Every Little Helps

The Bodrum Bulletin has just updated its annual grocery price check, comparing Britain with Turkey. This exercise was first started in 2009 using the same basket of goods from Sainsbury’s (in the UK) and Migros (in Turkey). The headline is that the price differential between the two countries has been gradually eroded since the survey started. In 2009 the British basket cost 26% more, whereas today the difference is less that 10%.

As with all things, the devil is in the detail. Buying habits vary from person to person and the comparison is affected by the prevailing lira to pound exchange rate. Nevertheless, it does indicate a direction of travel during these recessionary times. We residents all know that booming Turkey is no longer the low cost paradise it used to be. To add to the depressing trend, the Turkish Government has just hiked the price of gas by nearly 19% and the price of electricity by just over 9%.

A year ago, I set Liam a challenge. I wanted to know the cost of living for our kind of life in Britain, Spain and Turkey. He calculated  our average monthly spend on the typical stuff we consume –  food, booze, fags, essential trips back to London, rent, bills, healthcare, insurances, etc. He also used Migros for the Turkish grocery shop, comparing it to Tesco’s in Britain and a major Spanish chain. At the time, the results showed that living in Spain would cost a fifth less overall whereas living in Britain (outside London) would cost a third more.

The same analysis today (excluding Spain) paints a completely different picture. Our British living costs will be on par with our Turkish expenses. This is almost entirely due to the low rent we expect to pay in Norwich and the fact that we’re (almost) a smoking-free family. This isn’t the reason we’ve decided to leave our foster home but, as they say at Tesco’s, every little helps.

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14 thoughts on “Every Little Helps

  1. Mmm, maybe so Jack, but how do you compare ‘quality’ of life, I wonder? Not merely in monetary terms, methinks. When I compare what I’d be doing in dreary Blighty throughout the next 7 months to what I’ll be doing here, in Kusadasi, the calculation is as easy as pie, a piece of cake – no need for any spreadsheet!


  2. I’m not sure Migros is the best supermarket to use for this price comparison. I used Migros when I first moved to Turkey 14 years ago because there wasn’t much choice, but they have become more expensive over the years. I find Carrefour the best for very reasonable prices and good deals.

    A lot also depends on the area. Most of the supermarket chains bump up their prices in the tourist areas


    1. I agree though they do have some quite good offers now and again. As we have the time we can shop in Carrefour, Tansas and Migros to buy what’s cheapest at the time. There’s always the market for veg though here in Bodrum it isn’t much cheaper.


  3. Very interested Jack, holidays will be a little more expensive for us, however it is good to know that our investment in Turkey will grow with the rate of growth over there. Now a little bit more wage inflation and better standard of life for the Turkish people, leading to some more disposable income and we are on to a winner. It will also be good to see the Turkish people gaining a bit more in wage equality. Bad luck for the expats on fixed incomes though, like pensioners in the UK as costs rise and income stays the same, their lifestyle will inevitably change for the worse.


  4. Spot on Jack. I have also returned to a low rental home .I also have fast broadband with Virgin at an incredible fair price, and a little tip, if you cant or dont want to give up smoking, befriend a Polish ex-pat as they are always doing their family visits back home you can be in constant supply with duty frees at the same price as a packet of ciggies in Turkey .My Turkish adventure was amazing but when it became less cost effective I felt I had been there seen it and didnt want the over priced tacky T shirt !


  5. We buy off the local market as much as possible and eat a limited amout of red meat, this tends to make our food bill vastly less than it was in the UK. When we add in the stuff that comes from Dia, Tansas or random supermarket, the booze, Tursil, UK shampoo brands and the rest, the weekly bill is still not much more than half of what it was in the UK.


    1. As I mentioned, this all varies from person to person. We also eat much less red meat (a good thing!) and, because it’s Bodrum, the markets hereabouts aren’t much cheaper than the supermarkets. I always stock up on toileteries on our trips to London because it’s about half the price. However, these are minor costs compared to our rent and the 3-4 trips we make back home to see family and friends.


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