Budget

Euro bills and coins

Euro bills and coins

Dreams are free; reality requires a budget.

Here’s a link to one of the first articles we read that pointed us toward the “other” south of France as a place to retire. 

The author, Kathleen Pedicord, is well-versed in living overseas and runs a business centered around helping others with that concept. She writes that a couple could live modestly in Carcassonne on 1300 dollars a month total and still be able to dine out and enjoy entertainment opportunities. Since that figure is about equal to the average monthly US Social Security check for one person, it would appear that a comfortable retirement there for a couple is quite achievable.

On this page I want to list a few budgets that we’ve seen from others living in France and then update ours annually to show what it is costing us.

The other south of France budget (from the article above)

  • Rent 400
  • Electricity 50
  • Gas 15
  • Water 16
  • Phone/TV/Internet 40
  • Groceries 480

Total 1000 euro or 1300 dollars when she wrote the article

To be honest, I think that she’s left out some things from her line item list, but at least this got us started. Immediately below is a more complete accounting of what another couple spend. NOTE: Since publishing this article in the magazine the author has revised the total on her own website to a more realistic, but still low, 1350 euro.

Source: US News & World Report, September, 2012

From a couple who live in Angers, about 3 hours west of Paris

As for cost, we live comfortably in a medium sized village (Dept 49), within walking distance of all shops, restaurants and cafes. Our basic budget is:

  • housing 1030 (includes rent – 700, tax – 130, utilities – 200) for 85 m2 apt
  • internet 33
  • food/dining 500
  • Bank fees 40
  • Basic cell service for 2 25 (unlimited calls in france & North America, but no data)
  • Car insurance 26
  • Travel/gas 100 (we only use the car a couple times a week)
  • Entertainment 150
  • Haircut/color 60
  • Medical 100
  • Annual visa fee 40/mth

Total 2100 euro

Source: Yahoo Live in France forum, April 2015

From friends who used to live in Carcassonne

We can usually get by on 2000 euro per month. Our rent included Internet and the apartment was fully furnished. We spend 10 euro per week on 20 pounds of fresh vegetables.

  • Rent 750
  • Utilities 80
  • Groceries 60
  • Dog food 40

They now live directly beside the Mediterranean in a larger house where the rent is 70 euro more per month for size and location but the budget remains otherwise unchanged.

From one of the blogs we follow

Here’s a link that will take you directly to the cost of living section of the Chez Loulou blog. She began with a budget of 800 euro in 2008 living down in our area and her most recent listing from 2013 when she lived up in northwest France shows monthly expenses of 1790 euro.

Our own budget

Once we have figures of our own, we’ll post them here so that you’ll have an idea of what we are spending each month.

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  1. Hi Bill, interesting what one finds. The budget for the “Angers Couple” above is actually mine. And, it’s still pretty accurate, except after we purchased, our mortgage now is 100e less than we were paying for rent. And surprisingly to our US friends, we added full data when we got our smartphone, which only added 7e to our previous rate of 12e/month.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Terry, so nice to hear from you. Your budget helped us decide to make the move and ours is very similar now that we are here in Carcassonne. At the moment the budget is in flux because we have just decided to buy a house while renting another. It will take us a few months to get all the updates and furnishings in place but we do have time. The budget will certainly change when this lease is up because we will then not have a mortgage or rent payment as we put the money aside when we sold our home in the US just in case.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Glad to be able to help Bill. When we bought our apartment, our initial plan was to pay in cash, but then I learned from our Credit Agricole bank, that they would give us a loan if we wanted. The rate was really great, IMHO, at just 2%. There were some other quirks, but all to protect the borrower, so we went ahead and took out the French mortgage. Mainly to hedge against exchange rate risk. Should the dollar drop dramatically, and we had to move back to the US, at least we’d have a nice gain on the apartment sale.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. So happy to have found your blog! I live in the USA and recently inherited a house in Val D’Anjou. I am trying to figure out if I can hold on to it for a few more years as husband and I are not at retirement age yet. Your budget information is very helpful. It seems that it would be less costly to live in France then where we currently live.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi! I wish I had seen your blog before we took our love bug, Georgia Bear, to France with us. I searched long and hard to find out the information that I needed (when I could have just visited your website!) If you want an update on the travel process you can check out our blog here: http://gooberkids.com/news/
    We don’t really blog much, but I have so many people ask me how we did it, that I finally put together a little website for GB. But if I had known that you have one already I probably would have just referred them to you.
    Thanks,
    Amy

    Liked by 1 person

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