On the Ex-pat Blog there’s a forum post asking people a few cost of living related questions. Quite a few people seem under the impression that Malta is an expensive place to live. I think it’s entirely up to where you are coming from, what you are expecting when you get here and your general view on life.
However, here is my personal response based on my life in England and my life in Malta.
1. Accommodation prices (how much does it cost to rent or to buy an accommodation in Malta?)
England- I was paying the equivalent of over €650 rent plus over €100 council tax on a one bedroom flat, no heating and with mould and ancient furnishings. Toilet didn’t flush properly, shower broke, my water tank exploded twice (I had two, both went) and all my clothes got ruined from the damp.
Malta- We rent a two bedroom, fully and stylishly furnished flat with a very long balcony in a nice area and its €450 (approx £370) a month. It’s all done out in black and white, everything works, huge flat screen TV, double bed in the main bedroom, two single beds in the guest room. Lots of drawers and wardrobe space. Aircon/heating.
Therefore rent over here in my experience is SO much cheaper and you get so much for your money
2. Public transportation fares (tube, bus etc …).
England- I had to get the train to work when I lived in another town (no buses) and it cost me 7.50GBP a day or 140GBP a month. The train journey was only about 20 minutes and this is a massive expense (over €160). When I moved to the town I worked in the bus would have cost me between 3-5GBP a day.
Malta- I pay 47c (about 30p!) a day to get to work and the most I’ve ever paid on a bus (one side of the island to the other) was 1.16EUR. I work Mon-Fri so for simplicity sake say 4 weeks in a month, 20 working days- that’s about €9.40 a month.
3. Food prices (per month, how much does it cost you?)
England- I used to shop mainly at Tesco and I would spent about £100 on each visit and go at least twice a month. Then I would undoubtedly have little trips to the (extortionate) local shop for bread, ham, bacon, sausages etc whenever I ran out. Definitely in excess of £200 (over €240) a month.
Malta- Some people on this thread quoted €400 a month for two people which absolutely shocked me. If I ate out everyday I am not sure it would even amount to that! If you buy local products rather than just the ones you recognise from home it’s no more expensive than the UK and I find it cheaper. I live with my partner, we stock the fridge with cola, fizzy orange drinks, squash, fresh juice, fruit and veg, fresh meat, breaded chicken, burgers, frozen chips, crisps, bread, noodles and all manner of pastas and sauces and treats like chocolate, ice lollys, croissants etc and we pay about €150 a month maybe pushing €200.
4. Health prices (for those who need medical insurance)
I got one quote online for private medical insurance which was just over €60 a month. This sounds like a lot to me but I have no idea what it cost in England as I got it free through work. Depending on your job you may also get it free in Malta. It’s free to go see a public doctor or you can pay a fee to see a private doctor (even if you dont have insurance) can be 10-30EUR depending on the appointment. Prescriptions and over the counter medicines are a lot more expensive than England however.
5. Eduction prices (if you need to pay)
6. Energy prices (oil, electricity)
England- two of us living in a one bedroom flat, only had electric, no gas. We always had the lights off and used candles in the evenings, watched the TV, had to turn on a boost for over 30 mins to get any hot water and I think there may have been a problem with my economy7 but we were paying £40/50 a WEEK most weeks in just electricity.
Malta- our cooker is gas, the canister was full when we moved in and we’ve been advised that we shouldn’t need to change it in the six month lease, however its only been a month so that remains to be seen and I’m not sure how much these cost to top up. We use our aircon freely without thought to cost really, watch tv quite a lot and use a laptop and we pay an extra €60 a month on top of rent to cover these things. This for me is brilliant for the two of us!
7. Common bills (Internet, television, telephone, mobile phone)
England- I was paying £35 a month for a fairly decent TV package plus the internet. No landline as I could not afford it. My contract on my mobile was £40 a month but generally cost me between £60-80 (no idea how or why!). I was always getting cut off and our electricity ran out frequently, so more than once I was stuck in the flat of a night, no electricity (no lights, no tv, no music, freezer thawing out) and unable to call anyone. The shops selling top up where no where near me and all shut around 6pm)
Malta- C’s work will pay for our internet once he’s been there 3 months but from what I see its about €50 a month for a package worth having. I have no idea about TV as we just stream online all the English TV shows that we miss! Project Free-TV is brilliant as it has so much and streams like a dream most of the time.
Home phones I think are great, get an easyline phone as they are like pay as you go, you buy a top up as if for a payphone so can keep absolute tabs on how much you spend.
Mobiles we had a bit of a problem with, to buy they are very expensive and we couldn’t get a contract as we are not maltese. However I just bought the cheapest phone I found- €39 at vodafone (the same mobile costs £9.97 in Tesco in UK!) and use pay as you go.
8. Prices of a good menu in a traditional restaurant
I would say no different to the UK really and there are some amazing restaurants here.
9. Prices of a beer or a coffee in a regular pub
Malta- Local beers are incredibly cheap, some less than or not much more than €1 which you would never find in the UK. Other things are fairly expensive, vodka redbull can be near on €6 but this is only the equivalent of about £4 which is exactly the same as a pub in England.
So over all from my emigration I have found general living so much cheaper. I’ve had no problems with being over charged for anything. Food, rent and travel are so cheap its incredible, it is only really the internet that is more expensive.
My partner and I both took large pay cuts to move here and we are still in a much better position than we were, and ever would have been, in the UK.