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June 23, 2008

Whats the cost of living in Croatia? - June 2008

Posted in: Emigrate to and live in Croatia, Featured articles

Cost of living in Croatia

We’re always being asked about the cost of living in Croatia and as it happens, the cost of living in the UK is currently a hot topic - well, it always is isn’t it? The Daily Mail newspaper recently started publishing its own monthly cost of living index based on a typical basket of food items. This got us thinking about the equivalent cost of living in Croatia and so on a recent visit to Krk we spent an hour or so in a local supermarket and “shopped” according to the Daily Mail’s basket of food items. Our intention was to compare the cost of these items with the equivalent cost in the UK.

Before we share the results of our shopping expedition, we have to state quite clearly that this is not intended to be a statistically robust piece of research! A like-for-like comparison isn’t really meaningful in this context. The Daily Mail’s shopping basket includes items that you wouldn’t ordinarily find, or necessarily want to find(!) in a Croatian supermarket. Also, whilst some of the shopping basket items can be found in Croatia, they’re specially imported and therefore command a premium price. For instance, we couldn’t find any Basmati rice, Weetabix, mild cheddar, thick pork sausages or baked beans – that’s not to say that they’re not necessarily available in Croatia – we just couldn’t find them in the supermarket we went to. We did find cornflakes, McVitie’s digestive biscuits, strawberry jam and teabags however – all of which are much pricier in Croatia than they are in the UK – but arguably wouldn’t form part of a typical Croatian shopping basket.

The shopping basket

So what did we find? Well, ignoring the items that are just not available or that we couldn’t find (in a bid for a semblance of like-for-like comparison), and including the “imported” items mentioned above, we found that our Croatian shopping basket came in at the equivalent of £60.45, some 4% above the UK cost of £58.13, which to be honest we found a bit surprising. Indulging in a bit of “statistical massaging” by taking out the “imports” resulted in the Croatian shopping basket coming in at the equivalent of £50.75, approximately 8% less than the UK cost, not as big a difference as we had expected. The price differences ranged from 73% cheaper in Croatia for 2.5kg of potatoes, through to 64% more expensive for a 1kg bag of frozen peas.

Household bills and transport costs

The Daily Mails cost of living index also includes sections on household bills and transport costs. We did a very unscientific comparison and came to the conclusion that household bills (excluding mortgage payments) as itemised by the Daily Mail would be approximately 52% cheaper in Croatia and transport costs up to 28% cheaper. In particular, council tax (or the equivalent of it) in Croatia is typically 90% cheaper than in the UK, whilst car insurance typically half the cost of that in the UK.

And the cost of living in Croatia?

Putting the three categories together, and based on our unscientific method of comparison, we came to the conclusion that the cost of living in Croatia is approximately 30% cheaper than the UK. Housing costs are the chief contributor to the lower Croatian cost followed by transport costs. Food shopping bills would appear to be similar, though the comparison above doesn’t take account of a typical Croatian shopping basket, where many goods such as fruit and vegetables would tend to be bought in season – and items such as Bernard Mathews turkey ham would probably not feature as a staple item!

Typically, other items of expenditure, such as eating out tends to be half the price of that in the UK - a good meal out including starter, main course and dessert can be found for about £13, while a takeaway pizza is about £3.50. For the ladies, a good hairdresser will charge less than half UK prices, whilst if you need dental work then a Croatian dentist will charge about 40% of the price a UK dentist would charge.


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