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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Liam and I took the dolly to Gümüslük, the pretty picture postcard bay with overpriced fish restaurants and tedious hassle from the press-ganging waiters. We were visiting friends who lived in the village. As we travelled along the pot-holed road, I was wondering what the scenery was like before the mad march of little white boxes up hill and down dale. Stunning I imagine. It’s still pretty in parts and the views from the coast road are dazzling. We turned a coastal corner and happened upon a huge supermarket that wasn’t there before. It’s a sign of the times. I see the advantage. Residents and holidaymakers alike no longer have to endure the sweaty trek into Yalıkavak or Turgutreis to stock up on booze and larder essentials. Who wants to do that in 40 degree heat? Sadly, I fear for the living of the little man in the local shop. Times are hard and, in the winter months, times are impossible. We all know the tale of the big boys who muscle in and soak up all the trade. It’s a sad story that’s oft repeated in high streets across Blighty. Still, this particular supermarket does have the most spectacular view of the Aegean from the rooftop terrace. Sütlü Americano, lütfen.

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