Budgeting Tips for Living in France

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Budgeting Tips for Living in France

If you’re planning a move to France, it’s likely you’ll need to make a budget. To make this as painless as possible, we’ve explored some of the key considerations when budgeting for a life in France, along with a few handy tips on how to save money.

The Impact of Brexit

Fortunately, Brexit hasn’t had a huge impact on moving to France. You’ll need to apply for a visa if you want to stay longer than 90 days, which will cost you €99 and a bit of time to get the necessary documentation together.

Once you’ve got your visa you can apply for French Residency, which is another €269. Since Brexit the income requirement has increased to around €1,250 per month and you’ll need to meet a minimum level of French proficiency, but you certainly don’t need to be fluent.

Budgeting for Living Costs

Of course, housing is likely to be your biggest cost, and prices vary widely across France. Renting a one-bedroom apartment in central Paris will set you back around €1,400 a month, while the same-sized property in Marseille could be almost a third of the cost.

House prices are equally wide-ranging, but there are a few ways you can reduce the associated costs. Check out these money saving tips for buying French property.

Another key consideration is healthcare. The state covers around 70% of medical costs, though in some more serious cases treatment is 100% covered. You may want to opt for private health insurance to cover the remainder, but that will bump up your budget.

If you’re a parent, you may have to factor in schooling and childcare costs. Education is free in France, but state schools aren’t typically bilingual; if you want an international school you’ll likely have to go private. Similarly, crèches are around 80% funded by the state but they’re in high demand, so you may also need to budget for childcare.


If you’re a non-resident, you’ll only be taxed on your French income. As a French resident, you’re liable to pay tax on your worldwide income, regardless of whether you actually bring it into the country. In addition, your income tax is not deducted from your monthly salary, so you’ll need to put some money aside and fill out a tax return every year.

Some sources of income, such as from UK assets or dividends, are liable for tax in the UK. Others, like UK bank interest, are only taxable in France. And while ISAs and Premium Bonds are tax free in the UK, they’re considered taxable income under the French system.

You’ll need to declare all your income in France, and any taxes you pay in the UK will be deducted from your French tax bill.

It’s also worth noting that your tax rate depends on your household. The overall household income is divided by the number of people it supports, with children counting as half. So, a home with two adults, two children and a combined income of €60,000 will be taxed at the same rate as a single person earning €20,000.

Pension Payments

Generally speaking, pension payments are taxed at the same rate as income tax. One exception is if you have a UK civil service pension, as they are always taxable in the UK. Again, you’ll need to declare it as income, but the UK tax you’ve paid will come off your French bill.

Unlike in the UK, pension lump sums tend to be taxed as income in France. You may, however, be able to secure a fixed low rate plus a reduction on a portion of your pension. This is potentially a great way to take part of your pension and make a savvier investment.

For all forms of income, the best thing to do is speak to a local financial advisor. Everybody’s situation is unique, so getting specialist advice is crucial.

Transferring Your Money

It’s also best to speak to a specialist when you need to exchange currencies. Currency exchange companies, such as TorFX, offer more competitive exchange rates than high-street banks are able to,
and can offer a wider range of services and tools to help you capitalise on movements in the currency market, giving you a lot more flexibility.

You’ll also find that some providers charge transfer fees of up to £30 per transaction, which can eat into your funds. TorFX doesn’t charge transfer fees, and their app allows you to transfer sums of up to £25,000 on the go, 24/7, which is handy if you need to make ad hoc transfers. You can trade larger sums online or via your own dedicated account manager.

Whether you want to send or receive overseas funds from salary income, investments or pension payments, you’re likely to get a lot more from your money by going through a trusted currency provider.

This article was provided by TorFX – a leading international currency transfer specialist. TorFX have been helping people save time and money on currency transfers to France since 2004 and they have an ‘Excellent’ rating on Trustpilot. Find out how much you could save by getting a free quote now.