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Expat hotspots with the lowest – and highest – costs of living

Written by: Christina Hoghton
Running a household in the UK is eye-wateringly expensive, but which popular destination for Brits is the most affordable?

The UK is more expensive to raise a family than many of the most popular expat hotspots, according to research by MoneySupermarket.

In fact, we have the dubious honour of beating Spain, the US, Germany and Sweden when it comes to the running costs associated with a four person family – and that’s mainly down to high rent, utility bills and the cost of groceries.

The price comparison site looked at the average monthly cost of property, utility bills and grocery shopping for a family with two children in 10 locations that are popular places for Brits to emigrate to.

The expat hotspots were then ranked in terms of the cost of living by comparing the proportion of typical salaries typically needed for household expenses.

In the UK the cost of living for a four-person family is £60,000 per year – 103% of average household income.

Cheapest place to live

With lower utility bills (£94.41 per month), heavily subsidised pre-school costs (£230.34) and a standard average monthly rent of £1,149.40, Sweden is the only country analysed where a single parent can comfortably afford to have two children, working out as 87% of the average working salary. Based on two adults with two children it’s even more affordable, eating into less than half (43%) of the combined salaries.

Germany, Australia, New Zealand and Canada make up the top five cheapest expat hotspots, while the USA, Ireland and France are all popular destinations with high costs of living attached.

Kevin Pratt, consumer affairs expert at MoneySupermarket, said: “Raising a family is a huge challenge, and many parents find themselves struggling to meet the costs they face. On top of that, they are often time-poor, which means they don’t want to contemplate an overhaul of their family finances. But you can potentially save a significant amount of money in a short period with a bit of shrewd online shopping around.”

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