With inflation in the UK rising, property prices having fallen to 2006 levels according to the Halifax, and major credit card firms increasing minimum repayment terms ahead of fears there could be a global meltdown in the credit card industry, it’s time we all thought hard about tightening our belts and budgeting.  However, that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t still enjoy life!

One way to get more from your money is to move to live in a country where the cost of living is genuinely lower, and the good news is, living in France really costs less than living in the UK despite the euro’s strength against the pound.  So, if you want to live the same life for less, France could just be the perfect place for you to do so.

Property in France can cost a fraction of a home in the UK…naturally a lot depends on the location, but away from the main cities and popular locations such as Paris, Toulouse, Lyon and Nice for example, beautiful homes can be bought for less.

Britons still account for about 60% of foreign sales, and the good news is that according to the consensus of opinion amongst notaires in France, in 2008 “prices will continue to rise to around the level of inflation.  That remains particularly true for property hot spots and large towns.  Nevertheless, in certain regions where economic activity is fragile, or where foreign buyers are absent, prices are likely to stagnate.  A uniform rise in prices is over.”  This means that prices are not spiralling upwards and a bargain can still be bagged.

When it comes to the day-to-day cost of living in France it’s a well known fact that food and wine in France can be bought so much cheaper than in the UK.  When shoppers make use of locally grown produce and shop at individual suppliers and at markets, the euros go far further than the pounds do when we Brits stock up at Sainsburys or Tesco.  But what about taxes and utilities – i.e., the bills that push up the cost of living so significantly in the UK?  Well, again the news is in Frances’s favour.

A recent article in the Sunday Telegraph in the UK broke down the difference in monthly living costs based on a couple living in an average home in a village 50km from a large town or city as follows: –

Monthly Living Costs in France

Taxe d’habitation = EUR 25.66 (this includes the TV licence)
Water costs = EUR 16.26
Electricity in a house with no gas = EUR 71
Taxe foncière = EUR 31
Bin collection = EUR 4

Monthly Living Costs in the UK

Community charges = GBP 221
Water = GBP 7.50
Waste water = GBP 18.75
Electricity = GBP 121
TV licence = GBP 11.62.

The difference in terms of basic household bills comes to EUR 326.92 a month or EUR 3,923.04 a year, which at today’s exchange rate (GBP 1 = EUR 1.2528) is GBP 3,130.79 – no small amount I’m sure you will agree!  Which just proves the point, living in France really does cost less than living in the UK.  So, let’s join the 400,000 Brits who fled Britain’s shores last year and move to France.