Something we’re asked about a lot by people thinking of moving to Malta is the cost of living, in particular the bill for an average weekly shop. Any comparison is difficult as what constitutes one man’s average could be another’s splash out.
We’ve listed some staples and a few luxuries that regularly go into a weekly shop. Print out our Grocery Basket Malta and take it with you next time you shop wherever you are right now, to see how the prices tally. Prices are in Euro and average shelf prices as at 01/11/09. We will be updating it every quarter.
I feel that compared to the UK, my food bills are less; but if you’re coming here from Spain, then you might find prices similar, but some imported foods might be a bit more expensive. We don’t have economy of scale in Malta, and shipping to an island adds costs. However, since Malta joined the EU and tariffs came off imports, I find many products – like Italian delicacies and basic pasta – very good value. In fact, a local pasta firm went under as it could no longer compete, such was the leveling of prices.
I have kept a record in recent months of my weekly grocery basket, and have seen it average out around €130-150 for a family of three based on 3-4 meat/fish-based meals. An expat friend here, feeding a family of five (younger children) says hers is around €230 or so an average week. She has pricey nappies in that bill, and does quite a bit of entertaining of kids and adults. A long-term expat Swede with her family of five says she spends around €150 a week. It depends on whether you add in some luxuries one week or another.
Tips for saving: use the local veggie vans and shops; they generally have fresh produce at keen prices. Take your own shopping bag so you get loose veggies tipped in (don’t buy pre-packaged if you can help it.). Shop at one of Malta’s larger, value supermarkets to bulk buy (there’s enough of them now, and within short distances of each other so they tend to price competitively). We get a lot of free leaflets through the door with offers from local supermarkets – bother to cut them out and use! Whether in Malta or not, try to make a list and stick to it to avoid too many ad hoc, ‘just popping in to get a loaf and come out with a lot more’ trips to stores – these visits tend to bump up bills, even in the corner shops in Malta.
Download our Grocery Basket Malta (pdf) to compare with yours back home.
See also: Expat Insights: Getting Around & Shopping for more tips and understanding the quirks of shopping in Malta.
Photo: Amanda Holmes