Apparently you can live really cheaply in France.....

Catharine Higginson's picture
This has just been posted as a 'You can live in France for 26 dollars a day' feature... Comments please!!!

Rent: 750 euro $1,087
Water: 20 euro $29
Electricity: 35 euro $50
Propane gas (stove top): 13 euro $19
High-speed Internet: 35 euro $51
Cable TV: Included
Phone: Included
Cell phone: 40 euro $58
Food: 700 euro $1,015
Health insurance: 335 euro $485
Entertainment: 240 euro $348
Monthly total: 2,168 euro $3,144
This is a monthly total for a family of four.

For a couple, it would be reasonable to half this figure (the food budget, along with health insurance and rent in particular would be much lower for a couple)…a total of $1,572 per month. That’s just $786 per person per month to live very well in France.
Roger Thomas's picture

Gosh I wish I could live for half price but again your correspondant doesnt run a car and has no travel expenses, nor has any taxes to pay, we are asked to believe that this figure is for a family of four so that school trips, plume et cahiers etc need to be taken into account more normal figures might be :- No rent Water=€10 Electricity=€116 includes cost of wood for full time expats and pool pump etc Bottled Gas=€10 Internet=€27.9 Phone line etc=€56 Health ins=€85 Cell Phone= unnecessary Entertainment=unquantifiable Food=€800 What about Taxes? ie fonciere et habitation=€50+ Car insurance=€20+ petrol @ €1.28/litre so say €60pm at least Travel back to home country? So that gives €1235 per month or €617 ea or €20.56 ea per day or about $29.81 If you include €750 for rent, you are still liable for taxes and that brings the total for two to €1985 per month or €32.63 ea per day or $47.31 This is for two old F/*ts. who never go out!!! and still doesnt include the costs of the children. Get real.
Roger Thomas's picture

Sorry the food bill should read food and wine and everything else i.e, Activator for the Fosse, Salt for the pool, some seeds and stuff for the veg plot (which needs to be more productive in the future) and includes the cost of feeding visitors on a freebee for four months of the year.
Catharine Higginson's picture

My sentiments exactly! Plus the writer says she lives in the 64 region. Now we have lived there for the last three years and rents are high...We were paying 1200€ for a family sized house. There are cheaper parts of the 64 but they tend to be up a mountain or miles from anywhere so how does she manage with two kids and no car??? And I bet the 'food' figure doesn't include loo roll and washing powder! These type of features make me so cross as they are so unrealistic, never any mention of clothes, shoes, school dinners and so forth...Grrrr.
Tracy Thurling's picture

I wish, more like Water 50€ Electric 70€ Gas 80€ School lunches for 2 maternelle 110€ Taxe d'hab/fonc 160€ Not forgetting the car of course at around 150€ And every time I look at my 2 kids their clothes are too small - they grow like weeds. However, our food bill is lower, 500€ (it includes loo rolls etc, we also grow a lot and don't use convenience food) and 130€ for the mutuelle. A trip back to the UK is generally about 1000€ minimum so we avoid it if poss. Then don't forget car repairs 1200€, washing machine dying, 500€, printer dying (managing without till the last possible moment)- and they all just happened December! I wish money did grow on trees and I wish I had 240€ to spend on entertainment - not that I have the time or opportunity to go out much!
Craig McGinty's picture

You don't have a link to the full piece do you, interested to see what else they've written???
Catharine Higginson's picture

It came via the International Living 'Daily Postcards' that landed in my inbox yesterday. Should read "Daily work of fiction'... I've just had a look at the site and its not up there but I've forwarded you the original email for info. Happy reading!
Roger Thomas's picture

Like the sound of the cheapskate tricks and wanna know more, as I suspect a lot of other people would.
Roger Thomas's picture

Buy my wine by the box so I can drink it over a week or so . I know, shouts of philistine, should be shot, etc. But if its good enough for our neighbours...... I'm growing what I can but with last years influx of visitors the veggie patch got neglected but maybe I've got a new New years resolution. Our boulanger makes a 'Boulot'(sp?) for only 59c and its superb, a bigger one is 90c. OK make your own in the winter when the cuisiniere is burning but mid summer? My best tip tho is to compare Average French shopping prices with Lidl, Leader Price and Aldi and then what I can get on line at UK prices +10% delivery and bulk buy in advance from the least expensive source. there are times when some 'English' goods are cheaper in a normal Supermarche than in a dedicated English emporium, as when I ran out of Dundee Marmalade recently after TOH started baking Christmas stuff. PS Maybe I should have said British stuff, Dundee not having moved that I know of, but Marmalade is Spanish for Jam innit?
Roger Thomas's picture

Dug out the bread maker fom the back of the garage where it has hidden since we moved over , the flour for 'pain' plus a sachet of 'levure pour boulanger' and the ''French bread' setting makes a much better loaf than back in the UK and at a cost of 50/60c plus 3hrs 50 m of leccy gives a money saving 500g loaf.
Helen Aurelius-Haddock's picture

I agree with Roger. It's the"everything else" that pushes that figure upwards. Extras can be a large part of your monthly outgoings. I wonder if the food bill covers school lunches for the children? Does entertainment cover Christmas with children and birthday treats too? Holidays???? Car???? On the extras front I paid up 13 euros the other day for two pharmacy items that are no longer reimbursed via the Carte Vitale system. I think it's good to have a budget to work to, but at the same time, we all know that unforeseen expenses can sometimes be a nightmare to pay for.
Sarah Hague's picture

A family of 4 couldn't live in anywhere except a cupboard for 750Eur here in Montpellier, or in la zone with the drug addicts. Lovely... Would be interested to know what they wear seeing as clothes and shoes don't figure on the list and I seem to be buying one or the other every month for my two boys. Electricity seems a bit low too or maybe their don't use a washing machine cos they've got no clothes :)
Catharine Higginson's picture

well obviously - duh! Don't get me started on shoes - its ok when they are small - Lidl are great for sandals and trainers for tots but not so good for teenagers... And trousers - every time I collect our 8 year old from school - he's demolishes another pair of trousers...
Sarah Hague's picture

I just got some really cool stuff for my youngest (9) from C&A this weekend - 3 zappy tee-shirts, 3 pairs of sturdy cutoffs plus belt 91€. I thought that pretty reasonable.
Roger Thomas's picture

Except you could have bought 3 pairs of cargo pants(€15 ea) and a pack of black pirate Tee Shirts(€8) from Littlewoods on line for €53 plus €5 postage
Sarah Hague's picture

Thanks for the heads up Roger. There's no comparison with the stuff I bought though, plus delivery of 7 working days. It depends how much you want to spend I suppose. I didn't mind spending 91€ for stuff we went home with that he thinks is super up-to-the-minute and adores.
Suzanne Fitzgerald's picture

Electricity 170 euros Water 30 euro Tax D'H & Foncieres 60 euro Telephone & Internet 50 euro (& it's a rubbish internet phone which has loads of interference, before that it was 100 euro) Health Insurance 110 euro Food 800 euro (including cleaning products & toiletries which make up a significant chunk of our supermarket shop) Entertainment 120 euro (30 euro a week between the 2 of us includes eating out) Lifes Luxuries :) 50 euro (waxing/haircuts etc) Clothing & Shoes 100 euro (realistically given averaging out over the year and assuming no splurges) Misc Medical stuff 50 euro (not covered by State or Mutuelle including cat flea treatment & worming tabs!) Presents 100 euros (includes Christmas & Birthdays averaged over year) Car 380 (100 in petrol minimum, 80 insurance, 200 servicing/wear & tear/tyres/CT etc) Misc 100 (oops it's stopped working, blown up, leaking etc) So we're around 2000 euros without any rent/mortgage included for a family of 3. I know we have some non-essentials which we can cut back on but then it's not realistic to exclude stuff you will most likely spend anyway UK Stores Delivering Overseas
Stuart Wilson's picture

That's probably closer to the reality Suzanne. We are now 3 at home and we rarely save anything from my Salary which is around that sum. We are trying to cut back on the electricity this year (200 € per month over 10 months), by using the log burner a bit more. We are all electric, with electric underfloor heating. It's comfortable, but not cheapest to run. Stuart
Catharine Higginson's picture

Its all the extras isn't it - esp as the kids get older - an 80€ calculator for lycee (don't worry Suzanne I did look at the UK!!!), money for school trips...........can't think about it - too depresssng!!
Suzanne Fitzgerald's picture

yes we have wood on top of that - I forgot about's about 300 euros a year plus. Also insurance for the house & I guess for those with kids at school there are additional insurance Not forgetting life insurance.
Claudia Graf's picture

750€ rent gets you a studio here, a bit small for 4... Obviously the author lives close to everything, or takes the bus (but even then no fares are incl), but the car alone (insurance, maintenance, petrol) takes a big chunk out of the monthly budget. I guess the author just didn't think properly enough, as they would have found many more monthly charges... as all the responses showed! Although - it would be nice to have a budget like that, I am far from that.
Andrew Hearne's picture

How long's a piece of string... depends where you are and what you're expenses are: single living in a tiny place I was doing up and working at the same time life didn't cost me much at all... there are now four of us in a big place with all the same expenses as the rest of you so I won't bother putting a list together, suffice to say that for 26€ or $ a day... "they've got to be bloody joking or living in the middle of nowhere with no rent/mortgage to pay!"