Is it cheaper to live in Italy than the US?

10/05/2020 - 10:56

Is it cheaper to live in Italy than the US?



Like most things in life, it depends on your specific circumstances.

The average job in Italy pays miserably compared to the cost of living. Especially when one takes into account the taxes one pays on one's income.

On the other hand if you come to Italy with some means, you can afford to take a job with a crappy take-home pay compared to the cost of living.

In other words, make your money somewhere else (like the US) then come to Italy and the cost of living will seem incredibly cheap so long as your standard of living is not solely funded by a typical Italian salary.

things that are cheap in Italy (compared to the US):
*produce and many groceries in general except for certain items like red meat

*dining out

*rents and properties for sale outside of Rome, Milan, Florence and their metro areas

*cell phone plans and home internet

*wine (MUCH cheaper and of better quality even at the lowest prices)

*clothing. You can pay a lot for name brands if you wish but for most people there's discount stores with decent quality clothing for a very fair price

*many medicines including several that require a prescription in the US.

*Italians don't pay a property tax on their first home, unlike the US where property tax is always applied and in several states can be rather burdensome especially for retirees.

*mortgage rates are way lower in Italy than in the US but on the other hand the system works rather differently in Italy, so that it's not much of a risk to the lender; the payment is taken out of your paycheck so it's not up to you to write a check or send a payment every month.  On the other hand if you don't have an indefinite employment contract it's a lot harder to get a mortgage.

things that are expensive in Italy (compared to the US):

*gasoline/diesel (partially compensated for by the fact that long distance commuting is not necessary here, things are much closer together and there's trains for getting between cities)
*I've found electronics are somewhat more expensive in Italy

*freeway tolls

*certain common over-the-counter medicines like acetaminophen are crazy expensive in Italy (€1 a pill!) that are very cheap in the US.

*bank fees. There's no such thing as a free bank account here, perhaps unless you have a LOT of money.

*several utilities are expensive here, like gas and electricity. Water is usually very inexpensive.

*you'll pay the TV tax (around €100 a year) on your power bill. At one time it was commonly evaded but no longer.