|Enjoying the locals' artwork in Etropole...|
I suspect I might be tight with money. I mean, the list of things I refuse to spend money on is growing longer all the time: new clothes, a better car, furniture, the latest phone (or gadgets in general), haircuts, shampoo, women’s razors (men’s are better), women’s deodorant (men’s is better), lottery tickets/scratch cards, music, satellite TV…
But, on the other hand, I happily spunk money left, right and centre on: second-hand and vintage clothes, plants, eating out, alcohol, avocados, Ikea rugs, good coffee, toilet roll, pointless trips to Sofia…
In other words, I drive a 22-year-old car and wear a coat that cost 6 leva (£3), but I’ll drop 40 leva (£20) on a bottle of Tanqueray No.10 without flinching. I’m not sure if that makes me a fucking legend or an idiot.
Anyway, last Friday was an expensive day – and not of the fun, gin-and-Ikea-rug variety. More of the bill-paying variety.
First we paid our annual house and car tax. Back in England, our council tax on a small basement flat used to be £90 a month – and that’s going back more than 10 years, so it probably seems like a right old bargain to anyone reading this in England today.
The equivalent tax in Bulgaria is – brace yourself – 14 leva a year for our house. That’s about £7. A year. (It’s more expensive for those who live in towns or dirty great mansions, obviously.) To be fair, we don’t get much in the way of municipal services where we live, but who can complain when you pay 14 leva a year? It’s so cheap, I almost skip into the municipal offices to pay it every March.
The car tax is not such a bargain, though. Bulgarian car tax is a mystery to me. Do you pay more on an older, less efficient car, like you would in the UK, or is the tax more expensive the better the car? I’ve no idea. For our 2001 Ford Puma it was 105 leva. And for our 1997 Toyota Rav4 it was 120 leva. That’s obviously cheaper than it would be in the UK, but I don’t know how it compares to other (ahem, better) cars in Bulgaria.
We also paid for our annual Bulgarian company tax return, did the dreaded supermarket shop, and paid all our monthly bills. So much money. So little fun. We didn’t even have a single Ikea rug to show for it.