Cost of living in the EU, the UK, and the USA

The cost of living in Europe, the UK and the USA is relatively high. Prices for goods and services aren’t the only ones to blame, as these countries have high taxes, too. If you spend enough time in the country to become a tax resident or earn income in the country, you will have to pay taxes at local rates.

Learn more about prices and taxes in Europe, the UK and the USA.

Cost of living and taxes in the UK

Real estate is expensive in the UK: the price per square metre averages between £2,000 to £12,000, depending on the property location. However, housing in London costs 1.5—2.5 times more.

Homeowners pay annual municipal property taxes. The rate depends on the property area and value. The tax is usually paid by people who live in an apartment or house, even if it is rented out. The tax amount usually ranges between £700 and £5,500 per year.

On average, the utility bills for an 85 m² apartment are £100 to £330 per month.

Taxes are relatively high in the UK, too. The income tax is paid on a progressive scale. If a tax resident earns £50,271 to £150,000 per year, they pay 40%. If the income exceeds £150,000, the rate is 45%.

The capital gains tax is 10 to 28%.

To become a UK tax resident, you must spend at least 183 days a year in the country. You will also become a tax resident if you own property only in the UK and spend at least 91 days there in total and at least 30 days during the tax year.

The cost of living in the UK. A family of four needs about £2,400 a month to live in the UK without rent. The average prices for groceries are the following:

  • 1 litre of milk — £1;

  • 12 eggs — £2;

  • 1 kg of chicken fillet — £5.70;

  • 1 kg of rice — £1.4;

  • 1 kg of apples — £2;

  • 1 kg of tomatoes — £2;

  • 1 kg of potatoes — £1.1;

  • 1 kg of onions — £1;

  • 1 bottle of wine — £7.

A three-course dinner for two in an ordinary restaurant costs about £60; a monthly fitness club membership is about £30. A litre of gasoline costs an average of £1.6.

Material prepared by an expert

Frequently asked questions

  • Is it expensive to live in Europe?

    In general it is expensive to live in Europe and not only because of high prices but due to high taxes as well.

  • Which country in Europe has the highest cost of living?

    Countries with the most expensive goods and services are Germany, Luxembourg, Switzerland, and Norway. To rent a one-bedroom apartment in the city center you would need between €900—€1700.

  • What is the cheapest EU country to live in?

    Portugal is one of the cheapest EU countries with residence by investment programs. A single person would need around €600 without rent for a month. Cost of a 1‑bedroom apartment in the city center is about €750.