The most common thing people ask me is how much is the cost of living in Bulgaria. On average a labouring job is around £400.00 a month. Even highly trained staff like teachers and nurses only get on average £400.00 a month. A builder on a wage would receive £900.00 per month but can get a wage of around £1300.00 per month if self-employed. So you can get the work done on your house at a reasonable cost.
On average a family of four in Bulgaria would spend on food £75.00 per week and their main diet is vegetables, beans and rice. You can buy a bus pass for a month, which you can use for anywhere and in town and the cost for this is on average £30.00. and if you like TV that's even better as there is no such thing in Bulgaria as TV licence and you can pay for cable TV there around £10.00 a month. Internet is now available everywhere, even in the smallest villages, and the cost for that is on average £10.00 a month. Water is around £10.00 per month but electric is more expensive, to a Bulgarian on average electric for a family is around £40.00 per month in summer and rises to around £100.00 per month in winter. The reason it is more in winter is because a lot of Bulgarians use electric heating as there is only gas in large cities at the moment but this is slowly being changed. The most common heating in Bulgaria is run from a wood and coal burn heating system and most houses in villages have these because of the cheap wood. It only costs on average £25.00 per month to heat the whole house.
Schools in Bulgaria are mostly old but new ones are popping up all over the country. You will find that most of the schools in Bulgaria have very high education standards and up to 90% of the students go on to higher education. Most of the big towns in Bulgaria have universities of very high standards. Schools are free but pupils have to supply their own books. This one was a shock to me and I think you will agree. Nurseries in Bulgaria open at 7.00 am and stay open till 7.00 pm and the government encourages this for the people who work. The children have breakfast, dinner, then sleep and have afternoon snack. They also are taught to read and spell by the time they go to school. The charge for all this is, are you ready for this, £1.00 per day. Yes, £1.00 pence per day! Normal schools open from 8.00 till 1.30 pm but students have homework and they have a break in summer for a twelve week period.
Doctors' consultations start from £8.00 to £20.00 depending on who you see but on average this will cost you from £6 to £15, you have to buy your medication. Doctors in Bulgaria are of a very high standard but some of the hospitals are old and of low standard. New hospitals are coming about in parts of Bulgaria and with grants from the EU there will be new hospitals built. Private insurance in Bulgaria starts from £10.00 per week. For this you will be taken to a new hospital in case of illness and I would advise any English client moving to Bulgaria to do this. Dentists in Bulgaria are also very good and for a crown it costsaround £50.00 and a filling is around £18.00.
One of the most frequent questions people ask me is how to keep their property safe when they are in England. Depending on where you buy, this is very different in Bulgaria. In and around the coast in summer the properties are safe but winter like everywhere in the world can be unsure. All the resorts in summer have police going around but in winter they close down. In the villages it is totally different than the coast. Most of the Bulgarians are very friendly and will help you in every way they can. You will find, for example, in most villages neighbours will watch over your property while you are away. The villages are very safe and for a large village of say 5000 people there is a policeman to watch out. The police force in Bulgaria is very good. On average to insure your property it will cost around £10.00 per month. A private security company will come to visit your property and fit an alarm to it and it goes direct to their office and they put a sign on your front door. This service costs £20.00 per month but for this you don't have to buy the alarm as it comes free. If you want to fit your own alarm it will cost you between £300 and £400 and the monthly charge you will pay to the company goes down to £15.00.
Crime in Bulgaria is very low and you can hardly hear of crimes about children which to me makes it a great place to live.
Telephones have a monthly charge of around £8.00 and on average a couple will spend around £20.00 unless you phone abroad. But more families use the Internet now to call from Bulgaria and this costs on average £15.00 a month and you can use it 24 hours.
A cinema ticket on average is £3.00, swimming pool is £1.50, car tax is £15.00, MOT is £15.00. These are just a few more examples of prices in Bulgaria.
Paying tax in Bulgaria is very simple but they are strict if the tax declaration is not in on time and a fine between £200 and £1000 is given. This only applies to people who buy more than one property as the law has now changed and if you buy only one property for personal use, you don't need a company. So anyone buying more than one house or has bought your property before 2013, should make sure you give your tax declaration in by the 30 March. The tax year finishes on 31 December.
All prices given are average prices for the major towns in Bulgaria converted and rounded to the pound according to the current exchange rate. In villages and smaller towns these prices could be lower and in the capital Sofia higher.
I hope you found it interesting reading this article as most from what I wrote is from experience. I am English but my wife is Bulgarian, so if there is anything I don't know, I can find out for you. We give free and confidential advice to our clients or non clients so email us at firstname.lastname@example.org