Cost of living

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Cost of living

Postby chris5031 » Mon 14 Mar 2011 17:06

Hello all,

I have a rather specific query regarding the cost of living in Malta.

I currently live in Portugal and generally earn between €1000 and €3000 per month working as a freelance professional translator for (Northern) European clients. My partner does the same so our yearly combined income is (to be quite conservative I'll assume a monthly income of €1750 each) approximately €42,000 before tax/deductions so let's say around €36,000 net combined income or €18,000 each per year.

We live relatively well here and I'm interesting in knowing how far those of you already in Malta would think our income would go there...?

To give you a (rough, I know) indication of our life style:

We would need to rent a two bedroom (we work from home) modern and fully equipped apartment in a central area (Valletta, Sliema, Gzira probably) and would obviously need to pay electricty, gas, internet, water charges etc. Here we are paying €550 per month for a (completely) unfurnished but brand new 2 bedroom in a good location, not including any bills. The bills probably amount to €150-200 each month (varies according to time of year and our bills are quite high as we work from home).

In addition to those basic costs we also spend about €70-100 on groceries per week plus we eat out every day at lunch (€25-35 each per week as they have reasonably priced lunch menus here) and a few times at the weekend (maybe €30-60 each per week). We travel quite a bit, mostly just for short weekend breaks, say 3-4 times a year(using Ryanair usually!). The other major cost we have is a (very good) gym membership at about €70 each a month. The bulk of our (disposable) income goes on eating out and traveling as this is what we enjoy doing. We don't spend very much, comparatively, on clothes, going out to bars/clubs etc. I am concerned that, in comparison to Portugal, eating out in Malta may be alot pricier... Would I be correct in my assumption? If so, this would be a major factor in our decision to possibly move to Malta...

So...! My question is, I suppose, do you think that we could have a similar/comparable standard of living in Malta on our income? We are not committed to leaving Portugal at this point, as we really love it here, but some negative points (such as the long, wet, cold winters) are making us consider other places and a possible relocation at some point. Malta is one possibility so I would really appreciate any help/advice you could give me.

Thanks to in advance for your help.
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Postby Terrakka » Tue 15 Mar 2011 09:44

Hi Chris,
I used to live in Lisbon for four years before coming to Malta so perhaps I may answer your query.
In general all of what you have imagined price wise will be more or less correct with the exception of lunch. They dont have cafe's like in Portugal and I dont believe you can have a bitoque, imperial and a bica and walk away with change from Eur6.00 here (I do miss a good bitoque!)
I would have normally eaten our for lunch daily also in Lisbon as it was very reasonable but would not do so here in Malta.
As the minimum wage is around the Eur400 mark in Portugal, the government intentionally keeps the price of food and drink low so people can survive which is why you will find eating lunch out daily quite inexpensive.
Hope this helps
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Postby chris5031 » Tue 15 Mar 2011 10:19

Muito obrigado!
That's very useful, thanks so much. It is as I had feared then! Hmmm... I suppose it comes down to whether I am willing to sacrifice bitoques at lunch time for better winter weather. I'm honestly not sure! :-P You've certainly given me food for thought!
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Postby gozomark » Tue 15 Mar 2011 12:40

Gym membership is alot cheaper - good quality membership in Gozo is about € 400 a year, and that includes a big pool

winters are warm here outside, but not inside
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Postby Terrakka » Tue 15 Mar 2011 14:31

Sorry Chris / GM
I didnt mention that I have no idea about the gym membership when I gave a more or less agreement to the costs mentioned in Chris's original post so I have no idea what the cost is. GM has kindly let us know.

Chris - I would love to make a bitoque at home but its just not the same as what you get in a cafe :(
Just realised you are in Porto and I know they dont call a small beer 'an imperial' or an expresso 'a bica' Cant remember what they are called north of Lisbon but I guess you understood what I meant.

I will say that from what you said you will have as your disposable income and what you have as your normal lifestyle - you should be comfortable enough in Malta - taking it a bit easy on the daily lunches though! :)

Would you not consider the Algarve as a destination? I know some places can be tacky tourist spots but there are also quiet villages where you could live. A 600km difference (mais ou menos) between Porto and the Algarve and you will get better weather!
Embarrassingly enough after four years in Lisbon I never got as far north as Porto. The weather in Lisbon could also be miserable at times including today according to a friend there. But there are also times when here in Malta you wish you could emigrate to Oz for a few months of the year for the better weather.
I suppose its six of one and half a dozen of the other.

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Postby chris5031 » Tue 15 Mar 2011 15:33

Thanks for your replies!

Our gym membership is probably at one of the best (virgin active!) gyms in Portugal, hence the high cost. The (older, smaller) gym we used before this one was about 50 Euros a month, so significantly cheaper. It's good to know that a quality membership is reasonably priced in Malta.

Yes, I'm in Porto! We call them a "fino" and a "cafe" and a bitoque would probably be a "prego" here... :D But yes, I understand perfectly!

That's all good to know, thanks. I don't know about the Algarve really. I'd thought about considering there or Madeira because of the climate but I've never been anywhere in the Algarve that I've liked. Saying that, I've only ever been to the really touristy areas (Vilamoura, Albufeira) which are a world away from Lisbon and Porto.

But yes, I should certainly have a little look around as the weather would obviously be much better there. Although I like being in a large (ish) city so I'm not sure how I'd feel living somewhere smaller. Ah, and the other issue is that I don't drive (yet!) so this could be a major problem in the Algarve!

Yes, I think the problem is that there are six perfect, idyllic months here Portugal in terms of weather and then six horrible months which are made much less bearable by the complete lack of central heating/insulation! Although, from what I've read, this is a similar issue in Malta!
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Postby Rachy » Sun 20 Mar 2011 08:45


I have no experience of gyms on Gozo, but most of the bigger hotels have gyms/spas and, like UK, do various rates. The one I use includes indoor and outdoor pool use, has a goodish set of equipment in good repair, and a huge studio that you can use if there are no classes. Their yearly rate for a married couple was €373 last year.

I have never been, but if if you Google gyms near Ta'qali you will find the biggest one and it should give you prices and an idea of how it matches up to the one you use.

For me, location is key as I prefer to walk, run or cycle to my sessions.

Good luck!
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