Our Budget Fethiye Life

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.

Fruit in Turkey

Citrus fruit for sale near Lake Köyceğiz

Living On A Budget In Fethiye

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. Our homemade soup 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 just a few ideas from our Turkish recipe collection helps you to make a sizeable dent in your vegetable collection so that nothing goes to waste!

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.

Exploring Turkey
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.

Fethiye Market, Turkey

Fethiye market

Cheap & Free Hobbies
Many of our days are whiled away, walking around the fruit and vegetable sections of Fethiye markets. 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, it’s got to be said, but you get the picture. What to eat en route? The result of all those fabulous Turkish recipes we’ve been learning about, of course. Or, if we’re in a rush, little treats from our local bakery also do the trick.

Lycian Way Signpost - Kayaköy to Ölüdeniz

Sign post on the Kayaköy to Ölüdeniz trek

Eating Out
We’re 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, pide, tost and soups, for example, will only have a tiny impact on your budget.

Turkish Food - Kuşbaşılı Pide

Kuşbaşılı Pide

At Home
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?

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  1. Shopping at the markets really cuts down on food expenses, the difference in prices can be huge as you know.

    Like you mention, so many visitors to Turkey don’t take the bus between cities to get around. Between major cities with many of the larger companies you get snacks, stops with good food, and wi-fi + TV and movie screens behind each seat to boot. Usually less involved and almost always cheaper than flying 🙂

  2. funny – me and my husband were discussing about you and your lovely blog yesterday and was wondering about the same thing on budget. and boy, did you give a very good answer.

    my mom-in-law would sure be able to give you more recommendations, as she is terrific in cost savings having to live in istanbul in a budget. we don’t go out to eat. only when she’s not looking. 🙂

    during summer days, they plant tomatoes, olives and make preserves. a price to pay for living in a very beautiful place.

    thanks for these wonderful tips! i hope, eventually, it will sink it to my not-so frugal-mind.

  3. It’s so great that you are walking around so much – I try here to and keep car parked – plus the gas prices are so much! What adventures.

  4. @ Anil: We should all do a big campaign in support of the Turkish intercity bus! You can’t beat a Dankek, brew or fizzy drink and now, on top of that, we have all the tech gadgets! What more can we ask for? 🙂

    @ Caroline: Thank you for the lovely comment! There are a lot of people out there who could teach us a thing or two about budgets! 🙂 I wish we had green fingers so we could grow a few things – we’re not the best.

    @ Belinda: We’re professional trudgers about town. We always had a car in the UK but it was a hassle keeping it maintained (We’re lazy). Life is easier when you just have to worry about whether or not you can be bothered to walk.

  5. I walk a lot here in Daejeon, and when it’s too far to walk I take the bus. I used to take a lot of taxis because they’re cheap, but buses are even cheaper.

  6. Like you said we go to the markets and buy what is in well in season which means I can usually get 4 kilos of tomatoes for 1 lira. Walk as much as possible, here the dolmus and bus prices have just gone up to 1.50 and 1.60. If we eat out it is usually a doner and that is still 1.50 -2.00 lira. The museums here are great as most are free or charge a nominal fee of 1 lira. I try and get as much as I can from the villages since it is nicer, less processed and cheaper. I make as much as possible myself, dried veggies, salca, etc All these things bring the prices down.

  7. @ Nancie: Taxis in the Fethiye area are just out of the question – unless we’re very desperate. The prices are really high.

    @ Simcha: Lucky you that the dolmus prices have only just gone up to that. Some of our dolmus prices are 4 lira. It looks as though the 1.5 lira dolmus prices are about to increase too.
    It’s lucky we enjoy cooking and markets I think.

  8. Great tips! I definitely like the local aspect to this and really encourage people to head to markets and connect with locals. Plus you get to eat food you probably couldn’t get in many restaurants.

  9. Great post – some sound advice that we are also trying to emulate though we aren’t as far up the learning curve as you are. I can’t concentrate on the article properly though because I can’t take my eyes off the Pide photo…

  10. @ Jeremy B: Yes, we’ve had to pick a few brains on the food – a shame you don’t see a lot of it in the restaurants.

    @ Robin: Pide is just delightful and one of the cheapest snacks you can get with regards to value. We love a bit of budgeting! 🙂

  11. Sounds like a normal life to me. 🙂 These are great tips. It sounds a lot like our life. We enjoy hiking and surfing more than anything so luckily that stuff is mostly free!

  12. These are great tips for people living anywhere! Proof that living well doesn’t have to be expensive.

  13. @ Christy: Yep, normal for us too. 🙂 Love hiking but we’ve never been into surfing. I guess we were brought up in the wrong place!

    @ Andrea: Very true. We live very well. The money comes after. 🙂

  14. Great tips Julia, and the sort of basic tips for living in mamy places. But sometimes I can be convinced that the AC needs to be on! Sleeping in hot stuffy rooms at night can be impossible.

  15. I LOVE Turkish pida. These are great saving tips, not just for Turkey, pretty universal I think!

  16. This is how we live in Costa Rica 🙂

  17. @ Jim: Ha ha. Many people love the AC. We’re not big fans of it but we appreciate it in other buildings in the hot summer months.

    @ Angela: We love pide too. 🙂 They probably are universal tips.

    @ Erin: It’s the best way! 🙂

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