Food Costs For One Year Formula Baby Fruit Vegetables Cereal Expat Life in Sri Lanka, Colombo

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Expat Life in Sri Lanka, Colombo

I recently visited the wonderful island of Sri Lanka, and found the country full of wonder.

Sri Lanka is located south of India in the Indian Ocean. Once known as the Dominion of Ceylon and often referred to as the country of tea, tea plantations thrive in abundance across the island, spice gardens, banana and coconut palms grow haphazardly to create a jungle of natural resources.

Humans, animals and transport seem to co-exist side by side with no hostility towards each other. Dogs roam aimlessly or sunbathe by the side of the road, cows and goats roam everywhere, even on the beaches (which I enjoyed) and people are everywhere, whether walking, cycling, using tuk-tuks, motorbikes. With 5 strides in a taxi, bus, car or truck, each takes up a very wide street space. But they co-exist, there is no anger at being stuck in the back of a truck, just a short honking of the horn to say I’m here and want to pass, politeness abounds and expressions and voices are all friendly, within one. A country that needs help rebuilding itself after the tsunami. People are poor and yet happiness is everywhere….not just for the baby on the hip or the person next to you, but also for expats and tourists.

Tourists gravitate towards the resorts and some of the opportunities are areas outside of these areas, to experience a quiet less stressful vacation. Small pockets of expats can be found, dotted throughout the country. When you bump into these people and chat about life on the island, there’s not much to complain about. Yes, sometimes the water goes off or the electricity, yes the internet is not as fast as they would like. Most people in developed countries don’t feel that way anyway: the faster it happens the faster we want it. In this little piece of paradise, expats are not too worried that it takes a little longer to work here, people are ready to wait, there is no rush to move on too fast. There was a lot of talk and concern about elections and security within the country and even now police/army personnel are roaming around with guns to block roads and maintain peace if needed. However, with 70% of the population being Buddhists, the lifestyle here is peaceful and life is simple.

From an expat perspective, I can’t fault the lifestyle. As said above, yes there are certain things missing, things are slow, it takes a good 4 – 6 hours to get from Colombo to Galle and so on anywhere around 200km. I wouldn’t say the roads are in particularly good condition, but I haven’t seen a single accident in the 10 days I’ve been visiting. Difficulties may include not being able to get quickly from one part of the island to another, lack of fast internet connection, perhaps human waste/refuse, which allows for the influx of flies, garbage left lying around. And finally the lack of funds to rebuild the country before the tsunami.

Having said that, I have to see all the good things I find there, the beauty of the natural resources, how the country’s citizens and expatriates are trying to rebuild the country, the beaches, the game parks and the mountains. It is truly a beautiful part of the world.

Expatriate cost of living summary

The currency of Sri Lanka is the Sri Lankan Rupee LKR

exchange rate as 15 January 2010 was $1 = 114.217 rupees

I’m going to break down the cost of living by a few basket items:

Alcohol and Tobacco: Liquor, beer, cigarettes, locally produced spirits, whiskey, wine at the bar

Cigarettes (20s) – $3.14 to $9

Domestic beer (500ml) – $2.50

Imported beer (330ml) – $5.80

Wine at a bar – $6 a glass

Wine in store – $15 (750ml bottle)

Hotels increase the price of alcohol as a means of making profit. There are many small hotels and restaurants that create a competitive edge where you can stay.

clothing: Business Suits, Casual Wear, Children’s Clothing & Shoes, Coats & Hats, Evening Wear, Shoe Repair, Underwear

Casual Long Sleeve Shirt (Men’s) – $12

Casual Long Sleeve Trousers (Men’s) – $20

Shorts (Men’s) – $11

T-Shirt (Men’s) – $6

Casual Blouse (Women’s) – $7

Casual Skirt (Women’s) – $12

Children’s jeans (boys) – $5

Children’s Jeans (Girls) – $3.50

Children’s shirts (boys) – $5

Children’s shirts (girls) – $4

Clothes are extremely cheap, one can find name branded clothes at reasonable prices in factory shops in Colombo.

Communication: Home telephone rental and call charges, internet connection and service provider charges, mobile/cellular phone contracts and calls

Monthly phone rental – $4.36

Phone call rate – $0.05 for local calls

Internet line connection fee – $104 (buy all equipment including installation)

Internet service provider fee – $17 (1 gig free after that)

Monthly Mobile Contract Fee – $2.18 (for year)

Mobile / Cellular Call Rate – 90% of phones are prepaid,

Mobile phone 100 minute call – $38

– $0.012 – $0.05 sms peak time

Because so many citizens work abroad to send money home, communication costs are extremely low and there are often special deals or no cost involved in the actual call.

Education: Crèche / Pre-school Fees, High School / College Fees, Primary School Fees, Tertiary Study Fees

Annual crèche fee – $4.36 per month

Annual Elementary School Fees – $260 – $436 per month

Annual High School Fees – $260 – $436 per month

Annual 1st year tertiary/university fees – $260 to $436 per month (depending on

go to private school)

Private schools are the most expensive on the island for migrant children to attend, but rates are reasonable compared to other countries. The expats I met spoke highly of the country’s education system and were happy with the private education their children received.

Furniture and appliances: DVD Player, Fridge Freezer, Iron, Kettle, Toaster, Microwave, Light Bulb, Television, Vacuum Cleaner, Washing Machine

DVD Player – $87

Refrigerator / Freezer – $489 (LG / Whirlpool – 4 year warranty)

Iron – $12 cheap to top of the $35 range

Kettle – $20 cheap to top of the $37 range

Microwave – $191

TV 21 inch – $244 (2 year warranty)

Washing machine LG – $570

Discounts can be negotiated with shopkeepers on all items

Groceries purchased at the grocery store: Baby consumables, baked goods, baking, canned foods, cheese, cleaning products, dairy, fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, fruit juice, frozen, meat, oil and vinegar, pet food, pre-prepared food, sauces, seafood Food, snacks, soft drinks, spices and herbs

Powdered baby formula (400 grams) – $7

Plain Biscuits (100g) – $0.20

Bread white bread (200 grams) – $0.70

Cake flour (1kg) – $2.80

Baked Beans (415g) – $1.92

Tuna (185g) – $2.75

Cheese: Cheddar (250 grams) – $6.63

Crisps: Pringles (139g) – $2.50

Autowash Fabric Powder (750g) – $1.57

Dish washing liquid (500g) – $0.87

Fabric softener (2l) – $5.40

Breakfast Cereal (250g) – $2.45

Butter (227 grams) – $2.18

Milk (1l) – $1.40

Eggs (12) – $1.80

Orange juice (1l) – $2.80

Frozen mixed vegetables (1 kg) – $6.20

Cooking oil (1l) – $3.22

Olive Oil (500ml) – $8.28

Can of Cola (355ml) – $1.00

Local fizzy soft drink (1l) – $1.30

Local natural mineral water (5l) – $1.08

Tea bag (200g) – $1.85

Instant coffee (100 grams) – $6.75

Local ground coffee (200g) – $3.66

Salt (400 grams) – $0.26

Pepper (400 grams) – $0.35

Prices were obtained from local grocers, there are no large department stores to shop.

Healthcare: General Practitioner Consultation Rate, Hospital Private Ward Daily, Rate, Non-Prescription Medicine, Private Medical Insurance / Medical Aid Contribution

GP private rate visit with medication – $3.50

Hospital private ward rates – $28 per day

Dentistry – Tooth Extraction – $4.35

Most expats use Bupa or the Sri Lankan equivalent

Household: House / Flat Mortgage, House / Flat Rent, Household Electricity Consumption, Household Gas / Fuel Consumption, Household Water Consumption, Local Property Rates / Taxes / Charges

2 bed apartment for rent city center – $700

2 bed apartment outside city center for rent – $600

Electricity, gas, water, garbage per – $80 to $90 per month average

It is expensive when taking household, household

Air conditioning on account

Gas/Fuel – 12 ½ kg bottle – $14

Local property rates – 8 to 10% of property value

Foreigners cannot buy property directly, this must be done through a lawyer who owns the property. Mortgage for locals is 4/5%. Most expats here find costs high, running air conditioners is extremely expensive and so is the cost of water.

Miscellaneous: Domestic help, dry cleaning, linen, office supplies, newspapers and magazines, postage stamps

Domestic rates – per person full time – $80 average

1 Black Inkjet Printer Cartridge – $14

1 Color Inkjet Printer Cartridge – $21

500 sheets of printer paper – $5.23

Local daily newspaper – $0.17

International Daily Newspaper – $0.45

International Magazine – $20

International Airmail Tickets – $0.22

Domestic tickets – $0.12

Domestic help is cheap and most employees either live on the property or nearby. Office supplies are reasonable, CDs and DVDs are freely available on the street where most locals buy them.

Personal Care: Cosmetics, Hair Care, Moisturizer / Sun Block, Nappies, Pain Relief Tablets, Toilet Paper, Toothpaste, Soap / Shampoo / Conditioner

Body Lotion (400ml) Vaseline Intensive Car – $4.53

Toilet paper 1 ply per roll – $0.50

Toothpaste (200g) – $1.92

Shampoo (200ml) – $2.40

Some items that can be purchased, such as creams, sunblock and cosmetic creams, can be expensive. Name brand products are the most expensive.

Entertainment and Culture: Books, camera films, cinema tickets, DVDs and CDs, sporting goods, theater tickets

Book Paper Return – $10

Cinema Tickets – $0.50

DVD / CD imported – $2

Cricket Tickets – $0.50 to $8

Theater tickets – Colombo only – $30

Hard cover books are more expensive in the country, but paper back books are about the same price in the USA and UK. Cinema tickets are cheap due to the availability of cheap DVD replicas that can be bought on street corners. International cricket tickets are also kept cheap for local people.

Restaurant / Dining Out / Hotel: Business dinners, restaurant dinners (non-fast food), hotel rates, take away drinks and snacks (fast food)

Business dinner excluding alcohol – $22 per person

Dinner/Lunch at a local restaurant – $8 per person

McDonald’s Big Mac – $4.10

Hotel rates 3* – $8 to $50 pppn

Hotel rates 4* – $80 to $120 pppn

Hotel rates 5* – $140 pppn upwards

Take Out – Can of Cola x 1 – $0.70

Medium Pizza – $3.50

Hamburger – $2.00

Coffee – pot x 3 cups – $1.40

In most countries how much you pay for a meal depends on where you go, local restaurants have great local food, as well as international flavours, we found a fantastic vegetarian restaurant in Galle, which was well worth a visit and all reasonably priced. cheap Some restaurants take advantage of the tourist population and serve sub-standard food. However, most restaurants were good with their portions and meal plans.

Transportation: Lease Purchase/Vehicles, Petrol/Diesel, Public Transport, Service Maintenance, Tires, Vehicle Insurance, Vehicle Purchase

Rent / Rent Car – Sedan Toyota Corolla – $37.14 per day for 1 week

Rent / Rent Car – Toyota RAV4 – $46.71 per day for 1 week

Petrol unleaded per liter – $1.23

Diesel per liter – $0.64

Bus Ticket (One Way) – $1.00

Taxi ride – per km – $0.50

Tuc Tuc – 10 km ride – $6.00

Train ticket second class – $1.57

If you are visiting I suggest you use local taxis and tuc-tucs, driving can be a headache and unpleasant experience if you are not used to local norms. However, the speed does not exceed 80km on major roads and is overall a safe place to drive.

The above details are some of the items that form the basis of the cost of living index for each basket group in the Xpatulator calculators, these costs are then used to calculate the cost of living in the various locations along with their indices and exchange rates.

For more information about Sri Lanka read more at www.xpatulator.com/outside.cfm.

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