Today, let’s take a look at what the cost of living is in Greece as part of financial planning. (I will be comparing cost of living rates for other countries in Europe in later posts.)
Planning for a Move Abroad
Planning for a move abroad can be daunting, especially when it comes to understanding the cost of living in the target country. My husband and I are currently focusing on Greece as our main choice of countries to settle in after an early retirement, but we are keeping an open mind to other locales around Europe as well.
Why Greece as a Focus for Retirement
Our main reason for focusing on Greece has to do with the relatively low cost of living in the country, the ease of getting permanent residency in Greece, the climate and terrain, and the culture. We found Greece to be rather inexpensive compared to other places we’ve traveled to in the world. Even in large cities or tourist areas, the prices were not as high as we’ve seen in other European countries. Santorini was the most expensive place we traveled to while in Greece, but even that was quite reasonable considering it is a major tourist destination and an island.
Cost of Dining Out in Greece
When traveling, some of the items we pay attention to are the cost of eating out, gas, getting a coffee, and groceries, as these are the same costs that we would encounter if living permanently in the area. We love to eat out, especially in Mediterranean countries because the cuisine is so wonderful! Fortunately, eating out in Greece is very inexpensive. According to numbeo.com, the average price of dinner for two in a mid-range restaurant is $36. Our first night in Greece, we had a fabulous dinner with friends, including an appetizer, four main courses, wine, beer, and a shared dessert for less than $60 total. Throughout our travels in Greece, we found dining out to be inexpensive compared to dining out in the United States, and often extremely cheap. The most expensive meals we’ve had in Greece were in Santorini, but even those were $70 or less per couple for several courses and drinks.
Cost of Groceries in Greece
Grocery shopping in Greece was cheaper than what I experience in most places in the United States. Prices were very reasonable for basic groceries, and it was easy to find the items I am used to or would expect to see in my home grocery store. I would expect to spend slightly less on groceries per month while in Greece as compared to what I budget now for groceries.
Cost of Gas and Transportation
Gasoline is more expensive (about $6 – $7 per gallon), but like much of Europe, there are many options available for public transportation at a reasonable cost. Walking is a common means of getting around as cities are much more compact and amenities are easy to find within walking distance in many places.
Cost of Utilities and Internet Service
Utilities and internet expenses are quite affordable. Internet connections run about $35 per month, which is cheaper than what we pay in Southern California by more than half. Utilities tend to run about $180 per month for a small house or larger apartment, including electricity, water and trash. This is slightly less than what we pay in combined utilities in many places in the United States.
Cost of Renting a House or Apartment
Rent for an apartment or house in Greece is quite cheap; however, unless you purchase real estate valued at 250,000 Euros ($278,000) or more, or establish residency by some other means, your rental options will be limited to six-month terms. (I recently read that residency is now being offered in Greece to anyone who rents a property valued at 250,000 Euros or greater. I have not researched the details of this as of yet, so cannot confirm the validity of this claim, but will research more in the near future.) Rental rates for apartments are typically less than $1000 per month, with many options available in the $500 range. Houses are a bit more expensive to rent, but 2 to 3 bedroom houses can be rented in many areas for under $1500.
Estimated Monthly Cost of Living in Greece
Based on the rental of a two bedroom house, the cost of living in Greece per month is under $2000 for a couple, which is quite manageable!
Total: $1930 per month
There will be other costs, such as eating out, entertainment, and perhaps health insurance or out of pocket health fees, depending on each person’s individual situation. But even with these extra items, it is reasonable to assume a person can live quite comfortably in Greece with money to spare for $3000 per month.