Are you wondering what is the cost of living abroad? The cost of living varies from one country to the next. The cost of living is calculated based on how much you will pay for basic items and bills (in the same currency). You could, also, compare the cost of living with the average for a U.S. family of three. The average family of three in the U.S. earned $100,000 a year in 2,000. During that year, the most expensive cities in the world were Seoul ($190,158), Tokyo ($185,181), London ($122,168), Moscow ($118,548), and Buenos Aires ($105,551). During that year, the least expensive cities in the world were Turin ($63,064), Toronto ($65,958), Brussels ($69,568), and Bombay ($70,907).
Another way to compare the cost of living in different countries around the world is to consider the U.S. State Department Per Diem Rates. These rates are updated monthly. They are basically figures that indicate the maximum supplementary stipends that are allotted to service people and to their families in different countries around the world.
You could use a salary calculator to estimate the money you will need in your expat city. There are websites like The Salary Wizard that you could use to determine how much you will need to survive in a particular city. There are many ratings, surveys, and study that are based on studies of cost of living. You could use these if you are planning on relocating.
You should, however, note that cost of living figures are often misleading. This is because the figures mostly hinge on the assumption that you have moved beyond the tourist level and that you are now able to make well-informed choices on consumption. Note that this is not always the case with expatriates. They tend to live in communities, shopping in the same areas for services and goods.
You should, also, note that countries that have a high cost of living usually have more to offer than countries with lower cost of living. As an example, Germany is a costly country across the board, but you will find great architecture, great night life, and great food here.
You should not place all emphasis on the cost of living when relocating abroad. Equally, if not more important, is the standard of living and you should ask yourself about this even as you ask what is the cost of living abroad. Life is much more than the money you spend on rent, school, and outings. If you do not enjoy good services, great transport network, a clean environment, and even great Internet connection, you will not enjoy your stay even if you are able to save 70% of your salary.
Different surveys have different criteria when it comes to determining the cost of living abroad, but there certain parameters that are standard across the board. One of the criteria is the average monthly rental cost. Two bedroom apartments in nice neighborhoods are usually used as the parameters. The weekly grocery bill (per person or for a family of four) is also considered. Such things as eggs, milk, bread, meat, and veggies are considered. Also factored in are the cost of electricity (for every kwh), the cost of gas (per unit), and the cost of petrol/diesel (per liter or gallon). A cost of living survey will consider the cost of eating out, Internet costs, mobile/telephone costs, and cost of property (per square meter). When comparing two different places, ensure that the same parameters are used.
Other than these parameters, there are other things that you should also consider when determining what is the cost of living abroad. These include the cost of a live-in housekeeper, entertainment costs, furniture costs, cable TV costs, and travel costs.