What an important question! Will life be cheaper or more expensive in my expat destination? Will my expat living cost me more than what I have to spend at home?
Thankfully, there are these nifty cost-of-living-converters on the internet. They are quite useful, but…
… you cannot completely rely on them.
First of all, you never quite know the source it came from. Can you depend on it? Is the information accurate and up-to-date?
And even if it is – the input for these cost of living calculations are usually provided by locals. And you have to be aware that your expat living is not necessarily level with the spending habits of local people:
- you might not always want to eat local food, but also pricy imported specialities;
- you might not be able to watch local tv because you don’t understand the language; so you might have to pay for the more expensive pay-tv service;
- due to language problems, you might not be able to get administrative chores done by yourself (like getting a new visa), but you might have to employ someone who does it for you;
- you might not be able to send your children to local schools (that are often for free), but to expensive private schools;
- you might be used a to a lifestyle that the locals consider luxurious – and that the host Government taxes highly. Prices for cars, perfume, electronics, high-speed internet connections, etc might be much higher than what you are used to;
- or you might even have to employ a driver, whereas in your home country you manage to drive perfectly well yourself;
- currency fluctuations are usually not considered in these comparisons;
It is interesting to have a look at these cost-of-living comparisons, no doubt. You find one here, for instance: http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/comparison.jsp
Just take the information with a pinch of salt.
And for your salary negotiations, you’d better not depend on these comparisons alone. Find out what you have to spend for a house or school, for instance.
That is why we list the exact prices for goods and services in our Expat-Living.info Guides. It is the only way you can set up a reliable budget for your expat living.
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