Europe has a reputation as one of the more expensive expat destinations, which is highlighted in the 2013 Expat Expenses League Table, with Ireland (37th), Netherlands (35th), Italy (34th), UK (33rd), and France (32nd). The Expat Expenses League Table ranks countries in terms of “expat economics”, whereby the higher a country’s ranking, the more financially advantageous it proves for expats. The low ranking of these European countries means, simply, that expats will not get as much for their money there.
A combination of lower earning potential coupled with higher expenses explains these low rankings on the league table, but there are many ways expats can enjoy a cost-effective lifestyle on the European continent:
1. Move to Spain: At 15th, España sits eight spaces above its nearest European rival, making it our top pick for European Expat Expenses.
2. Ride a bike: Public transport is a major factor in pushing up living costs for European-based expats. But the good news is that many European expat destinations are hotspots for cycling commuters. Take to the bicycle lanes of Amsterdam, Copenhagen or Seville and burn calories while you save euros.
3. Shop at local markets: Europe is known for its variety of produce, seasonal markets and local delicacies. And thanks to street sellers, gourmet food doesn’t always have to come with a hefty price tag.
4. Make friends: More quality chat with local friends will translate to substantially cheaper phone bills, as you have less need to call home – and Europe is a great place to forge new friendships. The prospect of finding friendship in the UK, for example, is so good that more than two in five (43%) expats say that they prefer the company of local friends over fellow expats.
5. Relax: Nearly 2 in 5 (39%) of expats surveyed on the cost of living abroad had the perception they were spending less since relocation, even if the figures didn’t bear this out. The other cultural and lifestyle perks to living in Europe may just outweigh financial considerations.