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Posted June 12th, 2015 by Charles Purdy

The cost of living in Europe

The strength of sterling in recent months has certainly had an effect on the cost of living in the UK compared to elsewhere in Europe.

Our partner, the Overseas Guides Company (OGC) has surveyed the cost of everyday items that fill the average supermarket shop, including items like bread, milk, teabags, pasta, washing up liquid and laundry detergent, comparing the cost of a basket in the UK to the most popular European expat destinations: France, Portugal, Spain and Italy.

It has been a truth almost universally acknowledged that the cost of living on mainland Europe is much cheaper than living in the UK, but the strength of sterling over the first half of 2015 has made the UK much more competitive in the marketplace.

Home to the most expensive grocery basket this year was France, which also topped the table for the cost of a baguette, milk, eggs, teabags, pasta, laundry detergent, toothpaste and dog food. At the other end of the scale was Spain, with the lowest overall basket cost, with most items coming in the bottom two in terms of cost – with particularly low costs for apples, cornflakes and chocolate.

The UK, on the other hand, has come out around the middle.

Looking at the wider costs of living, we opened up our research to compare prices in other countries that are popular with expats, including the USA, Canada and New Zealand. Getting around the country by car is cheaper in the USA than any other country surveyed – whether you need to use petrol or diesel. Petrol is most expensive in the UK and Italy, with Portugal a very close second. Diesel is most expensive in the UK, and remains cheaper than petrol in all Eurozone countries – as well as New Zealand.

The UK’s prices do come in higher than elsewhere when considering the cost of eating and drinking out, however. The average cost of a meal out was much higher in the UK than in any other country – as was the cost of a bottle of beer. The average cost of a glass of white wine was higher in Canada and New Zealand, with the UK coming in third. The lowest costs for eating and drinking out were generally seen in Portugal, well-known for its rich quality of life, with Italy just pipping it to the post for the cheapest glass of wine.

To find out how this could affect you, give us a call on 020 7898 0541.

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