The Cost of Living Crisis: Where You Can Live in the World For Less Than £400pm

3 min read

The UK is in the middle of a cost of living crisis, where households are seeing fuel prices, food shopping and utility bills rocket. Clear Currency recently commissioned research into the current cost of living figures and compared them to the rest of the world to see where you can live on a smaller budget.

Using Numbeo, we were able to see the current average salary per month in the UK and how it stacks up against the rising cost of living.

As part of the research, we also looked at a number of different outgoings for each country, such as fuel costs, monthly food shop, childcare expenses, rent, current inflation rates and other essentials, to find out which countries are the most and least affordable places to live.

From our research, we found that the average monthly net salary in the UK is £2,246.96. Our dive into the data for UK outgoings found that basic household expenses (electric, heating, cooling and water) and food shopping were costing nearly 20% of this salary - £401.27 per month. A food shop now costs the average UK consumer £232.52 per month, with the price of basics such as eggs, now costing £1.99 a box, and cheese £5.65 per kilogram.

We then took the top 50 most searched for countries related to moving abroad and ranked them in order of the most and least affordable.

Many of the countries on the list have a more affordable cost of living - at less than £400 per month (based on household expenses, food shopping and fuel) - including Spain, South Africa, Finland, Brazil and Malta. However, many countries came out at over £500 per month, including Australia, France, Germany, Ireland and Sweden. Thailand was the highest at £817.

The monthly cost of living in the UK for food shopping, household expenses and a full tank of fuel (based on data from Numbeo) is £485.97, which puts the UK at number 33 (i.e. one of the least affordable) of the 50 countries analysed.

A league table of the top 50 is below:

CountryCost of a monthly food shop (basic groceries and essentials)Cost of monthly household services (heating, water, cooling, electric)Cost of gas (fuel) 55 litres (average full tank)Totals
Belarus£113.52£36.12£29.15£178.79
Azerbaijan£124.88£42.96£26.95£194.79
Costa Rica£122.48£39.97£40.70£203.15
Malta£138.20£29.71£59.95£227.86
Turkey£125.76£52.53£62.15£240.44
South Korea£204.88£36.47£21.45£262.80
Tonga£172.68£41.36£50.05£264.09
Brazil£151.56£58.87£58.30£268.73
Mexico£183.20£46.51£47.85£277.56
Austria£177.64£56.95£51.70£286.29
Israel£147.44£85.64£58.30£291.38
China£161.28£79.66£55.00£295.94
Jordan£196.36£50.72£50.05£297.13
South Africa£188.84£85.15£27.50£301.49
Guatemala£214.24£45.04£56.10£315.38
India£222.00£48.71£55.00£325.71
Finland£160.00£100.95£69.85£330.80
Malaysia£236.72£67.17£54.45£358.34
Monaco£242.80£59.80£57.75£360.35
Belize£224.48£66.12£73.15£363.75
Spain£189.20£104.67£74.80£368.67
Netherlands£237.48£78.90£64.90£381.28
Denmark£243.12£122.67£41.80£407.59
Italy£207.08£133.48£68.20£408.76
Switzerland£255.44£65.56£88.55£409.55
Barbados£298.04£90.84£25.85£414.73
Cyprus£247.84£132.62£45.10£425.56
Iceland£191.40£149.51£100.65£441.56
Grenada£284.24£95.63£65.45£445.32
Portugal£290.76£134.58£54.45£479.79
UAE£238.08£144.11£101.75£483.94
Greece£281.52£98.34£105.60£485.46
United Kingdom£232.52£168.75£84.70£485.97
New Zealand£315.00£101.06£79.75£495.81
Japan£264.40£144.43£89.10£497.93
Canada£316.64£109.94£71.50£498.08
Australia£340.48£112.04£61.60£514.12
France£317.92£141.88£55.55£515.35
Germany£274.60£151.31£94.05£519.96
Ireland£305.36£131.74£94.05£531.15
Norway£226.64£206.91£104.50£538.05
Argentina£372.88£114.20£59.95£547.03
Vietnam£278.12£178.97£100.65£557.74
Bulgaria£274.56£199.96£84.15£558.67
Singapore£374.72£102.64£90.75£568.11
Cape Verde£378.92£105.24£88.55£572.71
Jamaica£315.32£184.17£89.10£588.59
Saudi Arabia£410.92£93.91£89.10£593.93
Qatar£382.56£158.02£80.85£621.43
Sweden£395.48£163.15£94.05£652.68
Thailand£546.92£182.08£88.00£817.00

League table in ascending order by monthly cost of outgoings (i.e. lowest first)

We also looked into rent and house prices for each country to find that the UK ranks as the 13th most expensive country for rent, and the 19th most expensive for apartment price*.

Property costs for the top five most searched for countries:

CountryCost of rent (monthly avg)Average apartment cost per sq metre*
United Kingdom£1,092.05£3,589.20
Australia£1,231.24£3,701.05
Canada£1,225.68£4,976.57
Spain£756.58£2,162.97
New Zealand£1,019.34£3,483.77
France£1,611.54£2,750.33

*based on average price per square metre

The most affordable countries to purchase a property include Turkey and South Africa, where average apartment costs in city centres are under £1,000 per square metre. This compared to countries like Switzerland, Sweden and Canada where you’ll be paying £5,000 or more.

Our guide to the cost of living in the 50 most searched for countries related to moving abroad should give you some indication as to which are the cheapest.

If you're planning a move overseas and looking for an international payments specialist, Clear Currency can offer bank-beating rates and a 1-1 bespoke service with an experienced currency specialist. Sign up for an account today to get started.

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