Cost of living: Ireland versus
I have been discussing the cost of living in Ireland vs California with a couple of people of late, both here and face-to-face. It's an interesting topic, and one that can be quite divisive. Lately, Irish people would have you believe that the sky is falling when it comes to what must be paid out of pocket. New water charges, a relatively new property tax, TV license fee etc.
Here's some of the text of my most recent conversation with @soju4321 who's concerned about the cost of living in Ireland:
soju4321: "Coming from CA and living in Ireland, how comparable are the cost of living/monthly expenses between the two? E.G. Rent/utilizes/car insurance (transportation) / medical insurance?
What scares me is all other expenses in Ireland such as coal. In CA we hardly use the heater during the winter. Tv tax, owner credit card and back account quarterly fees are just some that I scratch my head on."
response from Liam: "The way I see it is the big stuff is cheaper. Definitely housing, although Dublin city and suburbs might be an exception. The lack of any serious taxes on housing e.g. very low property tax rate, very low water charge (even though there was a huge fuss over it), etc, all help.
The day to day costs, most bills, groceries, etc are definitely lower in Ireland too. And I found auto-insurance to be about half the cost compared with my US policy. One major exception is gas/petrol, but I find that evens out to be about the same in out-of-pocket costs, because car engine sizes are way smaller, and people generally drive less in Ireland.
Coal is barely used any more in Ireland. It's mostly central heating now (piped gas, or an oil tank in your backyard). With a well-insulated house, you'll find it affordable. In CA (and many other parts of the US/world) people have to run air conditioners for quite a few months of the year. You won't have that problem ever in Ireland 🙂
I forgot to add... if you've moved to Ireland and have some comparisons to make vs your previous place of residence, please add to this topic by commenting below. If you're moving to Ireland, and want to get some idea of what's in store, feel free to ask questions here. There's also this blogpost on the topic.
Compared to the UK where property tax starts at over £1,000 plus Water Rates the cost of property tax in Ireland is under 10% of UK costs.
Heating and lighting is about the same although both countries have increased a lot in recent years. We still use Wood and Coal but then we are in a traditional cottage out in the wilds and 12 miles from the nearest bus stop.
Road Tax in the UK caps at around £200 for a road car which is about where Irish road tax starts. Insurance (car) is a little cheaper in Ireland. We drive a lot more over here than most folk in the UK and looking at the mileage of used cars so does just about everyone else. Fuel is Cheaper here than the UK especially Diesel. (Car tax in Ireland also pays for other services, including Water which is why there is a fuss)
It used to be that there were bus's going North for shopping once a week and we used to fill the pickup truck over in England every 6 months but shopping prices are now about even, if anything it's a little cheaper here than the UK for the weekly shop.
Over all I don't think there is any significant difference in the cost of living here than in the UK when balancing income with expenditure, my quality of life is better/more relaxed here, health services are as good if not better here (apart from Dental). I suppose everything is relevant to individual circumstances.
That's definitely true, Tony - everything is relative to personal circumstance.
As much as I believe the cost of living in CA is far higher than in Ireland, the pay is of course far higher too. In some cases, I would say it's as much as 2 to 3 times the amount for the same job. However I always found that in CA there was just so much more to pay for. Housing is probably the toughest. Mortgages or $3000+ per month are pretty much the norm. Property tax of 1% of the purchase price of the house, plus various other taxes/fees/insurance cause the number to be so high.
For people close to the border with the North (on either side of it), it's nice to be able to take advantage of the savings available by taking a quick spin across. @tony2phones, Is there anything in particular that people up North come down to the Republic to buy?
Cost of living in CA is definitely one, if not the highest in the U.S. I'm here in San Francisco bay area price per square foot is more expensive than NY. I know people that spend 50-70% on their income on just housing. 1 bedroom apartment suburbs of SF $1,700 in a decent location. If you want to commute 2 hrs each way to work you can find much cheaper. On top of federal income tax (roughly 25-28%), CA has 13.3% state tax, highest in the country. As Liam mentioned, 1% property tax and the additional add on; homeowners insurance, homeowners association (pays for community pools,parks) which could be $150-$400/month, earthquake insurance (still waiting the the "big" one to happen, ect). I commute depending which office I work at anywhere from 20-55 miles each way. Current petrol prices $2.65/gallon. I do find in Ireland they tend not to drive as much compared to here. My car is 6 years with 90k miles, found some cars in ireland 6 years with only 40k.
My wife's family are com Mayo and I've been there several times during the winter. I'd say 90% of houses I've been to don't use central heating, but coal and bog. I was very shocked that a bag of coal cost around 17 euros and would last 2-3 days. They always say it's cheaper than fuel.
The pay in CA could be 2-3x higher than Ireland, but learning from Liam and this site there are more expenses here in CA I tend to forget I'm paying.
I could see how the big expenses in CA are more expensive than Ireland. I found groceries, cell phone bills,cable tv, internet, haircuts, pints are cheaper in Ireland.
Folk have always dropped from North to South for fuel even with a shocking exchange rate petrol is still 50 cent a gallon cheaper down here. not as much as it used to be. 10 years ago I knew someone in Portsuart used to take the Foyle ferry and fill his Jeep in Donegal, he still saved money despite the drive and ferry fare.
For some of the services you mentioned in your last paragraph, there are some really good comparison sites such as bonkers.ie. There are a few others listed on the resources page here: https://irelandmoveclub.com/resources/
You can save a LOT of money by getting some guidance from those kinds of sites
Cost of living comparison tool can be found at this link: https://irelandmoveclub.com/forums/topic/your-reasons-returning-to-ireland/#post-1472
I have been doing some investigations into the cost of living, nd came across this site ( http://www.misc.ie/) which basically in my circumstances (2 adults, 2 children) indicates that I need a minimum gross monthly income of 1200 euros per week (which equates to 57600 per year) is this a fair reflection on the cost of living, which after reading the criteria does take into account some entertainment too - i.e. it is the "happy wage"
Second question i have is that we have been looking out towards dunshaughlin/Ratoath area with my potential opportunity being in and around blanch. Research shows me that energy and services are more expensive (and sometimes unreliable) in the rural areas. Is this true? I envisage household shopping would take place in blanch and I would rely on public transport to and from
The whole concept of cost of living is a real unknown as everyone has different priorities...but since we all have gaelic blood in our genes, I am sure we all are a little bit frugal! what we live on in a month here, many of my friends can barely survive a week!
Like you say, it's so hard to really define a number for people. What's good for you, might be bad for me, and vice versa. How to calculate costs such as leisure, childcare, clothing, household bills etc, from person-to-person is near impossible. Then when you throw in location, the number needed could be skewed by a lot. e.g. living in the countryside vs a Dublin city suburb.
Does that website make known how they are doing their calculations?
Regarding your second question, rural areas are not very well served as of yet when it comes to some services, especially high-speed internet. That's probably the only one that you would really notice though. I don't believe you'd have higher energy costs. The only reason I would suspect why you might is if you lived in an older house, that was not energy efficient. All the houses listed for sale or rent, must include a BER rating. You'll see it written something like B1, C1 etc with 'A' being best. Each house must have an energy certificate/report, which will show you where it's failings are. Be sure to review it before you buy/rent. They are quite detailed/informative, and might let you know of potential problems e.g. heat loss through floor/roof, bad insulation etc. Here's the BER rating chart on daft