For years, Malta had a reputation for being a relatively cheap place. That does seem to be changing, as rents rise faster than wages. However, it’s still possible to live cheaply here as long as you keep away from the pricier tourist areas; the website Numbeo estimate that Malta is 10% cheaper than the USA and that rents are 35% lower. Consumer prices are also 12% cheaper than the UK, with rents nearly a quarter lower on average.
How cheap you find things will depend strongly on where you are coming from. If you’re moving from London or Helsinki, Malta will seem like a bargain. If your home base is Romania or rural Italy, it’s going to feel expensive especially if you parachute into the centre of Sliema rather than other less expensive areas.
Groceries vary wildly depending on where you shop. Vegetable wagons, which can be found in almost every town and village, are one of the cheapest ways to get fruit and vegetables; farmers’ markets which set up every Tuesday between 07:00-12:00 and Saturday between 07:00-17:00 at Ta’ Qali, have their own fresh produce on offer at very good prices. Budget supermarket Lidl is a great resource, generally offering better value than the average supermarket. In general, a loaf of bread averages €0.84, a dozen eggs costs €2.04 and you can pick up a fairly reasonable bottle of wine for €5. Click here to see a list of prices for basic items in Malta.
Eating out remains affordable, with a meal for one at an inexpensive restaurant costing €13 and dinner for two at a mid-range restaurant costing €50. A pint of beer in a pub is €2.50 and a cappuccino in a café, €1.75.
For the set up and running costs of a household such as TV, internet, and utilities, click here.
Another key factor on how flush you’ll feel is the tax rates in Malta. It tends to be favourable compared to many other countries but there are concessions available. Also note that for the first 183 days, employees who are relocating would need to pay a higher tax rate which is then refundable via a tax rebate. Read more about tax rates in Malta.
If you’re worried about high costs, it’s important to remember that a lot of the fun things to do in Malta don’t cost any money. In colder climes, leisure time often involves paying for indoor activities such as the cinema, meals out, trips to indoor play areas or activities to keep the kids entertained. In Malta, the beach doesn’t cost a penny, BBQs with friends keep food costs down, walking along the many promenade along the sea and a weekend trip to Gozo can offer a lot of fun for at a low cost. Consider it a ‘quality of life’ promotion. Here are some ideas on things to do in Malta.
Overall, if you’re on a decent salary and don’t overextend yourself on rent, you’re likely to end up with more disposable income than you would living in a capital city such as London or Paris.
There’s no doubt that prices are going up in Malta, but most foreigners will still find it reasonable to live here, especially compared to European capital cities. For a list of prices in Malta click here.What bills will I need to pay?
Bills include gas (in the form of propane cylinders), electricity and water. This will set you back approximately €68 a month. You can also get cable or satellite TV and a landline if you want to, as well as WiFi internet. There is no equivalent of a ‘Council Tax’ or waste collection tax in Malta. Here is a list of prices of Utilities.Do I have to tip in Malta?
People do tip in Malta, although it’s not compulsory as in the USA. If the service has been good, you could tip 5-I0% (make sure that a service charge hasn’t already been included).What currency is used in Malta?
The Euro (€) is used.