Since starting Turkey’s for Life, we’ve received a few messages from people asking about the cost of living in Turkey; particularly Fethiye. These questions are almost impossible to answer as it completely depends upon why you’re in Turkey, your chosen lifestyle and your needs.
It’s also a difficult question to answer because I’m not convinced we live a completely normal life in Fethiye. I guess it’s the Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall influence again. While he opted out of busy London life and ran away to the Dorset countryside to become self-sufficient, we ran away to Mediterranean Turkey for a more simple existence.
This simple existence means we can live very happily on a pretty tight budget. We have become seasoned professionals in making a few Turkish Lira stretch a long way. The following is just a few of the things we do to make sure we stick to budget as much as possible.
Citrus fruit for sale along the D400 road
Buy Seasonal Food
If you read this blog a lot, you’ll know we love food markets and are always on the lookout for Fethiye’s seasonal food. We’re in the twilight of the citrus season at the moment and lemons are just 50 kuruş for a kilo. Soups and meze dishes have been extra tasty of late.
Discover & Learn About Turkish Recipes
At the fruit and vegetable markets of Turkey, you don’t just go and pick up 4 tomatoes. Produce is piled high, you’re passed a carrier bag and you stock up as if Armageddon is upon us and you’re going hunkering down in a bunker for a few years. Knowing a few Turkish recipes helps you to make a sizable dent in your vegetable collection!
Walking & Local Public Transport
We haven’t got a car or a scooter. While we’re fit to do so, we walk as much as possible and use the dolmuş in bad weather or for places that are too far to walk. On the very rare occasions we need a car, we hire one and this usually ends up being paid for by friends.
Next week, we’re taking the bus to Antalya for a few days which isn’t too far from Fethiye. If we go further afield, we head to Fethiye otogar and book on one of the fantastic overnight intercity buses and wake up in our destination the following morning: funds of that night’s accommodation negated!
And as for accommodation: yes, we do scan every site we can think of to find the cheapest, but cleanest, place there is in that area.
Cheap & Free Hobbies
Many of our days are whiled away, walking around the fruit and vegetable sections of Çalış and Fethiye market. Cheap – and free, if you don’t buy anything. Obviously, we both spend a lot of time cooking, too.
We go trekking in the Fethiye area as much as possible but not as much as we’d like to. Free – if you don’t buy an Efes at the end of your walk. Highly unlikely that we wouldn’t take the beer option at the end of a trek. What to eat en route? The result of all those fabulous Turkish recipes we’ve been learning about, of course.
Sign post on the Kayaköy to Ölü Deniz trek
I’m not going to pretend we don’t treat ourselves occasionally and go out to restaurants. We do. But, the great thing about Turkey is it is so easy to survive on a budget and eat out. There are too many options to go through them all but the famous döner kebab, pides and soups, for example, will only have a tiny impact on your budget.
Bills - We try as much as possible to keep our electricity and water bills low. No air-conditioning in our house. As it’s winter at the moment, we put the UFO heater on if it gets cold. In summer, we open the windows and doors and use the free fresh air. If this is in short supply, the fan gets an outing.
And the goddess of domesticity has never succeeded in manifesting her values within my being. I’m sure she tries… Weather permitting, the washing machine only goes on at the weekend. It’s always been something that has baffled me – is it really necessary to put a tea towel and a pair of socks in the washer and set it going? In our house, the washing basket will be full to over-flowing and at the weekend, the darks and lights are separated. Squish as much in as possible and push the door closed. I suspect that one’s got a few fashion conscious, clothes loving people cringing, but like I said, I don’t think we live a normal life.
We're always open to new suggestions! What are your tips for keeping your Turkey budget as low as possible?