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Cyprus Prices - A Rough Guide to Everyday Expenses

Every estate agent will tell you there's no better country to move than Cyprus. Prices are low, life is cheap, the sun always shines, the natives are friendly, and all that. But how true is this?

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If you really want to know about Cyprus' prices, you have to read a little

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Information about Cyprus

First, let me say that the Republic of Cyprus is not some untroubled paradise. It is a real country, with a real national character, real people, and its own particular quirks. With that said, I've lived here almost five years, and I personally wouldn't return to Britain unless I was forced to.

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Electricity, Water & Council Tax

So here's a short introduction to day-to-day living expenses in Cyprus.

To be fair, living in Cyprus isn't actually that much cheaper than living in Britain these days. This, however, is due more to the Pound's abysmal performance on the international currency markets than it is due to sky-high price rises in Cyprus. Sure, things have become more expensive since I arrived here in 2005, but haven't they everywhere?

One of the main differences, at least where shopping is concerned, is that in Britain you can cheerfully wander into a major Supermarket of your choice, pick up a can of Heinz Baked Beanz, and expect to pay 68p*; and the same goes for any number of other everyday products.

Not so in Cyprus; Prices of Heinz Beanz can vary between 99 cents and a staggering €1.75 per tin for starters. But that's not the point; the point is that there are oftentimes vast differences between the prices of the same day-to-day products from one Supermarket to another, so shopping around can save you an absolute fortune. And oddly enugh, this is actually one of the advantages of life in the Republic.

You see? Every Supermarket makes almost religiously sure that their special offers arrive in your letterbox each and every week. You might not get your mail from one week to the next, but you certainly know who's got the cheap beans, enabling you to work out a sort of shopping-strategy-map. And since Cyprus is a tiny island all the Supermarkets are close together in any case, so a shopping excusion isn't like having to drive clear across Nottingham to get from Tesco to Asda.

The time involved really is minimal, and the simple fact is that most people complaining about the High Cyprus Prices are simply too lazy to spend twenty minutes extra per week on shopping.

With the weekly shopping prices out of the way, what's next?

A Bottle of Propane Gas  

If there's one thing that used to consistently get on my nerves, albeit only at three monthly intervals, it's gas. No, not that kind; the kind they put in bottles for you to cook and bbq with.

Cyprus has no mains gas supply, yet the vast majority of dwellings have gas cookers which run on these gas bottles. They cost about €13.99, and you can get them in all Supermarkets and many petrol stations. However, the main problem with the damn things is that they don't run out when you're going to get your weekly ration of baked beans, or to fuel up your car.

They run out while you're cooking dinner, and when all the shops are closed.

And so you have to go and see Spiros at the local 24 hour kiosk, since he keeps a couple of bottles around because people like you forget to refill their spares. Spiros also charges €17.99 per bottle, because he knows your dinner's going cold and you have nowhere else to go.

This common situation illustrates two very important rules if you're planning to live in Cyprus:

  1. Always remember to refill your spare gas bottle as soon as it runs out, otherwise Sprios calls you his friend before extorting money from you.
  2. Never let it be said that Cypriots can't be astute business people.

This brings me to my next point, which is about dealing with the Natives

Now as any Cypriot estate agent will tell you, the natives are really friendly. And I must say that I personally have a lot of time for the Cypriot population, since by and large they are a personable, outgoing bunch that are quite easy to get along with. There are however more than a few exceptions to be found mixed into the population as a whole.

And I'm not even talking about Spiros; he's a truly nice guy, and we drink beer and Zinvana together at the local taverna. I'm talking about the ones that smile, call you my friend, and then sell you a car that doesn't actually belong to them or talk you into investing in a project that doesn't even exist.

Now don't get me wrong, you find these people everywhere, not just in Cyprus. The issue here is that a lot of expatriates arriving on these sunny shores have been told that there's practically no crime, and that the natives are friendly. As a result, it's like they let their guard down and automatically start trusting anyone who even vaguely looks Cypriot, oftentimes to their financial loss.

I've seen a lot of heartache and sadness caused by unscrupulous conmen since I've been here, in one case even resulting in complete financial ruin. So take it from me when I say:

When dealing with the natives in Cyprus or elsewhere, get to know and trust them slowly. Most of them are wonderful, upstanding people, but unfortunately a few bad apples are spoiling the barrel.

But back to the subject at hand: Overall, the simple reality is that in Cyprus, prices are not much better or worse than elsewhere; it's everyday life on the island that ultimately makes all the difference.

Although I know plenty of people who've been here a lot longer than I have, I'm officially considered a veteran on these shores. Apparently if you're still here after four years you've officially made it, and over the past five years I've certainly seen a lot of people come, and many of them go. And I can safely say that life in Cyprus isn't about how much a can of baked beans or a loaf of bread g else costs.

It's about you; it's about researching things properly; it's about meeting the right people.

It's also about whether Cyprus feels right for you.

So what about the day-to-day cost of living in Cyprus?

Aside from the fact that groceries (especially meat, fruit & vegetables) tend to be a little cheaper here than in the UK, the taxation aspect must also be considered in the overall cost of living in Cyprus. In the UK one of the major expenses for any home owner is Council Tax, with the average annual bill now exceeding the £1,500 mark. In Cyprus however, the equivalent charge is not nearly so dramatic, with 'council tax' weighing in at a staggering €120 to €140 per year, plus a 'refuse tax' of about another €170.

That's a great many loaves of bread...

For many of us, income is another important consideration.
Did you know that Cyprus benefits from one of the most benevolent tax regimes in the European Union? More information on tax in Cyprus can be found by clicking here.

  • If you're looking for a whole host of great reasons for and against moving to Cyprus, for retirement, self-employment, or whatever other reason, click here.
  • What few people realise is that the average cost of living can vary according to the region you happen to be living in. As a rule of thumb, the greater the number of British expatriates living in a town, the higher the living expenses. For more information about Cyprus' towns, regions and provinces, click here.

The cost of living in Cyprus is still somewhat lower than it is in the United Kindom

There has been some grumbling amongst British expatriates in the Republic of late, with many of them complaining about the high cost of living in Cyprus.

But whilst it is true that, compared to 'minimum*' local wages, living in Cyprus is actually only slightly cheaper than it is in the UK, most expatriates discussing the issue somehow fail to mention that they happen to be considerably better off residing in Cyprus than in the United Kingdom. Nor do those complaining seem to acknowledge that price rises have been just as pronounced in the UK as they have on Aphrodite's Isle, and that that, on balance, living in the UK is no longer as cheap as it was when they emmigrated.

Experienced professionals moving to the island also have little to fear, except cheaper rivals from Eastern European member states. Having said that, competent specialists still command above average wages in the Republic, and British-trained professionals are usually in high demand.

*By minimum wages, we really do mean minimum wages.

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