As a native Romanian, I’ve lived in Romania, then moved to France and now we’re in England, UK so I think I can compare how is living in Romania to living in West Europe.
Well… considering that the local salaries are 3 to 4 times lower compared to the West, most Romanians would say living in Romania is EXPENSIVE! We have a saying in Romania: “We have Western prices but Eastern salaries”. You can easily see why we say this:
- Food costs more or less the same as it does in the West, already made a comprehensive analysis in the article entitled “How much does food cost in England UK compared to Romania” available HERE;
- Cars cost the same, in fact most are actually considerably cheaper in the UK compared to Romania , here’s an example, same car, same year, same mileage , costs 2500 EUR more in Romania , despite the fact that salaries are 3 to 4 times smaller there;
Oh and btw, here in UK we don’t pay taxes for owning a car, like they do in Romania, only a road tax equivalent to Vinieta.
- Petrol and Diesel are probably 10% cheaper in Romania for whatever that counts when you earn 500 pounds per month …
- Electronics, clothes and shoes cost the same , they don’t even bother to change the price tag, one tag with all the currencies in all of Europe
- Appliances and household goods costs the same, I even found some items to be cheaper here in the UK compared to Romania (e.g. deodorant spray found at 1.25 GBP here, same costs 14 RON (2.55 GBP! ) or more in Romania)
- Cigarettes and alcohol are significantly cheaper in Romania, I don’t smoke so not really bothered. If you really want, you can get cigarettes in UK at very low prices as well so…
- Going out: a decent meal in town costs in UK around 60 pounds per couple, while in Romania , a similar restaurant will probably set you back around 130 Lei or 23 GBP, so yeah, Romania is great for Western tourists, but not so great for the locals…
- Utilities: average electricity and gas bill for a 3 bedroom house in UK is around 150 GBP per month (can rise to 200 in the winter months), I was told by friends and family that a communist 1 or 2 br flat in Romania pays on average 70 EUR per month for this , so I imagine an equivalent 3 br house , wouldn’t be far behind to what I pay, perhaps those that live in Romania in such a house can shed some light on this. Best estimates I got from the internet are around 1000 Lei per month for this winter of 2023, which is roughly 180 GBP , so pretty much the same….
- Housing: a decent 3 bedroom house in Liverpool costs 650 GBP per month (rent or mortgage), average salary in UK is 2000 GBP
By comparison, in my hometown of Constanta, Romania, such a house or 3 bedroom apartment , costs at least 500 EUR per month , average wage in Constanta is around 750 EUR per month (663 GBP) or 3800 Lei (might be a bit optimist to be honest…)
Some might say that they don’t pay rent in Romania. According to some articles like this one on BBC, Romania has a home ownership rate of 96%! It’s probably lower than that, but still pretty high compared to West Europe.
Well, my parents do own their home because they got their apartment practically for free from the communist regime, we call it the great giveaway or “The great mocangeala” – where everyone from our parent’s generation, got their communist homes for free after the fall of communism. Most of them are ugly, grey, depressive commie block flats like the one below, that are really small and poorly insulated…but hey, free is free right?
But anyone born after 1980 doesn’t have such regime legacy freebies and find it really hard to buy a 70,000 EUR apartment with a 700 EUR wage… What those studied don’t show is the 50%+ percentage of young people in Romania still living with their parents after the age of 30…
Even if somehow you managed to escape the burden of rent or mortgage, the daily costs of living in Romania still piles up and eats away at your purchasing power, leaving you very little to save or spend on holidays, or leisure.
Some Romanians claim they live better off in Romania than us Diaspora in the West, I fail to see how to be honest… There is a reason after all, why 6 million Romanians out of a population of 22 m, emigrated to the West…
If you liked the article or have additional questions, I hope I can help you and I’m waiting for you in the comments section or leave a message on the GarciaCalavera.com fb page. If you like the page, you can like and share the article to help others in this situation.
Check out other expat lifestyle articles:
- How is life in Hull? England – UK – Impressions after 3 years as Expat
- How is living in Romania compared to UK?
- How to find a house to rent in UK and make sure you get it?
- The Romanians that left the UK for Romania – What do they say? Is it better home or will they come back?
- How much does a house cost in England? London versus the North of UK
- How to change your EU driving license to an UK driving license
- How are taxes in Romania compared to West Europe, do we pay more?
- Immigration from EU to UK England after Brexit Work and Family paths – Who can do it and how?
- Is it better to live in Germany or UK on the long term? Why?
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- What is something that you can do in Romania that a person in the United Kingdom can not do?
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- UK Point Based Immigration System 2021 – How does it work?
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- UK cost of living in England – What salary do you need for a decent living here?
- Which country is better to live in: UK England or France? – Why?
- UK- How much does food cost in UK? – Is it cheaper than East Europe – cost comparison UK vs Romania
- UK Residence – How to Apply for SETTLED or PRE SETTLED STATUS
- What do the Romanians in UK think about Brexit – their lives here and is it still worth coming to the UK?
- Expat Marriage in England UK – Procedure and Costs
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- UK NINO – How to get it and how long does it take?
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- First 30 days in Hull UK as Expat
- Marseille – France one year impressions
- How to get PACS in France
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- TOP 10 most Beautiful and Authentic cities to visit in EUROPE ,
- Lisbon – Portugal vacation,
- The London Week ,
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- Sydney Australia ,
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Check out other articles from Romania:
- Tales of the past – Unique photos of Constanta Trams and Trolleybus in 1991 ,
- Why Romanians are still mourning the communist regime after 29 years ,
- Tales of the past – unique photos of Constanta park and miniature train line in 1991 ,
- Once upon a time – the lost train line from the park