of living, especially food interesting because whenever I visit Hungary my wife's family provide a feast for every meal, whether it is breakfast, dinner or supper! The variety at breakfast is very much the continental variety but most of the vegetables, etc. come from my wife's parents' garden! They grow other things, grapes, apples, pears, etc. They make their own wine and vodka too! The latter which totally knocks me out! LOL!
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Old Dec 11th 2010, 11:37 am
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Default Re: Cost of Living

Looking at houses for sale on the internet I notice most have quite big gardens. Does this mean most people grow a lot of fruit and veg? This is certainly the case in Bulgaria, where a lot of people take their produce to the local market and set up a stall. Prices in such markets work on supply and demand so you can perhaps stock up when prices are low and preserve the stuff, making jams, pickles etc. or just put it in the freezer.
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Old Dec 11th 2010, 12:54 pm
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Originally Posted by fidobsa View Post
Looking at houses for sale on the internet I notice most have quite big gardens. Does this mean most people grow a lot of fruit and veg? This is certainly the case in Bulgaria, where a lot of people take their produce to the local market and set up a stall. Prices in such markets work on supply and demand so you can perhaps stock up when prices are low and preserve the stuff, making jams, pickles etc. or just put it in the freezer.
My wife's parents have a huge garden and grow all their own vegetables and fruit. They even make their own wine or vodka! They also barter with other neighbours who have things they don't have, i.e. eggs!
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Old Dec 12th 2010, 11:16 am
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Default Re: Cost of Living

Hi fidobsa and welcome to the Hungarian section of the forum. I am the concierge for the Hungarian section and if you require any assistance of have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Like yourself, we decided (having spent 3 months living there) that Bulgaria was not for us, crime, corruption and lack of services and infrastructure played heavily in our decision.

Once you come 15-20 away from the resorts and towns, village life is very similar to that of Bulgaria. Animals are bred and killed in the village (no carting them off to the slaughterhouse) Nearly all homes have a cellar for storing bottled fruit and veg as well as root vegetables, all grown in the 1-2 acre plot that many houses have.
In our village, neighbours regularly share the surplus and food/eggs/animals are bartered for.
Good luck for the future and whatever you decide to do
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Old Dec 17th 2010, 1:39 pm
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I met some people this week who told me that they would not take a house given to them free in Bulgaria, I was once interested in looking there
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Old Dec 17th 2010, 2:42 pm
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Oh, I don't know, if it was for free I might be tempted - depending on where it was.

To be honest, Bulgaria has some of the most beautiful scenery and the Old Capital of Veliko Turnovo is quite something to behold with the houses "like little sheep" clinging to side of the Yantra valley.

For us, it was just too much like the Wild West, constantly having to be on your guard and the lack of infrastructure and amenities.
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Old Mar 31st 2011, 4:14 pm
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This is a hard one I know. But on average - how much would a small family (2.2) with car and all utilities and internet usage typically spend per annum living in Hungary (living on a budget and assuming no major purchases/emergencies). I am assuming on average it would be less that in the UK...but i dont know. All comments welcome!
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Old Mar 31st 2011, 5:02 pm
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Hi Polgardi, coincidentally, another user and I where discussing this a couple of days ago. This is roughly our average monthly outgoings:

€100/month electric - though we do use a lot
€25 internet and landline (which we don't use as it's too expensive)
€60/month skype and mobile calls
in winter - €100/month for wood
€15/month water
€500/ groceries - no brand names except toothpaste and shampoo and this is a basic shop with no luxuries or alcohol. Though we do eat meat everyday and have beef (which is expensive here) twice a week.
This doesn't doesn't include clothes, eating out or running the car and also takes into account that we grow our own veg during the summer and get half a pig from our neighbour each spring. We tend to eat out more/have days out in the summer so that tends to negate the saving from growing our veg and the pig.

Now if we could just go off grid!!!
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Old Mar 31st 2011, 5:16 pm
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Default Re: Cost of Living

Rural Hungary, did you know you can use skype to make landline calls? You just have to pay a bit of credit in advance and you get charged local rates. You can also set yourself up with a UK phone number, and you can choose from a variety of exchanges, so you can set one up in the town where most of your friends/relations live. I use this for business calls to/from the UK and it works very well.

One thing that's supposed to be much cheaper here is tailor made clothing and hand made shoes. I haven't bought any yet, but for my next business clothing purchase I'm definitely checking them out. Hungarian cobblers are much cheaper for repairs as well here, as are most repair places. Barbers seem to be a lot cheaper too. In fact any price that's based largely on labour cost or property cost seems to be less here.
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