International Cost of Living Calculators

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Bulgaria, All Areas

Bulgaria, All Areas

Cost of living in Bulgaria, prices and what it is like to live for an Expat, quality of life / hardship, and compare cost of living for Expatriates as at July 2023.

What is it like to live in Bulgaria?

Climate: The climate is temperate with cold, damp winters and hot, dry summers.

Language: The official language is Bulgarian. Many young people and business personnel speak English and other European languages. An interpreter is generally essential outside the capital Sofia and often useful within. Embassies or hotel business centres can usually recommend good interpreters. Bulgarian is a South Slavonic language closely related to Serbian and Macedonian (which Bulgaria does not recognise as a separate language) and to a lesser extent to Bosnian, Croatian and Slovenian. The Cyrillic alphabet is used in most public places, including on restaurant menus and road signs, though Roman letters are generally used alongside the Cyrillic on highways. Be advised to bring a small dictionary.

Religion: Christianity.

Economy: The economy of Bulgaria is an industrialised, open free market economy, with a large, moderately advanced private sector and a number of strategic state-owned enterprises.

Inflation: 8.5% for Bulgaria as at July 2023.

Money: The currency of Bulgaria is the Bulgarian Lev (BGN). There is a large network of ATMs that accept international credit and debit cards.

Tax: In Bulgaria is based on the current personal income tax rate which is a flat rate of 10%.

Population: 7 Million (2022 est.)

Expat Life: Bulgarian society is relatively conservative, formal and patriarchal. Alternative lifestyles are generally not tolerated. Expatriate dress code tends to be formal and conservative. The safety risk for expatriates in Bulgaria is low. Risks include petty, opportunistic street crime and pickpocketing, as well as racially motivated crime.

Health Care: Health care facilities are generally acceptable, although somewhat below international standards, and specialised equipment and treatment may not be available. Private health care facilities are generally better equipped and not as expensive as private healthcare in many other countries. There have been outbreaks of trichinosis.

Bulgaria covers all areas within the country other than Sofia.

Cost Of Living

What is the cost of living in Bulgaria?

The cost of living for expatriates in Bulgaria as at July 2023 is low in comparison to other places in the world, with an overall Cost of Living Index (COLI), for all 13 basket groups, of 46.56 (New York =100). We have collected prices for the same items, world wide, based on Expat spending norms, in or closest to the location, and converted them to $USD so that we can compare the cost of 13 different baskets in 780 global locations. For each basket, compared to New York, the equivalent cost in Bulgaria is as follows:

1) Alcohol and/or Tobacco: Cost is very low for items such as beer, spirits, wine and tobacco related products such as cigarettes. A basket costing USD$1,000 in New York costs USD$460. Average price in a store for a midrange bottle of wine is USD$7.27, domestic/local beer (500ml) USD$2.55, imported/international beer (330ml) USD$1.87 and a pack of 20 cigarettes is USD$4.37.

2) Clothing: Cost is low for items such as business, casual and children's clothing and footwear. A basket costing USD$1,000 in New York costs USD$680. Average price for an international brand of mens jeans is USD$58, a quality international brand of running shoes USD$75, mens leather shoes suitable for office wear USD$83 while a medium size international summer dress from a global chain store is USD$30.

3) Communication: Cost is very low for various communication costs such as home telephone rental, internet subscription, mobile service provider tariff and data costs. A basket costing USD$200 in New York costs USD$80. Average price for a monthly standard plan internet subscription is USD$13, while the benchmark mobile tariff is USD$16.22 per minute.

4) Education: Cost is low for items such as creche / pre-school fees, primary school fees, high school fees and tertiary study fees. A basket costing USD$30,000 in New York costs USD$17400. Average annual private international school fee (excluding extras) USD$11,218 for Primary School, and USD$12,483 for High School.

5) Furniture & Appliances: Cost is average for items such as dining table and chairs, home entertainment, kitchen appliances, and sofas. A basket costing USD$2,500 in New York costs USD$1725. Average price for a 6kg front loader Washing Machine is USD$645, and USD$554 for a 46+'' LED UHD TV.

6) Groceries: Cost is low for items such as consumables, cleaning products, dairy, fresh fruit & vegetables, general food products, snacks, soft drinks. A basket costing USD$1,000 in New York costs USD$570. Average grocery prices in a major international retail store for 1 kg apples is USD$0.82, 1 kg oranges USD$0.88, 1 head lettuce USD$1.13, 1 kg potatos USD$0.55, 1 kg boneless, skinless, chicken breast USD$4.15, 1 kg cheddar cheese USD$5.50, 1 dozen large eggs USD$3.77, 500g loaf white bread USD$1.09, 1 L full cream milk USD$7.67, and 1.5 L water USD$0.81.

7) Healthcare: Cost is low for general heath care, doctor visits, hospital stays, non-prescription medicine, and medical insurance. A basket costing USD$1,000 in New York costs USD$520. Average healthcare cost for a private practice Doctor visit for an uninsured patient is USD$42, and a private hospital stay per day including nursing care, medications, diagnostic tests, food, and related costs is USD$1,297.

8) Household Accommodation: Cost is very low for items such as apartment rent, house rent, property purchase, mortgage rate, and utilities. A basket costing USD$5,000 in New York costs USD$900. Average expatriate house / apartment rent for a secure upmarket unfurnished apartment (3 bedrooms) is USD$1,352 in a central location, and USD$816 in a suburban location, per month, excluding utilities.

9) Miscellaneous: Cost is average for items such as dry cleaning, linen, magazines, newspapers, office supplies, and postage stamps. A basket costing USD$500 in New York costs USD$340. Average price for dry cleaning (1 mens 2 pc suit) is USD$6.68, while an international newspaper is USD$2.05.

10) Personal Care: Cost is average for items such as cosmetics, hair care, and toiletries. A basket costing USD$500 in New York costs USD$290. Average cost for a mens haircut and blow dry is USD$23, while a womens hair colour, cut and blow dry - medium length is USD$116.

11) Recreation & Culture: Cost is average for items such as books, cinema, sport and theatre tickets. A basket costing USD$500 in New York costs USD$280. Average price for a latest release international cinema ticket (average of on and off peak where applicable) for one adult is USD$9.63, and an international fitness, recreation or sports club membership cost for one adult is USD$36 per month.

12) Restaurants Meals Out and Hotels: Cost is low for items such as hotel daily room rates, meals and beverages in a restaurant, and take away food and beverages. A basket costing USD$1,000 in New York costs USD$410. Average cappuccino price (regular, medium) is USD$2.37, coke/pepsi (330ml) USD$1.63, burger meal (international franchise or similar) USD$8.72, and a mid-range international restaurant meal for 2 USD$50.91.

13) Transport: Cost is low for items such as fuel (petrol/gasoline), car hire, public transport, vehicle purchase and maintenance. A basket costing USD$1,000 in New York costs USD$640. Average average price over the last year for highest available octane petrol / gasoline (1L) is USD$5.97, while the benchmark car sedan purchase price including taxes/duties for a compact / small / economy vehicle (1.4 L) is USD$24,895.

How does the cost of living in Bulgaria compare?

Bulgaria is -27.9% cheaper than USA for groceries, -70% cheaper for household costs than UK, and 23.3% more expensive for transport costs than India.

What is the quality of life / hardship in Bulgaria?

Bulgaria is ranked as a high degree of hardship location.The hardship premium for Bulgaria for an expat from Australia, is for example 20%, i.e. host location (Bulgaria) premium of 30% minus home (Australia) location premium of 10%.

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