Belgium is a small, densely populated country in Western Europe known for its chocolate, waffles, and beer. But how does the cost of living in Belgium compare to other countries? In this article, we will answer this question and provide a breakdown of costs for singles, couples, and families of four in Belgium.
Local Currency in Belgium
The official currency of Belgium is the Euro (EUR). The Euro is widely accepted in Belgium, and major credit cards are also accepted in many businesses. ATMs are widely available, and currency exchange services are also available in many locations.
Cost of Living in Belgium vs UK and USA
The cost of living in Belgium is generally higher than that of the UK and the USA. According to Numbeo, a website that provides information on the cost of living in countries around the world, the cost of living in Belgium is 6.63% higher than in the UK and 7.61% higher than in the USA. This means that it is generally more expensive to live in Belgium than in either of these countries.
Breakdown of Costs in Belgium
To provide a more detailed understanding of the cost of living in Belgium, we will break down costs for singles, couples, and families of four in the following categories: housing, food, utilities, leisure, transport, clothing, and household goods. All costs are approximate and based on current prices as of 2023.
The cost of housing in Belgium can vary widely depending on the location and size of the property. According to Numbeo, the average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center is EUR 700-1,200, while a three-bedroom apartment in the same location can cost EUR 1,300-2,500 per month. For those looking to buy property in Belgium, the average cost per square meter in the city center is EUR 3,000-4,500.
The cost of food in Belgium can be relatively affordable. A loaf of bread costs approximately EUR 1.50, a liter of milk is around EUR 1, and a dozen eggs cost EUR 2. A meal for two in a mid-range restaurant can cost between EUR 40 and EUR 60. Grocery prices can be higher than in the UK and the USA due to the country’s higher tax rates.
Utilities such as electricity, water, and gas can be relatively expensive in Belgium. The average monthly cost for these services is around EUR 150-200. Internet and mobile phone plans are also relatively expensive, with unlimited internet plans starting at around EUR 30 per month.
Belgium is known for its museums, art galleries, and beer culture, and the cost of leisure pursuits in the country can vary depending on the activity. A visit to a museum or art gallery can cost between EUR 10 and EUR 20, while a day trip to a nearby city can cost EUR 50-100 per person. A cinema ticket costs around EUR 10, and a fitness club membership is approximately EUR 50-100 per month.
The cost of transportation in Belgium can vary depending on the mode of transportation. A liter of gasoline costs around EUR 1.50, and a monthly public transportation pass is around EUR 50-60. Taxis are also available, with an initial charge of EUR 2.40 and a cost of around EUR 2 per kilometer.
The cost of clothing in Belgium can vary widely depending on the type of clothing and the location. High-end fashion brands can be relatively expensive, while other clothing items can be more affordable. A pair of jeans costs around EUR 80, while a business suit can cost between EUR 500 and EUR 1,000.
The cost of household goods in Belgium can vary widely depending on the type of goods. A basic set of furniture for a one-bedroom apartment can cost around EUR 2,000-5,000, while a washing machine costs approximately EUR 300-500. Electronics such as televisions and laptops can also be relatively expensive in Belgium due to higher taxes.
Forms of Payment in Belgium
The most common forms of payment in Belgium are cash and debit cards. The Euro is widely accepted, and many businesses also accept major credit cards such as Visa and Mastercard. However, it is recommended to carry cash as some smaller businesses may not accept cards. ATMs are widely available throughout the country, and currency exchange services are also available.
The cost of living in Belgium is generally higher than that of the UK and the USA, making it a more expensive option for those looking to live in Western Europe. The cost of housing, utilities, and transportation can be relatively expensive, while food and leisure activities are generally affordable. Cash and debit cards are the most common forms of payment, and the Euro is widely accepted. As with any country, the cost of living in Belgium can vary widely depending on individual circumstances and lifestyle choices. However, for those looking for a high standard of living and a rich cultural experience, Belgium can be an attractive option.