Affordable Bucharest is a haven for UK expats

Published:  27 Dec at 6 PM
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Is the city of Bucharest as inexpensive as its reputation suggests?

Having enough money for a satisfactory lifestyle is a challenge for the vast majority of expats living in a foreign country. Researching the cost of living including renting a suitable property is easier now than in pre-internet days, but the downside of online reports is knowing which to believe and which to discard as just another advertorial. Bucharest is a good example, as many citizens live overseas for a while and eventually return, giving their comparisons of life abroad with life as it’s lived in the home town. The majority of long-term expats as well as repatriating citizens in Bucharest report a better quality of life, putting the emphasis firmly on money and how far it goes on a monthly basis.

Bucharest, it seems, gives as good value as it always did, making meals out at good restaurants, taxi journeys and reasonably-priced central apartments affordable on an average salary. The lowdown on what’s cheap and what’s expensive for what it is can simply be a matter of acquired experience. For example, eating out is cheap and buying ingredients in supermarkets and cooking at home is expensive – the exact opposite of the experience in most other European expat hubs including the UK. The one exception to this rule is Romania’s inexpensive and utterly delicious fresh bread avialable in the supermarkets.

Entertainment at any level is surprisingly cheap, whether it’s opera, pop concerts or catching the latest Star Wars epic at a local cinema. Travel, by whatever means of transport, is cheap, especially when compared with the UK’s pricey offerings.
However, if you’re planning to start a family, the cost of raising children is very expensive, especially if an international school is preferred. Fees can be well over EUR 20,000 a year – more than half the cost of Eton! Medical insurance, nursery charges, activities and suchlike seem rigged price-wise in favour of ripping off parents every which way.

At least accommodation costs are reassuringly inexpensive compared with London, with renting or even buying property outright affordable for all, or almost all, expats on a reasonable salary. In fact, apart from an international school-based education, the only exorbitantly priced necessity is a cup of coffee in one of the city’s dedicated coffee shops. Yes, you can buy cheap street coffee, but once you’ve tasted the real deal you won’t want to! Bucharest’s best coffee shops are havens for gourmet coffee-lovers, and you can sit there sipping the magic brew for as long as you like, whilst thinking of how much cash you’ve saved on rent.
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