Turkey's Cost of Living: Essential Info for Studying Abroad
If you have decided to start your academic life in Turkey, it is important to understand the general outline of the bills you will encounter, as accommodation is not the only expense. In this section, we will provide you with an overview that will help you get a general idea of your bills.
When you receive your accommodation from the owner, you should immediately go to the electricity, water, and gas companies to transfer the bills to your name.
This is crucial to prove your residence in the accommodation, and sometimes certain Turkish government entities and offices may request a copy of a bill with your name on it to proceed with some services. Transferring the bills to your name is relatively easy. You need to take a copy of the property ownership contract, the rental contract between you and the owner, your passport, your residence permit, and a copy of any current bill with your name on it and go to the company’s offices. You will need to pay some fees, which you will get refunded when you leave the accommodation. These fees are referred to as insurance fees.
Electricity providers in Turkey are private companies that purchase electricity from the Turkish government and sell it to citizens. When building your accommodation, you have the freedom to choose between the available companies in your area. So, you may find yourself with one electricity company while your friend in another area is with a different company. The owner of the accommodation determines this, not you.
There are two types of electricity meters available in Turkey. One is prepaid, so the company allows you to consume as much as you want and sends you a bill at the end of the month based on your consumption. The other type is a card-based meter, where you recharge it with the desired amount and start consuming. When the balance is depleted, you will need to recharge it again.
Electricity prices vary depending on consumption and the number of individuals in the household, of course. For example, a household consisting of a couple with two children, where the mother does not work, and therefore the TV, washing machine, and lights are used more during the daytime, their electricity bill will not be less than $15-20 per month. But for a housing unit consisting of four or five students, with the electricity usage distributed over 24 hours a day, their monthly bill will range from $10 to $15.
Water bills work similarly to electricity bills. You will also find two types of meters: prepaid and card based. However, water companies charge you not only for the water you consume but also for the wastewater (sewage) to discourage wasteful consumption. As an example, a household consisting of a couple with two children will have a monthly bill of no less than $12, while a housing unit consisting of four or five students will have a monthly bill ranging from $8 to $12 approximately.
Gas bills are one of the most burdensome expenses for residents in Turkey, especially in cold cities, as the heating system in most Turkish cities operates on gas. Gas meters also come in two types: prepaid or card based. However, there is a third type, which is the centralized heating system for the entire building, and we will mention it later.
The value of your monthly gas consumption depends on four main factors:
- The outside temperature (some cities like Erzurum can reach temperatures as low as 20 below zero in winter).
- The number of rooms in the accommodation (for example, if a housing unit has two rooms, the bill will include the two rooms, the living room, the kitchen, and the bathroom).
- The areas to be heated in these rooms (sometimes families choose not to heat the living room, bathroom, kitchen, or one of the rooms during winter).
- Heating periods (if the house is empty during the morning, the heating will start in the evening or when you return from work).
- The desired temperature of the house (some people prefer the temperature to reach 22 or 23 degrees in the house, which is relatively high and requires more heating).
- The gas used for cooking (which remains constant both in summer and winter).
All these factors determine the value of your monthly consumption, so we cannot provide specific numbers for consumption, but as an example:
A housing unit consisting of three rooms, two bathrooms, a large living room, and a family with children who require heating throughout the day will have a consumption ranging from $40 to $50 per month in winter in a city like Ankara and between $18 and $22 in summer or after the end of the cold wave. On the other hand, a housing unit consisting of four or five students who are not present during the day, and the desired temperature is not high, will have a consumption ranging from $20 to $25 in winter and between $10 and $15 in summer.
However, there is a difference when it comes to gas, as there is a third type, which is the centralized heating system for the entire building. This system is common in residential complexes, and it is somewhat expensive for small families and relatively cost saving for large families. This system is based on each housing unit within the building paying a certain amount for gas throughout the year, and in return, the heating system operates 24/7 at the desired temperature. Some residential complexes pay this amount for only eight months of the year, starting from October until May.
Internet services in Turkey are considered the best, most reliable, and cheapest compared to other services. You don't necessarily need a telephone in your home; a telephone line is sufficient. If there is no telephone line, some companies provide you with a modem that does not require a telephone line.
Your residence permit and passport are sufficient to sign a contract with internet service providers. Internet service providers are not limited to telephone service providers. There are other companies and, therefore, better offers. However, you should be cautious and careful when contracting with any company:
- Companies offer their services through various packages, and each package has its original price and the price within the offer. For example, you may subscribe to a package with an original price of $30 per month, but the company offers you a contract for two years (24 months), and in this case, the offer price may decrease from $40 to $30 per month. In this case, if you want to terminate the contract before the specified period, you will need to pay the price difference (e.g., $10 in this example) for each month you benefited from the offer.
- Modem: The price of the modem is added to the package. For example, if the modem's price is $50, an additional $10 per month will be added to the package price. Sometimes, some companies offer modems for free.
Remember to research different providers, compare offers, and choose the one that suits your needs and budget best. It's also a good idea to read customer reviews and check the reliability of the service before deciding.
Overall, these are some general guidelines to help you understand the approximate costs of bills in Turkey. However, keep in mind that actual costs may vary based on various factors such as location, consumption habits, and the specific offers and services available at the time.