Is the Cost of Living Cheaper in the UK than in Taiwan?

Is the cost of living cheaper in the UK than in Taiwan?

I know that this is the second negative post of the day for me but I am a bit bored this evening.

I have just been onto the Asda website to compare prices of general food and groceries between the UK and Taiwan. Comparing the prices between my receipts from Carrefour here in Taiwan and Asda in the UK it surprises me to see that a significant number of items are cheaper in the UK. This includes the majority of fruit and veg, dairy, confectionary, breads and electronic items. What is going on here? Is it the exchange rate (NT$47 – 1GBP?)? Is it because I am looking at home brand items?

Can anyone from the UK ratify this? I know that it has been a few years since I lived in the UK but this seems ridiculous if true.

No. The cost of supermarket shopping is generally cheaper, yes (and the quality in British supermarkets is generally higher in my opinion). But when it comes to rent, council tax, running a car, income tax, getting the plumber in to fix that leaky pipe and so on the UK is still way more expensive than Taiwan.

And don’t worry about having a rant on here - that’s half the point of Forumosa!

Cheaper if you stick to Tesco or the other cut-price outlets. You’ll soon see your costs escalate if you shop at “nice” supermarkets such as Waitrose or M&S or whatever. All around, the UK is incredibly more expensive than Taiwan in almost every respect. Me & the wife together get the equivalent of around 35,000 quid per year. In most of the UK, that would probably entitle us to low-earner state handouts (OK, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but not much)! Although here its really quite a comfortable living.

Wot Taffy said. The cost of living in the UK is still as ridiculous as it ever was. Supermarket food might a bit more expensive in Taiwan lately, but not by much. Everything else is still much cheaper.

Example: my local council charge me 100 pounds a month council tax for a house I can’t sell and don’t live in. That’s roughly the same amount of income tax I pay in Taiwan, and the Taiwan government provides me with all sorts of goodies (health service etc.) in exchange.

No. it isn’t. Absolutely not.

If you also factor in tax it is clearly a no-brainer. In Taiwan I manage to save 50% of my take home pay, with a wife who doesn’t work and a child. If I’d stayed in London? OK, I’d be on a much higher salary now, but I very much doubt I’d have been financially better off.

Asda quality is shite, especially fruit & veg. Their meat is OK, but Asda are definitely towards the bottom end of the supermarket range.

Petrol is now at 1.35 a litre (GB pounds - about 65 TW dollars?). I think we must have the most expensive petrol in the world. Outside the cities public transport is sparse and expensive. In the cities it’s just expensive. I paid 4 pounds to go from one national line rail station to another recently in London, so about 200 TW dollars. Car tax about 150, car insurance about 400.

We currently pay 120 a month council tax, about 1000 a year for gas and electricity, about 40 a month landline and internet rental (calls on top of that). About one third of my wages goes in tax and national insurance. Food is about 500 a month. Nursery fees about 40 a day. To eat out is about 15 a head without drinks.

Just a flavour. It is not cheap to live here.

Hmm well as someone who eats a lot of meat and fish, regardless of where I live, I have to say the U.K. is very expensive on food. I’m speaking from a fresh produce and meat perspective. I’m sure if you wanted to buy ready meals and the like you could get by quite cheaply. Maybe even cheaper than here.

It’s the rest of the costs in the U.K. that are killer. Income tax is high (if you earn lots). We have council tax which goes up each year. Utilities are in the most expensive in the world and VAT (that’s the tax they add to everything you buy. Yes, after you yourself have been taxed and your local government has further taxed you, you pay tax on all goods bought - sheesh) is now at 20%. Ciggys will cost you around 300nt and a beer will cost you about 150nt in a pub. If you know a nice cheap pub that is.

Most companies have also not given pay rises that are near to in-line with inflation so everyone’s sort of getting poorer. Interest rates suck etc etc.

Cost of living in Taiwan is much much lower. I was shocked at how cheap living was when I first arrived. My partner and I can save over half of our pay and still live a frivolous lifestlye. I earn a little less here but I HAVE to spend a lot less.

You should look up apartment rentals or house rentals. Oh and bear in mind that in the U.K. a bad area is just that. So if you go cheap you risk being in the hear of Chav land or worse.

33rd-ed. (ish). Supermarket stuff - packaged, processed food - is way cheaper in the UK. You can still buy bread in Tesco for 17p, can’t you? But anything fresh - fruit, veg, meat, seafood - is generally pretty expensive and bad quality. Something I never understood last time I lived in London is why, when there are farms a two hour drive outside the city, is the fruit and veg all defrosted imports? Weird. Good quality meat and produce can be bought here for much cheaper than in the UK.

Cost of living wise, Taiwan’s MUCH cheaper also. Though UK living seems to be generally cheaper than Australia (note I’m basing this off having two jobs and paying no rent in both countries; I managed to save about £3000 in three months in the UK - somehow, even making more money in Aus, this all just disappears when I live there)… but this thread isn’t about that XD

If you’re looking at Asda prices online for no reason, you’re most likely homesick. Make some fish and chips and have a cider, then jump onto BBC News while you eat it and check out the weather forecast. It’ll pass!

Yep, supermarkets are cheaper in the UK, you can get some great deals especially on the “value” brands which there is no shame in buying for the occasional item- but that’s it. Petrol prices are absolutely crazy now. Rental/ property costs, eating out, entertainment- all significantly higher than Taiwan. Luckily the fresh air and the lovely countryside, walking and bicycle paths- are all free.

The UK is overregulated, overtaxed, overpriced…taken a wrong turn somewhere. Nice place when the sun is shining, just got expensive and a bit harded to make a living. Taking the tube in London is something like minimum 100 ntd , it costs so much that many people take the bus to save money. Then if you want to drive into the city you have to pay a congestion charge. Council tax paid by tenants…that’s a joke in my opinion. The one cheap thing that I think is cheaper in UK besides some supermarket food is good cars. I guess living in outlying areas of UK might be cheaper but wages are obviously lower. VAT at 20% in UK, 5% in Taiwan! Now education costs going through the roof there and a poor public school system…
Taiwan is a CHEAP place to live, especially when you step outside Taipei. Low income tax in Taiwan. Even in Taipei not much regular living stuff is expensive with the only exception of accomodation and a bit of a bubble here, and even rental is not that expensive compared to other regional capitals it’s just that most people don’t earn a good income in Taipei.
You can take high speed train here which doesn’t exist in UK (yet) for the same price as a bog standard commuter in UK. Toll fees are less than 1 GBP per toll … -cent.html

Petrol much cheaper, tax cheaper, mechanics about 1/3 price, parts 1/2 price. Drugs cheaper, medical treatment cheaper, dentistry cheaper in Taiwan.

UK Cheaper- Supermarket food, books, cars, nice and fitting clothes, B&Bs
Taiwan Cheaper- Pretty much everything else

I just cant stand paying counsel tax, tv license, and congestion charge everytime I have to drive to central London. Aside from that, I miss my Sainsbury ready made cous-cous, cheap naan bread, a handful of chips with a side of fish, the fantastic assortment of cheeeeeeeeezes. Dang, I am making myself hungry. Oh, I also miss sunny days at the park… and free museums too.

On the subject of food though … it’s probably worth pointing out that low food prices in supermarkets is not a good thing. Firstly, the cheap stuff is all garbage. It’s just pig feed with flavouring and a cute box. If it doesn’t kill you, it’ll make you fat and ugly (if you don’t believe me, just stand at a supermarket door and watch the pimply fat birds walking in and out - some of them are barely out of their teens and they look 40). Secondly, although it might be per-kilo cheap, do you really need a 4-litre bottle of milk, 16 goat’s-bollock burgers, or a two-litre tub of icecream for 99p? If you want to buy a pot of Ben&Jerry’s it’s the same price as anywhere else. Thirdly, the prices are only low(ish) because the European food industry is controlled by three or four big distributors, and they shaft the farmers with an extremely large, thick stick to get the lowest possible wholesale rates. Therefore they have to produce freakishly large and tasteless vegetables and animals to compete, by applying liberal amounts of chemicals. The only way you get the good stuff - organic, tasty, whatever - is by paying a lot. And if you’re going to do that, bloody move to Taiwan where you can get a professional chef to cook it for you and a cute waitress to put it on your table (cue squeaky voice: “不好意思…”), for very little extra money.

Their donuts are bloody excellent and one of the major things I miss about the UK. Damn nice donuts in Asda. Blueberry, custard, yum yum

CPI is 5.2% in UK, unemployment at 16 year high…ouch. Still I was in Wales recently and it’s a damn sight cheaper than London or Ireland.

Food starts getting better outside of England, and the further north and west you go in England too (it seems). Irish supermarkets (real Ireland ones, not Northern Ireland ones) have food to die for, but bloody hell it was expensive.

Now the government’s on the verge of collapse (or did they already go bust?) the cost of living might have gone down there a bit, I’m not sure. I hear Iceland’s really cheap nowadays :laughing:

I think Germany is far cheaper than the UK…

Food like milk and cheese is far cheaper and better, but what’s to say that they aren’t filled with chemicals and other bad stuff so that farmers can produce a large amount of them to stay competitive?

In contrast, if you buy pork from the wet market, and not supermarkets you can guarantee that it’s fresh. In fact the meat you buy there were slaughtered and prepared in the morning. There are some concerns with the use of diseased pigs and stuff but you get that problem everywhere. Although I really do miss those paprika and krauter pork steaks they have in Germany…

Veggies are cheap in Taiwan (very expensive in Germany), most likely grown by small farmers, although there could be a large amount of pesticides its not likely different anywhere else. Eggs are also about 50% cheaper in Taiwan, and this is during bad times (as in when egg prices are higher)

Rent is expensive in Germany, not only that its damned hard to find a flat there because landlords are highly selective about who they rent to (just having enough money isn’t enough). You must submit proof of having paid rent, SHUFA report, proof of income, etc. In Taiwan you look at a house, decide if you like it or not, pay the deposit and it’s yours (unless of course someone else beat you to it). No proof of anything needed, and landlord will generally not bother you as long as you paid.

I can’t speak about taxes or social contribution in the EU as I have never been employed there, but their VAT is 19%.

Mum’s gone to Iceland.

I agree with your sentiments. The reason for this, I feel, is the proliferation of chains and franchises that use food that is bought from a centralised warehouse and is often frozen and processed to lower costs. The major reason pub food in Ireland is far superior to the UK in general is because breweries and chains are not allowed to operate in the licensed trade there. It means costs are higher including food cost but that the individual pubs don’t use as much frozen or processed crap, they have their own leeway to operate. The dinner/lunch average price hasn’t been cut to hell yet so there is still some margin to play with and customers expect better. In the UK you can see deal for dinner for 2 for 15 GBP and a drink or whatever, but what you are getting is not equivalent. I have eaten at some franchise pubs in the UK and to be frank some of the meals I was served were disgusting, a tuna steak and vegetables was a frozen lump of processed tuna that had been grilled to death with frozen peas as the vegetables, that was the only vegetable green peas! Okay there was a salad bar but WTF?

Franchises and chains are the bane of good quality food.

Chain pubs and restaurants are almost guaranteed to serve disgusting food in the UK, but generally the British don’t value quality in food, so don’t really care. Most of us would rather buy a tasteless, watery, antibiotic-pumped chicken rather than a delicious organic one, and save our money for the latest tech gadget. Supermarkets compete on price, not quality. But having said that, even poor quality food is expensive. I’m amazed at how much cheaper meat and fish are here in Taiwan and how much better quality it is (except the chicken at Carrefour :sick: ). I find it hard to account for the difference, except maybe the fact that supermarkets in the UK have a virtual monopoly on food sales and make huge profits.

I think it’s a logistics and business-structure issue. I’ve been doing a bit of research on this; about 80% of the cost of the stuff on supermarket shelves is the cost of storing it, packing it, and getting it there. It is not, despite popular opinion, pure profit - supermarkets actually make very little of that. Tesco, for example, posted bottom-line profit of about 5% last year. Of course, in absolute terms, 5% of an enormous turnover (Tesco control ~40% of the market) is quite a lot of cash. It’s because they make so little profit (in percentage terms) that they employ cut-throat business practices to squeeze every last penny from their suppliers. If they didn’t, their business would be non-viable.

The fundamental problem is that they’re trying to sell food the way other consumer items (T-shirts, MP3 players, cars) are sold, and it simply doesn’t work. The result is an awful lot of wasted effort and money, and mediocre products. In Taiwan, the farmers are a lot “closer” to the end consumer: there are fewer layers of middlemen, and retailers are (mostly) still small independents. People happily accept that at certain times of the year, certain things are out of season (and conversely, are equally happy when there’s a cheap glut at harvest time). What we observe in Taiwan proves that the entire marketing strategy of supermarkets - they profess to be supplying what the customer wants at keen prices - is a well-crafted lie. The food industry still has a lot of problems here - for example, large farms insist on using temperate-climate agricultural techniques instead of ones more appropriate for a tropical climate - but it certainly works a lot more smoothly and delivers better quality food.

I find it very sad that people in England have become so used to the dross they buy from supermarkets (and those so-called restaurant chains … ugh) that they don’t even know what good food is anymore.

HH, I can identify with that experience. I remember eating at a Carvery once and ordering an ‘Eton mess’ afterwards (which is supposed to be basically a squashed strawberry or raspberry pavlova). I got this huge sundae glass full of whipped cream with two sorry frozen strawberries on the top. Seriously - it was a tub of lard. There was quite literally nothing else in it except hydrogenated vegetable fat, emulsifier, and air. I didn’t eat it.