The Cost of Living in Sofia

On average, life in Bulgaria is 55% -60% cheaper than in the north of Europe. What is really cheap is food, groceries and going out. Clothing can also be found very cheap, even if it is of questionable quality. For better clothing and electronics you pay the same as in Northern Europe. Renting an apartment is possible from as little as € 100 per month. Most expats pay around € 300 for a bit more comfort or a better location. When renting, pay attention that the electricity, internet and water are paid separately. In the winter the electricity bill is of course higher than in the summer.

The exchange rate is fixed: BGN 1 = € 0.509 or € 1 = BGN 1.96. That means you will not be surprised with a variable value of your income. In general expats earn minimum € 900-1000/month (BGN 1960). The minimum wage in Bulgaria is € 260 (2018), the average salary is € 455/month, so with this amount you have a very comfortable position.

Exchange rate: 0.509 EUR / BGN

Food
BGN EUR
Basic lunchtime menu (including a drink) in the business district 13 лв (€7)
Combo meal in fast food restaurant (Big Mac Meal or similar) 8 лв (€4.18)
500 gr (1 lb.) of boneless chicken breast 4.54 лв (€2.31)
1 liter (1 qt.) of whole fat milk 2.02 лв (€1.03)
12 eggs, large 3.73 лв (€1.90)
1 kg (2 lb.) of tomatoes 2.63 лв (€1.34)
500 gr (16 oz.) of local cheese 6 лв (€3.27)
1 kg (2 lb.) of apples 2.05 лв (€1.04)
1 kg (2 lb.) of potatoes 1.09 лв (€0.55)
0.5 l (16 oz) domestic beer in the supermarket 1.21 лв (€0.62)
1 bottle of red table wine, good quality 13 лв (€6)
2 liters of Coca-Cola 2.17 лв (€1.10)
Bread for 2 people for 1 day 0.70 лв (€0.35)
Housing
BGN EUR
Monthly rent for 85 m2 (900 Sqft) furnished accommodation in EXPENSIVE area 902 лв (€459)
Monthly rent for 85 m2 (900 Sqft) furnished accommodation in NORMAL area 621 лв (€316)
Utilities 1 month (heating, electricity, gas …) for 2 people in 85m2 flat 154 лв (€78)
Monthly rent for a 45 m2 (480 Sqft) furnished studio in EXPENSIVE area 563 лв (€286)
Monthly rent for a 45 m2 (480 Sqft) furnished studio in NORMAL area 400 лв (€203)
Utilities 1 month (heating, electricity, gas …) for 1 person in 45 m2 (480 Sqft) studio 101 лв (€51)
Internet 8 Mbps (1 month) 16 лв (€8)
40” flat screen TV 655 лв (€333)
Microwave 800/900 Watt (Bosch, Panasonic, LG, Sharp, or equivalent brands) 151 лв (€77)
Laundry detergent (3 l. ~ 100 oz.) 17 лв (€9)
Hourly rate for cleaning help 11 лв (€5.47)
Clothes
BGN EUR
1 pair of jeans (Levis 501 or similar) 103 лв (€53)
1 summer dress in a High Street Store (Zara, H&M or similar retailers) 67 лв (€34)
1 pair of sport shoes (Nike, Adidas, or equivalent brands) 157 лв (€80)
1 pair of men’s leather business shoes 132 лв (€67)
Transportation
BGN EUR
Volkswagen Golf 1.4 TSI 150 CV (or equivalent), with no extras, new 36,089 лв (€18,356)
1 liter (1/4 gallon) of gas 2.07 лв (€1.05)
Monthly ticket public transport 50 лв (€26)
Taxi trip on a business day, basic tariff, 8 km. (5 miles) 8 лв (€4.12)
Personal Care
BGN EUR
Cold medicine for 6 days (Tylenol, Frenadol, Coldrex, or equivalent brands) 9 лв (€4.68)
1 box of antibiotics (12 doses) 18 лв (€9)
Short visit to private Doctor (15 minutes) 34 лв (€18)
1 box of 32 tampons (Tampax, OB, …) 7 лв (€3.70)
Deodorant, roll-on (50ml ~ 1.5 oz.) 5.68 лв (€2.89)
Hair shampoo 2-in-1 (400 ml ~ 12 oz.) 7 лв (€3.44)
4 rolls of toilet paper 2.48 лв (€1.26)
Tube of toothpaste 3.30 лв (€1.68)
Standard men’s haircut in expat area of the city 12 лв (€5.89)
Entertainment
BGN EUR
Basic dinner out for two in neighborhood pub 36 лв (€18)
2 tickets to the movies 22 лв (€11)
2 tickets to the theater (best available seats) 45 лв (€23)
Dinner for two at an Italian restaurant in the expat area including appetisers, main course, wine and dessert 67 лв (€34)
1 cocktail drink in downtown club 9 лв (€4.64)
Cappuccino in expat area of the city 3.48 лв (€1.77)
1 beer in neighbourhood pub (500ml or 1pt.) 2.96 лв (€1.51)
iPod nano 16GB 375 лв (€191)
1 min. of prepaid mobile tariff (no discounts or plans) 0.34 лв (€0.17)
1 month of gym membership in business district 61 лв (€31)
1 package of Marlboro cigarettes 5.36 лв (€2.73)